Instruments: French Deck, Mapmaking materials, 2d6, Token
This is a Carta game about plotting out the map of a fictional country and discovering the people who live there!
Game Content WarningsThese are content warnings that are from the game prompts and are present in all playthroughs.
Playthrough Content WarningsThese are content warnings specific to this playthrough only.
Word Count: 2,757 Played: Nov 11, 2021
Horatio Felspar, from a long line of explorers, unfortunately disgraced after his Great Grandfather Jerrel Felspar failed to return from mapping a forest and angered the queen of Neahr. They fled to Oncrest and to one of the small villages nearby, only to leave when he was older to the city of Cricneal to seek better work. He wants to improve his family name and jumped at the chance to do some exploring himself.
Funded by merchants and craftworkers.
After pirates had found a stronghold in the Respit Sea, I was commissioned by the head of the Merchant’s guild in Oncrest to see if I could suss out a new route by land.
The Commissioner was an angry man named Krystor Matesic, who didn’t want to have to pay us in the first place. He tried to haggle the price down to something that was unfeasible but eventually the others on the committee board were able to get me the supplies we needed. Unfortunately I need to send all correspondence directly to Matesic.
Travel Time: 10
Someone is over charging you for supplies!
Roll: 1 you have connections!
First day and already we hit a fumble. One of the entourage has spilled most of the water from the back of the cart. We were fortunate enough that none of the other supplies were ruined, but we needed to stop to buy more fresh water. Unlucky for us we are still by the shore and most of the water here is salted. But there was also good fortune, for the woman trying to sell us the water was a part of the merchant’s guild of Oncrest so she knew better than to try to overcharge us.
Travel Time (TT): 9
We spent some time in the small village of Bluton, a tiny little place just north of Oncrest. I decided to take on a few students and teach them how to properly read maps, as none of them had seen much more than the chicken scratch their parents had made. One student was quite promising and wrote a long essay on the merits of making good maps. I wrote them a letter of recommendation, should they seek higher education elsewhere, though I don’t know how much pull my name will have or if they even have the funds to seek a place.
Roll: +1 TT
A local magistrate knows one of your companions
We traveled a bit west before heading back north and found ourselves in the village of Chodale. It was a humble little place but had quite a market, but more remarkable was the man who greeted us. He embraced Peter, the youngest of our group in a firm hug, despite being covered in filth from the road. He was a local magistrate and offered to put me and the rest of our group in one of the nicer inns in town. We spent the evening with him, drinking fine wine and assorted meats. It turns out he was Peter’s uncle who had traveled to this small village to help with taxes and the like.
+1 Account, +1 TT
You interviewed someone to a place you haven’t visited. The notes don't make any sense.
I stopped to talk to a traveler along the road today. They said they were from a place up north, near the mountain range, from a city on the coast. I had never heard of such a place before, especially from how they described it, it sounded like a large imposing fortress. They said that it was called Malhal and was once the home to a large country that no longer existed.
Looking back on it I should have doubted this person’s accounts more, as any moderately educated man such as myself would have surely heard of such a place. Something else must have happened to my notes as well, for when I went to take a look at them, all the pages were blank, and the city I had placed on the map had vanished. I’m starting to doubt if I spoke to a person at all. The heat is really getting to me, and perhaps I had a waking dream from exhaustion.
A pilgrimage site by a volcanic lake. Why do people go here?
We came upon a religious site today. One dedicated to Mother Mountain herself. Despite this area being warm most of the year, the peak of the mountain was covered in snow, and despite the snow, we found ourselves at a volcanic lake that was warm and relaxing. I spoke with one of the priests at the local temple and he explained to me that people come here with families and partners to bathe together to strengthen their connections to one another. The water was quite nice and I do feel like I bonded with my crew after a long bath.
+1 Acc +1TT
A face is carved into the cliffsides.
We traveled naught but a half day away from the springs when we came across a second temple high in these mountains. This one was dedicated to Mother Mountain as well, and her visage was carved into the mountain side. There were workers repairing most of her body so all I could see was her face, which had been completed.
A minor official gives you the key to their tax records, what do you find? What do you give in return?
At the bottom of the mountain range there was a moderately sized city named Srueton. It was there that I came across a minor official when I was taking my supper at the inn. He was very interested in the information I had collected so far, especially about the smaller villages beyond the mountain. He handed me the key to his shed housing the local tax records and I shared with him the names of each of the little towns.
I compared who the taxes were going to and found that several of the villages were not listed and had been paying taxes to no one for several decades.
You are passing through the town you had your first real job.
We are back in Davington, the city I first lived in when I left home. I remember the small job filing papers in the back of a tax collector’s office. I stopped by for a little bit, hoping that I could compare my notes from Srueton to confirm the taxes on the local villages. So much has changed, I can hardly recognize the area! So many of the buildings have been replaced by larger, sturdier ones and I wonder if I’ll be able to recognize any of them in a decade. Unfortunately it seemed as the records in Srueton were correct and these villages have been avoiding being taxed for a long time.
This forest used to contain a great fortress. It is also famous for its mushrooms. What do you do?
I felt like a true and proper explorer today! We went into the Misty Pine forest on the insistence of my crew. They spent the entire time gathering mushrooms, which will make good for our food supplies, but I took the opportunity to explore the old fortress! I thought back to the fabled empire that the traveler had told me about and wondered if such defenses were to guard the city from such an empire. No matter, the fortress was real, even though what was standing was barely visible, most had crumbled away due to time and all that remained were small stone circles in the ground.
