Monday, 20 November 2017

LotFP solo - Part V: In labyrinthum


Mikuláš steps cautiously through the door, followed by Valentinus and Theophilus. Each feels a momentary disorientation as he crosses the threshold, a confusion of the senses and feelings of vertigo. It lasts but an instant, only to be replaced by alarm and revulsion. For they have not come into the entry hall of the house; instead they find themselves in a small bed chamber, which is moreover the scene of recent carnage.

The mutilated corpse of a manservant has been stuffed into a narrow oaken armoire, and a man in his night-dress lies dead on the floor in a pool of blood. A fireplace poker is still clutched in his hand, and a crossbow bolt protrudes from the wall by the doorway.

"What happened here?" gasps Valentinus.

"One thing's for certain," answers Theophilus, "we'll be glad of our weapons ere the night's done."

"God willing, they'll be enough."

"Quite. We should look round. See if there's anything in here to give us a better idea of what's going on. Frater, that means you too. Mikuláš!"

The three go through the meagre furnishings, and Theophilus even dares a peek underneath the bed but they find nothing that is important or might elucidate the goings-on in the house.

[1 turn elapses; Search rolls d6=6,6,6, failure, so not asking the oracle if there are any clues]

The door still hangs ajar, but it is impossible to see out into the area beyond; all is indistinct darkness, and peering at it starts to hurt one's head. Looking out the window produces a similar result.

"This can't be all there is!" blusters Theophilus to hide his fear. "I'm going to see what's in the next room."

"Are you sure that's wise?" asks Mikuláš.

"No. But what choice have we?"

Mikuláš shrugs. "I suppose you're right," he says. [reaction roll=8]

Theophilus walks bravely forth, and the others follow. After the momentary blur of strange sensation, Theophilus' voice rings out. "How the devil did we end up in a pantry?"

"This can't be happening," mutters Mikuláš.

"Let's go back," says Valentinus.

"Are you sure that's wise?" asks Theophilus.

"You've a better plan? Besides, we haven't a surfeit of exits from which to choose."

They go back through the door. When the strangeness and confsion clears, they at first believe themselves back in the room they had started in, but they are in fact in another room altogether, though one which bears a strong resemblence to the first. There are fortunately no signs of death here, but insetad signs of life: a travelling chest has been stowed atop the wardobe which is full of clothing, the bed as been slept in, and a [d6=] man's toilet articles are on the side table.

[I used the Scarlet Heroes dungeon tables to stock the room, but it came up empty (no encounter- no treasure - no hazard - no feature)
Q: Bed slept in?  50/50 (4+): O4 C8 - Yes.
Q: Any weapons here? Unlikely (5+): O2 C6 - No.]


Theophilus and Valentinus search the room, but they discover only that whoever the guest of this house is, he has above average means and impeccable taste.

Meanwhile Mikuláš, pale with fright, has sat down heavily upon bed, and begun mumbling to himself. "Je pravda... nebyl jen zvěst... už začalo..."

The others don't understand a word. Valentinus weakly attempts to comfort him with with religious platitudes, or at the very least shock his Protestant sensibilities with Catholic doctrine as a distraction. He doesn't seem to be getting through, so takes the torch from Mikuláš' hand lest he light the bedclothes on fire.

"Let's get out of here," says Theophilus at length.

"To what end?" asks Valentinus.

"We have to find somewhere eventually. Don't we?"

[From here on in, I'll be keeping records of Turns Elapsed for each group (on a separate piece of paper!) so I know when they find each other. Something is going on within the house that makes movement from room to room obey other-than-terrene laws. This idea occurred to me when looking at the Locations Within A Dungeon table in Scarlet Heroes. I thought the habitation column would be useful for late-night burglary scenarios, but the abstract way that the dungeons progress might lead your thief from the kitchen to the master bedroom via the kennels.

I did modify the table a bit to fit this particular house:

1d20
----
1 mechanism room
2 cellar (servants entrance)
3 guest room 1 (*Marius's body, servant in armoire)
4 dining room
5 guest room 2
6 guest room 3
7 brother's room
8 kitchen
9 library
10 master bedroom
11 pantry/scullery
12 salon
13 entry hall
14 servant's rooms (below stairs)
15 shrine
16 servant's rooms (garret)
17 stairwell/landing (*dead thing)
18 storeroom (tub)
19 study
20 vault


* see scene 8

When I made the table, I had no real idea what the Mechanism Room or the Shrine would be like; everything was to figured out in play, so I figured a couple of unknown quantities on the table would be fine. The Vault, of course, is the key to the adventure, but other than the presence of an important NPC there (who hasn't appeared yet), I hadn't determined anything about it in advance either, intending to make some random rolls when the PCs arrived.

Rather than counting down the minutes, I am assuming as a baseline that each room visited counts as a Turn unless it's obviously longer. A room that is simply passed through takes little time, but in practice no more than 2 rooms per Turn are allowed. In addition to the PC groups, I also have a group of NPCs to track. They stay 1d3-1  turns in each room, doing whatever it is that unsupervised NPCs get up to. I've scanned the turn-tracking paper for posterity, and I will upoad it when I get to the end of this section, but for now I cannot, as it contains spoilers.

Previously unexplored rooms are being stocked with the Scarlet Heroes random dungeon tables. I have an entire extra .txt file dedicated to keeping track of room contents & NPC stats.]




Scene 17 - track B

Chaos:
Madness (d6)

Setup: d6=3, Interrupt (was: explore the house)
Interrupt: Dark Secret - Judit - hasten / despair

NPC list: Zuzka, Cloelia (cleric), Brutus (brother), Zdeňka (maid)

Threads: investigate brothel, investigate death

In the lantern-lit entry hall, Judit is staring at the blank wall where once the front door stood. "We can't be trapped in here," she whispers, "we just can't."

She breaks out in silent tears. Šimon tries to comfort her, asking over and over aain what is the matter, but she only whispers half-incoherant phrases:  imprisoned... never again... outside... can't escape... can't escape....

[Q: Can he get her to rally? 50/50 (4+): O3 C3 - No, but... she comes round after 1 turn, but will have -2 to all actions due to the shakes for 1d3=2 more turns.

+Event: Horror - NPC - open / head]


Šimon finally begins getting through to Judit. Meanwhile, the waifinsh little maid has been clinging closer and closer to Pauwel. Zdeňka throws her arms round him, and looks up at him with her fearful, watery eyes. Then there's a tearing sound, and her scalp begins to split, and pulls back. Strips of skin begin to pull off in all directions, and the long strands ensnare Pauwel like so many bloody cords...

[The skin demon (AC: 14, HD: 4, HP: 21, Move: 120', 1 attack, damage 1d6, ML: 9, special: 'web' at will (one at a time, range 5', save vs. Paralysis to avoid, immobilised opponent is hit automatically each round), surprise on 1-4)

d6=5, no surprise round.
Initiative rolls were tied; dex 3d6=9, so order is: J, Š, (P), It]


[Round 1]
Šimon draws his dagger and advances, but is unsure of where to strike [miss]. The threat of immediate danger brings Judit back to the present. She lunges at the bleeding Zdeňka-monster with her rapier, skewering it through the torso. The now-skinless head turns and regards her angrily [she hit (despite a total -4 penalty) for 7 damage, dropping it to 14hp] and hisses with malice. A long toothy maw erupts from the maid's midsection through the gory rags of her dress, and begins to furiously gnaw into
Pauwel's stomach [auto hit; 5 damage leaves him with 3hp]. Pauwel twists and turns, struggling against the strips of skin twind round his wrists and ankles.

[Round 2]
The demon turns to interpose Pauwel between it and its adversaries like a shield. He screams for help, but both Šimon and Judit are afraid to strike again, lest they hit him [miss x2]. A gush of blood sprays out of his mouth, then he goes limp [4 damage puts him at -1hp].

[Round 3]
Šimon grabs Judit's hand and runs, pulling her behind him. He throws open the nearest door, and they rush through, without looking back at the wet slurping and snapping sounds behind them [5 damage kills Pauwel].

Between the panic and revulsion, they scarcely notice the vertiginous sensation of passing through the portal. But one moment they were in the entry hall, and the next they have suddenly found themselves in the cramped servant's quarters in the garret. A dim light suffuses the room, produced by some sort of green glowing fleshy sac, suspended from a roof beam by a single golden thread, hanging down at chest height between the two beds. The light pulses slowly, and the sac emits a nearly subsonic hum.  On each of the beds lies a housemaid, fully dressed and in a rigid posture, arms straight down at her sides. Their breathing is slow, rising and falling with the pulse of the light.

[The die rolls for the above:
d20=16, servant's rooms (garret)]


Room contents (Via Scarlet heroes): Hazard only
SH is a bit bland in this regard, so I rolled on the Labyrinth Lord AEC random characteristics chart: d%=94, Suspends animation.
The hazard's form wasn't immediately obvious from that so misc room contents: d%=99 Waterskin, empty, rotten

1d2=2 maids present

The PCs need to save vs. Paralysation: Š 20, J 20 !]

"Ugh!" says Judit. "What is that?"

"Nothing good," mutters Šimon. He tries shaking the sleeping maids awake, but they do not respond. The closer he gets to the hanging sac, the more the sound makes his teeth ache.

"How did we get up here?" continues Judit.

"Now is not the time to worry about how," says Šimon. "Or why. We need to find a way out of this trap."

"Yes, of course. But we can't leave them with... with that thing."

"What do you suggest?"

"Stand back. And be ready to run if this is a mistake."

Šimon back up to the door as Judit takes position between the beds. She takes her blade in both hands, checks the angle once or twice, then swings at the thread with all her might...

[Her STR is 9, so:
Q: Does she cut the thread? Unknown: 1d6=4, so 50/50 (4+): O4 C6 - Yes.
Q: Does it break the spell? Likely (3+): O6 C4 - Yes, but... (1d8): 1 maids are evil when they awake, 2 maids are evil and monstrous, 3 maids wither and die, 4 sac releases poison gas, 5 sac releases laughing gas, 6 golden thread delivers shock for 1d8 damage, 7 golden thread delivers magical backlash which randomly swaps 2 attributes, 8 sac is alive and attempts to escape

1d8=5]


The golden thread snaps with a soft twang, and the fleshy sac plops at Judit's feet. It deflates with a wet sigh, filling the room with a colourless gas. The maids awakened the instant the thread was severed. One crie out, as if awaking from a nightmare, the other sits bolt upright. Then the gas starts to tickle their throats and they begin to giggle. Judit and Šimon join them a moment later. The giggles turn to laughter -- awful, joyless laughter that won't stop. Šimon loses hi balance, and slides to the ground, his back against the door. He almost drops the lantern. Judit tries to steady herself against the bedframe, but falls to her knees. Peals of maniacal laughter fill the room, and the four of them are helpless to stop it.

