Friday, 29 May 2015

LotFP solo dungeon crawl - Part II

Took us near five days to get healed up all proper in town. And Tleera went and hired us a local girl to carry a lantern so we could worry about the fighting instead of the lighting. And by then we'd used up all the silver what we found in the Vaults [84sp lodging, 21sp for the linkgirl's salary for the next 5 days]. So 'twere really time to go win us some more!

We gave the linkgirl (I forget her name; it was like Miss Enpysie or summat) Hostrick's lantern -- he weren't going to be needing it in the churchyard. And I gave me own one to Ethy, seeing as how she didn't like to have a shield.

And so we goes back and we goes back in. First thing Ethy does, is she says she wants to check to see if them bandits is still hanging about, on account of we didn't even look when we got the hell out of there. So she puts the lantern to where it's only giving out a sliver of light and she goes all stealthy-like down the corridor. She comes back in a minute and says they all left [according to Mythic. And there was no random encounter with new occupants in the room.] We looks over the empty room, but it didn't have nothing interesting, nor traps nor treasures, nor secret doors.

So we goes out to the intersection [A] and this time we goes right. And there's a torchlight flickering at the end of the corridor. So goes towards it, and finds a couple a human lasses standing in front of it [D -  wandering monster: 2 acolytes].

They was friendly enough [reaction=9], and told us what they was here looking to find out what happened to some friends of theirs. They come into the Vaults
some days ago and ain't been seed since.

[Q: Are they allied with the bandits? Yes
Q: Do they want help? Yes]

Their friends seemed like them guys we met right off the entrance room, by their description. Well they was nice enough when we met them -- or harmless enough at any rate -- so we offers to help look. And I think they was glad of the company.

            CH CN DX IN ST WI HP
Jirtin f C1 12  9 12 12 11 16  4 leather & light mace
Belota f C1  9 14 12  8 11 13  5 chainmail & light mace
Spells- J: Cure Light Wounds; B: Bless
Morale: 7

So we goes for a ways, Jirtin and Belota -- that were the new girls names -- bringing up the rear, as they were just holy types, and not of such battle-loving gods like our dear Sister Midge.

And we come to this weird place where the corridor goes all diagonal for a bit, and real wide [Room 5 - environment only], some thirty feet or so. And it's full of fire. Big gouts of flame shooting up from the floor and down from the ceiling and out the walls on all sides.

We weren't feeling none too suicidal, so we left well enough alone and passed it by. Up another long hall where we found another door [E]. Doors is good at making one curious. So we opens it, and goes in.

[Room 6 - Monster & Environment]
There were a great big room, so big the lantern light didn't reach the far end. And it once must of been a real nice vaulted ceiling, like with columns and such, but summat had happened and it were mostly all collapsed in the centre [Environment: lots of hard cover]. There was tree roots growing through the ceiling. Them it must of been what pushed down the vault. Didn't seem too dangerous though [Architecture roll succeeds], nor for us nor for them what we found in it [4 Acolytes + leader, C2].

[Q: Bandit allies? No.
Reaction: 5
Q: Does it end in violence? Yes.]

They was a bunch of holy types, in long black robes with big black hoods -- and armour underneath -- and wearing big wooden medallions around their necks what I could tell meant trouble. Ethy tried to talk to the leader, but everyone could see he was just sizing us up. Then Tleera tried to enspell him all sneaky like [Charm Person], but it didn't work. And then things got ugly.

The lead holy man -- I should probably say UNholy man -- ordered his lot to attack. Me and Izayne was hiding behind some of the rubble with our crossbows, and when we hears him we pops up and lets them bolts fly. Thwunk! Thwunk! Two of them go down quick as that. Then Kella screams out a battle cry and runs right at the leader, whilst Ethy is still backpedalling to draw her sword. Kella runs the guy straight through, right under the heavy breastplate he's got on under his robes, and that were all for him [6x2=12 damage, dropping him to -1hp]. The other two [morale fails] bolted right out the southern passage.

Ethy and Kella runs after them, and sees that they run right into some big lizard thing coming up the corridor [F - wandering monster], probably to see what all the commotion were about.

reptilian beast
unintelligent AL:C
AC: 17, HD 3+1, Move: 150', 1 bite: 1d6, ML: 10
exudes Slow gas (save vs. magic or slowed for 1 turn)

They is already killed the thing when Ethy and Kella got there, but it had filled the corridor with some sort of smelly vapours, and everyone what breathed too deeply started moving real slow-like. Everything they did was all drawed out and they even talked half speed, to say nothing of fighting!

Well one of the fleeing guys musta held his breath or summat, cause he was gone by the time the rest of us got there. We just watched as Ethy and Kella fought the last of 'em, looking more like they was in a dream than a real fight. Kinda eerie it were, and we wasn't about to get slowed neither, so we's just watched. Ethy finally stabs the guy through his neck with that sharp thin sword of hers, and I swears what his blood were slow in hitting the ground, too.

Well, it wore off pretty quick, and by that time we'd looted the bodies. Only about 100 silvers between the lot, but we needs the money, we does! [Each had treasure type U; total of 49sp on one, 50sp on another.]

We went past the dead monster right quick-like, and ended up going in a circle past the fire again. So then back up past the door to the room we was just in [E] and then up to this really big passage [G] what had really ornate decorations on the walls, and a fine set of double doors [H] to boot. We searched the wall like hell but we didn't find nothing. So we tried the big doors.

They opens into a big funny-shaped room [Room 7 - Special], kind of like a sawed off triangle, and with a huge set of stairs going way down into the darkness [down to level 2].

We wasn't ready to go deeper, so we goes out the side door, and down a passage, which forked at the end. We goes right. At the end of the corridor there was this weird-shaped room [Room 8 - Monster & Environment]. I mean it were just a square, but he floor was all slanted down from where we come in to the exit on the opposite corner[I], all smooth and round, like we was standing on the edge of a quarter of a bowl.

We was just starting down when out the bottom corridor come a whole pack of these gross, snappy lizard things. They was about 3 foot tall, and stood on these tiny legs, and ain't had no arms to speak of, but a long jittery tail. Didn't need non either, cause they had a big head what was all mouth. They run up and surrounded us, and we had to fight. Only the slope was awkward, and every time you took a hit you as like as not loose your footing and tumble right down to the bottom. Course, they had the same problem as us, though not many of them was as could take more than a single good hit and get up again.

[Environment: floor slanted. Anyone hit in melee must save vs. paralyzation or tumble down to the bottom, losing their next action.]

bitey lizard things
unintelligent AL:C
AC: 16, HD 1/2, Move: 90', 1 bite: 1d8, ML: 12

We got 'em all in the end [6 rounds], though we was a little banged up. And Izayne looked like she were near bit in half, but our new friend Jirtin's holy magic put her to rights [Cure light wounds back to full hp].

So we went carefully out the exit, and the corridor branches off. The first way we goes down was a dead end [J]. We searched it a good long time, but weren't nothing to find there. "Weird," I says, "that someone'd build a big long useless corridor and have it all dead end without a room or even something hid."

And Izayne says, "We've come through all these strange chambers..."

"...and just now you're starting to find it weird?" finishes Tleera.

Well, they was right: none of this were normal. But I guess what wizards got their own ideas about construction that don't make sense to us normal folks. And sometimes not even to other wizards!

So we thought to go the other way, but the corridor was filled with gas or fog or some such like [K] and we didn't fancy wading through it. So we turns back and decides what we should try our luck the other way.

We comes to a big room, [Room 9 - Monster & Environment] long and tall, and with a balcony [the environment] running round three of the sides. There were steep steps up on either end, facing towards the way we comes in, and we sees a door on the upper level at the far end leading out. Underneath it all were pretty empty, just some old wooden benches, and what were prolly once a table down the middle of the room. But a door's a door, and made to be opened. So we tromps up the stairs, half of us on either side, and we makes to open it.

Only we never got that far. We feels like this wind stir up, up there weren't no wind. It were these wispy, smoke-like phantoms what drifted all around us. All mournful and immaterial-like they was -- when you could see 'em at all, that is -- and they had some nasty little claws, and they takes a mean swipe at us.

diaphanous phantoms
semi-intelligent undead AL:C
AC: 16, HD 1/2, Move: 150', claws: 1d8, ML: 12, #appearing: 1d6
invisible, surprise on 1-5

[surprise round]
They was everywhere! [there were 1d6=4 of them] Suddenly Tleera screams in pain and falls, her back a bloody mess [6 damage put her at -2hp]. Jirtin got her face all clawed off and dropped too [7 damage put her at -3hp, mortally wounded]. And one must found a hole in Sister Midge's armour, cuz she started spraying blood every which way and fell over the balcony [7 damage dropped her to -4hp; she was dead before she hit the ground].

