Saturday, 31 January 2015

LotFP Solo - Part the Thirty-Seventh: „Es bleiben tot die Toten, Und nur der Lebendige lebt„

"What's that sound?" whispers Théscine in the blackness of the undercrypt. "I think something's coming..."

"That's just me, dear one," replies Lycinia, "trying to get a torch lit."

"Does that mean you won't let me sleep here?"

"Oh, no. I'm going to need you to be brave and come up above ground with me. We can't stay here. What if more soldiers come?"

"They are more than free to sleep here too..."

"I'm in no mood to play hostess," says Lycinia as the torch finally blazes up. "Come, I'll help you walk. Let's go see if that teamster's deserted us."

Scene 38

Chaos: 9

Setup: get away from the ruins

Characters: 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, Orezuthía the Wise, Cemmeret

Threads: bring the book back to Feyalldra

Lycinia helps Théscine hobble back to the main crypt. She sets her friend gently down on the steps, then goes above to reconnoitre. She is heartened to see that the inside of the ruined church is filled with horses, grazing happily on the vegetation. Burl the teamster walks amongst them, fussing over the lot.

His face loses all colour when he sees the bloodied elf limp out into the daylight. "Are you a-- all that's left?" he stammers.

"No... Théscine is alive, but she's too weak to climb the steps out of the crypt. Look, I need your help. We need to get away from here before nightfall. But I don't intend to leave anyone behind." Lycinia throws Burl the coinpurse she found in Neldir's satchel. "This is yours. And you can keep all the horses, too, once we get well away from here. So, will you help me?"

Burl instinctively catches the heavy coin purse, but does not even look at it. "Of course I will help, m'lady. What must we do?"

The next several hours pass by in a blur.
Lycinia drags the bodies of her fallen friends into the main crypt so Burl need not see the horrors within. She wraps them in their winter cloaks as best she can to spare Burl the further awful spectacle of seeing their injuries. The patient teamster drags them up the stairs, and together they load them onto the horses. Lycinia even removes Géraint and the two berserkers from under their pile of snow.

Meanwhile, Théscine has crawled all the way up into the belltower to act as lookout, ready to fire a warning shot should anyone appear. Fortunately, no troops of soldiers do arrive.

They head away from the ruins, Burl leading the team of horses, the exhausted elves riding ahead of the funerial-seeming procession. At dusk Burl bids them halt, and pitches their tent without a word. Neither of the elves remember crawling into their bedrolls that night.

[Time for some die roll catch-up & miscellaneous notes. First off, a few bits from the last scene; it didn't seem right to clutter up the narrative with too many gamey bits.

After the climactic battle, I asked Mythic if anything was attracted by the noise of the fight and blazing fire, and got an Exceptional No. The exceptional no put the idea in my head that the demon lord had indeed been watching, but for some unknowable reason decided to leave them all alone. I may try to remember that in the future when using Mythic to check for encounters brought on by events; an exceptional no will mean that for some reason the about-to-be-encountered party thought the better of it.

The demon is in fact 'imprisoned' on another world, in orbit around a dying star. Since he is still on the material plane, he cannot be summoned. The Vampire Queen was a powerful wizard, and knew what she was doing when she imprisoned him thus, Aber das ist eine andere Geschichte und soll ein andermal erzählt werden. (Michael Ende)

If playing through the little dungeon under the ruins was exciting, playing out the final battle was emotionally exhausting. I hadn't really expected such a high death toll (though when I saw Neldir's starting hit points were higher than the entire party's current combined total, I might have suspected it). And whilst it didn't deter me from continuing the adventure through to the end (and then some), it was emotionally exhausting revisiting it all when I typed it up properly. I'm going to miss Miolla and Aldira, and even Father Rochouart -- as are Lycinia and Théscine. Now, before I get maudlin, let's get back to the present.

When Lycinia asked Burl for his help, it was the first time his Loyalty had been put to the test. Which means I needed to find out what it actually was. Since everything had gone really poorly, I arbitrarily assigned a -2 modifier to the loyalty roll. Then I paged back to find my notes from when Father Rochouart first hired him, where I noted that there was a +2 modifier to the roll from the cleric's charisma bonus and the 150% wages he'd been paid. The 3d6 roll came up 17; his Morale/Loyalty score is 11! So he gladly accepted Lycinia's offer: 76sp from Neldir's purse and potentially 9 horses (100sp each).]

day 95

All three sleep soundly through the night, and the elves through most of the next day. Théscine is too weak to do more than eat a little food, but Lycinia gets restless. She studies her spellbook for a while, then decides to find out what the scroll in Neldir's pouch is about [casts read magic]. The magical writings crystallise before her eyes, and  and an idea comes into her head; but it is one for the morrow.

[The scroll contains the following Magic-User spells: Message, Simulacrum, Transmute Rock to Mud, Floating Disc

Also, as there are no encounters, both elves recover 1 hit point for the day of rest.]

day 96

Leaving Théscine in the camp to rest, Lycinia and Burl ride back to the ruins, which they are pleased to find still abandoned. Lycinia takes some of the burnt remains of one of the horrible trolls, and encases them in snow, which she fashions into a crude troll-like shape. She reads a spell off the enchanted scroll [simulacrum] out loud over the snow troll she has created, which grows and solidifies into the exact likeness of the awful creature -- only this one is under her command. She bids it dig three graves with its terrible claws, one close to the foundation of the ruined church, the other two a short distance off.

She and Burl return to camp, and after she has checked in on Théscine, they load the bodies of the fallen heroes onthe horses and take them back to the ruins for burial. "Some day I'll come back," she tells the teamster, "and set them up with proper monuments. Maybe even rebuild the church and have it reconsecrated for Father Rochouart and Géraint. What religion do you think the berserkers were?"

As they wait for the troll to finish its task, Burl mostly fusses over the horses whilst Lycinia sits down to examine the vellum book which was the cause of so many sorrows. The book itself is not very old, perhaps only a few centuries, but the knowlesge contained within dates -- or so it claims -- from millenia ago. It is written in literary elvish, in a neat and regular hand. The title page proclaims, "The Forgotten Reckoning of Bliss, Recorded in Times Past by an Enraged Pharoah, rendered faithfully into Elvish by Meêrethinaar, Scribe to the Goblin Court". Within are many strange diagrams, figures and characters, from which certain minor magics could probably be deduced, but on the whole the mad ravings of some long-forgotten ruler hold no interest for the weary elf. Still, it beats watching a troll dig...

When all have been buried, Lycinia lingers a bit over the graves, until Burl reminds her they need to get back before sundown. The troll is left behind with instructions to challenge all comers; anyone fighting under the banner of Baron Forzdeleu is to be told that the quest has succeeded and be allowed to pass, all others are to be destroyed.

[Again, no encounters. Théscine gets back 1 more hit point for rest.]

day 97

Théscine is finally feeling able to move about [2/9hp]. She and Lycinia spend an hour in the morning poring over their map of the kingdom, trying to plot a route back to Feyalldra. There is a tower less than a days ride (hopefully) to the north west. Neither of them have any idea about it, but they decide to try their luck there in hopes of spending a few days out of the cold to recuperate from their injuries. They set out as soon as they've packed up the camp (Burl is happy to do most of the packing), and by nightfall the tower is visible in the distance before them.

[Travel to the tower takes 6.5 hours.

Q: Does anyone have a clue about the tower to NW? No Way: 85, No.
Q: Does anyone ever come looking for them? Unlikely: 78, No.
Q: Is it a wizard's tower? 50/50: 22, Yes +Event - Introduce a new NPC (the tower's wizard; I mostly used the d30 Sandbox Companion to flesh things out)].

The tower is round and tall, about 4 storeys high, and in good repair despite its obvious age. Light blazes forth from windows on many floors, but for once no patrol rides out to meet the party. Burl and Théscine keep a respectful distance as Lycinia rides up to the tower to see who's home.

The heavy, iron-banded door of the tower opens ever so slightly, and a boy of about 17 appears. Lycinia is certain she can see a pair of crossbowmen lurking in the shadows behind him. He looks a bit perturbed at the state of the stranger standing there in broken and bloodied armour, but as she throws back the hood of her cloak, his face brightens. "Friend," he asks, in somewhat broken elvish, "what brings now you to the home of the my master?"

Lycinia briefly explains what has befallen them on their quest, and within the hour burl has been led to a nearby hamlet to stable the horses, and the elves are enjoying the hospitality of the wizard's tower.

The tower is the home of Efalgyt the Enchanter, a scholarly old wizard who prefers the solitude of his laboratory to the whirl of society (and hot-bed of machinations) at the guildhall in Ildmarch. He is still a member in good standing, and teleports over at least twice a year 'to put in an appearance'. During one of these visits he reluctantly consented to take on an apprentice, the young Orneld, who is still at the stage of sweepin gup and answering the door rather than working any actual magic.