Judit recovers first, followed by one of the maids. Šimon is still in the laughter's thrall, and lies helpless and wheezing upon the floor. The second maid seems to be getting worse by the minute, and the laughter is replaced by thrashing and spasms. Flecks of blood stain her mouth and the bed linens as the fury mounts, and then all at once she falls senseless.

[Everyone needed to save vs. poison or be inapacitated by laughter for 1d3 turns.  Those making their save are still affected for 1 turn. Each turn of the horrible laughter inflicts 1 point of damage.

        CH CN DX IN ST WI HP
Daniela 11 11 10  9 14  8  5
Lenka   12  6 15 12 10 10  2


J saves 1 dmg to 5hp
Š fails 2 turns, 2 dmg to 4hp
d saves 1 to 4hp
n fails 3 damage, but goes unconscious in 2 turns, at 0hp]


Šimon's crisis passes, but the unconscious maid cannot be roused. Judit tries to help, and when it proves to be futile, she tries to comfort the other.

"My name is Judit, and this is my wise friend Šimon. What's your name?"

"D-- Daniela".

"Things have gotten very strange, very terrible in this house, but we are going to escape. Will you come with us, Daniela?"

[Reaction roll = 9]

"Y-- yes."

"Here. Take my dagger, just in case. Now, it would help if you could tell us what's going on?"

[Q: Does Daniela know anything? 50/50 (4+): O2 C4 - No, but...]

"There were doors we were told we must never open, never touch. I was too afraid to disobey."

"Do you know who did this to you?"

"I'm... I'm not sure..."

"Come on, we're getting out of here."

With a last tearful look back at poor Lenka, Daniela follows her rescuers out of the room.

[they exit to 1d20=5, guest room 2
contents (via Scarlte Heroes): encounter & hidden treasure

Encounter: d30=thief
Allegiance (SH): A rebel or hostile group opposed to the location’s rulers.

According to my turn/location tracker, the NPCs from scene 7 (Brutus & Cloelia) were here last turn. So,

Q: Was the thief here last turn too? 50/50 (4+): O6 C3 - Yes, but... hidden.
Q: Is thief well-armed? Unlikely (5+): O6 C1 - Yes, and...

The thief is a specialist, level 1d4=2. I fleshed himout with my origin/social tables. His name was rolled via World of the Lost.

Floris
Dutch gentry, male
Specialist, level 2
CH 16 CN 7 DX 14 IN 11 ST 8 WI 8
HP 5 AC 13
stealth 4, tinker 2, climb 3
wheelock pistol, dagger


His room was guest room 3 (the empty one that Theophilus, Valentinus, and Mikuláš found); this room belonged to d6= a lady.]



When the disorientation fades, they find themselves in a cozy guest room, not unlike the one where they were attacked by the stinking monster. The clothing and personal articles distribted round the room make it clear that a lady is a guest here -- though it is no lady whom they see crawling out from beneath the bed, but a handsome, if somewhat consumptive, gentleman. He looks shocked to see strangers, and has a pistol in hand, but does not hold it threateningly. [Reaction 2d6=7, neutral]

"Who are you?" says the man, his German betraying hints of his native Dutch. "How did you get in here? What's going on?"

"We could ask the same of you," says Šimon.

"I am a guest of Marius Grollenbach."

"Herr Grollenbach is dead."

"You killed him?"

"He tried to kill us. Why did he invite you here?"

"Business, or so he said. But what I've just overheard suggests a darker purpose." [UNE: insane - façade - allies]

"Go on."

"How do I know I can trust you?"

"You don't. But you've little choice."

"They spoke of blood, of doors, of some sort of unholy rite. I believe I was to be a participant... providing the blood, of course. And you?"

"I don't think we were meant to be here. But things have... started. And now we find we cannot escape."

"Ah. That does present an obstacle. I myself intend to escape. But I first intend to relieve these madmen of a few valuables to finance my trip back to Rotterdam." [scheming - plan - rewards]

"The whole world has fallen into pieces," says Judit, "and you think only to fill your pockets?"

"This sack, actually." [the hidden treasure from this room: the lady's jewells, purse, and a few misc. items]

"Do you know how to escape?" asks Šimon.

"No. I thought to try a window... but then I looked outside, and didn't dare open it. I assume you're finding the house a bit... jumbled."

"Indeed. But there must be a way through this labyrinth."

[Q: Will Floris come with them? Likely (3+): O5 C3 - Yes, but... is too self-serving to be of much help]

They agree to join forces. Leaving through the only door deposits them back into the below-stairs servants' entrance, where they first were brought into this house. They enter as if they had come out of the door to Magdollna's room, at the end of the narrow passageway.

[d20=2, cellar
contents (SH): treasure, hazard
LL AEC random characteristic: Emits a slime or ooze]


"What is that?" shrieks Floris as he rounds the corner.

The others come up behind him for a look, and see Anežka's swollen and distended corpse lying in a pool of sickly yellow fluid.

"That is -- was -- our associate, Anežka," says Šimon.

"How did she get down here?" asks Judit. "Was she... was she still alive when we left her?"

"What happened to her?" asks Floris.

"Something got to her," says Šimon.

"And the exit is gone!" cries Judit, practically choking on the words. "Just another blank wall where we came in!"

"I wonder what's in these cupboards?" muses Floris as he begins to dig through them. "Hello! what have we here?"

He has to step carefully round Anežka's body, lest he put his foot in the ruesome pool. [F needs Breath save to avoid, 1d20=19] He finds some silver plates in one of the cupboards to add to his sack of spoils.

"Please can we get out of here," says Daniela.


Scene 18 - track A

Chaos:
Madness (d6)

Setup: d6=1, Altered (was: explore house)
Alteration: Fr. Mikuláš charges off

NPC list: Eufemia Švarcová, Felicitas z Trautenberka, Fr. Mikuláš, ruffians

Threads: Eufemia's illness, get book

Without warning, Fr. Mikuláš leaps up and charges out the door like one posessed. Valentinus and Theophilus hesitate a moment, then run after him.

[to d20=2, dining room
Contents (via Scarlet Heroes): Hazard & feature

Feature (SH): An unusual piece of movable furnishing / Elaborate lighting apparatus, possibly still working / Simply beautiful to behold. Valuable if portable]


They find Mikuláš in the long, wood-panelled dining room. Above the massive table hangs a spidery chandelier made of an unknown metal, which bears 13 tapers that appear to have just been lit [magic chandelier, candles burn forever].

"It was foolish of you to run off without us," scolds Valentinus. "If this chandelier hadn't been lit, you'd be alone in darkness."

"But it is lit," retorts Mikuláš, and he stands upon the table to take a candle for himself.

[save vs. breath or 1d6 fire damage; d20=18, ok]

"Ow!" cries Mikuláš as he pulls back his hand in pain. "What unnatural thing is this?!"

"We must be more cautious," says Valentinus. "Now, are you going to stay with us?"

[Q: Does he see reason? Likely (3+): O6 C2 - Yes, and... contrite]

Mikuláš humbly assents.

"There's more than one door in this room!" shouts Theophilus. The other two look at him, visibly confused by the note of triumph in his voice for such a bland statement. "In every other room," he continues, "we've had to leave by the door we came in. Perhaps if we do't leave by the same door, we'll get out of this labyrinthine nightmare."

"Or go deeper within it," says Mikuláš.

"The door we came in," says Theophilus, ignoring him, "obviously leads to the entry hall. Or should, I mean. This one here must go to the kitchen... damn." Opening the door has revealed only the usual indistinct, headache-causing blackness. "I'd hoped for the kitchen," he says, trying not to sound defeated, "but I still say we leave through here."

The others can think of no argument. They follow him through the doorway... and find themselves in the salon. Once he recovers, Valentinus hazards a look back through the doorway they have just seemingly exited, but he is not at all surprised that it shews only darkness.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

LotFP solo - Part IV: Souvislost


30 April, A.D. 1601

Kateřina Smutná is sitting in the parlour of her family's modest home in New Town, idly reading a Latin treatise on astral magic which purports to have been written by Albumasar (which attribution, honestly, the young lady doesn't half believe) when she is disturbed by a loud rapping at the door. The door opens and the family servant pokes her head through. "Somebody called Miss Frawsswaz is here to see you, miss."

"Miss Françoise Toussaint, mayhap? My new French tutor?"

"Could be, miss. Only her Czech is worse than my French!"

"Show her in, please."

The servant disappears back into the vestibule, and Kateřina hurriedly hides her book beneath a cushion. She's not sure how much Latin Mlle Toussaint reads, but she cannot take the chance of being seen reading such a notorious volume. An interest in black magic is certainly not becoming for proper young ladies, nor indeed good Christians of any stripe. And Mlle Toussaint is a most notorious gossip.

Scene 11 - Track C

Chaos: Under control (d12)

Setup: Ambiguous Event - Inform / Illness

NPC list: Eufemia Švarcová

Threads: -

[There's only one PC left, so Kateřina begins a new Track on her own. The ambiguous event I rolled for the scene starter fits perfectly with the illness/horror random event from scene 1.

I made a quick table to determine the source of the information (1d6): 1 a mutual friend, 2 a rival, 3 a gossip, 4 a servant, 5 overheard in a crowded room, 6 Eufemia herself.]


Mlle Toussaint rushes into the room in more than her usual state of agitation. "Oh, my dear Catherine, have you heard the news about poor Euphémie? Oh, it's dreadful! Absolutely dreadful! And so sudden!"

Kateřina can tell the news must be serious, for Mlle Toussaint hasn't even bothered to effect her usual Parisian accent, allowing instead her native Burgundian patois to shine through. "Slow down, my dear Françoise. Have a seat. Let me pour you a glass of wine and you can tell me everything. What's this about Eufemia? I confess I mostly only understood you say her name."

Mlle Toussaint does as she is bid, as Kateřina takes a decanter of wine and two glasses from the side board and plays hostess.