We was pretty spooked, and run out the way we came. That linkgirl got tore to shreds [4 damage, down to 0hp], and I even felt some sharp little claws down me back [1 damage drops our narrator to 2hp].

We was lucky they didn't follow us. Felt bad 'bout leaving all our comrades-in-arms, and even that link girl (what was her name?), but we was in no shape to fight for their bodies. So we thought we'd get out of these damn Vaults and come back once we had our strength up -- and a couple o' hired swords to go with!

We got to the bowl room [Room 8] all safe-like, and paused to catch our breath. And light a torch to go with Ethy's lantern, now that our linkgirl weren't with us no more.

We shoulda just went the way we came, but I thought what we could take a shortcut back to join up with the fountain room [Architecture check to estimate relative position on the map]. We was walking down a corridor in that direction, and then there were a flapping of wings in the dark. And these two stirges [L - wandering monster] come right at us!

Kella and Ethy was hit straight off, and the little buggers latched right on with them snouts o' theirs. Kella got hers off on the point of her short sword, but Ethy weren't so lucky. Damn thing near drained her dry [to -3hp, mortal wound]. I killed it meself, but Ethy were not long for this world. We drags her off with us, but we knew it were just so's we could bury her [she had 1d10=8minutes to live].

And to think, it were a door that trapped the stirges in that hall. Else they'd a flied out and we'd might not of lost Ethy. But that door weren't too good for us even with the stirges gone.

We opens it and goes into a big empty room [Room 10 Trick/Trap] with a door on the other side, what I were sure must lead to the fountain room, if me instincts were correct. But when I tries to open it, it were stuck. And the other door'd closed all of itself, all quiet-like. So I pulls harder on the door, and then I hears a click. And then a big rumble. And then the floor seems to give way a little, only it don't move out from under my feets. "Ah shite," I says when I realises it, "the whole room be descending!"

Down and down it went, I'm guessing a good hundred feet or so [trick/trap: elevator room down 1d4+1=3 levels; now Room 4.1] afore it finally stops. Well, we was well and truly buggered now if we couldn't find our way back up and out the dungeon. We laid Ethy out as nice and peaceful-looking as we could -- no sense in dragging her about until what we found some stairs. So we gives our new cleric friend Ethy's lantern, and me and Izayne gets our crossbows ready, and we sets out to explore the deep levels.

Marching order:

So we opens one of the doors to find a big chamber what we could barely see, what with all the webs filling it from wall to wall [Room 4.2 - Environment only]. They wasn't too hard to avoid, and not so devilishly sticky like what them wizards like to make, but they made it hard to wee what was what [Environment: webs. PCs must make Search rolls to find anything in the room]. We was about to give up when Izayne finds a whole door hid beneath 'em.

We goes up the corridor a ways to a crossroads, and picks a direction. There was a side passage we ignored, but we ended up in a empty chamber [A], what we decided to ignore.

So we tries the side passage, and off it we comes to a even bigger side passage [B]. It were some 20' wide, and had a row of columns down the middle. It goed a ways then bends around a corner. We thought what how the stairs we seen up on the first level were in a big funny room, all fancy-like, and off a great wide gallery, so's we though maybe this'd lead us back up. Or we hoped it would.

We followed the bed and it let out in a grand long chamber [Room 4.3 - Monster & Environment - lots of cover]. The columns kept on in straight up through the middle, and then formed a kind of rounded diamond shape near the far end. And there was all these benches looking like them arse-breakers the humanfolk likes to put in their churches.

But inside the ring were this big old skeleton beast. About the size of a cow it were, but with fangs. It were looking pretty angry to see us, so we just backed up real slow-like and got out before it had a chance to eat us up. Or whatever skeleton beasts do to living folk.

skeleton beast
unintelligent undead AL:C
AC: 18, HD 4, Move: 60', bite: 1d6, ML: 12
turns clerics

So we tries a different way. We tromps all the way down and finds yet another empty chamber [C] what we also couldn't be bothered to search. Wasted trip, waste o' time. So we goes all the way back, and tries a different passage off the crossroads. We comes to a big chamber with a lot o' ways out [Room 4.4 - monster only]. But there were something horrible in it. A big spidery sort of thing with long arms ending in suckers [rhagodessa, 26hp]. And it were fast. But there were four of us, so we had at it.

Expert rules p. X38
AC: 16, HD 4+2, Move: 150', sucker or bite, ML: 9, #appearing: 1d4

[round 1 - it wins initiative]
It reached out to Kella with them sucker hands, and grabbed her good. Me and Izayne takes our shots, hoping not to hit our friend [it's a Large target, so there's only a 1 in 3 of hitting Kella]. Izayne's hit the beastie, just barely [1 damage]. Mine didn't go anywhere near. Belota hit it pretty solid with her mace [6 damage puts it at 19hp].

[round 2]
And then it just casually pulled Kella to its great big open mouth, and just bites her head clean off and spits it out again [automatic hit, 7damage puts her at -4, dead]. We was so shocked we just sort a stared at it all dumb-like [in game terms, miss miss miss].

[round 3]
Then it goes and grabs Izayne. We all tries to save her, but only Belota did it any real hurt [4 damage puts it at 15hp].

[round 4]
That were it for Izayne. It bit her head off with a crunch. And chewed it up good. Guess it just don't like eating helmets. I were sure by the look on her face what Belota were going to run, but she she didn't [passed Morale (7) check]. And I finally hits the thing, and makes a big, satisfying crunch with me hammer [8 damage drops it to 7hp].

[round 5]
That sent it reeling a bit, and it didn't get a hold of either of us. Belota even gave it another good thwack [5 damage leaves it with 2hp].

[round 6]
I were sure it'd flee after that, but it didn't. And it grabs me with its sucker but good. What with all the shakin' about and pullin' I couldn't get a decent hit on it, and kept getting in Belota's way too [they both miss].

[round 7]
Then it pulls me all close like, and would you believe, it bites me head clean off [6 damage to -4hp, dead]. And I remember it going dark, and thinking its breath were a lot less worse than you'd think it'd be!

Well, I didn't see too much after that, and things get a little disjointed, ha! It spit me head out, on account of it can't chew through a good helm, and I saw Belota running away. She goes out of sight real quick, but the spider monster runs after her, and it were a fast little bugger. I hears it catch her, and then there's a chomping noise, and that were kind of it. I seen it come back and drag Kella's body off [back to Room 4.2], and after a while it comes back for Izayne's and mine.

So that's all I knows. I don't know if it answered your question or not, but I hope there were something in it what can help you find your magic artifact. It sure were nice of you guys to stop by.

--- --- ---

The necromancer set the old and crumbling dwarf skull back down on the stone floor where he had found it. He looks to his companion, who is still standing there in stunned silence. "I suppose you were right," he says, after along pause. I guess you really can use that spell on non-humans." [v. Speak with Dead: LotFP Rules & Magic, p. 130]

"Why... why would the archmage tell us something so blatantly untrue?"

"After what we just witnessed, I'd say it was for our own good!"

Friday, 22 May 2015

LotFP solo dungeon crawl - Part I

So there I was in some lousy little human village, down to me last few silvers, and wondering just what I can possibly do next to earn a few coins before all me money's spent and I gotta go back to mercenary fighting. Not that I got nothing against it; it's a fine tradition what's claimed the lives o' many from me clan in glorious battle against, well, whichever o' them human armies is paying less. But I always thought I had a better destiny. But I didn't seem to find it at the bottom of me cup. So I thought I'd try another.

And as I was stumbling up towards the bar again, I hear this voice behind me. "Hey, dwarf!" it said. And I knew it must mean me, since I were the only of our fine folk in this crappy burb.

"What?" says I, turning about. There's this big guy standing there holding some rolled up scroll in his hand.

"My companions and I," he says, "have come into the possession of this treasure map. Fortune and glory await in the depths of the earth, for those bold enough to win them back from the forces of evil. And my companions and I are plenty bold, aye, but we're smart too. We know we'd stand a far better chance underground with a cunning dwarf to guide us. What do you say? There's an equal share of the treasure in it for you!"

Well, what could I say, really?

[Sometimes you just want to play a nice old-school dungeon. I'd come up with the germ of an idea about how to make solo dungeons more interesting, which on reflection will work equally well for an OSR game as it would a d% one. But it's much easier to roll up a D&D Basic party than it is to do one for a Chaosium BASIC rpg. And, if truth be told, something is pulling me back towards medieval fantasy at the moment. I suppose my non-gaming reading of late is to blame: medieval Latin poetry, a William Morris novel, a 15th century Danse Macabre, a 12th century grimoire... so, yeah, LotFP it is.

The idea is to make a party of brand new first level characters and send them into the dungeon -- and hopefully out again. Should any of them fall and the body not be recovered, I will note the location of the corpse and any equipment/treasure left therewith. That way, successive groups of adventurers can visit the same dungeon and perhaps benefit from those who came before (this post in Battreps' blog made me really want to do an iterative dungeon crawl like this again).

