Monday, 19 May 2014

LotFP Solo - Part the Twenty-Ninth: "Of fanatic rage and meaningless revenge"

day 77.

Winter is taking hold of the land. The temperature is hovering just above freezing. The rains have slackened, but it's still miserable trip down the road from Chateau l'Oret to the great city of Ildmarch. The party pass some merchants on the road driving their waggons towards Frommsport, hoping to set sail for the continent before the winter storms begin to batter the coast.

The party ride into Ildmarch in the mid-afternoon. Once again the elves marvel at the sights of the New City within the outer walls, but Géraint leads them straight through to the Inner Gate, for, he tells them, everything they seek will be found beyond.

The toll is steep -- 2 silvers apiece -- and the walls separating new and old are every bit as imposing as the curtain round Castle Hræfnmor. The guards at the gate seem more bored than the innkeeper in sleepy Casterby, as if inured to the splendours surrounding them. The elves had thought the New City must represent the pinnacle of human architectural ingenuity, with its wide cobbled streets, the tall buildings, and bustling markets. But the old city is more wondrous still. Tall, ancient buildings of stone rise on all sides, forming great canyons over the twisting, narrow passageways between. It reminds them of the tales they've heard about the dwarven cities carved in to the living rock under the high mountains. Now and then the passages open out into a marvellous square with statues and fountains, or a small park of carefully arranged greenery. Even the inn to which Géraint leads them is huge and faced with stone.

The inn is comfortable but not ostentatious, mostly used by middle-class merchants doing business in the New Town. Most importantly, it's warm. The fire in the common room is a welcome sight for the weary travellers, who waste no time getting settled in to their rooms. They spend the afternoon and evening in the inn's common room, discussing their plans for their stay in Ildmarch.

[Q: Are there any problems getting an Inn in Old Town? Very Unlikely: 47, Yes
Q: What kind of problem? Betray / Plans. Someone at the inn overhears them planning where to go and what to do and passes it on to an enemy.

The PCs are going to split into three groups. Each group gets a separate Mythic scene (or scenes, should Mythic throw in some Alterations and interrupts). I rolled a random order to play them out in since adjustments in the Chaos Factor will effect the subsequent scene.

The three initial scene set-ups in order are as follows:

1. Miolla, Géraint, and Worland are off to visit a gunsmith and a blacksmith in order buy weapons for the party.
2. Father Rochouart and Haddie are looking in on the only church of the Light God in town in order to acquire holy items with which to combat demons.
3. Lycinia, Aldira, and Théscine are off to the great library at the mage's guild to find information about the prison of Vhisigus.]

Scene 31

Chaos: 8

Setup: roll of 9 = unmodified scene -- Miolla, Géraint, and Worland are off to visit a gunsmith and a blacksmith in order buy weapons for the party.

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
buy silver weapons & guns
acquire holy items for spiritual combat
learn the secrets of Vhisigus' prison

day 78.

The next morning the party are nearly up with the winter sun, though its light barely pierces the thick blanket of grey clouds in the sky, which is in turn barely visible from within the ravine-like streets of New Town. A bitter wind blows off Lake Ild, and howls through the winding streets.

A simple breakfast together, then the three groups set off on their various errands. Géraint has to explain to the elves that human custom dictates they shouldn't walk around in full armour and heavily armed. They reluctantly consent to leave the armour in their rooms; their weapons are a badge of honour and non-negotiable.

Miolla, Géraint and Worland set off towards the markets. They first visit several blacksmiths until they find one who can make them some silver weapons. Their order will be ready in [2d4=]8 days. That settled, it's off to the gunsmith. Miolla can barely contain her excitement. She is disappointed to hear that it will take [1d8=]3 days for the order to be ready, but Géraint assures her that they can take them outside the city for testing whilst they must wait for the smiths to finish the silvered weapons. Worland promises her they can do the rest of their chores before then, so there's more time to play with the new toys. Besides, he's always wanted one too.

The whole three days are spent resupplying for an expedition into the unknown. The trio visit markets, merchants, shops, stalls, stores, and stables. Miolla is frankly bored, but Géraint is in his element, haggling and making bargains. Worland does his best to keep Miolla in good spirits, but the gloomy city streets remind her a little too much of marching through a dungeon, except without the exciting parts.

day 81.

