Saturday, 1 September 2018

Das schwarze Auge solo - Part XVI: „Wir könnten viel, wenn wir zusammenstünden“

Travjane feels pleased at her interview with the guild mage. The guilds have a formidable reputation; even the mages of the White Guild are prone to arrogance and elusiveness, to say nothing of the fearsome Black Guild. She expected haughty disdain and a complete dismissal of her petition. Instead, she got haughty disdain and tentative acceptance -- a greater result than she'd deemed possible.

Scene 36 (SH-5)
Investigation: Be waylaid by a hostile Actor with a Clue. Face a Fight instead of a check.

[Actor: Battered ex-adventurer. Using a random archetype from the rulebook (skipping witch) 1d10=thief.

Thief's Stealth (Courage14/Intuition14/Agility15 skill 10): 15/11/13 QL3
Travjane's Perception (Sagacity/Intuition/Intuition skill 2): 15/7/8, failure]

Filled with a heady optimism, Travjane is wandering aimlessly through the narrow, winding streets of the merchant's quarter when a hand grabs her arm and something sharp prods her lower back. "Just keep walking," says a [d6=] woman's voice softly. "Now turn here... now into this alley."

The woman manoeuvres Travjane down the cramped alleyway, and behind a stack of old casks, out of sight of the main street. She turns Travjane roughly about. Travjane is surprised to find that the woman is a few finger-breadths [several cm] shorter than she, but not at all to see her wrapped head to toe in a dark grey winter cloak, with a scarf of the nearly the same colour but not quite (by The Twelve! Darian is starting to rub off on her) concealing all but her glaring green eyes. The stiletto in her hand points at Travjane's midsection, following her every small shift like the unerring needle on a Südweiser [the aventurian compass points Praios-ward (south)].

"You've been to see that black mage," says the woman. "How come? What are you playing at?" [UNE: knowing - report - last action]

Travjane sighs. "I'm not in the mood for this right now. How about you go away and I won't hurt you."

[Travjane's Intimidate (Courage/Intuition/Charisma skill 3): 12/17/12, success QL1
Thief's Willpower (Courage14/Intuition14/Charisma12, skill 7): 6/17/9, QL2 wins resisted challenge]

"I don't think so."

[Initiative: T16 thief20]

The woman thrusts her stiletto at Travjane, but the witch dodges back out of reach [attack misses / dodge succeeds]. As the woman is about to rush forward, Travjane crouches low and feels the magic well up in her legs. "Allez-hop!"

[Travjane casts Krötensprung (Toad Jump): Sagacity/Intuition/Constitution, skill 6
-1 for 1 action: 2/2/5, success at QL 2. She needs at least 1d4+2=4m, so her Body Control (Agility/Agility/Constitution skill 4) roll is at-2: 5/5/16 just succeeds.
Also, 1d20=9 >2AsP spent, so no Mindergeister appear to torment her.]

The toad witch makes a great leap before the astonished eyes of her attacker, and alights in the low gutter where two slanting roofs meet. Hands on her hips, she looks down at the woman in the alley way with derision, though rather ruins the effect when she gives in to the childish impulse to stick out her tongue.

[Q: Does the thief try to follow? 50/50: O4 C5 - Yes.]

The woman rolls her eyes for an instant, but then begins wordlessly climbing up after Travjane, scrambling atop the pile of casks and jumping up to catch the lowest eave.

[Her attributes + Climb 8 skill would succeed without a roll, but Travjane is going to try to kick her off. I couldn't find a rule for it, but resisted Feat of Strength (Constitution/Strength/Strength, skill 0 for both) checks seem like the right answer.

Travjane: 4/2/3 success -vs.- Thief 1/17/6 failure]

The woman is about to swing herself up onto the roof, but Travjane bends down and prises her fingers off the edge. After a brief struggle, the woman loses her grip and tumbles down to the ground with a thud [16 damage drops her to 11LP & 2 levels of Pain]. She gets up and flees, limping back into the street.

[T +1 VP, +1 Clue]

Travjane sits on the edge of the roof and contemplates what just transpired. She's sure the Captain is on to her, and that this attempted assassination was under his orders, but she isn't sure if the would-be assassin was a soldier in disguise or a free operative. So the Captain either can't use his own people for the dirty work and must look outside, or else their loyalty wavers. Or perhaps when they raid the merchants, they really think they are upholding the law. Whatever the case, he can't move against her openly. Does this mean she's winning?

[Because she used magic in a way others might hear about, she may incur Heat. According to SH, a roll of 1d10 under the highest spell level used adds a point of Heat. There are no spell levels in DSA, but a roll of 1d20 under the number of Astral Points spent (of the most costly spell, if more than one was cast) will increase Heat.

