Friday, 15 December 2017

Star Wars RPG solo - Part 18: A Gathering of Forces

Baprasta retreats back to her bunk to think things over, whilst the others find Wex and Jather. Zil gets them summarily up to speed, then takes Jather with her to go confront Inzoyln. Jather's the most conniving swindler she knows, and she trusts him to smell another con a light year away.

Scene 7

Chaos:
Out of Control (d8)

Setup: interview with Inzoyln

NPC list: contact, target, ISB agent, informant, Imperial commander, rebel agent, love interest, Inzoyln the Bith blackmailer, overseer, executive, Baprasta the barabel shockboxer, Yarishe the Chiss tech (Oosuu's "rival")

Threads: survive the wait, deal with Inzoyln, Yarishe's gambit

[Q: Is Inzoyln alone? Doubtful (6): O2 C4 - No, but... only one friend]

They find Inzoyln playing cards in her room with one of the new arrivals, a Gran who constantly chews on a plastic toothpick like a hood in an old holo-serial.

"Can we talk in front of your friend?" asks Zil.

[Q: Can they? Likely (3+): O3 C2 - yes, and... in on it]

"Of course we can," says Inzoyln. "Why wouldn't we?"

"So [d6=] he's, like, your underling?"

"Of course. Sent by... my esteemed employer."

"He does know who that is, doesn't he? Only you seem a bit cagey."

"Morga wouldn't like it if his name was overheard," says the Gran.

"I gotta ask then," says Zil, "how come... His Eminence wants Baprasta taken out?"

"Why do you care?" snaps Inzoyln. "You know, second guessing a Hutt is a sure way to end up next on their list. You're not the only group of thugs that showed up on this planet." [hostile - destruction - power]

"So what do you have against Baprasta?"

"What? Nothing. These are just my orders."

[Con: Inzoyln's 4D+1=15 vs. Jather's 5D=29]

"You're full of it," says Jather.

"Watch your step, kark," growls the Gran.

"You dare question the word of a Hutt?" says Inzoyln.

"No," says Zil. "Just yours. I heard you were peeved at Baprasta for being smart enough to want nothing to do with you."

"So what?"

"So I'm giving you a chance to come clean and back down off this charade. If not, maybe we should ask our real contact to confirm your employment status, seeing as we've just met 'em."

[Zil's con vs. Inzoyln's: 3D=12 vs. 4D+1=16]

"You're bluffing," says Inzoyln. "None of the new intake will go anywhere near you. I've had you watched."

[Q: Has she though? 50/50 (4+): O4 C5 - Yes]

"Come on, Zil," says Jather. "This is going nowhere. This is just a poodoo slinging match, and the smell is really getting to me."

"You're right, let's get back to the others. I feel the need to be surrounded by a higher class of scum right now. Just remember Inzoyln: Baprasta's under my protection now. She so much as loses a scale and you'll have me to answer to for it."

[Zil's Intimidation 5D=15 vs. Inzoyln's Willpower 3D+1=20(wild 6) -- it's not over yet]

 - - - - - -

"So Jather, you're sure she was lying."

"I'm a coward Zil. I'd have stopped you if I thought you were really talking shit to one of Morga's lieutenants."

"So how'd she know about it, then?"

"Must have overheard one of us talking."

"I gave strict instructions to keep quiet."

"Don't get mad... I think one of our bunkmates may have overheard me and Wex."

"I'm well past getting mad, Jather! But we need to have a meeting, all of us in private."

"That'd be hard...unless..."

"What?"

"If Baprasta does want to throw in with us, then we could sign up for one of the gymnasiums: three-a-side torfa-ball."


Scene 8

Chaos:
Out of Control (d8)

Setup: d8=3, Interrupt (was: three-a-side torfa-ball)
Interrupt: PC negative - Oosuu - Vengeance / Dispute

NPC list: contact, target, ISB agent, informant, Imperial commander, rebel agent, love interest, Inzoyln the Bith blackmailer, overseer, executive, Baprasta the barabel shockboxer, Yarishe the Chiss tech (Oosuu's "rival")

Threads: survive the wait, deal with Inzoyln, Yarishe's gambit

Yarishe
angry Chiss technician
Dexterity 3D
 dodge 4D
Knowledge 4D
 streetwise 5D
Mechanical 2D
Perception 2D

 search 3D
 sneak 3D
Strength 3D
Tech 4D

 blaster repair 5D
 droid repair 5D
 repulsorlift repair 5D
5 character points, 250 credits


Oosuu has slept well for a change. Better, in fact, than she has since they came to Mygeeto. She's happy that the murder plot was called off, and she got a nice new friend to boot. And even Zil seems less terrifying, at least for the moment. Today's shift in the maintenance area has gone well too. Even Yarishe has been, if not pleasant, at least civil. She's not even perturbed at the end of the shift, when she finds there's still an order token in the pocket of her coveralls. She doesn't mind that it will make her late for dinner -- nothing's going to spoil her mood today!

[Yarishe's Sneak 3D=9 had beaten Oosuu's Perception 4D+2=7 (wild 1); she slipped the token into her pocket.]

Oosuu goes to the maintenance racks to see what the errant token will bring her, and finds a beaten-up cutting laser lying on its side with most of its outer panels stacked in a heap beside it, exposing a mass of wires and circuitry. "Oh, well," she thinks, as she goes to pluck it off the shelf...

[Yarishe has rigged it to explode when moved. Blaster Repair 5D=25; it will do 5D damage. But Oosuu gets a Difficult (18) Search roll to notice the trap: 4D+2=31 (wild 6,6,5). Easy (10) Tech roll to disarm: 3D=14. (all extrapolated from Cracken's Rebel Field Guide)]

...and her hand suddenly freezes. She can see the ignition button housing lying beneath the cutter, with wires leading suspiciously back to the fusion power assembly directly, rather than the beam intensity chamber as they should do. She peers into the cutter's innards, and is none-too-surprised to find that the overload regulator has been bypassed. "Nice try, Yarishe," she mutters, "but not blow up Twi'lek so easily." Oosuu fishes a pair of wire cutters out of her coveralls and snips the wires. When she lifts the tool off the housing, the ignition button pops up with a frustrated little click.

Oosuu dumps most of the laser cutter onto the scrap heap, but she fashions the button housing and tripwire into a necklace before heading straight to the cafeteria. She flounces up behind Yarishe and taps the unsuspecting Chiss on the shoulder.

"Oosuu thank Yarishe, present very pretty. Oosuu wear always!"

[The deliberate provocation calls for opposed Persuasion and Willpower rolls: O 4D+2=24 vs. Y 4D=10 (Wild 1 = complication).
She attacks (1d6): 1-2 unarmed, 3-4 grab chair, 5 tray of food, 6 hidden knife]


Yarishe wheels round to stare down at the Twi'lek. Her hands ball into fists, her red eyes narrow, and her jaw clenches so hard for a moment, that she cannot give voice to her rage. Then in a moment she springs, and in a blue blur snatches up the nearest chair and swings it at Oosuu's head. Oosuu ducks without thinking. The chair swishes over her head, and Yarishe loses her grip. The chair clatters away across the floor between other astonished workers.

[Oosuu won the Initiative, and made a full Brawling Parry, adding 3D=8 to the attack's Difficulty number (8): 8+8=16.
Yarishe grabbed the chair and attacked, so -1D for two actions, but +10 for attacking an unarmed opponent: 3D-1D+10= 13 (wild = 1; complication = loses grip)
Q: Does it hit a bystander? Likely (3+): O1 C6 - No.
Oosuu's friends can reach her in 1d6-2=0 rounds]


Baprasta runs up behind Yarishe and grabs her, pinning the Chiss' arms to her sides and lifting her feet right off the ground. "No fighting," growls Baprasta. "Didn't you read the regulations when you signed on?" Yarishe struggles against the Barabel's crystaliron grip, but soon realises she's outmatched.

[B's Brawl 6D-10(grapple)=13 vs. Y's Brawling Parry 3D+3=10; STR 5D=15 vs. 3D=12, pinned.

Q: Is Yarishe cowed? Likely (3+): O5 C8 - Yes.
Q: Does she get in trouble? Likely (3+): O5 C7 - Yes.
Q: Does Oosuu and/or Baprasta get in trouble? Unlikely (5+): O6 C3 - Yes, but... other PC has a chance to defuse it.]


One of the serving droids sounded the silent alarm when the fight started, and already a unit of stormtroopers are rushing into the cafeteria. Most of the workers are scurrying aside, but some stand frozen, or with their hands raised. The stormtroopers ignore them and head right for the obvious epicentre.

Jather abruptly interposes himself between Baprasta and the stormtroopers. "This brave Barabel ran to stop the crazy Chiss from hurting anyone," he says. "I don't know what even happened. One minute she was eating, the next she just flipped out for no reason."

[Moderate (15) Persuasion: 5D+2=12 (wild die =1!)]

"Aliens," sighs one of the stormtroopers. Then Yarishe, Oosuu, Baprasta, and Jather are all escorted to the brig.

[They all need to make Persuasion rolls to be exonerated:

Jather- Easy (7): 5D+2=11 "Next time just mind your own business."
Oosuu- Easy (10): 4D+2=23 (wild 6,6,4) "Just please be more careful."
Baprasta- Moderate (12): 3D+1=15 "Very noble of you, but you should've let security handle it."
Yarishe- Difficult (20): 2D=5... sent down (close thread, remove from NPC list)]



Scene 9

Chaos:
Out of Control (d8)

Setup: three-a-side torfa-ball

NPC list: contact, target, ISB agent, informant, Imperial commander, rebel agent, love interest, Inzoyln the Bith blackmailer, overseer, executive, Baprasta the barabel shockboxer

Threads: survive the wait, deal with Inzoyln

There seems to be no fallout from the incident with Yarishe, save that the Chiss herself is shipped off to one of the waste-processing facilities.