The party was rolled completely at random. I even rolled d8s on the Creating an NPC Party table on page B52 of the (Moldvay) Basic rulebook to determine class. Attributes were by the LotFP book: 3d6 in order, with the option to swap one pair of scores. They all rolled pretty low for starting equipment, from 70-120sp, but that honestly made it more fun. I was hoping for a bunch of down-on-their-luck types for whom a serviceable sword would count as decent treasure.

I'm not sure if this is in the same world as my other LotFP campaign or not. I'm running it with the same assumptions about monsters and magic for now.

This is essentially a field test of my DMG Appendix A modifications. I will share the charts & tables I come up with, though they will certainly change as I decide to tweak the numbers or refine the options. And rather than write up tons of rules in advance, I'm making them up on the spot. I've got a rough table with c. 50 results, some of which are probably duplicates, others which probably belong on the Trick/Trap table (which I also want to redo in its entirety). Once I have something even half-coherent to present, I'll make a PDF of it all to share. The core conceit is a an overhaul of Table V.F.: Chamber or Room Contents.

Die   Contents
1-4   Empty
5-7   Monster only
8-10  Monster & Treasure*
11-13 Monster & Environment**
14-15 Monster & Treasure* & Environment**
16-17 Environment** only
18    Special, or contains stairway up 1 level (1-5),
      up 2 levels (7-8), down 1 level (9-14), down 2 levels (15-19),
      or down 3 levels — 2 flights of stairs and a slanting passageway (20).
19    Trick/Trap (see TABLE VII.)
20    Treasure (see TABLE V.G.)

* Treasure with a monster is by B/X Treasure Type (LL Hoard Class). Monsters with Nil treasure use TABLE V.G. instead. NB. I reduce the coinage amounts to account for the silver standard of LotFP
** This is that list of 50 things I mentioned above, things that make it harder and/or more interesting to move through the rooms. I should probably make it so more of the empty rooms are environment only, but this is the chart as I have been playing off it for the first batch of delves. I'll post an updated version whenever I start using it. Along with all the environmental rules, at some point.

I'll be using Mythic as an oracle, B/X wandering monster charts for encounters and Best of Dragon random monsters when the charts steer me wrong (which is usually). As this is more about the dungeon exploration than anything else, the PCs will be a little less developed as people, and the combats will be presented in an abbreviated form (unless truly spectacular). Now, let's return to our dwarven narrator as he introduces the party...]

They was a desperate looking bunch, to be sure -- all cheap equipment and patched clothes. Well, I couldn't be too precious about my choice of companions. I weren't exactly wearing a fine coat o' dwarven mail meself!

Dwarf, Level 1, male
Cha 9 Con 11 Dex 8 Int 11 Str 14 Wis 13
Hit Points: 10
Armour: leather & shield
Weapons: warhammer, light crossbow & 10 bolts
Equipment: backpack, lantern, tinderbox, quiver, 2 flasks of oil, sack, 50' rope, grappling hook, 4sp, 8cp

The one what got me attention were a big, strong one, like what I said. Ardulan he were called. He were a soldier in the King's army -- formerly that is. With a beat up old shield an' a old iron-tipped spear.

Fighter, Level 1, male
Cha 13 Con 12 Dex 9 Int 10 Str 16 Wis 6
Hit Points: 8
Armour: leather & shield
Weapons: spear
Equipment: backpack, 50' rope, grappling hook, 11sp

Next to him were Kella, a warrior-girl in the old style, with her leather skirted armour and her little stabbing sword. Smart as a wizard, that one. Dunno why she weren't in charge.

Fighter, Level 1, female
Cha 10 Con 12 Dex 14 Int 15 Str 14 Wis 4
Hit Points: 8
Armour: leather & shield
Weapons: shortsword
Equipment: backpack, 9sp

Then there was Tleera and Izayne, a pair o' witches what was always finishing each others sentences. Creepy, but affable enough as witch sisters go.

Magic-User, Level 1, female
Cha 13 Con 10 Dex 11 Int 11 Str 13 Wis 12
Hit Points: 4
Armour: leather
Weapons: rapier, 2 darts, silvered dagger
Equipment: backpack, tinderbox, 2 torches, scroll case, pouch, vial, wolvesbane, garlic, 14sp, 5cp
Spellbook: Read Magic, Charm Person, Detect Magic, Magic Missile

Magic-User, Level 1, female
Cha 10 Con 9 Dex 10 Int 16 Str 10 Wis 12
Hit Points: 3
Armour: leather
Weapons: staff, light crossbow & 10 bolts
Equipment: backpack, holy water, 2 flasks of oil, quiver, 44sp
Spellbook: Read Magic, Feather Fall, Hold Portal, Bookspeak

Hostrick was a barbarian from across the big water. Nice axes he had. And a proper beard, too.

Fighter, Level 1, male
Cha 13 Con 10 Dex 11 Int 11 Str 13 Wis 10
Hit Points: 8
Armour: leather
Weapons: battle axe, 2 throwing axes
Equipment: backpack, sack, lantern, 2 flasks of oil, 19sp, 8cp

There were a holy woman called Sister Midge. Just out of the convent, and looking a bit gormless. But hers were an order martial, and they gave her a nice chain byrnie to go out into the world and do good, or fight evil, or whatever her gods were on about.

Sister Midge
Cleric, Level 1, female
Cha 11 Con 14 Dex 10 Int 10 Str 10 Wis 14
Hit Points: 5
Armour: chain
Weapons: shortsword
Equipment: backpack, wooden holy symbol, 3 torches, 8sp, 3cp

The last one were called Ethy. She were a wee slip of a thing, with a tiny little thin sword and a pack full of burglar's tools. I thought we were going to be doing fighting and not thieving, but I guess she proved her worth.

Specialist, Level 1, female
Cha 10 Con 14 Dex 14 Int 11 Str 8 Wis 11
Hit Points: 7
Armour: leather
Weapons: rapier, 2 throwing daggers
Equipment: backpack, specialist's tools, 2 torches, crowbar, 7sp, 8cp
Skills: search 3, stealth 2, sneak attack 1

So the next day we got our gear together and traipsed off through the forest following that old map. It led us straightaways to some ruins, just the base of an old tower, all overgrown and hid by the growing trees and scrub, but there was just visible a stone staircase leading down into the earth.

"The Vile Vaults of Valistraktis," says Ardulan. "Our destiny awaits."

I didn't say nothing. Honestly, I always heard the mad mage Valistraktis had really fine vaults built with the best materials [dwarfs all get the Architecture skill]. But I guess what humans really like their alliteration. Having seen them, I got to go on record: them vaults was top-notch!"

We didn't waste no time. Me and Hostrik lit our lanterns, and we all started real slow-like descending the steps. Ardulan and Kella were in the front rank, so we did our best to shine the lights around them.

Marching order (assumes 10' wide corridor):


[Room 1 - monster & treasure]
The first room at the bottom of those steps weren't so big. Couple exits leading out. And in one corner there was a couple of rusty iron coffers on the floor. And there was this green slime above them on the ceiling, and all dripping down over the lids, too.

[In retrospect, Green Slime is probably more of an environmental hazard or a trick/trap than a monster, but I went with it anyway. I always thought the lack of rules for fighting green slime that wasn't dripping over your head were annoyingly vague, so: when 'attacking' with a torch, save vs. paralyse to avoid getting slimed. Lose 1d4hp if you need to burn the slime off yourself.]

Kella lit a torch, and tried to burn off the slime, but just got it on her arm instead, and had to burn it off. Hurt her pride more'n her arm, I'll wager [attack & saving throw both missed; took 1 damage].

So Ethy says she went about it all wrong, and if she only had some oil and a torch she could solve it. Izayne gives her some oil, and she sprinkled it from the flask all over the slime and then lit it. Went up pretty fast too [Ethy made her save and attack roll. The damage killed the slime].

Ethy looked all chuffed with herself, and says, "See? Simple!" The she opens one of the coffers, and a second later a big iron spear shoots up from the floor and skewers the poor lass. Nearly Killed her, too. [Treasure is guarded by... table came up Spear trap. I gave it a +6 attack bonus; it hit for 6 damage, dropping Ethy to 1hp.]

Sister Midge cured Ethy's wound [cure light wounds restored full HP] whiles the rest of us carefully opened the other coffer and see what's inside 'em both. We found a hundred silver coins, and some scraps of burnt up parchment [100sp + scroll; Q: Was the scroll burnt? Yes (thanks, Mythic...)].

"Good work, genius," growled Ardulan. "You should have just left it alone."

"So you'd rather..." says Izayne.

"...we didn't have the silver?" finishes Tleera.

"Which way now?" says Kella, stopping the argument afore it got any worse.

We picked left. When in doubt, always go left. So I heard.