Efalgyt is the very image of a traditional wizard: about 60 years of age, lanky, with a long grey beard [actually rolled with the d30 Sandbox companion]. He is unfailingly polite, and interested in nothing so much as his studies. He also suffers from a strange curse...

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

LotFP Solo - Part the Thirty-Sixth: "Her elfin blood in madness ran"

On the other side of the magical portal, a strange vista stretches out before the astonished eyes of the heroes. They are on the shore of a black ocean. Flat and broken lands stretch to the horizon on one side, the gloomy and forbidding sea in front. The still, thin air has a caustic, bituminous odour. The sky is a strange orange haze. Directly overhead is a great reddish sun, which, though filling fully half the sky, gives off but little heat and even less light. The ground upon which the heroes stand is great slabs of pitted stone, the foundations of some lost palace or city. Not a thing grows in the landscape, not a living thing moves on the land, nor lives in the bitter, acid sea.

The elves wonder at the sight, thinking they have been transported through time to the final days of their world. Aldira thinks back to the strange books of philosophy she had read as a student of magic, telling wild stories of other worlds whirling around other stars in the heavens. Father Rochouart is certain that they are in Hell.

But in the distance, something does move. A small, solitary figure makes its way up the beach. Weapons still in hand, the battered heroes feel a new swelling of determination. They set out at a brisk pace to overtake the figure, which, as they draw near, resolves into the form of a lone elf in long green robes -- the fugitive Neldir!

The pounding footsteps and rattle of chain armour alert the renegade elf, and he wheels to face his pursuers. In contrast to their torn and bloodied forms, Neldir is dressed in pristine and costly vestments. There is a flicker of recognition in his eye when he sees the trio of elves from his home in far-off fair Feyalldra.

"Can you truly be," he says in formal, measured elvish, "the ones who have been hounding me since I departed our wond'rous city? I had thought the Elders would have sent more than just three children to fetch their precious codex."

"You're only three years older than us!" shouts Miolla indignantly.

"And we numbered eight when we began this quest," growls Lycinia.

"Ah! I see," says Neldir, "that would account for these two dumb brutes you've found to make up your numbers."

"I understand you perfectly," says Aldira, "though my patience with your foul words is diminishing rapidly."

Neldir says nothing, but makes a dismissive gesture in Aldira's direction.

"This is over," says Théscine, "you're coming back with us and--"

Neldir suddenly pronounces ancient words of sorcery, and the heroes, having momentarily let their guard down, are caught completely unawares. Fire erupts from the ground, encircling him in a ring of red flame.

[The final showdown is upon them!

Way back when I started this I decided Neldir would be 3 level higher than the highest level PC (currently Aldira, MU4), so he's now 7th level. Despite the break in posting, I played from the crypt dungeon right through to here. This probably should have been the start of a new Mythic scene, but I was too eager to play through to the conclusion to worry about meta record keeping.

Neldir has had to expend some of his resources to get this far, so I will take that as him having already cast (1d4+1=) 3 spells today: the portal ritual (1st level slot) + Explosive Runes (3rd) + one other completely random spell, which was a 2nd level slot.

I gave Neldir a surprise roll for casting his spell in the midst of the dramatic confrontation, and he rolled a 1, so it takes effect at the start of round one.

Neldir, 7th level Elf
CH 6 CN 14 DX 13 IN 14 ST 9 WS 8
HP 39
AC 17 (chainmail under his robe)
long sword
1 charm person, comprehend languages
2 detect invisibility, wall of fog
3 army of one
4 wall of fire

[round 1 - Initiative Neldir 5, PCs 4]
As the circle of fire shoots up surrounding Neldir, the scorching heat of the ruddy flames washes over the heroes. Surprise and pain force them back and they scatter [all PCs actions this round are to move]. Alas, Father Rochouart was slower than the rest, and has paid dearly for it. His clothing has burst into flame, and he falls to his knees, a blazing torch, crying out for the Light God to deliver him.

The rest fare better, but none are unharmed by the blazing flames. [1d6 for everyone: Miolla 1dmg, 2hp left; Lycinia 1dmg, 13hp (her magic torch is in her backpack, not helping); Aldira 3dmg, 3hp; Théscine 1dmg, 4hp; poor Father Rochouart took 6dmg, leaving him Mortally Wounded (-3hp).]

[round 2]
Protected by his horrible flames, Neldir begins to weave another spell, an old elven enchantment to ensnare the mind and soul [charm person]. But Aldira's determination is fierce, and she shrugs off the faery magic's power [makes her save], all the while casting a spell of her own.

Aldira's three elven companions take aim, and fire their pistols across the flames. Only one ball strikes true, but barely grazes the renegade [Miolla hits, 4 damage puts Neldir at 35hp].

[round 3]
Aldira's spell takes effect. A mass of sticky webs surrounds Neldir within his flaming ring. At first the webs seem as unaffected by the fire as does the elf they encase, but as the edges grow across the circle itself, the whole bursts into flame. Neldir screams in panic and pain [he takes 4 fire damage, reducing him to 31hp].

Théscine drops her pistol in favour of the scroll she has been holding in her other hand, and reads off a spell form it. As the words disappear from the page, the magic flies at the entrapped Neldir, but it does not take hold [she cast Force of Forbidment, he saved].

Miolla takes aim with her second pistol. The bullet tears through the web grazing Neldir in the arm [1 damage drops him to to 30hp].

Lycinia and Aldira draw their swords, and wait, impatient for a chance to strike.

[round 4]
Neldir keeps screaming as the webs burn out [4 fire damage puts him at 26hp].

[round 5-6]
Fearing another assault at range, Neldir begins to work some defencive magic. The water vapour in the air around his fingertips begins to coalesce, and then suddenly billows forth in a thick fog [wall of fog]. Everyone else caught in the fog backs out of it quickly, lest Neldir charge forward with his flames.

[round 7]
Within the fog, Neldir is busily casting yet another spell [Army of One].

[round 8]
Neldir appears suddenly outside of the fog, no longer surrounded by the protective ring of flame. He brandishes his sword defiantly. The others waste no time, but rush to meet him.

[round 9]
The battle is joined. Neldir is moving with unearthly speed, fighting each of his opponents as if he were engaged in single combat against them. His first swing cuts across Aldira's leg, staggering the burnt and bleeding wizard [1 damage drops her to 2hp]. Théscine is able to parry with her magical blade, and Lycinia's chainmail stops Neldir's sword from cutting her open, but his quick thrust plunges the elven steel right through a weak spot in Miolla's armour, piercing her heart. She takes a wobbling step backward, then the light leaves her eyes and she collapses to the ground [8 damage drops her to -6hp, dead].

Seeking to avenge the fallen Miolla, her three friends set upon Neldir with all they can muster. Lycinia crashes her sword down upon his shoulder. The armour beneath his robes absorbs the brunt of the swing, but he still winces with the impact [3 damage]. Aldira's swift rapier opens a nasty gash across his forehead [3 damage]. Théscine lunges with her magical sword; the silvery blade opens a terrible wound in his side [6 damage; he's down to 14hp now].

[round 10]
Neldir has been scorched with his own flame and is bleeding from a dozen wounds, yet he fights on undaunted, and with supernatural skill. Lycinia takes a nasty puncture beneath her ribs [5 damage puts her at 8hp], which gushes forth blood as Neldir retracts the blade and delivers a nasty blow to Aldira's temple [5 damage drops her to -3hp, mortally wounded]. The young wizard's rapier flies from her hand to skitter across the stones as she topples over. 

Lycinia locks the crossguard of her sword against Neldir's. She is too off balance for a riposte when they part, but the distraction leaves Théscine an opening. She swings with all her might; the impact of her sword against his flank rends the mail beneath his robes and tears the flesh beneath [6 damage drops him to 8hp].

[round 11]
Neldir wheels about, intending to deliver an equally punishing blow to Théscine, but his wild swing only opens a small, though bloody, wound on her thigh [1 damage leaves her with 3hp]. His sword clashes against Lycinia's again and again, but neither elf's steel can find its mark.

[round 12]
And then, Lycinia makes the mistake he had been hoping for. She leaves herself open for just an instant, and feels Neldir's blade bite deeply into her hip [4 damage leaves her with 4hp]. She falls back a few paces, and her furious swings meet only empty air.

Théscine manages to just nick Neldir's sword arm with the tip of her enchanted blade [1 damage puts him at 7hp].

[round 13]
And now it is Théscine who has left herself open. Neldir's sword streaks down her face and into her sternum. The wound is not deep, but the shock forces the small elf to her knees, then she falls face first into the rock and is still [3 damage puts her exactly at 0hp - hors de combat].