"It's awful. Truly frightening," says Mlle Toussaint, once she and Kateřina are seated comfortably. "It came on so suddenly. One minute she was the very picture of health, the next... oh! so gravely ill. She's had her physicians round, and even consulted that other one -- you know, the Spaniard, what's-his-name -- very dark, I hear he's a Mahometan. Well, he can't do anything either. They say she may die! Can you believe it?"

The interview continues in this vein for quite some time, until Mlle Toussaint excuses herself, as she absolutely must go inform Mlle Kubin of the terrible news. Kateřina resolves to pay Eufemia a call that very day.


Scene 12 - track C

Chaos: Under control (d12)

Setup: call on Eufemia

NPC list: Eufemia Švarcová

Threads: Eufemia's illness

Kateřina sets out not long after Mlle Toussaint has left. She walks briskly through the labyrinth of twisting narrow streets that is the Old Town, and makes to cross the Vltava. She heads past the University with a small sigh of regret, then heads over the Charles Bridge.

[Q: Problem getting there? Unlikely (5+): O3 C3 - No, but...
+Event: Horror - PC
d30 Sandbox Companion phenomena table = sightings of dead]


Kateřina must fight her way past the dense crowd, though she's used to charging her way through. But then she sees something that stops her cold in her tracks. In the centre of the bridge there is a terrible figure of a knight in full armour, clutching a gory sword and bleeding profusely from a dozen terrible wounds, his armour rent and holed from the Turkish grapeshot that ended his life. Yet there he stands, in the midst of the crowd of people flowing unconsciously round him, even as they must alter their course to get past.

[She must make a saving throw vs. magic 1d20=13, failure.]

Kateřina is suffused with fear, and stands rooted to the spot as the dead knight walks toward her with a heavy, purposeful gait. He stops mere inches from the frightened girl, and removes his helm. Even before the awful face below is revealed, Kateřina knows whose shade stands before her. "I'm so sorry, Honza," she says. The knight screams a single word at her with its ruined mouth, and then vanishes.

Kateřina feels as if she might swoon, and runs across the bridge and into the first tavern she sees to get a drink. The beer is scarcely worth the krejcar [-1cp] she throws down to pay for it, but the sour taste shocks her back to her senses so that she might continue on her way.

[Q: Any other problems along the way? doubtful (6): O3 C8 - No.
reaction roll for the doorman: 2d6+1(CHA)=13.]


Kateřina is nearly herself again when she reaches Eufemia's house. The servant's face brightens as he opens the door to her. "So good to see you again, Miss Smutná," he says, genuinely happy to see a friend of the household -- and one with whom he may drop all pretence and speak their native tongue. "The Mistress will be pleased of your company!"

Kateřina is not even announced, merely led into the house and up the stairs to Eufemia's bedchamber. Eufemia lies abed, pale and listless, with barely the strength to sit upright. But she makes an effort to rise when she sees Kateřina, and motions for her to sit beside her on the corner of the bed. Kateřina helps her friend up, plumping the pillows behind her to make her more comfortable, and taking her trembling hand in her own.

"Dearest," says Kateřina, "whatever has happened? You look dreadful."

[UNE--
NPC Relationship: friendly
Conversation Mood: cautious
insane - turmoil - last action]


"Oh, Katřinka, I have erred in my calculations. I thought I could out-manoeuvre Felicitas and get the book from her, but she must have known, and struck me down even as I was engaging the service of a couple of rogues to procure it for me."

"Struck you down?"

"Before even I'd sent them on their way."

"Have you tried to make peace?"

"I didn't want to give her the satisfaction. But it's been four days, and I grow ever weaker... and my agents never returned."

"Never returned? What did they do?"

"One can only imagine! I sent Theophilus and Pater Hastatus. You know them?"

"Theophilus, of course, I've met. And I know Hastatus by reputation. But why--?"

"I'd imagined them a bit cleverer than... Oh, what's the use! They've failed or worse, and now..."

"Have you anything she wants? I will bring her a peace offering. I am sure I can appease her somehow -- but you'll need to abandon hopes of the book... at least for the present."

[Q: Does she agree? Likely (3+): O3 C6 - Yes.
offering: d30 Artefact/Relic=figurine/idol]


"That golden statuette on the mantelpiece," says Eufemia, gesturing weakly. "The little faun. She's always coveted it."



Scene 13 - track C

Chaos: Under control (d12)

Setup: call on Felicitas

NPC list: Eufemia Švarcová, Felicitas z Trautenberka

Threads: Eufemia's illness

[Q: Problem getting there? Unlikely (5+): O4 C8 - No.

reaction roll to be let in 10+1=11, no problem

UNE--
NPC Relationship: hostile
Conversation Mood: withdrawn
knowing - speech - antagonist

Q: Has Felicitas recovered from the attack? (uncertain odds: 1d6=4) 50/50 (4+): O2 C8]


Kateřina is admitted almost immediately by Felicitas' servants, but is then left standing alone in the grim entrance hall, with nothing to do to while away the time but stare in bemused contemplation of the newly-hung orientalist tapestry. She isn't sure whether it was woven in Cathay and is supposed to depict Dutchmen, or if the figures upon it are supposed to represent the inhabitants of that far-off land, as imagined by someone in the Low Countries. In either case, she finds it rather in bad taste, and wholly out of place in the dark hall, ignorant as she is of the bloodstains it was hung to conceal [mostly Gephardt's, from scene 3].

She is finally admitted to Felicitas' parlour. The room is dim, lit only by a single wall sconce. The tall, green faïence stove has made the air uncommonly warm and close. An incense burner adds a sharp, spicy smell, which almost masks the odour of the sick-room. Felicitas sits in a high-backed upholstered armchair, nearly invisible in the dim light save for her eyes glittering intensely down on Kateřina.

"Well?" says Felicitas.

"I am here to ask you to make peace with Eufemia. To end your magical assault upon her person. I bring this statuette as an offering."

Felicitas leans forward into the light, and Kateřina gasps at the sight of her.

"Look at me! do you really think I am responsible for Eufemia's condition? You're as stupid as she is! It is all I can do to sit upright to receive you."

"I am sorry. She thought--"

"I very much doubt that she did think! But tell me: can you?"

"Think? Of course. Now that I see you, it is plain you are both suffering at the hand of someone else.... but who?"

"We've a mutual adversary. But I need to know your rôle in all this..."

"My...? Eufemia is a dear friend! What other rôle should I be playing?"

[Q: Does Felicitas believe her? (unknown odds: 1d6=5) Unlikely (5+): O6 C10 - Yes]

"You're quite serious, aren't you? Yes, I do believe you are. Your loyalty does you some credit... though I should not hesitate to tell you I think it misplaced in such a one as Eufemia. I suggest you call upon the Domus Horatia. You'll likely find the answers you seek there. You will likely find a great many things... horrible, horrible things..." [mysterious - uncertainty - antagonist]

"I see. Thank you for your candour."

"Think not upon it, child. I've no reason to dissemble, if you would truly undo this evil magic. And if you fail in the attempt, then none of this shall have mattered. Now leave me with my new statuette! And tell Eufemia I should like to see her. Perhaps there may finally be a détente, if we live through this."

[Q: Any problems getting back? Unlikely (5+): O2 C9 - No.]


Scene 14 - track A

Chaos: Out of Control (d8)

Setup: back to Eufemia

NPC list: Eufemia Švarcová, Felicitas z Trautenberka, Fr. Mikuláš, ruffians

Threads: Eufemia's illness, get book

[I put on my DM hat and decided this was a good time to unite tracks A & C. The worse Chaos Factor takes precedence, so Kateřina is now part of Track A. I've combined the NPC & Threads lists.

Q: Is Fr. Mikuláš (the NPC cleric) still with Valentinus & Theophilus? Unlikely (5+): O5 C8 - Yes
Q: Does he have a problem with Magic-Users in party? Unlikely (5+): O3 C6 - No. (NB: It would have been Likely odds, but as he's still working with Theophilus it seemed that he was probably more tolerant]


Kateřina returns straightaway to Eufemia's. She is surprised to hear the servant who opens the door to her address her with absolute formality -- and in German. "Miss Smutná, please wait here with these others. The mistress will receive you all in the sitting room once it's prepared."

Kateřina is admitted to the crowded vestibule, where three haggard men are waiting. She sees a mis-matched pair of priests, and behind them meets a familiar face.

"Salve, O mi bone Theophile," says Kateřina.

"Oh, come now girl!" he says. "I'm not your schoolmaster."

"I'd heard from Eufemia that you might be coming," she replies tactfully.

"Oh! I... well, that is..."

"Do you know this child?" asks Valentinus.

"Child?!" cries Kateřina. "Child?!"

Now it is Theophilus' turn to be tactful. "She's much older than she appears, my good man," he says. "Pater Valentinus, allow me to introduce Catherina Moesta."

"Salve, Pater Hastate," says Kateřina with a curtsy.

"Pax tecum," responds the priest.

"First we're in school, now church," groans Theophilus.

"Well, you did introduce me as Catherina."

"That's only because I can't pronounce that barbaric name of yours, good miss." Kateřina smiles at Theophilus' pleasantry, though Fr. Mikuláš rolls his eyes. Kateřina looks pointedly over Theophilus' shoulder. "Oh, yes," he begins, "this is, um--"

"Bratr Mikuláš Kovář," says Mikuláš.

"Těší mě," says Kateřina happily.

The servant then reappears, and ushers them all into the sitting room. Eufemia is sitting stiffly in her chair, doing her best to look serene and regal. Valentinus and Theophilus are immediately cowed by her presence, and spend most of their time avoiding her gaze, for they are ashamed of at their own failure in the good lady's service. Kateřina, for her part, can see through Eufemia's façade, and is sorely worried for her friend's health.

Theophilus apologetically recounts their misfortunes, omitting nothing, and exhorts the other two to fill in the gaps in his tale. Fr. Mikuláš adds what little he knows, explaining that some of his flock took ill after an altercation with Felicitas, and he felt compelled to look into the rumour of black magic which reached his ears. [UNE: inquisitive - questions - knowledge; his intentions (Mythic): Care / Misfortune].

All that concluded, Kateřina relates the substance of her meeting with Felicitas, and suggests that the four of them pursue her suggestion. They agree to all go collect the things they will need, and meet upon Karlův Most (Charles Bridge) to go investigate.

