Sunday, 31 January 2016

Das schwarze Auge solo - Part VII: „...lehrt mich der Feind, was ich soll“

Following her interview with the captain, Travjane makes straight for Darian's shop -- and is pleased to note that she could find it without too much bother. The tailor's sullen apprentice greets her, thinking she's a customer, and brings her in to see Darian. She quickly explains the morning's events, and asks if she might impose upon his hospitality whilst she is in his employ. He agrees, and bids his apprentice clean out the guest room above the shop. Travjane fetches her things from the inn at once, and by the time she returns the room is ready. She's pleased at the comfort of the tiny little garret, which is nicer and indeed bigger than her old room back in Hohendorf. She even likes the little window which looks out into an alleyway. A witch could get used to such lodgings!

Scene 14

Out of control (d8)

Setup: planning the caper

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

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

That night over dinner they begin to make their plans in earnest. Travjane first asks Darian to tell her everything he can about his rival, Kamillio. He has a lot to say on the subject, though she isn't sure how much is truth and how much is hyperbole. But she does manage to learn a few salient facts [numbered game notes to follow in separate paragraph].

For starters, Kamillio isn't his real name. But as the elegant clientèle he courts would never dream of wearing the fashions of a Perainepreis Kohlenbrenner from Kalmansfeld, he affects the persona of Kamillio of Vinsalt[1]. Even his friends know him as a complainer [2]; he's never happier than when he's got something to be bitter about. Many in the city say he's the best choice for racy eveningwear[3], but Darian insists he's no better nor worse than anyone else. He's said to be a weapon collector[4], but what he really collects, insists Darian, is other people's ideas[5].

[The notes:
1. Vinsalt is the capital of Horasreich, Firunsward (south) of Mittelreich. Where Mittlereich is essentially medieval, Horasreich is more like renaissance Italy.

2. Personality: Grumpy, Content

Motivations via UNE were also treated as Rumours, using my 'ask an NPC' system (scroll down). The first Truth Die + bonus (for good reaction towards the PC) is listed by each.

3. accompany lust (2+1+?)
4. obtain military (3+1+?)
5. abduct dreams (6+1+?)

only the 3rd rumour seems likely.]

Travjane decides she needs to see this 'Kamillio of Vinsalt' for herself. And she will keep her connection with Darian a secret for as long as possible, lest he scent the conspiracy. Darian decides that the first thing they need to do is make Travjane a nice dress: nothing ostentatious, but firmly middle-class so she doesn't look out-of-place wandering around the merchant's quarter. He will do his best to refrain from including any of his signature flourishes in the cut, colour, or trim. And he delicately makes the suggestion that she try wearing shoes.

[A Clothworking roll is needed; Cunning/Dexterity/Dexterity (he has 12/13/13; skill 10): roll 9/18/13. 5 skill points left = QL2. Kamillio can resist this with a Perception roll to detect Darian's handiwork.]

[1d3=] Three days later, Travjane is walking through the merchant's quarter looking radiant in her new dress. It's very plain, as Darian had promised, but the cut and hue could not be more becoming. But then, as Darian pointed out many a time, it's probable that anything would look good on her. Should she ever lose her magic, she thinks, she could always fall back on being a dressmaker's dummy. [She's back to full AsP. Boring random encounters have been redacted.]

She walks about the square for a while, pretending to shop, and watching as people go n and out of Kamillio's boutique. After a while she gets impatient, and decides she must go in herself. She waits for another customer to go in before her, then makes her move. She decides not to show herself yet, so pauses in the doorway to use her magic.

[She's casting Harmlose Gestalt (Harmless Form: Cunning/Intuition/Charisma, skill 5). She rolls 2/7/7: success, QL2. It costs 8AsP to cast +4AsP/5minutes of duration, so she's already down to 22. The Mindergeister roll is a 20, so they leave her alone.

The spell works intuitively, and the witch has no control over the form she assumes. It does alter her voice. The illusion can be seen through; the viewer rolls their Perception skill against the casting roll. I now notice that Townspeople (with stats similar to Darian) only have a 2 Perception, so would need a critical success to beat Travjane's QL2.]

Travjane walks in bravely. Inside Kamillio is animatedly (and a bit oleaginously) discussing fabric with velvet-clad fop. One of his subordinates is showing a pair of elegant gloves to a woman who's almost as beautiful as Travjane, and judging by her attire, most likely a Rahja-priestess as well.

One of the other shop assistants scurries over to greet her as she arrives. "The Twelve bless you," he says. Travjane returns the greeting, and is somewhat surprised by the nasal, disdainful voice that comes out of her. She waves the lad off imperiously, and surveys the shop. When she catches sight of herself in a mirrors, she sees the visage of a grande dame of Weihenhorst society staring back at her. Only in this place would that be the most harmless shape!

[Travjane needs to make an Empathy roll at -3 to learn anything really useful here from her cursory inspection (Cunning/Intuition/Charisma, skill 5). She rolls 4/2/7 - success, QL2. I ruled that means she will be able to roll for Truth of 2 rumours/motivations, randomly determined to be the first two.

accompany lust: 2+1+ 3 = 6 - mostly false
obtain military: 3+1+5 = 9 - mostly true]

From what she can see, reports of scandalously revealing evening wear are grossly overstated. Even the Rahja-priestess is in looking at something warm and sensible. But the wall of the shop are certainly decorated with an impressive array of exotic weapons: a tuzakmesser sword, a norbardic Molokdeschnaja axe, a thorwal 'orknose' axe, and a dwarven maul, to name but a few.

Travjane decides she's seen enough, and decides to make a hasty exit lest the Mindergeister catch up with her and ruin her disguise. She looks round once more, turns her nose up at it all, and marches haughtily back out into the street.

[Q: Can she slip out easily? (unsure: 1d6=4) 50/50 (4+): O5 C1 - Yes, and... well before needing to put more magic into spell.]

She slips down a narrow alley as the magic fades.

Once back at Darian's shop, Travjane relates her little espionage mission, and makes a proposition. "What I need to do now," says she, "is to find a way to get together with Kamillio socially. With enough people around to be distracting, but where I can get near him. And I need a fancy dagger. Do you think this could be arranged?"

[Q: Can Darian help with this plan? Unlikely (5+): O4 C1 - No, and...]

"Sorry, m'dear, but I haven't a clue where he goes to be social. Nor who could stand his company for so long as to issue an invitation."

"I need more plotting and less editorialising from you. Do you know anyone whom we could ask?"

[Q: Would anyone (sc. who is available to ask) know? 50/50 (4+): O5 C5 - Yes: d30 NPC=carpetmaker
+Event: Move toward a thread - revenge on Captain - Dispute / Intrigues]

"In fact a rather close associate of mine: one who has a vested interest in this undertaking, in fact. He's been trying to stay in the background, but... I suppose he's our best chance at this."

Darian takes Travjane to meet his friend, Linnert the carpetmaker. As they are crossing the quarter, they pass a group of workers outside a cobbler's shop, arguing with the proprietor.

"We would come to work," Travjane overhears one say, "but our families have been threatened."

"Damn the Captain and his threats!" shouts the cobbler and his frightened workers. "I'll never pay that scoundrel a single Kreuzer!"

[The Event above went perfectly with the random encounter (PCs see merchant standing outside shop arguing with workers), so I combined them. Otherwise such an encounter would have gone unrecorded.

At this point in the game, the carpetmaker didn't seem as important as he later became. A few die rolls and interpretations slowly turned him into Darian's ally/co-conspirator. And when it hit me that he could also make use of a magic needle, it all came together. So the narrative has benefited once again from the game being played to a point well beyond where I'm typing up posts.]

Travjane goes silent for a few moments as the realisation of what she has just witnessed sinks in. "Is the guard captain really dirty?" she asks Darian.

"Oh, absolutely!" replies the Tailor.

"Hmmmm...." she thinks to herself.

And then they have arrived at the carpetmaker's shop. Linnert is a large, rather uncouth fellow who wheezes a bit when he speaks. He sighs as he sees Darian enter the shop. "I thought we agreed not to meet once you found us 'the asset'."

"The Twelve bless you too," says Darian, undaunted. "We've had a change of plan."

"Come in back then."

Linnert takes them into a cramped, windowless storeroom. "Maybe we should have met you at home," muses Darian, as he attempts to get comfortable atop a sagging wooden crate.

"I'm not used to entertaining in my workshop," replies Linnert.

"I live above mine so I can always receive my guests."

"I thought it was because you can't trust your apprentice."

"At least mine can read!"

"Perhaps we should get down to business. Don't mind us, good lady, we've been friends for far too long. I see by your expression that Darian forgot to warn you how we are."

"I..." begins Travjane.

"No matter. I am Linnert; welcome to my humble shop. And you are...?"

"Travjane. But you can keep calling me the Asset if it makes you happy."

"I hardly think that necessary, good lady. Now what can I do for you?"

"We need to arrange for me to surreptitiously meet with Kamillio. Darian thought you might know how this can happen."

[UNE: knowing - discourse - allies
Q: Allies? d30=illusionist (I interpreted this as Gaukler(juggler); I really need to make a game-specific revision of the d30 Key NPC table like I did for Dragon Warriors)]

Linnert thinks for a moment. "He does like to go watch his friends, the players. What're they called again...? Oh, yes! the Mini-sänger. They're funny enough, I hear, if you like that sort of thing."

