Friday, 16 May 2014

LotFP Solo - Part the Twenty-Eighth: „Und wenn die Welt voll Teufel wär / Und wollten uns verschlingen“

XXVI. Bhxiug is a great and a terrible duke, and hath three names. Of some he is called Bna'ak-Othì; of the Dwarfs Hûûd; of Nigromancers Vhisigus: he commeth foorth as a fiery souldier, with red armour, and upon a wyvern of that colour, and a crowne on his head. He answereth trulie of things present, past, and to come. He is also a lier, he maketh a general to know no defeat, he adorneth a man with dignities, and confirmeth them, he speaketh with a cleare and a subtill voice, and six and twentie legions are under him. He hath been constrained but once in ages past, by Rekebath, Queene of the Vampyres, who  did banish him back to his emptie keepe in Acheron, abalienated from his dire host, and she did seale the gate with her own essence sanguine, that mortals never discouver its key.

Father Rochouart is too distressed to hear Lycinia's revelation amongst the stark evidence of their failure. Miolla finds the portcullis mechanism on the wall of the vampire's lair. The party trudge sullenly out of the dungeon. This time they are greeted on the surface by an honour guard of the commander's picked troops. They are quickly ushered back into the large mess hall by the roaring fire, and the chaplains attend to their injuries.

Divested of their equipment and having changed into dry clothes, the party convene for a hearty meal with the commander, as eight pairs of boots dry behind them on the hearth. Father Rochouart is grim and sullen, but the rest are soon recounting their adventure to the commander in increasingly excited tones. Even Haddie speaks up, shouting over the others for the privilege of telling how Lycinia fell in the hole.

But all too soon their account arrives at its disturbing end, and the laughter and ribaldry abruptly cease. Lycinia excuses herself from the table to fetch the papyrus from her quarters. When she returns, all eyes are upon her. She unrolls the scroll as far as the marker she had placed within, then intones the words of a spell which allow her to make sense of the unknown language before her.

"There's a ton of stories in here," she explains, "myths and legends and all sorts. I thought it would be just some bedtime reading until I got to this bit. Let's see, 'Bhxiug is a great and a terrible duke, and is called by three names. To some he is Bna'ak-Othì; to the Dwarfs Hûûd; to black magicians Vhisigus...'"

When she is done, everyone looks to Father Rochouart. "What?" he says peevishly, "I am a sworn undead hunter. Demonology is hardly part of my purview."

"We should write that down," says Théscine, "in a language we all know. Just in case."

"So what now?" asks Worland. "Anyone know where this gate is?"

"Ildmarch!" exclains Géraint suddenly. "No -- not the gate. But there's the Great Library in Ildmarch. The sages there must be able to help. We should go there, unless anyone has a better idea. We could use some of this treasure to get silvered weapons whilst were there too."

"Do they sell pistols in Ildmarch?" asks Miolla.

"They sell everything in Ildmarch." says Aldira.

"Yes, we should go!"

The party spend a couple more days at Foehrenfort to rest and recuperate. Lycinia makes a Low Elvish translation of the passage from the scroll, and a second one in Common for the humans.

They also decide to divide their treasure. They spend one morning laying it all out on a table, counting coins into neat piles and trying to guess the value of the gems and jewels ("For once," quips Théscine, "I wish we had a dwarf around.") They decide to draw lots for the sake of fairness, and go round the table in order, each selecting an item or pile of coins on their turn. It is agreed that anyone who accumulates more than 1000sp worth of stuff is probably finished [an even division would be 1334sp each]. It won't be an exactly even split, but no one seems really worried. Father Rochouart only reluctantly agrees to a share of the treasure at all, considering it too worldly. Géraint takes his cues from the cleric, as he wants to be as great a vampire hunter someday. Worland wants to play it cool so as not to offend his boss. Aldira and Haddie grew up so poor that they are completely dazzled by the glittering hoard before them. And the elves don't understand wealth at all. In the end,

-Haddie chooses the Gold Ring in the shape of a lion's head with garnet eyes (1800sp).
-Géraint takes the Jacinth (1000sp) and Sardonyx (250sp) which he intends to use to buy supplies.
-Théscine fastens the Platinum pin depicting winged victory (1200sp) to her tunic. Everyone admires how pretty it looks on her.
-Fr. Rochouart is content with cash: 20gp, 250sp.
-Lycinia attaches the Porphyry pendant (400sp) onto her silver necklace, and takes an Onyx (75sp) and 600sp in coin.
-Aldira really, really likes the Aventurine bead anklet (20sp). It was her first choice and she had been so afraid Théscine or Haddie would take it before it got to be her turn. She also gets a Citrine (100sp), and 600sp in coin.
-Worland wants the Small bronze statuette of an ancient bard playing a lyre (400sp). He replaces his old copper earring with the Simple golden hoop earring (80sp), and pins the Golden fleur-de-lys clasp (600sp) to his travelling cloak.
-Miolla fancies the Copper necklace with large opal pendant (400sp) and finally takes the Platnim pin shaped like a swan (1400sp) which is a bit ugly, so everyone kept passing it by. It's going in her pack as trade goods.