[Q: Anyone have problems in transit? Likely (3+): O2 C5 - No.]

When daylight has faded, they have reconvened and set out for the residence of the Grollenbach siblings, which is known in some circles as the Domus Horatia -- so called because according to family tradition, begun by Horaz von Grollenbach, all children are named after great heroes and heroines of antique Rome. Several of the current line are widely known to share the Emperor's interest in alchemy and magic. But there are whispers that they have a more sinister design than the transmutation of base metals into gold.

Eufemia is certain that they do traffic with unclean spirits, so the little band has armed itself well. Kateřina has a crossbow, and Theophilus an arquebus, which they take pains to conceal beneath their cloaks as best they might whilst going about the streets. Valentinus has brought some holy water, and a dagger besides. Only Mikuláš is unarmed, trusting in his Faith to see him through [as an NPC I rolled 1d10 for his memorised spell and had already chosen the PCs'; M Bless, K Charm Person, T Sleep, V Command]. He also carries the torch.



Scene 15 - track A

Chaos: Out of Control (d8)*

Setup: d8=3, interrupt (was: get into house)
Interrupt: Horror - PC (d3=Valentinus) - observe / stranger

NPC list: Eufemia Švarcová, Felicitas z Trautenberka, Fr. Mikuláš, ruffians

Threads: Eufemia's illness, get book

They cross silently into the Old Town. Kateřina has a vague idea where to find the Grollenbach residence, though she's never been, and the others follow her meekly. More than one of them silently wishes she gets lost and they never arrive at that place of evil whisperings.

Valentinus lags a bit behind. Down a narrow alleyway, he sees the Stranger, a [d6=] man in a long, old-fashioned cloak and an impossibly tall hat. The Stranger's face is completely in shadow, but his eyes smoulder like ardent coals. His gaze locks upon Valentinus, his eyes burn into his... there is something unearthly about the Stranger.

[V must save vs. Magic to avoid (d30 sandbox Companion phenomenon=) transformation
d20=19, success]


Valentinus feels a wave of illness wash over him -- his ears ring, his vision blurs, his skin burns, and his guts are twisted -- but a prayer forms on his lips and it passes, leaving him weak and sweating.

The others notice he is no longer with them, and find him at the end of the block bent nearly double from distress. They rush to his aid. He mumbles something about a strange man, tries to point down the alley, but the Stranger has already melted away into the darkness -- if he was ever even there!


Scene 16 - track A

Chaos: Out of Control (d8)*

Setup: d8=1, Altered (was: get into house)
Alteration: cause / tears (something simple will go poorly)

NPC list: Eufemia Švarcová, Felicitas z Trautenberka, Fr. Mikuláš, ruffians

Threads: Eufemia's illness, get book

Valentinus soon recovers, and his accustomed contumely masks any lingering dread. Kateřina leads them onward and after winding through a handful of adjoining streets, they reach their destination.

The house appears dark.  They stand across the street watching for several minutes, but there is no movement, within or without.

"Well?" asks Theophilus impatiently.

"Oh, really!" says Kateřina. "I suppose one of us must..."

She walks directly up to door, tests it gingerly, and seeing that it is indeed firmly shut, knocks.

[Q: Is there an answer? 50/50: O6 C4 - yes, but...]

The door creaks open just a little. Inside, all is in darkness.

"Hello?" she asks timidly.

Suddenly a hand? claw? appendage? darts out from the blackness and pulls her into the house. [save vs. paralyze not to drop the xbow: 12, just failed]

Kateřina's crossbow catches on the door frame and she loses her grip on it. It falls to the cobbles as she disappears inside, and the door slams. [d%: 1-50 bolt stays in, 51-99 bolt fires into street, 00 bolt hits other PC: 89]

The others rush up to the door, but stop short. Theophilus readies his arquebus, lighting the match off of Mikuláš' torch, and sheltering in a neighbouring doorway in order to get the match into the lock. Valentinus picks up the fallen crossbow, and goes looking for the bolt. Mikuláš just stands looking mortified.

"We've got to try to save her," says Theophilus to the quaking priest. "I suggest you ask God for the strength to do this."

"Y-you seem so calm. Have you done this before?" [UNE: inquisitive - curiosity - last story]

Theophilus just blows on the match to fan the spark.

"I found the bolt," says Valentinus, "Father Kovar (sic), that means you must open the door for us."

[V's Search (Wis mod +2) =3; 1d6=1, found it.

It was now time to check the NPC's Morale. I gave him a +2 bonus for the reasonable request, and his well-armed compatriots: 2d6=3... there was no way that could fail, so I didn't determine his actual ML score yet.

Q: Can he open the door easily? Unknown (1d6=1, no contest, but roll for qualifiers/event): O6 C6 - Yes
+Event: Ambiguous event - conceal / vows : M's reticence is actually a ruse. He desperately wants to enter this house, because of a secret promise he has made to...? This can be his Dark Secret, as far as my Event table is concerned.]


Mikuláš opens the door. Despite his torch, they can't really make out any details in the absolute darkness within. Neither Kateřina nor her mysterious assailant are to be seen. Mikuláš holds the torch high, and they proceed within.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

LotFP solo - Part III: Nestvůra


Judit draws her sword and starts up the steps. Pauwel follows behind with his halberd, then Anežka and Šimon, holding the lantern high. Anežka looks back and is surprised to find the man with the poker coming after them.

"I'll not have strangers running loose in my house amongst my valuables," he says. "You understand."

"Of course"



Scene 8 - track B

Chaos: Average (d10)

Setup: d10=1, Altered (was: PCs go search the house)

NPC list: crime boss, Zuzka, Marius (owner), Cloelia (cleric), Brutus (brother), Zdeňka (maid)

Threads: investigate brothel, investigate death

 
Marius
CH 14 CN 12 DX 13 IN 10 ST 15 WI 9
AC 13, HP 5
fireplace poker (Att +1, 1d6)

[Q: Did the monster leave a trail? Likely (3+): O5 C3 - Yes, but... need search rolls to notice

3d6 = no 1s, all fail; A has search-2, but also fails

I'm not using a map, but they're just in a townhouse. The search proceeds from room to room in a sensible order. In each location, I rolled 1d6, with 1 indicating an encounter with the monster and a 6 indicating something else of interest to be rolled on the LL AEC tables.]


The party make their way up to the main floor, and start a cautious search from room-to-room. They find nothing untoward in the kitchen, nor the pantry, nor when they cross the long and richly-furnished dining room, nor the cozy salon beyond it. They then proceed up the steps, and enter a bedroom from the landing, where Anežka notices something amiss.

[I rolled a 6; A made her search roll, to discover (via LL AEC) d%=Blood, puddle.]

"Wait," whispers Anežka harshly. "What's that on the floor by the armoire?"

Šimon stand back against the wall, holding the lantern so Anežka can see to investigate.

"It looks like blood," she says, "dripping out from inside."

Judit and Pauwel ready their weapons as Anežka tugs on the armoire door. It swings open to reveal the body of a manservant shoved inside, soaked in blood from numerous wounds.

[Q: Does Marius play along? 50/50: O5 C2 - Yes, but... unconvincingly]

"How could such a creature open and close the door?" asks Marius.

"Wait," says Anežka, "you've seen it?"

"I, er, uh..."

Šimon puts a dagger in Marius' back. "Answer the question," he says.

[reaction roll 2d6=10]

"How do you think it got into our house? Knocked at the front door? Hah! That little maid needed to be taught a lesson... talking to that whore about things she'd overheard in our household. Now, I give you the option to join our cause... or I'll feed you to my pet."

"What cause?" says Judit. "What're you talking about?"

"Lay down your arms and we can discuss this rationally."

Šimon's answer is to drive his dagger between the man's ribs [damage is 1d4x2 for backstab skill; 6 damage drops Marius to -1hp]. He yelps in surprise, then doubles over and crashes to the floor.

[Q: Is the monster near? 50/50 (4+): O6 C9 - Yes
Q: How does it react? Fight / Danger; well, then...

I used my usual mish-mash of the No Salvation for Witches and Summon spell tables to generate the monster.

NSFW monster gen:
Bulbous quadruped with raw and exposed flesh.
Tendrils dripping with banana-yellow mucus.
smells of Faeces

HD 5, HP 19, AC 14, MV 60', ML 10, 1 attack, 1d3+poison, special: Silence (always on in 15' area)


Rolling for surprise as the room goes silent... d6=5, no surprise]



"What the h--" begins Anežka, but she is abruptly cut off. Her mouth still moves, but no sound comes out. Not a sound can be heard at all, not her angry question, nor the creak of the floorboards, the hiss of the lantern, nor the anxious beating of their hearts. And then the smell hits them, an overpowering faecal smell like an open cesspit on a sweltering summer's day.

The monster appears moments later, a squat and bulbous quadruped. The thing most resembles a skinned bear cub, with raw exposed muscle, but with no head to speak of, just a lumpy tumescence above the shoulders, from which four glassy black eyes stare out. Four spindly tendrils sprout from its back, dripping with bright yellow mucus.

[no surprise, initiative rolls are tied. It has Dex 3d6=15; so all attacks are simultaneous, save  Pauwel who goes last.]

[Round 1]
The thing whips its tendrils at [1d4=] Šimon, who is closest to the door. He ducks back away from it [it missed] and runs further into the room, out of reach. Anežka shoots her crossbow, but her hands are trembling so much so that the bolt hits the ceiling right above the doorframe [rolled a 4].

Judit thinks only of defending Šimon. She lunges at it with her rapier and cuts open some of its raw muscle. A brownish oily fluid seeps from the wound [2 damage].

Pauwel lowers his halberd and pokes at it from behind her, opening another leaking wound [1 more damage brings it to 16hp].

[Round 2]
It lumbers forward at Judit, and smacks her across the face with one of its tendrils. Her cheek swells and stings with the contact, and she shudders a bit as a feeling of nausea runs through her [she takes 1 damage, dropping to 6hp, but makes her saving throw against poison]. Judit's riposte puts out one of the beastie's staring eyes [4 damage]. Anežka throws her crossbow aside and comes at it with her dagger, stabbing down into its glistening shoulder [2 damage]. Pauwel hasn't much room to manoeuvre, but manages a credible chop at the creature, which tears open its back [7 more damage brings it to 3hp].