[Room 2 - monster only]
At the end of the hall were another little room behind a old wooden door. Inside there was four humans in leathers with cheap little swords [4 bandits]. They looked pretty tired, but otherwise whole.

[reaction roll=neutral; Q: Do they just want to be left alone? Yes]

They didn't have much to say, and we weren't looking to make friends or nothing, and they seemed mostly harmless, so we just left them there to their whatever and went back the other way. We went for a ways to a 4-way intersection [A], went left from there to yet another 4-way intersection [B], but this time kept on going straight.

Kella says stop all of a sudden, and we all stop. "Look here!" she says, and damn me if she ain't found a secret door all hidden like it's part of the masonry. So we opens it, and good thing, too, cuz it was a door made for avoiding one of those damn pit traps [C - Trick/Trap find secret door or fall in pit].

[Room 3 - trick/trap]
The secret door put us in a big circular room with a high vaulted ceiling and pool taking up most of the middle. Wasn't til we got inside near the pool itself that we even seen there's a sort of island in the middle -- with a great big treasure chest on!

[Note to self: pools should be able to occur in rooms other than just round ones. Maybe they should be an Environmental feature or something... be that as it may, I do love rolling up pools. This one came up Monster & Treasure. I may make some sort of Pool Qualities table too, as I had to ask Mythic--
Q: Is the water clear? Yes.
Q: Is it deep? Yes. 6+1d6= 11']

We looked in the water and didn't see nothing moving [failed Search roll x8], and Ethy even threw in a copper to see it there's be a reaction. Tweren't one, so Ardulan and Kella dropped all their heavy stuff, and waded in in just their leathers and with their spear and pokey sword, just in case. Good thing, too. Out of nowhere came this sorta giant, undead eel monster what tried to eat them!

undead giant eel monster
AC: 13, HD 4, HP 20, Move: 150', 1 constrict attack: 1d6+drown, ML: 12

It pulled Ardulan under the water, and Kella she just swum down after it. Couldn't really see what was happening, on account of the water and the darkness, but she killed it good with that stabby sword o' hers. She even pulled Ardulan out of the water without even thinking o' the treasure, but he were too far gone to make it. [no actual surprise, but it won the initiative and pulled Ardulan under on the first round. It reduced him to -3hp on the third round, at which point Kella killed it. The cleric was out of cure spells so Ardulan died in 1d10=5 minutes].

Kella went back and got their weapons out of the pool, then swum across to the island. The chest weren't trapped, but it were covered in some sort of filth. And inside were only coppers! But she took 'em all out and washed 'em all off in the pond, and threw 'em all across in a great big sack. [she also saved vs. Poison to avoid contracting a disease from the filth whilst collecting the 200cp.]

Sister Midge laid Ardulan out all nice-like by the wall, and said some prayers and stuff, and then we decided to press on out the door, which were big and clad in iron and a particularly nasty trap. Kella made to open it and the whole thing fell down on her. She just barely jumped aside and missed getting flattened [the Trick/Trap: save vs. paralyzation or take 1d10 damage as the door falls inward].

[Room 4 - Monster & Environment]
The doorway led right into another room, this one with a big, burbling fountain [the Environment feature] taking up on of the walls. And there was bones all over the floor. Human bones. Uh-oh, I thinks. And I think one o' my companions may've said the same out loud. And then, wouldn't you know, there go them bones, swirling round and coming together and standing all up-like. And they all got these little rusty swords and they come straight at us.

[the 7 skeletons win the initiative] We fight 'em long and hard [4 rounds] and we smash 'em all up in the end, but they smash us up pretty good too. On of the witches is down [Tleera has -2hp] and the cleric [-1hp] and the barbarian [-3hp; 6 minutes to live], and the rest of us is looking like we're near to joining 'em [F 2hp, E 4hp, I&K 1hp]. Then Ethy goes "What if it's a healing fountain," like any arsehole wizard's gonna put one o' those in his 'Vile Vaults', and afore anyone can stop her she's drinking the water. [Q: Poison? Yes. Save or take 1-6 damage and -2 to hit and skills for 24 hours from nausea and cramps; I need a fountain table, too.]

"I don't feel too good," says Ethy, predictably [failed save, lost 2 more hp].

Well, we was all feeling pretty shagged, and Kella mumbled something about discretion being the better part of running away, so we all decides to head back to the surface and lick our wounds.

[There were no encounters on the way out of the dungeon. I use a 1-in-6 chance for backtracking, checked at every room and marked space [A,B,C] on the map. I also asked Mythic if there were going to be a bandit ambush from the guys in room 2, or any trouble on the way back to town, but the answer both times was no.]

We supported the injured and dragged the dead, and we finally made it back to town. I confess I never enjoyed a human inn so much as I did that night. We all felt pretty bad in the morning still, 'cept the cleric whose god let her go first with the wound closing magic, but we was all excited for another go at the riches in them Vile Vaults. And so we made another plan...

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Magic World solo - Part V - In the sorcerer's tower

The doors to the sorcerer's tower are wrought of solid brass. A demonic-looking door knocker glowers at the would-be visitors. And the closer they approach, the more they feel an unearthly cold radiating from the polished metal. They hesitate; all eyes are on their leader, Kaddal-Frum. But the violent nomad is as perplexed as the rest.

"Oh, come on," sighs our exasperated heroine, "there's only one way to figure this out." And so saying, she knocks at the door.

[I had asked Mythic--
Q: IS there anything weird? Likely: 43, Yes. - d30 Sandbox phenomena: strange weather.
Trying the door knocker: 1-2 ianitor, 3-4 doors open by themselves, 5-6 enemy opens the doors, 7-8 nothing happens; 1d8=...]

The doors swing slowly open. It is very dim inside the tower, and the bright sun outside makes it seem doubly so. A human face comes into view, and another behind. [1d6=] Two enemy spearmen [the d6 throws for gender are starting to make it look like the enemy army is segregated] appear in the doorway.

"Oh, hello," says one of them. "Who are you?" [reaction= friendly but reticent]

"Oh, um, hi," she responds, "we're just here to see the sorcerer."

"You'd better come inside then."

[PC's Sense roll: 29, success. Q: Have they been ensorceled? 50/50: 76, Yes.]

The two soldiers don't seem quite in control of their own faculties. They drift away from the door and stand in the dim interior [area 1], not looking at anything in particular -- not even the new arrivals nor each other. Our heroine turns to her fellows and mouths the word 'sorcery', gesturing in the direction of the spearmen. Kaddal-Frum nods in assent, and motions for them all to enter. They slowly proceed, following our heroine at a safe distance.

She tries to hide both her reticence and irritation, and strides boldly up to the spearman who'd opened the door to them. "Why are you here?" she asks.

"We're waiting for our commander. He's been in conference with the sorcerer, and hasn't come back yet. Maybe he won't come back. But we must wait." [UNE: hostile-capture-enemy]

"But what brought you here in the first place?"

"We bore a gift for the sorcerer. To win him over to our side. So we could win the war." [Q:why? Change / Balance]

"I see," she replies, then goes back over to Kaddal-Frum, whispering, "Isn't that our mission?"

"Shh!" he says angrily to her. Then he calls loudly, "We need to see the sorcerer! where are his servants?"

[Q: Are there any about? Likely: 60, Yes.]

As if in answer to his question, the beating of leathery wings is heard in the darkness. A horrid imp with bat wings and course, sagging skin flaps into the chamber. It addresses the nomad in a thin, nasal voice. "And who be ye? And why are ye come hither? And who be these feckless churls behind ye, all a-bristle with iron and steel?" [UNE: inquisitive - questions - allies]

Kaddal-Frum swallows hard, but addresses the little demon firmly. "We have come to see your master."

"What then shall ye offer me to bring ye before the Master?" [scheming - plan - wealth]

"Stand aside, foolish creature!" says Kaddal-Frum, "We bear a gift for him--and him alone."

The demon flies off, laughing. Kaddal-Frum merely shrugs, and motions for his until to follow him deeper into the tower.

[area 2 - d30 phenomena: strange weather]

The air becomes suddenly very warm, then hot, then humid and sweltering. The stone floor becomes uncomfortably warm, and is even somewhat painful through the soles of their boots. They hasten their steps, feeling the heat sap their energy. It's too much for Hylg, who passes out and falls face first onto the floor. Our heroine and Oibor grab the unconscious soldier and drag him along with them, out of the strange heat chamber. He is suffering severe heat stroke, and his face is burnt from where he fell.

[Everyone needed to make a Stamina (CON x5%) roll or take 1d6 damage. Only Tjól succeeded, but most of them only took 1 or 2 points of damage. Hylg lost 6hp, a Major Wound, which gave him -1APP.]

