Tuesday, 20 May 2014

LotFP Solo - Part the Thirtieth: „Der heilsam schaffenden Gewalt / Die kalte Teufelsfaust entgegen“

Scene 32

Chaos: 7

Setup: roll of 2 = modified scene (was: Father Rochouart and Haddie are looking in on the only church of the Light God in town in order to acquire holy items with which to combat demons.)

Interrupt: Introduce a New NPC - Usurp / The innocent (an evil cult)

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, Lady Delphinia

Threads: find Neldir & the book
remove zuhal's curse
buy silver weapons & guns
acquire holy items for spiritual combat
learn the secrets of Vhisigus' prison

day 78.

Though He be superior to all other gods, the Light God's only church in Ildmarch is a small, unprepossessing affair. The gods of Chance, Wealth and the Sea are much more popular here, reflecting the mercantile concerns of the city folk. But the Light God is all-loving and all-caring, and accepts that mortals sometimes need the individual attentions of His divine children.

Father Rochouart leads a silent Haddie through the twisting streets of Old Town trying to locate the church. He gets lost once or twice, and is scandalised that the first two residents he asks for directions don't know where the church is.

When they finally arrive, they find the church is dark and cold and damp inside. A few tapers around the altar steadily push against the darkness. A single priest in long, white robes appears from behind the altar to greet them.

[1d6=1, male; 1d6=3, 3rd level cleric.

Using ÜNE to flesh him out:

personality traits: careful, devoted
1. abduct opulence (seek donations)
2. shepherd family
3. institute stories

He's basically a stereotypical rural parish priest; how he ended up in Ildmarch is anyone's guess.

His bearing is Friendly. The dialogue module indicates he will 'promise future action'.]

The priest is a soft-spoken, affable sort. He's in his late fifties, and his portly figure speaks of one used to comfortable city living. He introduces himself as Canon Prinnig.

Father Rochouart wastes no time in outlining the reason for his visit and the party's brief stopover in Ildmarch. Canon Prinnig listens patiently to the father's harrowing account,then opens his mouth to speak.


Suddenly a frantic woman rushes into the church, all in tears. "Madam Humberl!" exclaims the canon, "Whatever is the matter?"

"It's my Minda!" blubbers madam Humberl, "She's gone and run off with that nasty Dennerson lad! I just know he'll -- he'll lead her astray!"

"Oh, dear, this is serious," intones Canon Prinning soothingly, "that Dennerson runs with some pretty bad sorts. I'm sure this is just youth and foolishness. Tell us where they went, and I'm sure she can be brought home again safe and sound."

[Q: Does she know where her daughter was taken? Unlikely: 38, Yes.]

"He's always at the Cog and Barrel with that gang of roustabouts he runs with. Such brutes!"

"You see, Father Rochouart," says the Canon, "we don't quite have the grand adventures you're used to here in our quiet city. But still, any straying from the Path of Light is serious business, don't you agree? Perhaps if you -- and your young companion there -- could see fit to rescue young Minda Humberl from this adolescent misadventure, perhaps I could see fit to reward you from the church's treasury. Say, with a sacred relic to assist you in your quest."

"We'll do it," says Father Rochouart. "But you'd have helped our cause anyway."

"I know," replies the Canon. "But you'd have helped Madam Humberl anyway."

[This has to play out fast, otherwise Fr. Rochouart would gather the rest of the party and throw the three mini-adventure setup out the window. I'm therefore taking the opportunity to use the 5-room dungeon schema, which I've been looking for an excuse to try. So, Room One: Entrance And Guardian. Rolling randomly against the options I get «The guardian was deliberately placed to keep intruders out».]

The Cog and Barrel is a disreputable-looking tavern in New Town. It's early enough in the day that the only customers are those sleeping it off from the night before. The innkeeper is nowhere to be seen, but there's a large, unpleasant fellow with a cudgel keeping an eye on the place. Father Rochouart strides right up to him.

"I'm looking to find Dennerson," says the priest sternly. "He said to meet him here. So where is he?"

[Q: Can Father Rochouart bluff his way past the guard? No Way: 14, Yes.]

The man grunts and nods toward the back room.

In the squalid back room of the tavern there is a door standing ajar. A rickety staircase leads down far underground. Flickering torchlight is seen spilling out from a room at the bottom.

