Thursday, 24 April 2014

LotFP Solo - Part the Twenty-Fourth: „Nach einem glücklichen goldenen Ziel / Sieht man sie rennen und jagen.“

Scene 26

Chaos: 7

Setup: go meet up with Vampire hunters & join their quest

Characters: Neldir, the Elders of the Elven Forest, Ranwitha the Pious Merchant, Siorighan MU12,  Tibalt & Barnot, dwarven mercenaries, griffon, Reverend Father Gelnay de Val d'Oine, Reverend Father de Molleré, Brother Mundlo, Zuhal B'thallit, centaur lizard, Jola, Sir Gaunet, Jönnick, Baron Iehan Forzdeleu, Count Rotres d'Estancbel

threads: find Neldir & the book
remove zuhal's curse

day 65.

The party follow the road as far as the walls of Ildmarch, then head SE to the church. The day is cold and overcast, but aside from a few sprinklings of rain there is no precipitation.

There see almost no one on the road, save a group of three footsoldiers. The soldiers are none too friendly, but willing to exchange news with strangers to the region. They are deserters from Yseut's Bastion heading to Ildmarch to avoid the coming war, and advise the party they should leave this region before it's too late.

The party make the Church of St. Clere by evening. The church is an imposing edifice; it would be considered a cathedral were it in a city. There is a service going on as they arrive. The elves wait outside nervously as Aldira goes in to look around. At length a novitiate comes out to tell them they are required within. They tether their horses and walk slowly up the steps into the church, where they see group of four humans, three men and a girl, standing with Aldira.

The one who is obviously their leader is a tall, broad-shouldered man with a commanding voice and piercing eyes. He looks to be in his mid-forties, with flowing grey hair and moustache. There is an aura of authority and power about him, which almost hides his rather unhealthy pallor. He wears a tall black felt hat with a brass buckle, understated travelling clothes, a dark grey cloak, and a silver holy symbol of the Light God.

The man next to him is all in black, practically hidden beneath a long black oilskin cloak and a wide-brimmed leather hat. He has the look of a hunter, or perhaps a hired killer, though he's perhaps a little young. He too wears a silver holy symbol of the Light God.

Behind him stands a man in leather armour, evidently a soldier. His hair is long and unkempt, he hasn't shaved in about a week, he has a nasty scar on his forehead and is missing half his front teeth. But despite his rough looks, he has a friendly and open demeanour.

Behind the three men stands a rather vacant-looking peasant girl, trying her best to stay out of the way and occasionally wiping her nose on her sleeve.

Aldira is about to make introductions when the leader strides forward and begins to speak, "Your friend has told me why you're here, and what you want from us. It seems an alliance would be to our mutual gain. We are hard on the trail of a coven of vampires, and you would see that this elven renegade cannot use their blood for his unholy sorceries. It seems we are fated to accept your aid in our sacred quest. We are servants of the Light God, the Pure and Radiant, pledged to rid the world of these most foul fiends of darkness. Your quest seems noble and good, aye, or we should not be talking at all, but it comes only from the lords of faraway Feyalldra, whereas ours descendeth from the True Light that Guides the World. You may come with us only so long as you accept the primacy of our quest and respect our sacred vows. Now, there are those, even within the Church, that mistrust all sorcerers and fairy-kind and bethink them servants of wickedness. I should be embarrassed to be so unenlightened! Magic is a tool like any other, and its wise use can uphold the glories of the Light God even as does the knight's steel. But know this: I will brook no use of the darker kinds of wizardry, and will suffer no artifacts of tainted magic to go unburned in cleansing flame. Are we agreed?"

"We are agreed," says Lycinia quickly.

"Good. Then let me introduce us. I am Father Rochouart. This is my associate, Géraint [the black-clad man makes a sweeping bow], his bodyguard, Worland [the soldier smiles warmly] and this is Haddie [the girl makes a clumsy curtsy], whom I have hired as a lantern-bearer."

[I decided to make them all NPCs, two PC equivalents each with one hireling. If any of them survive long enough and end up fitting into the party, they may graduate to PC status like Aldira did. As I am making them from scratch, they will start with 10% less XP than the PC with the lowest total and standard equipment according to the LotFP rulebook: 180sp +3d6x10sp/level over 1st. The henchman is a starting 1st level character. The lantern-bearer is a 0-level human with the clothes on her back and a free wooden holy symbol (value 1cp). Here's their stats, followed by the PCs', for reference:

Father Rochouart
Cleric, Level 2, male, 34 years old
Cha 15 Con 8 Dex 12 Int 10 Str 15 Wis 13
Hit Points: 7
Morale: 11
Social Standing: minor (unlanded) noble - 3rd son of Viscount Rochouart
Personality: moralistic, serious
Armour: leather
Weapons: heavy crossbow, broadsword
Equipment: quiver & 12 quarrels, 2 flasks of holy water, mallet & 6 wooden stakes, silver holy symbol, 9sp