[Round 3]
Despite its wounds, the thing fights on [made its Morale check]. It catches Anežka's hand and wraps it in a tendril as she tries to stab it again. She jerks back her hand in agony as the mucus burns her skin [she missed; it hit for 1 damage, and she failed her save]. Judit and Pauwel take advantage of its struggle with Anežka and catch it between their steel [1+6 damage reduces it to -4hp, dead]. It sprawls on the ground oozing innards out the hole in its flank, and does not move again.

Anežka's face and hands start to swell. She looks round in fright, pleads --still silently-- for help. Her eyes roll wildly as she starts to fill out her dress oddly, and the fabric starts to split. She panics, running from room towards the stairs. Seconds later she collapses, expanding all the while, and rolls down the stairs into the entry hall.

Šimon and Pauwel are standing still in shock, but Judit has the presence of mind to search Marius' body.

[Q: Has he anything of interest? 50/50: O6 C2 - Yes, and...
d30 Table AG8: ARTIFACT/RELIC: 28, talisman]


"What is this?" asks Judit, as she holds up a square of parchment covered in sigilla and characteres, with a smattering of Greek writing.

"I can hear again," says Pauwel dumbly.

Šimon makes sure Marius is dead, and tells Pauwel to do the same for the creature. He looks pale, but complies. Šimon takes the talisman from Judit, examines it with a frown, and pockets it for later study.

"Now what do we do?" asks Judit.

"We leave this Sheol."

[Q: Can they get out without problems? Unlikely: O3 C3 - No, but...
+Event: Horror - NPC - Zuzka - Attract / Prison]


They hear a stifled cry from below, and when they come out to the top of the stairs they find the young maidservant coming up towards them. She holds her arm gingerly, as it is bleeding from a deep cut. "Y--you're alive," she says. "They'll want to speak to you."

Judit points the end of her gory rapier at the girl. "Why should we--"

"They have your friend."

"Zuzka!" gasps Pauwel.

"She's locked in the room with... with poor Magda... They'll kill her if you leave now. They'll kill me!"

"This is not our problem," says Judit firmly.

"It's still mine," says Pauwel. "Don't you want to see this nightmare ended?"

"Not particularly."

"It could have far reaching consequences," offers Šimon. "It could come to hurt us all in time."

"Damn these goyim," mutters Judit. "What do they want, then?"

"To talk, they said," says the maid.

"Do they have more of those creatures?"

"I didn't know they had the one."

"I don't want to walk into another ambush. I'm afraid it's too late for Zuzka. We're getting out of here. You, girl, come with us. We'll keep you safe. We can come back later -- with reinforcements."

"Really?"

"Really."


Scene 9 - track B

Chaos: Out of Control (d8)

Setup: d8=4, Interrupt (was: escape the house)
Interrupt: PC negative - Pauwel - Pursue / Opposition

NPC list: crime boss, Zuzka, Cloelia (cleric), Brutus (brother), Zdeňka (maid)

Threads: investigate brothel, investigate death

Zdeňka clings to Pauwel as her saviour, and looks up at him with her terrified, doe-like eyes. He absolutely falls for the young maid's helpless routine, and vows that he'll see her out safely, and come back to avenge poor Zuzka some other time. But what vile thoughts are going through her head as she leans softly into this big, strong, gullible soldier, I cannot now say. It is as if I too, O reader, were as entranced as he by this girl's youthful pulchritude and fraicheur.


Scene 10 - track B

Chaos: Out of Control (d8)

Setup: escape the house

NPC list: crime boss, Zuzka, Cloelia (cleric), Brutus (brother), Zdeňka (maid)

Threads: investigate brothel, investigate death

[Q: Can they get to the front door easily? Likely (5+): O1 C5 - No.
Q: Why not? Move / Portals (events are set in motion early; to be explained in a later scene)]


Judit rolls her eyes at the sight of Pauwel and the maid, but holds her tongue. She leads the way down the steps as quietly as she can, lest the other inmates of the house hear movement and come to investigate. She is also afraid of what else the sounds might summon. The others follow behind, emulating her stealth as best they can.

At the bottom of the stair they find Anežka's swollen corpse, half covered in the rags of her dress. Judit steps round it and tries not to look, but must in order to make her way past, lest the straining skin burst at the slightest contact.

She leads them forward to the end of the entry hall, and stares for a few moments with incomprehension at the blank wall before her. "Hey," says Judit, "where'd the front door go?"

Monday, 23 October 2017

LotFP solo - Part II: Noc ve Starém Městě


30 April, A.D. 1601

"Disturbing rumours have reached my ears, my little Anežka."

"Not about me, boss... I hope."

"Of course not. You've never let me down yet. And that's why I need you to look into something for me. You're a good Catholic, aren't you?"

"You know me boss: confession every Sunday. Seems like I always got a lot of sins to confess doing our line of work."

"As do I... as do I. But there's a bishop that needs a favour done -- discreetly -- and he's offered me an indulgence in return."

"Huh. Aren't you a Lutheran, boss?"

"Quite. But as you say, we must often sin in our line of work. So my immortal soul can use all the help it can get."

"Gotcha. So what's the job, then?"


Scene 5 - track B

Chaos:
Under control (d12)

Setup: Ambiguous Event - Inquire / Rumour

NPC list: crime boss

Threads: -

[As I said, going along and adding PCs to the party didn't quite go the way I'd hoped. So this is the start of the second adventure Track (B). There were 5 PCs left unused, so I rolled 4d6 to decide who would be starting in this track (no rerolls or duplicate numbers, and 6=no one). Rolls were 1,3,4,5: Šimon, Anežka, Pauwel, Judit.

Since this is the first scene of their horror adventure, it too starts on an Ambiguous Event (according to the Mythic Variations horror theme). I rolled Inquire / Rumour, so, using my Rumours tables:

The rumour--
type: location - single room
magnitude: major, ruin (-8)
topic (Mythic): Abuse / The spiritual

She starts with Pauwel in tow +1d6-2=0 others. Oh, well...

Also, the PCs in this Track will all be speaking Czech amongst themselves unless otherwise noted.]


Anežka sets out into Josefov as the sun is disappearing behind the horizon. She's not planning on moving too fast on her little errand, so her attire is as non-descript as she can manage: a simple frock with a skirt that won't impede her movement but will easily conceal her dagger. With her is Pauwel, whom she considers a bit of an upstart and isn't sure she can trust. He's dressed like an off-duty halberdier, complete with halberd. She's told him to keep his distance unless called for, to which he grumblingly consented.

They proceed to a lively little tavern in the Jewish quarter. Anežka tells Pauwel to get himself a drink and blend in -- she's here to find a friend.

Her friend, Judit bat Nachmias, dresses like a man -- a gentile man, no less -- and swaggers about the nighttime streets of Josefov wearing a rapier as a sort of self-styled saviour of her people. Anežka thinks she's quite mad, but a good sort for all that. She finds Judit in the crowd, and lays out her proposition. Judit readily agrees, but insists that whatever happens, it cannot reflect badly upon the Jews of Prague. Also, she wants a share of the take -- for the poor. Anežka insists that publicity is the last thing anyone wants, and she'll be glad to split the earnings.

Anežka is about to say that they should collect her associate, but when she glances in his direction she sees that he has already gotten into an argument with one of the locals, a small, white-bearded old Jew. She pushes through the crowd to stop him, and finds Judit rushing ahead of her.

"Leave him alone, you brute," snaps Judit at Pauwel, and she puts her hand on the hilt of her sword for emphasis.

"Pauwel, what did you do?" says Anežka firmly.

"Do? He started it!"

"I don't care. Apologise, and let's get going."

Pauwel knows better than to protest, and immediately issues his half-hearted apology. Anežka seems satisfied, and motions for the three of them to leave. But the moment they have walked out into the street, the little old Jew scurries out of the tavern after them, and takes Judit by the arm.

"Judit! What are you doing? These are criminals!" he says.

"Šimon, I need to help them. It's important. You know I wouldn't otherwise."

"Huh. Well, in that case, I'm coming with you. So you don't have to be alone with them," he says, looking straight up at Pauwel.

Anežka can see Judit's admiration for the old man radiating from her face, and agrees to have him along, if only to keep Judit sweet. Besides, he may know more important people in Josefov than young Judit.

"So," asks Judit as they are all following Anežka through the streets, "just what, exactly, are we doing?"

"We're going to have a little nose round Madame Urania's," says Anežka. "I assume you all know of it?"

"Why ever would we need to go to such a place?" says Judit.

"It seems that some of the good Madame's clientèle are clergymen--"

"That's hardly a secret," says Šimon.

"Yes, but some have disappeared following their visits. Rumour has it that they're being murdered in a back room."

"Well, they shouldn't be going to such a place," says Judit.

"I'm not one to judge," says Anežka, "but the Church has a reputation to uphold. So they'd like to keep this quiet. And the last thing you people need, my dear Judit--"

"Is to be accused of butchering priests," sighs Šimon.


Scene 6 - track B

Chaos:
Under control (d12)

Setup: d12=3, Interrupt (was: case the joint)
Interrupt: Move toward a thread - Attract / Pleasures (see narrative)

NPC list: crime boss

Threads: investigate brothel

The entrance Madame Urania's establishment is located on a quiet side street on the outskirts of Josefov. It is rumoured to have other, more secret entrances, but whether they really exist, or are just idle speculation, or indeed mere tales told by Madame Urania to increase the allure of her place, is unknown -- at least to our heroes, who are now standing a good distance away in the street, and discussing their next move.

"Well, someone's got to go in," says Anežka.

"I volunteer," says Pauwel. "Only..."

"What?"

"I'm afraid my purse is a bit light."

"I'm not exactly drowning in gold myself."

"I hate to say it," says Judit, "But he's right. This isn't the sort of place one just walks into without money for... for whatever."

The others (save Šimon, who just crosses his arms over his chest) dig into their own money purses and hand over all the bílé groše they find within. For bribes or (ahem) something. Anežka suggests he leave his armour and halberd behind if he wants to get in the door, which he does. She also tells him not to be too long, or she'll go in after him playing the angry wife.

[Q: On a scale of 1-6, how lavish is the place? d6=5
Pauwel needs to roll reaction of 10+ to even get in the door: 5+1(CHA)=no]


The others stand and watch Pauwel saunter up to the entrance, then go round the corner out of sight. Pauwel exchanges a few words at the threshold with the guards, who grab him by the arms, pick him up, and throw him bodily into the street [for 1d4=2 damage, dropping him to 8hp] where he hits his head on the cobbles.

