Thursday, 18 December 2014
Runequest solo 2 - part IX, The alchemist's manse
Setup: 5-room dungeon
1. Ni'arouj, the Caravan leader
3. Underworld Character
4. Kurkeza (the mission-giver)
1. find a certain sage
2. rescue the wizard
Kurkeza's master is being held in a townhouse with a walled garden, in one of the more affluent areas of Hasharu. Lachaidiga spends a goodly amount of time wandering the nearby streets, and paying careful attention to the comings and goings around the house. She sees almost no one dare to even approach it, as it some sinister reputation caused the locals to take longer routes around it rather than drawing too near.
[She needs a Perception (51%) check to successfully case the joint. Rolls 25, success.]
She is beginning to despair of gaining any actual information, but in the late afternoon, her patience finally pays off. A door in the garden wall opens, and she is witness to a horrible sight. A finely-dressed, goat-headed broo -- the universally feared and reviled chaos beastmen -- drags a frightened man by his hair out into the alley-way. The man pleads with the hideous creature to spare him, but the bleating fiend dexterously removes the mans head with a single quick stroke of his sword. He tosses the head onto the cobbles, looks around once or twice, to see if there were any witnesses, then, apparently satisfied, disappears back into the garden and closes the door behind him.
[Her Stealth (44%) vs. the broo's Perception (69%) to avoid being seen.
42 vs. 23; it does not see her.
Q: Does anything else occur? 50/50: 58, No.]
Lachaidiga does not wait to see what happens next, but rushes back through the streets to a crowded place she feels is safe, where she is violently sick. Ignoring the disapproving stares of the populace, she races off immediately to find Wihiyaba at the fort.
. . .
Having convinced her friend of the necessity and urgency of her 'Secret Mission', the two go stealthily to the alchemists manor in the dead of night. One street away they pause. Lachaidiga throws a spell over the both of them, so that they may "see" without light [She makes her Invocation roll to cast Darksense: 2 targets, duration 7xPOw=119 minutes, costing 3 magic points)].
The back alleys are empty of all sound and movement. Wihiyaba lifts Lachaidiga up onto the garden wall effortlessly, and then springs up after her. They jump down into a flower bed, the soft dirt cushioning their fall.
[Getting over the garden wall without making too much noise: Wihiyaba made a Brawn (64%) roll to lift Lachaidiga, and an Athletics (59%) roll to climb over himself.
Here beginneth the 5-room dungeon
room 1 - guardian monster
Q: Is the guardian monster around in the garden? 50/50: 28, yes.
The PCs need to make Stealth (L:44%, W:29%) rolls vs. the broo's Perception (69%): Lachaidiga fails on a 60, Wihiyaba succeeds on an 08, and the broo fumbles with a 00.]
From the darkness at the bottom of the garden, Lachaidiga and Wihiyaba see the chaos beastman roaming nonchalantly up an down the flagstone paths amidst the flora. They sink back behind an obliging shrub as the creature ambles towards them, humming some sort of awful, guttural tune and swinging its wicked sword in the air. It passes right by them without even looking in their direction.
Wihiyaba springs out from the bushes behind the oblivious broo. In a single fluid motion he brings his axe about and crashes it down on the creature's head with a sharp crack. The broo falls to the ground, and rolls over to face its attacker. Wihiyab swings again as the surprised beast tries vainly to scurry back out of reach. The tall warrior leans forward, swinging downward, and buries the axe blade between the broo's eyes, smashing its face into an unrecognisable pulp. The sword falls from its limp fingers and it moves no more.
[Wihiyaba made a surprise attack, rolling a 69 (Combat style 79%) for a normal hit. He got 2 special effects (1 for the uncontested success, +1 for attacking with surprise):
Choose Location (head) and Trip.
The damage roll is (1d8+1+1d4=)8 -1 for the broo's armour = 7 points; a serious wound.
Because of the serious wound, the broo needed to make an Endurance (84%) roll, which had to beat the original attack roll: 84 vs. 69 succeeded, so it remained conscious.
