Thursday 21 August 2014

BRP BABYLON: On the road to old Sumeria

First session was really just a character generation with the RQ3 intro adventure the money tree to teach system basics. Met a troll a duck and had a roc steal party donkey. The second session had them visiting the city Borsippa (dedicated to Nebo/Nabu the scribe god). Found references in the "brotherhood of briny wisdom" library exploring the wastes and hunting a haunted cave near a long destroyed village rumoured to have supernatural activity. Camped in ruins. Saw a creepy shadow move to Iltani's back while she drank from a well and all party broke camp and moved to hills. Found cave and killed goat men demons and found a pre flood vampire sleeping in a crystal coffin who they killed. Took his black rod of office and black woollen kilt.

I had some issues with 8 players and got grumpy. Two older players didn't like this so I've culled back group and got to five players with space for guests. Ran much more like i expected and got more done. Players getting into history more, less player vs player and less dnd type shenanigans. Have players interested in reading Hammurabi's legal code and other documents. One Player brought me Armies of the Ancient near East which has been a awesome read with good warrior kit of all the races I have in play.

Still have room for guest spots just need core players to be established.

I'm using notes from my 90s game of this for the clan consisting of a noble father with many children with slaves and foreigners.

Lord Mardukbanipal, Champion of Babylon, Landed Warrior, Aged 47

Townhouse with warehouse and garden on Nisaba Canal
Farmhouse on river with orchards, barley field and swine
500 head cattle with pastoral rights
300 head sheep with pastoral rights

The Family
Mishangal, 1st wife, Cursed invalid, fevered, possessed, aged 44
-Mushudad, 1st son, Noble and heir of clan, honourable, loves king, aged 28*
-Ibsima, 1st daughter, Married to priestly clan, wise and responsible, aged 26*
-Yesmina, 2nd daughter, Married to Malgelab merchant clan, aged 25
Matnashali, 2nd wife, Loves intrigue, superstitious, vindictive, aged 39
-Shamashbar, 2nd son, Honest, pious, friendly, unimaginative, aged 23*
-Ninsalmis, 3rd daughter, Flirt, daddies favourite, dangerous, aged 22*
-Nergalmar, 3rd son, Violent, vindictive, worldly, rude, charismatic, aged 21
Enlilabdar, Uncle, veteran, loyal caretaker of estates, dwells on riverside estate, aged 47
- married (twice), six children (mmffmf), thinks too many women are trouble
Sinmat, Aunt, ex-Ishtar acolyte, now household scribe, , aged 44
-adopted 2 daughters, trained as scribes, Ishtar initiates, unwilling for them to marry
Marsaddru, Uncle, veteran, dock foreman, treasurer, warehouse master, aged 43
-divorced three times, now married to marsh girl slave with two young daughters
Sidaru, Aunt, widowed, runs sly grog shop and flophouse on the docks, aged 41
-2 sons in the court of the king who occasionally visit, prefers clan house to palace life

Party Members in the Family 
Toth (Steve) Half Egyptian Nergal Cultist has taken to wearing the vampires black kilt and wears blackened armour of noble quality and a huge khopesh (well most use short swords and daggers)
Iltani (Olaf) Sumerian daughter scribe of Ishtar mother divorced from father, good with rod and dagger, has a daughter and is divorced, receives alimony payments from Sumerian husband
Ariana (Andz) Minoan raised daughter has been leading crew of Mycenean Pirates, Adad cultist, a sword woman

Hired Barbarian Guards - scouts and skirmishers
Sobek (Hanna) Amorite javelineer and archer whose clan worship lion ancestor. Her ancestors to west had some Egyptian links
Kull Draco (Andrew) a Gutian huge brute kin of the bear totem caries a huge battle axe

Are some others but will list later.

Instructed to research increases in supernatural menace since Hammurabi's death.

Forces of chaos swelling across the land, omens of evil abound.

On way to Kish (12k down road) youths attacked and were easily defeated and captured. Handed to city gate guard. Barbarians wanted to sell as slaves but life isn't that easy when your civilised. Things catch up with you.

The Sumerian king list states that Kish was the first city to have kings following the deluge, famed for red bricks. Patron god Zababa a form of Ninurta here is married to Ishtar, the local version of the Earth goddess was a deified ruling queen. There is a large Ishtar ziggarut outside of town and a Zababa one inside. Sargon of Akkad came from here, possibly source of Akkadian language a thousand years before. Days of power long gone still city of great fame and all emperors and conquerors covet to be king of Kish.

In kish the source of kingship were greeted by family trade house staff and met ally of Fathers, Ududu who welcomed the party and took to his home for dinner. Flirted with Ariana but wary so he slept with Amorite body guard instead. All heard of trouble in a brick mine. Villagers mining pre flood bricks found cursed tomb
battled a demon. It had lion face, bird feet, bristly haired body and a snake for a phallus. It's terrible scream wracked them with fear but they slew it. Toth damned it to Nergal as he hacked it up. Sealed tomb and left city.

Next on to Nippur the city of enlil. More truly Sumerian but very cosmopolitan. Like Kish all coveted the city for symbolic power, an important holy city. Since rise of Babylon Nippur is a bit run down but has a impressive ziggarut and walled holy quarter. A great ishtar temple was here also. Enlil was former supreme ruler but Marduk god of Babylon usurped ultimate power. A religious festival was in progress and statues of gods were being carried through streets and in barges to visit each others temples.

10km south is a great cult distribution centre of tithed livestock and tablets the party passed.

Went south to Larsa and were watched by bandits who fled when they saw well armed fearless party advanced on them. In Larsa saw ziggurat to sun god Uta (Shamash in Akkadian).

Next to Ur where saw the great ziggarut of Sin the moon god which impressed all.

Then finally to Eridu the holy sity of Enki to study for several weeks and bathe in sacred baths of his temple. Several earned divination techniques. Ariana learnt weather divination from Adad shrine and Iltani learnt to read dreams. Barbarians met Gutian mercenaries who told that Elamites were preparing for war and recruiting Gutian troops. Several took time to study Sumerian. Invited three Adad cultists to join them on road. took more dangerous wasteland edge route.

Back to Ur briefly then to Uruk but avoided Arab scouts. Barbarians archers threatened party but they charged.bandits hurling javelins and firing back. Sobek killed leader with javelin through chest. Several party members went through marsh and cover of reeds but realised slowed them down too much. Party ran them down beating them and chased some through reeds and marsh defeating them and robbing their camp.
 Men were Gutians who told how steppes had poor rain and hungry nomads and tribes looked to cities and river peoples to rob.

Arrived in Uruk and admired ancient walls built by Gilgamesh and shrines to it's divine kings of old and Ishtar and other goddesses. The great white pier where Ishtar brought secrets she stole from Enki after the flood.

Then back through Borsipa and to Babylon to inform dad of their discoveries and experiences.

I overlapped about 20 maps and found none fitted exactly - all distorted and slightly incompatible. Best city map from a book I photocopied from Adelaide uni 20 years ago with a hundred cities on it. Populations generally 10-50 000. Babylon I have made biggest as it is centre of the world and all.

Game was good and feels like working like I want.

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