Jather signs up for one of the gymnasia, and a few days later his friends assemble to have a private discussion. Zil and Wex explain everything that has happened so far to Baprasta, who insists she still wants in and isn't going to change her mind.

[Q: Has B ever been involved with Morga? 50/50 (4+): O3 C6 - No]

Baprasta in turn tells them her story, how she left the shockboxing circuit almost 12 years ago after a bad spice addiction ended her career and later nearly killed her. She has been clean for almost three years, and wandering the Rim. She came here to get back in shape and avoid temptation. As far as she's aware, she's never been involved in any capacity with Morga the Hutt.

Their immediate collective problem is Inzoyln. Zil says they can either take her out in and "accident" or figure out what she's up to and make sure she gets caught -- without any of them having to snitch. The latter option is preferred, even by Zil, but she convinces them that expediency will necessarily be the deciding factor. And they still need to find out what Morga wants them to do.

In the midst of all this, they do manage to play some torfa-ball. Zil and Wex are overly-competitive and nearly spoil it, Jather and Oosuu are comically inept, and Baprasta and Lina are just happy for the workout.

Afterwards, when they open the gym doors to leave, they find a unit of stormtroopers standing on the other side.

"Zil Darklighter, you need to come with us."

Next post: Zil faces the Empire -- alone!

Monday, 11 December 2017

Star Wars RPG solo - Part 17: The Shockboxer

Lina is sitting alone in the holovid viewing room, when a low, gravelly voice comes from right behind her.

"Hey. How's the leg?"

Lina turns round to see a great reptilian maw overflowing with sharp teeth that glitter in the reflected light of the vidscreen, and jumps in spite of herself.

"Oh! Sorry. Hi Baprasta. I never got a chance to thank you properly. It's fine. The leg's fine."

"Sorry, I know you're watching this," says the Barabel, trying to pull back and look less threatening, "but I really need to ask you something."

"No worries. Jather already ruined the ending for me. Ask away."


Scene 5

Chaos:
Out of Control (d8)

Setup: Baprasta makes her approach

NPC list: contact, target, ISB agent, informant, Imperial commander, rebel agent, love interest, Inzoyln the Bith blackmailer, overseer, executive, Baprasta the barabel shockboxer (false target), Yarishe the Chiss tech (Oosuu's "rival")

Threads: survive the wait, false assassination, Yarishe's gambit

[Setup:
Baprasta approaches (1d10): 1-3 O, 4-6 L, 7-8 J, 9 W, 10 Z; 6=L

UNE--
Conversation Mood: forthcoming
friendly - aid - family (right out with it then)

Q: Will B mention why I is after her? 50/50 (4+): O6 C7 - Yes
Q: Why? Refuse / Investment]



"So... here's the thing: Inzoyln tried to recruit me for her gang a while back, but I told her to get stuffed. She said I'd regret it, but I just blew her off at the time. And today all these new workers show up, and she's got some friends amongst them, some real heavies. Now I'm kind of worried..."

[Q: Does Lina become suspicious? needs a Moderate (15) Streetwise roll to spot the discrepancies: 2D+2=11+5wild=success!]

"Wait wait wait," says Lina, "Inzoyln told us Morga the Hutt wanted you killed."

[Q: Sounds weird to Baprasta? Likely (3+): O3 C4 - Yes, but...]

"I quit the shockboxing circuit a long time ago," says Baprasta. " I wasn't any good any more, and I don't think I had any enemies. But you never can tell with Hutts."

"I think we better talk to Zil."

[Q: Does Baprasta agree? Likely (3+): O4 C4 - Yes, but...
+Event: PC negative - Zil - Fight / Weapons]


"Well, I was hoping for an in with her, but in light of what you just said... could we maybe talk somewhere safe?"

"Of course," says Lina. "I understand." And thinks to herself, "I'm a bit afraid of Zil, too."

 - - - - - -

Meanwhile...

Zil and Oosuu are alone in the women's communal shower room. Zil has been alternating between dragging a wet comb through her hair, applying the hairdryer, then staring into the mirror and scowling. Oosuu has been sitting beside her on the counter, idly swinging her legs whilst she stares at Zil in rapt fascination, trying vainly to understand how this 'hair' stuff works.

Her reverie comes to an abrupt end as a pair of ruffians swagger into the shower room. The Human woman has a scarred face and is missing her front teeth. The hulking Brubb woman beside her has vacant eyes and a malicious sneer.

Oosuu hops down off the counter, and Zil turns to face the newcomers. "What d'you two karks want?" she says. Their only reply is to draw short, curving knives.

"Really?" says Zil. "You two must be even stupider than you look."

The Human makes straight for Zil with her knife, but just slashes at the empty air in front of her. As the Brubb advances, Oosuu puts up her fists very earnestly. This strikes the Brubb as uncommonly funny, and she cannot help but laugh as she looks down at the Twi'lek. Her laughter is cut short as Oosuu punches her right in the stomach -- then starts right back up as Oosuu pulls back her fist in pain, looking down at her bruised knuckles and swearing in some unknown language. The human makes the mistake of looking over to see what's so funny, and Zil smashes the hairdryer down atop her head. The cheap plastic housing shatters, and the woman falls to the duracrete floor, blood streaming from her scalp. Oosuu shoves the Brubb with both hands, causing her to take several steps back to maintain her balance. The human crawls back and out of the way, then regains her feet and sprints out into the corridor. The Brubb wavers, then turns tail and runs after her.

"That right, run cowards!" shrieks Oosuu after them.

"You're stronger than you look," says Zil. "You'd be a real terror in a fight if you knew what you were doing. Maybe I should get Lina to teach you or something."

"Oosuu not advise it. If Zil not stop saying 'kark', Zil get beat up by angry Twi'lek."

[The thugs had average stats, adjusted for race. Oosuu did 1 Stun result to the Brubb, Zil inflicted a Wound on the Human, but otherwise the mechanics of the fight weren't worth recording.

Q: Any fallout? Unlikely (5+): O2 C2 - No, and...
+Event: NPC negative - overseer - Imprison / Military]


The next day at breakfast, there is a great commotion as two squads of stormtroopers march into the base. Zil has a flash of panic that they're there for her, but then notices the same instinctive fear on most of the workers' faces. There is a collective sigh of relief as an Imperial officer announces that they have come to arrest the overseer for mismanagement. A new overseer is being put in place, and work will be reduced to a half-shift to accommodate their inspection tour. All things considered, muses Zil, it's been a good day.


Scene 6

Chaos: Out of Control (d8)

Setup: Lina brings a friend home

NPC list: contact, target, ISB agent, informant, Imperial commander, rebel agent, love interest, Inzoyln the Bith blackmailer, overseer, executive, Baprasta the barabel shockboxer (false target), Yarishe the Chiss tech (Oosuu's "rival")

Threads: survive the wait, false assassination, Yarishe's gambit

As the evening meal period is winding down, Lina waves Baprasta over to Zil's table. "Zil, this is important," she says as the Barabel is walking closer.

"Oh?" says Zil.

"Yes, the other d--"

"Not here," says Zil. "Let's head towards the rec area. We can walk and talk."

Oosuu stares at Lina, trying desperately to catch her eye, but she seems to barely register the Twi'lek's presence, as her eyes dart from Zil to Baprasta to her own wringing hands. Zil is already striding out into the corridor with Lina and the Barabel in tow. She walks as briskly as she dares, hoping like hell that she can pass her nerves off as aloofness. Baprasta is trying her best to look both friendly and tough, like the time she got roped in to speaking to a class of younglings about staying in school and saying no to spice. Oosuu sighs and gets up to follow them, and tries to put on her best Sabaac face.

[O's Con 4D+2 vs. B's Perception 3D+1 = 17 vs. 10, B doesn't notice how nervous she is.
But does Zil? Perception 3D, +5 bonus since she knows her pretty well = 13, no.]


"Here'll do," says Zil as they reach the middle of a long, empty corridor. She stops and leans against the wall, crossing her arms across her chest. She looks up at the towering Barabel silhouetted against the sputtering ceiling light. "So?"

"Y-you need to listen to this," says Lina.

"I'm listening," says Zil.

"I want in," says Baprasta. "To join your gang. Or whatever."

"I see..."

"I helped you out when Lina got trapped."

"You did..."

"I'm good in a fight. Or... backing you up and looking scary. And stuff."

"Zil, maybe good idea," offers Oosuu. "Zil remember yesterday?"

"Why though?" asks Zil, ignoring her. "Why do you want to join my... little family?"

"Tell her what you told me," says Lina. "Zil, you need to listen."

"Inzoyln has it in for me because I wouldn't join her little gang. She's a vicious one, she is, and just likes to cause people hurt. I'm not saying you're not vicious, um, just that you're not a sadist like she is. So I was thinking, maybe a mutual protection thing--"

"Hold on!" says Zil. "You're saying Inzoyln has it in for you personally...?"

"I think we've been had," says Lina. "Baprasta can't think of a reason Morga would--"

"Lina!"

"I already told her. And I'm not a murderer! I won't go through with it. I just won't!"

"Oosuu not either. Baprasta help Lina, Oosuu not kill for Hutts. Oosuu run first."

"I wish to hell one of you had told me what you were thinking before now."

"Not take wrong, Zil, but Zil scary lately. More scary than usual."

"I'm just trying to survive so I can look after all of you. We really need to talk about this whole thing. Baprasta, as far as I'm concerned, you're in -- if you want to be. We're in debt big to a Hutt, and we're waiting for our orders to find out what we gotta do to settle up. So if this changes your mind, just walk away and no hard feelings. Sleep on it if you need to."

"Ummmm...."

"I don't need your answer now, really. Now, first thing we gotta do is figure out Inzoyln's angle, if she's really our contact or not. And if she is, how do we get Baprasta off the table?"

"Really?" asks Lina.

"I'm not the monster you two think I am. But we gotta tell Jather and Wex, and fast. We don't want this to be the one time Jather accidentally does what he's setting out to do the first time..."