The remainder of the treasure (350sp, 500cp, 3 small gems) is left with the fort commander for the widows and orphans of the dead soldiers.

[Some Mythic questions that relate to the above:

Q: What's N going to do with the vampire blood? Change /  Prison
The blood is the key to releasing an imprisoned demon.

Q: How is the scroll a clue? Guide /  Enemies
It is a work on demonology.

Q: This helps PCs how? Spy / Love
It turns adventure into an Anaïs Nin novel.

Gee, thanks, Mythic. I'll re-roll that: Disrupt /  Evil
It hints at how to reseal the prison.

Q: Can Lycinia lie to Fr. Rochouart about the rest of the scroll's contents to keep him from burning it? 50/50: 03, Exceptional Yes.]

Scene 29

Chaos: 8

Setup: roll of 8 = modified scene (was: travel to Ildmarch to buy silver weapons et al.)

Interrupt: Transform / Animals (via Neldir's evil spells)

Characters: Neldir, the Elders of the Elven Forest, Ranwitha the Pious Merchant, Siorighan MU12,  Tibalt & Barnot, dwarven mercenaries, griffon, Reverend Father Gelnay de Val d'Oine, Reverend Father de Molleré, Brother Mundlo, Zuhal B'thallit, centaur lizard, Jola, Sir Gaunet, Jönnick, Baron Iehan Forzdeleu, Count Rotres d'Estancbel, Lady Delphinia

Threads: find Neldir & the book
remove zuhal's curse

day 75.

After two days of healing and planning their route, on the third morning the party set off towards Ildmarch. They should make Chateau l'Oret by evening.

But they do not. After [1d8=2 hexes] four miles of travel through the forest, their horses suddenly become skittish, and refuse to go forward. They become more and more agitated, then begin to buck like things possessed. Everyone is thrown from the saddle. The horses begin to transmogrify, becoming terrifying horse demons with glowing eyes, terrible fangs, serpent's tongues, hideous spiky claws, and manes made of writhing worms.

[The PCs all take 1d6 damage from being thrown, save vs. paralyzation for half. Miolla, Lycinia, Haddie and Worland save. The rest fail, but some are lucky enough to land on the soft earth. Father Rochouart fares the worst, being propelled into a tree trunk. Haddie suffers a broken arm.

Miolla takes 3 damage, leaving her with 10hp.
Lycinia: 1 damage, 15hp left
Aldira: 1 damage / to 12hp
Théscine: 1 damage / 8hp
Fr. Rochouart: 6 damage / 3hp
Géraint: 2 damage / 10hp
Haddie: 3 damage / 1hp
Worland: 1 damage / 8hp

The party are able to get up and draw weapons whilst the horse-demons complete their transformation, so the battle starts on even footing. The initiative roll is tied, so everyone acts in segments according to their DEX modifiers, from +3 to -2.

Round 1]
Miolla screams out the words of a spell, and throws a shower of green sparks at the demon that was once her horse, causing it to bellow in rage and pain [her Magic Missile does 7 damage, reducing it to 8hp].

Lycinia attempts to bring down slumber upon the evil herd, but they are too weird to be affected by such a charm [Sleep spell ineffective. She's never fought demons before so doesn't know better].

Théscine fires off a shower of sparks of her own, searing her former mount's hide [her Magic Missile also does 7 damage, reducing it to 8hp]. Haddie turns tail and runs like hell in to the forest. Miolla's mount attacks her with tooth and claw, but the elf's stout armour turns aside the wickedly pointed nails of the horse-thing.

Worland's horse knocks his shield aside with great force [claw does 1 damage] and sinks its fangs deep into the opposite shoulder [6 damage, leaving him with 2hp]. Father Rochouart pray that the Light God will give him the strength to persevere against these accursèd creatures of darkness [Cure Light Wounds on himself heals 6; he's back to full hp]. Its hide still smouldering from the magical sparks, Théscine's horse hisses with rage and attacks her viciously. She is able to fend off most of its strikes with her enchanted sword, but a clumsy parry sends its claws across her sword arm [2 damage drops her to 6hp]. As Aldira summons a mystical shield to protect her, Géraint fires pistol, missing despite the short range. Aldira's magic deflects most of the frenzied attacks from her former mount, though its claws still leave a deep cut across her cheek [1 damage puts her at 11hp]. Haddie's horse sees her running and gives chase. Worland is in a desperate position with the huge demon gnawing on his shoulder, but he manages to get the blade of his axe on its neck and cut its throat. It yelps and falls to the ground, bleeding out a thin oily fluid [8 damage brings it to 0hp].