A similar Evade (72%) roll vs. original attack was needed to resist the Trip; it rolled a 13, and so fell over.
The broo suffers a -10SR for being surprised. Wihiyaba's base SR is 15, so the broo could not possibly win initiative. He also wouldn't be allowed to attack in the first round; though this is all largely academic.
Wihiyaba attacked, the broo tried to evade.
rolls were 74, success vs. 84, failure: a hit with 1 special effect.
Going for Choose Location (head) again, resulted in 10-1= 9 damage reducing the location to -9HP, a major wound.
This forced an Endurance roll, which the broo managed to fumble (00 again!), resulting in an instant gory death.
Action Points 3
Damage Modifier +1d4
Magic Points 10
Strike Rank 14
1D20 Location AP/HP
01-03 Right leg 1/7
04-06 Left leg 1/7
07-09 Abdomen 1/8
10-12 Chest 1/9
13-15 Right arm 1/6
16-18 Left arm 1/6
19-20 Head 1/7
Skills: Athletics 66%, Brawn 67%, Endurance 84%, Evade 72%, Folk Magic 46%, Perception 69%, Stealth 67%, Unarmed 71%, Willpower 64%
Folk magic spells: Bludgeon, Disruption, Mobility, Slow
Disease: Pyrohoxia - Rq6 pg 114
Combat Styles: Chaos Unleashed 82% - If primary attack is parried, broo gets a free head butt.
Weapons: Scimitar 1d8+1d4, Head butt 1d6+1d4, Heater Shield 1d4+1d4
On to Room Two: Puzzle Or Roleplaying Challenge - random picture below]
Lachaidiga does not come over to examine the results of Wihiyaba's handiwork. "Make sure it's dead!" she whispers.
"Trust me," replies the warrior, "there's no need to check." He pulls the axe free with some difficulty. Lachaidiga is momentarily sickened by the wet squelching sound.
The two look across at the manor house. Some dim light is coming from within. They approach cautiously, hearing low strains of a harp and tuneless singing. As they creep into the building, they espy a group of young women lounging about what appears to be a harem. They are all vacantly watching the musician playing her harp. The room is hazy with incense, which swirls in clouds as a breeze blows in through the now open garden door. Noticing the change, the music abruptly stops and all look towards the new arrivals.
One of the women gets up clumsily and totters over to Lachaidiga. "You must be the new girl," she says through bared teeth.
[Lachaidiga makes an Insight (60%) roll: 08, success.]
"Uhhh... yeah," she replies. "And this is the new eunuch."
"You don't want to mess with me. He's mine! all mine..."
"Of course I don't... I'll just wait outside."
Lachaidiga begins backing away, and the woman loses interest and wanders unsteadily back to the others. Lachaidiga swiftly intones a spell, casting her magic into the room, over the woman and the two nearest her. The woman stops short as it takes effect. She begins to look around fearfully, as do the other two, whilst the rest sit vacantly.
[Successful Invocation roll (fortunately) for Neutralise Magic, costing 3MP: 1 +1 (range) +1 (additional targets)
Q: Can she get info from the woman? 50/50: 46, Yes.]
"Hey," calls Lachaidiga, "I really need to talk to you."
The woman comes over with obvious trepidation. The other two are too scared to move. Lachaidiga is shocked by her appearance from up close. She is clad in the finest silks, voluminous fabrics concealing a coat of light mail beneath. Beneath her heavy make up, her skin is sallow and drawn, and though drenched in perfume it is clear she hasn't bathed in weeks.
"What's going on here?" asks Lachaidiga.
"Don't come any closer," the woman whispers, "it's not safe. If the others think you're coming to see the master, they'll tear you limb from limb!"
"I an help them," insists Lachaidiga, "as I've helped you."
"It's all a horrid joke of... of... I don't know his name. We only know him as our 'Master'. Though in truth we hardly see him. I think he's afraid of his own spells. He keeps us arrayed here, day and night, playing the part of harem girls. But we're not... we're just guard dogs! If anyone comes into the room too far, we attack in a jealous rage, and tear them apart. The magic compels us!"