[Q: Do they get the word to them in time? Certain (2+): O2 C1 - Yes, and... general relief
Q: Does Baprasta decide against joining them? Doubtful (6): O5 C7 - No.]


Baprasta
Barabel shockboxer
Dexterity 3D+2
 brawling parry 5D+2
 dodge 4D+2
Knowledge 2D
 streetwise 3D
 intimidation 3D
Mechanical 2D
Perception 3D+1
Strength 5D

 Brawling 6D
 Climbing/Jumping 6D
Tech 2D
5 character points, 1000 credits


Next post: open confrontations and secret machinations!

Friday, 8 December 2017

Star Wars RPG solo - Part 16: Conspiracies, Conspiracies

Meanwhile, outside...

The weather was mild today -- overcast without precipitation, winds rarely topping 25kph, and the temperature reached a balmy -2°C -- so the miners had been ferried out to the surface mines some distance from the compound.

Despite the easier conditions, Wex is barely hanging on. Jather is doing his best to keep him moving as Zil and Lina try to lighten his load. Even so, a lot of the other workers are getting fed up. Wex is sitting on the ground, pretending to adjust the settings on his heat-borer when he suddenly finds himself surrounded by [2d6=] half a dozen angry workers.

Scene 3

Chaos:
Out of Control (d8)

Setup: d8=3, Interrupt (was: scope out target)
Interrupt: PC negative - Wex - Abuse / Ambush

NPC list: contact, target, ISB agent, informant, Imperial commander, rebel agent, love interest, Inzoyln the Bith blackmailer, overseer, executive, Baprasta the barabel shockboxer (false target), Yarishe the Chiss tech (Oosuu's "rival")

Threads: survive the wait, false assassination, Yarishe's gambit


"Look who's taking another break," says a Gotal with a broken horn.

"Mind your arse don't freeze off," adds a mangy Shistavanen.

"Come off it guys," says Wex, "my borer's just really playing up today. Going to pass it over to technical when we get back."

"Like you had to do with your laser drill yesterday?" asks the Gotal. "And your densitometer the day before? No one's buying your 'run of bad luck' story, y'know?"

"Damn lazy human," adds the Shistavanen.

When Zil notices what's going on, she rushes to intercede. She grabs the Gotal by the shoulder and shakes him roughly. "Hey!" she shouts in his face. "Wex is a friend of mine. I suggest you start treating him with the respect he deserves, if you want to stay on my good side. Zlaphotix got on my bad side. You don't want to end up like him, do you?"

[Zil needs to make a Difficult (20) Intimidation roll; 5D=22, success]

A look of panic plays over the Gotal's face. "We, uh, we were just joking, Zil. Didn't mean anything by it. Honest."

"We always like joking round with humans," says the Shistavanen.

The angry miners disperse. Wex looks weakly up at Zil. "Thanks for that," he says.

"Don't mention it," she replies.

"Just one question, though. Didn't Zlaphotix die of a spice overdose?"

"Yeah, but I've never been one to let the truth get in the way of a good threat. And whilst we're on the subject of controlled substances, why don't you see if that friend of yours can get a medpac or something smuggled in. You're not looking so good."

[Q: Can medical supplies be brought in? 50/50 (4+): O1 C1 - No, and...
+Event: Move toward a thread (false assassination) - Carelessness / Bureaucracy]


Two days later, not much has changed. Wex's contact hasn't come through, he himself can still barely stand for ten minutes without tiring, Yarishe hasn't stopped harrying Oosuu, and Zil's been planning a hundred scenarios to do in the Barabel at "Morga's" behest. The only thing that has changed is the weather -- for the worse. Snow is coming down thick, and the wind is gusting high enough that repulsorlift travel is too hazardous, so the miners are working the crystal forest (so-called) near the barracks. The crystal spires are hard to cut through and of a generally low quality, but the alternative in such inclement weather would be to cancel the shift entirely -- and the Empire is not interested in excuses.

Zil looks round and notices a distinct lack of anyone in charge. On a hunch she goes back to the compound entrance for a peek. Sure enough, the overseer and the shift leaders are sitting the warmth of the staging room, playing cards.

[1d5=3 PCs present: OLZ]

Zil goes back to where she was working with Oosuu and Lina. "No one's chaperoning this dance today," she says. "I'm moving the timetable forward."

"Great," says Lina. "At least this'll be over with. What's your big plan?"

"These spires weigh an easy tonne each. I'm thinking someone's about to have an unfortunate accident. Lina, think you can rig it to fall in a certain spot?"

"I can do it."

"Oosuu, can you--"

"Oosuu know. Lure Barabel to spot. Oosuu look helpless, so Oosuu bait."

"I'm sorry, but there's no other--"

"Not discuss now, Zil."

Lina cuts into the colossal crystal spire's base, weakening it so a single nudge from Zil's laser drill should send it toppling. When it's nearly ready, Oosuu trudges off through the snow to find Baprasta and convince her to come help them shift the massive formation.

[Oosuu is sort of using her Persuasion skill and sort of using Con, enough so that I decided to apply the -1D penalty recommended in the rulebook for using the former skill to emulate the latter. Baprasta resists with her full value. O 3D+2=20 (Wild die 6,4) vs. 3D+1=10 (Wild 1! - she doesn't suspect a thing.)

Lina needs to make a Moderate (15) Tech roll to lay the trap. 3D=9 (wild=1!); she takes 5D damage. Str 3D+2=22 (the wild die was overactive in this scene) vs. 5D=16, she's only Stunned]


The disgust in the pit of her stomach is mingling with despair in the depths of her heart, but Oosuu manages to suppress both long enough to smile pleadingly up at the hulking Barabel.

"Hi Baprasta. Lina try fell big crystal, but crystal too big. Strong Barabel maybe help?"

Baprasta tries to smile without showing too many teeth -- a Barabel's toothy maw always looks so threatening to other aliens. "Of course, Oosuu. I'd be happy to help. Lead the way."

Oosuu turns quickly away before her expression goes completely sour, and chokes down a sob. She waves for Baprasta to follow and briskly retraces her steps.

But when they are halfway there, Oosuu hears Zil suddenly start screaming in panic. She breaks into a dead run, as fast as she can throughthe knee-deepsnow, and Baprasta follows hard on her heels. They arrive to see the spire has already broken and toppled over, trapping Lina beneath.

[Q: Does Baprasta help? Likely (3+): O5 C5 - Yes.
+Event: NPC action - overseer - Punish / The innocent]


Baprasta wastes no time, but wedges her plasteel prybar beneath the fallen crystal. She pushes down, straining with all her considerable might, raising the crystal just far enough that Zil can pull Lina's leg out from beneath.

The shock wears off in a few moments, and Lina starts laughing with relief. "I'm OK. My leg's fine. Lucky for me it was mostly snow under me where it fell!"

The commotion had caused many other workers to drop what they were doing and come running. One of the overseers even felt compelled to leave the warmth of the staging room to see what had happened. As there was no serious injury, the overseers do not bother with filing an incident report -- neither they nor their Imperial masters are particularly interested in matters of safety. But the general disruption meant that the shift failed to make quota, and punishments must be meted out to maintain order and efficiency. Over the few days, work periods are lengthened and privileges curtailed until the shortfall is made up.

Zil keeps Lina and Oosuu closer than normal, only letting one or the other out of her sight when she needs to pass a message to Jather and Wex. Zil also insists that they need to wait a few days to try anything else so that Baprasta doesn't get suspicious. She neglects to mention that she needs the time to come up with a better idea. And she certainly doesn't let on that she's been spending more time on trying to find a way out of it than she has on coming up with a new plan.


[At this point, things became very convoluted. To figure out where the adventure was heading next, I asked the Oracle a series of questions:

Q: Do things generally worsen? 50/50 (4+): O6 C3 - Yes, but... simmering discontent only, nothing flashy
Q: Does Baprasta want something in return for helping? Likely (3+): O3 C2 - Yes, and...
Q: What does she want? Ambush / Ambush : needs protection from Inzoyln, wants to join Zil's gang
Q: Does Yarishe try something? Unknown: 1d6=2, Certain: O5 C7 - Yes.
Q: Does Inzoyln put pressure on Zil? 50/50 (4+): O6 C7 - Yes
Q: Does a rival gang start summat? 50/50 (4+): O2 C8 - No
Q: Does real contact show up in the middle of all this? 50/50 (4+): O3 C4 - No, but... soon

Also, some of the PCs had actions they wanted to take. So to decide on the sequence of events, I wrote a list of all the PC & NPC actions, and rolled a d20 for each to determine the "Initiative" order to follow. The order became:

Jather
Lina
Baprasta
Oosuu
Inzoyln
Yarishe

Zil is just stalling, so isn't on the list. Also, random events and interrupts interfered with the order, and in one case even went against what the Oracle had said above, but the exercise was just for getting things rolling rather than determining a scene structure.]



Scene 4

Chaos:
Out of Control (d8)

Setup: Jather tries to score

NPC list: contact, target, ISB agent, informant, Imperial commander, rebel agent, love interest, Inzoyln the Bith blackmailer, overseer, executive, Baprasta the barabel shockboxer (false target), Yarishe the Chiss tech (Oosuu's "rival")

Threads: survive the wait, false assassination, Yarishe's gambit

Jather knows Zil is pre-occupied and is content to let her sit and plot and conspire. He's more immediately worried about Wex, who is looking like he might collapse at any moment. When he hasn't been mothering poor Wex, he's spent most of his free time winning money off his fellow workers playing Sabaac. He'd been planning to... well, he's not really sure what he'd been planning. Company scrip only goes so far in the provision of creature comforts, and there aren't really many to be had here that would interest a jaded Devaronian.

Jather leaves Wex asleep and wanders off to the recreation area to find his marks-- er, card buddies. He lets it be known that he's willing to forgive all their debts, if they could just provide him with a type 46u9-c medicine kit (that's 'c' for cold, not 'h' for heat, he hastily adds). But no one seems to have one. "Why not try the infirmary?" they all ask.

