Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Das schwarze Auge solo - Part XIV: „Was blickt ihr mir nach, und was wollt ihr von mir?“

Travjane and Darian pass the night in silence. Having told once of the disaster beneath the ruins, Travjane is loathe to discuss it again, nor is Darian so heartless as to prod her on it. They fall asleep in their little tent, hidden as best they could manage it under the snow-laden branches of an obliging pine. The wind howls outside, but they are insensible to it, wrapped up as they are in their own cares, he lamenting the failure of their venture, and fretting about his shop back in Weihenhorst, she thinking of nothing but how to return and slay such a terrible beast, and recover the bodies of her poor new friends.

Scene 28

Madness (d6)

Setup: head back to Weihenhorst

NPC list: 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

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

[Quick accounting: Both took 3 damage from failed climbing rolls on the way down. There were no nighttime encounters. Travjane's survival check succeeded, so the campsite was adequate. Regeneration rolls (1d6) for a decent night's sleep: Darian +1LeP, Travjane +1 LeP, +5 AsP.]

Erdstag 4. Firun 1040 BF

The morning comes, in all its grey and overcast glory. The temperature is well below freezing, but the clouds do no more than threaten to release their burden of snow. Yet plenty remains upon the ground for our heroes to trudge through. And trudge they do, following their route back to Winterfels as best they might.

[Travjane  makes an Orientieering (Skill 3) roll: success QL1, so they don't get lost. But they do follow the route of their guide from before, who did.

A random encounter is indicated. 1d12= ~2pm.
via BOLD: hard foes-horror-illusory
Q: Since it's illusory, how does it appear? Re-rolling modifier = legendary]

The sun peaks out from the clouds by the time they stop to rest and have a bit of lunch. They are cheered somewhat by the light and warmth, but after another hour's travel they are getting a bit snowblind. Darian had been starting to fear his friend's black mood, but as the day went on the witch's indomitable spirit cast off again its shackles of misery, and she began to be positively chatty.

"...and so my step-parents entrusted my education to the old priest of Praios at the village shrine. He  knew what I was about, and I guess so did they at that point, but they hoped his ministrations would turn me into a good little girl and banish my witchy ways. And he taught me to read and write, and both he and they were very happy when I learnt Bosporano -- I read it as well as Garethi, now -- but for different reasons. They thought I would read the old histories of Mittelreich and be improved by the stories of the noble heroes and heroines who made our land great. But really these great figures of the past were all pretty -- wait! SSsshhhhh! Look very carefully up ahead... I think we'd better back away very slowly and try to hide... The Twelve protect us!"

For indeed, a ways ahead on the path, guarding the only pass through the steep, snowy peaks surrounding them, sits a great white dragon in the attitude of a cat, watchful and proud.

The witch and half-elf creep gingerly backwards, step by careful step, the soft crunch of the snow beneath their feet resounding like thunder in their ears. The dragon seems not to take any notice of the pair -- perhaps the Twelve really had heard Travjane's prayer.

They cower in the shade of a copse of fir, hiding behind an old tree that had fallen to the ground under the weight of the snow. Darian curls up in a ball and hides his face in his hands, nearly in tears from fright. The witch adopts a more practical approach, covering her dark hair with a white scarf, and peering out from time to time to see if the fantastical beast has moved on.

The sun goes once more behind the clouds, and little by little Travjane's glare-blinded vison resolves into a clearer depiction of her surroundings. And when she chances another peek round the fallen tree to spy on the dragon, she cannot help but laugh at the sight which has finally been revealed to her in perfect clarity.

"Darian," says the witch, "I fear we've spent the better part of an hour hiding from a big, snow-covered rock!"

The rest of the day passes without incident, real or imagined.

[Another Survival roll, another good campsite. But I rolled another 1 on the encounter d6, so something happens during the night.

BOLD: knowledge-occult-incompetant
solution: seldom-used skill

The occult-incompetant result made me instantly think Kobold playing a prank that backfires. So,

Q: What does it do? Harm / Environment]

Once again the weary travellers have settled into their tent for the night. Even Travjane thinks it's too cold to be outside, so they douse their fire and try to take their watch shifts inside the tent. This predictably backfires, and the two both drift off into sleep.

But in the blackness of the night, Darian wakes, and tries to get his companion's attention. "Travjane... Travjane! Wake up. I think our tent is leaking. My feet are all wet."

The witch sits up and groggily feels around in the darkness. Putting her hand in a freezing-cold puddle of water shocks her right awake. Water is indded pouring in through the tent's front. She opens the flaps and peers outside. The dim moonlight reveals that the tent is now at the edge of a seeming lake. Splashing in the water is a little wizened mannikin, whose head keeps slipping beneath the surface.

"Help!" cries the little kobold in a thin, screeching voice. "Help me! I can't swim!"

Travjane feels pity for the little fairy creature, and wades right into the water to save him.

[Some dice rolls:
She needs a Magic Lore (Cunning/Cuning/Intuition, skill 4) roll to know what she's looking at: 4/2/5, success at QL2 - she knows exactly what she's dealing with.
She needs a Swim roll (Agility/Constitution/Strength, skill 2) to manage the pond: 10/7/5, success.
And finally, she needs a Feat of Strength (Constitution/Strength/Strength, skill 0) to drag the kobold to shore. She gets a +3 bonus for its small size: 4/11/11, success.]

The pond has filled up a rather deep depression in the ground; the waters are soon well over Travjane's head. She swims over to the helpless sprite, takes him by the hand, and pulls him back to safety. Darian, who has been vainly trying to bail water from their rapidly filling tent, merely stares in wonderment at the small creature which Travjane sits down on a snow drift, coughing and spluttering.

