Wednesday, 17 October 2018
LotFP Solo - Part the Fifty-Eighth: „Es zogen zwei rüstge Gesellen...“
"Dammit! Lycinia," thundered Manfred, "the bloody door's stuck!"
"Oh, good," said the elf as she opened the door, positively beaming, "that means the spell worked."
"Well, I'm glad your research has proved fruitful, though I could do without being made to look an arse thereby. I am -- moreover -- also happy that your research has now been concluded, for it is time we were leaving Wandlebourne."
"So soon? What's the occasion?"
"A summons. An old friend, or thereabouts: one whom I can't ignore."
"A friend? What's she like?"
"Oh, I'm sure you'll get on famously!"
Scene 0 - preparation
[I made one new PC, with 10% less XP than Manfred to start, which made her a 4th level cleric. I rolled her a random mission, and picked a random hex on the map for starters.]
Manfred leads Lycinia into Terentius' drawing room, where the friend is waiting for them. She seems to be the largest human Lycinia has ever seen, a towering, muscular woman with sharp features and skin the colour of red clay. She wears rugged chain armour, and an oversized holy symbol of the Light God.
"Princess Lycinia of Feyalldra," says Manfred, "may I introduce the Reverend Dame Brichtrethe, Knight of the King's army."
"This is your comrade-in-arms?" asks Brichtrethe. "Bit of a change for you, isn't it?"
"Charming," says Manfred. "I'll allow that unusual circumstances threw us together, but I dare say there's no one I'd rather fight alongside."
"She's an elf," states Brichtrethe.
"Perspicacious as ever, my dear."
"Don't you 'my dear' me, or I'll break your jaw again. I told you, Manfred, I'm on a holy mission; I don't think this is any time to throw in my lot with your little fairy princess, here."
"We need her. Especially where we're going. I know you don't trust wizards. Lycinia understands magic just as well as do they. Don't be obstinate; you can't afford not to have her along. Besides -- we've pledged our swords to fight together. If she doesn't go, I won't go either."
"Great Lord of Radiance! you are so full of shit Manfred. But as I have nowhere else to turn, you have me at a great disadvantage. So I'm going to take you at your word. You and your fairy friend can come with me on my mission. But if I so much as suspect her of practising the Dark Arts, I'll cave in that pretty little head of hers."
"You needn't worry. We've fought side-by-side against the most unholy aberrations... things even you would dread to approach. I don't say this lightly."
"Very well. My mission is to recover the Standard of St. Orvein the Just from the hidden tomb of the evil wizard, Hasshdilaz, which has been discovered after all these years. When our troops rally around the Standard, they'll have the Divine Blessing they need to finally take Castle Uldmere, and bring that Heretic out in chains! I, and I alone of my Order, have been given this sacred mission, to carry out as best I see fit. But quickly! for the King's treasury is not infinite, and the strain of keeping this army in the field will soon take its toll. I received my orders at the Monastery of the Blue Stones, and after a night spent in vigil I felt the Blessed Hand of His Great Luminescence urging my steps toward Wandlebourne. And here it was that I learnt of your... change in circumstances. But what better way to restore your family's holding than to strike a blow at the Heretic who is tearing this kingdom apart? I'm anxious that we leave as soon as possible. This city of merchants and moneylenders is a wretched place to try recruiting soldiers. You know I prefer to lead a small unit, but at the moment its just the three of us, and that's hardly enough for decent assault tactics. So, do you know any good fighters here who could fill out our ranks?"
"I'm so pleased to meet you!" screams Lycinia.
* * *
Somehow Manfred is able to keep elf and cleric from going for each other's throats, and by evening's end they have even come up with a plan. The next few days are spent in preparation; Brichtrethe hires a linkboy, Manfred buys horses and provisions, and Lycinia tracks down Thiery and Ruprecht, who readily agree to abandon their lives in Wandlebourne for a chance at a real adventure -- except that Ruprecht balks at deserting from the army (which would be the second time in his life that he's done it, though he keeps stumm on this particular). Brichtrethe agrees to talk to his captain, who is easily persuaded to attach Ruprecht to her 'special unit'.
Ruprecht reacts to his new companions with his usual forbearance. He's just happy to have more interesting prospects than garrison duty.
Thiery is quietly awed by Manfred, and thinks Brichtrethe is patently ridiculous, though also a bit terrifying.
Brichtrethe finds Thiery beneath contempt, but likes Ruprecht because he's a proper soldier.