[Jather needed a Difficult (17) Streetwise roll to get one; 4D+2=13, failure.

Without treatment, Wex might be getting worse, so I rolled his STR on the natural healing chart, but with no hope of improvement: 2D+1=11: no change.]


Jather can't let Wex anywhere near the infirmary. One look at him, and they'd ship him right off to hospital -- half a continent away -- and he'd probably never be reassigned here. But just maybe...

After the next day's mining shift, Jather foists Wex off on Lina, asking her to mind him for a few hours. He knows she'll be so happy to spend time with Wex that she won't even ask why, the poor deluded thing. He feels a twinge of guilt, but he'd rather not have to explain things to Oosuu, who would probably try to stop him from doing something stupid. She's far too observant.

Jather creeps back to the staging room, opens the external door, and stands in the cold for five minutes. He even rubs his hands in the snow a bit, but only a bit. Best not to actually damage himself, he thinks. Then he heads immediately to the infirmary, where the [1d6: 1-4 droid, 5-6 nurse] ancient and battered FX-7 medical droid is doing the daily inventory.

"Hey, doc," says Jather.

"Please state the nature of the medical emergency," drones the droid.

"With these long shifts lately it's like I just can't warm up any more. Feel my hands; they're like ice!"

"Have you tried working harder?"

"I've tried everything! Doc, ya gotta help me. I just need a little something to get through. If I had some anti-frostbite meds, it would really improve my peak efficiency. And then my whole shift would be more productive. Everyone would benefit! Just give me one of those 46u9-c jobbies; such a small expense for such a great return!"

[he needs a Very Difficult (22) Persuasion roll: 5D+2=25, score.]

Jather is positively beaming when he finds Lina and Wex in the holovid viewing room. "Lina," he says, "wake up Wex and help me get him somewhere with better lighting."

"What? Why? He's finally comfortable. Besides, I want to know how this one ends."

"The plucky kids get the attention of the Imperial governor with their amazing dance skills, and he's so impressed that he saves their orphanage and has the greedy land developer executed as a traitor to the Empire. Now let's get going."

"If Zil doesn't kill you someday, Jather, I just might have to."

Lina half-carries Wex back to his and Jather's room, to find that both their bunkmates are fortunately elsewhere. "So what's this about?" she asks.

"This medpac," says Jather, "which I finally managed to coax out of the medical droid. Who, by the way, I'm pretty sure was programmed by the accounting department."

Lina rips open the pack eagerly and sets immediately to work, injecting Wex with a series of brightly-coloured hypos [Medicine (Tech) 3D=12, success].

"This should start to undo the damage," says Lina, "but he'll probably still be a bit weak for a day or two. We should just let him sleep now. But since I'm here, I wanted to ask you something. Have you talked to Oosuu lately?"

[Q: Has he seen her since the attempt? 50/50 (4+): O2 C2 - No, and... might not get chance now
+Event: NPC positive (Inzoyln) - Arrive / Allies 1d6+1=3]


"No. Not really. Why?"

"This whole business with the Barabel is really getting to me. I think it's getting to her, too, but Zil's, like, always there so I can't ask her. Could you maybe tell her that I'm having second thoughts? And that I think we should try to talk Zil into re-negotiating with Inzoyln... Unless she's taking Zil's side. Then don't say anything. Please!"

Next post: threats and violence!

Monday, 4 December 2017

Star Wars RPG solo - Part 15: Sent to the Mines

The search was officially called off at 21:00 Imperial Standard Time (14.9.8 planetary time). The exhausted workers hurried back to the shelter as quickly as their weary extremities would carry them, and bent nearly double against the gale. The snow fell thicker by the minute, and the steadily blinking beacon atop the shelter was almost hidden by the sideways-blowing gusts of white.

The workers collapsed one by one on the long, dingy benches of the staging room. Some began to divest themselves of their thermal survival gear, others merely slumped in exhaustion.

"Close the damn door," shouted an irritated Quarren.

"Not until you've all checked in," said the overseer gruffly. "There's still one left."

"It's Arluumo," called a Human, trying to remove the gloves of a dazed Ho'din. "The cold's really got to him."

The overseer strode over and the obliging Human pressed her senseless friend's hand to the proffered datapad. The overseer glanced at the display, then keyed in his passcode.

"All right," he said, "everyone present and accounted for. Close the door!"

"But, sir," hazards a Trianni, "we aren't all accounted for. We didn't find Ornam."

"And with the blizzard coming on, it's unlikely we ever will. Now, all of you get some food and then some sleep. For participating in the search, you've earned a one-hour work reprieve in the morning, but since you didn't find the missing worker you'll be spending it on a mandatory Safety & Work Protocol refresher. The Empire does not wish any more accidents amongst its labour force, and I do not intend to fall short of this period's quota. Are we understood? Good. Dismissed!"


[As I've been getting excited/trepidatious about the impending release of the new Star Wars movie, I decided it was time to get back to my d6 Star Wars campaign (which began here, and continued here).

Setup:

For the next adventure, the PCs have been sent to mine crystals in the frozen north of Mygeeto. Mr. Kuththuk provided them all with false identities, and arranged for them all to sign on for a long-term stint with a Mygeetan mining concern (technically a private company, but with de facto Imperial control). The PCs are waiting for Morga's agent on Mygeeto to make contact, and instruct them of the task they must perform.

As the adventure begins, our heroes have been in the mining base for some 8 weeks. To account for the time they've been here, each PC needs to make an Easy (10) Stamina roll to bear up under the hard labour and harsh environment (as usual, a Willpower roll at +5 difficulty is allowed if it fails). They also must make one other skill roll at Moderate (15) to account for their other activities.

Zil-
Stamina 2D+2=11, success.
Intimidate 5D=19, success. Zil gains a reputation amongst the other workers; she likes to sit on a table in the cafeteria and hold court. She keeps Lina and/or Oosuu around at all times as her henchmen.

Wex-
Stamina 2D+1=5, failure. The Wild Die was a 1, so he starts out as Wounded; Willpower 4D-1D(for the Wounded condition)=15, success. He's holding on, despite being ill from cold and overwork. Jather has to look after him.
Streetwise 5D+1-1D=15, success. He gains a contact who can provide controlled substances.

Oosuu-
Stamina 3D=12, success.
Blaster Repair 4D=16. She gains a technical post, maintaining laser drills in the shop.

Jather-
Stamina 2D=4, failure. Willpower 3D+2=16, success. Jather doesn't do well with physical exertion, but he has the resolve to push on. (NB the Stamina roll was a simple failure rather than a mishap, so he doesn't suffer any damage.)
Gambling 6D=24, someone owes him money

Lina-
Stamina 3D+2=14, as an ex-soldier, Lina is unsurprisingly able to deal with hardship.
Technical 3D=14, just failed... she gets assigned to Maintenance instead of Technical.

The dormitories are gender-segregated. Two of the PCs thus need to make Moderate (15) Persuasion rolls to get the party bunked together. Oosuu 4D+2=22(+5wild)=27; she gets to room with Zil and Lina, + one harmless NPC. Jather rolls 5D+2=15 (but the Wild Die=1, a complication); he gets to room with Wex and two other NPCS, one of whom is a known snitch.

To determine what Morga wants the PCs to do I used Age of Fable's plot generator (link), mixing Cyberpunk with Space Opera.

I got: "The heroes must beset a technician in a fortress, but have to contend with exploration, and opposition from government officials trying to frame someone famous". The framing someone famous didn't really fit, but the rest congealed into the adventure that follows.

I pre-loaded the NPC List with archetypes, and fleshed them out as Events warranted. Some didn't come up due to the vagaries of dice-rolling, but it kept the adventure from seeming forced.

Enough set-up, on to the first (randomly determined) scene...]



Scene 1

Chaos: Average (d10)

Setup: NPC action (blackmailer) - Lie / A representative (=blackmailer pretends to be Morga's agent)

NPC list: contact, target, ISB agent, informant, Imperial commander, rebel agent, love interest, blackmailer, overseer, executive

Threads: survive the wait

The twenty or so searchers stow their cold survival gear, then shuffle off towards the cavernous mess hall. Most of the facility's other 200 labourers are in the recreation area or have returned to their bunks by now, but a few are enjoying the quiet of the nearly empty room. "Mother Jungle be praised," exclaims a hungry Ithorian as the mess droid hands her a tray of food portions, "they left us some green ones!"

Zil has been waiting in the cafeteria as well. She walks up unnoticed and taps a weary Lina on the shoulder as she is joining the serving queue. "Green or not," says Zil, "just put a few in your pockets and meet me back in our room."

Lina sighs. "What about Oosuu?"

"She already knows."

Zil heads back to their spartan quarters to find their fourth bunkmate, a quiet, skittish Selonian named Meeg. Meeg looks up with a start as Zil enters. "Out," says Zil. "I need to talk to my girls."

Meeg doesn't have to be told twice.

Oosuu and Lina trudge in a few minutes later and sit on the Lina's bunk (the bottom one, opposite Meeg's) and begin to mechanically eat their processed nutrient packs. Zil sits on her (top, of course) bunk and waits.

"Zil, why not join search?" asks Oosuu.

"Because I hated that kark, Ornam."

"What Oosuu say about not use Hutt slang? Also, very mean, Zil."

"I was kidding! Sort of. I mean, I did hate him, so it would've looked out of place if I'd volunteered. Plus, I had important business here. And I'm sorry about the Huttese thing. But everyone says 'kark'. It's practically become a Basic word."

"Oosuu not care. Loan word still Huttese."

"Can we not do this again?" sighs Lina. "I thought you had something to tell us."

"I do. Morga's agent has finally made contact."

"Really?" asks Lina. "I was beginning to think there was no job, that we were going to be stuck on Mygeeto for the whole two years of our contract."

"That not how Hutts are," says Oosuu. "Prefer watch suffering."

