Saturday, 5 March 2016

Das schwarze Auge solo - Part XII: „Ob schon ist hin der Sonnenschein / Und wir im Finstern müssen sein“

"You're mad to travel in the mountains at this time of year!" exclaims one of the villagers. "And why would you go to that accursed place?" A general rumour of assent fills part of the inn's common room.

[Q: Anyone willing? Unlikely (5+): O3 C3 - No, but...
+Event: PC negative - Dispute / Randomness

UNE for dispute:
NPC Relationship: distrustful
Conversation Mood: cautious
knowing - discourse - power

random disputing NPC: d30=fortune teller; 1d6=f; 1d6x10+1d10=48yrs old]

Suddenly a shriek rings out. All eyes look to the table near the fire, where Frau Gnitzinger is staring at an empty cup in abject terror. She looks up after a few moments, and speaks. "Don't trust her! Don't trust the witch! What good could come of her plundering the old ruins? Let the dead rest! Don't let their bones wind up in her witch-poisons!"

"Now, good madam..." begins the village hetwoman.

"Don't you 'good madam' me. I seen it all here in the tea leaves. An omen of doom! Have I ever been wrong before? Didn't I see that wolves had taken Old Kruger's three goats? Didn't I prophecy that Nilly Lohgar's husband weren't the father to her child? Ain't I known that them Orks weren't here after no cheese?"

"Well, um..."

[Travjane tries Fast Talk (MU/IN/CH, skill 2) to defuse situation: 9/19/14, failure]

"Please, good lady," says Travjane, "don't fret over our intentions. We're searching for the sword of Lidde Maurenbrecher out of historical interest. If we recover any bones they will be turned over to the priests of Boron for proper burial. I'm not going to use them to brew any 'witch poisons', as you say. Why, I haven't even a kettle to boil them in!"

"You see!" exclaims Frau Gnitzinger, "she admits to her witchery! Why should we even let her in our village! Count your flocks on the morrow, my good people! and count your children! There's no telling what she's really come here for!"

[Q: Does Frau Gnitzinger eventually give up? Unlikely (5+): O6 C5 - Yes.]

The tirade continues for several minutes.  Her increasingly disinterested public eventually get tired of her ranting about the 'doom-bringin strangers', the 'murderous witch', and especially the 'prophecies' which were all obvious even before she had pronounced them. When she realises no one is listening, she gives up and goes away home.

Prophecies or no, the villagers are still loathe to travel into the mountains now that winter is here. There is one hunter whom Darian's gold wins over, but he still wants to go on record that it's a bad idea. But they can set out tomorrow, if it pleases them.

[Q: Quiet night? Likely (3+): O1 C3 - No, but... PCs manage to stay out of it.]

Darian arranges to buy some provisions [5 days' worth each] from one of the villagers, and then the exhausted travellers go off to their rooms for some well-deserved sleep. Unfortunately, the villagers of Winterfels are a boisterous lot; there isn't much to do but drink and make merry on these long winter nights. The noise from the common room keeps the travellers awake for far longer than they had wished, but at last, one by one, they all drift off into the arms of Boron.

In the morning, their guide is already waiting for them in the inn's common room. They soon set out into the mountains. He reckons it should be about two days' journey to the lost outpost.

[Using the hunter's Orientierung (Cunning/Intuition/Intuition (attributes 12/13/13); skill 4+1d6=10) to find the way. -2 penalty for snowy weather: 11/20/16 (-1/-9/-5!) failure.

They travel in a random direction, 1d6=4 (counting clockwise from the top hex side); The hunter gets a re-roll (no modifiers) when they emerge into the wrong terrain type: 10/14/5; QL=3, back on track.

no encounters

Survival (hunter's skill 1d6+4=6; Renahban better with 7 so using hers) roll: Mu15/Ge14/Ko13: 19/3/9, success QL2; decent campsite the first night.

2nd day: Orientierung: 18/7/5, success

encounter mid-dayish: physical - struggle - tedious]

The first day's travel is not too hard, and the wintery mountain scenery is breathtaking. The hunter leads them in the wrong direction for a while, but he keeps silent and they are none the wiser when he gets them back on track. Winding their way around the peaks and through valleys makes it much easier to conceal his mistake.

The second day he keeps them headed in the right direction, but the snows make some of the terrain nigh-impassable, and they do not reach their goal before dusk.

The lost outpost, in its day, was accessible by a steep series of winding steps carved into the rock of the mountainside. Today the steps are crumbling, subsided, and overgrown, and here and there the rotten remains of the railing still stand. On the whole, it presents about as dangerous an ascent as does the rest of the sharp peak. The decision to make camp here and climb in the morning, when they are sure of reaching the top in daylight, is unanimous.

* * *

Late that night, Darian bursts into Travjane and Renahban's tent in a panic. "Jergan's disappeared!" he cries.

Renahban looks for a fleeting moment as if she's going to tell the half-elf to shut up and let her sleep, but then she slides out of her bedroll and takes up her great sword as she rushes forth from the tent. Travjane follows soon after.