At this, she holds her hands up for Lachaidiga to see. Blood is crusted under her vividly painted nails.
"I can free the others," says the sorceress, and immediately begins weaving her spell. One by one the other women come back to their senses. They are terrified to think on what they have done; some sit in shock, others weep quietly, one vows terrible revenge. Wihiyaba and Lachaidiga are full of questions about the layout of the manse, which the freed guardians are all too eager to answer.
[Lachaidiga managed to make three successful Invocation rolls in a row for casting Neutralise Magic. She's spent 9 more Magic Points in total, so has only 5MP remaining.
Room Three: Trick or Setback - Believing the object of the quest now lays within easy reach, an NPC companion turns traitor and betrays the PCs.]
Whilst Lachaidiga and Wihiyaba are interviewing the more cogent of the captured women, one of the others absentmindedly eats a piece of fruit off of a gilded tray. She slips instantly in to a feral rage, and starts screaming that the new girl can't have the master. She flies at Lachaidiga, fingers outstretched like claws, but she is quickly caught by the others and restrained, but the commotion has roused the Master of the house.
[Room Four: Climax, Big Battle or Conflict - Give the bad guy unexpected powers, abilities, or equipment.]
A portly man clad in bizarre finery appears on the upper balcony at the top of stairs. "I see you found a way around my guardians. In their 'jealous rage' they made short work of the last fool that got this far," says he, indicating some awful stains on the carpet with an imperious wave of his jewel-bedecked hand. "Even my broo was afraid of them... poor thing, I suppose you've killed him without a thought. Alas! I see that I'll have to deal with you myself."
Action Points 3
Damage Modifier +1d4
Magic Points 11
Strike Rank 12(14-2)
1D20 Location AP/HP
01-03 Right leg 0/5
04-06 Left leg 0/5
07-09 Abdomen 2/6
10-12 Chest 3/7
13-15 Right arm 1/4
16-18 Left arm 1/4
19-20 Head 0/5
Skills: Brawn 21%, Conceal 51%, Deceit 83%, Endurance 50%, Evade 50%, First Aid 59%, Folk Magic 75%, Influence 78%, Insight 80%, Invocation 73%, Locale 88%, Perception 70%, Shaping 80%, Stealth 69%, Unarmed 16%, Willpower 82%
Folk magic spells: Protection
Maximum shaping: 8
Sorcery spells: Enslave Human, Evoke, Tap CON, Wrack Harm
Gift (Secret Teaching): Gift (Secret Teaching): Mighty - Damage Modifier is recalculated, based on the sum of STR, SIZ and POW. RQ pg 291 (counts as the unexpected power)
Combat Styles: Dagger and Small Blades 51%
Weapon: Dagger 1d4+1+1d4, Shortsword 1d6+1d4
[I am not using a map for the combat, so it will take (1d3=)3 Action Points spent on movement to run up the stairs to reach the Alchemist.
Wihiyaba W 15+4=19]
The women seem cowed by the appearance of their captor. They flee to the corners of the room, fearful lest they be caught up in the ensuing battle.
Wihiyaba springs up the stairs toward the alchemist, who is tracing a pattern in the air with his free hand and intoning mystic syllables of power. His other hand holds a broad-bladed bronze shortsword, which he points menacingly at the advancing warrior. Lachaidiga remains below, beginning a counterspell. Ghostly tendrils, like the legs of a giant spider, appear in a weirdly-glowing halo around the alchemist. Lachaidiga struggles against them with her magic, but they resist her attempt to banish them.
[The Alchemist spent a round to cast Wrack; for the range and extra target it cost 3MP. Whihyaba spent all his AP on movement. Lachaidiga failed her Invocation roll so did not manage to cast Neutralise Magic; at least she didn't lose any MP in the attempt.]