Specialist, Level 3, male, 23 years old
Cha 7 Con 11 Dex 10 Int 13 Str 10 Wis 14
Hit Points: 12
Morale: 8
Social Standing: middle class (parents are merchants from Frommsport)
Personality: humourless, aloof
Armour: leather
Weapons: wheelock pistol, rapier, silver dagger
Equipment: 12 apostles (pre-measured powder & shot), specialist's tools, holy water, silver holy symbol, backpack, 27sp

Fighter, Level 1, male, 29 years old
Cha 12 Con 13 Dex 9 Int 9 Str 13 Wis 7
Hit Points: 9
Loyalty/Morale: 9
Social Standing: townsman (from Aylesbyrig)
Personality: lazy, friendly
Armour: leather & shield
Weapons: battle axe, 2 throwing axes
Equipment: backpack, steel holy symbol, 32sp

human, Level 0, female, 15 years old
Cha 11 Con 13 Dex 13 Int 8 Str 10 Wis 12
Hit Points: 4
Loyalty/Morale: 7
Social Standing: peasant (from Glimmet)
Personality: worthless, slow
Armour: none
Weapons: none
Equipment: lantern, 6 flasks of oil, tinderbox, wooden holy symbol, 42sp (one month's wages, which came out of Fr. Rochouart's starting money)

Elf, Level 3, female
Cha 14 Con 12 Dex 18 Int 6 Str 16 Wis 7
Hit Points: 13
Social Standing: 14 (viscountess)
Personality: ignorant, honest
Armour: chainmail
Weapons: longbow, heavy mace, dagger
Equipment: quiver & 20 arrows, tinderbox, torch, backpack, 2 sacks, spellbook, Vethrelcem's spellbook, shovel, invisibility potion, copper brooch (100sp), gold tiara (100sp), onyx (75sp), Ivory comb (60sp), long amber necklace (300sp)

Elf, Level 3, female
Cha 11 Con 14 Dex 16 Int 16 Str 15 Wis 9
Hit Points: 16
Social Standing: 17 (princess)
Personality: taciturn, curious
Armour: chainmail
Weapons: longsword, dagger
Equipment: tinderbox, torch, scroll case & scroll (personal spellbook), backpack, ink, 3 candles, silver mirror, fine silver necklace (200sp), The Phantasmagorical Silence, bag of small gems (475sp total), potionof gaseous form, 6GP, 17SP, 1CP

Elf, Level 2, female
Cha 9 Con 9 Dex 13 Int 10 Str 10 Wis 10
Hit Points: 9
Social Standing: 11 (knight banneret)
Personality: obsessive, independent
Armour: leather & shield
Weapons: magical elven longsword, short bow
Equipment: quiver & 20 arrows, spellbook, waterskin, backpack, steel mirror, lantern, flask of oil, map of the kingdom, scroll (Phantasmal force, stone shape, extension, floating disc, force of forbidment x2), silver amulet (20sp), ruby earrings (900sp), ruby (750sp), carved black jade bracelet depicting storm dragons playing in thunderclouds (1800 sp), 11SP

Magic-User, Level 3, female
Cha 12 Con 13 Dex 10 Int 16 Str 9 Wis 6
Hit Points: 13
Social Standing: commoner
Personality: loyal, foolish
Armour: leather
Weapons: rapier, light crossbow
Equipment: spellbook, 50' rope, grappling hook, quiver & 20 bolts, Una's spellbook, backpack, scroll (spider climb, message, howl of the moon, magic mouth, magic aura, enlarge, bookspeak), potion of ESP, silver necklace with peridot pendant (200sp), gold fibula shaped like a wild boar's head (400sp), 20SP

The PCs also have 4 riding horses whose saddlebags contain iron rations, waterskins,  and camping gear. They also left a few books and things (including their treasure map) in Castle l'Oret for safekeeping.

Q: Has Fr. Rochouart gotten any help from church? 50/50: 68, Yes.
Clerical Scroll: Augury, Turn Undead x2, Magic Vestment, Delay Poison

Q: Has Neldir tried to contact the hunters? Unlikely: 41, Yes.
Q: How'd that go? Propose / Power : Neldir made the wrong sort of offer and was turned away. But they didn't quite realise what he was after, so they let him go with only a stern lecture from Father Rochouart. He definitely regrets his mistake.

That evening the PCs and NPCs spend a bit of time getting acquainted, and planning their journey on Théscine's (formerly poor Oighonlaer's) kingdom map. The hunters are (randomly determined) heading to  Citadelle Tagnard on the trail of the vampires (rumoured to be) there.]

day 66.

The next morning is cold and windy, and the though the black clouds presage a storm, the party decide to set off on the road towards Ildmarch. Lycinia and Aldira let Father Rochouart and Haddie ride their horses. A journey of 24 miles by road should only take a day's travel, but a driving rain begins to fall. They manage to reach Falby by evening, and the kind villagers provide them with food, shelter and warming hearth fires.

day 67.

