Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Thieves of Shem - a new RuneQuest campaign

Eastern Shem, the township of Belthaar, somewhere to the east of Shushan, on the borders of the Red Waste. Four heroes are converging on the Square of the Silversmiths at midnight, for a rendezvous with dark destiny...

  • Rigby Gathorn, a thief from the Border Kingdom, seeking his fortune in the more arid lands to the south;
  • Asantha Arking, a spy from Argos, on a secret mission for a cartel of nobles but with an eye to make some profit for herself;
  • Bagwa Grey Tusk, a sorcerer from Punt, a dabbler in the dark arts, exiled from his homeland for sacrificing several villagers in an effort to lift a curse;
  • Baphtored of Shadizar, another thief, this time from Zamora, which he has fled having robbed a religious sect (more on that later!)

Rigby Gathorn, of the Border Kingdom
Rigby and Asantha got off to a bad start, when Rigby tried to steal from the Argossean spy and was almost killed. She spared him, but he owes her. Meanwhile, Baphtored and Bogwa became friends and drinking buddies when they met by chance in an inn of ill repute in Belthaar.

Rigby has been in Belthaar for a while, doing some thieving, and has fallen in with Taziz, a local thief who has whispered of his plans to take things up a notch and do some tomb robbing. Rigby has got wind that Jahwar, a local gang leader and fence, is planning to double cross Taziz when they meet to discuss the sale of some of the loot Taziz has uncovered. Concerned, Rigby enlists Asantha's aid and they head to the rendezvous point in the Square of the Silversmiths, in Belthaar's craft district.

It is midnight when they arrive on the north side of the square, and all is quiet. The shops that line the square are shuttered and silent. In the centre of the square, torchlight illuminates Jahwar and four of his henchmen standing over the still form of Taziz.

We go straight to action as Asantha sights and shoots with her crossbow, but the shot goes wide. The thugs don't notice this as they are focused on the sound of chanting coming from the southern edge of the square. Here a muscled black man is chanting and gesticulating. Jahwar sends two of his men to investigate just as the stone paving in front of Bagwa (for it is he!) begins to take shape.

Rigby takes advantage of the distraction by sneaking up on a third thug and putting him down, breaking his arm with his warhammer. He then gets into a fight with the fourth thug while Jahwar seeks to flee down a street to the east. Asantha spots this and gives chase - the two scurry off into the dark.

As the first two thugs bear down on Bagwa, Baphtored comes tearing out of the shadows (03 on his Stealth roll) and cuts one thug across the face, knocking him down. Next to them, Bagwa has conjured some kind of strange figure composed of stone, although it does not seem to be doing much, other than glowering. Still, it is enough to obstruct the thug, and gives Baphtored time to kill him too.

Baphtored now spots Asantha leaving the square and decides to give chase; Bagwa abandons his conjuring and lumbers after the Zamoran, but he's slow on his feet and quickly loses sight of his drinking buddy, becoming lost in the maze of darkened alleys and side streets. Behind them Rigby is left to deal with the last thug, which he finally does, but not before he takes a sword slash across the abdomen. One of the fallen Shemites staggers back to his feet, and seeks to flee, but the northerner is too fast for him and kills him outright with a blow from his hammer.

Asantha pursues Jahwar through the craft district, never losing sight of him, and manages to catch up with him, seeking to stab the fleeing rogue before he can escape. She forces the fence to turn and defend himself. He is using a short sword, but in the other hand he is clutching a silver dagger etched with black runes. As they duel, Baphtored arrives and joins in. Asantha gets behind the Shemite and calls on him to surrender. Jahwar declines, but not long after he drops his sword while parrying an attack from Baphtored and it skitters away behind the Zamoran, leaving Jahwar with only the ornate dagger. Seeing the knife the gang leader is holding, Baphtored asks for the obviously antique weapon instead, but Jahwar refuses. Finally, Baphtored bluffs the Shemite into agreeing to pay to be allowed to go in peace, and then grapples with him as they attempt to shake on it.

The wrestling match is unsuccessful for Baphtored, as Jahwar proves the stronger, and breaks free, leaping to try to climb up a nearby house. As he jumps, to haul himself up onto a window sill, he is brutally stabbed by Asantha and blacks out from pain and blood loss, collapsing in a heap in the street. Seeing that Jahwar is dying, Baphtored reluctantly pours his precious healing potion between the Shemite's teeth in order to keep him alive.
Jahwar the Shemite

He then introduces himself to Asantha. It turns out that Baphtored is a friend of Taziz, and was asked by the thief to attend on his midnight meeting with Jahwar, as Taziz suspected a possible double cross. Baphtored also heard from Taziz that he planned to rob a tomb and that he saw the potential for further such robberies in the future. Asantha takes the dagger that Jahwar has dropped.

The pair carry the unconscious Jahwar back to the inn where Baphtored and Bagwa are staying. Meantime, Rigby is looting the bodies in the square before the watch arrives. Sadly, he notes that young Taziz has perished from his wounds...

This campaign is being played using Mongoose RuneQuest. The setting is Robert E. Howard's Hyborian Age. More as and when it happens.


  1. Interesting. I wouldn't have gone to RuneQuest as my first choice for Conan; how is it working out?

  2. So far, so good. MRQ1 is more fiddly than MRQ2. There are some questions this session raised with the rules that are answered in MRQ2. There is interest also in exploring the legendary abilities side of the game which will give it a more Conan-esque feel once the PCs have enough hero points to get to those.