Monday, 22 December 2014

Runequest solo 2 - part X, The prisoner

Scene 17

chaos 6

Setup: Identity of the prisoner is revealed. Hilarity ensues.

NPC list:
1. Ni'arouj, the Caravan leader
2. Sage
3. Underworld Character
4. Kurkeza (the mission-giver)
5. Prisoner

1. find a certain sage

It is a most peculiar sensation for the sorceress to stand face to face with someone whose power she actually fears, and to know that he is now wholly subject to her whims. The fear itself is even a strange and unaccustomed feeling, for there are few who have ever inspired her with even a hint of terror. She cannot be said to fear her brother Enzzal in the slightest -- though she truly does dread seeing him most of the time, she generally views him with antipathy and spite, and sometimes in fact actual hatred, though in the most familial sense. Unlike many in Anzakàr, she has never felt fear of the serpent folk; veneration and respect, certainly, and through long familiarity with them, gained as she studied sorcery under their cold and exacting tutelage, she would honestly say that she finds them less frightening than those of her own species. Even the city prefect, who publicly regards her as an enemy, and has considerable resources he could bring to bear against her, should he wish (and his wishes are tempered only by the law of the City, which he has sworn to uphold), even such a one cannot arouse any fear. She has nothing to gain over him, and thus rather enjoys their one-sided rivalry as a joli divertissement.

And now, the fear in her breast is struggling against actual pity at the pathetic sight of the prisoner before her -- and not a little revulsion, too. For there before her, in the stout iron cage, restrained by powerful magic and heavy chains, battered and bruised, in once-fine tatters now stained with blood and his own filth, is the man whom she knows only by the appellation 'the evil jeweller', whose awful sorcery had once overcome her own.

He looks up at her face framed by the glowing lamp, his eyes unaccustomed to light for many a day. A sudden recognition passes over his face, his surprise momentarily the equal of her own. "Well," says he, "isn't this embarrassing."

"You!" shouts Lachaidiga, "How... what are you doing here?"

"The alchemist was planning to drain my life-energy to work some sort of grand spell."

"The irony is stifling..."

"Quite. So, what do you intend to do with me. I am, indubitably, in your power."

"What should I do? What would you do in my position? No, don't answer that; I don't hold with murder. But I'm not sure if I should let you live after... well! I think you know."

"I shan't beg, if that's what you're hoping. But I would like to be free of this loathsome predicament. Kill me or free me, just be quick about it."

"Fine. Prepare to die, then."


The sorceress laughs. "I'm only calling your bluff. And my own, if truth be told: I don't intend to kill you. But Wihiyaba may have other designs..."


"Wihiyaba! The warrior you had imprisoned in your lair. I'm sure he'll have something to say about all this. And I daren't stop him from administering justice, should he feel so inclined."

"It may surprise you to learn that he was only there by chance. The others had caught him snooping around. I only saw him the once, myself. He probably won't even remember me. I dare say my recollection of the meeting is a mite hazy."

"You came in and announced we were to be sacrificed to your Dark Masters in some sort of summoning ritual."

"Ah. Yes. That... it was nothing personal. We had originally intended to just use some vagrant for the ritual: someone of no consequence, who'd not be missed. But then the prefect's men started nosing round our affairs. And then, you appeared. 'Twas nothing personal, but... well, as a sorceress, your soul is just so much more attractive to certain parties. You must understand."

"Oh, of course I understand. If I were an evil cultist, I'd certainly want to sacrifice someone like me, brimming with magical power. Plus, I'd look ravishing all splayed out on the altar. But that's neither here nor there; tell me, why shouldn't I just end your evil ways right now?"

"I offer you a trade. A grimoire for my freedom: a book you won't find in the library of your precious college."

"Tempting... but I'm not so sure I should be reading anything you hand me."

"You mistake my meaning! I meant only that it was very rare, not forbidden."

"But what assurance do I have that you won't just turn on me again once you're free?"

"Would it make any difference to tell you that I'm done with daemonolatry? that I've had done with the cult entirely?"

"No, because I suspect you're lying."

"Of course. What if I were to furnish you with a list of names of cultists still at large in Anzakàr...and in Hasharu."

Whilst they have been speaking, a white mouse has crept into the room, unbeknownst to either party. It scurries in front of Lachaidiga, and runs in circles to get her attention. She bends over to look at it, and notices its eyes shine with their own light. It stops, stock-still, and a voice emanates from within it. The voice is that of Kurkeza, the man who hired her for this mission. "Sorceress! You have done well. Leave the prisoner there. We shall come and take possession. Wait until we arrive, and the agreed payment shall be yours."