The storm abates. The party make Ildmarch without incident, though they do pass a group of rope merchants on the road, off to sell their wares on the docks of Frommsport.

Ildmarch is a large and prosperous city on the shore of lake Ild. Great are the walls that encircle the New Town, greater still the walls of the Old Town within. The New Town may be newer, poorer, and less important than the Old, but the elves still marvel at the cobbled streets, the tall buildings of wood and stone, the and endless variety of shops and markets. Seeing their wide eyes, Worland tells them, "To look at it, you'd think this was the capital of the Kingdom, instead of Aylesbyrig."

As much as they wish they could explore Ildmarch, the elves are eager to get on with their quest. They stay the night in a quiet inn, meeting no one but a visiting sage who has more to say about the wines of the locality than he does about his research (metaphysics and supernatural flora & fauna).  In the morning they buy provisions at the nearest market. In the interests of speed and goodwill, they purchase riding horses for their new companions.

day 68.

The journey from Ildmarch to Yseut's Bastion passes without incident [save brief and uninteresting random encounters on the road]. The party stop briefly at Chateau l'Oret to bring the Baron up to date, then continue on to Yseut's Bastion [Q: Do they get a good reception? Somewhat likely: 01, Exceptional Yes.] where they are fêted like conquering heroes; evidently vampire hunters are admired by the soldiers in the fort.

day 69.

The party travel through the dense forest towards Citadelle Tagnard. After about six miles they happen across a young woman in a forest clearing, examining the carcasses of a pack of wolves. She is well dressed, though appears a little uncouth. Two silent, liveried servants are nearby, with a trio of horses. She calls out to the party as she sees them, and introduces herself as Lady Delphinia of the Citadelle Tagnard. "So many wolves about," she explains, "and those useless clods at the bastion won't lift a finger to stop 'em. Bad for the herds, it is, and for the horses. I killed me these ones last night. Just checking they're not wandered off all undead like. There's way more'n last year, too. That's how I come know what there's vampires about. Sent me steward down to St. Clere's to get some help. You the ones they sent?"

The Lady Delphinia explains that it's not her castle that's infested; she is acting for the good of the region. The commander of Foehrenfort had written to her recently for assistance, saying that some of her soldiers had contracted a mysterious wasting disease. Lady Delphinia is certain that this is the fault of the vampires, and Father Rochouart concurs. The party make for Foehrenfort with all haste.

Session & Background Notes:
The forest encounter rolled on the table (D&D Expert rulebook) was actually a Wereboar. But as I rolled an 11 for her reaction, I decided she would be in human form, and the party would never have an opportunity to realise it. She is of course the one who killed the wolves the previous night. I'm adding her to the Mythic NPCs list to see where it leads.

I rolled for the truth of the rumour that there were vampires at Citadelle Tagnard, and it came up as Mostly False. Since there was an Exceptional Yes about vampires from Mythic, I moved them to the next closest unexplored location.

Since the PCs are wandering through the politically unstable region and have essentially joined one faction to oppose the other, I felt I needed a quick overview of who supports/opposes whom. The relationships were determined by a roll of 1d6-1d6, to give a result of +5 (staunch allies) to -5 (sworn enemies). The leader of each location personally holds these views, though their followers will mostly echo them and obey commands accordingly.

There are four powerful figures whose influence permeates the area:
-Baron Iehan Forzdeleu of Chateau l'Oret, the PC's ally
-Count Rotres d'Estancbel of Chateau Pruduems, Neldir's ally
-Reverend Father Gelnay de Val d'Oine, an important figure in the Church
-Reverend Father de Molleré, the heretic

The last two are not present in the region, but their influence and machinations are being felt. The fifth column is Orthodoxy, not a relationship but a measure of their adherance to the tenets of the Church of the Light God. The heretic de Molleré is the leader of the schismatics, de Val d'Oine represents the Orthodoxy. However, one's political ties to the houses of de Molleré or de Val d'Oine are independent of one's religious sentiments. The lord of Castel'Iverre, for example, has close ties with de Molleré but is antagonistic towards de Val d'Oine, despite sharing his orthodox sentiments.

by                             de      Val
Location         Baron Count Molleré d'Oine Orthodoxy
--------         ----- ----- ------- ------ ---------
Castle Hræfnmor     +3   +2    -2      +2      +3
Falby               ±0   +1    +2      -1      -1
Church of St. Clere ±0   -3    +2      +1      +5
Castle Fal          +1   ±0    -3      -3      -1
Glimmet             -3   -1    +1      +2      +3
Munckton            +1   -3    +3      +4      -5
Frommsport          +1   +1    ±0      +2      +3
Ildmarch            -1   -1    -4      ±0      ±0
Castle Glarn        ±0   -3    -1      -3      +3
Yseut's Bastion     +2   -1    -3      -5      +1
Murlburk            +3   ±0    +1      -1      -3
Purz                -2   +2    +1      -2      +3
Castel'Iverre       -4   +3    +3      -2      +3
St. Clere's Abbey   +1   +3    +3      -4      -2
Hallorin Castle     -1   ±0    -1      +4      -5
Castle Spornburg    +3   -4    -5      ±0      +4
Citadelle Tagnard   +1   +3    +4      +2      -1
Foehrenfort         -4   -4    -3      ±0      ±0
Sumpfort            -1   -2    +3      +3      +3

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

LotFP Solo - Part the Twenty-Third: "poison thro' his fevered veins did flow"

The road- and battle-weary party sleep very late. The sumptuous apartments provided for them by the Baron may be partly to blame. The elves find this the best human hospitality they've ever enjoyed. Aldira has never known the like.