The power of the Light God prevents Father Rochouart's demon-horse from getting close whilst he finishes the words of his prayer [all three attacks missed]. Géraint flings aside his pistol and draws the rapier from his belt, but alas! too slowly. He is unprepared for the flurry of teeth and claws that rip into him, and he falls, torn and bloodied, beneath its hooves [claw/claw/bite all hit; 11 damage put him at -1hp].

[round 2]
Lycinia abandons hope of hurting the things with her magic, and decides to try cold, hard steel. Her sword slashes the horse demon clawing at her across its muzzle, spraying her with oily fluid [3 damage puts it at 11hp].

If steel be that effective, the strange metal of Théscine's enchanted sword is better still. The blade sings in her hands as she plunges it into the torso of the furious beast facing her, felling it instantly. [8 damages drops it to 0hp]. Haddie is running, running, running, too scared to feel the pain in her broken arm.

Aldira backpedals under the fierce onslaught of tooth and claw, her hands weaving a spell in the air as she does. A glowing arrow is just visible for a moment as it traverses the short space between her and her foe, impacting with a white flash [Magic Missile for 11 damage; it has 2hp left]. Gore leaking from the steaming wound in its belly, the creature manages to smack Aldira in the side, though her mystical shield absorbs the worst of the blow [2 damage put her at 11hp]. Intent on devouring its former rider, Haddie's demon horse gives chase through the thick forest.

Father Rochouart draws his sword and confronts the beast before him. Its snapping jaws tear into his armour, just scraping his chest [1 damage brings him to 8hp].

Lycinia's opponent is slow, but strong. A heavy blow forces past her parry, and claws rend her hip [4 damage drops her to 11hp].

[round 3]
Miolla's attacker luges down at her. She sidesteps the horse demon and in a single fluid movement brings her mace down between its shoulders with a satisfying crack [9 damage brings it to -1hp]. It sprawls in the mud and doesn't get up.

Théscine and Worland both attack the demon horse standing over the unconscious Géraint to keep it from trampling him. She strikes at its legs, forcing it back [3 damage puts it at 11hp]. Haddie stays ahead of her pursuer, oblivious to the branches lacerating her clothes and skin.

Aldira doesn't dare risk trapping her friends in a Web spell, especially as the horse demons are so massive it might not hold them. She draws her sword, preparing to fight it out. The glint of the blade spooks her assailant a moment; it hesitates to draw near, fearing more of her painful sorcery [they both missed]. Haddie's horse cannot find her. It gives up, and rushes back to devour her friends. Worland strikes the retreating horse demon in the side [4 damage leaves it with 7hp]; Géraint is no longer in danger of being pulverised by its hooves.

Father Rochouart's adversary has left his leather armour in tatters. It bites again at his chest, tearing flesh from his ribs [4 damage drops him to 5hp].

An unexpected uppercut catches Lycinia off guard. The claws do not penetrate her mail, but snag in her hair, violently jerking her head to one side [3 damage; she has 8hp remaining].

[round 4]
Miolla leaps over the fallen demon horse to back up her friend, Lycinia.

Lycinia is hampered by her hair still being twisted around the demon's claw, but as it attempts to pull her close so it can bit she sticks her sword into its side [4 damage leaves it with 7hp].

Théscine keeps forcing her enemy to retreat, slashing its thigh [3 damage drop it to 4hp].

Father Rochouart parries his opponent's terrible claws, mangling one of them in the process [4 damage puts it at 14hp]. Aldira thrusts her rapier straight into the chest of her horse demon. It crashes down before her [3 damage put it at -1hp].

Worland strikes right after Théscine; the creature retreats further, another wound leaking foul fluid [2 damage brings it to 2hp].

Lycinia's demon wrenches its claw back to drag her closer, but comes away with a bloody handful of flaxen hair [4 damage drops her to 4hp].

[round 5]
Miolla swings her mace in a wide arc, shattering the shoulder of the horse demon attacking Lycinia [10 damage puts it at -3hp]. It falls, mortally wounded.

Théscine buries her sword between the eyes of her opponent [6 damage brings it to -4hp], killing it instantly.

Aldira spins and lays open the flank of the beast fighting Father Rochouart [7 damage reduces it to 7hp]. Haddie's horse had come up right behind her. Swiping at her at the same time as she moved, its would-be fatal ambush delivers but the merest scratch [1 damage reduces her to 10hp].

[round 6]
The two remaining horse demons fight furiously, but they are outnumbered by angry, seasoned adventurers. They soon lie dead on the forest floor. As a testament to the Glory of the Light God, it is Father Rochouart who delivers the final, fatal blow.

