Thursday, 12 February 2015

LotFP Solo - Part the Forty-First: "Then share with titled crowds the common lot"

day 118

The ride to Wandlebourne is uneventful. Lycinia arrives in early afternoon, pays the 1sp entrance toll, and leads her horse into the city. She hopes to remember how to find the inn she once stayed in with her friends when they were helping poor Eril, the vampire -- that place with the famous eel pies...

--- --- ---

So, now that Lycinia is in Wandlebourne, her city adventure (i.e. knocking around semi-aimlessly) was played out with the City Catch-Up Tables in the Midkemia Press Cities book. Play continued until she rolled Offered a Dangerous Mission, at which point the 7-scene adventure with Ruprecht the fighter and Thiery the specialist began.

Now that I'm used to how the tables work, I think they have even greater value for soloists than just running through them as is. It would be a good experiment to run through them a bit at a time, using them to frame an adventure and set up scenes to be played out with Mythic (or what have you) rather then just taking each result as a given. But this is a project for another day; right now I will just write up the weekly events & activities as they came, and present a series of vignettes inspired by the table results, as some of this becomes the foundation for the adventure which follows after the dangerous mission.

For reference (d30 Sandbox companion results), Wandlebourne is a small city of about 7200 residents. It is a plutocracy, run by the shipping and trade guilds. The economy is prosperous and the people are accepting of outsiders. There is one good armoursmith, 3 horse dealers, and an alchemist (other shops to be determined as necessary).

Also, now that she's both finished her Quest and forced to live in the human realms, I'm going to switch from recording time by how many days it's been since the 8 elves left Feyalldra, and switch to an actual campaign calendar. The calendar is based on the normal Gregorian calendar, but I will rename the months and days at some point to make them more fantasy-sounding. New Year's Eve falls on the 122nd day of the Quest-time reckoning, 4 days after she gets to Wandlebourne.

Enough with the notes already; onwards to 'adventure'!

Week 1 (ends on the 3rd day of the new year)

Event: (+5% for event occurrence due to high INT and general getting-into-trouble-ness) Offended someone -- an aristocrat (a d% roll on the Aristocrat sub-table in the encounter section makes a Gentleman); she must pay 1d100=49% of total worth to avoid going to jail or having to flee.

Lycinia is minding her own business in a public house near the inn (for a change of scene) when a gaudily dressed fop backs into her table, spilling her wine all over him and ruining -- absolutely ruining, do you hear!? -- his costly silk garment. He suggests that if she gave him some of the sparkly trinkets she is wearing, he might be so distracted by their glimmer as to forget this most heinous affront. Lycinia had just been brooding over the loss of gentle Miolla, who, she reasons, would be most upset if Lycinia were to gut this idiot right here and now. She wordlessly removes a handful of jewellery and hands it over wordlessly, though makes a point of resting her hand on her sword hilt when done. The fop scurries off with his prizes.

She has given up the porphyry pendant, 3 gold rings, and the ornate bronze fibula (900sp in total -- slightly more than half of her total worth); the incident still will give her a -10% penalty to any Accused Of A Crime rolls.

Looking for work: it's either get a job, or go through the hassle of selling jewellery for living expenses. So she decides to see what's out there. She gets a +10 modifier on the search for having a noble background, and +10 for being literate. 1d100+20=60, a Noble-type job is found: 1d24=21, scholar. It pays 3d20=38sp weekly, + maintenance (room/board/clothing) at Lvl4 (upper class).

Lycinia has been attracting no small amount of attention wandering through the wealthy district of the city. Rumours have spread of her run-in with the fop, and the sight of her walking through the city streets in her new dress (and with the gleaming sword at her belt) cannot help but attract attention. Someone soon decides that their new-years' ball would have just that much more caché with one of the fair folk present, and presses an invitation into her hand before any of their peers/rivals have a chance to do the same.

At the ball in another new dress (and still with her sword!), she meets a dizzying array of cads, rascals, social climbers, libertines both fashionable and otherwise, soi-disants poets, courtesans, cuckolds, and their hangers-on. She is overwhelmed by it all, and wishes she'd held out for a better invitation.

She is rescued in the end by the unlikeliest of white knights. Terentius Holzfäller is a lawyer: educated, wealthy, successful, but ultimately of low birth. His one desire in life, he explains, is to see his daughter rise to a station that befits her and marry into a noble family. To this end, he has spared no expense on her education, which, he adds with evident pride, is progressing very well. She is very accomplished in music, dancing, history, and languages, though her command of elvish (high and low) suffers from only ever having had human tutors. Would she perhaps...