[The Interrupt result was Attract/Pleasures, which in the context of this scene can only mean one thing: a roll on the 1st ed. DM's Guide harlot encounter table to see who comes to Pauwel's aid.

1d100=17, brazen strumpet. Scripsit Gygax: "the harlot is 30% likely to know valuable information, 15% likely to make something up in order to gain a reward, and 20% likely to be, or work with, a thief."

1d00=27, information.]


A young woman rushes out of the brothel. She's pretty enough, but is wearing a soiled dress and apron, and has her indifferently golden hair tied up in a scarf. She rushes to comfort poor Pauwel, and has angry words with the bouncers. They still insist he stay out.

"You could have gotten killed trying to go in there," she scolds, even as she is kneeling down to soothe the shaken young man. "The gentlemen in there aren't simple soldiers, and don't take kindly to their privacy being threatened like that."

"I have 25 grošů."

"That's so sweet! What were you going to get for it in there? Half a cup of wine?"

"I, um, er...."

"Come, let's away from here. Let me find a bandage for you head."

"You're too kind."

"My name's Zuzka," says the young woman as she helps Pauwel to his feet.

"Pauwel."

"Why were you really trying to get in there, Pauwel? Tell me, please. I must know."

"Why would I...?"

"Come now, my poor, injured Pavlik. You don't seem that thick. What are you up to?"

"The boss sent us to have a look round. There's someone gone missing."

"There's someone you ought to see then. A friend of mine. [1d6=]She'll have a tale to tell you." [UNE: knowing - account - contacts]

"We'd best go get my companions first. I'm not exactly in charge."


Scene 7 - track B

Chaos:
Under control (d12)

Setup: d12=1, Altered (was: meet Zuzka's friend)

NPC list: crime boss, Zuzka

Threads: investigate brothel

[Setup: Since Zuzka isn't one of Madame Urania's more valuable assets (she is often sent out into the streets or is hired as part of a package deal, and also has to do the cleaning), I decided her friend with the useful information must be coming from another angle, rather than being an inside source. So...

Q: Who is her friend? d30 Castle Employee table = chambermaid
Q: Are they related? 50/50 (4+): O3 C2 - No, and... foreign
d20 on my Origin table = 20, Other
Q: Where is she? 4=Staré Město

Hungary was the first Other place to pop into my head, so I found a list of Hungarian names online somewhere to arbitrarily come up with the new NPC, Magdollna from Hungary.]


Following curt introductions, and a few jeers at Pauwel's misadventure from both Anežka and Šimon, Zuzka leads her new friends through the streets of the Old Town to the back of a townhouse in a dark alley. She knocks at the servant's entrance door...

[Q: Answer? 50/50: O1 C3 - No, but... light within]

...but there is no answer. "Someone must be about," says Zuzka. "They're not the sort to just leave candles burning all night -- misers that they are."

"Allow me, my dear girl," says Šimon, as he produces a long file from the pouch at his belt and begins fiddling with the lock. [he has Tinker 4; d6=1, he picks the lock easily]

"See? it was open after all!" says Šimon with an impish wink.

Zuzka opens the door cautiously.

[Q: Anyone about? Unlikely: O3 C10 - No.]

The door opens into an oddly-shaped foyer, the thoroughfare between the below-stairs servants' quarters, scullery, storeroom, and stairs up to the main floor of the house. A large, simple cabinet occupies the main wall opposite the door. It is dark, save for a single candle left burning on the scullery table.

Zuzka tells her companions to wait here, whilst she goes to fetch her friend, Magdollna. She creeps down the narrow passage as silently as she is able, though her footsteps seems to fall heavily in the stillness.

[Sneaking: d6=4, failure
Q: Anyone around to hear? Unlikely (5+): O3 C5 - No.]


When Zuzka reaches Magdollna's room, she opens door, and sees....

[The scene Alteration, determined via the LL AEC Random Characteristics table d100=39, Enlarges]

...her friend lying in bed, swollen to three times her normal size. The girl's clothing has ripped away in shreds. Her skin is stretched thin over her tumescent bulk, and seems about to split.

[Q: Can Zuzka repress her scream? Doubtful (6): O1 C9 - No.
Q: Is there anyone in the house who hears it? Unknown 1d6=1 Certain(still must roll for modifiers & possible events); O2 C1 - Yes, and...
They will arrive in 1d6=1 round]


Zuzka begins screaming and screaming. The others are startled for a moment by the noise, but before any one of them has made a move either down the dark passage towards Zuzka or out the door to safety, they hear the heavy sound of footfalls coming down the steps towards them.

[Q: Who are they? (1d6): 1 villains, 2 servants, 3 family, 4 random, 5 guards, 6 roll twice; 3=family, 1d6+1=4 people

Q: Any classed characters? Unlikely (5+): O5 C8 - Yes (one of them; 1d4=Cleric, 1d6=3rd level
Q: Armed with gun(s)? 50/50: O1 C9 - No

                  CH CN DX IN ST WI HP AC
Marius (owner) f0 14 12 13 10 15  9  5 13 fireplace poker
Brutus (bro.)  f0  9 13 10 12  7 10  2 12
Zdeňka (maid)  f0  9 11 15 13 12 16  3 13 lantern
Cloelia (sis.) c3 12 13 14 15 12 12 12 13 dagger
 spells: command, prot. from good, sanctuary


UNE--
NPC Relationship: distrustful
Conversation Mood: neutral
scheming - plan - allies]


Four people come rushing down the steps, and stop short when they see there are intruders in their household. The man in the lead is about 40, in his night-dress and brandishing a fireplace poker. Behind him are another man and woman, in their late and early thirties respectively. The three are obviously siblings, with the same high cheekbones and strong jaw, and the same thick, wavy, sandy blond hair. They are still dressed, though not well enough to receive visitors in such a fine house. With the siblings and bearing a lantern, is a house maid, a small, waifish girl of no more than 15.

Everyone starts talking at once: "Who are you?" "Where did you come from?" "How did you get in here?" "Who's screaming?"

"One at a time!" shouts Anežka in German to match the householders. "Pauwel go see what that screaming's about."

Pauwel runs down the narrow passage to fetch Zuzka. He looks in the door to the maid's room, and as his eyes adjust to the dim light...

[saving throw vs. poison, CON modifier applies: 1d20=3+2, failure]

...what he sees causes him to recoil into the passage, where he is violently ill. He stops heaving long enough to grab Zuzka and drag her back to the others, who are all eyeing one another nervously. Zuzka can barely speak, but Pauwel explains what he saw, briefly and between retches.

"It's loose in the house," says the maid.

"What is?" asks the man with the poker.

"The... the... nestvůra!" she replies.

"We speak German in our house," he scolds.

"I... I can't explain what it was. It had no skin and no mouth and it smelled like a full chamber pot. It touched Magda with its long arms and... it's too awful to tell! So I ran, ran to fetch the master...."

"Please," says the man with the poker, "you must help us! This thing is loose somewhere in the house."

"Ummm....," says Anežka.

"If you don't I'll go to the authorities to report you as intruders. Perhaps it was you who brought this thing here!"

"It seems we've no choice. All in a night's work, then."


to be continued...

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

LotFP solo - Part I: Mysteria pragensia (incipit)


26 April, A.D. 1601

As Theophilus von Bunzlau crosses the bridge over the Moldau, he feels a terrible heaviness, as if his heart had turned to lead. He glances up at the Castle looming over the city atop its hill, wondering vaguely if the legion of alchemists there in residence could offer him a way to change his troubled spirit of base metal into gold. But alas! gold is the very reason he has been sent into the city, and thus could not be more onerous a task, concerning as it does the fortunes of his ancient and noble family, rather than the pursuit of ancient and hidden knowledge, the only thing he considers worthy of his interest. Still, magic isn't an inexpensive endeavour, making this family business a necessary evil. And the one he must meet shares his inclination towards occult matters, and may be of use to him, he thinks, in more than just temporal affairs. But then why this feeling of dread?

So he walks and broods, all but insensible to the constant stream of patter in a rustic, nigh impenetrable Swiss patois coming out of the mouth of the mercenary he's paid to be his bodyguard. But Gephardt's words finally break through his maudlin haze, and demand to be answered.

"I said, do you even know where we're going? We came into town on that side of the river, why didn't we just stay there?"

"What? Yes, I know where we're going. And I told you already, the only decent inn is in the New Town. I would have thought that after so many nights in the field, you'd welcome bedding that's not infested with vermin."

"Pah! I just want to hurry up with our business and get out of this city. Too many people looking suspicious, and you can't understand the half of them!"


[After all that set-up, the campaign begins at last! Or does it? In addition to being historical, the adventure is a bit experimental in other ways, too.

I had no pre-conceptions about the first adventure, other than 'Horror adventure beginning on a random scene'. To avoid having to figure out just what sort of tavern could plausibly attract PCs of such disparate backgrounds, I decided to start with a sub-set of the characters I'd made and add more as things progressed. It didn't quite work out that way, so after a time I started a second group on their way.

So for each scene, I also have to note which Track (A, B, C...) it follows. When the tracks merge, they keep the designation of whichever one has the worse Chaos level. I originally had each track on its own numerical sequence; this was a terrible mistake, and I had to go back and renumber about a dozen scenes that followed on from 4A. At some point the whole party will be together or all but one of the tracks will have a TPK and things can proceed normally.

To start, I rolled 4d8 to choose random PCs, with no rerolls for duplicate values: 1,1,2,8 = Valentinus, Theophilus, Gephardt

Toolbox for the adventure

I am using the Horror theme from Mythic Variations, but I modified the Event Focus table slightly to force the Dark Secrets each PC harbours to come to light.

Focus Table
1d100 Event Focus
----- -----------
01-08 Dark Secret
09-18 Horror - PC
19-30 Horror - NPC
31-37 Remote event
38-52 NPC action
53-55 New NPC
56-58 Move toward a thread
59-65 Move away from a thread
66-75 PC negative
76-78 PC positive
79-85 Ambiguous event
86-97 NPC negative
98-00 NPC positive


As the first scene started with an Ambiguous Event (Travel / Bureaucracy : Theophilus sent into town on family business), I had to make a few more rolls to decide what was going on. So...