By mid-day they are beginning to awaken. Debinvarr's stomach is rumbling, and he dresses in a hurry to go down to the great hall, where food and drink await him. He piles a plate high with bread and fruits and a little meat, and pours himself a goblet of fine wine.

Aldira comes in as he is happily stuffing his face. He smiles and says something to her, but she can't understand a word of it through his mouthful of food. "I thought elves were supposed to have better table manners," she says.

Théscine arrives in time to witness the exchange. "Many are the myths of our people," she says to Aldira.

Debinvarr washes down the food with a long drink of wine. Wiping his mouth on his sleeve, he turns back to Aldira. "What I was saying," he begins, "is that this is some really gr--"

Debinvarr stops short, clutches at his heart, then topples over onto the floor. Aldira rushes to his side, trying to slap him awake, feeling desperately for a pulse. Théscine starts screaming.

Scene 25

Chaos: 6

Setup: roll of 2 = modified scene (was: talk to spy to collect information on Neldir's movements to pick up his trail.)

Interrupt: PC Negative - Debinvarr - Violate/Food

Characters: Neldir, the Elders of the Elven Forest, Ranwitha the Pious Merchant, Siorighan MU12,  Tibalt & Barnot, dwarven mercenaries, griffon, Reverend Father Gelnay de Val d'Oine, Reverend Father de Molleré, Brother Mundlo, Zuhal B'thallit, centaur lizard, Jola, Sir Gaunet, Jönnick, Baron Iehan Forzdeleu, Count Rotres d'Estancbel

threads: find Neldir & the book
remove zuhal's curse

day 64.

The plan had been to confer with the baron in the morning (or thereabouts) and decide what to do next. One of the baron's spies had recently returned from a mission to Chateau Pruduems. Unfortunately the spy's mission had been a disaster, but the party hoped that the spy might have some useful information for them about Neldir.

Using spy rules for assassins in the Labyrinth Lord Advanced Edition Companion, I determined the fate of the mission. The spy is a 5th Level Specialist. The mission was moderately difficult, so it would take 4d10 days and have a success rate of 40%. I rolled 19 for the duration, and rolled 4d10 again to determine how long ago the mission started: 21 days, so it's finished now for better or worse. I rolled a 68 for the result, a failure. Rolling on the failure table resulted in "The spy is captured and tortured, revealing everything he knows about his mission and who hired him. The spy escapes."

Q: Did the spy return to the baron? Likely: 56, Yes.

He got back roughly 3 days before the party arrived. The baron's chaplain would have been able to heal his wounds, but his psyche is still damaged. Still he may have learnt something useful.

But instead of the interview over breakfast, the Interrupt scene (PC Negative - Debinvarr - Violate/Food) needed to play out. The obvious interpretation of this is that Debinvarr's food was poisoned. Since I already had the LL AEC open, I rolled a random ingested poison off the poison table: +2 save, 40% to detect, damage 40/20. There is of course no way that any of my PCs could survive that even if they did save, so I changed it to 2d20 damage, 1d20 on a successful saving throw. I'm not a fan of save-or-die poisons for PCs at any rate.

Did he detect it? The percentile dice come up 52; he drinks it right down. Does he save? I roll a 3, failure. He takes 14 damage. Having only 9 hit points means he dies in 2 rounds. I'll give him one more chance:

Q: Is there a 7th lvl cleric in the building with Neutralise Poison handy? Very Unlikely: 58, No.

The poison stops his heart as his friends look on helplessly.

I thought about it a minute, and decided it could just leave him in a coma, or else I could make it a magical poison that turned him to stone or cursed him with permanent gaseous form or the like. This would give the party another thread (find a cure for Debinvarr) and avoid the unfair and random PC death. But I didn't. Debinvarr never developed an actual personality; with him out of the way, a slot for a new, hopefully more interesting, adventurer opens up.

There isn't much the party can do, so with the aid of some of the baron's most loyal retainers, they bury their friend. He is interred under an elm in the castle's courtyard, along with his spellbook, the gold and silver rings from the treasure that he loved so much, and his sword.

The baron personally investigates the matter of the poisoning. One of the kitchen staff is implicated, but seems to have been magically compelled. He is banished from the castle as a precaution.