Lycinia readily accepts the position, and spends the rest of the party getting to know her new employer. The other attendees wonder how on earth such a peasant could hold the attentions of the mysterious fairy woman.

Savings: (d% roll, no bonuses for Wis or living conditions) She saves 30% of her salary this week (11sp 4cp). Also, the free room&board that comes with her job means she doesn't have to pay any living expenses for the week. I decided this meant that Terentius paid her tab at the inn as a gesture of his largesse.

Gambling: No.

Purchases: She bought 2 fine dresses (25sp each).

Learn new skills/weapons: I had written, 'no - wrong game' in my notes, but it occurs to me that this could be used to pick up skills for the job tables and maybe things like 'sailor' as per the LotFP rules. But that's for later, too.

Also, she earns 25xp for every week not spent incarcerated. I'll tally these later.

Week 2 (days 4-10)

Lycinia spends this week getting to know her charge. Emmeline is 17 years old. She is very bright, exceptionally charming and good-natured, and somewhat excitable. She is average height, slender, much fairer than her father, and usually described as 'tolerably pretty' rather than beautiful. Lycinia finds her a bit frivolous, but likes her well enough. Emmeline is somewhat in awe of the elf, but excited that they are nearly the same size; they can share each others clothes!

Emmeline speaks fairly good elvish, but like most humans her accent is appalling -- worse than ever Aldira's was. Lycinia and Emmeline speak elvish exclusively in private, and in public whenever it isn't impolite. Lycinia is happy having someone she can talk to in the city without resorting to barbarous human tongues.
Miss Emmeline Holzfäller
Ch 16 CN 11 Dx 8 In 14 St 8 Wi 9
0-level HP 4 Morale 7

Event: Lycinia helps an aristocrat. A d% roll of 96 indicates the aristocrat has superb connexions, and offers to get Lycinia titled.

Whilst Emmeline is showing Lycinia the city (one boutique at a time), there is a sudden commotion in the marketplace. An aged noblewoman is yelling, "Stop! Thief!" as her aged manservant runs ineffectually after the culprit. Lycinia uses her magic, and the sleeping thief is quickly apprehended by the city watch arriving on the scene.

Later that day, a letter is delivered to Lycinia by a liveried footman. It contains a message from the noblewoman, offering her saviour the benefit of her influence at court. Why, with a few words to the King and Queen, she could be made a baroness! She writes back -- dictating to Emmeline -- politely declining the offer, and signing her missive Princess Lycinia, with all due forms of elven formality. It is intended as a lesson for Emmeline, but she is surprised to find that her charge knows as much about the elvish systems of nobility as she does about her own people's.

Work: Lycinia saves her whole salary this week, as Emmeline (or, more precisely, Emmeline's maid with a purse full of papa's money) pays for everything.

Purchases: Emmeline does convince Lycinia to buy 2 more nice dresses (20sp each) for every day wear. She does not reveal her plans to borrow them...yet.

Week 3 (days 11-17)

Lycinia has a lot to learn about human society. The upper classes especially are so different to the nobles of fair Feyalldra. Even the Unseelie Court which rules the Goblin Forest is less alien than these creatures. Lycinia is quite scandalised to learn that, as much as her father has done everything in his power to raise his beloved daughter as a woman of quality, he has somehow neglected to teach her to fight with sword and spear. Emmeline insists that this is hardly unusual, but Lycinia won't hear of it. She drags Emmeline to the weaponsmith's to buy a pair of rapiers and some armour for Emmeline to wear during lessons. Emmeline protests that it isn't strictly ladylike, but is inwardly thrilled.

Work: Lycinia saves nothing this week.
Purchases: 50sp for rapiers & armour

Week 4 (days 18-24)

Event: Befriended someone - a government worker. This person's influence will reduce any jail time by -1d6 weeks, reduces the chance of enslavement from being on a workgang to 05%, and gives a +10% bonus to avoid conviction if accused of crime (cancelling the penalty gained in week 1)

Lycinia often goes visiting with Emmeline, who is anxious to show off her new tutor; it has by now become common gossip amongst Wandlebourne's polite society that an elven princess is attached to the Holzfäller household. Lycinia is somewhat baffled by the attention, but uses it as a way to learn about how humans, or at least a certain stratum of humans, think.

Occasionally Lycinia is introduced to someone whom she considers worthy of notice. At one soirée, she runs into a woman named Byrsinadd, who is an inspector for the bureau of weights and measures. Byrsinadd was once a trader working the Ullgrim-Cheapington-Wandlebourne overland route for a maritime exporter, and picked up a working knowledge of elvish language, and more importantly, etiquette, on the job. She also has a wry wit, and makes Lycinia laugh with (not at) her.