She tries to rouse Hylg, but he's sliding between delirium and unconsciousness. At least the next area [area 3] seems cooler. And damp. And then she feels the water around her ankles, seeping slowly through her boots. It is rising and rising... now she is swimming, swimming for dear life as the ship recedes in the distance, leaving her behind. And she is pulled under the crashing waves, and starts to drown...

...except she isn't. She's inside a sorcerer's tower, in a large candlelit chamber (whose light somehow does not go beyond it), not letting the magic delude her senses. She looks at her companions. Kaddal-Frum is shaking his head, looking round in wonder at the others as is she. Tjól is walking in circles around the perimeter of the chamber, Oibor is crouched down in the middle, as if hiding, and peeking out over the top of something stealthily. Nerstin is busy rummaging through the empty corners, putting handfuls of nothing in her belt pouch time and again.

[d30 phenomena: hallucinations. Each must match their POW against a POW of (2d6+6=) 16 on the resistance chart or believe they are doing something else entirely. The PC and Kaddal-Frum resisted, and Hylg is unconscious. Tjól believes he is making a long journey. Oibor believes he has deserted the mission. Nerstin is acquiring keys to unlock magical portals.]

Our heroine tries to block Tjól's path, but he goes round her without noticing anything at all. Kaddal-Frum slaps Oibor, who does not even respond. He is pulling back his fist to strike him hard when she interrupts. "Let's leave them for now and ask the sorcerer to free them."

He grunts in acquiescence and they continue further in. The next area [area 4, d30 phenomena = shadows] is lit by a single candle. Shadows dance over the walls as the two approach, seemingly more than the flickering candle could produce. There is a narrow stair leading up from an alcove near the far wall. "Well, then," says Kaddal-Frum, and is abruptly silenced.

The shadows suddenly rise up from the walls as if alive, and plunge the chamber into darkness. A current of icy fear stops both nomad and wanderer in their tracks. A small, man-like form coalesces in the midst of the blackness, its eyes gleaming with malice.

[When I rolled Shadows, I immediately thought of using a Shade (darkness elemental). Sadly, they have been omitted from the Magic World book; but my 2nd edition Runequest is sitting right there, so...

Medium Shade
POW 14
STR 22
HP 22
Attack 40%

As the Shade engulfed them, they were hit with it fearshock, which they needed to resist their CON vs. its POW. Fortunately, they both did, and suffered no ill effects. They also need to make an INTx5 in order to attack each round.]

The little dwarf exudes waves of cold darkness. She fights off the momentary feeling of panic gripping her soul, and raises her sword against it. Her nomad companion is hefting his axe, and poised to strike. The mannikin comes at them, clawed hands outstretched.

[round 1]
She is faster than this being from the nether realms. Her sword slashes down through it, causing it to screech and wail [7 damage drops it to 15hp]. It recoils from her, eyes smouldering with praeternatural rage. Kaddal-Frum's axe swings short as it retreats [it missed both of them; Kaddal-Frum's attack missed].

[round 2]
She presses her assault on the creature of darkness, which once again is rent by her blade [5 damage drops it to 10hp]. Kaddal-Frum cries out in frustration, "The darkness! I cannot see!" [he failed his INTx5 roll this round, so can't attack] The shadow man falls upon Kaddal-Frum, who has left himself vulnerable in his panic. Its terrible claws hook into Kaddal-Frum's flesh, freezing his blood. He collapses stiffly to the floor, his axe still gripped tightly in his frozen hand [the Shade rolled a critical hit, for 6+6=12 damage, killing him outright].

[round 3]
Stepping over the lifeless nomad, she lashes out against the tittering creature. Her sword passes right through it, dissipating its physical presence on this plane [11 damage kills it].

The darkness flies back into the natural shadows, and the candle flame once again illumines the small chamber. She looks down to see the lifeless, frozen body of the nomad. She bends over him, opens the pouch at his belt and removes the iron flask from within. "Now it's up to me to bring this to the sorcerer, if I live through the trip up the stairs. Why am I even doing this? I could just walk back out of the tower right now, and turn my back on this whole sorry army affair. But, then again, I've come this far..."

Scene 7

Chaos: up to 9

setup: roll of 10= meet sorcerer (actually as planned!)

NPC list: bad guy(s), bad guy minions, contact, quest giver, interested 3rd party, Sergeant Eldega, army, other army, sorcerer

Who am I?
What am I doing?
Who did this to me?

The iron flask in her hand, she slowly ascends the dark, cramped stair to the first floor of the tower. The staircase doubles back on itself, but she perceives a warm glow from above, and can make out the silhouette of a partly-open door at the top.

When she pushes open the door, she is greeted by a horrific sight. Writhing upon the ground is some sort of composite creature, a jumble of limbs and claws and grotesqueries, with moaning, human head. It is oozing away from a mail hauberk; a shield lies discarded nearby. Over the creature, prodding it with a long, rune-covered staff, stands the sorcerer.

[Mythic questions to set the scene were:
Q: Is the sorcerer done talking to the enemy commander? Unlikely: 83, Yes.
Q: What was the result? Debase / The physical (obviously the Curse of Sorcery spell)

Reaction roll: hostile, roll Charisma (APPx5%) at -20%]

The sorcerer looks up as she comes into the light. "Another uninvited guest! What in the name of the Unknown God of Mysteries is going on today?!"

"I, um, have something I'm supposed to give you," she says weakly. [Charisma roll (50-20=30%); 99=fumble...]

The sorcerer seems unimpressed by her excuse, and, in a fit of pique, pronounces a dreadful curse against her.

[His POW=14+2d6: 20. Curse of Sorcery matches POW vs. POW; she only has a 30% chance to resist, but rolls a 16. Since most non-sorcerers have almost no chance to resist such magic, I decided that the sorcerer's surprise would allow for a new reaction roll; 62=neutral]

"Heh," says the sorcerer, making a face. "Didn't think you'd survive that. Who are you? Not one of these ridiculous soldiers, obviously. Just why have you come here?"

"I'm not really a soldier, but I'm stuck with them right now. We were charged by General Angklabas with bringing you this elixir."

"Angklabas! That useless upstart couldn't lead a parade without major casualties." [UNE:hostile-judgement-allies]

"Like I said, I'm stuck with them. I was press-ganged. And since they hang deserters... Anyway, they sent us to deliver this potion, and I'm the only one who made it up here to hand it over."

"Lousy predicament you're in. I certainly don't envy your position. Let me see the elixir." [UNE: insane-turmoil-flaws]

The sorcerer nearly snatches the flask from her hand. He breaks the waxen seal, uncorks it, and sniffs. She studies him intently, trying to get a sense of his motivations, or even just what he'll do next, but his mercurial demeanour and frankly inhuman expression make it impossible to form an opinion [her Insight (41%) check fails].

[Q: Is the Sorcerer satisfied with the potion? Unlikely: 65, Yes.
Q: Does he agree to the general's request? Impossible: 74, No.
Q: Does he want anything, then? 50/50: 14, Exceptional Yes.
Q: What? Trick / Intrigues]

"This is... an appalling bribe," says the sorcerer. "Is there more of this... fluid?"

"I... I don't know," she stammers. "We were just given the one flask."

"That's probably for the best. Your general will be wanting my answer. Give him... give him this!" He decisively takes a hand mirror of polished bronze down from one of the many shelves lining the walls of the room, and hands it over, saying, "Yes... give this to dear General Angklabas. But I wouldn't look at it if you know what's good for you. Now get out of my tower!"

She accepts the mirror meekly. She can feel [Sense roll] the bad magic radiating from it before her fingers have even touched its surface, upon which images of gods and nymphs dance in some sort of underworld scene. She doesn't even need the sorcerer's warning; there is no way she would dare let this thing catch her reflection. She puts it into her pouch straightaway without so much as the barest glimpse of the gleaming metal.

"Would you release my comrades downstairs from the magic? They seem to have gotten... stuck." [Charisma check is a 96...]

"Get out of here before I change my mind about you!"

She does not need to be told a third time.

Scene 8

Chaos: stays at 9

setup: Modified (was: return to camp)
Interrupt: Ambiguous event - Betray / Tension

NPC list: bad guy(s), bad guy minions, contact, quest giver, interested 3rd party, Sergeant Eldega, army, other army, sorcerer

Who am I?
What am I doing?
Who did this to me?

As she is hastening back out through the lower level, the little demon flies in front of her to halt her advance. "Ne'er have I known the master to be so unnerv'd aforetimes. What hast thou said?"

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Magic World solo - Part IV - But I'm not a soldier

Though the temple is not far, the rocky beach makes for exceptionally slow travel. She'd hoped at least to have dried off by the time she reached it, but her clothes -- those torn and bloodied rags she wears -- are still entirely damp. "What a fine figure I shall present," she thinks. "But I suppose the priests won't begrudge succour to such a wretch as I!"

The Temple of the Oceanids is a graceful structure of white marble set into the rocky hills looking out over the sea. The main tholos is nestled into the rock face, and a tall colonnaded porch forms the entrance to the inner sanctum.