"Still, it took 'em long enough."

"For a soldier," says Zil, "you sure complain a lot about the conditions here."

"This isn't like being in a garrison -- more like a prison. Ten hour patrols I can handle, ten hours a day mining crystals--"

Lina stops short as the door opens, and one of the more infamous workers enters. Inzoyln is a Bith, far from her homeworld on the other side of the galaxy. She has a reputation for knowing everyone's business, and may be even more 'respected' here than Zil.

"I'll keep this brief," says Inzoyln. "You know Baprasta, the Barabel?"

"She kinda sticks out," says Zil.

"Your task is simple: knock her off."

"Does it matter if it looks like an accident or not?" asks Zil.

"No, just that it's done. But an accident will raise fewer suspicions."

"Time limit?"

"Do you honestly want to keep a Hutt waiting longer than you have to?"

"Point taken. Is this part of the big job, or just something to keep us from getting too idle?"

"We'll talk about that when it's done. Now I have to get out of here before I'm seen. I was never here." And with that, she slips out into the corridor.

Oosuu falls back on the bed and heaves a huge sigh. "Oosuu hate work Hutts"

Lina just stares.



Inzoyln Template: Bith Industrial Espionage Agent
Dexterity 1D+1
 dodge 3D+1
Perception 4D+1
 bargain 6D+1
 sneak 5D+1
 search 5D+1
 investigation 5D+1
Knowledge 3D+1
 business 4D+1
 intimidation 4D+1
Strength 1D+2
 stamina 2D+1
Mechanical 3D+2
Technical 3D+2
 security 4D+2

[I'd asked the Oracle:
Q: Is the target on the NPC list? 50/50 (4+): O1 C10 - No. So a random Archetype (Barabel shockboxer) was selected. Inzoyln's archetype was similarly random, and I gave her some skill dice to suit her role (11D, though I wasn't counting as I added them; I just picked numbers that seemed right).]



Scene 2

Chaos: Out of Control (d8)

Setup: d8=4, Interrupt (was: scope out target)
Interrupt: PC negative - Oosuu - Attract / Jealousy

NPC list: contact, target, ISB agent, informant, Imperial commander, rebel agent, love interest, Inzoyln the Bith blackmailer, overseer, executive, Baprasta the barabel shockboxer (false target)

Threads: survive the wait, false assassination

[Q: What kind of jealousy? (1d6) 1-3 personal, 4-6 professional: 1d6=2

UNE--
NPC Relationship: hostile
Conversation Mood: cautious
mysterious - rumour - weapons]

Every third day, instead of mining, Oosuu does a shift in the maintenance area fixing and maintaining various tools: laser drills, breathers, personal heating-units, densitometers, etc. etc. The day after the meeting with Inzoyln just so happens to be one of these days, to the Twi'lek's relief. Nothing distracts her so much as having something complicated that she can fix, and with the Hutt's awful task weighing heavily upon her soul, a distraction is sorely needed.

This shift sees her with a large pile of [1d4=] drills needing repair, and in spite of her growing feelings of apprehension she's having a [blaster repair 4D=15] Moderately good day. Oosuu is usually the last one left in the workshop at day's end, always reluctant to leave the relative peace of her electronic mechanisms to be once again submerged in Zil's social machinations.

So it is that Oosuu is holding up the last of the laser drills on her workbench to admire her handiwork, when she is startled from her reverie by a voice behind her.

"So, if it isn't Zil's special little Twi'lek."

Oosuu turns about to see one of the senior techs, a [1d6: 1 Twi'lek, 2 Chiss, 3 Wroonian 4 Zeltron 5-6 Human] Chiss named Yarishe, standing silhouetted in the doorway behind her. Her face is in shadow, but Oosuu can just make out the red eyes glaring at her.

"What say?" asks Oosuu, pushing her goggles up onto her forehead.

"You heard me," sneers Yarishe.

"Yes, Oosuu Zil friend. Why? Yarishe want talk Zil?"

"Yeah, 'Yarishe want talk Zil'. I bet Zil's ready to hear complete sentences for a change."

"Yarishe, leave Oosuu alone. Oosuu not in mood."

"I'd watch how you talk to me if I were you. There's some sharp little tools that got out of the maintenance area somehow and are floating round the compound. A little Twi'lek could get hurt if she weren't careful."

"Why Yarishe threaten?"

"Not a threat, girly. Just saying, you need to watch where you step. Else Zil might be looking for some new blue company."

"Yarishe serious?"

"Your days are numbered, little Twi'lek. And once you're out of the way--" [UNE: hostile - destruction - the character]

Oosuu starts laughing in spite of herself.

"You wanna go right now?" says Yarishe, stepping forward into the light.

[Oosuu needs to roll Persuasion; the roll is Difficult (staring at 20, +5 for Yarishe's enmity, -5 since she's telling the truth); 4D+2=21, success.]

"Oosuu just Zil friend. But Zil owe life. Yarishe hurt Oosuu, Zil hurt Yarishe. Go now or Oosuu relate conversation. Yarishe never sleep again."

Next post: the conspiracies deepen!


--- Character sheets for reference --- 

Zil Lhahon
Template: Human Fixer
Dexterity 3D+1
 Blaster 4D+1
 Dodge 4D+1
Knowledge 3D+2
 Intimidation 5D
 Streetwise 4D+2
 Willpower 4D+2
Mechanical 3D
 Starship Gunnery 3D+2
Perception 3D
 Persuasion 4D+1
 Sneak 4D+1
Strength 2D+2
Technical 2D+1



Jather Plazeed
Template: Devaronian Grifter
Dexterity 3D
 Dodge 4D+2
Knowledge 3D+2
 Streetwise 4D+2
 Value 4D+2
Mechanical 2D
 Repulsorlift operation 3D
Perception 4D+2
 Con 6D
 Gambling 6D
 Persuasion 5D+2
Strength 2D
Technical 2D+2



Wex Enstipo
Template: Human Gunrunner
Dexterity 2D+2
 Blaster 5D
 Dodge 4D
Knowledge 4D
 Streetwise 5D+1
 Value 5D
Mechanical 4D
Perception 3D

 Bargain 4D+1
Strength 2D+1
 Brawl 3D+1
Technical 2D


Oosuu
Template: Twi'lek Outlaw Tech
Dexterity 3D
 Blaster 3D+2
 Dodge 4D+1
Knowledge 2D+1
 Willpower 4D+1
Mechanical 2D+1
Perception 4D+2
Strength 2D+2

 Stamina 3D
Technical 3D
 Blaster repair 4D
 Computer prog./repair 4D
 First Aid 3D+1
 Space Transport repair 4D
 Starship weapon repair 4D


Major Riilina Cazerdy
Template: Human Merc
Dexterity 3D+2
 Blaster 5D
 Dodge 4D+2
 Grenade 4D+2
Knowledge 2D+2
 Survival 3D+2
Mechanical 2D+2
Perception 2D+1

 Command 4D+2
Strength 3D+2
 Brawling 4D+2
Technical 3D
 Space Transport repair 3D+1

Thursday, 30 November 2017

LotFP solo - Part VII: Walpurgisnacht


Theophilus is convinced that the family portraits hanging in the salon must contain some clue to the goings-on in the Domus Horatiorum. He examines them carefully, and exhorts his two companions to help. They read every inscription, and are disappointed to find them all of the Nomen + anno aetatis suae variety. Valentinus is certain that if a clue is to be found, it will be coded somehow amongst the numerous busts of famous Romans. Yet other than an inordinate fondness for the Severan dynasty, he can find nothing of actual significance.


Scene 20

Chaos:
Madness (d6)

Setup: d6=4, Interrupt (was: explore house)
Interrupt: NPC negative - look / hands

[The above was technically from the end of scene 18:
left to d20=12, salon
no encounter,treasure,hazard,feature
Q: Any clues? 50/50 (4+): O3 C2 - No, and... all very conventional. 2 turns wasted]


Whilst the other two are musing over paintings and sculptures, Fr. Mikuláš notices the burns on his fingers are spreading. The redness and throbbing in his fingertips from touching the strange candles is starting to move further down his hand. He hides his injury in his sleeve, and hopes the others don't notice. Fortunately, they are too wrapped up in their own private ideas to notice the beads of sweat on his forehead.

[Q: Will he say anything? 50/50 (4+): O2 C5 - No.

N.B. no track for this - scene xp will go to M only, if he survives]



Scene 21 - track A

Chaos:
Madness (d6)

Setup: explore house

NPC list: Eufemia Švarcová, Felicitas z Trautenberka, Fr. Mikuláš

Threads: Eufemia's illness, get book

[d20=13, entry hall; no encounter]

They finally give up in the salon, and decide to try their luck elsewhere, which this time seems to be the house's entry hall, though the front door is conspicuously absent. Moreover, there is the gruesome corpse of a young man [Pauwel] whose midsection has been torn apart, spilling blood and innards all over the floor. A rapier lies nearby, though it is unclear how much of a fight the man could have put up. Whatever killed him cannot have been human, for it seems to have slithered away, leaving a wide track of blood leading down the hall from the corpse and into a doorway.

[Actually, it was just Kateřina's skirts that made the trail. None of the N/PCs present know Pauwel.]

Mikuláš looks as if he's going to be sick. Valentinus is worried that the killer from the inn [end of scene 4] has followed him here somehow -- or was here all along. Theophilus is just glad it isn't him.

"Whatever did that...," gasps Mikuláš, "it went that way."

"Let's not go that way," says Valentinus.

"Do you think it will matter?" asks Theophilus. "Do you think we'll go to the same place? We haven't gone back the same way even entering and leaving by the same door."

"I'd rather not find out," replies Valentinus. "Let's go this way instead."