"Are you alright?" asks Travjane.

"Y-y-yes," answers the kobold through chattering teeth. "Thanks to you."

"What happened?"

"I thought I'd play a trick on you and melt all the snow. I didn't think I'd get caught up in it."

[Travjane needs to make an Etiquette (Cunning/Intuition/Charisma, skill 0) roll to treat with the Fairy correctly: 3/11/13, success. Lucky for her, as an angry Kobold is honestly a more fearsome foe than the Zant that ate two of her friends.]

"I guess the joke's on us all then!" laughs Travjane. "But, Herr Kobold, you're sure that you're alright?"

"I'll be fine. I just need to dry out."

"So do we. Do you live round here?"

"Oh, yes! I live in my cozy little kobold-house in a great, old tree."

"Could we come in and warm up too? Only we're ever so cold and ever so far from home."

[Fast Talk (Courage/Intuition/Charisma, skill 2) roll to convince him, +2 bonus since she saved him: 7/1/15, success]

"Of course!" says the kobold. "You did save me after all. Come along. And bring your poor, sodden friend."

[Q: Alles klar? 50/50 (4+): O2 C1 - No, and...]

Darian and Travjane pull their sodden tent to higher ground, and leave it lay, assuming it will still be there in the morning. They are both soaked through, and need to get out of the chill. And the kobold seems a bit impatient with their operation. But then it happily leads them off through the forest. When they see his tree, there can be no doubt that it is the abode of a forest fairy, for the huge old oak towers above the other trees, which incline slighty towards it in a posture of reverence. "Right this way," says the kobold. "We can warm ourselves by my hearth. Follow me!" And with that, the kobold leaps up into the air and jumps right through a knothole no bigger than a ducat, its body seeming to stretch and contort as it wriggles through.

The bewildered travellers walk round and round the great oak, but cannot discern an entrance suitable for big folk. Travjane sighs, and tries knocking on the trunk as if it were a door. The kobold's head emerges from the knothole, and he looks at them quizzically.

"Please, Herr Kobold, how do we get inside?"

"Just follow me like I said."

"But Herr Kobold, we don't have the means to make ourselves that small. However shall we come in?"

"I'm so sorry, but I don't rightly know how to get you in, if you can't just come yourselves. Oh, and it's past my bedtime! Good night. I hope you get warm."

And then it disappears.

Travjane and Darian trudge dejectedly back to their tent. Darian salvages what little he can from the sodden mess, whilst Travjane sets about making the largest fire she can.

[Survival (Courage/Agility/Constitution, skill 4) roll to make a decent campfire: failure; She spends a Fate point to re-roll: 2/14/7, QL2. They'll get no regeneration rolls for the night, but neither will the cold kill them.]

The pair spend a miserable night huddled before the roaring fire, but at least don't they don't die. Travjane even manages to rig up a makeshift drying rack, and they have dry clothes to change into within an hour. The night is still long, and they scarcely get any sleep, but as the dawn arrives they feel a second wind come over them.

It's another hard day of travel through the wintery mountains, but by evening they are safely abed in the inn at Winterfels.

[A day's worth of uninteresting die rolls redacted.

Travjane rolls double sixes for her Regeneration that night; she's back to full LeP and 11AsP. Darian is fully healed.

Q: Quiet time in town? 50/50 (4+): O6 C3 - Yes, but...]

Darian and Travjane were so exhausted when they reached the village that they completely failed to notice how spooked the villagers were that only two came back. They cannot but notice this superstitious dread in the inn's common room in the morning, and after purchasing a new, dry tent from an obliging weaver, they quickly set out on the road. They avoid the Herberge des ruhigen Aufenthalt entirely, detouring through the forest and going as far as they can before making camp in order to avoid the resident bandits.

The night is cold, and they daren't make a fire, so they huddle close for warmth. Darian dreams of being back in the city and in his own bed. Travjane merely has nightmares about being back in Hohendorf -- for they must pass that way tomorrow. [No encounters, survival ok, +6 AsP...]

Rohalstag 7. Firun 1040 BF

[The d30 Sandbox Companion produces a hostile road encounter - Attack.
2 NPCs of equivalent level
1d6 hexes down the road=3

Q: Are they bandits? O1 C2 - No, and... they think party are bandits.

d30 NPC table for type: 1d10 will produce a character type (equal to Travjane), 1d20+10 will decide the equivalent of Darian. They are a Fighter (as Geron from the quickstart), and a Messenger (unmodified Bürgerin stats).]

When they are about halfway to Hohendorf, Darian and Travjane see another pair of travellers coming up the road towards them. One is a youngish woman wearing a plain, brown travelling cloak. Behind her is a large man in leather armour, armed with a crossbow. They take one look at the bedraggled pair coming towards them and the man raises his crossbow.

"Hold!" calls the man, "Get you gone, villains! You'll not find us easy marks!"

"Don't you dare threaten us!" hisses Travjane, "or I'll have your intestines for garters!"

[Round 1
Initiative: Darian 18, Warrior 17, Messenger 17, Travjane 15]

Darian draws his rapier in hopes of backing up Travjane's words, but as he does so the warrior merely turns his crossbow on [1-3 T, 4-6 D] Travjane and shoots. She was tensed and expecting it however, and springs to one side in anticipation, lest she make an easy target. She can feel the whoosh of air in the bolt's wake as it speeds past her ear. [The warrior has Ranged Attack 13, +2 bonus for short range, and he rolled  a 14, which would have hit; there is a -4 penalty for dodging bows & crossbows (Schusswaffen), but Travjane with her Dodge 8 rolled a 4, just making it.]