[Room Two: Since room 1 was roleplaying-oriented, I used the option to make Room Two combat-oriented, rather than come up with a puzzle (not the easiest thing to do in solitaire play)].

Two men sit at a crude wooden table in a small torchlit anteroom. There's a forgotten deck of cards between them ad an empty wine bottle. They are each dressed in a black hooded robe. When they hear Father Rochouart enter, they snap to attention. "Who the hell is this?" one of them asks. They both draw long sacrificial knives from their belts and move to intercept the cleric, who draws his broadsword in return.

ch cn dx in st wi hp ac
 8 15  8  6 14 13  5 11
 5 10  5 11  7 13  6 10

They're both 0-level fighters armed with daggers.

round 1]
Father Rochouart brings his blade down on the head of the first cultist, splitting the man's skull [8 damage drops him to -3]. He falls back into his chair, mortally wounded. [The other one passes a morale check.] "You'll pay for this," sneers the second cultist and slashes wildly and furiously with his dagger.

[round 2]
The cultist advances with a mad gleam in his eye, a flurry of flashing steel. He slices into Fr. Rochouart's sword arm [2 damage puts him at 7hp].

[round 3]
Father Rochouart is forced back to the stairs, and up onto them. But the extra height gives him a sudden advantage, and he lays low the second cultist [7 damage puts him at -1hp].

Father Rochouart pauses for a moment to get his bearings and consider his next move. He then retrieves his holy scroll and reads one of the spells inscribed thereon, that the Light God's blessing protect him in this pit of deviltry (he casts Magic Vestment on self for +3AC). Haddie, sensing his intention to continue, takes a torch from one of the wall brackets.

"There's more to this than anyone could have guessed," says Father Rochouart. "Come, my little light-bearer, we've work to do!"

[Room Three: Trick or Setback]

The long, low passage leading out of the anteroom seems to wind and twist in the earth for hundreds of feet, before opening up into a natural sort of cave or hollow. An altar to dark gods has been erected between two stalactites, flaking it like the fangs of some vile serpent. Great iron candelabra and a weird bronze tripod illuminate the evil chapel. Four cultists in long black robes are busily moving about the chamber, making preparations for some unspeakable ritual. The cultists, two women, a young man, and a young girl, have their hoods drawn back whilst they work. The young girl fits the description of the missing Minda Humberl exactly.

One of the women is on her hands and knees, inscribing a magic circle on the cave floor in chalk. Her back is to the passageway. Father Rochouart strides forward and plunges his sword into her back, shouting, "Servants of Darkness! I have come to rescue the Innocent from your vile clutches!"

[stats for the women cultists (a&b), Dennerson (d) and Minda (m):

  ch cn dx in st wi hp ac
a 13 11 15 11  9 16  4 13
b 12  9 13 15 11  8  4 13
d  8 12  9 15  7 15  5 12
m  9 10  9 11  9 11  3 12

Again, all 0-level fighters armed with daggers.

Father Rochouart had surprise; he hit cultist-a for 4 damage, dropping her to 0.]

The remaining three cultists -- including the "innocent" young girl, draw their long knives and advance menacingly toward the brave priest. Haddie hides in the passageway.

[round 1. Father Rochouart has the initiative]
The devil-worshippers are no warriors. They advance as far as they dare, but none manage to come within striking range with their knives [they miss]. One of the women comes too close, and is struck down by the cleric's righteous anger [b is hit for 4 damage reducing her to 0hp].

[round 2]
Dennerson, in a fit of bravado, lunges at the cleric. His thrust is nearly a foot short of Father Rochouart's neck. The priest's blade, by contrast, splits open his face [he takes 7 damage, dropping him to -2hp]. He slumps at the cleric's feet. Minda screams and swings wildly, but to no effect.

[round 3]
Father Rochouart wants to return the lost sheep to the fold. He prays to the Light God, that He turn aside the dagger of wickedness whilst his servant makes a plea for the young girl's very soul [he casts Sanctuary. Minda fails her save vs. spells, so can't attack]. The young girl sees the priest lower his sword as he invokes his deity. She raises her dagger to strike, but hesitates.

[rounds 4-5]
"Come, my child," says Fr. Rochouart calmly, "this is no place for one such as you. There's still time to cast aside these impure thoughts and deeds, and once again tread the Path of Light." Minda is transfixed by the clerics words, but does not lower her dagger. [it will take three rounds to talk Minda down. She fails her saving throw vs. spells in rounds 4&5, so doesn't attack].