[to d20=7, brother's room (this brother is the NPC magic-user who hasn't appeared yet)

Room contents (via Scarlet Heroes): encounter, treasure

encounter is: (1d10) 1-2 Zdeňka / Skin Demon, 3-4 Blood Demon, 5-6 innocent (free), 7-8 innocent (bound), 9-0 other conspirator

d10=6, 1d6=m
d30=NPCJ: MISC. CASTLE JOBS, page

The 'Page' result made me instantly think of the use of young boys for onychomancy (divination by gazing at the fingernail) as described in Richard Keickhefer's excellent Forbidden Rights, an analysis of a 15th century grimoire of black magic (Codex Latinus Monachensis 849 in the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Munich).

Karl, a lad of 14
German, mercantile class
CH 11 CN 14  DX 8 IN 11 ST 10 WI 7
HP 4 AC 11 ML 7


Q: Armed? likely (3+): O5 C4 - Yes, but... not handy.
reaction=4]



The doorway takes them to a sumptuous bedroom. Stretched out on the bed with his back to the door is a lad of about 14. He is flipping distractedly through an old, oversized history book, looking only at the engravings, and is eating candy from a silver bowl. He hears the door close, and starts speaking even before he has turned round. "I waited like you said, and... Who are you? How did you get in here?"

"For whom are you waiting, child?" asks Valentinus.

"I'll ask the questions here! Who are you, anyway? You don't look like burglars."

"We aren't," says Theophilus. "We're looking for our friend. She was taken inside this house."

"Well, I haven't seen her. I haven't seen anyone except you fools. And if she's anything like the three of you, I can't think of a single reason your friend would have been brought here. They have standards, you know." [UNE:hostile - judgment - friends]

"Watch your tongue, boy, whilst you still have use of it!" snaps Theophilus.

The lad seems unperturbed by Theophilus' threat. "You're all going to die, you know. Coming here was a mistake." [mysterious - whispers - enemy]

"You don't say?"

"Once it's started, there's nothing you can do to stop it. And he'll destroy you all for interfering. Or trespassing. Or just being somewhere you oughtn't. And when it happens, I'll laugh..."

Theophilus lowers his arquebus, approaches the lad, and back-hands him across his mouth with all his might.

[hit for 1d2=1 damage, down to 3hp
Q: Does this change his attitude? Likely (3+): O2 C4 - No, but... it does shut him up for the moment.]


"Are we finished?" asks Theophilus. "Good." He then addresses his companions in Latin. "Now what to do about this one... do we take him with us?"

"Take him with us? Why?" asks Mikuláš.

"As a guide, perhaps. Or a hostage, should things continue to worsen."

"I believe that is prudent," says Valentinus.

[Q: Does Mikuláš agree? Likely (3+): O4 C5 - Yes.]

"Agreed," says Mikuláš.

Theophilus turns back to the boy. "Get up. You're coming with us. But step out of line again and I won't be so restrained as I was just now. Understood?"

He nods eagerly.

"Now tell me," asks Theophilus, "what's going on here?"

"My master is preparing to open the vault of worlds -- by himself -- and by so doing take all the power to himself. And he's promised me that I will sit at his right hand, and... and... well, it will be a power beyond reckoning, and--"

"Where's this vault?"

"In the cellar."

"How do we get there?"

"Why, go down the stairs, of course. Then down the other stairs. And then the others. How else does one get to a cellar?"

"Where does that door lead?" snaps Theophilus, pointing angrily.

"Where...? The landing! What sort of stup-- um, what sort of question is that?"

"Come on. Out. You first, we'll follow."

The lad hops to his feet, lest Theophilus strike him again. He doesn't have time to wonder at the inky blackness when the door is opened, for he is shoved roughly through.

[to d20=15, shrine

Q: Blood demon still there? 50/50 (4+): O2 C4 - No, but... signs of its passing
Q: Altar destroyed? Likely (3+): O2 C3 - No, but... candles knocked over
Q: Architect still there? 50/50 (4+): O4 C2 - Yes, and...

Archibald(us) Cook - the Architect
English, professional, protestant (CofE)
specialist, lv 1, architecture 5
languages: English, Latin, German, Czech
CH 12 CN 13 DX 9 IN 13 ST 11 WI 11
HP 2/6, AC 12


the lad's ML 2d6=7, just; doesn't falter, but too shocked to speak
Archibald's reaction 2d6=11, friendly]



The room they come into looks to have been the scene of a slaughter. Blood is pooled about on the floor, splashed over all the walls, and even drips from the ceiling. There is some sort of pagan altar at the far side of the room. Sever of the candles that once lit it have been knocked to the floor, and were extinguished when they rolled into the blood.

A man is half-lying against the altar, weeping. He is bloodied from head to toe; it's a wonder he yet lives.

"You're hurt!" exclaims Valentinus.

"No, I'm... Yes, I'm hurt... it's not all mine..."

"Whose is it? What happened?"

"You wouldn't believe me if I told you!"

"Try me," says Theophilus, his shock at the scene being rapidly replaced by his growing impatience.

"He... he summoned a demon to kill me!"

"Who did? Make some sense, man!"

"Mucius-- Herr Grollenbach. He must have decided I'm no longer required, now that I've built the mechanism."

"The mechanism?"

"The mechanism which opens the vault. Or rather, allows one to open it. I don't know that I can explain."

"Try."

"There is a vault in the basement, older than this house. And there's a door carved into one of the walls. It's covered in sigils, and can't be opened; indeed it's just solid carved stone. The Grollenbachs have been trying to open it for years, tracking down the proper rituals and necessary supplies to complete them. These rituals must be performed at the proper time, and what's more, at the proper time. Now, are you familiar with Al-Kindi? You are? Good. The rituals require that the operators work under the proper astral influences, but the proper conjunctions won't occur for thousands of years. So I was brought in to design and build a machine as a kind of lens, to deflect the stellar rays and celestial emanations down into the vault, so the ritual can take place. Tonight."

"So what happened? What about all this blood?"

"The demon's."

"You vanquished a demon"

"Hardly. It was made of the stuff... it splashed everywhere. It chased me here, I don't remember how, and I thought the shrine would protect me. It didn't seem to be bothered by it. Then the door opened, and a woman came through, or it grabbed her. She got away from it and ran, and I thought it would go after her. It didn't. It stayed and grabbed me and held me and... and... it's too horrible! I wish it had killed me."

"What happened?"

"It left me with this." He holds open a tear in his shirt to reveal a bulbous and glowing protrusion under his skin. "And then it left."

"Can you walk?"

"I'm not sure... I think so."


Scene 22 - track B

Chaos:
Madness (d6)

Setup: explore the house

NPC list: Daniela (maid), Zdeňka (maid/skin-demon), Floris (thief)

Threads: investigate brothel, investigate death

[d20=1, mechanism room (honestly what I rolled; the serendipity of solo gaming sometimes mimics proper narrative)]


The mechanism takes up most of the oddly-shaped attic room in which it has been built. There is a large, rotating central column of polished brass in the room's centre, going from floor to ceiling, around which the rest of the mechanism is in constant motion. There are huge assemblages of gears, looking like the parts of some gigantic and unearthly clock, connected to springs, coils, levers, plates and lenses. Polished stone fittings are to be seen throughout, as well as precious metal rods and pendula, and gemstones arrayed in whorling patterns. It ticks and hums and whirs and creaks in a of semi-rhythmical cacophony.

"What is it?" says Floris, dumbfounded.

"Don't touch!" says Judit. "Šimon, does this look like anything you've ever seen?"

"No," says the clockmaker. "It's... I don't know. I've never seen anything like it. It moves, but to no purpose... or to some occult purpose, at which I hardly dare guess."

"This must be one of the rooms we were forbidden to enter," says the maid.

"Is it responsible for what's going on here?" asks Judit.

"It might be," says Šimon.  "Or it might only be a part of what's happening."

"What do you think we should do?"

[Q: Does Floris pipe up? 50/50 (4+): O4 C5 - Yes.
1d4: 1 try to stop it, 2 try to destroy it, 3 sit and watch it, 4 leave it alone]


"We should see if there's a way to stop this thing," says Floris. "Maybe it will return things to normal."

The others look on in fascination whilst Šimon goes about examining the mechanism.

[He needs to roll against Tinker (4): 1d6=1, success.
Q: Is there an obvious way to stop it? (d10): 1-2 yes, it's easy; 3-4 yes, but it's difficult; 5-6 yes, but it's dangerous; 7-8 not without breaking it; 9-0 no way at all]


He studies it for a while, peering at it from every side. Finally he stands up straight (as he is able) and says, "I think I could do it. But it would be difficult. Judit, I'll need your help. And yours, my dear child."

Šimon directs Judit and Daniela to pull on certain pairs of levers. He stresses that the three of them must all perform their task at the same time, or the gears might snap instead of slowing to a halt.

[They all need to make Tinker rolls modified by Strength (skill levels: Šimon 4-2=2, Judit 1+0=1, Daniela 1+1=2). Two out of three rolls must succeed.
3d6= 5,1,2 success.

effect (1d10): 1-2 everything back to normal, 3-4 ritual altered, 5-6 magical backlash, 7-8 releases entity, 9-0 too late - no effect

d10=3. The alteration will be determined later (Scene 25)]


The strange machine begins to slow, and as they keep pressure on the levers, it eventually comes to an abrupt stop. Everyone waits, almost afraid to breathe, training to hear or perhaps feel a change in the environment. Floris finally breaks the silence. "This is stupid. Let's just try the door."

He throws it open, only to be greeted by impenetrable darkness. "Dammit! There must be some way out of this maze!"

Downcast, the rest follow him through. At first they end up in the kitchen, and once the disorientation fades they make a hasty exit. Leaving there they are transported to...

[d20=10, master bedroom
Feature (Scarlet Heroes): A prisoner or victim of the dungeon inhabitants: A hapless civilian being held for ransom or sacrifice]


...a grand bed chamber, which is the scene of recent, awful carnage. It is uncertain just how many persons met their end here, but no one -- not even Floris -- wants to wade through the pools of blood and gobbets of flesh strewn about the room in search of clues and/or valuables. They make a hasty exit, and end up in [d20=19] the study.