The young woman produces a stout cudgel from underneath her cloak.

Travjane throws the branch she has been using as a walking stick up into the air. It does not fall to the ground, but leaps instead towards the surprised warrior. [She cast Radau again, 4AsP, no Mindergeister, 12/14/1 succeeds at QL1 despite (or rather because of) the -1 penalty for quick casting. It rolls 14 for its Initiativa, and has AT 11.]

[Round 2]
Darian's momentary bravado drains away, and he stands stock-still, holding his rapier in what he hopes is a threatening attidude. The warrior casts aside his crossbow, and draws a sword and dagger.

The young woman moves to attack (1-3 D, 4-6 T) Darian. The half-elf surprises himself at the deftness with which he imposes his blade between the cudgel and his face [5 hits, 3 parries].

Travjane draws her heavy dagger as the animated branch smashes down on the warrior's shoulder [1d6+3 -3 armour = 6 damage, leaving him at 23 LeP].

[Round 3]
Darian, emboldened by his sudden martial prowess, swings his rapier at the young woman with great panache. Perhaps too much, for it merely makes swishing noises as it bisects empty air. When he pauses for a moment in disbelief, the woman hits him hard with her cudgel [5 damage drops him to 24 LeP].

The warrior advances upon Travjane. He leads with his dagger, which the witch can easily avoid, but she leaves herself open to his sword, whose blade draws a long red line down her arm. [He's got the Two-handed Fighting combat ability, so his AT and PA are at -1 with each weapon instead of -2. The sword connects for 6 damage, dropping Travjane to 23 LeP.]

Travjane can't get close enough to use her dagger, lest the sword strike her again [-2 AT for Short vs. Medium weapon, she missed].

The branch has no such fear. It flies right at the warriors face. He raises his sword just in time, but presents the flat of the blade, and with a clang the blade bends where it is struck. [The branch technically missed, but the warrior fumbled his parry, with the result being Damaged Weapon. It has -2 AT and PA until fixed.]

[Round 4]
Darian and the young woman trade blows ineffectually. Neither is really a trained fighter.

The warrior fares little better against Travjane. His bent sword is enough of an impediment that she gets through his defences, and stabs him viciously in the stomach with her curved blade -- though his armour takes the worst of it [(1d6+2=5)-3=2 damage].

The branch smacks the warrior again [6-3=3 damage, leaving him at 18 LeP], and he cries out in [1 level of] pain.

[Round 5]
The half-elf's next attack does him no credit. He recieves a glancing blow upside the head which makes him see stars [4 damage drops him to 20 LeP & 1 level of Pain].

The warrior is a seasoned veteran, and will fight on despite his injuries [Morale check: flees when 50% LeP lost]. However, the bent sword proves to be entirely too awkward a weapon, and after another clumsyt swing, he throws it down in disgust [his attack Fumbled, so he ditched the sword. The fumble result was Lose Next Action (dagger attack), but dropping the sword can be done for free].

As the warrior does not press his attack, Travjane hesitates [miss], but the branch hits him in the side [7-3=4 damage, drops him to 14LeP and 2 pain].

[Round 6]
The pain of his wounds is too great for Darian, and he turns to run, but he cannot shake his attacker. The young woman bashes him in the shoulder again [3 damage puts him at 17 LeP. To flee, he needs to make a Body Control (Agility/Agility/Constitution) roll at -2 (-1 for 1 opponent, -1 for Pain). He failed, so only got half his movement rate].

The warrior [now at 2 Pain, under 50% LeP] also decides he's had enough, and tries to back away swiftly, but does not get very far [also fleeing; his Body control Skill is at 7, but he has a -4 penalty (-2pain, -2 opponents). He also fails and gets a half-move].

"That's right," sneers the witch, "run away from me, you coward." She lets the magic of the Radau lapse, but takes a menacing step forward with her dagger as the branch falls. She has an even worse spell in mind should he come at her with his knife.

[Round 7]
Darian turns and runs off into the woods [Body Control just succeeds, so he can flee.
[Q: Does the woman pursue? 50/50 (4+): O6 C6 - Yes +Event: Move toward a thread - revenge against captain - Violate / Business (noted)]

The young woman runs after her, brandishing her club above her head.

Travjane stands still as the warrior turns and flees into the forest in the opposite direction.

[Round 8]
Darian runs, but his pursuer does not relent. She even manages to hit him in the back hard enough to crack a rib [7 damage drops Darian to 10 LeP]. Travjane runs after the woman herself to save her friend.

[Q: Can Travjane catch her before she catches Darian? 50/50 (4+): O2 C6 - No.]

[Round x]
Darian keeps running until he realises that escape is not an option; he must stand and fight. He tries to ward off the woman's attack, but he is too tired and weak. She hits him solidly on the crown and he tumbles into the snow at her feet [5 damage puts him at 5LeP, thus unconscious].

[Round x+1]
Travjane is right behind them. The woman wheels about just in time to see the witch bearing down on her, and she hits Travjane hard enough to knock the wind out of her [8 damage leaves her with 15 LeP]. But the witch keeps going, and drives her dagger deep into the woman's midsection [rolling 1, then 7: critical hit (the woman's dodge is halved, and fails). 1d6+2=6, x2=12 damage, leaving her at 17 LeP with 1 Pain, and so under her Morale threshhold].