"Look!" says Renahban, "footsteps in the snow leading out of camp." Darian already has his rapier, and Travjane quickly snatches her dagger out from under her pillow and hurries to follow the mercenary. They make their way slowly into the dark wood beyond the reach of their campfire's glow, conscious of the snow crunching under their feet.

They see a humanoid form up ahead, walking slowly away. It's Jergan, in his night clothes and barefoot. He moves as if in a trance. Renahban and Darian look at each other in consternation, then both look pointedly at the witch.

"Oh, alright," says Travjane. "But if it's a spell I don't know how I can undo it..."

She bounds up and around Jergan to stand directly in his path. He does not seem to see her, and just keeps plodding forward as if his will were not his own. His eyes are glazed over and stare right through Travjane.

"Jergan! Jergan! Snap out of it!" repeats Travjane as she grabs him by the shoulders and shakes him. At first he doesn't respond, and pushes forward, almost toppling the frantic witch to the ground. But then a glimmer of recognition passes across his face.

"Wh--? how? where am...? Ah, shit."

"Jergan? What happened?"

"I guess I forgot to tell you guys that I walk in my sleep from time to time. How'd I make it all the way out here?"

"I think our guide fell asleep on his watch. But let's get you back to the fire before you freeze!"

[And I did not mention to you, the reader, that Jergan has the Sleepwalking disadvantage, either. It has a 1-in-6 chance to affect him each night. I have been rolling that d6 ever since they set out, but it hadn't come up a 1 until now (I assumed he blocked his door well enough when he was settled in town). And since he was wandering in the wilderness, I asked Mythic--

Q: Is there any danger? 50/50 (4+): O2 C5 - No.

The disadvantage activating does mean, however, that he will suffer a level of Betäubung (Stupor) for the whole next day, giving a -1 penalty to all rolls.]

Scene 26

Madness (d6)

Setup: chaos die=4 interrupt (was: explore ruins)
Interrupt: PC negative - Punish / Technology

The rest of the night passes without incident. Their guide bids them farewell early -- he's anxious to be off home.

The rest breakfast on trail rations around the fire whilst Travjane goes off to bathe in a mountain stream. She isn't gone long; even she finds the water a bit chilly this time of year. She comes back refreshed, and in good spirits despite losing some jewellery to the swift current, a fact which does not omit from her monologue before her groggy companions.

" really was most glorious! Even though one of my rings got tangled in my hair and I dropped it in the stream trying to get it out. Oh, but it washed away all the clouds of the night. I feel ready to scale the mountain, now. Really you all should have come too! I've had that ring for ages, and I shall miss it, but I feel so clean and alive right now it just can't dampen my spirits!"

Renahban looks up from her tasteless rations and studies the witch for a moment critically. "Travjane," says the mercenary, "the ring is one thing... but where's your right shoe?"

After some debate, she agrees to wrap her bare foot in a strip cut from a blanket. As much as the cold doesn't bother her, walking for hours in the snow will probably still give her frostbite.

[For the PC negative - Punish / Technology, I decided she would break or lose 1d3 pieces of equipment off her character sheet. The makeshift foot wrap and one good shoe will give her a -1 to Agility.]

Scene 27

Madness (d6)

Setup: explore ruins

NPC list: villagers, family, Ulmia the confectioner, Decius Keiler: knight & villain, villain henchmen, Jalosch the dwarf, wandering mage, Darian the tailor, Kamillio the rival tailor, Captain of the guards at Weihenhorst, Linnert the carpetmaker, the cobbler, Darian's apprentice, Uli the cadet, Renahban the mercenary, Jergan the warrior

Threads: revenge, the ivory box, get the needle, revenge against Captain, explore ruins

Once they've struck camp, it's time to ascend the mountainside to the ruins. The ancient steps carved into the rock are crumbling and treacherous, yet still provide the surest way to the top. They rope themselves together, shoulder their packs, and then begin the arduous climb. About half-way up, Darian loses his footing. Travjane braces against the rope to try to keep him on his feet, which jars Renahban backward. She falls hard on her bottom, but seems to mostly have injured her pride.

[reaching the top required a Climbing roll from each. They needed to accrue a total QL of 3 to avoid an incident.

J (skill 6) 11/17/1 success QL1
R (Skill 0) 9/17/7 fail
T (no skill) 6/13/6 success QL1
D (skill 2) 11/11/16 fail

Not quite... a quick table to determine who slipped/fell and how hard--

1d6 result
--- ------
1-2 Darian  takes 2d6 damage
3-4 Renahban takes 2d6
 5  D&R both take 1d6
 6  everyone takes 1d6

1d6=3, Renahban. She got a Body Control (skill 7) check to reduce damage: 18/4/1, 3 skill points left.

damage 2d6-3=1!]

The outpost, now little more than a series of broken and jagged walls, once commanded a view of much of the surrounding territory. When the exhausted travellers reach the ruins, they pause to catch their breath -- which is immediately swept away by the breathtaking view of the lower peaks and valleys all about them. Those of a more historical bent reflect upon the fall of this once-proud fortress, and how the doomed heroine must have seen the approaching ork hordes for a whole day, maybe longer, before they swarmed to the top of the mountain on that last, desperate day of battle so long ago.