"It might be too hard to get close in a crowd. Do they celebrate after the performance? And does he go with them?"

[Q: Does Linnert know? Unlikely (5+): O6 C4 - Yes, but...]

"Of course they do! They're players, after all. They drink at the Rose & Sceptre. But I don't know if Kamillio goes with."

"It looks like we're off to see the show."

[The next performance will be (1d8-1=) 3 days hence.]

Scene 15

Out of control (d8)

Setup: see the cobbler

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

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

Travjane leaves Darian to find her a suitably flashy dagger (she couldn't afford even a simple one at this point without selleing some jewellery) and goes off to see the cobbler. His shop is open, but seems empty inside. She finds the cobbler at his workbench, surrounded by enough work for four men, and nearly in tears. His head snaps up when he sees the witch enter. "Can I help you, madam?"

[no encounter on the way there.

NPC Relationship: peaceful
Conversation Mood: forthcoming
friendly - comfort - recent scene]

"I saw you talking to your workers earlier," says Travjane. "I understand you have problems with the town watch. Specifically, the captain."

"Yes. He's making me pay protection money... well, it's blackmail really. You too? it's nice to know I'm not alone."

"No, not really. Well, sort of. Allegations that could be used against me, and that sort of thing. I want to get back at him, and expose him for the miscreant that he is!"

"I will help if you are going to do this. I can't face him alone." [UNE: knowing - telling - future action]

"Do you know when he will return? Or does he prefer to surprise you with his visits?"

[Q: Does he know? 50/50 (4+): O5 C4 - Yes, but...
in 1d6-1 days=]

"Tomorrow. But he doesn't come in person. He prefers to send his lackeys."

"I want to be here anyway, to see how it goes; we can't rush this. I guess I'll be looking for a second pair of shoes..."

Scene 16

Out of control (d8)

Setup: hang about in cobbler's shop to witness the shakedown

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

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

Travjane returns to the cobbler's shop early the next morning, intent on finding some way of turning the poor man's distress against their mutual enemy. But it's a long and tiresome wait in the empty shop, and the cobbler is not much of a conversationalist.

[Q: Anything happen whilst waiting? unlikely (5+): O1 C1 - No, and... Travjane gets a bit bored.
+Event: Ambiguous event - Arrive / Military (there are Academy cadets in town)

Travjane need a Willpower check to stick it out: 20/15/15 is a failure. She spends a fate point to re-roll: 5/7/6, success.

The captain sends 1d6= 1 hench(d6=)woman]

After what seems an eternity, someone finally comes to the door of the shop. Travjane jumps up to hide in the back room.

[Stealth vs. Perception rolls; both Travjane and the henchwoman fail, so vcitory goes to the passive skill user.]

A tall, broad-shouldered woman enters the shop. She's wearing a non-descript townswoman's dress, but the battle axe she carries marks her as no simple peasant. She spots Travjane rushing out of the room and yells after her. "You! Get out of here! I need to have a private word with this gentleman."

Travjane does as she is bid, and runs out of the shop, not even daring to look the captain's enforcer in the face. The woman shuts the door behind her, and Travjane pads quickly back and presses her ear to it.

[Perception roll 10/13/3, success]

"We'd hoped," says the enforcer, "this little demonstration would make our message clear. We have no interst in seeing you ruined, just getting our due. Reconsider: it's the word of the Law versus the word of a cobbler caught [Cruelty / Rumour] spreading rumours to discredit his enemies. We'd hate for that to come to light. 'Twould make the whole quarter look bad. Get us our money by [2d6=7] this time next week or we go public with your letters." [knowing - report - power]

Travjane rushes back out into street and disappears into the crowd before the enforcer comes out.
[Q: Is there an altercation? 50/50 (4+): O3 C7]

The woman either doesn't see her or doesn't care, and walks away down the street. Travjane rushes back into the cobblers shop once she's out of sight.

"Wait a minute!" shouts the witch, "Who's the bigger blackmailer here? What did you do? Are you trying to set me up?"

[UNE again--
NPC Relationship: friendly
Conversation Mood: helpful
inquisitive - skepticism - experience]

"N-no!" stammers the cobbler. "I understand a woman who knows the ways of the world, such as you, would naturally look askance at such a conversation. I admit I'm not an innocent in this affair, but my misdeeds were of a personal nature, not for something so shabby as money. Or power."

"Who did you spread rumours about? And why?"

[d30=fighter. 1d8: 1-2 mercenary, 3-4 soldier, 5-6 warrior, 7-8 knight: 1; d6=m]

"Lirobal Ladrón. He's a mercenary from Brabak who's settled here in Weihenhorst. We were competing for the romantic attentions of [d30=peasant, d6=f] Noiona the milk-maid. She lives without the walls, but is a rare beauty, I assure you."


[BOLD waylay: haven-hamlet-stale; avoidance]

"I sent her parents a series of letters, which I knew one of their neighbours could at least read to them, blackening Lirobal's reputation, saying he had the most fearful intentions. Now she no longer brings the milk to market, and won't leave her little farmstead. Someone got wind of the letters, and the guards have confiscated a fair few of them..."

"I need time to think things through. You're not as useful to me as I'd hoped, since you're actually guilty. I'll be back when I have a plan -- if I have a plan -- but it might need someone important to catch them shaking you down for the money. So you'd best get it raised somehow. And if you write any letters about me to anyone I will curse you to the end of yor days. Understand?"

[Intimidate (Courage/Intuition/Charisma, skill 3) roll, +1 bonus for appearing to be a witch: 14/3/12, success QL1.]


Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Das schwarze Auge solo - Part VI: „Ein Freund, der nie mir hilfft, ein Feind, der nichts mir thut“

Travjane can almost ignore the morning sunlight streaming in her window, but the plaintive cries of a cat outside it cannot go unheeded. "I'm trying to sleep!" she tells it fruitlessly. She soon realises a more direct approach is needed, and goes to the window to shoo it away. "Get lost! It's far too early to listen to your racket. If you're someone's familiar, can you please come back later? Otherwise, I don't want to know!"

The cat stalks off across the rooftops, leaving the witch to wonder if there will be any repercussions for her rudeness. Her head is pounding, but she fancies that's the wine's fault rather than another witch's curse.

She stumbles down the stairs into the inn's common room. She gives the barmaid four silver talers for last night's room and board, and another four in advance for the room and breakfast today; she assumes she'll grab some sort of lunch whilst she's out doing her errands, and that half-elf had better be buying dinner if he wants her help.

A quick repast of black bread and fatty bacon puts her head to rights, and she soon sets out into the quarter in search of information. The streets are a veritable maze of shops, wholesalers, middle-men, moneylenders, and warehouses. And every conceivable space in the public squares is taken up by the stalls of less-permanent vendors.

At one point she passes a dwarf sitting at a simple wooden table, behind which a carefully-lettered notice tacked to a post reads 'Recruiting for Expedition into the Finsterkamm' in Garethi and (she assumes) Rogolan [dwarfish]. At the bottom of the notice someone has hastily scrawled 'magicians wanted'. As much as she has no intention of joining this dwarf on some mad adventure, Travjane is at least comforted by the thought that her magical skills will save her from penury.

On another street, Travjane sees an guild wizard (judging by his clothes and staff) taunting a goblin shaman (judging by her headdress and bone necklace). She feels like she should step in and say something, but she doesn't want to risk a certamen arcanum with the mage, which would almost certainly end in tragedy.

[It took two streetwise rolls to find the shop she was looking for, and so two encounter rolls.]

Finally, in a dim and cavernous side-street, she chances upon the Emporium Mirorum [Latin Bosporano for 'The Shop of Wonders']. She could tell this was the place the moment she saw the window display.

[The merchant--
Personality: Austere, Placid
UNE Motivations:
1. promote the elite (high-class clientèle only)
2. secure disbelief (it's all really magic! really!)
3. operate hardship (will buy artifacts cheaply to 'help' those whose finances are distressed)]

The interior of the shop is dim and dusty, and filled with a bewildering array of bones, specimens, scrolls, codices, tinctures, powders, objets d'art, tchochkes, and other curiosities. Travjane would love to stay and browse, but she is driven on past them by her purpose.

The shopkeeper eyes her warily as she approaches his counter. She sees him look her up-and-down, and make a veridical yet still insulting appraisal of the status of her purse. "May I help you?" he asks, nonetheless.

"I've had an item stolen from me by bandits," replies Travjane, "and the person from whom I received it said it may have ended up here, since only you deal in such rare and wonderful goods."

"Miss, you insult me! I assure you I wouldn't receive stolen goods from bandits."

"Oh they didn't look like bandits: more like respectable knights. But they robbed me on the road, so..." Travjane relates the encounter in forest as briefly and, she hopes, in as heartfelt a manner as she might.

[She needs to make a Fast-talk (Courage/Intuition/Charisma, skill 2) roll to get anything useful. Modifiers are +2 for Good Looking, but as this is not strictly business she gets -2 for being a peasant and -1 for her witch's streak. She rolls 6/9/1, a success even with the -1 total penalty. So,

Q: Has the box been brought here? Doubtful (6): O6 C4 - Yes, but...]