[Round x+2]
The woman turns and flees in a panic, dropping her cudgel in her flight, and holding her bleeding stomach with both hands. Travjane is happy to let her go.

But then she sees Darian lying still, and her joy vanishes. She rushes to the side of the stricken tailor. His breathing is ragged, but he lives. Travjane has almost no magic left but pours all she can into a healing charm [Balsam Salabunde, cures 5 points].

The half-elf looks up at her wearily. "I thought I was done for," he says weakly, then collapses back onto the ground. But a moment later he opens his eyes and studies her intently. "Why is your hair standing straight up like that?" he asks.

"It happens sometimes. When I do too much magic. Can we please talk about something else?" [She finally failed a roll to avoid the Mindergeister.]

The annoying little sprites eventually tire of their game, and Travjane's coiffeur returns to its normal, less-bouyant state. She tells Darian to sit tight for a minute, then goes back to look at the road.

[Q: Any problems? 50/50 (4+): O3 C2 - No, and...]

The discarded weapons lie in the path where they were thrown. She retireves her branch (though it do her no good for a while) and takes the warrior's crossbow as well before returning to her friend.

"I think they won't be back," she says. "And I've even claimed us a little prize. But what do we do now? The herberge is too dangerous. I suppose I can get you to Hohendorf. You can rest up there. But I can't stay. My step-parents--"

"You really think they can keep you there?" interrupts Darian. "Ha! I'd like to see them try." [UNE: prejudiced - belief - power]

"You don't know what they're like!"

"But how would I get back to Weihenhorst on my own? The roads aren't safe, if you hadn't noticed. And I'm not much of a fighter..."

"You have to help me then. As soon as you're well enough to travel, you have to explain that, I dunno, that I owe you and it's my duty to escort you safely home, or... or..."

"Or the kobold will come to get me!" [insane - fear - last scene]

"Perfect! You're the best!"

Scene 29

Madness (d6)

Setup: chaos die =4, Interrupt (was: rest up in Hohendorf)
Interrupt: NPC negative - cobbler - Bestow/Trials

[The cobbler will be in prison by the time Travjane gets back to Weihenhorst.]

Scene 30

Madness (d6)

Setup: rest up in Hohendorf

NPC list: 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

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

[Q: What's reception like in Hohendorf? Proceedings / Intrigues]

The rest of the trip down to Hohendorf is uneventful. They are received more warmly than expected, but even Travjane admits that the sight of them, bloodied and battered from fighting, was certain to excite the pity of the pious folk of the village.

They decide to stay three days, no more. Darian promises that he will do his best to travel on the fourth day, no matter what state he is in.

Travjane's step-parents are genuinely worried at first, but it soon fades, to be replaced by the usual animosity. They get the village priestess to intervene [1d3=3] on the third day.

[First, the Regeneration rolls-
D 15 to 21 LeP
T 8 to 23 LeP, 13 to 13 AsP

Now to flesh out the Priestess

NPC Relationship: distrustful
Conversation Mood: cautious
inquisitive - investigation - the character

Personality: Abusive, Forceful

1. proclaim narcissism (other people's, not her own)
2. blight myths (uphold religious orthodoxy)
3. shepherd the world

Age 1d6+1 x10= 50s]

On the third day, the village's Praios priestess comes to call at the inn, asking to see Travjane. The witch knew this was coming, but consents to the interview. She suggests they go for a walk in the woods where they might speak privately. The priestess protests, saying the cold of Firun is not good for her old bones. They walk over to sit in the village temple as a compromise.

"So, Travjane, you return to Hohendorf once again. Where have you been all this time? And why do you stay away?"

"My fate isn't in this pitiful little village. You've only to look at me to know I don't belong here."

"My, my... a month in the big city and already she puts on airs! Travjane, I fear you've gotten all full of yourself."

"It's not like that at all. But I have responsibilities now; real ones, not like sweeping out the common room every morning. There are things I must put right -- injustices to which I cannot turn a blind eye. You -- a priestess of the Heavenly Judge [Himmlischer Richter] -- should understand that more than most."

[Using the priestess' religion against her will require a Gods & Cults (Cunning/Cunning/Intuition, skill 0) roll for Travjane to not put her foot in it: 11/2/3, success!]

"I see. Perhaps your reasons are not entirely selfish. And your concern for your friend does you credit, bringing him here to recuperate even though you knew what would happen." [knowing - telling - last action]

[Travjane gets an Empathy check (KL/IN/CH, skill 5) to get a feel for how to handle the Priestess. QL will reduce the -3 social penalty for being a witch. Roll: 6/2/14, QL2!]

"What else could I do? Darian is a tailor, and not cut out for dangerous adventures. I just need to see him well and get him home safely again, and then go back to finish what I started. My other companions and I went below an old ruin. And we fought a monster there -- a demon! And two of us were lost. I need to go back, to slay this horrible creature of darkness, and recover my friends' bodies for burial. I must go to the Rabenkloster; they'll understand there. And they trust me in matters such as these... unless you yourself want to come vanquish this foe of the light."

[Travjane gets a Fast Talk (MU/IN/CH skill 2) roll for the above, her final gambit, with only a-1 penalty: 10/5/4, success.]

"Oh, Travjane! I'm far too old for such adventures. Ministering to the spiritual needs of this village takes all my time now. Orvik and Kala are to wed next month; that's more than enough excitement for me. Now, I cannot say I have no reservations about the path you've chosen to walk -- I do not share the opinion of my predecessor that witchcraft is a blameless profession -- but I do see that your heart is in the right place, and I will not stand in your way. I will talk to your parents, and try to make them see that your remaining here is not in anyone's best interests."