[round 14]
Seeing her last comrade fall to the renegade, Lycinia lets loose a great cry, so fearful it dampens Neldir's nerve, and he holds his sword up before Lycinia as a pitiful defence. She lurches forward and cuts in a mighty arc. Her sword finds the hole in Neldir's armour, and rips him open [6 damage leaves him but 1hp]. Blood gushes from the wound as his innards slip free.

[rounds 15-17]
Holding his guts in with one hand, Neldir tries vainly to best the enraged heroine, but his slowly ebbing strength threatens to give out at any moment. If he could just land a single, solid blow, the victory might be his; he knows that surrender is merely a death sentence.

Tears stream down Lycinia's face, mixing with the splattered blood. She strikes out in madness, taking her sword in both hands, beating it ceaselessly against her foe's, all the while hurling vile imprecations, spitting her very rage in his face. She loses herself in wrath, knowing of nothing but thoughts of Neldir's destruction.

[round 18]
And then her sword strikes true. It catches Neldir in the jaw, ruining his visage. He falls backward, a gurgling and gory fount [7 damage puts him at -6hp].

Lycinia tosses her sword aside and draws the long dagger at her belt. She kneels above the broken body of Neldir, and raises her miséricorde to strike, but there is no mercy in her hand. Over and over plunges the blade into the dead elf's heart, until, overcome with weeping, she finds she can strike no more.

How many aeons pass as she sits there alone by that foul and roaring sea she does not know, but then is suddenly cognisant of a soft groan behind her. Théscine! Théscine yet lives! The tiny elf has struggled to rise and is crawling toward Lycinia.

"Darling Théscine," she cries and crawls over to embrace her. Théscine says nothing, and only smiles weakly at her friend. They sit silently for a time, but Théscine starts in fright, and points further down the beach. In the distance is a great and looming red figure; it is covered head-to-toe in heavy crimson armour, and upon its head rests a crown. It seems to regard the two elves for a moment more, then abruptly turns and marches back up the beach, whence it had come.

"We... sh-- should... go..." says Théscine feebly.

Lycinia begins dragging the bodies of her friends back through the portal as Théscine crawls back herself. Finally Lycinia drags Neldir's body up to the portal, and decides to search it there. She finds the book in his satchel, the damnable book that sent them after him so many months ago. It's hardly what she'd expected it to be, nothing more than a simple vellum codex written in neat, if somewhat cramped, elven script. She tries to flip through it carefully, but isn't sure what to look for. There must be a vital clue within. Then a sudden remembrance strikes her. She puts it carefully back in the satchel, noting with a shrug that the cover is now soiled with bloody hand prints.

"You can rot here," she says to the broken corpse, then dashes again through the portal with the satchel in hand. After wiping her hands on the only bit of clean fabric she can find, she rummages through her own pack for her scroll case, and from within, rolled up in her own spell book, she produces the strange, crumbling papyrus that was retrieved from the flooded dungeons underneath Foehrenfort. She uses her magic [Comprehend Languages] to once again be able to decipher the weird writing, but cannot find the passage she requires.

Théscine passes a scroll of her own to Lycinia. "Here..." she gasps, "on...this..." Then she falls back against the wall, drifting once again out of consciousness.

Lycinia tries to smooth the blood-matted hair away from Théscine's face, then realises she mustn't tarry. She reads a spell off the scroll [Bookspeak], then turns to interrogate the papyrus, which rolls itself up, one end forming the shape of a mouth full of wickedly sharp teeth.

"How, o papyrus, can we close this portal, and seal it forever?"

The papyrus whispers the answer in some forgotten tongue, pieces of it breaking off and being spit forth with every sibilant word. But Lycinia's spell gives her the understanding of its hissing speech. "The portal may only be sealed with the blood of the one who has called it into being. It was thus that the Vampire Queen did bind the Demon of War."

Lycinia wastes no time, but takes her miséricorde in hand, and wipes the gory blade against the sides of the glowing  portal. As the blood touches the stone, the door between worlds dissipates. The light shimmers and fades, leaving the two elves alone in the darkness.

Monday, 19 January 2015

LotFP Solo - Part the Thirty-Fifth: "Within that ruin, where a shattered portal / Looks to the eastern stars, abandoned now"

Scene 37

Chaos: 8

Setup: into crypt

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, Orezuthía the Wise, Cemmeret

Threads: find Neldir & the book, stop his evil plans

The crypt seems to have been untouched since the church fell into ruin. It's full of the decaying remnants of an assortment of mundane furnishings: rotting wooden benches, tarnished brass candlesticks, mouldering hymnals, some rusting garden implements. But in one wall there is an old wooden door that seems to have escaped the ravages of time and the elements. It hangs slightly ajar; obviously the way the party seek is through here.

Beyond the door is a long, cramped hallway. Lycinia leads the party down it, single file. Her torch soon reveals a stout, iron-reinforced door at the end.

[Room contents: Trick/Trap: Illusionary wall concealing chamber with monster and treasure; N.B. Neldir had done his research and knew the secret to bypassing this chamber.]

As Lycinia is examining the door, a pair of burning skeletal hands reaches out from the wall of the passage, grabbing at Haddie's clothing. Suddenly the unfortunate girl is consumed in fire. The glass in her lantern shatters as she drops it. She screams once, and abruptly collapses, mewling in a charred heap on the ground. The walls of the passageway shimmer and fade, revealing a large chamber. Six more skeletons, all wreathed in flames like the first, are coming towards the party from both sides, clutching hands outstretched.

[The monsters are 7 Flame Skeletons. AC 14, HD 1. They attack as if their opponents are unarmoured. Their flaming touch does 2d4, save vs. Breath Weapon for half damage. Anyone hitting one in mêlée takes 1d3 damage unless they make a save vs. Paralysation. All other stats as normal Skeletons.

The PCs were (obviously) Surprised. Technically, everyone but Aldira and Miolla were attacked, but as none of the attacks rolled over 11, the misses were put down to being too far off.

Poor Haddie was hit for 7 damage. She failed her save vs. breath weapon, so the damage dropped her to -3hp, mortally wounded. She will die in (1d10=) 1 minute.

Initiative was then rolled; tied again. Everyone with Dexterity over (3d6=) 11 will act before the skeletons.]

[round 1]
Weapons are quickly brought to bear, but the flaming undead casually knock them aside. One of them gets inside Father Rochouart's swing, and leaves a burning hand print across the cleric's face [4 damage, failed save; he's down to 3hp].

Worland's axe strikes the first telling blow. The skeleton shatters and falls to pieces, the dark sorcery animating it being sundered. But Worland steps just an instant too late, and the gout of flame given off as it expires burns his hands [he did 5 damage; it only had 2hp. But he failed to save vs. Paralysation, and suffers 1 damage himself, leaving him at a solid 8hp].

The wild berserkergang takes hold of Lifstæn and Nidbiorg. They rush forward, axes swinging wildly insensible to the flames enveloping them as they press the attack. There is a shower of splintered bones as Lifstæn lops off an arm, whilst Nidbiorg smashes another into jagged fragments [he hits for 6 damage, leaving his opponent with 2hp; she hits for 7, a kill. Nidbiorg does suffer 2 fire damage though, she's now at 7hp].

[round 2]
Miolla and Lycinia are still backpedalling, looking for an opening as a skeleton advances on them. Miolla crashes her mace down on the thing, smashing in the front of its rib cage but burning her hand badly in the process [she hits for 4 damage, leaving it at 2hp. She takes 2 fire damage herself, and is now at 8hp]. The mangled skeleton make a lunge at Lycina, but the weird iron torch she carries siphons the flames into itself leaving her unscathed [she gets +4 to save from the torch, as with a successful save (which she made easily), takes no damage. The torch drains a point of Wisdom, however].

Having bested his own enemy, Worland moves to avenge Haddie. This skeleton seems nimbler than the rest, and dances out of the way as his axe swings through empty air. It covers Worland in a burst of flame that runs up his side, charring his flesh badly [he takes 6 damage with a failed save, reducing him to 2hp].

Lifstæn gets too close to the now-armless skeleton he faces. The flames surround him, and he falls to the floor, smouldering and unconscious [6 damage and a failed save drop him to -1hp]. Nidbiorg steps over the body of her comrade, and her whirling blade sends more bones flying as the skeleton is reduced to a heap [4 damage destroys it].

[round 3]
Worland is still reeling from the pain of being burnt, and swinging ineffectually at the thing bearing down on him. He staggers a few steps forward, and the flaming skeleton reaches out for him, enfolding him in its fiery embrace. The axe soon falls from Worland's lifeless fingers [he takes 8 damage, even with the successful save he drops to -2hp].