"In point of fact I did see a box as you describe. It was brought here by an armoured [d6=] man just a few days ago to be appraised. I couldn't open it, so I couldn't put a value on it. It's a nice enough piece to look at, but, well..."

"What did this man look like? Did he wear a jewelled brooch in the shape of a peacock?"

[another Fast-talk roll, same mods. 17/11/4, fail]

"He might have done. I didn't take much notice."

"Can  you describe him to me? Only, he didn't take off his helmet when he robbed me. I saw his lance, his sword, and his greedy gauntleted fist."

"I'm sorry, he made no impression, and when I said I could not help him he left."

"Please try to remember. It's important. I'd hate to have the town magistrate get involved..."

[this tactic requires an Intimidate (Courage/Intuition/Charisma, skill 3) check at -2. Rolling 17/15/15 is a failure, so Travjane spends a Fate Point for a complete re-roll: 10/9/2, success.

Q: On a scale of 1-10, how much does he know? 1d10=5
Q: How much will he reveal? 1d5=3.

d30 on Key NPC table = noble teacher, swordsmanship]

"Fine. His name is Decius Kleiber. He's one of those rapscallions from the academy, I think. Perhaps you should go there to find your box. And keep your troubles away from the good people of Weihenhorst!"

This is more than Travjane expected, or bargained for. She hastily takes her leave, and goes out into the street. She sits down by a public well to have a think. As she's sitting there, she sees a unit of 20 city guards raiding a produce seller's shop [random encounter]. The sight convinces her she'd do her thinking better somewhere like the inn -- lest she be arrested for vagrancy.

image from the DSA-Fanpaket

On her way back she once again sees an altercation involving a mage -- the same one, in fact, that she saw earlier. But this time it is the rather frightened-looking mage who is cowering under the withering abuses heaped upon him by a angry Thorwaler lass, who seems to regard the goblin as a close friend. Travjane can't help but smile as she walks past.

[The random encounter was: PC sees a barbarian insulting a magician. I asked Mythic
Q: Same magician from earlier? 50/50 (4+): O4 C2 - Yes, and...]

Travjane sits alone in her room at the inn and thinks over her situation until the evening. She had been fairly certain she would agree to help the tailor, but now she is trying to think of a way for him to help her in return.

He comes to see her as promised, and offers to buy anything on the inn's menu she likes for dinner -- price being no object. Travjane gratefully accepts, but says he needn't worry about  extravagance. As sure as she is that he could afford it, she just can't see the two of them eating an entire haunch of beef [120s (and 35kg) per the rulebook]. Darian puts in their much more modest order and comes back to the table with a flagon of the wine Travjane had seemed to praise the most the night before. He tries to make small-talk as he pours, but the witch cannot keep her decision bottled up any longer.

"So I've thought it over," blurts out Travjane. "You know people in this town, right? I mean, people that matter, you've met them... in a professional capacity at least."

"Yes..." says the tailor, uncertainly.

"All right, then. I'm in. But if I get this thing for you, I may need a... a letter of introduction."

"To whom?"

"I'll let you know when I have figured that out."

Scene 13

Chaos: Out of control (d8)

Setup: chaos die=3, Interrupt (was: planning the caper)
Interrupt: PC negative - Activity / Intrigues

NPC list: villagers, family, Ulmia the confectioner, villain, villain henchmen, Jalosch the dwarf, wandering mage, Darian the tailor, Kamillio the rival tailor

Threads: revenge, the ivory box, get the needle

[Now that she's got a definite task in Weihenhorst, I'll be switching scenes more often. Also, despite a full meal, she and Darian drank a lot more wine to celebrate thier new partnership and toast the success of their undertaking. And Travjane failed her carousing roll.]

Travjane comes down to the common room a little past mid-day, bleary-eyed and still a bit unwell. She drops a few hellers on the bar and asks the barmaid to bring her something curative. She is sitting alone at a table, throbbing head in her hands, when a three city guardsmen burst in. One waives an official writ in the air as he accosts a frightened local merchant.

"We're looking for a young woman," shouts the guardsman. "A stranger, black hair streaked with white, a cheap dress, goes barefoot. Have you seen such a person?"

The frightened merchant points to Travjane's table.

"You! come with us. We've got orders to bring you to the captain for an interview. And don't try anything funny. There's [1d6+2=] six of us, and we won't take kindly to any witchcraft."

Travjane stands, and walks right over to the guardsman. She snatches the writ from the leader's hand, and looks it over.

"Who said I have a cheap dress?"

"Sorry, miss. This is the description we've been given."

"Let's go, then."

Travjane is all sweetness and smiles as the guards march her across town. She does her best to make light of the situation, and by the time they have reached the town hall the guards are all laughing and joking with her [Seduction roll (+2, -3) succeeded].

She is shown into the Captain's office, where all levity abruptly ceases.

NPC Relationship: distrustful
Conversation Mood: forthcoming
friendly - alliance - superiors]

"We've heard," says the captain sternly, "that you have been asking after the good Sir Decius Kleiber -- and making serious allegations, which, were they true, would besmirch his noble and decent reputation. And as he is such a respectable and important person, I can't imagine how your -- shall we say -- accusations could be other than fabrication, or -- more charitably -- simply misplaced. Perhaps the unsettling nature of being robbed by bandits has clouded your memory of the event, caused you to fill in details that you didn't see clearly with things you've come to hear later on. Else -- and I'd hate to think this were the case -- your words could be construed as baseless slander. And judged rightly and harshly for such by the Law. Do we understand one another?"

[Travjane needs to make a Willpower (Courage/Intuition/Charisma, skill2) check to avoid this setting off her Vengeful disadvantage. She rolls 19/8/10 - he's added to her enemies list.]

"Oh, we understand one another perfectly."

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Das schwarze Auge solo - Part V: „Ich bin in eine fremde Stadt verschlagen“

It is a crisp and bright winter's day as Travjane bids her friends at the cloister good-bye, and sets out over the hills. She has a half-day's walk ahead of her, but her recent success has given her a hopeful feeling, and lightens the trek. After a couple hours she sees the small city of Weihenhorst in the distance across the river Breite, its stout walls and proud spires gleaming in the rays of the Praios-Orb.

She's only been to Weihenhorst twice before, and then only as a stopover on her pilgrimages to the Travia temple in far-off Greifenfurt. All she really remembers of it was the crowds and the noise and the smell,  not as big or as overwhelming as Greifenfurt, but a bit cramped and loud and smelly for her country tastes. Still, it's her best chance of uncovering the identities of Widow Brinnske's murder -- and exacting her revenge.

[But first, some parish notices.

Travjane hasn't had time to improve her skills (nor will she for a few scenes yet -- I've played through 21, and she still hasn't had a good break), but she is due some Adventure Points for the little excursus with the bandit ghosts and the ogre. I read and re-read the section on how many AP to award, but I kept putting off making the actual decision. There weren't many encounters, but she saved some ghosts, helped kill an ogre, and won the respect of the priests of Boron. As 5AP is the smallest suggested reward for a short adventure, I think I will just give her the 5AP, but with the proviso that 2 of them may only be used to increase her Singing skill, since it proved oddly pivotal to the way everything worked out. So at some point she will have 10AP to spend.

I am using Midkemia Press' Cities book for random encounters in Weihenhorst, though there have been a few re-rolls of results that really don't fit Aventuria, or at least this part of it. I generally roll for an encounter every time the party/PC moves around within a precinct, or enters a new one. Mundane encounters that lead nowhere probably won't get noted unless they add to the flavour of the big (from Travjane's perspective) city. But even she will eventually get over "X accidentally bumps into character" results.

As Travjane is a stranger in Weihenhorst, she will be getting a -3 penalty on most social rolls (-2 for being an outsider here, and -1 for her witch's streak). This doesn't apply to doing business with merchants, and there will be other individual exceptions.]

Scene 12

Out of control (d8)

Setup: Weihenhorst

NPC list: villagers, family, Ulmia the confectioner, villain, villain henchmen, Jalosch the dwarf, wandering mage

Threads: revenge, the ivory box

Travjane feels decidedly self-conscious as she crosses under the stone archway into the city. The crowds and the noise she remembers, the smell though reminds her a little too much of the ogre. She is soon lost in the bustle of a busy street, jostled by passers-by who make attempt at politeness, and just keep walking. Her own attempts at being civil go equally unheeded.

Her demeanour, her clothes, her speech all have the air of the country about them, and she's never been quite so aware of that as she is now. She had smiled as sweetly as she might at the soldiers guarding the gate, but even they only sighed and told her not to block traffic. Everyone seems so hurried, so self-important, so very urban, if not urbane. Those who deign to notice her do so only down their noses, she is sure. Perhaps she will have to buy some shoes.

After a few minutes hopeless meandering, she decides to go straight the merchant's quarter and take care of her business.

[looking for the Merchant's quarter on her own requires a Streetwise (Cunning/Intuition/Charisma) check. Her roll is 1/18/11, which fails as she has 0 skill. The failure requires another encounter check wherever she ends up by mistake: (1d6) 1-4 stay in poor quarter, 5-6 blunder into rich quarter; 3=poor.]