Such is Travjane's relief that she falls a-weeping for joy, and kisses the priestess' hands again and again in gratitude.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Das schwarze Auge solo - Part XIII: „Dämon aus Höllenräumen / Aus Fegefeuer und bösen Träumen“

The travellers sit down for a convivial, if bland, meal of trail rations with the young mage, who introduces himself as Malzan. The lupine Karmanath ice-demon sits impassively behind its master. Malzan is a well-bred and affable sort, and his manner betrays his noble origin, though he never mentions it or treats his new companions as anything less than equals. Still, some habits die hard, and he is attended at all times by his valet, a reserved and proper man called Vann.

[Q: Is it difficult to find the entrance? 50/50 (4+): O3 C1 - No, and... the way is open.]

Once they are rested and their appetites sated, they begin a search of the ruins. The entrance to the underground level is surprisingly easy to find, a yawning hole with a set of sturdy stone steps leading down into darkness. Suddenly faced with the project of real and impending danger, Darian balks at exploring the under-ruins. He and Vann are allowed to stay above to watch over the camp.

Malzan speaks a short spell, and the tip of his staff glows bright with an unquenchable flame [where witches learn curses, mages learn Stabzauber (staff magic); this one lasts an hour and only costs 1AsP]. Travjane lights a more mundane torch from her pack, and they all descend the steps. Jergan takes the lead, followed by Travjane. Malzan follows, his demon ever by his side, and Renahban guards the rear.

[Room: environment only - altar/shrine; g on the map; 3x6m; they entered the map at h, on the far right hand side.]

At the bottom of the steep stair they find a smallish, empty room. The floor is covered in dirt and rocks and sticks blown in by the winds outside, and moss grows upon the walls. There is but a single narrow exit in one wall, beside which is an alcove containing some painted animal skulls, a copper plate filled with ashes, and some branches twisted together with cord and wire, and ornamented with crow's feathers.

[Travjane makes a Gods & Cults (Skill 0) check: 9/11/8, success QL1
Q: Is it an altar to one of the Twelve? Certain (2+): O1 C3 - No, but... inoffensive]

"I think goblins must have made this," says Travjane. "I wonder if we'll find any here."

The room beyond the shrine [L on the map, 1d20=empty] is full of tightly packed brick columns. None of the bold adventurers can guess at the former purpose of such an arrangement [it was originally a hypocaust].

After a fruitless search amongst the columns, they find an exit on the same wall as the entrance. The room beyond [d on the map, environment only - spikes/caltrops] is even smaller than the entrance chamber. The walls are bare, but the floor is once again covered in all manner of débris.

[Perception roll for Jergan: 7/3/7, success.]

"Watch where you step!" says Jergan. "The floor is--"

"Ouch!" shrieks Travjane. [Perception roll 20/17/7, failed. 1d6=1 damage]

Everyone stops, and watches as the witch pulls a sharp fragment of metal out of the sole of her foot.

"Travjane!" scolds Renahban. "You came into here barefoot?"

"Well I lost one of my shoes!"

"Go put something on your feet!"

"No! It's plenty warm in here. I'll be more careful. It hardly even broke the skin."

The others realise that arguing with the witch is pointless, and would probably just attract the attention of anything lurking nearby, so they proceed (carefully) to the next chamber.

They emerge into a larger, rectangular room with a high and vaulted ceiling, and an adjoining anteroom with a raised floor. The splintered and rotten remains of chests and crates are scattered about, evidence of the looting of the fort in ages past. Here and there is a piece of dented armour, a broken sword, the rim of a shield. A few shelf brackets still protrude from the stone walls like corroded spikes. Any furnishings have long since rotted away. The floor is slightly uneven, and a large puddle of water stands in one corner. A steady drip of water has formed tiny stalactites above it.

[f on the map; Room contents: Monster & Treasure
monster type 1d4: 1 undead, 2 unnatural, 3 animal, 4 demon

I rolled a 1, so skeletons it is. There are a few more types of undead in the rulebook and bestiary, but I'm going with skeletons, because skeletons! The party must face a group of (1d6+1=)5. They are armed with swords (1d6+4 damage).

NPC Morale will be determined on 1d8 when someone loses the first quarter of their LeP. The NPC flees after losing (1d8): 1-3 25%, 4-7 50%, 8 75%; none of them are foolish enough to fight to the death.]

As Travjane takes her torch over to peer into the anteroom, indistinct shapes move in the darkness at the edge of her vision. She takes them for merely the flickering shadows made by her light, and pays them no mind. But an instant later she is confronted with an awful sight, as a band of ancient, walking skeletons, animated to some sinister purpose, come forth to do battle with the living souls who dare disturb their tomb.

[She failed a Perception roll, they made their Stealth rolls, so she's surprised. 1d5=2 can attack in the surprise round, but they roll poorly and both miss. I'll say this means they didn't pick up their weapons in time to attack, so the narrative matches the nice picture, and I'm not tempted to waste 2 hours trying to photoshop in any arms.]

The grinning skeletons take up an assortment of old swords, and the battle is joined.

[Round 1
Initiative rolls: J 19, T 18, M 17, s1 15, R 14, s2 11, s3 12, s4&s5 9
as usual, I will narrate somewhat out of order for the sake of readability.]