The alchemist gestures at Wihiyaba, causing one of the spidery wisps to lash out at him, which the warrior deftly sidesteps. He slashes at the alchemist in return, but in avoiding the evil magic had retreated too far. His blade sails harmlessly through the empty air. [1AP to attack with Wrack, 1AP to defend: rolls are 22 vs. 25, the evade is successful. Wihiyaba failed his uncontested counterattack; 1AP.]
A second spider leg stabs toward the warrior, but snaps back too soon. Wihiyaba likewise brings his weapon down without injuring his target. [1 AP each for a missed attack roll.]
Lachaidiga is still pitting her magic against the Alchemist's vile sorcery, but it does not yield [Failed another Invocation roll, no MP spent].
Wihiyaba presses his attack against the alchemist, who brings up his bronze sword just in time to turn the axe from his head. The axe rebounds off the blade and into the balcony's railing, where it becomes stuck in the wood. [Wihiyaba's successful attack roll (41) was bested by the Alchemist's critical defence (04), which let him choose a special effect. He chose Overextend Opponent, so Wihiyaba cannot attack on his next turn.]
As the warrior wrenches his axe free, the alchemist directs another spidery filament to strike. It bores a bloody hole in the warriors leg. [Wrack hits, Wihiyaba's Evade fails; 3 damage to Right Leg.]
Wihiyaba re-balances his axe as another filament punctures his stomach [W failed evade, tendril hit for 5 damage to the Abdomen]. Still another of the waving black ribbons darts forth, tearing his arm from shoulder to elbow [It hits on a 23, doing 6 damage to the Right Arm: a Serious Wound. Wihiyaba rolls an Endurance check against the attack roll, beating it with a 48, so does not lose use of the arm].
Lachaidiga finally overcomes the evil spell with her own incantation [costing 2MP, 1 base + 1 for range]. The spidery arms shudder and burst into foul smelling smoke.
The Alchemist's eyes go wide with fear as his spell is sundered and the great warrior, seemingly insensible to the pain in his mangled arm, is bearing down on him. He desperately swings his sword in a clumsy attempt to fend him off.
Wihiyaba does not even seem mindful of the man's clumsy attack [he didn't Evade] as he swings his axe in a mighty arc. The alchemist attempts to ward off the blow but makes a terrible misjudgement. The blade of the axe takes his sword hand clean off. [Attack 14 vs. parry 73 (failure). Hit + special effect: Choose Location. Damage is (1d8+1+1d4=)10, -1 for armour makes 9 points total, dropping the location to -5: Major Wound. The alchemist fails an Endurance roll -- KO].
The alchemist swoons and tumbles forward in a faint at Wihiyaba's feet, blood jetting from the stump of his arm. Wihiyaba roughly picks him up by his collar and drags him down the stairs. He tells the women that he is an elite warrior of Anzakàr and intends to see the brute brought to justice. [Easy Influence (31 x 1.5 = 47%) roll succeeds] The women assent to his plan, as they have no more stomach for killing after their murderous ordeal. He bids them mind the alchemist, binding his wound so he does not escape justice in death, and finally turns to his own injuries. [Wihiyaba successfully rolls 1st Aid (44%) to stop blood loss from his own wound.]
[Room Five: Reward, Revelation, Plot Twist]
"You mind your arm," says Lachaidiga as she take a large ring of brass keys from the alchemists belt, "whilst I go free the prisoner."
The door to the cellar is left unlocked; no invader had ever traversed the harem to reach it before. A long flight of steps leads down into the darkness. Lachaidiga takes an oil lamp from a table before beginning her descent -- more for the prisoner's benefit than her own, as her magic still makes the darkness as bright to her as the noontide.
The cellar is musty and full of old junk, but a path has been left open to the far corner, where a sturdy cage of wrought iron bars is built in to the corner. As Lachaidiga draws near, she sees that a magic circle has been chiseled in to the floor surrounding the cage; how else does one hold a sorcerer captive? She also sees the prisoner slumped on the floor. She clears her throat to speak, and the man stirs, turning to face her.
"I'm Lachaidiga," says she, "a sorceress. I'm here to resc-- oh, shit: it's you!"