Clash in the Sky at Ikara

We played another session of Clash at Ikara by Randy Lubin on his storysynth engine, this time as a group protecting a floating monastery in the sky filled with a holy library of magical tomes. The monks are scholars not fighters and have been protected for centuries by the clouds. Human raiders have begun to master flying mounts and devices and raiding Ikara. To protect their magical trove, the monks have asked us to defend the monastery and drive the raiders away.

Our Strategist has joined to safeguard the knowledge that he wants to study to improve his strategic thinking. The Tinkerer has always loved books, especially those with practical applications. A military Veteran has also joined seeking peace, knowing the terrible costs of war. A well-known Sage is friends with one of the Ikaran monks, so joins our band. The martial Virtuoso joins simply because he hates bullies and cannot bear to see the defenseless overrun. Another joins our group, this Tagalong seeks the whereabouts of her brother lost long ago, who may be at Ikara.

To prepare for the raid we know is coming, we each show the monks how to act rather than wait passively. The Veteran learns that the raid will be delayed because the raiders must prepare the potion bombs they use when flying and are having supply issues. The Sage uses the additional time to drill the monks and teach them rudimentary tactics—how a group can work together and use sandbags and other fortifications as cover. The Strategist collects shards of glass and reflective metals and shows the monks how to use them to blind attacking flyers, and studies how to use the clouds to confuse the raiders. The Tagalong notices that the tunnel through the floating island under the monastery creates a natural whirlwind that could be used against the attackers. The Tinkerer notices the broken masonry from previous attacks and builds a pair of catapults to fling this rubble at the raiders. Finally, our Virtuoso advises the abbot that to secure victory, they must sacrifice the great yew tree in the monastery’s garden to the sky goddess Altara because the monks have lost the god’s favor. When the Strategist disagrees, the abbot decides to wait for their protectors to speak with one voice before acting.

Large yew tree rises up to a white sky between the walls of a monastery.
Photo of yew tree at Muckross Abbey Cloister by Johanning courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Once the raiders attack and the battle begins, we each must act as we see best. The Strategist has lain traps throughout the grounds for the raiders, such as hidden openings through which they fall. When given the chance to sacrifice himself to free captive monks, the Strategist instead moves to make the prisoners a burden for the bandits. The Veteran attacks recklessly with her Infinity Sword and disables and captures an entire cadre of raiders. The Tinkerer sees a bomb dropped into the courtyard and covers it with a metal helm and his body, sacrificing himself to save others. But the Sage uses their medical knowledge to save the Tinkerer from certain death. The Tagalong sees a group of monks—is that her brother—trapped in the fire from an incendiary potion and succumbs to the smoke while rescuing them from the flames. The Virtuoso sets the yew tree ablaze, releasing the poisonous smoke into the air before launching into the sky aboard a sphinx, destroying many raiders. The Strategist sees the monastery’s beloved mascot, a young acolyte, in danger but cleverly rescues them. The Tinkerer, injured but mobile again, leads the monks in using the catapults to take out the bandit leader, a terrible brute with a large beard and brandishing a large axe, bringing the raid to an end. We have won.

With their leader gone and forces decimated, it’s years before the earthdwellers are organized and developed enough to consider another raid. The Strategist stays at the monastery and writes new books on strategy to be added to its shelves. The Tinkerer helps to rebuild and introduces many innovative solutions. The Veteran, still seeking peace, becomes a monk and stays. The Sage plays chess with their old friend and stays to study medicine. The Tagalong recovers and learns what happened to her brother all those years before deciding to return to earth and move on. The Virtuoso tells the Abbot that now that they have earned Altara’s favor, they must build her a shrine where the yew tree once stood, then he leaves to find others who need his leadership and protection.