Manfred is simply disappointed that neither of Lycinia's friends is particularly attractive.
Oswold the linkboy is such a dud that no one really thinks about him.
female, Cleric, Level 4, Lawful
Cha 7 Con 16 Dex 12 Int 15 Str 18 Wis 12
Hit Points: 25
Social Standing: Knight & Priestess
Personality: pious, direct
Armour: chain & shield
Weapons: mace, miséricorde, heavy crossbow, lance
male, 0-level human, Neutral
Cha 8 Con 13 Dex 12 Int 8 Str 14 Wis 13
Hit Points: 7
Social Standing: commoner
motivation: avoid responsibility
personality: vacant, negative
lantern, tinderbox, oil
[Brichtrethe's personality was initially extrapolated from her stats and character class, especially the part where she'd be a better fighter than cleric. I also used the oracle for a while to see how should react to things in order to round her out. Oswold's personality was rolled randomly; he's even more of a gem than was Haddie.]
Dame Brichtrethe insists they leave at dawn, but it takes some time for them all to assemble at the city gates. Thiery is unapologetically late (and terribly hung over). Manfred and Lycinia arrive last, having had to take their leave of Terentius and Lady Margiste. The lawyer assures Manfred that everything is in hand, and he shall administer Margiste's fortune as he does his own. He assures Lycinia that Margiste shall continue her fencing lessons. Margiste bids her brother and her 'new sister' a teary goodbye.
It is a long, but tranquil [no encounters] day's ride from Wandlebourne to the Church of St. Gelevaard.
[I started this adventure using CRGE as the yes/no oracle (and keeping Mythic for complex questions).
You may recall that when first we met Manfred, he was not only a vocal supporter of the heretic de Molleré, but was in fact on a dastardly errand of his own to kill one of the Orthodoxy's suppporters. Now he's gone over to the other side. Could this be a true change of heart, a political manoeuvre, or simple apathy? Whatever the case, his arrival at the Church necessitates consulting the CRGE Oracle:
Q: Any suspicions on Manfred? 45, No. Surge +2
Q: Any other trouble at the church? No. Surge to +4]
The courtyard is starting to fill up with the first pilgrims of the year, but Dame Brichtrethe is somehow able to secure indoor lodgings for her party. She is a bit incensed that none but Ruprecht and Oswold join her in the chapel for evensong (and these only out of a sense of obligation towards their commander). Their stay passes otherwise without incident.
The next day they set out through the forest towards Lake Ild. When they reach the lake, Brichtrethe leads them south, saying that this is the surest route to Uldmere. There, they should be able to secure passage across the lake to the island, their destination.
That evening, just after the marvellous pink sunset has ceded the sky to the sombre blue of impending twilight, the riders happen upon a strange scene on the shore of the lake.
[random wilderness encounter (still using my old Expert rulebook for these): werewolf x4; 4d6= f f m m
Q: What were werewolves doing on the beach? Malice / Extravagance - robbing some people
Q: Are they in animal form? 88+4=92, Yes, but... they're changing back (reset surge)
surprise dice = 1 & 1; everybody surprised, encounter range 60'
Q: PCs come in in the middle of the metamorphosis? Yes. Surge+2
reaction=9, the werewolves will not immediately attack, but...
Q: Does the cleric act out? 68, yes surge+4
Initiative rolls were tied, so everyone goes in groups according to their DEX bonus.
+2 Lycinia, Thiery
0 Brichtrethe, Ruprecht, α, γ
-1 Manfred, β, δ
The werewolves will each transform back to wolf-form in 1d6 rounds.
# sx DX AC change HP
- -- -- ----- ----- --
α f 11 16/12 rd.1 22
β f 7 15/11 rd.6 20
γ m 10 16/12 rd.5 22
δ m 6 15/11 rd.2 10
Werewolf: AC 16/12, HD 4, Mv 180'(60'), 1 bite 2d4, ML 8, Special: silver or magic to hit in wolf form, summon 1-2 wolves]
As they come to a small, tree-shrouded inlet, they see the torn and bloodied corpses of a trio of peasants, whose small boat is beached nearby. Surrounding them is a pack of four enormous wolves of an unnaturally evil countenance. Before the astonished eyes of the onlookers, they begin to change, assuming human form: two men and two women, naked save for copious amounts of blood around their hands, faces, and chests. One of the now-human werewolves notices the party's approach, and raises her hand as if in greeting, but...