On the third day they finally return to the gunsmith. Miolla has been up since dawn and is bouncing with excitement. Worland is nearly as eager, but is better at hiding it. Géraint is keeping cool as always; if he's not blushing over Théscine he never betrays his emotions.

They fail to notice, however, the man lurking in the shadows who has watching their inn from a nearby alleyway. As they leave, he slips away to inform his master.

[This is a consequence of the Betray / Plans event from earlier. To start, I rolled a random city encounter from the 1st ed. DMG: a Noble (F0), with three guards (F1, F2, F4) and one servant (F0).

I've been wanting to try out the Universal NPC Emulator, so I used it to flesh out the noble. I've already figure out a few things (relative power level, Noble), and I rolled twice for personality traits (on Chart 1: NPC Modifier) as is my wont. So-

personality: affluent, superfluous (noble is the youngest [1d6=2,male] son of a prominent Ildmarch family.)
1. manage purity (uphold the family name)
2. prepare enlightenment (no idea, but the rest was enough for one encounter)
3. persecute success (someone got the better of his family once...)

bearing: hostile / rage
focus: the character
NPC dialogue module yields: "the hostile noble speaks of rage against the character"

For the NPC Response Module (the equivalent of the Mythic Fate Chart for affirmative/negative responses), he'll be using the intersection of the Hated row (relationship) and the Guarded column (conversation Mood).]

At the gunsmith's, Miolla is beaming, turning one of her new pistols over and over in her hands. Worland is admiring the action on one of the arquebus. Géraint is weighing out the silver to pay for it all. The front door is thrown open violently, and in strides a young noble with his retinue. They are dressed in fine silks and expensive leather boots, and glittering rapiers hang at their sides.

"Well, if it isn't Géraint Lemarchant!" says the Noble. "One of my servants told me you were in town, but I'd scarcely credited it. What brings you back to Ildmarch? Another one of your stupid schemes?"

"My scheming days were over a long time ago," Géraint replies, "and reparations have been made to your family. I am a servant of the Church now, and far removed from worldly matters. Let it rest."

[72=No.] "This isn't about the money, or what you stole. This is about my family's besmirched reputation. I shall never let this rest."

"Look, we're on a quest," implores Géraint, "and we don't want any trouble. Is there any way I can make it up to you?"


Q: Does this turn ugly? 50/50: 17, Exceptional Yes.]

"Oh, I think there is," says the young noble as he walks over to the counter. He removes a heavy gold ring from his finger and places it before the shopkeeper. "This should cover the cost of cleaning up your shop."

The Noble draws his sword, as do three of his associates. Miolla puts the pistol down gently and takes her mace from her belt. Worland shifts his grip on the arquebus, holding it like a club.

"En garde!" yells the young nobleman.

[The nobleman's party wins the initiative. Their stats are :

     ch cn dx in st wi HP
F4 f  9 14  8 13 11 14 26
F2 m  4 13 12 11 13  8 17
F1 m  7 13 13 10 16 11  8
F0 f  9 12 10 12 13 15  2
N  m 10 13 10  8 10 12  5

They are all unarmoured, and all carry rapiers except for the servant (F0).

round 1.]
The three fighters advance on the party, as the servant woman moves out of the way. The lead fighter takes a single swing at Géraint, her blade slashing across his torso and spraying blood on the floor [6 damage drops him to 6hp].  Géraint winces for a moment from the pain, then draws his own sword in response. The other two fighters circle Miolla and Worland, looking for an opening. Neither find one [both miss]. Miolla sighs briefly, then raises her free hand above her head and speaks the words of an elven charm [casts Sleep: 9HD are affected, being all four 0-levels (Noble, servant, shopkeeper & his assistant), two 1st levels (Worland & Ftr1), and the 2nd level fighter]. A chorus of yawns is heard as the magical slumber descends over the room.

[round 2]
Only Miolla, Géraint and the woman fighter are left standing. She hesitates for a moment [needs to check morale. Her ML will be determined by the best 3 of 4d6 on the LotFP Loyalty/Morale chart; a roll of 9 gives her ML7. But she rolls under it, so] then she lunges once again at Géraint. He parries her blade deftly with his own [+2 AC bonus, but loses his attack]. Miolla hefts her mace and gives the woman a solid whack on the left shoulder [6 damage puts her at 20hp].