Nidbiorg's fury cannot be contained. She smashes apart the skeleton embracing Worland [9 damage fells it with -3hp], but it is too late to save the injured fighter.

Father Rochouart's right arm is filled with the Might of the Light God Himself. His broadsword strikes true, destroying another of the unholy creatures [8 damage puts it at -4hp].

[round 4]
But two of the skeletons now remain. Miolla's heavy mace reduces one to a splintered pile, Théscine's magical blade neatly bisects the other.

In one corner of the chamber is a pile of silver and copper coins [250sp, 500cp] lying amongst the remains of an old wooden strongbox, but no one pays them any heed. Everyone grimly decides to press on, without even laying out the bodies of their tree fallen companions. Father Rochouart merely whispers a short blessing and makes a holy gesture over the room at large. By then Miolla has forced the door, and they are hurrying through.

[Could this be the final battle...? Let's ask Mythic:
Q: Has Neldir finished the portal-opening ritual? 50/50: 29, Yes.
Q: Has something come through the portal? Unlikely: 72, Yes.
Q: Has it killed Neldir's assistants? Very Unlikely: 58, Yes.]

A short -- and this time non-illusory -- corridor empties out into a great circular chamber. There is a recess in one wall containing a glowing doorway, which fills the room with glaring white light. A loud hum emanates from the portal, nearly drowning out all other noise.

As their eyes adjust to the dazzling brightness, the party see a scene of abject horror. The battered and dismembered bodies of perhaps a dozen people lie scattered over the floor. In the midst of the slaughter squats a loathsome, tentacled beast, neither fish nor squid nor man nor plant nor frog, but something I cannot and must not recall. It holds a torso in one of its spiny tentacles, and is busy gnawing on it with the great maw in the middle of its globular torso. When it notices that there are new morsels come before it, it tosses the corpse aside, rises on three stump-like legs, and lurches hungrily towards them.

[I had been looking for an excuse to use the random demon generation tables (OD&D) in the back of Best of Dragon vol. 1; this seemed a good a time as any. As the party is still low-level, I rolled up a mere Level I demon. Hit dice and AC were the same as a Type I (Vrock) according to Labyrinth Lord. It got 2 random powers from the Level I table in the article. Its appearance and (possible) other abilities were to be decided by rolling twice on the random encounter tables and mixing the results; I rolled Otyugh and Locathah. So...

Unpleasant Demon
No. Enc.: 1d3 (1d6)
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 120' (40')
Armour Class: 20/0
Hit Dice: 8
Attacks: 3 (2 tentacles, bite)
Damage: 1d8/1d8/1d4+1+disease
Save: Fighter 8
Morale: 11
Treasure Type / Hoard Class: B/XXI
Special: Ventriloquism at will, Magic Missile 1/day; casts as 2nd level MU
can breathe under water, never surprised

This particular specimen has 29hp.

[round 1 - there is no surprise; it wins initiative]
As it lurches forward, it spits some of its thorny yellow teeth at Aldira, which pass effortlessly through her leather armour and cause her to wince and stagger backwards [its 'Magic Missile' for the day; 2d4=6 damage, leaving her with 12hp; also, (I checked the LotFP rules for clarification) she can't cast a spell in the round she takes damage, but she doesn't lose it either].

Théscine makes a mystic gesture, and throws a shower of green sparks at the beast, which it barely feels [her magic missile only does 3 points; it has 26hp left].

Lycinia lunges forward with her sword, and buries it deep into the demon's fleshy flank. It bellows and stumbles back a bit, black ooze seeping from the wound [8 damage drops it to 18hp].

[round 2]
But the thing swiftly recovers, and launches itself into the fray [its attacks will be made absolutely at random as it flails about This may result in one PC taking two or even three hits in a round]. One its thorny tentacles slams Aldira; the shock of the impact and biting spines break her concentration as she tries again to cast a spell [6 damage puts reduces her to 6hp]. The second tentacle delivers a glancing blow to the furious Nidbiorg, leaving a row of spines protruding from her leather jerkin [she takes 1 damage, leaving her with 6hp]. Miolla steps too close to its awful maw, and narrowly avoids losing her hand to the foul and gnashing teeth [2 damage puts her at 6hp (but her save vs. poison to avoid the disease succeeds].

Many blows land on the creature, but none seem able to pierce its thick and greasy hide.

[round 3]
Miolla deftly ducks under one of the flailing tentacles, but as she does so the other one slams into her side, nearly cracking her ribs [one miss, one hit for 5 damage; she's down to 3hp]. This time Théscine strays too close to the terrible mouth, and its teeth come away with her leather pauldron, and not a bit of her shoulder as well [4 damage puts her at 5hp; she makes her saving throw].

Aldira is out of its reach, and so completes her spell unhindered. A glowing white arrow springs forth form her hand and sinks right into the creatures midsection, splashing the black ooze from the wound over the front rank of fighters [her magic missile does 11 damage, bringing it to 7hp].

Father Rochouart's broadsword lands right where the magical arrow struck, further opening the gushing wound [6 damage; it has 1hp left].

[round 4]
Yet it fights on. It swings it tentacle round in a wide arc, catching Nidbiorg squarely in the lower back. There is a sickening crack, and she goes limp [8 damage put her at -2hp]. It scoops her inert form to its mouth, and bites her cleanly in half [5 more damage puts her at -7hp: instant death].

The other tentacle smashes down on the ground just beside Théscine [miss]. The small elf severs it neatly at the shoulder. With black ichor jetting from the stump, the demon wavers and falls [3 damage drops it to -2hp]. The others continue to hack at it, and it is soon evident that it shall never rise again.

"There's no time!" exclaims Father Rochouart, "The portal has been opened. The Light God protect us -- we must go through!"

Saturday, 17 January 2015

LotFP Solo - Part the Thirty-Fourth: „Es will die letzte Stunde sein“

continued from here

Scene 36

Chaos: 7

Setup: race to stop Neldir from opening the portal

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, Orezuthía the Wise, Cemmeret

Threads: find Neldir & the book

day 93

A few flurries of snow yet fall, but the worst of the storm seems to be over. Having outstayed their welcome, the guests are all eager to leave the Abbey.

[Q: Will the berserkers accompany PCs on their quest? 50/50: 40, Yes -- for a share of treasure, naturally.]

The berserkers don't have horses, so travel is slowed somewhat, but everyone is glad of the extra fighters.

After trudging a few miles through the powdery snow, a patrol is sighted in the distance, about a dozen foot soldiers and two horsemen. Fearing that the patrol may be there to hinder them, the party decide to evade, and turn back on their path, intending to circle round at a greater distance, and hopefully remain unseen.

[d30 Companion: The patrol meeting them is 12 heavy footmen (F0) + Ftr4 + MU3. Encounter range is (3d6x10=) 120 yards; Neither party is surprised.

According to the Expert rulebook, there is a 50% chance to evade: d% roll = 50! they get away.

Q: Does the patrol go looking for them? 50/50: 74, No.

It would seem that luck is with the party. BUT I rolled a 1 on the getting lost check, & subsequently failed the Bushcraft roll to notice...]

That afternoon, the party begin to suspect that the reason they were not intercepted by the patrol is that they travelled in the wrong direction. Their path has led them far to the south west. Instead of making camp in the relative security of the forest, they are forced to pitch their tents by the shore of the lake, and hope that their cooking fires do not attract any attention.

day 94

After a frigid night on the lake shore, the party is up and on the move at dawn. They have an easy time staying on course, simply following the shore. There is some worry that they won't find the ruins in the forest, but this fear is soon allayed -- only to be replaced with a new one. They stumble upon an old track through the forest which shows signs of recent travel by a moderate number of horses. They follow the trail as swiftly as they may whilst remaining alert for a possible ambush.

[Worried by the report of the returning patrol, Neldir has left Castel'Iverre before dawn, and reached the ruins before the PCs. It's now a race against time, to be decided by Mythic based on the results of the encounter above ground.]

Vhisigus' prison is beneath an old church, now fallen into ruin. The bell tower still remains, and the walls on two sides, but the roof is entirely fallen in. Some of the columns still stand, though trees and scrub now grow in the nave, and vines have spread over the crumbling walls. Footsteps in the snow lead right up to the vestibule and inside. Horse tracks lead round the side and into the trees. There are two windows in the front wall, and a pile of rubble where the main door once was.

It is decided to leave Burl the teamster and Haddie under cover in the forest with the horses whilst everyone else approaches the ruin. The berserkers draw their axes, the PCs cock their pistols and arquebuses, Aldira mutters a spell of defence (Shield). Lycinia leads her friends towards the open vestibule, Geirny leads her band of hearty barbarians round towards the south.