Travjane blunders down a side-street in hopes of escaping the crowd. At first, she has no such luck, but then she sees the people suddenly thinning out. Too late does she realise the reason:  a stallion has gotten loose and is stampeding through the streets of the quarter. Suddenly she is by herself in the middle of the thoroughfare, with the enraged Warunker bearing down on her.

[Warunker is a typical aventurian horse breed.

Travjane is going to cast Meekness (Sanftmut) before getting trampled. She needs to do it quickly (again) so there's a -1 penalty. The horse's Mental Strength is 0 (no mods). She rolls 14/7/8 against Courage/Intuition/Charisma, so needs to use 2 skill to bring the 14 down to (13-1=)12; 2 skill remaining = QL1. 1d20=17, no Mindergeister.]

Travjane stands her ground as the horse gallops up the street, and looks it right in the eye. It skitters to a stop and bows its head sheepishly. She walks right up and pats it on its flank, and speaks to it softly. "Did something give you a fright? No need to be so skittish; no one here will hurt you. The big city can be scary when you're on your own. Trust me, I know."

[Her spell will only last 3 minutes, so she is going to try to calm it down completely using the Animal Lore skill (Courage/Courage/Charisma; skill 6). Her roll of 2/15/4 succeeds with 4 points left over, so QL2.

Q: Is the owner coming after it? Likely (3+): O3 C5 - Yes]

Travjane's honeyed words calm the beast, and it stands still and content. Soon a red-faced [1d6=] townsman trots panting up the street.

"He yours?" asks Travjane.

The man puts one hand on the horse to steady himself, and nods assent to her enquiry. After a few moments, he is able to speak. "How... how did you... do that?"

"Rahja smiles on me," says Travjane with an impish smile. "Say, how does one get to the merchants' quarter from here?"

[The horse is the usual symbol of the love goddess.

Travjane gets a +3 bonus to streetwise for getting directions, and makes the roll easily this time.]

The merchant's quarter seems at first indistinguishable from the rest of the city, but Travjane soon begins to notice the brightly-painted signs, colourful pennants and banners, and cleaner cobblestones. There are shops selling all manner of wares, and the squares are full of tents, booths, and stalls in no less grand display.

Travjane's eye soon lights upon a jeweller's shop, and she ducks inside to see about getting the heavy silver necklace she found in the ogre's ruin appraised.

[I never put a value on the treasure, so I will simply give Travjane a Commerce (Handel) roll to see how good a deal she can get. Commerce uses Cunning/Intuition/Charisma. Travjane has skill 0. I made a quick chart for the value determination based on her roll:

Success: 1d20d
Failure: 1d10d
Critical: 2d20d
Fumble: 1d20H

Remember, a ducat is worth 10 silver talers, and a taler is worth 10 hellers. And to put it in context, in many of the fan-made solitaire adventures I've played, your character undertakes a mission with a promised reward of 7-12 ducats. My PC who earned 67AP from adventures has amassed a total purse of 137d. DSA is not a game where every dungeon contains more cash than the GNP of a small nation.

And so Travjane rolls 8/13/20 - failure. 1d10=3]

"It's a nice piece," agrees the merchant, "but it's a little heavy. Not many people would wear it, but the metal is worth a bit on its own. Mind if I ask where you got it?"

"Off an ogre. Well, not off the ogre itself, because ick. But it was dropped near its lair."

"That explains the dirt... I can give you three ducats for it."

"Can I have that in silver?"


The merchant counts 30 talers out of his strongbox as Travjane produces her coin purse. She looks at the 5s and 10h therein and grimaces. "You wouldn't, perchance, know of a good, cheap place to stay in town?" she asks.

Travjane leaves the jewellers and heads back to the neighbourhood by the gate [poor quarter] hopefully following the directions she's been given properly.

[Random encounter roll turns up "Peasant needs help... they have information that will be of interest to the character".

1d6=m, d30 (NPCO2b: Trade)=tailor

Personality: Smooth, Direct

  1. hinder modesty (=make elegant fashions)
  2. attempt magic
  3. review friends (doesn't trust them)
  NPC Relationship: peaceful
  Conversation Mood: neutral
  mysterious - obscurity - skills]

Travjane is fighting her way down another crowded street when she hears a voice behind her. "Hey! wait up. I need to talk to you!" She turns to see a well-dressed young man waving at her. As he gets closer she realises his youth may be an illusion -- for there is certainly elven blood in his veins.

"I saw your handiwork with the horse earlier," he says, "but then I lost sight of you. I have need of someone who is well-versed in magic. You're not a guild mage, are you?"

"Um, hardly that," says a bemused Travjane.

"But you do use the arcane arts."

"One of them..."

"I am sure it will be sufficient."

"But I have important business in town."

"Will it take long?"

"I'm not sure."

"When will you know?"

"I have to see a merchant about a box. In fact, a magic box. I can't really say more."

"Maybe I can help you with your problem, and you can help me with mine." [UNE: inquisitive - petition - campaign]

"I don't even know who you are. Or if I can trust you."

[On that note, Travjane is going to make an Empathy (Cunning/Intuition/Charisma, Skill 5) roll to try to suss out the half-elf's motives, which he is going to resist with Fast-Talk (Courage/Intuition/Charisma, skill 3). As he is a townsperson, I will be using the Bürger(in) stats posted on Ulisses-Spiele's site (thus, his controlling attributes scores are 12/13/12).

Empathy roll: 3/10/5, QL2
Fast-talk roll: 15/8/18, fail. So I can ask Mythic--

Q: Does he seem on the level? 50/50 (4+): O3 C7 - No.]

"Why wouldn't you trust me?" asks the half-elf.

"Oh, let's see," replies Travjane, "trying to avoid the guild, approaching a stranger in the street with an unnamed proposition, the way you keep looking over your shoulder..."

"Maybe we should go somewhere more private where we can discuss this in a more civilised fashion."


"I'm buying."

"Why not?"

The half-elf, who introduces himself as Darian, leads her down the main street of the quarter and finds a nice-looking public house, not in the least bit shady looking. Inside it is warm and relatively clean, and the punters seem to mostly be merchants from the quarter.

He finds a table not too far from the fire and leaves Travjane there whilst he goes up to the bar. He soon comes back to table with flagon of good wine.

[UNE for the pitch: knowing - effects - relics]

"So," he begins as he pours, "you know the songs of bards and the old legends are full of items enchanted and wonderful: staves, rings, genie's lamps and the like. But besides these there are items having a more quotidian function, not for the mighty heroes but for the ones, such as I, whom the heroes must find along their way. Who raises the hero's mount? Who forges the hero's sword? And, perhaps even more unsung than these: who sews the hero's clothes?"

"Would that be you?"

"Precisely. Though lately my clientele has been mostly the gentry of Weihenhorst... but no matter. I have set my eyes on an object most rare and wonderful which will attract mighty heroes to my humble shop: a magic needle, that can sew metal as if it were thread."

"Where is this needle?"

[Q: Where is it? (improbable = Weihenhorst) 1d30=Kalmansfeld... no]

"Travillo, another tailor here in the city, has it. But he won't ever use it! He just keeps it locked up in a box as a 'treasure' to 'admire'. He won't even show anyone its marvellous working!"

"And you want me to steal it, I'm supposing?"

"Well... however you get it is fine by me. If you think you can just take it, well and good, but I'd have looked for a thief if I thought that were the best method."

"So what did you have in mind?"

"Use your magic! Force him to part with it. Control his mind or... I don't know, magic things."

"Can I think about it?"

"Sure, I guess."

"Fine. What'll you give me if I help you, anyways? That might help me think."

"I have some information that will make this all worth your while."

"Information? For me?"

[Q: Information? For her? Doubtful (6): O3 C3 - No, but... may lead to other clues coincidentally
+Event: NPC negative - Ulmia - Excitement / Suffering (noted for later)]

"No, of course not. I don't know you, and I am not in the habit of spying on new arrivals. But it will definitely be of interest to a woman of your talents."

"Alright. I'll come here tomorrow evening with my answer. Say, at dinnertime? I can't work on an empty stomach, you understand, so I'll need you to pay a modest retainer... in kind."

"Tomorrow it is then. But as it's a pleasant evening, and assuming you aren't otherwise engaged, might I tempt you with more wine?"

"Why not?"

Travjane and Darian spend a pleasant evening chatting about all sorts of things, save their potential arrangement. Darian is too careful to risk pushing too hard, especially since he thinks she'll probably agree. He also doesn't ask too many questions about what she's doing in Weihenhorst in the first place, which discretion does much to convince Travjane that he might be worth doing business with after all.

[Travjane is, however, having wine for dinner. She'll need to make a Carousing (Cunning/Constitution/Strength, skill 0) roll: 16/8/13, failure. She will suffer 1 level of Stupor (Betäubung) for 1 hour, and wake the next morning with a headache (per the rulebook).]

The pair talk well into the evening, at which point Travjane remembers she has nowhere to stay in Weihenhorst yet. She isn't entirely sure she can remember the jeweller's directions to the cheap inn, nor follow them in this state [-1 penalty for Stupor]. The half-elf seems a bit wobbly himself. "This has been fun and all," says Travjane rising unsteadily to her feet, "but I really need to sort out my lodgings for the night."