[round 3 & 4]
"Afraid to fight!?" sneers the woman at Géraint, as he blocks her sword yet again. If she had hoped to goad him into opening himself up, she is disappointed [she rolls a 3 for her attack, and he isn't parrying this round]. Géraint's blade bites deeply into her side, and Miolla's mace cracks a few ribs [6 and 8 points of damage respectively reduces her to 6hp. She's well below half hit points, so needs to make another morale check, which she fails]. 

The woman throws down her sword and, clutching her injured side, hisses through gritted teeth, "I yield!"

"I think you should leave," says Miolla sternly. The woman doesn't hesitate to comply. Géraint shakes Worland awake. He looks around, confused, then slowly stands and dusts himself off.

"Elven magic, huh?" he says, regarding the sleepers. "That's a new one on me. I take it we won."

"Yup!" chirps Miolla.

"Should we wake the shopkeeper, d'ya think?" asks Worland.

"Obviously we should wake the shopkeeper," snaps Géraint. "We should pay him and go."

"You're the boss. What do we do with the rest of the sleepytime brigade?"

"Just leave them; anything else would cause more trouble."

"For once," says Miolla stoically, "I'm glad Lycinia's not here..."

[Q: Are the PCs encouraged to shop elsewhere after this incident? Unlikely: 79, No. (they are, after all, dropping a lot of money here: 1364SP!)
Q: Has the noble been chastened into letting the past lie? No way: 03, Exceptional yes.]

The trio awaken and pay the shopkeeper, who is grateful they didn't kill anyone in his shop. They pack their new pistols and ammunition in some backpacks and roll the arquebuses up in a blanket so as not to attract undue attention in the city streets, and are out the door before the sleepers awaken.

They take the injured Géraint to the nearest temple, that of [1d33=22, Poseidon] the Sea God, where he is cured of his wounds --no questions asked-- for a nominal donation (the 250sp sardonyx he's carrying). The Sea God's temple is one of the major temples in Ildmarch; 80% of the shipping in Frommsport is owned by merchants living in Ildmarch.

Afterwards Géraint needs to buy a new tunic, which turns out to be more difficult than expected. He browses through the wares of several different clothiers until Miolla and Worland threaten to try the guns out on him right here and now unless he hurries up and just picks something already.

The firing squad averted, Géraint makes some enquiries with the city watch about where they could go to try out their new guns. He's told in no uncertain terms that 'the discharge of firearms or destructive magics is absolutely prohibited both within the city walls and for a mile without'. They decide to head out early the next morning and walk a mile down the shore for their shooting party. There isn't enough daylight left to set out now, especially as the first snow of the year is starting to fall.


  1. Nice. I like it . . . but . . .

    Where is this "Universal NPC Generator" available?

    I'm going to have to follow these city adventures closely and see how you handle them so that I can enhance my own games.

    -- Jeff

    1. I think I found my copy of the emulator here:

      If you can't get one from there, let me know and I can email you one.

      As to city adventures...
      I hope it will be helpful to see what I've done. I welcome any comments or critiques you may have. When I first realised the PCs needed to go to Ildmarch, I was excited for some mean streets fantasy action (there was a time in my youth when all we did was have urban adventures with parties of thieves and magic-users). What I've gotten so far is a random encounter that might as well have been in the wilderness, and a mini-dungeon (see next post). Hardly what I was expecting. Part of the problem is certainly that the PCs are only stopping off to run some errands, and have neither the time nor the inclination to get embroiled in the goings-on of Ildmarch. The other problem is the size of the party. Splitting it was the right idea, but running separate strands isn't something I wish to do for all that much longer. Perhaps this is all just a prelude to further adventures down the road. I think a smaller party could get into all sorts of interesting trouble in the big city some day, providing they had enough time.

      That said, I'm looking forward to the wizards' guild.

  2. Hey, the solution is simple . . . let some of the party die off. Of course that has been happening on it own now, hasn't it?

    If the party DOES get reduced by combat, maybe they can go to a city to try to find new recruits . . . just something to keep in mind.

    -- Jeff

    1. Good point. But they've had a run of good luck lately. No party member has died in over 6 posts now!