[The battlemap was made in Word with a background image for the terrain and a table for the squares. The image was based on a pre-WWII floorplan of St Dunstan's in the East. I erased the walls to make it a ruin, more-or-less corresponding to what's left of it now (it wasn't repaired after the Blitz, but has been turned into a city garden).

One square = 5'. Everyone is indicated by their initial on the map. PCs are capital letters highlighted in BLUE. The berserkers are lower case, in yellow. Anyone who is reduced to 0 or fewer hit points remains on the map but loses their highlighting (in case anyone tried to help them or take their equipment, which didn't end up happening).

The berserkers (Ftr1, ML12, berserk as Basic rulebook):

           CH CN DX IN ST WI HP
Lifstæn  m 10 14  9  9 12 12  6
Mar      m 11 13 13  6 16 10  3
White    f 17 17 11  4 10  9  9
Geirny   f 11 14  9 11 16 10  7
Nidbiorg f 10 14  9 10 12  8  9
Leather armour, battleaxe

The PCs, as an aide-mémoire:
Miolla        Elf3 chainmail, mace, 2 pistols
Lycinia       Elf3 chainmail, sword, pistol
Aldira        MU4  rapier
Théscine      Elf2 leather armour, magic sword
Fr. Rochouart Cl3  chainmail, arquebus, broadsword
Géraint       Spc3 leather armour, rapier, 2 pistols
Haddie        Ftr0 leather armour, lantern
Worland       Ftr1 chainmail, arquebus, battleaxe
Burl          Ftr0 (hired teamster, non-combatant)

Neldir's forces consist of 12 0-level fighters (in grey: fa-fl; breastplate & helm AC15, sword, arquebus, ML8), and a pair of trolls (green, labelled T and t, ML10, claw/claw/bite 1-6/1-6/1-10 -- all stats per D&D Expert rules).

     ch cn dx in st wi HP AC msl hth
fa m  8 12 12 10 12  8  4 15 +0  +0
fb m 11 14  7 11 15 11  7 14 -1  +1
fc f  8 15  9 14  7  9  7 15 +0  -1
fd m 12  8 10 10 14  6  3 15 +0  +1
fe m  9 14  8  9 12 12  5 14 -1  +0
ff m  9  8  6  6 13 14  2 14 -1  +1
fg f  7 14 15 13 17  4  7 16 +1  +2
fh f 13 12 11 11 14 11  4 15 +0  +1
fi f  6 14 13  7 14  8  4 16 +1  +1
fj m 14 10 11 13 14 10  2 15 +0  +1
fk m 13  8  8  6 16 10  4 14 -1  +2
fl m 10 11  8  8 11 12  3 14 -1  +0
t  m  4 12  9  7 18  7 24 17 --  +6
T  m  2 14 10  5 18  9 30 17 --  +6

At the start of each round, I took a screenshot of the map (though I accidentally saved over the surprise round, dammit). A lot went on in just 7 rounds; I didn't narrate any held actions or this would've rapidly become unreadable. Indeed, part of the reason I had put this campaign on hiatus was being tired with writing out combat scenes.

The soldiers were initially divided into 3 groups. I rolled 1d3 to determine how many of them might have extra arquebuses; only ijkl, fortunately. But I rolled a 1 on the surprise die for the PCs; the 4 in the bell tower have seen them coming. They descend to ground level and give the signal to take up positions.

[Surprise round]
soldiers i&j are stationed at the northernmost window, j&k behind the rubble where the main entrance once was. They wait until the party approaches within 50' (short range), then each fire a shot (at a randomly determined target).

i misses White the berserker
j hits father Rochouart for (1d8=) 2pts, dropping him to 7hp.
k hits Géraint for 5 damage, leaving him at 7hp as well.
l fires at Aldira, but the bullet bounces off her Shield spell (Ac19 vs. Missiles)

The four soldiers then pick up their 2nd arquebuses and run to take their new positions. The PCs split into three groups and rush up to the walls.

[About 3 rounds pass before everyone is in position for the first actual round. Lycinia and Miolla have gotten into the vestibule, and the other PCs are following behind them. The berserkers have just disappeared around the south corner.]

[round 1]
The initiative rolls are tied, so things will happen in order of descending Dexterity.

Miolla sees a soldier (d) behind a column. She fires the pistol in her left hand at him, but misses. She drops the pistol.
Lycinia steps right between i and j. She quickly fires at j, hitting for 4 damage. He falls against the wall, bleeding (-2hp). She backs up against the doorway and throws her pistol aside.

The berserkers rush along the wall and into the gap between the scrub. As they pass the window and round the wall they, are fired on by soldiers k&l and a&b.
k hits Lifstæn for 4 damage (he's down to 2hp)
a hits White for 7 points (also down to 2hp)

Now that the berserkers have noticed soldiers a&b, they split into two groups and fall upon them with their mighty battleaxes. The Berserkergang takes hold (+2 to hit).
Mar and Geirny fail to hit a.
Nidbiorg shatters b's helm, dropping the poor man with a single blow (8 damage leaves him at -1hp).

Soldiers c & d can still see Lycinia, and fire upon her. They both miss due to the Medium range penalty.

Géraint and Worland make for the northernmost window in the front wall.
Father Rochouart and Théscine move closer to the wall for cover.

[round 2]
Miolla draws her mace and edges forward.

Lycinia charges d with her sword, which resounds off the column above his head with a clang.

Soldier g runs forward, using the scrub as cover
Soldier i shoots Lycinia as she runs past. She hits, but only for 2points (leaving her with 14hp).
Théscine cautiously moves around the wall to behind Miolla.
Mar swings and misses.

Father Rochouart follows Théscine, Aldira follows him.
Géraint climbs in through the window
Lifstæn, White, and Nidbiorg run around the bushes to soldiers k&l.
Geirny hits soldier a for 7 damage, mortally wounding him.
Worland tries to shoot soldier i, but misses. He sets his arquebus against the wall.

Soldier c draws her sword.
Soldier d draws and attacks Lycinia, but misses.
Soldier h runs up past g.

Soldiers e & f run up on the opposite side of the bushes from g & h.
Soldier k hits Lifstæn with his sword; 3 damage drops the barbarian to the ground with -1hp.
Soldier l misses White.
The trolls move out of their little den, the big one following g & h, the smaller one e & f.

[round 3]
Miolla rushes i with her mace, but misses.

Lycinia slashes d with her sword. He falls, barely conscious, into the snow (3 damage puts him at 0hp).

Soldier g advances under cover.
Soldier i deals Miolla a glancing blow with his sword (3 damage leaves her with 10hp).
Théscine runs over to Géraint & Worland by the wall.
Mar screams and charges soldier g; She raises her arquebus and fires. Mar crumples (4 damage drops him to -1hp).

Father Rochouart strides boldly out of the vestibule. He fires his arquebus at f, but misses. He tosses the gun into the snow.
Aldira advances to the doorway.
Géraint runs over to the column near Lycinia.
White misses l.
Nidbiorg cuts k nearly in half.
Geirny was charging right behind poor Mar. She hits soldier g for 8x2=16 damage, dropping her to -9hp as her breastplate is dented, mangling her torso.
Worland climbs in through the window.

Soldier c moves to attack Lycinia, ineffectually.
Soldier h fires at Geirny; she barely feels the ball tear into her shoulder (2 damage leaves her with 5hp).

Soldiers e & f advance, firing on Father Rochouart. He takes a bullet to the chest for 5 damage, dropping him to 2hp.
Soldier l disembowels White with his sword (7 damage puts her at -5hp, killing instantly)
The big Troll follows soldiers e&f. It doesn't like the noises from the firesticks so was waiting for them to be done.
The smaller troll moves to attack Geirny. It grabs her in its terrible claws, raises her above its head and smashes her bleeding body to the ground about 10 feet away (=both claws hit, 4+4 damage puts her at -3hp, mortally wounded).

[round 4]
Miolla is about to swing her mace again, but has a sudden change of heart and fires point blank. Soldier i is gut-shot for 5 damage (down to -1hp); she slumps to the ground as Miolla casts her pistol aside.

Lycinia attacks c. The sword bites her deep, and she falls under the elf's mighty stroke (7 damage puts her at 0hp).

Théscine moves to get a better shot (Medium range) at f, but her shot still misses.

Father Rochouart casts Sanctuary, in hopes of surviving the battle (with 2hp).
Aldira casts Web on the small troll and soldiers e&f. The troll can break free in 4 rds, but the soldiers are hors de combat.
Géraint moves up, and fires at the big Troll, missing.
Nidbiorg lays into l, but cannot fell him (2pts damage drop him to 1hp).
Worland draws his axe, follows Géraint.

Soldier h moves up, shoots Géraint for 3 damage, leaving him with 4hp.