[Q: Rooms available here? Unlikely (5+): O5 C2 - Yes, and...]

"They have rooms upstairs that are supposed to be quite comfortable," offers Darian. Travjane bids the tailor good eve, and see you tomorrow, and stumbles off to see if a room is in fact free. She is given a small garret room which more than exceeds her expectations. She has some bread and meat sent up, eats it mechanically sitting on the side of the bed, then passes out in her clothes. The bed is warm and cozy, but Travjane's sleep is fitful and plagued by bizarre dreams.

[The Yes, and... result makes this Good Accommodations, so she gets +1 to regeneration rolls. But I am giving her -2 for bad sleep; I know from experience that when I have wine for dinner, I certainly don't get back all my magic points. 1d6-1= 1AsP regained (to 22/34).]

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Das schwarze Auge solo - Part IV: „Blut dürstete das breite Schwerdt / Blut trank der lange Spieß“

Scene 11

Out of control (d8)

Setup: kill the ogre

NPC list: villagers, family, Ulmia the confectioner, villain, villain henchmen, Jalosch the dwarf, wandering mage, ghosts

Threads: revenge, the ivory box, help the ghosts

The high priest sends a priestess named Caya, along with [1d4=] 3 others: [1d8 for each: 1-3 novice, 4-6 soldier, 7-8 priest] a novice called Dabbert [m], and a pair of soldiers. They are Answin [m], a would-be knight who fights with sword and shield, and a pious spearwoman named Birsel.

It is a miserable morning to travel, as the cold autumn rain falls on the open hills. But it lets off by the late afternoon. Travjane was hoping the company might make the journey more pleasant, but she hadn't counted on them all observing Boron's holy silence, and rebuffing her attempts at small talk. She soon gives up, and concentrates on retracing her steps [Tracking roll succeeds].

The forest leading to the ogre's lair has a decidedly sinister cast. The trees are twisted and bare, stripped of their leaves by the whistling winds. Finally, the travellers arrive at the ruined manse, and concoct a hasty plan. When it has all been decided, Caya looks sternly at Travjane. "Just to make sure we're clear on this," says the priestess, "I want you to repeat it back to me."

"It's like you don't trust me!" says the witch. "Oh, very well. I will sneak up to find the ogre, who we hope is still in his kitchen. I will lure it out and use my magic on it."

"I still don't understand what you're going to do with that old broom you borrowed from the cloister," interjects the priestess. "You'd better not be planning to flee."

"Nothing like that. You'll see. Now, when the ogre comes out into the open, you're going to use your mag-- I mean, your holy prayers to put it to sleep, or at least make it too tired to fight well. Then Birsel throws her javelin and she and Answin advance to fight toe-to-toe. And so will you once the prayer works its, um, its wonders."

"And where will you be?"

"Off a safe distance using my magic. And hopefully upwind!"

"Let's do this. And may may Boron guide our hands."

Travjane begins creeping up toward the ogre's kitchen. The soldiers follow her, and take up hiding spots further back (about 16 paces [16m] from the door). Caya finds a place not far from the soldiers. Dabbert stays with her, but is not expected to join the fight.

[Q: Is the ogre present? 50/50 (4+): O5 C6 - Yes
Q: What is the ogre doing when the party arrives? Work hard / Failure

Stealth vs. Perception again--
Travjane: 2/3/8 success QL2
Ogre: 12/7/16 (7 skill isn't enough) fail]

Travjane slinks right up to the open doorway, and chances a peek inside. The ogre is there, and oblivious to her presence, as his whole concentration is directed at his fruitless attempts to rekindle his cooking fire.

Travjane quietly props the old broom against the stone wall next to the entrance, then retreats back alongside the wall, as far as she dares. She gathers up her courage for a moment, then gives the signal, whistling through her fingers as loud as she is able.

[As usual, I've written up the first combat of the campaign in great detail.

Following are very abbreviated stat blocks for the combat. The full 5th ed. Ogre stats were published online as a teaser. The priestess is using the sample Borongeweihte(r) stats from the rulebook. The soldiers have STR 13 & CON 13, the Novice has Cunning 13 & Courage 14; all other stats at 11 if needed. PRO is Protection (RS, Rüstungsschutz); the soldiers wear linen armour (and have Used to Encumbrance I, so they ignore the commensurate weight penalty). The ogre just has a thick skin.

Morale will be checked whenever someone loses 1/4 of their Life Points. I'll roll a d8 (d4 for Dabbert) to see how many levels of Pain can accrue before an NPC flees: 1-2 I, 3-5 II, 6-7 III, 8 will never flee. According to their write-up, ogres are too dumb to flee.

Name    sx Ini LP PRO AT PA Dod Weapon
----    -- --- -- --- -- -- --- ------
Answin   m  10 29  2  10  7  5  sword (1d6+4) & shield
Birsel   f  10 29  2  10  5  5  spear (1d6+4), javelin (2d6+2)
Caya     f  13 25  -  12  6  6  raven's beak (1d6+4) & shield
Dabbert  m  11 25  -   6  3  5  short staff (1d6+1)
Travjane f  14 29  -  11  6  8  heavy dagger (1d6+2)
Ogre     m  13 60  2   9  7  6  club (2d6+7)

Travjane's whistle is effectively the surprise round, so it's time to roll initiative (1d6+Ini)

Initiative goes Travjane (20), Caya (16), Ogre (15), Birsel (14), Answin (13).

[Round 1]
Having given the signal, Travjane wastes no time but begins immediately to speak the words of a spell. "You've been a servant so long already: now do my will!" The broom begins to shudder against the wall.

Then the ogre runs forth and stops a few paces from the doorway. He is a tremendous monstrosity, standing twice as high as a man. His pale, nearly hairless flesh reeks of rancid fat, with which he has besmeared himself after the manner of his kind. There is perpetual hunger in his bestial eyes, and he hefts his huge club looking for the fools that would disturb him in his lair.

He has just sighted the soldiers moving into position in the brush when the broom behind him comes to life, flying up into the air behind him and rapping him solidly over the head with a loud crack. The ogre howls in rage and pain, and drops his club from the shock.

Birsel and Answin were up at the sound of the signal. Answin now moves forward cautiously, whilst Birsel hurls her javelin. Not only does the javelin strike the wall several paces to the ogre's right, but Birsel cries out in pain as she slips and pulls a muscle in her shoulder.

[Travjane cast Radau on the broom. It normally takes two actions, but she wanted to do it in one round, so takes a -1 penalty to cast. She has skill 4, and it requires Cunning/Dexterity/Strength to cast -- not her best attributes! She rolls 12/9/13, which would require skill 5 to succeed. This is a good time to spend a Fate point (leaving her with one unspent); she re-rolls the 12 & 13 to get a new spread of 4/9/1; the 4 skill points translate into QL 2 for the spell, which affects the animated broom's attack and initiative base (given below). She spends 4 AsP to get the spell off, and will spend 2 more AsP per round to maintain it. And she need to roll for her disadvantage: 1d20=6, no angry spirits torment her this round. She needs to make this roll every time she spends AsP, so that's going to be every round she maintains the spell.

The animated broom is unbreakable for the duration of the spell. It's stats are Ini 12,  Attack 12, Move 12, and it inflicts 1d6+3 damage.

When I first read the spell description, it immediately reminded me of the story of the Sorcerer's Apprentice, specifically Goethe's Zauberlehrling (German w/ English trans. here), from whence I took the magic words that Travjane spoke („Bist schon lange Knecht gewesen: / Nun erfülle meinen Willen!“). The spell can even attack the caster if you aren't careful!

It rolls (12+1d6=) 15 for its Initiative. It's tied with the ogre, but goes after him as he has a higher base Ini.

After Travjane, Caya was next, but hesitated this round to see what was going on. The ogre grabbed its club and ran out to look round, then the broom flew up to attack.

Attacks are rolled on 1d20, success being the Attack (AT) value or less. The broom rolled a natural 1 -- a critical. The critical requires a confirmation roll (second attack roll with same modifiers). It rolls a 19, which does not make it a proper critical, but still halves the opponent's Defence against it.

The ogre's Parry (PA) is thus 4 (7÷2=3.5 rounded up). The ogre, as if knowing I was trying to show how everything works in combat, obligingly rolled a 20 (Really! I am not making this up), potentially a Fumble. He needs a confirmation roll (defence used with same modifiers) to avoid, but rolls a 14. A roll on the fumble table produced Drop Weapon.

Damage from the attack (1d6+3=6) is rolled and reduced by the ogre's Protection value for his thick hide (2): the ogre suffers 4 damage, leaving him with 56 LP.

Birsel throws her javelin. Range is 16 paces (metres), which is Medium range (no modifiers). The ogre is a large target (+4) but was also moving (-2). The total +2 bonus makes her AT 12. The ogre may dodge, but at -5 (-2 for a thrown weapon, -3 for it being his second defence in the round). But Birsel rolled a natural 20 also, and a 16 on the confirmation. The fumble roll produces a pulled muscle, giving one level of Pain (-1 to rolls) for 3 rounds. I won't count this against morale on its own.

Answin advances 8 paces this round. He can move 8 more paces and attack next round.]