...Brichtrethe merely lowers her lance and spurs her horse angrily, charging the nearest one. The lance tears through his shoulder, and he is thrown back into the sand, barely clinging to life [δ is hit for 10 damage, dropping him to 0hp].
The eldest woman [α] has arrested her change mid-way, and in the blink of an eye is once again a wolf-man. She howls, her voice shattering the evening stillness [summons wolves, who will arrive on round (1d4=)3].
The rest of the party draw their weapons, as their two remaining foes retrieve swords from the ground where their prey had lost them.
Lycinia charges the werewolf matron (α) swinging her magical sword. The canny werewolf rolls with the strike, but the silvery blade bites deep, and the wound smokes angrily as if doused in acid [1d8=3, x2 for charging, x2 for the sword's enchantment =12 damage, putting α at 10hp].
Thiery fires one of his pistols, though it is not clear at whom he was aiming [16+3-8 (-4 range, -4 firing on horseback)=11, miss].
Ruprecht rides up cautiously.
The werewolf matron [α] swipes at Lycinia with her terrible claws, but the elf fends her off with her shining sword.
The male [γ] swings his sword in a high, overhand arc at Brichtrethe, who slams it aside with her gauntleted fist [missed].
Manfred spurs his own horse and charges the swordswoman [β] with his rapier. She tries to cut him down off his horse with her broadsword as he passes. There is a terrific clamour as their blades clash, but that is all [both miss].
Lycinia swings again and again at the werewolf matron, who dodges every blow. Thiery draws his rapier, and rides closer. His second pistol is in his hand that grips the reins.
The werewolf matron catches Lycinia's sword arm in her powerful jaws. The elf is able to shake her off without being pulled from her saddle, but the arm is nearly dislocated, and it is only the strong mail she wears which kept her from losing the limb [α hits for 7 damage, leaving Lycinia with 15hp].
Ruprecht attacks the swordswoman [β], and delivers a glancing blow to the chest with his heavy mace [5 damage dropped him to 15hp]. The swordsman [γ] stabs Brichtrethe in a weak spot of her mail; she can feel the links and padding give way as the point of the blade is pressed into her abdomen [5 damage puts her at 20hp].
Manfred wheels his horse about, but cannot get close enough to the swordswoman without getting in Ruprecht's way [miss].
Two wolves arrive at a run. They nip at the horses of Ruprecht and Brichtrethe, but without effect [miss x2].
Thinking she's found the elf's weakness, the matron makes another leap at her sword arm. But Lycinia was anticipating it, and feints with her sword, moving it at the last instant into the path of the gaping maw. The blade slices the top of the werewolf's head clean off, and it falls, the frightful wound cauterised by the silvery weapon [α takes 8x2=16 damage putting her at -6hp, dead].
Thiery takes aim and fires at one of the wolves, wounding it only slightly. But the tremendous report of the pistol frightens the animals, who break off their attack and flee [the wolves' morale dropped to 6 when the matron died, and guns force a ML check when used against anyone with a ML of 7 or lower, which the wolves failed].
The swordswoman is now between Ruprecht and Brichtrethe, who both pummel her with their heavy maces. She is bruised and battered, and her left arm hangs useless at her side, but she fights on [β takes 8+8 damage, leaving her with 3hp]. Her attempts to find weakness in the cleric's armour come to naught [miss].
The swordsman takes advantage of Brichtrethe looking the other way, and opens a grievous wound in her thigh [γ hits for 6 damage, putting Brichtrethe at 14hp].
In the whirl and confusion of the battle, Manfred once again cannot get close enough to strike [misses γ]. He curses his horse and the useless nag that bare it.
There is a mighty clash of arms, steel resounding on steel [everyone misses]. The swordswoman [β] drops her sword as the change comes over her, and she transforms into a black-furred, snarling wolf. Ruprecht and Brichtrethe pull back from it, fearing their arms may no more wound the frightful creature.
Lycinia sees the wolf about to leap at Ruprecht. She rides up behind it and brings her sword down upon its shoulders, neatly bisecting the horrible beast. It falls into the sand in two twitching halves [she hits β for 6x2=12 damage, dropping it to -9hp].