Miolla spends the rest of the day crying into her pillow, with Aldira sitting by to look after her. Théscine locks herself in her room and won't see anyone. Lycinia tears apart the servant's quarters and the kitchen looking for clues or maybe answers, but finds none.

day 65.

The next morning the party finally meet with the spy. The interview is brief as his mission was a failure, and he is a broken man from his treatment at the hands of Neldir and the wicked count.

Q: Does the spy have any useful information? Very Unlikely: 29, Yes.
Q: Is it about vampires in the area? 50/50: 05, Exceptional Yes. (Neldir has been trying to obtain vampire blood; this is the only real clue the PCs have to go on).
Rolling 1d20 to determine which of the nearest 20 locations contains the vampires results in the Church of St. Clere. There won't be vampires there, but instead some vampire hunters: NPCs to fill out the party.

Their interview concluded, the party ride forth at once from Castle l'Oret. They promise to send word to the baron as soon as they have any news.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

LotFP Solo - Part the Twenty-Second: „Wir reiten dem Schicksal entgegen keck, / Trifft's heut nicht, so trifft es doch morgen“

Scene 24

Chaos: 7

Setup: travel north to Chateau l'Oret

Characters: Neldir, the Elders of the Elven Forest, Ranwitha the Pious Merchant, Siorighan MU12,  Tibalt & Barnot, dwarven mercenaries, griffon, Reverend Father Gelnay de Val d'Oine, Reverend Father de Molleré, Brother Mundlo, Zuhal B'thallit, centaur lizard, Jola, Sir Gaunet, Jönnick, Baron Iehan Forzdeleu, Count Rotres d'Estancbel

threads: find Neldir & the book
remove zuhal's curse

It's a quick journey by road to Chateau l'Oret. As they are nearing the castle, the party encounter a pair of diplomats travelling home with their six bodyguards. They are initially a bit stand-offish [reaction=7], but willing to exchange a few words.

[Q: Do they let slip any useful information? Unlikely: 22, Yes +Event: NPC action - Reverend Father de Molleré - Develop / Exterior Factors
Interpretation: see below

What was the diplomats' mission: Communicate/Misfortune. Ildmarch is not going to help Chateau l'Oret.]

"So," says the diplomat, who has the look of someone more inclined to feasting and finery than actual diplomacy, "you are making for Chateau l'Oret. You may find it a dismal locale. Oh, the Baron Forzdeleu is a nice enough sort, but my esteemed collegue and I have just had the unpleasant duty of informing him that the city of Ildmarch prefers to remain neutral in the conflicts between the nobles of the kingdom, and will therefore not be able to send him any soldiers nor supply his army at anything other than market rates; which courtesy we of course must extend to all parties in the coming conflict, as befits our stance of neutrality. My advice, if you'll have it, is to forget the squabbles of this human kingdom and follow me and my companions back to the safety of good Ildmarch, greatest of the mercantile cities. Your elven gold will always be welcome in Ildmarch!"

The party humbly declines, and politely take their leave, though they do add in parting that they should one day very much like to see the wonders of Ildmarch, as tales of its magnificent workshops and clever artisans are told even as far away as fair Feyalldra.

The party proceed up the road across the wind-swept plain. They are met by the now-familiar sight of horsemen riding forth form the castle to greet them. [Q: Are the PCs well-received at the castle? 50/50: 04, Exceptional Yes.] They are relieved that the welcome this time is not only friendly, but upon announcing their quest they are immediately granted an audience with the baron (and healing magic from the castle's chaplain).

The castle's great hall has, at first glance, rather spartan furnishings. There are no decorative shields or suits of armour, no hunting trophies, no great and intricate tapestries, just a long table and modest benches alongside it. The baron's seat is a plain wooden bench, the same as for his guests. A single cloth standard hangs upon the far wall, embroidered with the Forzdeleu crest. Two great fireplaces flank the table on the side walls, a roaring fire within each. But there is no wood stacked beside, nor any within; the fires blaze upon the bare stone. A single chandelier hangs above the table, giving more light to the hall, though there are no candles. The table is formed of a single block of stone.

The Baron Iehan Forzdeleu rises to greet his guests. He is a well-built man of about 50, with a neatly-trimmed, somewhat greying beard and receding hairline. He wears fine clothing as befits his station, though almost no jewellery. On his right hand he wears the baronial signet ring, on his left a ring with a strange stone which seems to change colour every time one looks away from it.

Liveried servants bring forth an ample meal. The baron listens to a summary of the party's travels and quest with great interest. When they have told their tale, he begins:

"Well, those are quite the adventures! I appreciate your candour, even though," he says, looking at Miolla, who blushes sheepishly, "it may have been, at times, inadvertently more than the majority of you would have preferred to share. No matter -- I see that you all share noble intentions. And since our immediate circumstances intersect in more than one matter, I hope you feel the same about my own.