Jergan's warrior instincts take over the instant he hears the clacking of bony feet against the damp stone floor. He charges at the closest skeleton, putting all the weight of his impetus behind the swing of his sword. He smashes through the skeleton's chest, sending fragments of ribs flying every direction -- yet somehow the thing keeps coming at him! [He's using his Sturmangriff (lit. 'assault', here essentially 'charge') combat ability to attack (1d5=)skeleton #5. He hits and it fails its dodge; damage is this 1d6+4 for his sword with a bonus of (1/2 Movement rate)+2, so +6: 1d6+4+6=13damage; the skeleton has but 1 LeP left.] The skeleton's blade bounds off Jergan's shield.

Travjane is unsettled by the walking dead before her. She swings the heavy branch she carries clumsily, and almost looses her footing as it swishes through the air before her foe [a natural 20 is a miss, after which she rolls a 3 (under her AT of 8) so avoids a Fumble]. Fortunately the skeleton's [#1] sword fails to find its mark as well, though unlike the witch no expletives escape its silent mouth.

Malzan does not feel at all threatened by these most minor of sorcerous creations. Rather than use up one of the precious services yet owed him by his summoned demon, he opts for a more direct approach. He thrusts the tip of his magical staff at a skeleton, and with a loud crack breaks off a chunk of its pelvis. [Rolls a 1, then a 16 -- a hit but no critical. The skeleton's defence is halved, and it thus fails to dodge. 1d6+2=6damage, dropping it to 8LeP.] The thing is too off-balance to counter-attack.

Renahban carefully puts her crossbow aside and draws her greatsword.

A second skeleton [#3] appears beside Travjane, its blade slashing towards her face. As she twists her body aside, the heavy branch flies up and knocks off the thing's jaw. [It attack would have hit, but she rolled a 1 on her dodge. A second roll of 4 (under her dodge value) makes a critical success, so she gets to roll for a free riposte [Passierschlag; attack at -4 but no other modifiers, and no Defence is allowed], which succeeds. The Passierschlag also rolled a natural 1, but alas no criticals are allowed. However, blunt weapons do double damage to skeletons, so (1d6+1=5)x2=10 damage, leaving it with 4LeP.]

The last skeleton [actually #4] lunges at Malzan, but the mage has already stepped back out of the way.

[Round 2]
Jergan's sword makes short work of the damaged skeleton before him. He moves to defend Malzan, wondering distractedly why his beast will not attack.

Travjane and her two opponents trade blows, though none come near to hitting. Renahban appears by Travjane's side swinging her huge sword, which nearly hits the witch instead of the skeletons [natural 20, but avoided the fumble].

Malzan smashes his foe's sternum [6 damage drops it to 2LeP], but it shows no signs of slowing. He manages to avoid its counter attack, but leaves himself open to the other, which slashes a bloody gash across his shoulder with its ancient sword [7 damage drops Malzan to 16 LeP, and he gets 1 level of pain]. The other

[Round 3]
Jergan makes a clumsy stab at one of the skeletons facing the mage -- so clumsy in fact that it manages to backhand him with the pommel of its weapon. [Jergan also rolled a 20, and whilst he avoided fumbling, the skeleton got a critical success on its dodge. The Passierschlag hit for 5-3(armour)=2damage, putting Jergan at 33LeP.]

Travjane misses her opponent again and gets in too close, earning a terrible wound across her torso as her recompense [7 damage drops her to 21 LeP].

Marzan is wincing from his injury, but stands firm [Morale 1d8=6; he'll stay until he's at half LeP]. His staff reduces the damaged skeleton to pile of bones at his feet, as he dances out of reach of the other one facing him.

[Round 4-5]
He's brave but not foolhardy; Malzan steps back to let Jergan fight. But the warrior can't seem to get in a hit against his enemy.

Renahban's heavy sword crashes down, shattering an arm, most of the rib cage, and cracking the pelvis nearly in twain [12 damage leaves it with 2 LeP] -- yet still does the monster advance. It hits her once [9-3=6damage], then twice [8-3=5: 19LeP, 1 Pain], but she grits her teeth and keeps on fighting [ML roll=8].

Travjane brings her branch down right atop her opponent's skull, smashing the whole skeleton to pieces which skitter across the floor in all directions. [She rolled a critical hit, for double damage, combined with the modifier for her blunt weapon meant damage x4! 1d6+2=7, x4=28; it only had 4LeP...]

[Round 6-7]
Only two skeletons remain. They seem to remember their lives as warriors, for Jergan's tactics are of no avail. The witch, however untrained her fighting style, manages to destroy one of them, and the mercenary from a far-off land takes her revenge upon the other.

After the battle, the party resume their search of the chamber. As they are looking through the remains of boxes and crates, and piles of broken and rusty vessels, healing magics work their spell to lessen the injuries sustained at the hands of the undead. [Malzan casts Balsam Salabunde on himself, restoring 3 LeP (up to 19) and reducing his AsP to 12. Travjane heals both herself and Renahban by 6 points (T 27 LeP, R 25 LeP), which drops her to 22 AsP. The Mindergeister, in a seeming act of charity, do not disturb her at this time.]

Most of the contents of the room are past having any worth, having been smashed by invading orks in ages past or simply having decayed with the passage of centuries. But a few pieces do still have some value...

[For the treasure I picked 3 random pictures from my latest V&A Museum folder (I spent a day there taking pictures for gaming inspiration, especially for treasure). Any picture of something inappropriate to the setting or immovable counts as No Result.]

They find an ornamental pauldron that somehow survived the ravages of time...

...a small plaque depicting an ancient hero fighting a green lion...

...and a pair of amber cruets, decorated with gilded silver.

All these they put out of way, set safely on a stone in the corner of the room, lest they become damaged by exploring and fighting. Travjane adds the least damaged of the skeletons' ancient swords to the pile, just in case they find no better.