Soldier l desperately swings back at Nidbiorg, but cannot find an opening.
The big Troll rushes at Géraint. It grabs him with a claw (3 damage), then leans in an bites off the top of his head (7 damage, to -6hp). Géraint expires messily, gushing blood into the snow.

[round 5]
Miolla casts Sleep on the big Troll. It lies down in the snow to take a nap.

Lycinia moves towards the web, takes off her 12 apostles (ammo bandolier).

Nidbiorg cuts down l with her axe.
Soldier h flees out the back.

[round 6]
Lycinia tosses her apostles over the little troll in the web. A roll of 14+3 hits, so the bandolier is around its neck.

[round 7]
The troll looks like it may almost be free of the webs, so Lycinia casts Sleep on on it.

[out of rounds again]

Lycinia lights her torch and, to the horror of the trapped soldiers, sets the Web alight. [Her intent with the apostles was to make a lot of fire so the troll would completely burn up. I remembered something in the rulebook about getting hit by a fire attack when wearing them. However, the damage turned out not to be from fire, but from shrapnel, and it's only 1 point each, save vs. Breath Weapon for no damage. The troll made 5/11 saving throws. The web burnt it for (2d6=) 9 points (6+9=15 damage, it has 11hp left). The two soldiers are burnt to death in the web, but the troll is just angry and runs out at Lycinia.

Initiative was tied again, so Miolla cast a quick magic missile at the troll, dropping it before it could eat anyone. The torch was applied to the trolls wounds to make sure it wasn't going to get back up. Having learnt their lesson from Lycinia's mistake, the sleeping troll is dealt with in a much more careful fashion. Nidbiorg beheads it with her axe, and then all the powder that can be found is sprinkled over the beast and set alight.

On bended knee, Father Rochouart prays to the Light God, that He might stretch out His benevolent hand, and erase the Pains from His humble servant, that he might continue on this Quest for Justice (casts cure light wounds on self; back to full hit points). Father Rochouart has but one spell remaining, and asks Nidbiorg which of her companions should receive it. She tells him to heal Lifstæn. And though he be a heathen, yet is his Purpose on this Great Quest truly felt; thus does the Mercy of the Light God cause the berserker's injuries to melt away like darkness before a candle flame. He rises to do battle once more against Evil (cure light wounds restores him to full hit points). Praisèd be the Light God!

The battle has left Mar comatose, and Géraint, White, and Geirny dead. Mar is wrapped in as many blankets as can be spared, and moved into the bell tower out of the elements. Father Rochouart makes sure he has a holy symbol of his own heathen gods, and one of the Light God for good measure. Miolla, Théscine, and Aldira arrange their fallen companions in a corner as father Rochouart quickly pronounces Last Rites over them. Worland, Lycinia, and the two remaining barbarians attend to the grim business of dispatching the fallen soldiers. Not even Miolla moves to stop them, though Father Rochouart insists that they, too, shall be buried once their quest is finished.

But there is no time to delay now. A quick search through the ruins finds the trapdoor to the crypt in the troll's den.

[Q: Is it trapped? Likely: 63, Yes -- Rolling on the trap table in some book or other (I forget which) comes up with Explosive Runes. Makes sense: the trolls, being illiterate, couldn't have triggered the trap. (random N/PC=) Lycinia finds it, and luckily, since Magic-Users (and by extension, Elves) have a 5%/level chance to detect the runes without triggering them. D% comes up 04.]

Lycinia sees that something has been painted on the trapdoor cover, and feels magic emanating from it. She opens it whilst looking away, mindful of the last time she saw magical runes in some ruins. She tells everyone to descend the steps without looking at and especially without touching the trap door, a proposition to which everyone readily assents. When they all down inside the damp and musty crypt, a sudden shouting and commotion above catches their attention. "If you're going down there," calls Haddie, shining her lantern down upon them, "you're going to need some light!"

Thursday, 15 January 2015

LotFP Solo - supplemental

Whilst playing my Runequest adventure, I found that I was making less and less use of the Midkemia Press Cities book I had bought. This was partly because Mythic was better at driving the adventure, but mostly I put it down to the fact that the book is very much geared towards more traditional fantasy settings and characters.

As RQ arrived at a point where I need to do some serious preparation before continuing, and as the weather turned stormy, I was reminded of the predicament in which I'd left my LotFP characters; it's not snowing out, but it's cold and wintery enough so that over Xmas break I managed a session or two to finish the initial adventure (i.e. close all the Mythic threads) and start immediately in on a new one (chaos back to 5, new threads, etc.). This led immediately to a city where I intended to put the City Catch Up tables to proper use. As before, I don't like the Dangerous Mission being all-or-nothing with a 10-60% chance of death (no modifiers) for 1d20 x 100xp. But the tables are fun, so I played through them until a Dangerous Mission event came up, which will be run with Mythic and probably the 7-scene adventure framework, which I haven't managed to try yet.

Only a single character started off on the new adventure. But since a Dangerous Mission might be better for a small party, I decided to make 2 N/PCs to fill it out. I made a fighter and a specialist (thief), both fairly dodgy types, with the plan of running them through the catch up tables until they either died, were run out of town, or were offered a Dangerous Mission. They were a bit vague as only first level characters with a death wish can be, so it wasn't until after they survived long enough to be offered the mission that I rolled up their backgrounds. They're also both new in town, but as I knew when $PC was offered the mission, I was able to backdate their entry into Wandlebourne (this actually affected interpretation of some of the background rolls). And, truth be told, watching them navigate the chart-driven solo adventure definitely cemented their personalities in my mind.

Enough with the preliminaries! Let us meet the fighter.

Fighter, Lvl 1, Neutral
CHA 7 CON 9 DEX 11 INT 13 STR 15 WIS 12
HP 8 AC 15
mace, leather armour, shield, 20SP

background (using BoLD)
childhood: inclusive haven overcome by strong attribute (STR15)
-he ran away from home in a sleepy little village (Badger's Glen) to fend for himself
teenage years: regular soldiers overcome by weak attribute (CHA7)
-he was 'adopted' by a group of soldiers who thought he could one day join them
before campaign: regimental weather overcome by fate
-the rest of his unit perished in the new year's blizzard, but he miraculously survived. (I generated random weather tables for the next campaign year. There's a 4-day blizzard in the first 10 days; the timing fits perfectly.)

In the first days of the new year, Ruprecht was a soldier in the King's Army. His unit was being sent from Aylesbury to Uldmere Castle as relief troops for the beseiging host; the King has been forced to take sides by the high priests of the realm, and has thrown in his lot with the orthodox faction against de Molleré. As they marched northward from Finnsover, they were caught in the new year's blizzard that swept over the land. They pitched camp and dug in to see out the weather, but the extreme cold spelled doom. WHen the storm had finally ceased, Ruprecht awoke one morning to find he was the only one who had not frozen to death. He gathered what posessions he could, and set off looking for shelter, losing a lot of extraneous items along the way to hasten his march, before he too was done in by the icy winter. He wandered over the plain and eventually saw the spires of Wandlebourne in the distance. Perhaps here he can make a new life for himself; as far as the army knows (or will know when the camp is discovered), he died in the storm.

Week 1
Event: Thieves steal (1d%=)97% of total money. This rounds up to all 20sp in his purse. Welcome to fuckin' Wandlebourne, matey!
Looking for work: Nothing available for which he has the skills. SO he's forced to sleep rough.
Living Without Money table: Put in a workgang for 1 week. (20% chance to be sold into slavery: roll=29, avoided)

Week 2
Workgang. He spends a week hauling waste from buildings that collapsed during the bad weather. It's grueling, thankless labour, but at least he's fed marginally well and doesn't have to sleep outside.

Week 3
Event: Accused of a crime but (50% base chance, no modifiers) not convicted.
Looking for work: He finds a job as a charcoal burner. Pay is (1d12=)4sp per week, and includes maintenance (room & board and clothing) at Level 2 (low). Being desperate, he accepts.
Working: He manages to save 30% of his salary this week: 1sp & 2cp.

Week 4
Event: Offends a fellow worker: his work appears 25% worse (modifying the roll on the Job Savings table, I assume) and adds a -1% penalty to avoid any conviction roll if accused of a crime.
Work: Even with the penalty, he still manages a good roll on the table, so saves 75% of salary: 3sp.
Gambling: He goes gambling with his friends from work. Bets a total of 2sp (a few coppers at a time, naturally), and manages to break even.
Companionship: spends 2sp for 'Level 1 companionship': a night in a seedy gambling den drinking horse piss -- er, an inexpensive local tipple. Such a low and filthy place comes with a 30% chance of disease, but he rolls a 96, so probably was the first and only person to drink from the mug he was given that night. A good night out all things considered (and necessary; a character who does not have some form of Companionship for 5 weeks suffers a penalty of -1 Charisma).