"I have heard tell of this fugitive you seek, this Neldir. He is said to pursue the blackest of black arts, and to possess a tome of unspeakable wickedness. He is now also -- for reasons that are entirely opaque to me -- allied with Count Rotres d'Estancbel of Chateau Pruduems, my worst enemy. The Count is possessed by greed: for wealth, for power, for admiration. His ambition seems limitless; I fear he may even have designs on the throne.

"My spies report that this Neldir is trying to uncover some sort of potent magical artifact to help advance the Count's plans, and that he is also after certain rare substances, like the vampire's blood you mentioned, for use in a ritual which will render the Count invulnerable or make his army undefeatable.

"The situation in this part of the kingdom is very tense. The Count has been raising an army, and one by one the other nobles are following suit out of fear. He has been sending out spies and emissaries to both attract supporters to his cause and aggravate the rivalries between those who oppose him. I've been forced to sent out emissaries of my own, though sadly the cities of Ildmarch and Frommsport have declared themselves neutral, and in the most self-serving terms imaginable!

"Whilst I struggle to keep the Count from amassing a great army, he is trying to cut off my avenues of support. I may be the only one he considers a real threat, as I have been the only one who dares oppose him openly, and I'm better liked at Court. Alas, I've been tired of court politics for some years now, and have been avoiding them. And this is where it has led.

"Further complicating things is the heretic de Molleré. I think he is trying for nothing less than a schism in the church of the Light God, with himself as the arch-priest. I don't pretend to know if he's motivated by piety or power, but I do know that his cause is attracting an alarming number of supporters. He and the Count have always had close ties. I've been informed that de Molleré's agents have asked the Count to send troops to aid him. The Count won't part with any soldiers -- not now -- but he has been recruiting in areas that are full of church loyalists to keep them from fighting against de Molleré's faction.

"Winter is soon upon us, so if there's to be a war, we have months to prepare. But if we can undermine his cause and get that black magician away from him, we may yet avert it."


Mythic questions which led to the above:

Q: Does the Baron know about Neldir? 50/50: 45, Yes.
Q: What does baron want for now? Break / Tactics
Q: What does count want for now? Delay / Opposition

The baron wants to prevent the count from amassing an army.
The count wants to play for time whilst his army grows & keep the baron's allies away.

Q: What's this all about? Increase / Home  -- territory, obviously
Q: Is the Baron an ally of de Molleré? 50/50: 79, No.
Q: Is the Count? 50/50: 31, Yes.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

LotFP Solo - Part the Twenty-First: „Und die Ritter mußten wehren / Mit dem Schwert die Totenschau“

The heavy rains pelt Castle Hræfnmor steadily for four days. On the morning of the fifth day, they have finally ceased. The autumnal sun shines weakly through the breaks in the ever-present clouds. Jönnick, the major-domo, greets the castle's guests as they take their breakfast in the main hall.

"I am sorry my liege is still indisposed. The wizard's death has pained him more than the death of his eldest child. He may continue to be... unavailable for some time. But as to the matter of the wizard: I trust you've thoroughly examined his chambers?"

"That we have," responds Aldira.


"It is as we told you," says Théscine, "there's nothing dangerous within."

"There's very little that's even magical," adds Lycinia, "aside from the book he was reading when-- the book we found on his desk."

"I see," Jönnick replies thoughtfully. "Please forgive me for being blunt, but I'm an old soldier. I understand only bravery, and strategy, and steel. The priest in my home village always said that sorcery was never far from deviltry, and I'm afraid that his words have always stuck with me. These strange old books with their secrets and infernal whisperings make me decidedly uneasy. I would consider it a great favour if you could remove this book from the castle when you continue your journey."

"Oh, don't worry," says Miolla, "we were planning on it!"

Lycinia kicks her discreetly underneath the table.

Scene 23

Chaos: 6

Setup: continue travelling north to Chateau Pruduems

Characters: Neldir, the Elders of the Elven Forest, Ranwitha the Pious Merchant, Siorighan MU12,  Tibalt & Barnot, dwarven mercenaries, griffon, Reverend Father Gelnay de Val d'Oine, Reverend Father de Molleré, Brother Mundlo, Zuhal B'thallit, centaur lizard, Jola, Sir Gaunet, Jönnick

threads: find Neldir & the book
remove zuhal's curse

[Castle Hræfnmor should probably have constituted its own scene in Mythic, separate from the general northward hexcrawl to Chateau Pruduems, but since nothing happened on the way there there seemed to be no point in changing scenes at that time.]

day 62.

During their morning interview with Jönnick, the party announce their intention to continue north now that the storm has broken.

[Q: Are PCs advised against fording the river at the ruins? 50/50: 93, Exceptional Yes.

Jönnick advises them that they should try (1d10=)5 miles (2.5hexes) downstream.

Q: Is there any problem fording the river? Unlikely: 86, No.]

It is an uneventful (and muddy) journey northeast to the river and eventually across it. After a while the party sees a small square tower in the distance, with a wooden structure attached.