Work: She saves 10% of her salary (3sp 8cp)

Companionship is a nebulous little entry. Basically, a character requires companionship once every 5 weeks or they will lose a point of Charisma per week until they get some, at which point CHA returns to normal. Companionship comes in 6 levels, as does Room & Board and clothing maintenance. Companionship at level 3 or less comes with a chance of disease. Nowhere, however, is companionship defined. I assumed, on first reading (and as my previous posts will attest) that it was just supposed to represent generally going out and socialising, and the chance of disease (which lowers CON) was merely indicative of the insalubrious character of lower establishments: dirty kitchens, dirty patrons, that stock fantasy tavernkeeper wiping the counter with a dirty rag, etc. But the more I look at it, the more it occurs to me that this is supposed to be some abstract euphemism for visiting brothels. Now, I'm no prude -- at the time of writing the book on my night table is actually a collection of short stories by the Marquis de Sade (Contes étranges, Gallimard 2014) -- but I prefer my less specific and (potentially) less bawdy interpretation.

Lycinia is not joined to her charge at the hip, and occasionally finds herself with a night off and nothing to do. She tracks down her new friend, Brysinadd, and the two spend an evening at the Anchor eating eel pies, drinking rather too much mead, and kvetching about mutual acquaintances in Society [Level 4 companionship, 20sp, 0% chance of illness].

Week 5 (days 25-31)

Week 5 passes without incident.

Week 6 (days 32-38)

Four items of interest: combining them all (plus some loose interpretation) makes up the narrative at the end.

Event: befriend someone - guildmaster. They give the PC a present of 50sp and provide a +5% bonus to avoid conviction is accused of a crime.

Work: save 30% of salary (11sp 4cp)

Gambling: +5% bonus on the gambling results table due to 16 INT. She risks 50sp, breaks even.

Companionship: level 2. costs 4sp, 15% chance of disease (70=avoided)

Terentius does not ever expect Lycinia to accompany him and his daughter to the great cathedral of the Light God in Wandlebourne. So when they must attend an important festival (The Vigil of St. Uriun, an all-night affair), she finds herself once again seeking the company of her new friend. Brysinadd, it so happens, never met a card game she didn't like; in fact she'd been invited to one this evening, and would her new friend like to come along? Lycinia has never before experienced this arcane human ritual, and decides it's in the best interests of her education to try it at least once.

Brysinadd leads Lycinia through the narrow side streets near the docks to a seedy little tavern. It's overcrowded, and seems to currently be on fire ("no, that's just tobacco smoke," her friend assures her), but isn't obviously a den of thieves or cutthroats. Lycinia offers to buy them some wine; they don't serve wine here. Lycinia settles for an ale, and Brysinadd a beer, which the barman mysteriously pours out of the same barrel. "So it's that kind of place," observes Lycinia in elvish [Level 2 companionship].

The two fight their way through the crowd to a door round the back, and Brysinadd knocks a staccato rhythm. A scowling, one-eyed man bids them enter.

Despite the plain attire of the dozen or so people in the hazy little room, they are obviously all well-to-do. The little club is comprised of ship captains, minor functionaries, shop stewards, even a landless nobleman. There are two tables are for cards, and a third for dice. Stakes are cash only, and no credit is ever given; they're all in positions of financial responsibility, and have witnessed their 'betters' ruined by gaming debts, so will have none of that here. Brysinadd didn't want to see her new friend forced to flee the city on her first real night out.

Lycinia tries her hand at cards, and has soon lost everything in her purse. The master of the sailmakers guild takes pity on the poor confused elf, and gives her a purse of 50sp so she can keep playing. Her fortunes remain variable, but in the end she manages to walk out with a larger purse than she brought in [50+11-4=57sp, +4cp].

"So," asks Brysinadd, as they walk home through the cold dawn, "what did you think?"

"It was interesting," says Lycinia, "but it's not really my thing. I went from a life of ease in the forest one day to a quest full of perils and horrors and strife and... and now that I've gone back to a quite and, honestly, idle life, I find that despite all the terror and death I really miss it. Tonight just saw no real risk. I just wish -- I dunno -- someone would come up to me and say 'I really need your help, for this dangerous mission...'"

Week 7

Event: Sometimes wishes come true...


  1. Wishes sometimes come true, eh? I will continue to read and see.

    -- Jeff

    1. When you wish for a dangerous mission, there's about a 6% chance of it coming true per week (provided you have INT 13+).