[round 6]
The cleric's soft words and repeated exhortations are soothing, but Minda's mind is beset with confusion. [Q: Can he convince her to leave the cult? Unlikely: 77, No. +Event: PC Positive - Expose Illusions (see below). Also, Minda makes her save this round]. She seems as if his words are getting through. She lowers the knife meekly. He strides towards her, arms outstretched and welcoming. "You see, my child, this nightmare is finally over." She make as if to embrace him, then with a malicious grin stabs her cruel knife right at his throat. He does not even flinch. The point of the dagger in moved aside by an inexorable force. [She rolled a 13 on her attack, which would have hit but for the AC bonus from the Magic Vestment spell]. Praise the Light God!

[The Expose Illusions event above sounds like its grounded in the theology of the Church of the Light God; His Ever-Present Light dispels the the evil cult's illusory promises of power. so I'll let fr. Rochouart re-roll his failure on the Mythic Fate Chart.
Q: One more try... Can he convince her to leave the cult? Unlikely: 32, Yes.]

She has seen the Power of the Light God. The dagger drops to the ground with a clatter. She falls into the priests arms, sobbing with true and heartfelt penitence.

[Room Four: Climax, Big Battle or Conflict]

After several minutes, a woman in black robes with rust-coloured trim emerges from a doorway behind the altar. She takes one look at the scene before her and, hissing blasphemous imprecations, begins casting a spell. Father Rochouart feels tendrils of evil attempt to insinuate themselves into his mind, but he is stern in his resolve, and shakes off the woman's enchantment. The priest sends Minda off to hide with Haddie, and raises his bloodied sword to do battle.


Cult leader, MU4
ch cn dx in st wi hp ac
 6 10 13 16 11  8 15 13
1-Charm person, Summon
2-Ray of Enfeeblement, Mirror Image]

She got a surprise round when she showed up, and cast Charm Person. Fr. Rochouart saved easily, rolling a 19. They're now tied for initiative.

round 1]
Seeing her charm did not affect the priest, she speaks a short curse. A thin green ray springs from her fingertips, momentarily bathing the cleric in a sickly light. But the baleful energy dissipates harmlessly around him as he crosses the uneven ground to attack. [makes his save against her Ray of Enfeeblement, doesn't manage a decent attack roll, however].

[round 2]
As the sorceress sidesteps Father Rochouart's broadsword, her hands are tracing patterns in the air, and her lips forming the strange syllables of an incantation. Two exact doubles fade into being alongside her, mimicking her every move [Mirror Image].

[round 3]
Her store of battle magic depleted, the sorceress, draws her dagger -- as do her two copies. Father Rochouart strikes, hoping to lay low the sorceress, but his sword stroke merely dissipates an image.

[round 4-5]
The two -- or is it three? -- circle one another looking for a moment to strike. The cleric does not want to attack the image and leave himself vulnerable, the sorceress cannot close into striking range without coming inside the greater reach of his blade. She feints, and poorly, for the cleric's riposte catches her in the arm, leaving a bloody gash [4 damage puts her at 11hp]. A similar injury appears on her double.

[round 6]
The sorceress and her copy both slash at Father Rochouart. He tries to parry the strike, but chooses the wrong one, and the phantom blade passes harmlessly through his sword. Realising his mistake too late, he feels the real dagger bite into his side [2 damage drops him to 5hp]. His counter-attack dispels the image.

[round 7-8]
Arms clash. Both attackers strike true, both come away bleeding. [Father Rochouart takes 1 damage, putting him at 4hp; The sorceress takes 7, dropping her to 4hp. Since she's now below half hit points, it's time for a morale check. Since she's the leader, I will determine her ML score by taking the best 2 of 3d6; appropriately for a devil-worshipper, I roll 666. So she will fight to the death]. With a demoniacal fury, she grabs the priest by the neck and forces him against the wall of the cave, preparing to plunge her dagger into his heart. But he twists round and lashes out with his heavy sword, cutting her open like a sacrifice. She is dead before he has finished the motion [8 damage put her at -4hp].