[Round 2]
Travjane is afraid the brute will see her, so she creeps back further along the wall, as meekly and quietly as she can [Stealth roll 15/16/12 - just succeeds]. All the while she focusses her will on animating the old broom [2AsP].

Caya begins the solemn words of a prayer to Boron [casting time 2 rounds].

The ogre stoops to pick up his club, right as the broom makes a sideways swipe at his head, swishing right over him [broom missed, ogre didn't fumble his dodge].

Birsel advances, switching her spear now to both hands. Answin closes the rest of the distance, and takes a swing at the ogre. The ogre fends him off half-heartedly with his huge club. He'd rather this tasty man come in closer so he can be added to his larder all the sooner.

[Answin's sword is a Medium weapon, whilst the ogre's enormous club is Long, so he has -2 AT. He does not roll 8 or lower on 1d20, so misses. The ogre still rolls his parry just in case (fumbles and criticals would apply, and defence is declared before the attack roll -- or rolled at the same time when one is a solo player with lots of dice).]

[Round 3]
Travjane is still concentrating on her spell.

Caya finishes her orison to Boron, Ruler of the Night. A wave of fatigue washes over the ogre, slowing his movements.

[She used the Sleep liturgy. It works much like casting a spell (but uses Karma instead of Arcane/Astral Points. It requires Cunning/Intuition/Charisma; Caya has a skill of 6 in the prayer, and 14 in each of the required attributes. The difficulty is modified by the target's Mental Strength, which in this case is -1 (ogres are susceptible to magic), so her attributes effectively count as 15s. She rolls 17/7/17, which uses up 4 skill points, to succeed at QL1. The ogre receives one level of Stupour (Betäubung), lasting (3xQL=) 3 minutes.]

The ogre blinks with sudden torpidity, but forces himself to smash the puny swordsman before him. Answin deflects the enormous club with his shield, and though he staggers beneath the impact, he holds his ground.

[The ogre rolls a 2, hitting. Answin parries with his shield, rolling a 7 (success). However, the ogre has a Special Combat Ability: Mighty Blow (Mächtiger Schlag). A successful attack requires the target (man-sized or smaller) to make a Feat of Strength skill check at -1 to avoid being knocked to the ground. Answin rolled 2/4/9, so is OK. The soldiers both have skill (1d6=) 2.]

The ogre forgets about the enchanted broom for a moment (forgoing a Defence), but it seems to always swing just a little to late and whistle right by him [it missed by 1].

Birsel jabs with her spear, but does not connect [the spear is a long weapon, the same as the ogre's club, so no attack penalties, but a 17 attack roll misses. The ogre's parry failed but didn't fumble].

Answin fares better, slashing open a wound on the ogre's meaty thigh. [A roll of 8 just hits (AT 10 -2 for shorter weapon). The ogre's second parry fails. Damage is (1d6+4) 7 - 2 (armour) = 5. The ogre has 51LP left]

[Round 4]
Travjane keeps up pouring her astral strength into her spell. But so much magic has caught the attention of the sprites who plague her. She is suddenly surrounded by diaphanous, disembodied hands, which poke and prod at her, ruffling her hair and pinching her flesh.

[The 1d20 roll I have been making every round came up a 1, which is <= the number of AsP spent this round (2). The Annoying Minor Spirits (Lästige Mindergeister) manifest to torment her for 10 minutes, giving a -1 to all rolls. This time they manifest as little hands, because I found the above picture. They are different every time.]

Caya hefts her warhammer, and advances on the foe.

The ogre's next swing hits the rim of Answin's shield, forcing it down and slamming into the warrior's shoulder. He reels from the impact and topples over backwards, coughing blood.

[The ogre's attack is (9 -1 for Stupour) 8; he rolls a 4, hitting. Answin's parry roll is 18, failure. He takes (2d6+7=17, -2 for armour=) 15 damage, dropping him to 14 Life Points. He gains 2 levels of pain for losing 50% of his LP. He also fails his Feat of Strength roll, so falls prone.]

The ogre does not have long to savour his own battle-prowess. The broom raps him soundly once more on his thick skull. [attack hit, ogre was ignoring it in favour of the fighters. 8-2=6 damage, dropping the ogre to 45LP. This is a 25% loss, so he gets a level of Pain too (thus, a -2 total penalty from Pain and Stupour)]

Birsel jabs forward again with her spear, but again does not connect [missed].

Answin lets go sword and shield and tries to crawl to safety. But he rises just a bit too much, and the ogre backhands him with his awful club, shattering his skull.

[Answin's morale roll was 1d8=3 (Pain II), so tried to flee. Flight from mêlée requires a Body Control skill check: a roll of 20/19/3 fails, giving the ogre a free attack (Passierschlag) at -4, which allows no defence (and can't roll a critical nor a fumble). The ogre's attack is at -6 after his condition penalties are taken into account, but he rolls a 2, hitting. Answin's dodge fails. 16-2(armour)=14 damage. Answin drops to 0LP, dead.]

[round 5]
Despite the spectral hands belabouring her, Travjane maintains her spell [they aren't enough to break concentration, and she can stop rolling every round as only one set of Mindergeister can annoy her at a time].

Caya swings her warhammer under the ogre's guard, opening a wound across its belly.  [AT -2 for shorter weapon, but still hits. Parry (-2 for conditions) fails. 6-2=4 damage, dropping the ogre to 41 LP.]

The Ogre swings at Birsel, but only hits the ground where she had been standing [miss].

The broom hits the ogre solidly in the shoulder blade [9-2=7 damage, leaving the ogre at 32 LP].

Birsel has moved right in bravely, and sticks her spear in the ogre's flank. The wound is not deep, but the ogre howls. But Birsel herself feels much better. [4 damage drops the ogre to 30 LP. A 50% loss of LP entails +1 level of Pain. The ogre now has -3 to all actions (Pain II + Stupour I).  Birsel's own Pain from her Fumble fades this round.]

[round 6]
Travjane pretends not to notice the little spirits, and maintains her spell.

Caya just can't seem to find an opening [rolls a 19, miss].

The ogre strikes back at Birsel. She tries to knock away the club with her spear, but the blow is so powerful that it is as if she had not tried at all. The club slams into her side, knocking her onto her back and breaking several ribs. [Attack hit, Parry failed. 18-2=16 damage, dropping her to 13 LP and bringing 2 levels of Pain. Feat of strength roll fails, so she falls prone.]

The broom swishes over the ogre's head once more.

Birsel is no coward. Without even trying to regain her feet, she swings her spear at the ogre from the ground. The awkward swing does not even come close, however. [Her morale roll was d8=7, so she'll fight until she's lost 75% of her Life Points (Pain III). However, with -4 for attacking from prone, and -2 for pain, it is unsurprising that she didn't score a hit.]

[Round 7]
Travjane is still concentrating on her spell, and beginning to hope the ogre can be slain before she runs out of magic.

Caya steps in to take Birsel's place, and swings her hammer in a forceful arc. The ogre attempts to bat it aside, but misjudges. The flat of the hammer cracks against the ogre's hand, snapping tendons and bone. [Attack hit, parry failed. 7 damage leaves it with 25LP.]

The unchivalrous ogre is still intent on Birsel. It goes for her again with his club, but this time she has a better grip on the spear, and blocks the swing a few finger-breadths from her face. [The attack roll succeeded, but so did her parry. She's already knocked down, so there's no further effect.]

The broom again attacks the space the ogre has just vacated.

Birsel cannot fight effectively from the ground, so when the ogre pulls back his club for another swing, she scrambles to her feet. [She needed to make a Body Control roll to stand. A roll of 2/8/6 succeeded, even with her -2 penalty from Pain.]

[Round 8]
"This had really better be over soon," thinks the witch distractedly as she pours more magic into the spell.

Caya makes the mistake of breathing through her nose. The stench of the ogre is so overpowering that she swoons, and drops her warhammer at her feet [she rolled 20, then 13: Fumble].

The ogre laughs at the sight in spite of himself, and almost forgets what he is doing [rolls 17, missing by a wide margin].

Then the broom whacks him right on the nose. With a loud snap, blood sprays over the priestess. The ogre howls in rage and hurt [6 damage drops him to 19 LP, and Pain 3 (-4 total penalties)].

Birsel takes advantage of the distraction to jab her spear between the brute's ribs. [-2 AT from pain, but a roll of 3 hits; its parry fails. 6 damage sinks the ogre to 13 LP, and deals it another level of Pain, bringing its total penalty to -4].

[Round 9]
Travjane is thoroughly bored, and by now a trifle disgusted at the sight of the sweaty, bleeding ogre. Yet she keeps up her spell.

Caya retrieves her weapon from the ground, seeing that the ogre is still intent on finishing Birsel. It swings and misses. The broom cracks the ogre over the head again [6 damage drops it to 7 LP].

Birsel goes in for the kill. She bounds forward, stabbing her spear into the ogre's midsection so far it tears a hole out his back. The light leaves the ogre's eyes and it collapses in a stinking heap.

[Birsel rolled a 1, then a 2, confirming the Critical. The ogre's parry (at -4 and halved) fails. Birsel rolls maximum damage, which is then doubled for the critical hit: (10x2)-2=18 damage, bringing it to -11LP, dead. Of course, it would only have taken 2 points of damage to end the fight; most living creatures fall unconscious at 5LP.]