There is probably some order to the apparent chaos in the room. Books are piled high on every horizontal surface, and the shelves are overflowing. The oversized desk is hidden beneath piles of parchments, upon which many strange and colourful diagrams and symbols have been scribbled.

"What is all this nonsense? asks Floris, perusing the papers.

"Horoscopes, astrological charts, and the like," answers Šimon.

"Does any of it relate to today?" asks Judit.

[search rolls all fail]



Scene 23 - track A

Chaos:
Madness (d6)

Setup: explore house

NPC list: Eufemia Švarcová, Felicitas z Trautenberka, Fr. Mikuláš, ruffians

Threads: Eufemia's illness, get book

As Judit, Šimon, and Floris are rifling through the books and papers, the door opens. They wheel about to see a young lad in fine clothing stumble out of the blackness of the doorway, followed by Valentinus, Theophilus, Mikuláš, and Archibald.

"It's a bit cramped in here," complains the lad.

"You!" shouts Valentinus. "I should have known I'd find you involved in this unholy plot, you deviant. Prepare to die, servant of evil!"

He raises his crossbow and takes aim at Šimon, but hesitates.

"O holy father," says Šimon, "how could you possibly think I am involved in all this?"

"Don't call me that! You insult the Holy Mother Church with such mocking speech!"

Judit moves between them, her rapier drawn. "Who threatens pan Kac threatens me. Lower your weapon. Now!"

"All of you, stop this nonsense!" shouts Theophilus. "It won't get us anywhere. Do either of you know-- hey, where'd that damnable child go?"

The lad had slipped away in the few moments all attention was focussed on Valentinus, [2d6=8, Karl failed ML/loyalty] who even now is still aiming his crossbow at Šimon, who keeps stepping out from behind Judit to taunt him.

"They're not of this house," says Archibald. "I would say that makes them our allies."

Theophilus and Archibald eventually persuade Valentinus to see reason. Judit convinces Šimon (in Hebrew, lest the others hear their disagreement) to stop tormenting the priest. In the end, an uneasy alliance is formed.


Scene 24 - track c

Chaos:
Madness (d6)

Setup: chaos die = 3, Interrupt (was: get to vault)
Interrupt: Horror - PC - perceive / sentiments

NPC list: Cloelia (cleric), Brutus (brother), Dr. Helvetius (astrologer)

Threads: Eufemia's illness, get book

Brutus and Dr. Helvetius exit the garret room, leaving Kateřina alone for a moment with Cloelia.  As they are standing over the unconscious maid and deciding
 how best to move her, Cloelia suddenly grabs Kateřina by the wrist and whispers a hideous threat. Kateřina shrieks, and tries to pull away. Cloelia's eyes glitter in the candlelight.

"Oh come!" she sneers. "I'm not going to kill you now. Who'll help me with this? Perhaps she's the only thing keeping you from being cut down the middle, and your insides offered up in sacrifice."

Kateřina backpedals as swift as she might, and begins to mutter an incantation. Cloelia springs towards her, grabbing her by the hair. She pulls back her fist...

[initiative rolls: 3,3 -- tied; dex 16 vs. 14, K's Charm spell is cast first. save d20=8, failure]

...and stops suddenly short of punching Kateřina in the face. "I-- I'm sorry," babbles Cloelia as the spell washes over her. "I don't know what came over me. I... this is all so very disquieting. I just lost my temper. I didn't mean it, honestly I didn't. Please, please don't be cross with me."

"No, I understand," says Kateřina. "It is forgotten. Let's not talk about it again. We must find the vault like you said, dearest."


Scene 25 - track c

Chaos:
Madness (d6)

Setup: get to vault

NPC list: Cloelia (cleric), Brutus (brother), Dr. Helvetius (astrologer)

Threads: Eufemia's illness, get book

Kateřina and Cloelia drag the unconscious maid into [d20=12] the salon, where Brutus and Dr. Helvetius are waiting. They continue on, and end up in [d20=8] the kitchen, from which they make another quick exit. When their disorientation subsides, they find they have finally come to the hidden vault below the house.

They have emerged onto the landing at the top of a rough, narrow staircase, which looks for all the world like it leads to the dungeons beneath an old castle. There is the suggestion of a doorway behind them, but the door itself is gone; it is as if they have just stepped out of a bare wall.

They make their way down the steps and into the vault itself, a long, low chamber with unevenly hewn stones lining the walls and floor, and unfaced square columns supporting the roof.  Dozens of candles illumine the vault, about half of which appear to have been knocked over. The floor is covered in immense chalk circles and diagrams, bearing characteres, sigilla, and names of magical import. Bitter incense perfumes the air; the bronze censer lies on the floor by foot of the stairs, dented, having been hurled there with some force. On the far wall is great carven doorway of black stone, set into the natural stone of the chamber itself. The intricate carvings of dragons and monsters are whorled round with knot work and vines, and present a decidedly pagan aspect. Before the doorway is the crouched figure of a man, weeping uncontrollably.

[Some die rolls for set-up:

Contents (SH): encounter, treasure

encounter? (d10): 1-2 just Mucius (the M-U), 3-4 Zdeňka (maid/skin-demon), 5-6 blood demon, 7-8 something else, 9-0 roll 2d8

1d10=1, Mucius (the treasure is on him)

How long until the ritual is complete? (d4) 1 rounds 2 minutes 3 turns 4 already finished:  1d4=4

In another perfect example of solo-rpg serendipity, the mechanism was stopped on this very turn, so I need to determine the Alteration to the ritual (from scene 22). I also need to know if the M-U knew what he was doing when he started without the others.

Q: Did the magic-user know what he was doing? 50/50 (4+): O2 C5 - No. He's opened a portal to somewhere else.

Q: What is altered when the mechanism stops?
Alteration (1d12): 1 kills officiant, 2 random effect on officiant, 3 random effect on everyone, 4 good and bad effect on everyone, 5 bestows flawed power, 6 ruins spell ability, 7 random spell centred on officiant, 8 one of those weird summon results, 9 temporal fluctuations, 10 random LL spell centred on officiant, 11 portal unstable, 12 possession

1d12=6

who speaks first? 1-4 Cloelia 5-8 Mucius 9-10 Brutus 11-12 Dr. Helvetius

d12=Brutus

UNE--
NPC Relationship: neutral
Conversation Mood: withdrawn
friendly - aid - family]


"Mucius, why did you do this?" says Brutus with genuine concern. "Starting without us was ill-advised at best. You could've been killed."

Mucius starts at the sound of his brother's voice. He wipes his face upon his sleeve, then turns to face his siblings. "I wish I had been killed!" he says. "My magic is gone. All of it. I don't know what happened... this is a disaster. I can't even open the portal."

"Did it fail, then?" asks Brutus.

"No. Look at the door. There's a gap -- it's no longer plain rock. There's something behind it now. Can't you feel the current of air coming from beyond it?"

"You've made another mess of things," says Cloelia [insane - illusion - future action]. "And whatever you were planning has come to nothing even before you've gotten started. Just another one of your foolish daydreams. Now, let's see what... you've... done......"


...to be continued



my time & location tracker sheet

Monday, 27 November 2017

LotFP solo - Part VI: Co se vlastně stalo s Kateřinou Smutnou?


When Kateřina opened the door to the house, she could see nothing inside, nothing at all. Then she felt something wet wrapped suddenly round her wrist, and was jerked into the blackness. A moment of dizzy incomprehension followed, and then she found herself in a windowless room. At the far end was a sinister sort of candle-lit pagan altar, with a man cowering before it. But between her and the frightened man was the demon which had caught her.

The thing was a column of blood, as big around as a barrel and stretching floor to ceiling. It moved and squirmed and writhed, and with the semi-viscous mass of deep red fist-sized tubercles pulsed with light. All about the thing's trunk were mouths filled with blocky uneven teeth, which were ever floating to the surface, gnashing and spitting, then being once again subsumed. Wiry appendages hang down from the top of the beast. One of these has Kateřina held fast. She watches in revulsion as another reaches inside the beast, plucks out one of the glowing nodules, and thrusts it menacingly at her...

Scene 19 - Track C

Chaos: Madness (d6)

Setup: pulled into house*

NPC list: Eufemia Švarcová, Felicitas z Trautenberka, Fr. Mikuláš, ruffians

Threads: Eufemia's illness, get book

[* I didn't roll for and Interrupt/Alteration, as finding out what happens when she got pulled into the house was already going to be a series of die rolls.

She ended up in d20=9, shrine.

In addition to the obvious, the room contains (according to Scarlet Heroes) an Encounter
(via d30 Sandbox Companion)=misc. npc, architect

Q: Is the architect a MU? likely (3+): O1 C2 - No, and... 0-level fighter
Q: Was the creature sent to kill him? 50/50 (4+): O5 C3 - Yes, but... (=not kill him, per se)

Archibald(us) Cook - the Architect
english, professional, protestant (CofE)
specialist, lv 1, architecture 5
languages: English, Latin, German, Czech
CH 12 CN 13 DX 9 IN 13 ST 11 WI 11
HP 6, AC 12

The creature was Summoned by a 4th level NPC magic-user (who hasn't appeared yet), who had 'decided' to summon an entity of 1d6 HD.

Blood Demon (AC: 12, HD 6, Move: 60', 1 attack, Dmg: 1d6+impregnates, ML: 9, Special: Immune to normal weapons)

I'd actually had a few months break (for Star Wars d6) between the time when Kateřina was pulled into the house and the continuation, so the suspense regarding her fate had really built up. When I finally rolled up the conditions of this scene, it looked worse that I had originally feared...

...but now it's time to roll initiative; 1-1-1, tied, so in DEX order: K, it, A]


Kateřina twists and turns her arm in the thing's slimy grip, and with a strength born of abject terror manages to wrench it free. She scrambles into the corner, unsure of which way to run. [grappling- she rolled a natural 20 vs. its 6, so broke free. She'd also made a successful save vs. poison to avoid the special attack]

The dripping demon tries to snatch her up once again [rolls a natural 1], but merely slaps the wall above her head. The man by the altar watches wide-eyed, paralysed with fear.