Q: Where do the PCs convene? (1d6) 1 appellate courthouse (apelační soud, in Malostranské náměstí (Lesser Town Square), 2 Staroměstská radnice (Old Town Hall, the one with the famous astronomical clock), 3 a prison, 4 Kostel svatého Ducha (Church of the Holy Ghost, Valentinus' church), 5 home of an important person, 6 criminal's den
1d6=5: important person, 1d6=F

Eufemia Švarcová
Age: 1d6+1=2, in her 20s
Social Class: 1d8=3, gentry
cha 16 con 12 dex 11 int 15 str 9 wis 14
Random Personality: Heartless, Hesitant
Motivations (via UNE):
1. take contraband
2. learn old religions
3. attempt the church

Lastly, unless otherwise stated, assume everyone is speaking in German.]



Scene 1 - track A

Chaos: Under control (d12)

Setup: Ambiguous Event - Travel / Bureaucracy

NPC list: Eufemia Švarcová

Threads: none yet

Despite the mercenary's repeated apprehensions about being lost in the maze of little streets, Theophilus does indeed know where they are going, and he leads them on a sure path through Malá Strana (the Lesser Town). When they have almost reached their destination, Theophilus sees a familiar figure walking up the street before them, and calls out.

"Good father! I didn't expect to see you here. A bit far from your parish, aren't we?"

"Salve, Theophile," says the priest. "Yes indeed I am far from home, but the parish is merely a worldly boundary. For the One I serve counts the whole of His creation as a parish. So you see, the spiritual needs of all good Christians fall within my remit, be they in the Old Town, the Lesser Town, or even far away in Spain."

"Why the evasiveness?" says Theophilus, "One might get the impression that you were up to something shady."

"Really, now! That's rather unfair--"

"You wouldn't be meeting someone in this street, would you?"

"As a matter of fact, I am responding to an invitation from one who lives in this street."

"Miss Švarcová?"

"Why... why yes. How did you...?"

"Not an invitation then, but a summons. I too have been summoned. Come, the lady does not like to be kept waiting."

Eufemia Švarcová's domicile is undistinguished on the outside, but the opulent interior speaks volumes about her family's fortune, of which she is the sole surviving heir. Theophilus looks round admiringly as a servant bids them enter; indeed he is the only one of the three who neither looks nor feels out of place, clad as he is in rich fabrics under his plain travelling mantel. Valentinus looks skittish and ill-at-ease, though Theophilus notes this as nothing new for the cleric -- he scarcely seems to stop fidgeting in the pulpit. And as to Gephardt, he looks out of place any time he's not wading through a battle or its aftermath.

Eufemia is reading by the light of a single candle in her sitting room when her guests are shown in. "I was unaware of the hour," she says, and bids her servants light more candles. The sitting room is revealed to be exactly the sort of tastefully appointed room one expects of a woman of Eufemia's station. The book she was reading, however, is not. The unwieldy volume is unmistakably bound in human skin, and its warped and worm-eaten vellum pages betray its antiquity. Eufemia closes the book carefully, revealing a bloodstain on the cover partly obscuring the title (CT... AQVAD...), and when she puts it aside there are brown smears on her dress where it had lain and the desiccated leather of the spine crumbled off.

Eufemia merely glances in the direction of a settee, and her guests take their seat. She has the sort of personality that fills any room, and no matter how many times one meets with her, she is always remembered as being eight inches taller. Eufemia is small and fair, with delicate even features and teeth like pearls. She can be all sweetness and light, but when she means business her demeanour betrays understanding in excess of her 23 years.

"Gentlemen," she says, "I have read your petitions, and I am ready to lend you both my support. But like many things in this world, it is not freely given. Rather, it must be earned."

"What may we do for you, Miss-- my good lady?" asks the priest.

[Q: What indeed? Assist / Anger - she wants their help against an enemy, who has a valuable item (a snap DM judgement; V&T would be terrible assassins, and not terribly useful in social manoeuvring either).

d30 Sandbox item=codex/manual/tome
language = Czech*
title = Zamyšlená pochybnost (The Abstracted Doubt*)

*Rolled on my not-quite-finished book language and title tables]


"I assume you both know -- or at least know of -- Felicitas z Trautenberka. There is a book in her possession that I require, and she refuses to lend or even sell it to me. This is an intolerable slight. I need that book, more than I need my friendship with her to continue. I propose that the two of you will go and procure it for me."

"Have we any choice?" asks Theophilus.

"Not really... I've said too much already, on the understanding that you'd readily agree in order to court my favour."

"Mademoiselle, you drive a hard bargain."

"It has been so remarked. Now, the book you must retrieve for me is called Zamyšlená pochybnost."

"Mademoiselle, I regret to say I have no Czech."

"Nor I," adds the priest.

Eufemia sighs. "Of course you don't. Here, let me write it down for you. That way she can't send you off with an old prayer book or something."

[Q: Does Eufemia know what, if anything, guards the book? 50/50: O2 c2 - No, and... not even sure what it looks like
+Event: Horror - NPC. d30 phenomena=fever]


Eufemia goes to her writing desk and writes down the title on a piece of parchment. Theophilus walks over to take it from her. But as she hands it to him, she suddenly swoons. A sudden sweat comes over her, and her hands shake with feverish chills. She excuses herself perfunctorily, and calls for a servant to see her guests out.


Scene 2 - track A

Chaos: Average (d10)

Setup: decide to find Felicitas' house

NPC list: Eufemia Švarcová, Felicitas z Trautenberka

Threads: get book

[Q: Where does Felicitas live? -random neighbourhood-
    
1d6 Neighbourhood (Czech / German names)
 1  Hradčany / Hradschin
 2  Vyšehrad / Hochburg
 3  Malá Strana / Kleinseite
 4  Staré Město / Altstadt
 5  Josefov / Josefstadt
 6  Nové Město / Neustadt

(=1 Castle district, 2 High-castle, 3 Lesser Town, 4 Old Town 5 Jewish quarter 6 New Town)

1d6=4, Staré Město]


"Admit it," grumbles Gephardt, "you're lost."

"Well I don't spend a lot of time in the city, now do I?" snaps Theophilus. "Valentinus, maybe you should lead."

"I must confess," answers the priest, "that as well as I know the Old town, I don't rightly know where Madame von Trautenberg resides."

"Well we should try to do something before it gets dark," mutters the mercenary.

But the others do not listen.

[I alternated Search rolls with random encounter checks rolled in Midkemia Press' Cities book. Inappropriate results = no encounter. Not much happened until...]

A group of six armed men, former soldiers by the looks of them, has suddenly surrounded the lost travellers. The leader steps forth, addressing Theophilus in heavily-accented German. "You look like you have money. These streets are not safe at night. Perhaps you require our services as bodyguards"

"I am afraid," says Theophilus, "that such a mighty band would frighten off my business associates. So sorry, but I must decline."

[Reaction roll, 2d6=10, no problems]

The man laughs heartily, and the soldiers step aside to let them pass. Valentinus and Theophilus are relieved that there was no further incident, but Gephardt is extremely disappointed that it didn't come to violence. But the night is young! The three hurry along, until Valentinus spots [d6=1] one of his parishioners. He rushes up to ask [d6=] her for directions to Felicitas' house.

[Q: Can he get directions? Likely: O3 C3 - Yes, but...
+Event: New NPC - Lie / Balance: d30=Cleric; level 1d8-3=1; age ~30]


Valentinus returns to his comrades with a smug grin. "That clears it up, he says. Old Mrs. Friesen has told me the way. Follow me!"

It is soon apparent that they are even more lost than they were without the beldame's directions, and they pause in an empty street, stone buildings forming a canyon on either side in the deepening twilight gloom.

Then Theophilus spots a young man with a lantern coming round the corner. "A priest!" he exclaims. "I'm going to go ask him if he can help us find our way."

"He's not to be trusted," says Valentinus.

"You know him?"

"No. But just look at his habit; he's a protestant."

Theophilus ignores him and sets off toward the newcomer, a slight and reserved-looking man, certainly in his 30s despite the mien of perennial youthfulness.

[Reaction roll was initially 6 (neutral), but...]

"Excuse me, my good man, but my colleagues and I seem to be lost. I don't suppose you might be able to show us the way to the house of Felicitas z Trautenberka."

The priests eyes widen at the mention of the name. "Why... why are you going there? Are you friends of Její Excelence Paní z Trautenberka?"

"Friends? No, I think not. We are charged with undertaking some business which requires an interview with the good lady."

[Via UNE:
NPC Relationship: peaceful
Conversation Mood: cautious
friendly - alliance - skills]


"Quite the coincidence," says the priest, "for I too have necessary business there."

"Why you going, if I may ask?"

"I need to know what's going on there. I've heard terrible rumours about unnatural goings-on. Perhaps we could aid one another..."

"I believe we could. Though watch yourself around Pater Valentinus; he's terribly intolerant, and just as likely to accuse you of unnatural goings-on. It's all just bluster to hide how scared he is."


bratr Mikuláš Kovář („Frater Nicolaus Faber“)
Cleric, level 1
Cha 14 Con 11 Dex 13 Int 10 Str 7 Wis 11
Background: Praguer tradesman
Languages: Czech, Latin, German
Religion: Bohemian Brethren
Equipment: silver cross, lantern, 41sp

Following curt introductions (Valentinus is just as obnoxious as Theophilus expected), Mikuláš leads the band through the winding streets to the house of Felicitas z Trautenberka. They stand before it in the street, unsure of how to proceed.

[Q: Anything obvious about the house? 50/50: O1 C10 No
Q: Anything unobvious about the house? 50/50: O1 C3 - No, but...]


"Did those curtains just move?" asks Valentinus.

"I didn't see," says Gephardt.

"Is there a light within?" asks Mikuláš.

[Q: Is there a light within? 50/50: O1 C6 - no]

"It looks dark," affirms Valentinus.

"Not even the upper levels?" asks Gephardt.

"Do we try the door?" asks Theophilus.

"That seems unwise..." says Valentinus

"Perhaps we need to consider this further."