[Round 10]
Seeing the ogre fall, Travjane lets go her spell. The broom falls to the ground beside the hulking corpse. [Had it beaten her initiative, it would have attacked the next closest target before she could dismiss it.]

Birsel takes a moment to free her spear, then goes to collapse against a tree to catch her breath. Caya makes sure the ogre is really dead, then looks to poor Answin. She says a prayer to Boron to speed the warrior upon his way for the final journey to the home of the Inevitable.

Travjane goes to collect the old broom, but finding it besmeared with blood and ogre-filth, thinks better of it. She goes instead to check on Birsel.

"What's up with you?" asks the soldier, "Shouldn't those ghost hands have been attacking the ogre?" She starts to laugh, then winces from the pain of her injuries.

"I was going to offer to heal your wounds," snaps the witch, "but if you'd prefer to criticise my magic I can just save it for someone else."

"No, miss! I mean no disrespect..."

"Well, I'm going to wait until they fade, if it's all the same to you."

About 10 minutes later, the spirit hands fade back into the ether. Travjane pronounces the words of the healing charm, but stumbles over them in her embarrassment. She keeps going and begins the spell anew, hoping the soldier hadn't noticed her mistake. Birsel, for her part, has been trying to maintain her composure. She's unsure of this stranger and her witchcraft, and can't shake the feeling that she's going to be cursed or turned into a frog instead of healed.

[Balsam Salabunde requires Cunning/Intuition/Dexterity; Travjane has skill 6. Her first roll of 13/16/16 fails, so she's out 1/3 the AsP she would have used (Guild Mages lose 1/2). Had Birsel not been insulting, Travjane might have gotten a bonus for her mood suiting the spell (i.e. compassion for a healing spell) of +1 or +2, which is another perk of witchcraft -- and which would have made the roll a success. But instead she had to try again. This time her roll succeeded, restoring 6LP to Birsel, after about 2 minutes of incantations and 5 minutes of slow regeneration. Travjane has now spent 28 AsP. She's got 6 left.]

"There," says Travjane. "You should start to feel better soon."

"Just in time for the boss-lady to ask me to start moving corpses. She's got that look in her eye."

"I think," announces Travjane loud enough that Caya can hear her, "that I had better leave the... the tending of the dead to the experts. I shall search the rest of the ruins, to make sure there are no nasty surprises waiting. And maybe get a fire built. It'll be dark soon."

The priestess waves her off dismissively.

Travjane makes a thorough investigation of the ruins. Fortunately, the ogre seems to live alone, and keep no pets. There is very little to see but toppled stone walls. The ogre's kitchen and sleeping quarters occupy the only section that still supports a roof.

[Q: Anything worth finding? Unlikely (5+): O6 C5 - Yes.
1d12: 1-2 item, 3-4 location feature, 5-6 entrance to lower level, 7-8 clue, 9-10 herbs growing wild, 11-12 roll twice on 1d10
1d12= item; d30=necklace]

Travjane does find a silver chain necklace lying neglected in the dirt. It's heavier than she likes to wear, so she puts it in her pouch for later, unsure of whether or not she should mention it to the priestess. She makes a fire, but it is soon extinguished as a heavy storm moves in. The weary band huddles close for warmth under a hastily-constructed and very leaky lean-to in the corner of one of the better preserved walls. There is no question of sheltering in the ogre's lair, as the stench is too foul for even the stoic priestess to bear.

[Q: Quiet night? Likely (3+): O5 C3 - yes, but... stormy
Q: Decent resting place? 50/50 (4+): O2 C3 - No, but...
Survival check to make decent-enough shelter with materials on hand: 9/11/18, fail

Regeneration rolls are all halved:
Travjane gets back 2AsP, 2LeP
Birsel gets 1LP
Caya gets 3 KaP]

The next morning the rain finally lets up a little, but never quite stops. Travjane bids her companions good-bye, and promises to return to the cloister straightaway. She walks most of the day over the muddy hills, and by the time she finally lays eyes on the cloister, fears she's so dirty as to be mistaken for the ogre herself.

The novices let her in straightaway and put her before the fire to dry. The high priest comes for her news, and listens attentively as she relates the story of the battle and the enormity of the task facing Caya and Dabbert -- the ogre's larder was found to contain many more bodies than just the murdered bandits. The high priest says he will send a larger detachment of priests on the morrow, and thanks Travjane once again for her selfless piety. She is given sumptuous quarters -- the kind reserved for the likes of the Baron of Greifenberg -- and told she may stay until the weather clears.

[for her selfless service, she gets +1 reputation at the Rabenkloster.
Excellent lodgings are good for regeneration rolls of 1d6+1. She stays 1d3=2 days, getting back 13AsP.]

Friday, 8 January 2016

Das schwarze Auge solo - Part III: „Einst da ich bittre Tränen vergoß...“

Travjane spends several days in a haze of misery. She goes about her tasks at the inn mechanically, rarely if ever acknowledging the presence of anyone about her. Now and then she bursts into inarticulate spasms of rage. Her step-parents give her wide berth, fearful of her witch's wrath.

Late one night she is sitting in the kitchen, long after everyone else at the inn has gone to bed, as the realisation of her circumstances finally pierces through the clouds of sorrow. She stands up, casts off her apron, and marches off to her room to collect her things. She throws all she can carry into her travelling sack, and returns to the kitchen, where she steals some food for the road and a torch, and slips out the back door.

Scene 8

Out of control (d8)

Setup: back to Ulmia for answers

NPC list: villagers, family, Ulmia the confectioner, villain, villain henchmen, Jalosch the dwarf, wandering mage

Threads: revenge, the ivory box

[Stealth (Courage/Intuition/Agility, skill 5) roll to get out un-noticed; +2 bonus since everyone is asleep: 2/8/9 - no one even stirs.

She steals 1d4+1= 2 days rations]

No one is awake in the village to see her go. She hurries down the forest path as quickly as she is able in the pre-dawn darkness. She does not dare light her torch until she is certain that no one in the village would be able to see it.

After a few Meilen, she hears a rustling in the bushes off the side of the path, which she had almost mistaken for the torch crackling. Suddenly...

[a random encounter was indicated. Via BOLD's waylays, I got: natural / the wild, sudden]

... a  wild boar charges out into the road before her. It eyes her angrily, and looks as if it will charge.

[Initiative: Travjane has 14+(1d6=)3 vs. the boar's 11+1.]

Travjane murmurs a few soothing nonsense words, and stretches out a friendly hand towards the vicious beast.

[She casts Meekness (Sanftmut)
She has a rating of 4 in the spell, which uses Courage/Intuition/Charisma. She needs to cast it quickly, so takes a -1 penalty to reduce it to 1 action casting time. The spell is further modified by the Mental Strength of the target. The boar has MS -2, so she actually gets a +2 bonus for that. The total bonus is thus +1.
She rolls 4/4/2. It will last for (QS2 x3)=6 Minuten.
It cost 4AsP, so 1d20=9, >4, so no Lastige Mindergeister to trouble her.]

The boar becomes docile at once, and trots up to give her a friendly nuzzle. She pats it on its bristly head and sends it on its happy way.

The rest of her day is uneventful. She doesn't quite make it as far as the Rabenkloster, but she finds a decent enough campsite in the woods nearby. It's a cold night on the hard ground, but it doesn't bother her at all.

[Survival roll to find a campsite succeeded. The nighttime temperature sank almost to freezing, but the combination of sleeping bag and Cold Resistance means no ill effects.

It was a peaceful night with no encounters. She regenerated 1d6=2 AsP.

I also gave her an easy (+3) Orienteering check to set out in the right direction the next day, which she made handily.]

In the morning she sets out over the hills. She gives the cloister a wide berth, she doesn't want to use up whatever patience the raven priests feel towards her. She makes good enough time on her journey, and see not a soul stirring along her route. But a few Meilen before Almweide, she spots something unsettling.

[random encounter (again via BOLD): easy foes - bandits; 1d6=3 of them. It seemed a straightforward encounter, until I rolled for the Modifer and got 'haunting' and the solution came up 'scarce-used ability']

Three bloodied corpses lie in a heap amongst the remains of shattered weapons and sundered bits of armour. Travjane draws near cautiously, but by the livid complexions and the stench of decay she can tell that none of them yet live.

She sees movement out of the corner of her eye. She draws her dagger as she wheels to face it -- but nothing is there. Then she hears footsteps behind her. Turning about, she sees no one there. She starts at a clash of arms, but once more the sound comes from the empty air. Then a terrible, diaphanous form rises straight out of the ground before her, moaning and shrieking. It bleeds from many wounds, and wears armour similar to one of the corpses on the ground. Two more phantoms coalesce beside it, brandishing spectral arms.

"DOOOOOooooOOOOooOOOOOMMMM!" wails the first phantom, and the others soon echo its plaintive groan."

"Oh, you poor dears!" says Travjane.

The ghosts cease their moaning. "You're not afraid?"

"No. Should I be?"

"We're the restless shades of the dead."

"And I'm a witch. Also, it's still daylight. Isn't it past your bedtime?"

"Yeah, I guess. It's all a bit confusing, to be honest."