On most days the serene temple stands a solitary vigil by the crashing waves, but today there is a flurry of activity. The hills are awash with people, and there is a great deal of movement at the temple's front. Now and then a shrill horn blast rings out.

"I seem to have arrived on a festal day," she thinks.

Scene 3

Chaos: up to 5 as last scene netted no answers and was nearly fatal

setup: Modified (was: get healing at temple)
Interrupt: Remote event - Oppress / Military (see below)

Scene 4

Chaos: up to 6 as last scene totally out of PC's hands and makes this one harder

Setup: Modified (was: get healing at temple)

NPC list: bad guy(s), bad guy minions, contact, quest giver, interested 3rd party

Who am I?
What am I doing?
Who did this to me?

As she draws nearer, she realises that it is not a festival at all. An entire army seems encamped around the temple -- no, not exactly an army, but the broken and battered remains of one. The injured and dying are lying about every where, supported and tended by those who can still move. Scribes move amongst them, recording the names of the survivors, and doing their best to identify the dead. Harried priests and priestesses move through the throng as well trying to bring comfort. Their healing magics long since exhausted, they must fall back on mundane methods of tending the wounded. The army chirurgeons are nowhere to be  seen, though they are probably seeing to the officers, sheltered somewhere away from the common troops.

[Q: What sort of battle was lost? 1-2 ground, 3-4 sea 5-6 both; 1d6=1]

She tries to approach one of the priests. "Excuse me," she says, "I know it's busy here, but I don't suppose you can provide aid to a wounded pilgrim?" [difficult Fast Talk (40/2=20%) to get ahead of the queue: 81, fail].

The priest looks up at her, tears brimming in his eyes. He mumbles something she can't make out, possibly it's not even actual words. He holds his hands out for a moment, then just wanders on, over to a young woman lying in the dirt, with a broken arrow still protruding from her chest.

[Q: Can she stay here at all? 50/50: 99, Exceptional no. +Event: PC Negative - Assist / War]

"Fall in, soldier!" comes a gruff voice behind her. She turns to see an angry, sharp faced woman in dented field armour carrying a horn. The woman's gore-stained tabard marks her as obviously an officer -- as indeed does her mien and bearing -- but the precise meaning of the insignia is still a mystery to our amnesiac heroine.

"I'm not a soldier," she offers weakly. "I--"

"Uh huh," growls the officer. "You're just coincidentally here at the temple after a battle limping like a baby. Covered in blood and carrying a sword. Sure seem like a soldier to me."

"I'm not! I wasn't in the battle. I was attacked by bandits."

"Likely story!"

"It's true!"

"You wouldn't want to be branded a deserter, would you? You know what happens to deserters?"

"But I'm not even a soldier!"

"You are now, honey. Fall in!"

Sergeant Eldega (for thus be the angry woman ycleped) has been charged with rounding up everyone well enough to walk to return to the [1-2 fort, 3-4 city garrison, 5-6 field encampment: 5] main camp. She is not interested in their stories nor pains nor complaints. General Angklabas has given her a mission, and by all the Gods of Hell and the Night, she's going to complete it!

The walking wounded are thus force marched [direction? d6=due south; 1d30+5= 9 hexes] down a track through the hills, over meadows and forest, to finally rejoin the main army camp on a grassy plain. The trip takes about three hours, as Sergeant Eldega wants to make camp by mess time; she's hungry from all the fighting! She pushes her soldiers hard, but not as hard as she'd like; they are wounded, after all! Quite a few drop from exhaustion during the march, but as she has made it known that delays will be punished by lashes, most of these are left by the road to die. [PC needs to make a Stamina (CONx5%) roll to manage: 03, special success] Fortunately, our heroine finds the brisk walk almost rejuvenating. Though she doesn't much fancy what's sure to come next.

Scene 5

Chaos: up to 7

Setup: Modified (was: settle in to camp)
Q: Problem in the camp? 50/50: 17, Yes: Abuse / Lies (general is going to march his troops into an unwinnable battle; the barbarian army holds the coastal village south of the camp)
Q: Anyone in camp dissenting? Likely: 43, Yes

NPC list: bad guy(s), bad guy minions, contact, quest giver, interested 3rd party, Sergeant Eldega, army, other army

Who am I?
What am I doing?
Who did this to me?

Perhaps the Oceanids are punishing her for her little lie and callous behaviour before their temple, for the Sergeant seems to have taken great notice of our erstwhile heroine. When the march is ended, she feels the woman's rough hand on her shoulder. "We'd better go see the quartermaster to get you a new uniform. I won't have anyone dressed in rags in my unit."

For the Sergeant's own sins, she is stuck with a platoon of irregulars: individual mercenaries and militia troops, and anyone else that doesn't fit into standard formations. Their equipment is similarly varied, often whatever they could scrounge. Our heroine is allowed (nay, encouraged) to keep her sword, but is issued with a round shield and old bronze helmet. She is given a new uniform -- just a tunic really, and a suit of soft leather armour, and told to put them on forthwith.

"Uh, Sergeant," she says, "how come there's a hole in the back? And bloodstains... wouldn't it be better if I had armour that someone hadn't already died in?"

"Quit your grousing, soldier," replies the sergeant with a malicious smile. "This'll still protect you perfectly well in front. You weren't planning on running away from the fight were you? It didn't do the last owner of your armour much good. Think of it as practical military advice!"

She says nothing, but shoulders her pack. Sergeant Eldega hears the clink of coins inside. "What's this?" she says, grabbing the pack and rifling through it. "We're fighting to take back territory from the enemy. The general has decreed there is to be no looting from the emperor's subjects. Quartermaster, add this to the war chest!"

Our heroine knows better than to protest. As the sergeant marches back across the camp to her unit, they pass a scaffold with the decomposing bodies of several hanged soldiers suspended from it.
"Looters?" she asks.

"No," replies the sergeant, "dissenters. They questioned the general's wisdom in planning another attack against the barbarians again in light of the rout. They said he should wait for reinforcements."

"Isn't that a better idea?"

"Quiet, soldier. There's still room left on the end of that scaffold."

She is put in a unit of [2d6=] 5 other irregulars by the sergeant, and left with them to get acquainted. There's Hylg, a young, handsome fisherman from a nearby barbarian village -- one subject (and still loyal) to the empire. Nerstin is a city girl, sent into the army as punishment for petty crimes. Oibor and Kaddal-Frum are taciturn steppe nomads from the other side of the great empire. Tjól is a swordsman from somewhere far away.

[Tjól is one of the PCs I rolled up. The rest are NPCs Their skill levels were based on the Average (40% or 20%) NPCs in the Chronicler's Resources chapter, with a bit of randomness thrown in. I tried to guess which skills might be important, but ended up not needing most of them (as you shall see). I am working on finding easier ways to do this with spreadsheets, but I've ended up spending more time playing with Excel than I have with the actual game...

Each one also gets two personality traits, and I used Star Trader to give them intra-unit relationships. The unit commander is randomly determined to be Kaddal-Frum.]

male human - barbarian fisherman
STR: 11  CON: 10  SIZ: 12  INT: 14
POW: 12  DEX: 10  APP: 14
HP: 11  DM: +0  Move: 8
Armour: Soft Leather (1D4-1)
Combat: Poleaxe 29%, Medium Crossbow 44%
Skills: Fast Talk 28%, Hide 21%, Listen 23%, Move Quietly 24%, Nature 27%, Ride 39%, Search 24%, Track 26%, World Lore 41%
Personality: conformist, unseemly
Connection: Blames Oibor for a past event (death of a comrade)

female human - townie petty criminal
STR: 11  CON:  8  SIZ: 14  INT: 10
POW: 12  DEX:  9  APP: 9
HP: 11  DM: +1D4  Move: 8
Armour: Soft Leather (1D4-1)
Combat: shortspear 26%, shield 22%
Skills: Fast Talk 26%, Hide 36%, Listen 36%, Move Quietly 45%, Nature 21%, Ride 25%, Search 20%, Track 24%, World Lore 22%
Personality: unconcerned, generous
Connection: old ex-friend of Tjól

male human - steppe nomad
STR: 14  CON: 10 SIZ: 11  INT: 13
POW:  7  DEX: 10 APP: 12
HP: 11  DM: +1D4  Move: 8
Armour: Soft Leather (1D4-1)
Combat: Battle Axe 42%, Javelin 36%
Skills: Fast Talk 24%, Hide 23%, Listen 25%, Move Quietly 22%, Nature 25%, Ride 28%, Search 30%, Track 39%, World Lore 28%
Personality: serene, corrupt
Connection: life-long friend of Kaddal-Frum

male human - steppe nomad
STR: 12  CON:  9  SIZ:  9  INT: 9
POW: 10  DEX: 15  APP: 10
HP: 9  DM: +0  Move: 8
Armour: Soft Leather (1D4-1)
Combat: Longbow 41%, Shortsword 22%
Skills: Fast Talk 24%, Hide 45%, Listen 22%, Move Quietly 22%, Nature 38%, Ride 26%, Search 21%, Track 24%, World Lore 26%
Personality: unsupportive, tactless
Connection: sexual partner of Hylg

[Tjól's stats would go here, but I'm in a coffee shop and they're at home on a piece of paper. Mea maxima culpa.]