"Wait," interjects the jeweller, looking pointedly at Lachaidiga. "That rogue Kurkeza sent you?"

"Yes. Why?"

The jeweller does not reply, but picks up the wooden bowl he's been given for his 'supper', and hurls it between the bars of his cage, crushing the little mouse. It expires with a squeak, and the points of magical light behind its eyes are instantly extinguished. "Kurkeza," says the jeweller, "is a nobody, but there is a great deal of raw power inside him. I doubt he'd ever make a decent sorcerer, but then I could be wrong about that; you've certainly exceeded my expectations--"


"but in any case," continues the jeweller, undaunted by Lachaidiga's outburst, "he is the errand boy for a cabal of death cultists in this lovely city with which I have had some dealings... mutual cooperation amongst sorcerers and all that. Though I'm afraid I may owe them a fair bit of money."

"Does this mean I'm not getting paid?"

"This means you've been set up to do their dirty work. Now, I've made my offer, sorceress: the book for my freedom."

Lachaidiga unlocks the cage, and hands the jeweller the keyring that he may loosen his bonds. "I'm sure," says she, wrinkling her nose, "that we can find you something decent to put on upstairs."

"And then we'd better flee," he replies, "before the cabal gets here."


[Die rolls for the above:

The jeweller needed to make a Hard (skill x2/3) Influence (66% x2/3 = 44%) vs. Lachaidiga's Willpower (79%) to get her to listen.
36 vs. 85, success

Q: Will Wihiyaba remember him? 50/50: 96, Exceptional No. (after all, it was dark and Wihiyaba was Seriously Wounded for the few seconds they met.)

Q: What can he offer? Guide / Magic. A grimoire!

Q: Can he offer any assurance of his intentions? Unlikely: 35, Yes.

Q: What? Change / Allies - he's against the cult now

Q: Can he offer anything else? Unlikely: 22, Yes. + Event
NPC action - Kurkeza - Communicate animals

Does Lachaidiga believe him in the end? Influence (66%) vs. Insight (60%)
87 vs. 29; if he's lying, she'd know.

Q: Is the jeweller lying? 50/50: 82, No.]

STR: 13
CON: 12
SIZ: 11
DEX:  9
INT: 12
POW: 17
CHA:  6

Action Points    2
Damage Modifier +0
Magic Points    17
Movement         6
Strike Rank 10(10-0)

Cult rank: Overseer
Cult Mage of Dark Forces Order

1D20  Location AP/HP
01-03 Right leg 0/5
04-06 Left leg  0/5
07-09 Abdomen   0/6
10-12 Chest     0/7
13-15 Right arm 0/4
16-18 Left arm  0/4
19-20 Head      0/5

Skills: Athletics 74%, Brawn 53%, Endurance 60%, Evade 18%, Influence 66%, Insight 79%, Invocation 77%, Locale 68%, Perception 76%, Ride 90%, Shaping 79%, Unarmed 85%, Willpower 72%
Maximum shaping: 8
Intensity: 8
Sorcery spells: Castback, Imprison, Smother, Store Manna, Tap Strength, Tap Constitution, Evoke, Wrack Darkness
Sorcerer Manna Store: Wand with Stored Manna of Max Intensity (Invocation/10).
Combat Styles: knives 55%

Scene 18

chaos 7

Setup: 6=interrupt (was: meet jeweller next day to collect grimoire)
Interrupt: PC Negative - random pic

NPC list:
1. Ni'arouj, the Caravan leader
2. Sage
3. Underworld Character
4. Kurkeza
5. The Evil Jeweller

1. find a certain sage

As the jeweller had predicted, Wihiyaba does not recognise him from their brief encounter. The generous-hearted warrior is all to eager to help another victim of the wicked alchemist, and even more pleased to hear that this last has information of the movements of pernicious cults which threaten the good people of Anzakàr and Hasharu. The jeweller promises to send a list to him at the barracks in a day or two. Lachaidiga vacillates between being pleased at the outcome and feeling guilty that she has lied to her old friend. But, she reasons, allowing a sorcerer -- and a powerful one at that -- the chance to atone for his evil ways will do more good in the end. And should the grimoire he has offered to her turn out to be full of lost secrets, then she herself could donate it to the great library at the sorcerous college.

Such are the thoughts going round her head as she hurries through the market towards her rendez-vous with the jeweller. She is on the point of reminding herself yet again that she must learn his name when a small band of ragged-looking townsfolk block her path. Their leader, a brawny man in a long filthy robe, steps up and addresses her. "Sorceress!" he shouts.