Father Rochouart leaves his sword sticking out of the gruesome beast as he rushes to attend to the fallen Géraint. The Light God is pleased with his servants' bravery, and His Wholesome Radiance is as medicine to the wounded man [cure light wounds brings him back to 7hp].

Scene 30

Chaos: 9

Setup: roll of 10! = unmodified scene -- travel to Ildmarch to buy silver weapons et al.

Characters: Neldir, the Elders of the Elven Forest, Ranwitha the Pious Merchant, Siorighan MU12,  Tibalt & Barnot, dwarven mercenaries, griffon, Reverend Father Gelnay de Val d'Oine, Reverend Father de Molleré, Brother Mundlo, Zuhal B'thallit, centaur lizard, Jola, Sir Gaunet, Jönnick, Baron Iehan Forzdeleu, Count Rotres d'Estancbel, Lady Delphinia

Threads: find Neldir & the book
remove zuhal's curse

[This scene played out in the party's favour, mostly through Mythic questions and a lack of people/creatures trying to kill them. Rather than writing out a Two Towers-esque description of travel, eating, and talking to random dudes in ways that only tangentially advance the plot, I'm going to summarise the entire next scene.

Q: Can they find Haddie in the woods? Likely: 13, Exceptional Yes.
Q: Can they travel without incident the rest of the day? 50/50: 76, Yes.

It takes them the rest of the day to trudge the 4 miles to Citadelle Tagnard, weighed down as they are with the saddlebags & miscellaneous gear they kept on the horses.

Q: Can the PCs still count on Lady Delphinia's hospitality? Likely: 94, Yes.

Q: Is there a cleric present? Very Unlikely: 34, Yes. (The Light God is not so cool with lycanthropes, so another deity is needed. I opened my copy of the Homeric Hymns (éd. Jean Humbert) to a random page to determine which: Aphrodite. So, the Goddess of Love (as the Light God's pantheon is gods in the abstract)).

The cleric: Enda C4, f, age 25, easy going, lazy; she is pleasant company for the night the characters spend at the Citadelle. Father Rochouart views her with a bit of suspicion, but as the undead are as inimical to Love as they are to Light, in the end they both respect one another.

Q: Can the PCs get horses from Lady Delphinia's stables? 50/50: 02, Exceptional yes. The PCs offer to buy them, but she won't even hear of taking their money.

Q: Have emissaries from one or both political factions been to see Lady Delphinia? 50/50: 01, Exceptional yes. One is still here (1-3 Baron, 4-6 Count, roll=2): The baron's envoy is still present. He tells them that the Count has sent an expeditionary force to Yseut's Bastion to force the commander to join his faction. The fort is now effectively besieged. The PCs are distressed to hear this news, especially as they had been so well treated there on their journey north.

Q: How's the Lady feeling about the whole business? Haggle / Competition. She's still undecided, and not sure what's in it for her. She'll hold out for a decent offer.

day 76.

Curative spells from Fr. Rochouart and Enda restore the rest of the party's hit points in the morning. They set out with their cleric having used up all his spells for the day. They travel through the forest and give Yseut's Bastion a wide berth, not wanting to attract the attention of the Count's army.

A terrible rain storm hits, and the temperature is only a little above freezing. They have to ride hard [forced march] to make Chateau l'Oret.

The Baron has even more bad news for them (the Event from scene 27: NPC Action - Siorighan - Oppose Friendship): Siorighan has pledged to assist Count Rotres d'Estancbel in the upcoming war. As a show of good faith, she's sent a handful of troops to bolster his army, which would be merely a token gesture had she not included in their number three trolls.



Technically, XP for the dungeon and associated treasure should have been awarded before they left Foehrenfort, but I moved it to the end of this post so I could include the combat with the horse demons. No one gained any levels in any case, so the distinction is purely academic. This brings my accounting up-to-date before the party hits Ildmarch, where they are going to split up into smaller groups and have separate short city adventures for the week or so they need to spend there. But more of that anon.

1 antenna-pig-monster =250
1 shaggy loper =75
7 zombies =175
2 ogre-ghouls =500
8 horse demons =400
total combat=1400
total treasure=6250

grand total 7650/8= 956XP each


  1. An enjoyable adventure, sir. You certainly have a fertile imagination when it come to creating nasty things for the party to fight. The horse demons were a surprise for me.

    I look forward to the next episode . . . (particularly their various city adventures).

    -- Jeff

  2. The horse demons immediately lept to mind when I rolled the Transform Animals event fromt he mythic charts. It was one of the few times I didn't have to re-roll for lack of inspiration from the result.

    I do like making up monsters. I think the imagery is everything. The horse demons actual stats, determined randomly with the Best of Dragon magazine article, were: AC:8(LotFP 13), HD 3+1, claw/claw/bite for 1-4/1-4/1-6, Size: Large, no special ablilities. Hardly inspiring on their own!

    The first city adventure should be up soon.