Week 5
Event: Offered a dangerous mission...

... ... ...

And now, the specialist:

Specialist, Lvl 1, Neutral
CHA 11 CON 12 DEX 17 INT 11 STR 9 WIS 6
HP 5 AC 14
stealth 2 tinker 2 sleight 2 climb 2
dagger, pipe, tobacco, tinderbox, wooden holy symbol, 31sp

background (using BoLD)
childhood: ordinary horror overcome by the authority
-abusive father in Uldmere pressed into army as recompense for petty crimes
teen: stale festival overcome by enemy help
-joined castle militia so he didn't have to take holy orders at the church where he was living as orphan
before campaign: impervious invader overcome by avoidance
-escaped siege of Uldmere castle

Since early autumn, the heretic de Molleré has been besieged in Castle Uldmere by the forces loyal to the current leaders of the Church of the Light God. Thiery had been an archer in Castle Uldmere's army, though when the siege began he was languishing in a cell for minor insubordination. As all able-bodied soldiers were needed to defend the wall, he was released and took his place upon the ramparts. He could see very early on that the defence was hopeless, and even heard rumours that de Molleré himself was planning to flee in secret, so that de Val d'Oine's forces wwould remain tied up in a pointless siege. Feeling no particualar loyalty to either cause, he took the first opportunity to escape over the lakeside wall and swim to safety by moonlight. From there he made his way to Wandlebourne, determined to become his own master.

Week 1
Event: He befriends a rumourmonger (results in +20% on certain marriage rolls, should a match be impending). At least he can make friends in the big city.
Looking for work: -20% on available job table due to plebian social class means mostly plebian and artisan jobs will be on offer. The only available job this week, though, is sailmaker; being raised on a farm means he doesn't have the skills, so no job this week.
Cost of Living: He stays at the cheapest hostel available (Level 1 standard of living) which costs 3sp for 1 week's room & board.
Gambling: He gambles away 20sp with nothing to show for it. He now has 8sp left to his name.

Week 2
Event: none
Looking for work: An artisan-level job is available: fletcher. No job again this week.
Cost of Living: Another week in the crummy hostel, another 3 crummy SP spent...
Gambling: He tries gambling away his last 5sp, and wins and additional 2sp, 5cp.

Week 3
Event: none
Looking for work: he's no Ship's Captain: another failure.
Cost of Living: another 3sp. Maybe if he stays a whole month they'll give him clean sheets...
Gambling: Go for broke! He gambles everything he has (4sp, 5cp), but is unlucky in a big way and ends up losing double. Since he can't pay, there's a 40% chance of getting jumped on the way home: 03 -- they're after him. Since he owes less than 100sp, there's a 60% chance they will only beat him up instead of murdering him in a back alley. Rolling a 47 means only a beating: he takes (1d6+1=) 3 damage.
-4 teeth

Week 4
Event: His friend, a government worker (a lowly clerk he met in the gambling den), has offended a member of the underworld and comes to him for help. Thiery doesn't want a repeat of last week --or worse-- so refuses. His friend is now Offended, which results in four potential penalties: +2weeks to any jail term, +1week to any stay in debtors' prison, +15% to be enslaved if sent to a workgang, and -10% to avoid conviction if accused of a crime. But there's no chance of assassination as there would have if the underworld character became Offended, so probably a good trade-off.
Looking for work: again, nothing.
Cost of Living: As he now has no money, he must roll on the 'Living with no Money' table, with a -5% penalty for being a pleb. He ends up starving and begging, suffering a -1 to CON for 5 weeks.

Week 5
Event: none
Looking for work: fails
Living with no Money: Sent to debtors' prison for (1+1=)2 weeks
As he hasn't had proper Companionship for 5 weeks, he suffers -1 CHA.

Weeks 6&7
debtors' prison
no events, no xp, no nothing

Week 8
out of prison
Event: He offends a townsperson (additional -1% to avoid conviction). Must be that lowered charisma.
Looking for work: Finally! A job as a cook is available. 5sp a week and Living Level 2 on a cot in the cellar. He'll take it.
Work: He manages to save a bit: 1sp, 5cp.
Gambling: He gambles everything again, and only breaks even. But no beatings, so ultimately a good night.

Week 9
Event: none
Work: Fired! He pays a little too much attention to the barmaid, and not enough to the cooking pot. At least no one got hurt in the fire. But he's thrown out into the street with no pay. He doesn't have enough saved up to afford a room, so it's back to...
Living without money: He's scooped up off the street and pressed into a workgang for a week (fortunately without being sold into slavery, despite the additional chance: base 15%, +15% for having Offended a government worker).

Week 10

Week 11
released from the workgang
Event: Thieves steal (1d100=) 63% of his wealth. An unknown person or persons manage to relieve him of his only silver piece. He now has 5cp to his name.
Work: Manages to find a job as a carpenter. 2sp/week isn't great, but at least it comes with food and a roof over his head (Level 2 maintenance). He even saves 10% (2cp) of his wages.

Week 12
Event: His friend, (1d8=)a fellow worker, offends someone, (1d8=) another fellow worker. He comes to his friend's aid, gaining benefits from that and placing the second worker on his Offended list. The +1% and -1% conviction roll modifiers cancel out, and the +10% mitigates the -25% work looking bad penalty somewhat. His new friend will also reduce the chance of being beaten or murdered over gambling by 10%, and gives him a present of (1d20x5=)90sp. His (new) friend would seem to be more than just a common labourer to throw around that kind of money, so I'll put (1d6=3) him down as a foreman.
Work: He saves 6cp this week; not bad with all the nonsense going on at the building site.
Companionship: With his windfall, drinks are on him. Somewhere a little respectable, even. He spends 12sp for Level 3 companionship at an average working class pub; his -1 CHA penalty is now lifted.
Gambling: Oh, a friendly game of cards! Why not? Fortunately he left some of his money at home stuffed into a chink in the wall just in case. But he's got 50sp to play with, and manages to double his money. He's now got 128sp and 13cp. This is thrice the money he came to town with.

Week 13
Event: none
Work: saves 30% of his salary -- 6 more coppers
Gambling: He's still cautious, and only risks 80sp. But I rolled a natural 00 on the gambling table; he wins 100 times his stake: 8000sp. This does come with a 16% chance (2% per 1000sp of winnings) that he will be accused of cheating, and be beaten or killed. Fortunately, he rolls a 29, so nothing untoward happens.

Week 14
Event: Offered a dangerous mission.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Runequest solo 2 - part XI, The sign in the heavens

Scene 20

chaos 7

Setup: kill time in Hasharu

NPC list:
1. Ni'arouj, the Caravan leader
2. Sage
3. Underworld Character
4. Kurkeza / death rune cult
5. The Evil Jeweller

1. find a certain sage

[Back to the Cities tables. Lachaidiga first needs to deduct 80sp for room & board for the end of week 3.

Week 4: no events.
Lachaidiga pays 200sp for Level 5 companionship for both herself and Wihiyaba. She at first tried to coax the jeweller out for the evening, but he is still recovering from his captivity. She's quite bored, however, and manages to drag Wihiyaba out. Her tastes are a bit too posh for him, or else she'd have gone for Level 6 (300sp each) again. Perhaps this is best for her purse. She does spend another 20sp to send the jeweller a basket of fruit and cheese to speed his recovery.

Week 5: no events, but I rolled a 1 on the d6: the time is right. so...]

Since receiving the grimoire, Lachaidiga has done her best to study it, but her increasing boredom with Hasharu and her aggravation at not being admitted to the temple of Ishq-Ihar has made concentration difficult. She's tried going twice a day, every other day, even waiting a whole hour on their doorstep, but the much vaunted Time never seems to be Right. With a groan of frustration she tosses aside the scroll she has been reading, or at least at which she has been blankly staring. The ancient papyrus lands with a crackle, and pieces flake off the edge onto the tablecloth. She gasps at the realisation of what she has just done, take the scroll and kisses the damaged edge gently, promising never to be so unappreciative again. She also make a mental not that learning the charm of Mending should be one of her more immediate priorities.

"Maybe I should get out for a while," she says to herself. "Perhaps if I bought some nicely scented candles, I could study these scrolls after dark, when the heat of this tiresome city isn't so overwhelming." She hunts through her strongbox for some copper coins, and heads purposefully to the market.

As she is admiring a bolt of fine mauve silk, a shadow comes over her. She pays it no notice at first, but then the murmuring of the crowd begins to change. Some screams pierce the air, and the merchant who had been singing the praises of his fine textiles suddenly trails off. She looks around to see a darkness spreading over the market place, over the whole city. A shadow is slowly moving over the face of the sun, blotting out its light. Many fingers are pointing skyward, many voices are praying for deliverance, whilst Lachaidiga has but one thought: the sign!