"How did you... how did you come to be haunting this spot?"

[Q: Were they killed by Travjane's enemies? 50/50 (4+): O3 C5 - No.]

"We're... I mean, we were bandits. There were eight of us, and we got to arguing about dividing of the spoils, and... it got pretty heated."

Another of the ghosts cuts in. "You're a witch, you say. Maybe you can help us."

"I might be able to help. But there's a Boron-temple not far from here at all. The priests will certainly be able to put you to rest."

[Q: Do they assent? 50/50 (4+): O4 C3 - Yes, but...]

"Are you sure they will? Even for us?"

"Even for you. It's one of their most sacred tenets, seeing that the dead rest. And getting rid of the undead, which you might be now. I think, technically. I have something I must do first, but then I'll go right back to the cloister to fetch them."

"No! Go now! You can't leave us like this!"

"I must. I have an important mission. A nice old woman's life may be in danger. But I will come back this way tomorrow to fetch the ravens. I promise!"

"Fine. If you must. But you were right about it being past our bedtime. So sing us to sleep and you may pass. But keep your promise!"

"I will."

[Singing (Cunning/Charisma/Constitution, skill 2) roll 9/9/9 succeeds, QL1]

Under der linden an der heide,
dâ unser zweier bette was,
dâ mugt ir vinden
schône beide gebrochen bluomen unde gras.
vor dem walde in einem tal -
schöne sanc die nachtigal...

By the time her sweet song is finished, the phantoms have sunk back into the earth. She continues her way towards Almweide.

Scene 9

Out of control (d8)

Setup: Answers in Almweide

NPC list: villagers, family, Ulmia the confectioner, villain, villain henchmen, Jalosch the dwarf, wandering mage, ghosts

Threads: revenge, the ivory box, help the ghosts

[Q: Is anything going on in Almweide? 50/50 (4+): O1 C5, No.
Q: Is Ulmia OK? 50/50 (4+): O5 C8, Yes]

Travjane doesn't even knock, but bursts into the bakery. She is relieved to see Ulmia puttering about the closed shop.

Conversation Mood: sociable
prejudiced - doubt - fame]

"You?" says Ulmia in surprise, "What are you doing back here?"

"I have terrible news."

"Some soldiers arrived after you left. I think you've been doing things you oughtn't -- publicly, at any rate. You need to learn to keep your head down and your nose clean!"

"I try! But now it's all too late. Auntie Brinnske's dead. Murdered!"

Travjane is startled at the ease with which the words left her lips. But she pauses for a moment and they settle in, and she nearly falls over. She lurches over to the table and collapses into one of the chairs. Ulmia is made of sterner stuff, and her face betrays only a hint of the shock that she feels.

"I didn't think..." she mutters, then stops. She pats Travjane on the head, and excuses herself to the kitchen to find something restorative. She comes back with a bottle of schnapps and a plate of teacakes. Travjane takes what is offered, and the stiff drink burning its way down her throat brings her back to the present.

[Q: What does Ulmia want? Activity / Peace]

"Look, girl," says Ulmia firmly, "after your visit I got a less-than-pleasant visit from a group of hired swords, looking for the selfsame old box that I gave you to take away. They were upset they'd missed you, and turned the place over to see you weren't secretly still here. I don't know what you witches get up to and I don't want to know, and I especially don't want to get involved in something that has gangs of armed killers showing up again on my doorstep."

[Fast Talk roll to get some help/advice
skill 2, Courage/Intuition/Charisma: roll 7/11/2, QL1

UNE: mysterious - misdirection - equipment]

"Please, I don't know what to do or where to go. And you're the only one I know who isn't pleased to see her dead. I saw her murderers. A group of knights stopped me on the road home. They knew who I was. They took the box!"

"Knights? Are you sure?"

"Yes! With horses and armour and lances and everything. And great helms -- so I couldn't see their faces. But the lead knight had a fancy pin on their cloak, a bejewelled peacock."

"The peacock is the symbol of Rahja--" [the love goddess]

"These were no Servants of Passion!" [Diener der Leidenschaft, the priestly title]

"Well, it is also Aves' symbol," says Ulmia thoughtfully [demigod, patron saint of adventurers and travellers]. "These were tools of some greater power, not the ones in charge."

"No matter; shall they answer for their crime! But if you think these wanderers are fled, then how am I to proceed?"

"You're asking me?"

"What about the box? They took it... what was in it?"

"Nothing. It was a puzzle, that's all."

"Have you ever opened it?"

[1d6: 1-2 yes, 3-4 no, 5 tried but couldn't, 6 never tried; d6=4]


"And you have no idea who would want it?"

[1d6: 1-2 no, 3-4 maybe 5-6 no idea; d6=4]


[d30=merchant, obscurities
Where? 1d4: 1 Greifenberg 2 Weihenhorst 3 travelling 4 somewhere strange]

"There's a merchant in Weihenhorst who sells all manner of curiosities. [1d6=] He might buy such an item. Runs a shop called the Emporium Mirorum. Might even be a wizard himself, I hear."

"I'll go to Weihenhorst tomorrow. Can I stay here tonight? I promise I won't keep coming back."

"Oh, all right. I'll pack up some pastries for your trip, too."

Scene 10

Out of control (d8)

Setup: chaos 1d8=3, Interrupt (was: travel back to Rabenkloster)
Interrupt: Move away from a thread - revenge - Return / The spiritual

NPC list: villagers, family, Ulmia the confectioner, villain, villain henchmen, Jalosch the dwarf, wandering mage, ghosts

Threads: revenge, the ivory box, help the ghosts

The next morning Travjane sets out early. She is a bit concerned at the amount of cakes she has been given for such a short trip. Luckily she happens upon a flock of obliging birds, to whom she can feed a good portion.

[She needs a Tracking roll (Courage/Intuition/Agility, skill 2) to retrace her steps to the ghosts. She gets a +1 bonus as it's her very own trail. She rolls 11/1/1, which is really a waste of a Critical Success.]

She finds her way back to the ghosts with remarkable ease, but the scene that greets her there gives her a fright. The bodies are all missing. Only the broken weapons and fragments of armour remain on the bloodied ground.

[Q: Are the ghosts able to say what happened? 50/50 (4+): O2 C2 - No, and...
+Event: NPC action - Family - Inquire / Disruption (noted for later)]

She calls out to the ghosts, who rise out of the ground, but seem less distinct somehow, and in answer to her questions can do no more than howl piteously. She looks about and sees the grass flattened as if the bodies were dragged off. She decides to follow the trail.

[Tracking roll: 9/8/12, success
direction 1d6=6 (counting the top hex side as 1)
1d3=2 hexes]

The track is easy to follow. It leads Firunsward for about a Meile, and continues through the forest [the compass points are also named for gods. Firun is the god of winter, cold and hunting. His direction is north].

The trail leads to a forest clearing, in which [d30=] a crumbling mansion house is slowly being  claimed by the forest. The main wing of the mansion is still mostly intact, and Travjane creeps forward to peer within.

[Opposed skill rolls--
Travjane's Stealth (Courage/Intuition/Agility, skill 5)
NPC Perception (Cunning/Intuition/Intuition (Attribute:6/10/10), skill 7)

Travjane rolls 13/14/20; she spends a Fate point to re-roll the 20, giving her 13/14/11; 5 skill points left = QL2.
The NPC rolls 6/8/15; 2 skill points left = QL1.

Travjane wins the test.]

The noxious smell coming from the yawning entryway makes Travjane doubly cautious, but nothing can compare her for the horrible sight which awaits her. An enormous ogre is reaching beneath the rotten floorboards into his larder, where he has heaped the mouldering corpses of both men and beasts. Behind him seethes a great cooking pot, where he renders his meals into an awful slop.

Travjane needs no more than a glimpse of the frightful scene. She ducks behind the stone wall for a moment to collect herself and combat the churning in her stomach, then slips quietly away. Now, she thinks, she must swiftly to the Rabenkloster. This desecration will not sit lightly with them.

But as the Praios-orb is slipping out of sight beneath the horizon, she has still a ways to go. She decides to push on.

[She's about 6 movement points short, so she will need a Self Control (Courage/Courage/Constitution, skill 3) check to push on: 15/12/10, success. But she loses 1d6=  3 LP for the exertion.

doorman's reaction when she arrives (UNE)--
NPC Relationship: friendly
Conversation Mood: withdrawn
insane - confusion - enemy]

She trudges on relentlessly through the night until at last she reaches the cloister. The doorman opens to her, and she tries breathlessly to explain the predicament.

"You again?" he replies, "What are you doing here in the middle of the night? Slow down! Ogre? what ogre? Talk sense, girl!"

She is ushered inside and given lodgings. The doorman swears he will bring her petition before the high priest in the morning. But for now she must rest in Boron's arms.

[Regeneration rolls: she regains 2 LeP and all her spent AsP.

Q: Does her story get the attention of someone important? Likely (3+): O3 C1 - Yes, and...]

Travjane is surprised to be awakened late the next morning by no less a personage than the high priest himself. He explains to her that he found her report most disturbing, and will be sending a priest and some others along to deal with the ogre.

"Will you take them to this place?" concludes the high priest.

"I will help them put down that fell beast!" replies Travjane.