+1 AC +1TT
Farmers tell you a story about a great event that happened here.
We stopped for a bit in the small hamlet of Baever, a farming town to the West of the ruins. We listened to the farmers as they took their break and attempted to impress us with a local story. They said that long, long, ago there was a towering obelisk that could be seen just on the horizon and every night it would pulse with a dark glow. People ventured far and wide to find it but the closer they got the further away it was. Until one night it crumbled and landed near Baever and if you go digging, you can sometimes find black stones that used to be a part of it.
Unfortunately this is a common fairy tale which almost all cities in the world have. You can find these “stones” almost anywhere and they will crop up on the market for fools to buy.
A Festival! What is being celebrated and how?
We arrived in the port town of Larora only to find ourselves in the midst of a large festival. Songs were all around us and people yelled from rooftops and children danced. We hurried down to the docks to celebrate in the main event of the evening, thousands of people released tiny paper boats into the water and watched them sail away out into the ocean. I spoke with some of the locals and they said it was to celebrate the maiden voyage of the Lady Lidia, the town’s first ship. Afterwards we enjoyed a lovely fireworks show and some of the local delicacies: fried mushrooms from the local forest!
One of your companions shows you an artifact. What did they find?
Another day of traveling, not much to report on the location. We’ve headed up north along the coast, but I fear the Guild wants to avoid it as much as possible, so we’ll be heading inland soon enough. But today, Mica, one of my compatriots, brought me a most curious object. It was a piece of pottery with, what I assume is a holy symbol, etched onto it. I don’t know which god it was for since I could only make out half of it, but I suspect that this was used in some sort of ritual. There was nothing else around us to indicate this was a settlement. I wonder if it was lost when priests were traveling towards the mountains on a pilgrimage.
A peddler corrects information from you. You need to check which ferry has been abandoned.
We finally made it north to the city of Feron, only to find that we had no way of passing the river. According to the records that were given to me, there should have been 3 ferries to take to cross. One in Feron, one in Invale, and one in Prorith. Unfortunately the pedder seemed to have been correct and when we arrived in Feron we found the entire thing abandoned. Most of the city seems to have become a ghost town as well. There were hardly any people on the streets and most of the shops had closed down. It seems that all the work was to be found in Invale since the proprietor of the ferry found religious calling and closed up shop to move into the mountains.
Not enough req to complete the game yet!
You are passing through the hometown of a foundational monarch. What did they do? Why were your companions not impressed?
We found our way into Invale at last! Some of the members of my group had been hoping to visit, as Queen Rosaura had been born here. She was the first to abolish the patriarchal lineage towards the throne, which allowed the first born of any gender to inherit the throne. For a city that spanned across the river, I admit that I was expecting something a little more firm. Most of the buildings were made of wood and looked like they would rot and crumble at any time. But still, there was an old rustic charm to the city, and I would bet that they keep it this way on purpose to honor the time in which HRH Rosarua was born.
Having found a major change to the ferry in the city of Feron, I decided that I must report back Oncrest. Fortunately for us the journey back was much shorter as we bypassed the woods and Larora. It will be a shame to cut such a city out of the final route, but seeing as how there isn’t much trade while the pirates still attack, there can be little gained from including it.
You arrive in a town famous for it’s market, what is it?
I was convinced by my companions that we should first travel West to the city of Shongow and was then strong-armed into splurging a bit more on the famous oysters from the city. They have discovered a new way of harvesting the oysters, which the locals insist on keeping a secret, even from me. But I don’t regret coming to this city, and given its overgrowing market of oysters, it may be worth adding to the trade route.
The guards won’t let you in
Perhaps going this route was a mistake as the guards of Iacester would not let us in without proper paperwork. This city has such a valuable salt refinement trade that they won’t let just anyone inside. There are caves located underneath the city which are mined for the salt--much easier than trying to filter it out from the ocean. Luckily I had all my paperwork in order from the merchant’s guild and we were seen through without any waiting.
Roll: 1 -0 TT
There was a disaster in a city you passed and the government is sending in refugees.
We made our way back to Srueton and I had just finished catching up with the official about the untaxed cities when one of my compatriots came running up to me. She explained that there had been a mine collapse in Iancester and half the city had fallen into a sinkhole. We were incredibly lucky that we had left before we were caught in it. The government is planning on sending some of the refugees to Srueton and abandoning the city entirely. I doubt that anyone will be able to return to the city anytime soon.
The Village elder died and they don’t have anyone to officiate. One of your companions is qualified, but it takes time.
Instead of making our way back to Larora to the west we headed due north to the small village of Voleth on the river. Recently their elder has died and they lack someone to do the ceremony. Fortunately for us, Elfrieda, one of our traveling companions, is a witch, familiar enough with the ways of -A- The Pattern Maker, who seems to be the patron deity of this town. She was able to perform the ritual, but needed materials to do so and fortune smiles on us, because we had the salt from Iacester to do so. She laid out the body in a ring of salt, lit candles around it, and sang the proper funeral songs before it was taken to be cremated, sealed in a box and dropped into the river.
Roll: 3 -0 TT
Roll: 3 +1 AC
We continued northward where we found a lake with a river
+ 8 Accounts
Success! Game Over
Your map is published and it is exactly what they were hoping for! Copies are spread among the people increasing safety.
How are they remembered and what happened to them afterward?
The map provided a safe alternative route that others could use to bypass the Respit Sea. The road was named the Felspar Path and eventually led to the decline of piracy in the sea since merchants used the roads instead.