Tjól & Hylg
Scene 6

Chaos: up to 8

setup: Mission

NPC list: bad guy(s), bad guy minions, contact, quest giver, interested 3rd party, Sergeant Eldega, army, other army

Who am I?
What am I doing?
Who did this to me?

Her unit is, as far as she can tell, a collection of miscellaneous riff-raff that no other commander wants. And she is beginning to feel insulted that she must be seen as just another one of them. Desertion is ever-so-tempting, but the camp is well guarded from withing; she's probably not the only one who wishes to be elsewhere!

The evening is short. Her fellow soldiers don't seem much impressed, nor overly friendly. She soon crawls into her tent and drops from exhaustion.

The next morning Sergeant Eldega rouses her troops at dawn.

"All right, you lot," she barks, "time to earn your keep. An important mission into enemy territory has come up. The remaining scouts are all off doing scouty things, so someone else has had to step in. And you've been volunteered!

"There's a sorcerer what lives in a tower in the hills south of the lake somewheres.  All you need to do is go to his tower, hand over this potion, and bring whatever he gives you in exchange back to camp. Them barbarians is a superstitious lot and so probably ain't got too close to the tower.

"Shouldn't be more than a day there and back. If you're not back in two days, I'll put word out that you've deserted, so don't get any funny ideas.

"What are you waiting for?"

[The mission was generated with the d30 Sandbox Companion--
goal: deliver message/object
obstacle: pass series of tests
location: tower
artifact: potion
theme: power

I also used UNE to get some motivations for the sorcerer:
- undermine the elite
- secure purity
- associate dissonance

I was planning on treating these as rumours should the ever come up, but they didn't really...]

The walk through the hills is largely uneventful [Kaddal-Frum, as the leader, made a successful Navigate check, so they didn't get lost. They have 1d4-1=2 encounters]. At one point they spot a patrol of enemy [1-3 horse, 4-6 foot: 1] foot soldiers, but they manage to evade them with ease [their Search (20%) vs. the worst Hide in the group (Hylg (21%)); 93 vs. 06 : the party wins]. At one point they spot a griffon soaring overhead, but the majestic beast either does not see them or does not care to [Q: Does it stop? Unlikely: 82, no].

The sorcerer's tower is a tall and strangely conical affair. As the little band approach, they see the outside is carved with all manner of decorative images: men and beasts, gods and demons.

[Q: Is the enemy at the tower? 50/50: 18, Yes.
PC needs a Search (66%) roll to notice: 64=success]

And as they draw nearer, she sees movement. She calls to Kaddal-Frum in a sharp whisper, "We need to stop! Look there, on the porch: soldiers!"

They all stop short, and lay low upon the ground. Creeping to the top of a grassy hill, they peer over the top to see [2d6=] four spearmen lounging about on the porch, apparently enjoying the fine afternoon sun [Q: What are they doing? Befriend / Weather]. [1d4=] Two of them have stripped down to their breeches to laze about in the warm sunlight, the other two still wear their coats of mail, and stand under the cool shade of the stone porch.

Kaddal-Frum wishes to take the enemy by surprise. He leads his troops quietly over the hills towards the tower and the lackadaisical enemy spearmen. The three of them with missiles take up position in a stand of scraggly trees and shrubbery, whilst the other three creep up beside the tall stone steps.

[Move Quietly rolls: the PC (67%) and Nerstin (45%) succeed, Tjól (46%) fails. The soldiers' Listen (20% to account for insouciance) rolls are all failures.]


On Kaddal-Frum's signal, Oibor hurls his javelin [36%; x2 for ambush=72%], whilst Hylg fires his crossbow [x2=88%]. Kaddal-Frum himself looses an arrow from his longbow [x2=82%].

The javelin sails right past its target [#2] and clatters over the far side of the steps. Hylg's crossbow bolt punches through the chain armour as if it were fine silk, and buries itself deep in the man's chest. He [#1] falls dead at once, and tumbles down the steps [Hylg rolled a special success, for double damage (4d4+4); 18 points -2 for the armour kill the soldier outright]. Kaddal-Frum's shaft speeds into the flank of one of the two unarmoured men [#3]; he does not get up to join the fray [10 damage produced a major wound to the stomach; the -1d6 CON penalty dropped his HP score, and at 2hp from a major wound he cannot fight, falling immediately unconscious for one hour].

      #1   #2   #3   #4
STR   11   11   15   10
CON   14   11   10    9
SIZ   16   12   15   16
INT   11   12   13   13
POW   10   10    5    5
DEX   12   11    6    5
CHA    8   14    6    8
HP    15   12   13   13
Dmg +1D4   +0 +1D4 +1D4
skill 47%  49%  44%  48%

heavy infantry: shortspear, round shield, Mail (1D8 without helmet - #1 & #2 only)

[Q: Do they fight? Unlikely: 24, Yes.]

The two remaining soldiers grab their spears and shields in haste, and rush down the steps. They are surprised to find three more enemies waiting for them, brandishing their arms with great menace.

[round 1]
Our heroine comes at the armoured foe with her sword, but it merely clatters off his shield [parried]. He stabs back with his spear, but cannot bring it near enough his agile opponent [missed with a 96!]. Tjól lays into the unarmoured man with his broadsword. His spear turns aside the blade before it can bite into his face, sending it into his shoulder instead, where it leaves a deep wound [Special success on the attack was commuted to a normal hit by the successful parry; 6 damage drops him to 7hp]. The man is too stunned by the sudden pain to strike back [missed with a 98]. Nerstin hangs back, not feeling brave enough to face enemy spears [missed].

[round 3]
Pressing her advantage, the heroine of this tale rains blow after blow down upon her opponent, who raises his shield each time to counter them. At last he raises it too high, blocking his sight, and she takes the opportunity to stab beneath it. The blade finds a weak spot in his armour, and pierces his insides. He collapses on the ground before her, bleeding profusely [11 damage, -2 for armour, delivers a major wound: -3 CON, unable to fight]. Tjól smashes his shield into the shield of his opponent, and then cuts him down before he can regain his balance.

[Q: Does Kaddal-Frum makes sure the enemy are dead? 50/50: 01, Exceptional yes.]

The wounded and slain are dragged off into the bushes, lest they be discovered. Kaddal-Frum plunges his short sword through the heart and neck of each of them in turn, whilst his shocked subordinates look on in horror. He merely sneers and orders them to head inside.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Magic World solo - Part III - The undead

Reasoning that the guard dog came down the passage at the back, and since she's uninterested in stepping in anything, she decides to try left-hand passage instead. The passageway is rather wide, with roughly-hewn walls and a more even floor. It goes back for about a dozen metres, and ends in a stout door set into a frame of intricately carved rock. She can hear nothing moving beyond.

Not wanting to put down her torch nor her weapon, she does her best to grasp the overlaid woodwork without letting go of her sword. She tries carefully, and to her surprise the door swings freely open, revealing a dark chamber beyond.

[Room II - monster & treasure]
Despite the ornate doorway, the chamber beyond is just another natural cavern of unworked stone. There is some kind of pedestal in the middle, carved from a thick stalagmite, but beyond that the room is bare.

She approaches the pedestal cautiously, but nothing moves in the darkness. The only sound is her own footsteps, try as she might to tread softly.

[Q: Is the last of the cave's inhabitants here? Likely: 71, No.
A random monster, then, selected with the old-fashioned method of closing one's eyes and pointing to a random page in the monster section of the rule book: a fear spirit. POW 16.]

Then there is  sudden cold chill. Her hair stands on end, and shivers race down her spine. A horrible, translucent skull-face is peering at her, a diaphanous bony hand is grasping her shoulder. The phantom exudes waves of sheer terror, and seeks to dampen her courage, to force its way into her mind. It flits round her in a frenzy, shrieking and wailing in her mind, trying every avenue of assault. She stands firm against it, pitting her will against its own. It grows ever more frenetic, even as it exhausts its own might in the fruitless attempt to penetrate her wall of resolve. And then it is suddenly gone, dissipated back into the spirit realm.

[The spirit attacks by matching its Magic Points vs. the INT of its target on the resistance table. 16 vs. 18 gives it an initial 40% chance, doing 1d3MP damage, possessing the target if their MP hit 0. The PC hits back by matching MP vs. MP. Spirit combat all on its own can be a bit dull and mechanistic. The fear spirit failed the first attack, and which sent it into a death spiral; its chances got lower every round and the PCs only improved. It never rolled a single success, and was vanquished in 6 rounds: about one minute of game time.