Feeling a little cheered by the promise of more treasure, they make their way through the narrow passage to the next chamber [e on the map, environment only: wind]

The room is spacious and empty. A platform runs round 3 of the walls, about waist-height. They feel breeze through here. It smells a little like the outside, but it is mixed with uncertain smells from the dank underground. The sole exit is in the middle of the far wall, so they clamber up onto the platform and make their way to the next room [K - monster only].

This room is also filled with columns, though many of them have been reduced to piles of stone and brick littering the floor. A think, irregular wall divides the long chamber into two sections. Malzan and his demon get separated from the other three as they all wind their way through the crumbling maze.

[Since the breeze in the last room indicated some sort of opening to the outside world, I made a slightly different monster table, including the possibility that an animal could be lairing in here.
1d8: 1-3 undead, 4-5 unnatural/chimaera, 6-7 demon/id 8 animal; I rolled a 6, so picked a random demon out of all those available: a Zant.

Who will it try to attack? There are 5 invaders in its lair, but Jergan has the Bad Luck disadvantage, so counts twice in the determination. And 1d6=Jergan.

The Zant made a poor (QL1 only) stealth roll, but Jergan failed his perception check, so he gets no defence.]

In the darkness of the underground chamber -- unbeknownst to our band of heroes -- a terrible demon, a Zant, stalks amongst the columns. The stealthy padding of its feet is masked by the sounds of dripping water, and by the explorers themselves moving over the rubble-strewn flagstones. It comes closer, ever closer to its unwary prey, driven by the burning need for slaughter and terror.

Travjane and Renahban suddenly see the beast in the light of the torch as it slips out from behind a column. The demon is some twisted parody of a tiger,  with an upright stance and an evil, knowing mien. They are about to call out to warn Jergan when the thing pounces!

[Round 1
Initiative is: Z 20, R 18, T 17, J15 (but he cannot act this round due to surprise).
Also, all three of them failed Sphere Lore checks, so they have no idea what this thing is nor how best to fight it.]

The Zant has an unnaturally long tail, which it swings at Jergan's feet, sweeping the hapless warrior to the ground. It then leaps atop him and sinks its terrible fangs into his shoulder. The awful jaws clamp tight, and the teeth pierce his thick linen gambeson and sink deep into his flesh, and burn with acidic venom. Strangely, the immense creature atop him seems light as a feather, in spite of its overwhelming strength.

[A Zant gets 2 actions per round. It uses its tail to attack with the Trip combat manoeuvre. The attack (at -4 to hit) succeeds, so Jergan goes down. Damage for a trip attack is only 1d3, so his armour absorbs it all. The bite hit for 2d6+3, -3 for armour=9. It also gets to roll a d6, with a result of 1-3 indicating that much additional damage from acidic secretions. 1d6=2, for a total of 11 damage, leaving Jergan at 22LeP, with 1 level of Pain. Morale check:1d8=6, so he will fight until he hits 50% LeP.
N.B. demons in DSA, despite their size and strength, have no actual mass when summoned to the earthly sphere.]

It all happens so fast that Renahban cannot bring her sword to bear [rolls a 20, then a 1, so doesn't fumble]. Travjane blurts out the words to a spell, but in her fright trips over the final syllables [tries to cast Radau quickly (-1 penalty) and fails. It costs 2AsP, but the Mindergeister do not appear].

[Round 2]
The Zant's jaws snap at Jergan's face, but he twists aside [it missed]. It rakes a massive paw across his midsection, tearing armour and flesh [hit for 6-3=3 damage +3 acid; Jergan is down to 18LeP].

Renahban tries to slash the demon with her sword, but the columns make it hard to swing the massive weapon [-4 to hit for confined space, miss]. Travjane repeats the words to her charm, but slurs her words again [-2 more AsP].

Jergan scurries out from beneath the slavering creature, and quickly regains his feet.
[he makes a Body Control roll so the Zant does not get a free attack (Passierschlag).

Q: Does Malzan help? 50/50 (4+): O5 C3 - Yes, but... only sends his demon. It arrives in 1d3=2 rounds.]

[Round 3]
The Zant snaps again at Jergan, but the warrior interposes his blade. The demon jerks back before it receives a mouthful of cold steel [bite would have hit, but Jergan parried]. But it only seemed to retreat. The Zant twists and lashes out with its other paw, shredding through his armour as though it were cheesecloth, and nearly disemboweling him. He falls without so much as a whimper, a torn and bloodied mess.
[The paw rolled a critical hit, which Jergan failed to parry. 8x2=16-3=13damage, +3 acid; Jergan is unconscious with 2 LeP separating him from death.]

"No!" shouts Renahban as she thrusts her blade at the terrible beast. It slaps the sword aside with its tail, and rakes its claws across Renahban's face for her impudence. [her attack would have hit, but the Zant rolled a critical parry and earned a free riposte. 11-3=8, leaving her at 17 LeP and 1 Pain].

Having failed at her spell twice in a row, rage has wells up in the witch's breast. She is so angry that the magic comes out in a very different wise, as she expectorates a glob of caustic bile directly onto the Zant. It bubbles and hisses as it strikes, but slides off the demon's fur as if it were but water. And as if that weren't enough insult, the nasty little sprites which plague her appear and begin to dance round her head, little angry faces leering and jeering at her.
[Witches get a bonus when casting spells for which they have an emotional investment. Hexengrolle (witch's bile) is a pretty nasty spell; failing two casting attempts in a row put Travjane in a foul mood, so she gets the full +2. She didn't really need it though, as she rolled 3/2/7: success at QL 3. The Zant failed to dodge. The bile does 1d6+QL damage... but it turns out that demons are immune to spells in the transformation (Verwandlung) category, so it had no effect. Travjane is out 4 more AsP (14 left), and (1d20=2) her Lästige Mindergeister disadvantage finally takes hold.]