Ruprecht smashes the swordsman right in the sternum. But what should have been a fatal blow is merely a nuisance, as bristly grey fur sprouts under the mace head, and man becomes wolf [γ takes 2 damage, putting him at 20hp]. The wolf lets out a loud howl, not of pain, but of exhortation [γ made a successful ML check, so didn't flee. He summons 1d2=2 wolves as reinforcements, who will arrive in 1d4=2 rounds].
The sole remaining werewolf perceives the elf as the only real threat, and springs with praeternatural alacrity towards her throat. Lycinia's gleaming sword nearly disembowels him mid-leap [γ takes 12 damage, dropping him to 8hp], but it is not enough to arrest his momentum, and then he is upon her. His slavering jaws clamp down hard on her shoulder, bursting the rivets of her mail. She cries out, and nearly falls from the saddle [γ hits her for 3 damage, bringing her to 12hp -- 1hp away from (having to look up rules about elves and) lycanthropy].
The werewolf springs again at Lycinia, who fends it off with her sword. The blade opens a long gash in its side, which smokes and bubbles slightly after the werewolf crashes to the ground [10 damage puts him at -2hp].
The pair of summoned wolves arrive, trot round the margin of the battlefield for a few moments, then run straight back into the forest [failed morale].
[Q: Did/does Lycinia notice her sword has changed? 71+4, Yes surge+6]
The battle ended, Lycinia sits back in her saddle and stares fixedly at her sparkling sword.
"Lycinia! Lycinia!" bellows Manfred. "I think it's a fine weapon too, but dammit! this is no time to sit back and admire it! Some of them are still breathing."
The elf dismounts, and goes over to the unconscious werewolf. She takes its head off with a single stroke, and the body transforms back to its human shape. She then goes to the other man, who Brichtrethe's lance had felled. She hesitates, and looks at the hilt of her sword once more. "All of you, come round," she says, "I don't know if it will stay like this once the last werewolf is dead."
All her comrades (save Oswold, who is still far out of earshot) come over to see what Lycinia is on about. She holds out her sword's silver pommel for all to see. "Look," she exclaims excitedly, "it's a wolf's head! Not an old wizard's. Manfred, you know what my sword looks like. It's changed! Wait, everyone, let me see..."
Lycinia stands right beside the unconscious man, and begins counting out paces away from him in a straight line, as evenly as she can upon the sandy beach. "...13...14...15. Oh! it did! It changed back!"
Her companions rush over to see, as she proudly holds up the sword, with its pommel once again the head of a dour, long-bearded man. Then she steps toward the werewolf once more, and the wolf head re-appears. She plunges the blade into the unconscious werewolf's heart, and as his life ebbs so too does the pommel regain its human guise.
[Q: What does Brichtrethe think? Struggle / The spiritual]
"Where did you get that?" asks Brichtrethe.
"Ummm... in a tomb. Of a wicked old king of the hill people. He wasn't using it, so..."
"Strange," replies the cleric. "Such a holy purpose, but in the hands of a pagan barbarian -- or an elf."
Lycinia merely shrugs in reply.
[Lycinia's sword automatically detects lycanthropes at 20', but the wielder must be paying attention to see the pommel change to the corresponding animal head. It inflicts double damage on lycanthropes in any form, burning them as though coated in strong acid. Merely touching the weapon will cause them 1d4 damage per round. It counts as both a silver and a magical weapon for purposes of overcoming other monsters' immunities. Should the wielder contract lycanthropy, the sword will burn them for 2d8 damage and they will drop the weapon immediately, taking 1d4 additional damage if it must be removed from a scabbard first. Lycanthropes are no more aware of the sword's presence (nor its changing) than anyone else, though they do tend to pay more attention to silvered weapons when they see them. Unlike mundane silvered weapons, the sword will not break.
The 'peasants' killed by the werewolves were actually smugglers, so might have treasure.
Q: Do they? 41-6=No surge+8]
Brichtrethe insists the werewolves and their victims be buried. She intends to give them last rites, and pronounce the necessary exorcisms.
They only have two shovels, so as some start to dig, others collect firewood and set up camp. Brichtrethe pauses to ask the Light God to heal the wounds she suffered in Righteous Battle against the Enemies of Goodness [cure light wounds, 5pts brings her back to 19hp]. Manfred suggests tactfully that she minister to Lycinia's even more serious wounds, as without her sword none of them might have survived the encounter. Her insistence that elves have no souls is easily countered by Manfred reminding her that a true commander looks after her troops. Her conscience assuaged, Brichtrethe says a prayer to heal the elf [for 8 points, back up to 20hp].