[Q: Can the demon approach the shrine? 50/50 (4+): O6 C4 - Yes, but... would rather go for the new arrival]

[round 2]
There's only one exit in this room, and the horror stands between it and Kateřina. She leaps to her feet and dashes furiously past the gory monster. It grabs for her and tries to lurch into her path, but she dives beneath its grasping tendrils, flying out the door and slamming it behind her.

[Chase rules, d20+movement rate; K's 14+12 vs. its 16+6, she escapes...

...into d20=13, the entry hall
d10=no encounter]


The room beyond is pitch black. Kateřina feels a momentary sensation of falling as she runs headlong through the blackness. Then she really is falling, having stumbled over something unseen. She lands on something more yielding than the wooden floor, which helps her break her fall. [save vs. paralysis or 1d4 damage; 14+2 dex, saved]

She tries to right herself, her hands scrambling for purchase against the slick, wet floor. She manages to sit up, and feels about for the thing before her lest she fall over it again. Too late does she realise that the sticky, sodden lump is a mangled human corpse [Pauwel]. She screams in spite of herself, and scuttles back from it, into the wall. She's still screaming, but realises the danger and claps her hands over her mouth. The taste of blood on oozing from her hands is a further shock, but she daren't uncover her mouth until she's forced herself to be calm, lest she make another sound.

She soon realises nothing has followed her, but doesn't want to linger should it decide to pursue. She crawls along the wall -- careful not to slip in the pool of blood crusting-over blood but resigned to moving through it -- until she comes to a doorway. She grabs onto the handle, uses it to pull herself to her feet, then opens the door and slips through.

[door leads to d20=19, study

contents (SH): Encounter
d30= misc.NPC, astrologer
reaction=6
d6=m

„Dr. Helvetius“ (Arndt Schweizer)
astrologer, 0-level
german, professional
CH 9 CN 10 DX 11 IN 13 ST 7 WI 13
HP 5, AC 12,  Morale: 5

Alleigance (SH): Willingly obedient to the ruling inhabitants of the place.
Q: Armed? Likely (3+): O6 C4 - Yes, but... dagger only]



In a momentary dream-state, Kateřina's senses are filled with the ambrosial smells of her own library: dusty old bookshelves, old vellum, new parchment. Then the coppery odour of blood reasserts itself, and as her vision clears she finds herself in a stranger's study -- and she is not alone.

A grey-bearded man in scholar's dress is working behind an oversized writing desk, which is covered in tomes and scrolls, compasses, rulers, and various other brass instruments. He looks up from his lucubrations, seemingly unperturbed at Kateřina's gory appearance. He lays aside his style and addresses her in an even tone.

"Who are you?" asks the scholar.

"I..."

"How did you get here?" he asks, a bit impatiently.

"I came to the door. Some... some thing pulled me inside. I ran into the darkness and... well, who are you?"

"I'm a guest in this home. You shouldn't be here. Too late for you now. Yes... too late. It's begun hasn't it?" [UNE: hostile - destruction - last action]

"What has?"

"Don't play ignorant, girl. This house is... out of joint."

"Are you alone in the house?"

"Of course not."

"I screamed and screamed. No one came."

"They won't have heard you. But they'll be here soon enough. I hope. They should not have started without me. Without all the proper tools, they invite disaster." [insane - idiocy - equipment]

"I don't understand! Please, tell me what's going on."

[Persuasion (using England Upturn'd)--
persuader: d20 + CHA bonus + INT bonus + level
target:  d20 + CHA bonus + WIS bonus + level

K d20+1+2+1=21
-4 for the state of her=17
Dr.H d20+0+1+0=11

Result="Friendly, but not helpful. Will not help without a good reason such as money, a
strongly supported cause in common, etc., and even then only if there is no risk to the person you were attempting to persuade."]


The scholar considers her words for a few moments, then sighs. "Very well: they've begun the ritual to open the door."

"The door?"

"The door to wisdom, the door to knowledge."

"So it's figurative."

"Ha ha! No, in fact. Or rather, it's both figurative, and very literal."

"I still don't understand."

"No. And neither do they, if they've begun without all the preparations in place. The fools!" [knowing - discourse - last scene]

"What happens if...?"

"Something awful beyond human understanding."  [Mythic: draw / terror]

"And you're just sitting here, not trying to stop them?"

"Stop them? Once set in motion, it cannot be stopped."

"And no escape?"

"You begin to understand."

"Well, I can't just sit here!"

"Then leave."

"I need a light."

[Q: Is there a lantern available? Doubtful (6): O4 C4 - No, but... spare candleholder.
+Event: Dark Secret - promise / means]



"Help yourself," he says.

Kateřina goes over to the desk to take one of many the candle holders, and her eyes alight on one of the papers covered in writing.

"Signum croceum!" she whispers, in spite of herself.

"You-- you know it?" gasps the scholar.

"Yes... these charts... may I see them."

"What do you know about the Signum? and how...?"

"That's not important. But I understand things... stranger than those in here."

"Perhaps you do. Perhaps you do. In light of this, I think you'd ought to stay. The others may have need of your knowledge." [scheming - plan - superiors]

"To do what?"

"Why, avert our destruction."

"Let me keep this horoscope, and I'll stay."

[Persuasion: +1d4=3 : "Friendly. Will help if there is a reason to and the risks are minimal"]

"Of course."

"For whom are we waiting?" asks Kateřina.

"More than one of the Grollenbach siblings, I should hope. They can't all have been so rash as to--"

Just then the door opens...

[Coincidentally, Brutus & Cloelia show up the next turn; they've been in the storeroom (1t) and the library (2t)
Q: Have they acquired better weapons? 50/50 (4+): O3 C1 - No, and...
Q: Have they acquired an esoteric tome? Likely (3+): O4 C6 - Yes.

             CH CN DX IN ST WI HP AC
Brutus  f0 m  9 13 10 12  7 10  2 12 broom handle (club)
Cloelia c3 f 12 13 14 15 12 12 12 13 dagger
 spells:command, prot. from good, sanctuary


reaction roll for K: 2d6=5]


...and two of the aforementioned siblings, Brutus and Cloelia, step through. They waver for a moment, then notice the stranger in their midst.

"Doctor Helvetius," says Cloelia, "who the devil is this?"

Kateřina turns round, and gives a short curtsey in spite of herself. "Kateřina Smutná. And you are?"

"Never mind that. Whose blood is that?"

"I don't know. There was a body on the floor. In the dark."

"Explain yourself. Why are you here?" [UNE: inquisitive - petition - the character]

"I am here on behalf of my friend, Eufemia Švarcová."

"Oh. You're one of her lot. How disappointing." [UNE: prejudiced - discrimination - skills]

"My lady," interjects the astrologer, "be not so hasty to pass judgement. For Miss Smutná just now spoke to me of the Signum Croceum."

"She did what?"

"She saw it written amongst my horoscopes, and it stopped her short."

"Well, that does put a different cast on the matter at hand." [UNE: prejudiced - difference - previous scene]

"As to that," says the astrologer, "just whose fault is this?"

"Whose do you think?"

"Ah. I should have known [d6=] he wasn't to be trusted."

"But is she?"

"If she wants to help her friend," offers Brutus, "she'd be wise to help us. Isn't that enough?"

"Better than ties of family, it seems," snaps Cloelia. "Alright, Miss Smutná, if you help us stop our brother from ruining years of work, and possibly killing us all, it will also save your poor, pathetic Eufemia. For it is most certainly he that is the cause of her ills."

"You know what he's done to her?"

"Not exactly. But he's the only one of us who delights in such petty displays."

[Q: Does this sound legit? Likely (3+): O3 C5 - Yes; whether it is true or not will be determined later.
Q: Is there anything they need in the study? 50/50 (4+): O2 C6 - No]


"I see, says Kateřina. "Then I should help you most willingly."

"Come, then. There's work to be done."

Cloelia doesn't wait for a response, but turns and heads out the door. Brutus is right behind her, followed by the astrologer, Dr. Helvetius. Kateřina grabs a lit candle from the desk and a few spares, then hurries after them.

[On my tracking sheet, I had already rolled that the NPCs were going to go from the study to d20=16, garret servants room. Rather than erasing and re-rolling, I just shifted Track C over to their column.]

The servants' room in the garret has an unplaceable, if not altogether unpleasant, smell. But as Kateřina's vision clears, the sight she beholds is one of renewed horror. On one of the beds lies an unconscious housemaid, with flecks of dried blood round her mouth and staining her night dress. Her breathing is shallow and uneven. A broken golden thread hangs from the ceiling between the beds, shining in the lamplight. Below it on the floor is some sort of fleshy sac oozing a viscous goo.

"Dammit!" exclaims Cloelia. "Who has done this? Now what are we going to do?"

"What is that?" asks Kateřina.

"Nothing, any longer."

"That fool!" says the astrologer. "Does he intend to ignore all the preparations?"

"That poor girl," continues Kateřina. "Is she...?"

"Still alive," says Cloelia. "For all the good it will do." [0hp; she'll be unconscious for (1d6=6) 5 1/2 more hours]

"Can she be moved?" asks Dr. Helvetius.

"Not easily. Someone help me.... Oh, come on!"

"I'll help, if no one else will--" says Kateřina.

"You do look more capable than either of those two," says Cloelia.

"--but you need to tell me what that thing is." continues Kateřina.

"It was keeping the maids quietly sleeping. Until they were needed. It was for their own good." [scheming - arrangement - community]

"I don't like the sound of that."

"You really are Eufemia's friend, aren't you? Soft and sentimental. If you want to help us you're going to have to display a bit more sang-froid."

"I said that I didn't like it. Not that I didn't understand. Perfectly. So do we drag her or try to pick her up between us somehow?"