[as they are standing around, check for random encounter: 1d6=1
via BOLD: physical - pursuit - corrupt
solution: enemy help

a band of 1d6+2=8 ruffians looking to shake down wayfarers on this dark street
Q: Any classed characters? Unlikely: O2 C2 - No, and...
+Event: PC Negative - Valentinus - Betray / Evil]


    CH CN DX IN ST WI HP AC AT
a f  9 13 11 11  8 11  5 12 -1 club (1d4)
b m  7  6  6 11  9  5  4 11    rapier (1d8)
c m  8  7 12  9 16  6  3 12 +2 rapier (1d8)
d m  5 16  5 12 15 13  6 10 +1 club (1d4)
e f 14  3 10 11  7 10  3 12 -1 short sword (1d6)
f*m  4  7 11 18 12  8  1 12    rapier (1d8)
g m  6 16 10 13  7  8  7 12 -1 short sword (1d6)
h f 16 15  7  4 14 12  4 11 +1 rapier (1d8)
* leader

For the second time this evening, a group of armed bravos appear out of nowhere and surround the little band.

"Well, well," says the head ruffian, "what do we have here? A few wealthy travellers and their woefully outnumbered protector. And look, if it isn't that priest that keeps picking on our poor friend pan Kac. Tell me, is it his religion that you despise so, or is it his wisdom?"

"I've nothing to say to rubbish the likes of you," sneers Valentinus.

"You're going to regret that..."

Gephardt reaches for his sword, but he is too slow [Initiative: PCs 5, ruffians 6], as two of the ruffians grab his arms. He struggles, but cannot shake off the pair of them [a&b grapple to immobilise: a rolls 3-1+1, b 17+0+1, G 10+3]. Each of the others finds himself menaced by two armed bravos each. They quickly surrender.

The lead bandit holds his rapier at Valentinus' throat, and is on the point of taking his money pouch when the door to Felicitas' house opens and a white-haired servant comes out bearing a lantern. He squints at the scene before him in the street, then yells something our heroes cannot understand: "Vy! Co děláte v té ulici? Jděte všichni pryč!"

The ruffians scatter.


Scene 3 - track A

Chaos: Average (d10)

Setup: in the house

NPC list: Eufemia Švarcová, Felicitas z Trautenberka, bratr Mikuláš

Threads: get book

The house is dark inside and silent. The servant shows the guests to the parlour, where a chandelier burns brightly, and the heavy curtains are drawn. The servant tells them the lady of the house will meet them shortly.

Felicitas is a tall and elegant woman. Age is beginning to line her face, but her long, fine hair, which hangs down well past her waist, is still black as a moonless night, matching the simple, satiny dress she wears and the jet and onyx she prefers above all other jewels.

She speaks in a low, measured voice, her German precise and fluent but with an unaccountable, yet somehow unplaceable, foreign accent.

[age d6+1=50s
Personality: Smooth, Delicate
Motivations:
1. defile secret societies
2. guard academia
3. fulfil lies

Q: Is Felicitas a Magic-User? Likely: O5 C10 - Yes. Level 1d8=4

UNE--
NPC Relationship: neutral
Conversation Mood: sociable
prejudiced - assessment - future action]


She engages her guests in the requisite amount of small talk, showing a marked preference for Theophilus. The others are content to let him do the talking, especially after Felicitas abruptly changes the subject to more serious matters.

"I don't believe your endeavours are going to be successful if you insist on working for that frivolous Eufemia Švarcová."

"Working for...?" stammers Theophilus.

"Don't dissemble. Why else would you be lurking in the streets at night before my house."

"Well, she may have twisted our arms."

"Then you should consider your options carefully."

"What options? Can you offer better?"

"You should not cross me. I don't want to make threats, but you cannot begin to imagine what I am capable of." [UNE: insane - fear - antagonist]

"Then we should be leaving," says Theophilus flatly.

"You'll be back. I can see it in your eyes. And the forced calm in your manner betrays you. You'll meet a bad end like the rest, wizard." [prejudiced - belief - the character]

Theophilus stands to leave, and the others look on in consternation.

[Q: How does she react? Activity / Magic]

Felicitas z Trautenberka
Magic-User, level 4
Cha 13 Con 11 Dex 11 Int 18 Str 7 Wis 8
HP: 14, AC: 12
Spells: Enlarge, Message, Force of Forbidment, Stinking Cloud

Felicitas' tranquillity vanishes in an instant. She leaps to her feet, nearly upending her armchair with the violence of the motion. As Theophilus takes a step towards the doorway, she rasps out the words to a strange charm, gesticulating wildly. Theophilus stops short, unable to advance [she cast Force of Forbidment; 1d20=3, he failed his save].

"Let me go!"

"Sit down! I'm not done talking with you. Sit down. Now!"

"Unhand him!" says Valentinus, rising to his feet and brandishing his crucifix. "Begone, witch!" [casts Command (begone): her saving throw 1d20=15, spell fails]

"Hahahahahahah!"

Gephardt draws his short sword and leaps forward to attack, but his sudden fear of the witch makes him hesitate [7+3-2(weapon drawn)=miss].

[Round 2]
As Gephardt steadies himself, Felicitas starts screaming something he doesn't understand: "Pomoc! Pomoc!" Mikuláš understands that she's merely calling for help [which will arrive in 1d3=3 rounds], but he's rooted to the divan in fear.

Gephardt makes a half-hearted stab at the witch, almost expecting his sword will break or his arm wither, but he finds only that she can, in fact, bleed [2 damage puts her at 12hp].

Theophilus tries his own magic against Felicitas, and she feels the spell wash over her like a gentle breeze -- and no more [he cast Sleep; 2d8=3HD, not enough].

[Round 3]
Felicitas invokes the Might of Hell as Gephardt lunges at her again. She dances aside, but he still leaves a bloody gash across her shoulder [4 damage drops her to 8hp]. But he was too late -- gouts of yellow, sulphurous smoke begin billowing up from the floor [she cast Stinking Cloud; it takes effect next round]. Theophilus draws his dagger, but wavers.

[Round 4]
The horrid smoke now fills the entire room, and all within, including Felicitas, begin to choke and retch. Everyone staggers out the doorway into the hall.

[They need to save vs. poison or be incapacitated for 2-5 rounds after leaving the cloud: only Gephardt succeeds.

Help is nearly there, but what kind? (1d6) 1-2 servants, 3-4 guards, 5-6 summoned beastie; 3, 1d6=2 guards]


CH CN DX IN ST WI HP AC
10 11  6 12 12 11  3 12
 5  9 12  7 15  8  5 13
halberds, buff coats

[round 5]
A pair of halberdiers run down the steps in the hall to find their Mistress and her guests coughing and sputtering, leaning against the walls to avoid falling over. One of them, however, is menacing their Mistress with a sword. Too late does Gephardt see them rushing towards him. He is skewered on the points of their halberds before he can even bring up his sword in defence, and pinned to the wall besides. He goes limp a moment later, and when they wrench their arms free, he collapses, twin streams of blood pouring forth [7+3=10 damage total, dropping him to -2hp].

When the others have stopped retching and can stand upright, they quickly surrender.


Scene 4 - track A

Chaos: Out of Control (d8)

Setup: chaos die=3, Interrupt (was: captured)
Interrupt: Horror - NPC (Felicitas) - Adversity / Inside

NPC list: Eufemia Švarcová, Felicitas z Trautenberka, bratr Mikuláš

Threads: get book

The nausea and incapacitation slowly wears off for all but Felicitas, who becomes sicker and sicker. She doubles over in pain and falls to the floor, contorting and screaming in inarticulate agony.

Theophilus still clutches his dagger. He takes advantage of the confusion to rush the nearest guard [1d2=a; 4damage puts him at -1hp]. The other guard sees his comrade collapse, takes one look at Theophilus holding the bloody knife, and then bolts [ML 9, but failed].

[Q: Are any servants coming? 50/50: O2 C3 - No, but... more guards 1d6=2]

Two more guards appear at the end of the hall. "Your mistress is in pain!" shouts Theophilus, to make himself heard above Felicitas' screams. "I must fetch a physician at once!" [reaction 2d6=10]

They rush to their Mistress' side, and wave away Theophilus in their panic and confusion. He runs out into the street, followed by the two priests. As soon as they are out the front door...

[Q: Are any ruffians still nearby? Unlikely (5+): O5 C4 - Yes; 1d8=2 of them (at random, d&g)
Q: Do the PCs have a head start? 50/50: O5 C6 - Yes

Everyone has the same Movement rate, so just making 1d20 rolls; The party get +3 for their head start. Rolls:

Theophilus 19
Valentinus 17
Mikuláš 22
ruffian d 19
ruffian g 18]


... they are spotted by two of the ruffians from earlier, who crept back to lie in wait since they entered the house.

    CH CN DX IN ST WI HP AC AT
d m  5 16  5 12 15 13  6 10 +1 club (1d4)
g m  6 16 10 13  7  8  7 12 -1 short sword (1d6)

They give chase at once, and Mikuláš, Theophilus, and Valentinus all run off in different directions. The two bravos are after Valentinus, and one gets close enough to slash open the back of his cassock -- and his back -- with a his sword [both attack, one hits for 2 damage, leaving him at 2hp].

He sprints down a side street, barely aware of the pain, just a strange and breezy feeling at his back, and eventually loses his pursuers.

[Q: Do T&M make it to safety? 50/50: O6 C6 - Yes (average inn, 5sp each)
+Event: Horror - PC (Valentinus) - Punish / The public]


Valentinus has no light, but eventually makes it to a cheap inn (1sp), the kind where no one is going to ask why there's a bleeding priest looking for lodgings. He throws a silver Groschen at the innkeep for a private room, and stumbles upstairs. He has the presence of mind to wrap a sheet round himself for a bandage, then whispers a quick prayer for deliverance before passing out face-first on the bed.

When he wakes the next morning, the inn is completely silent: no sound of servants bustling through the corridors, no murmur of voices coming up from the common room, no creaking floorboards above. Valentinus gets up, and finds the sheet he'd wrapped round himself is now stuck to the wound in his back. "I'll just give the innkeep a few Kreuzers for it," he thinks. "The blood will never come out, anyway."

But when he opens the door of his room, a gory spectacle is before him. Mutilated bodies and parts of bodies are sprawled in heaps all along the corridor, and congealing blood is splashed up the walls almost to the ceiling. Every other person in the inn has been killed most horribly whilst he slept. A blind panic overtakes him, and he dashes down the steps and out into the street. He runs to the nearest church to seek sanctuary.