[Round 4]
The Karmanath creeps over behind the raging Zant. And though its movements are too quiet for the humans to hear, the tiger-demon's superior senses alert it to the presence of the unearthly hunter.
[The Karmanath rolls 25 for its Initiative total, so will be going first. It gets a QL of 3 for its Stealth roll, but the Zant manages a Perception check at QL 4!]

The icy wolf demon opens wide its gaping jaw and makes to leap at the Zant, but stumbles upon the loose bricks scattered around the floor. It then tries to slash the other demon with the icy spikes hanging from its tail, but the swing falls several paces short.
[bite attack rolls 20, and 20 again: Fumble; it stumbles, for a -2 to its next action. The tail strike would have missed anyway (it rolled a 19... sigh).]

Having felled one human, the Zant turns its attentions to [1d8: 1-2 R, 3-4 T, 5-6 both, 7-8 K] Renahban. It tries to knock her down with its tail, and slash her with its claws, but each time she deftly steps aside [both attacks would have hit, but she miraculously dodged]. She ends up too far back to attack the beast easily [missed].

"Fall back!" yells Travjane, as she backs away. "Let the demon fight it!"

[Round 5]
The Zant does not stay still, and the Karmanath cannot seem choose a time to strike [miss x2]. It presses its attack on Renahban, knocking her over with its tail and taking a bite out of her side as she sprawls on the ground. She tries desperately to get away from the savage demon, which grabs her about the throat, which erupts in a fountain of gore.
[she was knocked down, then the bite dropped her to 7 LeP. She failed a Body Control roll to get up, which opened her up to a free attack. The claw did 7 damage, killing her.]

Travjane is shocked to see the last moments of the stalwart mercenary. She throws the heavy branch she carries to the ground so that she might flee the spectre of death before her. To her surprise, the branch comes to life, flies at the monster and raps it soundly across its face!
[Her Radau casting roll was pants, so she spent a Fate Point to re-roll, and managed QL2. The branch thus has Ini12+1d6 (14, still going last) and an Attack value of 12. The branch hit, and fortunately counts as a magic weapon, or else it would do half damage. It does 1d6+3 -3 for armour (thick fur/hide) =2, reducing the Zant to 43LeP. Travjane's now down to 4AsP.]

[Round 6]
The furious Zant is momentarily perturbed by the animated wood, giving the snarling Karmanath the opportunity it needs. It leaps upon the Zant, knocking it to the ground, and taking a bite out of its arm with its icy jaws. The Zant is quick to regain its feet, and it tears out icy chunks of of the cold-demon's hide in its jaw. Travjane turns and runs from the scene. She vaguely thinks she hears the crack of wood again, followed by an angry hiss from the terrible Zant.

She sees a bobbing light ahead of her, the burning flame atop Malzan's staff. She follows it at speed; neither magician stops until they have reached the surface.

[Travjane's Radau drained her very last AsP at the start of round 7. I did play out the rest of the fight, but it was no surprise that the Zant slew the Karmanath, though it was down to 11LeP by that point. Slain demons dissolve into nothingness, leaving perhaps a stain where they fell, so there will be no trace of the Karmanath, but the bodies of the two NPCs and all their equipment will be there should Travjane return. And the treasure they piled in the corner of the skeleton room will remain too.

The fight lasted about 6 more rounds, so there would be no pursuit (the Zant is bound to its room), but I did ask Mythic--

Q: Do they get out OK? Likely (3+): O6 C3 - Yes, but...
BOLD to determine the but: Party-accusations-mundane
Who? 1-2 Malzan, 3-4 Valet, 5-6 Darian: 1d6=1
Q: Did Malzan actually see the Zant: 50/50 (4+): O6 C5 - Yes. And he makes a Sphere Lore roll at QL1, so he knows what it is.]

Witch and wizard collapse against a low wall, a little ways away from the opening into the underground. They struggle to catch their breath, eyeing the opening warily, both hopeful and frightened of what might come up from beneath. By the time they can both breathe again, it is apparent that nothing will be coming out... and they both know what that means.

Finally, Malzan addresses Travjane. "What the hell is wrong with you?! What sort of person takes a stranger down into a hole like that? And with such a guardian! Do you have a death wish or are you just stupid?"

[She tries to defuse the situation, pitting her Fast Talk vs. his Willpower. The results are QL 1 vs QL 3...]

"I had no idea," says Travjane. "What even was that thing?"

"You don't know? How ignorant you are! What sort of moron goes into a place like that with no prior knowledge?"

"We know the story of--"

"That information is centuries out-of-date! You're on your own from now on. I'm getting out of here at first light."

The wizard doesn't even look at her again, just storms off into his tent and sulks.

Travjane feels like doing the same. She goes to find Darian, and tells him the whole sad story of what transpired. They confer for a little while, but decide that the only reasonable course of action is to return to Weihenhorst and start anew. Travjane insists that she will return to this place with reinforcements such as can be raised, and recover the bodies of poor Jergan and Renahban.

Neither of them feels particularly safe by the ruins, not only because of the monster lurking beneath bu t also the angry summoner a few paces distant. They quickly strike camp and descend the peak to stay the night away from this awful place.

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.

"...it 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."