1d20=17 > 2 AsP spent, so no additional Heat.
1d10=2 < 4 TNIAS, so +1 enemy VP

T5 C1 heat 3, Clues: 1]

Scene 37 (SH-6)
Investigation: Search a Location related to past events where a Clue can be found. Roll a die; on an odd result, you face a Fight whether or not you succeed on the check.

Travjane spends her afternoon helping Darian sell a client a gown that will never look as good on her as it does on Travjane. By evening she has become restless and decides to see if she can find any incriminating evidence in the Captain's hidden love nest. When she's sure that the dancer will be performing at the Purple Lion, she heads out into the streets.

[Stealth (Courage/Intuition/Agility, skill 6) to avoid detection near the love nest: 13/5/2, success

Q: Is there an obvious way in other than just the front door? Unlikely (5+) O5 C2: Yes, and...]

It is a bitterly cold night, so the streets are nearly deserted. Travjane still takes pains to avoid meeting any other travellers abroad. When she reaches the love nest, she closes the shutter on her (that is, Darian's) lantern so it emits just enough light to see the ground before her [about 1,5 Schritte (1.5m)]. She moves along the outside of the building, hoping to find a means of ingress other than the front door. Phex [the god of thieves, merchants, and luck] must be smiling upon her this night, for she finds the shutter of a ground floor window has not been secured. No light comes from within, so, after casting a quick glance down the street to be certain she is not seen, she clambers inside.

[She needs a Perception (Sagacity/Intuition/Intuition skill 2) roll to find the Clue: 1/7/7, success]

The small townhouse looks like any other residence, though with the exception of the bedchamber it is only minimally furnished. There is an oversized vanity table of white-painted hardwood, carved with gilded scenes of cavorting nymphs and fauns, obviously imported from Horasreich at great expense. Travjane finds it on just the wrong side of good taste, but after rifling its contents for a few minutes is rewarded with a folded parchment bearing a broken wax seal: a billet-doux!

She begins to read: "Please, my exquisite one, accept this most miserable present, which cannot but pale in contrast to your all-too radiant glories, my dearest one, my divine, who art more beautiful that Rahja herself. I have mortgaged my good name against it, my pearl, my ruby, squeezing out the gold of the sweaty populace of this pitiful city. Run away with me, and we can spend my fortune together to build a Palace of Perfect Passion..."

[Body Control (AGL/AGL/CON, skill 4) not to retch: 8/18/9, failure]

"Blech!" says Travjane, feeling her stomach churn. She reads no more, but folds the missive carefully and puts it in her belt pouch.

[Q: Anything else she can use against the Captain? 50/50 (4+): O4 C1 - Yes, and...
Perception (SGC/INT/INT skill 2): 14/9/12, success]

Travjane examines the bed, which appears to have been freshly made. She opens one of the linen chests, and is rewarded with a mass of dirty sheets. "Ugh," she says, but proceeds to dig through them. One has four short parallel stripes, which her lantern light reveals to be of a brownish red colour. "Oh, my dear Captain, it looks like your mistress is quite the scratcher," thinks the witch. "If your letter doesn't work a miracle, through this blood you'll feel my curse." She cuts a swatch out of the bloodstained fabric with her dagger, and stows it away in her pouch.

Just then she hears the creak of floorboards. She is not alone in the house!

[1d6=3, face a fight.
Q: Who is here? (1d10): 1-2 landlord, 3-4 maid, 5-6 guard, 7-8 florist, 9 dancer, 0 captain
d10=Guard (stats as Gardist in Aventurisches Almanach)

Travjane's Stealth (Courage/Intuition/Agility, skill 6): 11/17/7, success QL1
The guard's Perception (Sagacity11/Intuition13/Intuition13 skill 8): 20/10/17, fail]

Travjane climbs gingerly out the window, closing the shutter silently behind her, and pads silently off into the night.

[+1 VP, +1 Clue

1d10=8 > 5 TNIAS, so no additional enemy VP

T6 C1 heat 3
Clues: 2

Scene 38 (SH-7)
spending a clue for an Action scene: Pass an incriminating or disgraceful Clue to an Actor who can make sure important people learn of the evidence.

Darian is waiting up when she returns, reading by his fire. He heats up a pot of Glühwein, and she shows him her "treasure". Darian is a bit perturbed by the bloodstained cloth, but anxious to hear the contents of the letter. Travjane reads it aloud in her best imitation of the Captain's stern voice.

"So what do you think I should do with this?" asks Travjane once her recitation is complete.