Fearing lest more cultists lurk within, Father Rochouart calls upon the Light God's Mercy to close up his wounds [Cure Light Wounds on self restore HP to full]. He leaves the sobbing Minda in Haddie's quiet care and boldly enters the room behind the altar. In the makeshift vestry and storeroom, he finds only three frightened prisoners, beggars by the looks of them, who have been stripped, bound, gagged, and smeared with some sort of sweet-smelling unguent. Father Rochouart frees them from their bonds, and offers to take them back to the Church for sanctuary, but they are too afraid. They gather up their clothing from a heap in the corner and scurry out of the caverns.

Father Rochouart leads Haddie and Minda back up into the tavern. At the sight of him, uninjured but in bloodied clothing and clutching a huge, gory broadsword, the tavern's bouncer drops his cudgel and flees into the street.

[Room Five: Reward, Revelation, Plot Twist
The quest was a trick. By killing the dungeons bad guy the PCs have actually helped the campaign villain or a rival.]

Scene 33

Chaos: 6

Setup: roll of 3 = modified scene (was: Back to church to get reward.)

Altered: Canon Prinning intends to take over cult leadership, with the sorceress now out of the way

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, Lady Delphinia, evil cult

Threads: find Neldir & the book
remove zuhal's curse
buy silver weapons & guns
acquire holy items for spiritual combat
learn the secrets of Vhisigus' prison

Canon Prinning, C3
ch cn dx in st wi hp ac
14 14 11 13  9 18 13 12
1-Cure light wounds, Cause light wounds, Cause Fear]

Canon Prinning is positively beaming when he sees Father Rochouart return. He walks across the dimly-lit nave to greet him. "So good to see you!" he calls out, "and young Minda, too. It looks like you ran into a spot of trouble. Was it those ruffians that loiter round the Cog and Barrel?"

"No," says Father Rochouart heavily, "I fear the situation was much more dire."

"Well, now," says Canon Prinning, "perhaps you'd better tell me all about it, my good man." At that he claps a friendly hand on Father Rochouart's shoulder. The weary cleric grasps the canon's arm in return. He is about to respond, when the canon suddenly spits out the words of a horrible curse. Unholy energies course through him into Father Rochouart, who gasps from the unutterable pain and shock of the betrayal [Cause Light Wounds inflicts 5 damage, leaving him with 4hp].

[round 1]
Father Rochouart staggers backward, but has the presence of mind to draw his broadsword. The wicked Canon produces a shortsword that had been concealed cleverly within his robes. The clash of steel on steel reverberates in the gloom of the empty church [-2 to hit for drawing weapons ensures that both miss their attack rolls].

[round 2]
The Canon stabs Father Rochouart in the gut. The blade does not bite deeply, but in his weakened state the wound is almost too much to bear [2 damage leaves him with 2hp]. Summoning all his strength, he strikes back with righteous might [9 damage drops the Canon to 4hp]. The Canon's mangled left arm hangs limply at his side.

[round 3 - The Canon needs to make a Morale check, which he passes despite his cowardly ML5]
The Canon invokes the powers of Hell with yet another curse [Fear], and this time the good cleric cannot shake it off [fails saving throw]. He is seized with a mortal terror like none he could ever imagine, and flees for his life out of the church. Haddie is smart enough to realise the danger, and takes off like a bolt right after him.

When Father Rochouart is once again himself, he rushes back to the church. But the Canon has fled, and Minda's bleeding corpse lies sprawled in the aisle.

(adventure continues here)


  1. Oooh, a nasty switcheroo there. Quite unexpected, I must say. I like it . . . (well I don't really think positively about it, but it surprised me and I like that).

    Might you tell us a bit more about the different gods in your world? You've mentioned Light, Chance, Wealth and Sea . . . what other gods are found in your fantasy world?

    -- Jeff

  2. I'm pretty pleased with the betrayal, as it's exactly the kind of thing I would do as a DM for real live players, and the dice (via Mythic) did it to me. A taste of my own medicine, as it were, and all the better because I didn't see it coming. When I rolled him up, the Canon seemed like a super-nice guy...

    As to the gods, there's also the Love God(dess) and the Hunting God. Past that I don't know. I'm making it all up as I go along. Actually, there's a whole post I've been thinking of doing about the setting, provisionally entitled 'World-building, and why I'm not doing any' that I should probably get around to writing.

    All I really know (i.e. decided in advance) about the religion of the Kingdom is that the Church of the Light God is vaguely like the catholic church before the reformation, but with the Light God as the head of a pantheon and (though this seems to have gotten away from me) no reformation. The gods tend to follow the Roman model of personified ideas rather then the Greek gods with personalities.