Lachaidiga has just noticed the death rune amulet he wears and is about to speak when he strikes her solidly with his fist. She is caught off guard by the sudden attack, and falls half to the ground, seeing stars from the force of the impact [1d3+1d2=4 damage].

[Q: Do any passers-by intervene? 50/50: 42, Yes.]

Before she has time to react, some passing nomads have already interposed themselves between her and her assailant. One of the nomads shouts angrily at the cultist in a language Lachaidiga does not understand, and makes a great show of the curving knife he carries without actually drawing it from its scabbard. The man backs down, but is no less defiant.

Lachaidiga climbs to her feet, and wades in to the fray. "These miscreants," says she, "are dabbling in forbidden magic and are trying to get me killed!"

[She needs to make an Influence (63%) roll: 98, failure.]

The nomads look at her, somewhat puzzled. The leader throws up his hands, and backs slowly away. She thinks she hears one of them mutter the words, "crazy witch" -- or something that sounds very much like it. The crowd around her disperses, leaving her to face the lead cultist alone. At least the threat of the nomad's knife has left him somewhat chastened.

"We need to talk," says he.

"I've no idea what about," she replies. "As far as I'm concerned, our dealings came to an end when I found I'd been lied to. I'm just off to the market now to buy a new gown, so if you'll kindly--"

[Formidable (skill x1/2) Influence (32%) roll to get rid of them: 62, failure.]

"You're hardly just going shopping, sorceress! Take us to him. If he pays us you'll get your thousand silvers."

Scene 19

chaos 8

Setup: meet the jeweller to figure out the next move (+collect grimoire)

NPC list:
1. Ni'arouj, the Caravan leader
2. Sage
3. Underworld Character
4. Kurkeza / death rune cult
5. The Evil Jeweller

1. find a certain sage

The jeweller's residence is a smallish house in an unremarkable street. Lachaidiga arrives, death cultists in tow, and pauses before the front gate. She turns to address her unwelcome entourage.

"Perhaps I had better go in alone at first. If he hears you all tramping up the stairs, he may run."

[she needs to make an Influence (63%) roll to convince them: 12, success.]

"Agreed," says the lead cultist, "but be quick about it. And don't try anything funny."

Lachaidiga gives not a word in reply but marches straight up to the gate with a dismissive wave. She climbs the steps of the little house to find the jeweller waiting for her in his cramped study. As he rises to greet her, she blurts out, "there's a pack of death cultists outside who've come looking for you. I'm afraid I couldn't get rid of them. How's your magic?"

"Still suppressed," he says, eyes downcast. "The alchemist would give me a potion every three days. Perhaps another day or so until the last one wears off..."

"Do they know that?"

"I've no reason to suspect that they should."

"Good. I've been pondering what to do about this mess the whole way over. I've decided to trust you and not them."

"I... I'm grateful you feel that way."

"I wouldn't be; I've notoriously poor judgement! But come, and follow my lead."

Lachaidiga and the jeweller step out onto the balcony and look down upon the cultists standing outside in the street. "You lot!" shouts the sorceress to get their attention. "I believe this little farce is at an end. We decided to join forces and start a cabal of our very own. You are, of course, more than welcome to declare yourselves our enemies. That is, if you believe your magic be strong enough."

[Q: Does this tip the balance? Unlikely: 06, Exceptional yes.]

The cultists pause to consider her words as she smiles down at them maliciously, the jeweller standing behind her with arms crossed, looking rather peevish. Suddenly, one of the cultists bolts in fear. His fellows rapidly follow suit.

"I don't think they'll be any more trouble," says the jeweller, and the two repair to his study. He produces a jug of his best wine and a pair of drinking bowls, making sure to sip first in order to reassure his guest that he's not about to poison her. He then hands her a basket full of scrolls and a pair of nearly-dry clay tablets: the promised grimoire and the list of the daemonolaters with whom he once terrorised two great cities.

The two spend a pleasant hour drinking wine and talking about magic, the way idle sorcerers are wont to do, but the wine quickly goes to the jeweller's head, as he is still weak from his ordeal as the alchemist's prisoner. Lachaidiga leaves him asleep in his chair, and quietly lets herself out. As she walks back to her inn, bundle of scrolls and clay tablets in her arms, she makes a mental note that upon their next meeting, before any other necessary business be transacted or simple pleasantries be exchanged, she absolutely must learn his name!


  1. Yeah, names are important . . . particularly with magic.

    -- Jeff

    1. Your explanation is so much better than 'I just couldn't come up with a good name yet'!