"There's only one thing you can do," says Darian, wiping away tears of mirth. "Take it straight to the Rathaus."

"Not to the Twelve-Gods' Church [Zwölfgötterkirche]? It's sacrilege!"

"Come now, saying one's lover is more beauteous than Rahja herself is hardly sacrilege."

"It is when it's this badly written! But seriously, I'm loathe to hand this over. Just in case."

"Make a copy then. I know you say you were under the tutelage of a Praios-priest for years, but I doubt you'll find such a warm reception from the ones here. Your chances are better with the civil authorities than the divine."

Darian makes a copy for her in his best chancery hand, and in the morning she proceeds directly to the Rathaus to beat the crowds.

[She needs a Law (SGC/SGC/INT, skill 0) roll to get in this time: 3/8/4, success]

The Ratsherr is huddled over the little brazier in his office when she is shown in. "You're here early," he observes. "I'm sorry it's so cold in here. It takes a while for the coals to heat the room in the morning."

"The cold doesn't bother me," replies Travjane. "And I have something to show you which will warm you right up with the fire of great passion... or something like that."

"Whatever can you mean?"

"Read this. It's only a copy, but I assure you it's genuine. I have the original concealed in a place of safety. Tell me what you think."

The Ratsherr peruses the letter with a studied impassivity. "It's very incriminating," he says.

"It's practically a signed confession!"

"It wasn't intended as such... but it may be nearly as good. So how do you intend to proceed?"

"That depends," says Travjane, "If you can help me bring the Captain to justice, I am willing to follow your lead. If you don't think we can yet, I plan to make dozens of copies of this letter and post them all over town. But it would be better for Weihenhorst, I think, to handle this with more discretion."

[rolling Fast Talk to keep the Ratsherr on side (Courage/Intuition/Charisma, skill 2; the letter gives a +3 bonus, cancelling all penalties for status as an outsider and a witch): 14/2/9 success.

Q: Does the Ratsherr have enough authority to order the Captain's arrest? 50/50 (4+): O1 C8 - Yes.
Q: Is the Captain a lesser noble? Unlikely (5+): O3 C7 - No (he can be tried in the city, then).]

"I believe I can help you," says the Ratsherr.

[+2 VP for winning an Action scene

1d10=5 < 6 TNIAS, so +1 enemy VP

T8 C2 heat 3
clues: 1

Scene 39 (SH-8)
spending her last Clue for another Action scene: Rally an Actor and their comrades to oppose the foe.

[NB: The beginning of this scene and the end of the last sort of melted into one another. I really prefer Mythic's organic scene structure to Scarlet Heroes' mechanistic one.]

"Are there any soldiers in Weihenhorst whom you trust?" asks Travjane.

[Q: Are there? 50/50 (4+): O6 C4: Yes, but... one is corrupt.

Travjane needs a final roll against Convince (Bekehren & Überzeugen Courage/Sagacity/Charisma skill 0) to keep the Ratsherr from wavering in his resolve: 8/3/4, success]

"There are," says the Ratsherr. "It will take me some little time to prepare. But we could make the arrest tomorrow night."

"I want to be there. You may need my... skills."


They agree to meet in the Ratskeller [cellar of the guildhall] on the following night when the clock strikes eleven. Travjane says her goodbye, then heads off to find the mage. She finds her still at her inn, where the frightened innkeeper agrees to ask the Black Guild wizard if she will receive a visit from a witch.

[Fast talk (CRG/INT/CHA skill 2) at -2 to convince her it's worth coming along: 3/15/7, success QL1]

"The Captain's downfall is at hand," explains Travjane. "I have a city official ready to arrest him, and he's got a troop of loyal soldiers. We move tomorrow night. Will you be there?"

"I will come," says the mage. "But I will not be leading the charge."

"Nor will I... probably. But I've faced down worse in a fight -- recently, in fact -- so his sword doesn't scare me."

"You're brave, witch. Or foolish. I suppose I'll find out which tomorrow."

After leaving the mage, Travjane brings some food to the poor, wretched cobbler in the gaol. She tells him that he must persevere and be brave. The Captain will soon be brought to justice, and he must tell everything he knows in court. Also, he must apologise for the wrongs that he has committed, pay whatever silly fine the court levies against him for spreading false rumours about his rival for the affections of Noiona the milkmaid.

"I will do as you say," says the cobbler, practically weeping. "But how am I ever to repay you?"

"It has been brought to my attention that I really need a sturdy pair of travelling boots," says the witch.

[+2 VP

1d10=4 < 7 TNIAS, so +1 enemy VP

T10 C3 heat 3

Total VP=10
, so (in the next post) the adventure will automatically proceed to the final Action Scene]

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