I wasn’t quite feeling the sci-fi vibe this past week. I think I just need to shift into something different. Something different came along earlier in the week in the form of Swords Without Master. While designed for three or more players, I figured I’d see what it’d be like to play solo. I’ve been playing a lot of Morrowind and Skyrim lately, which might explain why I wanted to do Akavir. It’s largely unexplored but frequently referenced in the games.
This is a Son of Svanir from Guild Wars 2 (taken from Kekai Kotaki’s tweet), but it might make a good Snow Demon from Kamal. A Nordic goliath with ice spikes? Kind of makes sense to me. Which gave me the title for this Elder Scrolls: Akavir adventure, “A Cold Heart’s Desire.” Swords Without Master allows for “tales” that can modify how particular actions take place, hence the “Tale of Dark Magic, Fabulous Treasure and Savagery” tag. I’ve resized the eidolons and simulacra to be roughly 5” x 7” in the event I decide to print them onto actual index cards.
Mehrunes Dagon destroyed the Septim line. Without a Dragonborn Emperor on the throne, the gates of Oblivion opened across Tamriel. Like two puddles, the two worlds slowly become one. A great many people fled the continent and dared to sail east to Akavir.
Two hundred years has passed since Uriel V invaded and was driven back by the Tsaesci, the serpent people of the far east. The fleeing folk of Tamriel found safer harbor in Tang Mo with the assistance of the Monkey People. The northeastern steppes and plains belong to the Tiger Empire of Ka’Po’tun. To the north and west is Kamal, land of the Snow Demons.
As Tosh Raka, the greatest of the Tiger People, discovered how to become a Dragon, the remaining Blades hope that, one day, another Dragonborn Emperor will rise. Once discovered, the Dragonborn may yet recover the Amulet of Kings and “close shut the jaws of Oblivion.”
Thus, the Blades and a scant few adventurers brave the wilds of Akavir, searching for a new Dragonborn Emperor. With Akaviri steel, the smiths forge weapons and armor in preparation for war. With rumor of Daedric artifacts to be found, one worshipper of Nocturnal braves the glacial tombs of Kamal…
Azaril Rallis is my character in both games: a dark elf mage thief which I’ve called The Thief of Dreams. While Swords Without Master uses Glum and Jovial as Tones, I modified them to Calculating and Reckless to better remember how Azaril behaves during the Glum and Jovial Tones. During Glum scenes, he can be cold, calculating, so his ability reflects that by having him assassinate someone from the shadows; during Jovial scenes, he’s more reckless, reflected in his ability to dance between multiple targets. For his one Trick, it’s the ability to demand a stealth related scene. While the image is just a dark clad hooded thief with gold accents, I kind of like it more than the basic Nightingale armor present in Skyrim. If I had any artistic talent, I might have edited the Nightingale set to suit. I don’t actually remember where this image came from, other than he’s a character from the Elder Scrolls Online Trailer.
The text in italics are the game mechanics; bold is the Overplayer’s (GM’s) voice; and normal text is Azaril’s.
Overplayer rolls for Overtone: Glum - 5, Jovial - 4
Overplayer chooses a Perilous phase.
The sun sets behind the line of mountains to the west, leaving the Tomb of K’mo’dia bathed in icy blue light. Icicles hang from the stonework framing thick wooden doors. The packed snow crunches underfoot as Azaril slowly plods toward the grave’s entrance.
The thick doors swing open, aided by the biting wind that brings a promise of more snow. The smooth stone floor is carpeted with a thin sheet of ice, a narrow slope leading down to the first tier of the tomb. Carefully, Azaril makes his way down the corridor and comes into a chamber with a tunnel to either side of him.
Torches spread their light, illuminating the stone room. A single tapestry hangs ahead of Azaril, black field with ice blue sigil spread across it: three upright wedges with a graceful arc above. A stone slab is supported by two more forming a rudimentary table which is covered with blood stained cloth.
The crack of ice shifting echoes from down the tunnels accompanied by a deep heaving intake of breath.
Overplayer picks up the dice.
A pair of robed Bretons walk up from the left hand hall, black robes lined in ice blue to match the hanging standard. Beneath deep cowls, their eyes settle on the dark elf, taking in the sight of Azaril’s ash colored armor with daggers wrapped across his chest. An intruder…
Overplayer passes the dice to Azaril.
One of the figures pulls a dagger from the folds of his robe; the other raises his hands. Azaril senses the pull of magicka flow toward the mage. The mage’s hands ignite and become wreathed in fire as the dagger wielding figure steps forward, preventing Azaril from reaching the spellcaster.
Azaril draws a pair of daggers from their place against his chest and steps behind the table to prevent the mage from targeting him with whatever spell he is casting.
The dagger armed man follows, stepping toward the wall with the hanging banner as the mage inches closer to the tunnel entrance. The foremost man comes around the table and thrusts his dagger at Azaril.
Azaril responds by stepping in and blocking the thrusting hand with his wrist, wrestling for control and position.
Azaril struggles with his assailant, the two evenly matched in strength. The cultist grabs Azaril’s free hand, leaving the thief with his off hand against the cultist’s strong hand. The mage haughtily steps around the other side of the table, afforded a profile view of the grapple, and spreads long fingers toward Azaril.
Azaril rolls for Tone: Glum - 2, Jovial - 6
The thief kicks at the shin of the Breton holding his wrist and flips the dagger in his off hand into a reverse grip. He slashes upward, slicing the grappler’s wrist, then traces a line across the cultist’s throat. The cultist gurgles and gasps, reaching up to his neck as air fails to fill his lungs.
Azaril swiftly drops into a crouch as a sheet of fire scorches the air above the table, burning the banner. He closes his eyes and listens, waiting for the hiss of fire above his head to stop. As the magicka fades, Azaril rises and vaults over the table, stabbing into the mage with his daggers. A quick staccato of three stabs into the chest from alternating fists ends him.
Azaril passes the dice to the Overplayer.
The air is filled with another shift of ice, another crack in a prison. While the black and blue standard burns and falls to the floor.
1st Motif Card
- A tapestry with black field and ice blue sigil.
- A crack in a prison.