Doing the work in Norrmalm
We start our adventure at Norrmalm. A nice enough place, for what is basically a pile of trash. At least its got a bar. As we pass the bar going into town the sound of music can be heard from the outside. Seems like they're playing some old Swedish punk. Its got a good beat and the bar seems cozy, but we have work to do.
Our current mission is to get in touch with Alma, the person in Norrmalm that represents “the agency”. Us, being mercenaries, need work(for cash and booze) and the agency needs mercenaries. We walk over the square and find Alma. She seems happy to meet us. She tells us that she has a quick mission for us to do. A couple of children have gone missing and we need to find them. We have a chat with their mother. Seems like the family dog had become rabid or something similar and the mother had to chase it away. The kids, being unable to deal with the loss of their friend went after. The mother is scared of what the dog might do to the kids so she eagerly points us towards where the dog went. We find the dog, and the children, in an alley not far away. It was true what the mother said, the dog must be rabid, because it attacks us on sight and we are forced to put it down. We send the kids home and return back to Alma to report our success. She tells us that this isn't an isolated incident. There has been several incidents of wild animal attacks lately. She directs us to a certain “Mr. Karlsson”, a man, she claims, that knows what has caused the problem. We find “Mr. Karlsson” outside of his house. He seems anxious to meet us. He tells us that him and his buddy have a not-so-legal digging-operation in his basement, and their digging has attracted crazed animals through their tunnel. We head in, confront his buddy and clear out the basement of wildlife. The man in the basement goes by the name of Bengt Mångknop. While he isn't happy to see us, he is grateful for us ridding his tunnel of pests. How a Brölbjörn managed to get into the tunnels is beyond our heroes, but they think less of that and more of the promised reward... and the booze. On our way back to Alma, we stop by “Mr. Karlsson”. He is feeling pretty bad about what his operation did to the kids and their family, he offers us a “Guilt Eraser” and tells us to give it to the kids mother. We are now presented with a choice, give the gift to the family, or sell it for money. Our heroes are a jaded, hung-over bunch, but they're not monsters(...yet) so they decide to pass the gift along. The mother is very pleased with this, and so is Alma.
The next thing Alma has for us is a mission to retrieve some scriptures from the “Murkmåla Caves” to the east of Norrmalm. A “Rehlinist”-cult member has contacted Alma with the job and she promptly passes it on to us. We, being both new to Krater and still hung-over, have no idea what a “Rehlinist” is, so we ask. Alma doesn't say much. She just goes on about how this person Zaida Rehlin taught the dwellers of Krater about “the wonders of the Underside”, and gained a following through her teachings and discoveries. On our way out of town we pick up some side-missions. A local wants us to get some varg-meat from wild Vargs that inhabit the forests around Norrmalm, and the bounty-board calls from extermination of some Vildhunds and some Brölbjörn.
The Murkmåla Caves is the first dungeon(of many) that we visit. It's damp and dreary place filled with steep drops into what seems to be oblivion. On our way downwards, we exterminate the local wild life and harvest what we can from their corpses. Somehow, most of the wild life here are packing kr:s, the currency used in Sweden and Krater. We think nothing of it, they might have been gamblers. We just grab what we can and move one. On the second level of the caves we find a small camp. Some adventurous businessmen have set up shop, and they even have a doctor. Oh, joy. It would probably have been nice to see him if it wasn't for the fact that Rutger is an absolute beast with his cinderblock-club. But it's the thought that counts, and the thought is nice.
While most of the opposition up to now have been gnags and vildhunds, on the third level of the cave, we start running into brölbjörns. Good thing that we picked up those bounties, because we are completing them at a rapid pace. If only we could find some vargs, though. We sift through the garbage and guts of the caves and finally find what we are looking for. With the scriptures in hand, we go exploring a bit more in the cave, there might still be some money left, or a gnag or two to stomp. While we find both money and gnags, the more interesting things we find are notes left behind from what seems to be a party of Rehlinists. The notes reads as follows:
“One by one we fall, but still no sight of the halls of salvation. Could Captain Ersmark have been wrong? Zaida help us!”
“Damn that Hilda Ersmark! This is neither pilgrimage nor expedition, 'ti nothing bu suicide!”
"I should never have crossed her. The other fools don't see the connection... we're dying here for a reason..."
As we study these texts, it dawns on us, that THESE must be the guys who left the money for the animals. It all makes sense now! We leave the tragic events of the caves, happy with the knowledge that their deaths means more beer for us!
Headin' back to Norrmalm
Halfway on our way back to Norrmalm we spot something in the distance. Smoke rising from the forest. Our heroes decide to check it out, might be people in trouble. People with cash to spend on getting help. Unfortunately, we arrive to late. The clearing in the forest is just a smoldering massacre. Caravans, overturned and set aflame litter the sides of the road and the bodies of the owners lay in the grass. The one things we aren't to late for though, is to catch a glimpse at the perpetrators. In the middle of the chaos stands a great figure, dressed like a true barbarian of the post-apocalyptic waste. In front of him, with his(or hers) back to us stands a much more sophisticated figure. A slender shape in a business-suit, talking in a robotic voice. The two seem to be talking about what just transpired, and that they had some kind of business-arrangement. When they have walked away, our heroes decide that now would be a good time to get the hell out of here, before we end up like the caravan-owners. On our way out, we find a backpack floating in the river, inside it is a letter. The letter is smudged and we can only make out a small amount of what it contains. It reads:
“...I know this must be somewhat a surprise for you, receiving a letter from a family member you never met. I was not even born when the unpleasantries broke out and our family was separated...”
We put the letter in our pack and “strategically retreat”(haul ass) towards Norrmalm.
This closes chapter one of Krater: Shadows of solside, and it also closes the first chapter of Solside Stories. Join us next time when we try to figure out who the letter is for, and crush some more wild life. There might even be a little drink in it for us. Ha det bra, vänner!
A small glossary
Krater contains a lot of Swedish words and references. I will try to at the end of the each chapter to have a little glossary for those of you who are interested.
Norrmalm – A district of Stockholm
Varg – Swedish, means “wolf”
Brölbjörn – A word made up of the Swedish wrods: Bröl – bellow and björn – bear. So, bellow-bear... or bellowing-bear?
Gnag – Comes from “Gnagare”, Swedish slang for rat. Also a colloquial term for the supporters of the sports-team AIK
Vildhund – Swedish, means “wild dog”