[the waystation is in good condition, though old. Q: Inhabited? Likely: 17, Yes.

The encounter table produces 20 brigands (F0) + their leader (F2). Reaction roll: 6, Indifferent

Q: Do they initiate contact? 50/50: 05, Exceptional Yes.
Q: What do they want?: Haggle/Intrigues. They are looking for mercenary work (they will be embroiled in the intrigues to the north; more on this later.)
Q: Does the encounter turn sour? 50/50: 03, exceptional yes.]

As they draw closer to the tower, the party see a detachment of a dozen soldiers ride out to meet them. [2d6=]Half their number stop a good distance off as the other six ride up to talk. The soldiers appear to be irregulars at best; their arms and armour are not in the best repair and they are generally unkempt and undisciplined. When they see the travellers and have a chance to size them up, they decide it looks like easy pickings, and suddenly gallop forward to attack.

[The Brigands win initiative. They attack with swords and lances, but none of them manage to land a hit. Miolla responds with a sleep spell. 11HD of creatures are put to sleep, which is all 6 bandits and 2 horses -- one of which is Théscine's.

Q: Do the rest notice what happened? 50/50: 45, Yes.]

The bandits fall into a slumber atop their horses, which stand around dumbly waiting for their riders' direction. Théscine notices her horse is also asleep. She spurs it roughly, and it awakens with an indignant snort.

Lycinia holds he sword over one of the sleeping bandits menacingly, and shouts out to the others, "Come no closer or your friends perish!"

[Morale roll=9, failure.] The rest of the bandits back down, and make a show of lowering their weapons. The party continue on their way, leaving the sleepers behind and making a wide detour around the tower.

[Q: Are the bandits dumb enough to attempt pursuit later? 50/50: 79, No.] The rest of the day passes without incident.

day 63.

About midday the party arrives at Falby, a small hamlet (population 36). Here [according to the d30 Sandbox companion] there is no inn, no provisions offered for sale, in fact not much more than a handful of cottages. But they are sympathetic towards outsiders, so there is an unexpectedly warm welcome as the strangers arrive in town.

They talk to the village wise woman for a bit, who is very chatty and full of information about the feudal lands to the north. [for the 'sympathetic to outsiders' result, reaction dice will be the best 2 of 3d6; I roll 5,6,6: reaction=12

The PCs will get a rumour out of the conversation, so:

Bibliomancy: parte alia horrendus visu quassabat Etruscam / pinum et fumiferos infert / Mezentius ignis; at Messapus equum domitor, Neptunia proles, / rescindit vallum et scalas in moenia poscit.
Vergil, Aen. IX.521-4
(In another place Mezentius, horrible to behold, waves an etruscan pine and brings up his smoking firebrands, and Messapus, tamer of horses, Neptune's son, tears through the palisades and put his ladders against the walls)
Truth die=6; with +1 for her Reaction and a minimum roll of 1 for the second die, this rumour can have a final truth value no lower than 8, partly true. So this is more news than rumour.
Interpretation: war is brewing in the north between the feudal lords and ladies, if it hasn't already broken out.]

After bidding farewell to the friendly villagers, the party ride north to Chateau Pruduems. They are spotted nearly a mile off across the grassy plain, and a force of 12 heavy horse and a cloaked figure ride forth to meet them. They stop [3d6x10=]130' off from the party, and four horsemen detach from the group to ride up and speak with them. [Initial reaction roll is 12; people are really liking the elves lately.]

"What, ho!" cries one of the soldiers, "Bless me if it isn't a band of elves! What brings you so far from your home forest, my friends?"

"Sad business, I fear," responds Lycinia. "We are sent by the Elders of fair Feyalldra after a fugitive of our own kind, the thief Neldir. We have heard that he has come hence with evil intent, and even now plots against the lord of Chateau Pruduems."

The soldiers ride back to report to their captain. [It is now time to figure out the truth of the rumour about Neldir's plans. The truth die was 3 from earlier,  +(1d6=)1=4: Completely false. Neldir is actually working with the villainous Count Rotres d'Estancbel.] The captain confers with her underlings for a minute. The party notice a sudden change in the soldiers' demeanour. Five of them ride forward a few paces and array themselves in a line. They slowly lower their lances, and at the captain's signal, gallop forth to attack.


11 heavy horse(wo)men (a-k): 6xf, 5xm: F0, AC 18 (Plate), Lance & light mace, ML9

     sx CH CN DX IN ST WI HP AC ML Equip
Ftr5  f 14 10 15 12 17 12 26 19 10 Plate&Shield, lance, longsword (+8att, +2dmg)
M-U4  f 10 15 13 17 10 10 14 15  8 Leather, shortsword, 2 wheelock pistols
Spells: Magic Missile, Shield, Ray of Enfeeblement, ESP

round 1. Initiative is tied; the order will be spells, lances, everything else.]

5 horsemen [a-e] charge with their lances, the Magic-User casts shield, the other soldiers will fan out a bit.