[The outpost ruins are inhabited by... d30 key NPC; a silly result will be either (50/50) unintelligent monsters or uninhabited.


Personality: Positive, Tense
1. defile science
2. develop servitude
3. fulfil magic

#s 1&2 together made me think Dämonenbeschwörer (demon-summoner)

Q: Alone? 50/50 (4+): O2 C5 - No. 1d6=2 others
Q: Is one of them a summoned demon? Likely (3+): O3 C1 - Yes, and... max QL for summoning.

Using Koscher Magier for stats, but with Sphere Lore and relevant Invocationes at 10.

Other NPC: d30=castle employee, valet

1d6= 2,2; MU&valet both M

What class of demon (1d6)? 1-4 niederer (lesser), 5-6 gehörnter (horned; the more horns a demon has, the more powerful it is): 3=lesser; I have stats for 4 different lesser demon types, so I rolled a d4 to decide amongst them.

Q: Is the mage hunting someone/thing?  Likely (3+): O1 C6 - No
Q: What's he doing then? Travel / Love - reine Wanderlust
Q: Any relation to the mage in the tower? Unlikely (5+): O4 C4 - No, but... they know each other
+Event: Move away from a thread - ivory box - Activity / Vehicle (it's being shipped away somewhere.)

1d3 of the QL4 will be spent on strengthening the summoned demon: 1d3=2; so 1+2 services remain.

It was summoned 1d3-1=0 days ago (each day on this plane uses up 1 service)

The demon has a 15 Perception skill -- it knows they're coming.]

Out from behind a wall steps a young man in warm winter clothes whose ornate staff marks him out to be a wizard. But it is the sight of the creature beside him that arrests the travellers' attention. The thing looks like a nightmare caricature of a great wolf, with piercing eyes and an exaggerated, toothy maw. The thing's hide is dead white, and icicles dangle from its shaggy fur.

The wizard looks critically at the group before him, then speaks. "Who are you lot? Treasure seekers, I'll wager. Why can't you just leave the ruins alone and appreciate them for what they are?"

[That was via UNE--
NPC Relationship: neutral
Conversation Mood: forthcoming
insane - turmoil - treasure

The N/PCs need to make a Sphere Lore (Cunning/Cunning/Intuition - all have skill 0) roll to know what the demon is.
T 5/7/11 QL1
J 3/11/12 also QL1
D 8/6/9 also QL1!
R fail; she thinks it's just some sort of tamed northern ice monster.

QL1= Karmanathi are demons, and common in the north. They usually hunt in packs (via the Bestiarium entry).

Q: Does Jergan and/or Darian react badly to the demon's presence? 50/50 (4+): O1 C3 - No, but... they certainly aren't comfortable with it.]

Darian is a bit scared of the demon in front of them, and Jergan hasn't finished sizing up their chances against this mysterious mage and his pet Karmanath, but Travjane feels no prejudice, and elects herself spokeswoman. "We're on an expedition to recover items of historical importance," she says. "Not just here for plunder."

[Fast Talk (MU/IN/CH, skill 2): -2 penalty as it seems unlikely, even though it's the truth: 7/4/5, success QL1]

"Really?" says the mage in surprise. "That's a welcome sentiment."

"An old fort that was destroyed in the Ork Wars is hardly the place one looks for lucre."

"Indeed. I wish you luck then."

"I don't suppose you've seen an entrance into the underground fortifications?"

"I'm just out to admire the scenery. So I haven't really looked."

[He'll need a fast talk for that to sound believable. Also -2 for unlikelihood. skill 0; 17/11/2, doesn't sound convincing.]

"I see. We're going to set up camp and have a rest before we get on with it. You don't mind, do you? We don't want to spoil your scenery."

"On, no, of course not. Mind you pitch your tents near the walls. The wind gets fierce up on this peak. You know, if you want help exploring, I wouldn't mind lending a hand. I'd be a poor mage if I weren't a bit interested in the history of this forlorn place! And who knows what lurks down there... a little magic might be just what you need!" [scheming - negotiation - future action]

"We very well may do," says Travjane.

As they set up camp, Jergan sidles over to Travjane. "I don't trust him," says the warrior.

"Well obviously, replies Travjane. "But he might be useful all the same. Plus, it would be best to keep him where we can see him."

[rolling Travjane's Fast Talk vs. Jergan's Willpower: QL1 vs. Failure]

"You've got a point, witch."

"Don't call me 'witch'. If he turns on us, I can interfere with his magic. But I don't want him to suspect anything."

"He's not blind."

"Just humour me!"

When their camp is all set up, Travjane goes back over to talk to the mage. "If you still want to come, we'd be happy to have you. We're going to eat a little something before we start exploring. I'd offer to share our glorious bounty but... ugh, trail rations."

"No worries. I've brought my own."


  1. Something about "gift horses" seems to suggest . . .

    -- Jeff