[Q: Is there general panic? Likely: 32, Yes.

Lachaidiga will need an Athletics (19%) check to make it through the crowd: 82, failure - resulting in 1d8 damage to a random location: she take 1 point to the Right Leg.
Now she needs a Brawn (21%) roll to push through or she'll take more damage: 04, success.]

Lachaidiga leaves her parcel of candles, sweetmeats, a new handkerchief, and cut glass baubles forgotten on the ground as she rushes out of the market -- or tries to. Panic has gripped the crowd and people are running every which way, shrieking and crying, and none mindful of their neighbour. She is nearly swept away amidst the stampeding marketers, falling once or twice but managing to regain her feet before being trampled. She is forced to rudely elbow her way into a side street. Once free, she sprints across the city to the silent temple, driven by her purpose.

Scene 21

chaos 6

Setup: meet the sage

NPC list:
1. Ni'arouj, the Caravan leader
2. Sage
3. Underworld Character
4. Kurkeza / death rune cult
5. The Evil Jeweller

1. find a certain sage

Running through the dark streets, aided of course by her magic, Lachaidiga arrives swiftly at the temple of Ishq-Ihar. She is torn between pausing at the entrance to the alleyway to catch her breath, or going right up to the door. She neither wishes to appear absurd nor arouse their ire with a delay, but when she senses that the door stands open at the end of the dark passage, she knows that she must enter at once.

A monk is waiting inside in the dimly-lit outer sanctum, the same one with whom she has always spoken, the same one who always turns her away. "I got your message," gasps the sorceress, bent nearly double as she hangs on to the door post.

"We did nothing but wait in silence," responds the monk, "The sign had been foretold. That is all. Now compose yourself, for the first of us would speak with you, and whilst your zeal in coming immediately upon witnessing the omen is to be commended, it is best that you enter the sanctum in a state of reflection and serenity."

Lachaidiga says nothing whilst she steadies herself, trying to breathe slowly and evenly, and fighting against her own curiosity and impatience. It takes a supreme effort of will[-power (79%)] to wait in the doorway under the irritatingly impassive gaze of the monk, but she thinks back to her years of study at the college and regulates her thoughts and attention as if preparing to work a great spell.

At length she appears to have recovered for her exertions. "I am calm now," she lies. "I believe 'it is time'."

Lachaidiga thinks she sees the faintest trace of a smirk pass the monk's lips as he turns and silently motions for her to follow. He leads her to a bare wall at the back of the sanctuary, between two idols. He pauses before it. Lachaidiga does the same, aping his every movement in an effort not to do the wrong thing. She cannot help but think that she is still being tested, and must remain on her guard.

As they stare at the rough grey stone, it begins to move, seeming to become almost liquid, draining away like a melting candle. Beyond is a long, marble-floored hypostyle hall with a stepped altar at the far end. Bronze tripods fill the room with a sharp incense; Lachaidiga's nose wrinkles involuntarily with the strong odour. Man-sized, conical candles provide what little light illuminates the scene. Ahead in a pool of darkness, a lone monk sits upon the altar under the glowering image of the Lord of Silence. Lachaidiga cannot see him, nor indeed the great basalt idol behind him, but through her magic she is aware of their presence.

Lachaidiga steps forward into the sanctuary. The monk does not follow. She feels a sudden change in the air, and knows that the wall behind her is solid once again. She does not look back, but proceeds steadily toward the altar. Candles flare into life around the motionless figure as she draws near. The man is very small in stature, and dressed in the same habit as the other monks Lachaidiga has seen in the temple. His face is covered in an intricate pattern of tattoos. She has heard tell that a race of painted men live far, far to the east, across the trackless wastes, but she had never considered that one day she should meet one.

"Sit," he says quietly in the ophidian tongue. Lachaidiga kneels in a gesture of respect as she was taught to do at the sorcerers' college, then thinks better of it and sits across from the monk on the marble floor. She feels his eyes -- and moreover the eyes of the idol behind him -- examining her with more than mundane attention. She mimics the monk's posture, sitting cross legged with hands folded in an attitude of prayer or meditation, and bravely meets his gaze. She is desperate to speak, but dares not.

"You are Lachaidiga," says the painted man, again in flawless Ophidian, "moon-daughter and sorceress. You bear a message from Hhsasv: 'The old one stirs in the darkness below the Crescent. You must seek audience, that she render up her dream'."

"Y--yes," she responds, "but... how can... if you already know the message, why was I sent?"

"The message," says the painted man, "is not for me, but for you. It is you who must go to the ruins of the Crescent, you who must seek audience with the Old One who sleeps in the darkness below. You must report to us her dream."

"I have turned this message over and over in my head, wondering first if within it lay clues to finding you, and then later if perhaps it would tell me when the time for our meeting was ripe. I am afraid I still do not understand it, even with this new revelation."

"Your master," says the painted man, "like most of his kind, is a seeker after ancient knowledge. His especial subject of enquiry is very old indeed, for it concerns the origins of things that were ancient even before the cataclysm. He has, perhaps, told you of this?"

"He has made no secret of it, but has said little to me directly."

"You are young. Perhaps he feels you are not yet ready to understand."

Lachaidiga is about to interject, but bites her lip to avoid an outburst.

"Do you know why you were chosen as his student?" continues the painted man.

"No. All those born in Anzakàr who have the talent for magic are brought to the colleges. Since the serpentfolk care little for our social hierarchy, the masters choose students based on aptitude and merit. I know I was one of the choice students from my raw ability, but my schoolmates used to tease me that my teacher must have offended the other masters somehow to get stuck with that prissy little c-- well, with the cruel thing they called me."

"Your birth was attended by signs, was it not? Your eyes bear the mark of a goddess, is it not so? How then could you fail to see why you were chosen?"

"If the Crescent to which the message refers is the ruins of the great Moon Temple, then I suppose the connexion is obvious. But as to the rest..." Lachaidiga's voice trails off expectantly, but the monk does not complete her sentence, as she had hoped. He continues to stare at her, his face a mask of whorled lines and impassivity. She waits and waits, and the realisation that the monk will not talk until she has arrived at the answer, rather than goading her to solve the problem, rather pushes all other thoughts from her mind. She has always hated these exercises in mysticism, much to the consternation of her teachers and the delight of her classmates who were always jealous of her facility with the practical aspects of spell weaving. Even her sweet Nillath used to tease her gently when she complained of it, saying that she was destined not to become a wise old sorceress, but a mad one. But this is certainly not what she should be pondering now. Flustered at her inability to respond, she gives voice to her confusion, hoping it will provoke the monk into a response. "I have consulted with a prophetess. Not even she can tell me the meaning of these portents, and says I'm particularly resistant to prophecy besides."

"Hhsasv had appraised me of your lack of clarity, and insisted that it be no impediment to your performance of the task that has been set for you."

"I can assure you that it will not. I came to find you and was told I must await the right time. I did so, and saw the sign. I have learnt the lesson--"

"You have learnt nothing," interjects the monk. "Your impatience and inability to trust in the judgement of others do you no credit. It was quite a commotion you caused in our order, applying to the Speaking Brother so often as to make your self a true nuisance to the serenity of the temple. More than a few of the aspirants were found to treat your coming as a game for their amusement, and put aside the Teachings of Holy Silence to laugh and joke like unruly children. And all the while you came, and came, and came again, a drop of water to wear away our stone. Nor did any reflection on your part reveal the truth of your task. Hhsasv and I have been in communion for some time. We had felt a change coming, a movement of ancient and hidden powers. The first stirrings he saw by observing the heavens and reading the signs writ on the face of the Moon. It was he who traced the moon's path through the heavens, who knew the time was drawing near to send you, moon-daughter, to seek the interview with the dreamer. And, being overly given to sentiment, he still feels you are under his tutelage. You had troubles in Anzakàr, and he wished to see the burden lifted. So he sent you here to await the coming of the eclipse, that you might be free to prepare for the task at hand, and that you might learn to stand on your own. There is much you must yet do to prepare, moon-daughter. But I see you do not yet understand. Come, seat yourself closer to this censer. Think deeply on the lessons you have received, and contemplate the task ahead of you. May the Lord of Silence bless your meditation with his understanding."

Lachaidiga does as she is bid. She wraps her garments more closely about her, against the cold of the dark hall. She sits next to the smoking censer on the marble step, trying not to fidget overmuch as she makes herself comfortable. She breathes deeply of the bitter smoke and clears her mind of all distracting thoughts, concentrating solely on the stone image of Ishq-ihar she can feel gazing down at her from atop the altar. After a few moments of discipline, reflection, and solid determination, a profound sense of peace washes over the sorceress, who falls quite asleep.