Miolla casts Sleep at the charging horsemen when they come within 60' [5HD affected]. The riders all doze off but are quickly awakened by the galloping horses [they will drop whatever they are holding on 1-4 on a d6 before reawakening]. Two of the riders drop their lances. They hurriedly begin to draw their maces, but miss their chance to attack.

The other three attack Miolla, Debinvarr, and Théscine. Miolla and Théscine evade the points of the lances as the soldiers thunder by. Debinvarr is hit, but only barely [he takes minimum damage, a roll of 1 (x2 for charging) results in merely 2 points]. Miolla swings her mace as her attacker [a] rides by, denting his faceplate and unhorsing him; he is killed instantly.

[round 2]

The captain orders 5 more soldiers [f-j] to charge as the first group turn about for another pass.

Aldira casts Sleep this time [8HD]; all 5 riders fall asleep as does one of their horses. One horse and rider [f] slow to a halt, fast asleep. The other riders are jolted awake, though two drop their lances. The other two make pathetic passes at Aldira and Lycinia [rolling 4 and 1]. Lycinia's counter attack [a 6] does not seem much more impressive. Aldira cast a spell so can't draw her weapon in time.

[round 3]
The first group charges for another pass as the second turns about. Lycinia casts sleep as they approach [16HD!]. All 4 riders and their horses slow and stop short of the party, awash with slumber.

[round 4]
The four left in the second group make another pass, attacking all but Aldira. The two with lances ride past Debinvarr and Lycinia without scoring a hit, and evade their counter-attacks. One of the others bears down on Théscine with a mace held high in the air, but Théscine is quicker. Her sword strikes true [5 damage, leaving her with 0hp] and her opponent slumps forward in her saddle, grievously wounded. Miolla swings wide, but is caught in the shoulder by her opponent's mace [for 3x2=6 damage, bringing her to 7hp].

[rounds 5-6]
A mêlée ensues on horseback between the party and the three soldiers left alive and awake [The captain, magic-user and extra soldier are still hanging back.] Miolla delivers a punishing blow with her mace [10 damage drops her opponent to -7hp], killing one soldier instantly. Lycinia, in frustration, presses her attack. She furiously stabs at her opponent's breastplate again and again. Each time her sword is turned aside, save the last, as the point slides up and underneath the woman's helm [9 damage drops her to -3hp], mortally wounding her.

[round 7. Morale check for the soldiers: 11, failure.] The last horseman in the mêlée spurs his horse and speeds away fro the fight. The captain looks on impassively, for a moment, then begins to withdraw with her two companions. She calls out the order to retreat, but the sleeping horsemen take no notice.

The party quickly confer, and decide that something must be amiss at Chateau Pruduems for such a friendly welcome to suddenly turn so hostile. They quickly spur their horses on, away from the castle.

Once they have put a few miles between themselves and the castle, they consult their map of the kingdom to plan their next move. After some deliberation, they decide to ride further north and try their luck at the Chateau l'Oret.



In all my years of gaming, I can't remember a time when anyone has ever used Sleep against charging horsemen, so I wasn't sure how to adjudicate it at first. Since the horsemen could be affected separately (having fewer hit dice), I also had to decide what would happen if only they fell asleep and not their mounts. According to the spell description, 'Slapping or wounding awakens an affected creature, but normal noise does not'. Since being on a galloping horse is at least as jarring as being slapped, it seemed obvious that they wouldn't be asleep for long. Since they were professional cavalry, I decided they wouldn't be disoriented enough to risk falling out of the saddle. However, I deemed it likely they would drop anything they were holding; 1-4 on a d6. The horses were a more difficult matter. I actually went online and looked to see if horses sleep standing up. It turns out they do, though they sometimes lie down. Since Sleep is a combat spell, and affected creatures in mêlée combat don't instantly awaken, it seemed appropriate that the horses would just slow their pace and come to a stop, asleep. The sleeping soldiers on their backs would stay asleep too, as they are probably used to falling asleep in the saddle during a long march. Besides, the Sleep spell has always had a bit of the fairytale to it, so this image works for me perfectly.


There have been three combat encounters since I last computed XP, and I should add these up now before too many more pile up and make record keeping a chore. So:

part 18:
No XP for the peasant mob, as they weren't going to fight anyway.
1xf2 (50xp)
1xf3 (75xp)
I wasn't sure about giving XP for Jola or not. The PCs foiled her evil plan, but she escaped completely unscathed; no one even got an attack against her. In the end, I decided to use her XP value (MU5 - 250xp) as a 'story award' for stopping the ritual and rescuing the soldier without destroying the village in the process.

part 21:
bandits - 12xF0 (60xp) (the ones that stayed in the tower don't count)
soldiers - 10xF0 (50xp). The captain, M-U and 11th horseman didn't join the fight at all or even come into spell/missile range, so no XP will be awarded for them.

total: 485/5=97 xp each. Not a significant amount for anyone, but at least my bookkeeping is now up-to-date.