And so we settled down for our second installment of 'A Faery's Tale'. I have to say that I was a little concerned as the girls were exceptionally hyped for this session and I was a little tired. Second Session Syndrome is bad enough with adult games - I was desperate not to have it happen here. Of course I could have called it off, but in the end that isn't applicable when its playing with kids, especially when they are hyped like that. It would be like kicking them in the gut. So onwards!!
Of Trolls Noses and Fire Lilies
A little bit of consequences being played out today. The adventure begins near Jennifree's tree, at night, as she hears some shuffling and grunting outside. Inspecting the disturbance with her reluctant squirrel friend Knakfree, they find a baby troll (called Rocknose, on account of his rocky nose, natch) who has lost his family! Apparently he is the son of the Goblin King's Troll Champion. He hasn't returned home and his children didn't know where to find him. The other child trolls went into the forest and never returned, so he wandered and managed to find this tree with it's faerie resident.
(Astute readers will remember that the last time we saw the Troll Champion he was sound asleep under the power of Jennifree's magical pixie dust)
Despite the protestations of Knakfree that helping a troll was folly, Jennifree decided to help him (earning herself a point of Essence) and went to get Sneaky Sarah (who also agreed). Sarah went beyond that, determined that Rocknose should not come to any harm. She petitioned the Captain of the Guard in Brightwood Village, asking whether Rocknose could stay at her cottage. After granting the Guard a boon (the currency of the game and a new rule for this session) she secreted the troll with some tasty rocks and the two faeries went into Darkwood, looking for trolls.
They started at the last point Rocknose had seen his family, Crow Rock, a clawed edifice topped by a gnarled tree with a wooden crow on it. The crow, naturally, can talk and generally bad mouths the faeries for daring touch his branches. He also hates trolls because they eat the rocks around his trees base and confirms that he scared a bunch of them earlier that week, down towards the cottage of Griselda the Hag.
Bravely, the faeries continued to the cottage where they saw a beautiful presentation of folliage and rock gardens but no flowers. They met the pepper-addicted Griselda adding her favourite condiment to frog-eye stew. She confirmed that she did indeed have the trolls and she had planted them, nose up, in his soil to form a rock patch!! (this all comes from a tale I used to tell the kids about a local park, saying that the rocks along the pathways were troll noses...). She said that she would give them the trolls back if the faeries could get her some flowers that would grow in her garden. The only ones she knew of were fire lilies and the only way to get them was to win a contest at the Tournament of the Knight of Spiders - a redcap prince who lived not far from here, and held regular tournaments.
They travel, bravely in my opinion, into the rocky lands of the Knight of Spiders and face the mockery of the ogres, goblins, boggarts, snoggins, phookas and smelly things that are gathered there. The Knight of Spiders mocks them at first and laughs at the idea that they might be considered to take part in the tournament, but one of the goblins that they fought when they were freeing the cygnet in the previous adventure vouches for their bravery.
Jennifree takes part in the music making tournament, but quickly realises that in Darkwood, good is bad and bad is good. So she purposefully plays the worst music she can and wins the contest.
Sneaky Sarah enters the rock-hurling contest and has to defeat an Ogre! The ogre wins the first round easily but Sarah wins the second round. In the final round she makes a massive throw whilst the Ogre pulls off one of those amazing statistical improbabilities of scoring no even numbers on 6d6!
The Knight of Spiders is furious and taunts the pair into entering the Dragonfly racing against him. They agree, but then he asks where their dragonfly is? If they cannot find one, they forfeit the race, their prizes and will remain his prisoners forever! Sneaky Sarah uses her power to turn into a dragonfly and Jennifree rides her to victory (I believe Emma has realised that she has inadvertently created a nigh unstoppable physical character and she loves it!!)
The Knight begrudgingly hands over the three Fire Lilies which are hastily deposited with the Hag who in turn releases the buried trolls. While Jennifree reunites the brood and their brother, Sneaky Sarah finds a load of goblins searching for the children. They arrange the exchange and are met by the goblins and Granite, the Troll Champion of the Goblin King. He is passingly unfriendly with Jennifree for leaving him sleeping but is very thankful that his 'chips of the old block' have been returned and gives a Boon to both faeries as a reward.
The girls talked through a recap of the tale and commented that it was about actions having consequences and the value of helping others even when some people don't want to. They were buzzing again by the end of it and seemed quite pleased that they have made a stauch enemy in the Knight of Spiders!
When we all got going things were just as good this week as last. There were some issues with Emma (the younger of the two) simply wanting to narrate the story away right from the beginning as well as wanting to make the trolls her cousins...(!) but that soon dissipated. The two faeries are even beginning to develop distinct characters - the very sociable, clever and cautious Jennifree guiding the far more emotionally charged and morally absolute Sarah.
Next week, who knows where the winds will take us!