Q: Did the bad guys bind the spirit here? 50/50: 75, No. Odds are they never come this way.

Treasure: the treasure is (according to Appendix A) hidden under a loose stone. That sounds like a Difficult (half skill level) Search roll to notice. She rolls a 93...]

Seeing that this room with its terror spirit is just a guard post, and empty of aught else, she continues down the craggy passage on the other side.

[room III - monster & treasure]
The passage bends to the left and empties out into yet another natural chamber. A raised dais at one end has been carved into the stone floor, and the walls behind it smoothed somewhat, but the rest of the cavern has been left in its natural state. Upon the dais is a carved throne, upon which a blanched white human skeleton is seated. Beside the throne is a collection of unpainted pottery jars, and a large bronze shield and sword lean against its sides.

As she draws near, the skeleton rises from the ancient seat, takes up its brazen arms, and advances to attack, bony feet clacking across the stone ground. [Not a random choice. My LotFP game didn't have enough skeletons, so I'm starting this campaign out on better footing.]

STR  8
SIZ  9
DEX 12
broadsword 60%, large shield 60%
TF 5

[round 1]
She darts to the side and swings at it the moment it steps within reach. It tries to interpose the heavy shield, but a moment too late. The blade's downswing takes off several ribs with a sharp snap [successful attack vs. failed parry; 3 damage (minimum roll) leaves it at 6hp]. Its riposte is nowhere near the mark; she barely feels the rush of air from the blade.

[rounds 2-4]
She trades blow after blow with the skeleton, but can no longer seem to get past the brazen shield. Every time her sword clatters against it, she must immediately retreat to fend off the blade in its other bony hand. A new strategy is needed for facing down this canny opponent -- for it is only she who will tire should the battle continue in this vein.

[round 5]
She feints low with sword, causing the skeleton to dip its shield just enough for her to swing the blade in a great overhand arc and crash it down on the gleaming skull. Bits of bone fly every which way as the skeleton fairly shatters with the mighty impact [normal hit vs. failed parry; 5 damage is a Major Wound, which destroys skeletons outright].

She catches her breath, and watches the bones lying upon the ground to make certain that no dark magics cause them to reassemble. Satisfied with her victory over the ancient warrior, she approaches its resting place.

Looking into the pottery jars, she sees the gleam of bronze and silver coins within, amongst which are to be found handfuls of semi-precious stones. She is about to pick a gem out of the hoard to examine it [difficult Sense 81/2=41% roll = 04, special success] she notices the oily sheen on the coins, and smells a faint whiff of the acrid compound [treasure protected by contact poison, probably of the alchemical variety since else it should have long ago evaporated].

Not wanting to touch the substance, she takes the skeletons sword and upends the pot, sending coins skittering over the dais. She applies her torch to them, and a sickly purple flame plays over them for a moment and then burns out. She scoops as many coins and gemstones as she can into one of her coin purses, intending to give them all a good wash later [total haul: 34BP, 7SP, 1GP, 16 pretty but worthless stones].

Her treasures secured in her pack, she heads back to the main cave. There is a moment of fear when she finds the door to the terror spirit's lair has fallen closed, but she is relieved to find that it opens as freely as it had before. She does notice the sigils of warding engraved into the inside of the door when she goes to open it, right underneath the warning not to disturb the tomb. She curses the idiot who hung the door back-to-front.

Overwhelmed with curiosity, she decides to quickly -- and quietly [Move Quietly (67%): 44, success] -- reconnoitre the other passage.

She has gone only a few metres down the passage when...

[Trick/Trap: I rolled Elevator room, which is wholly nonsensical here. So I decided to make it an alarm instead. Search roll (66%) succeeds.]

...she notices some fishing line stretched across the corridor at waist height, connected to a series of bells set on iron hooks in the wall. It is a simple matter to duck under it and continue on her way.

The passageway splits into a Y, so she takes the left hand side. After a few paces it empties out into another large cavern, which is evidently being used as a storeroom [Room IV - treasure only]. There are stacks of crates, some businesslike clay amphorae, some extra javelins, coils of rope, a heavy iron strongbox... a mixture of looted mercantile goods and provisions for an expedition. She doesn't fancy her chances with a locked box (she can't even think how to begin to pick a lock, so surmises that she at least isn't a thief!), and the rest of it would take too long to look through, so she decides to leave it in peace and try the other branch of the passage.

The right fork also only goes a few paces, and then ends in a solid wooden door. It is much less ornate than the other, and is an obviously new construction. She presses her ear to it, and tries to Listen [61% - her roll succeeds] to see if there be anything moving beyond.

[Q: Is there something to hear? 50/50: 17, Yes.
Q: Human sounds? 50/50: 37, No.
Q: Animal? 50/50: 32, Yes.
Q: More dogs? 50/50: 31, Yes.]

She hears movement within: the click of claws against stone and the jingle of chain. "Probably more dogs," she thinks, "but maybe I oughtn't push my luck. I've been here at least an hour. Time to leave before the others come back."

[Q: Are the others returning already? Unlikely: 85, No.]

She has, of course, been here scarcely twenty minutes, but the fear and excitement have distorted her estimate. She goes out through the main cave, pausing only to take the greatsword leaning against the cave wall. "This looks like the weapon that felled my armoured friend," she thinks. "I'd rather not meet it again in the future."

She sets out through the forest lugging the enormous blade over her shoulder. She still hasn't much context for her map, but the cave seems to be close to the water. [Nature (44%) roll succeeds] She is cheered to realise that the bird calls she keeps hearing overhead are made by seagulls. The water can't be far!

And indeed it isn't. After less than an hour the forest starts to thin out, and from atop a hill she can see through it to the blue water in the sheltered bay beyond. The bay is not very wide across at all. She runs down to the shore, drops her things on the beach, and plunges straight into the cold water. It's a shock to the system, but refreshing. Once the worst of the grime has been washed away, she clambers back onto the beach. "Mustn't tarry," she thinks. "They might track me with the dogs. at least if I keep to the surf, it should hide my scent from here." She shoulders her pack, and puts back on her sword belt. She strides for a ways down the beach, splashing in the surf. She pauses just once, to take the greatsword by the hilt and hurl it with all her might out into the waves. "Right," she thinks, "onwards to the temple."

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Magic World solo - Part II - The cave

Scene 2

Chaos: decrease to 4

setup: gather clues at the cave

NPC list: bad guy(s), bad guy minions, contact, quest giver, interested 3rd party

Who am I?
What am I doing?
Who did this to me?

[I had rolled a random destination for the trail out of all the landmarks on the map. There were no random encounters on the way there.]

The trail goes on through the forest for some way, and finally ends in a large gap, at the far end of which yawns the mouth of a cave, overhung with the roots of the trees on the hillock above. She finds a vantage point a bit off the track, from whence she can observe the cave, and hopefully not be seen herself.

[Q: Any activity visible? 50/50: 44, No +Event: New NPC - Develop / Intrigues
Random NPC: d30=thief; description via]

After an agonisingly dull wait, she hears someone coming through the forest [makes a Listen check]. Without even realising she's doing it, she mumbles the words of an incantation to the gods of moonless nights, that they might hide her from mortal eyes [casting cast Cloak of Night level 2 costs 2MP and gives her +40% to her hide skill. She must pit her Hide (47+40=87%) vs. the newcomer's Search. She rolls an 08, which is a Special success. I rolled for the thief and got a 67. To get a special success with that roll would require a skill level of 335%. Since that's fairly unlikely, I decided to put off determining the thief's actual skill level unless it comes up.]

A youth walks up the path toward the cave. He has curly red hair, is clad in leather armour, and wears a long sword and dagger at his belt. His footsteps draw quite near, but he marches straight past, oblivious to her presence.

The youth stops before the mouth of the cave, leans nonchalantly against an obliging tree, and then whistles sharply. After a few moments, a woman emerges. She is tall and overweight, and her unevenly cropped hair is the same coppery colour that of the youth before her. She is wearing worn cuirbouilli armour, and carries a stout, leaf-bladed hunting spear.

From her somewhat faraway hiding place, our heroine strains to Listen [(61%): 59=success, but only just] in on their conversation.

"Ah, my dear," says the jocular youth, "you're looking lovely as ever. This wilderness living really suits you. And I love what you've done with the cave! Very homey." [UNE: Relationship=(randomly)Friendly; neutral conversation mood]

The woman scowls. "Is there a reason you're here? Or have I just offended some devil who's sent you to torment me?"

"You wound me! After all this time we've been working together and you still make that face every time we meet. Or does your face just always look like that? No matter; I come with a message, and the hopes and means of furthering our chummy alliance. We've done so well by each other all this time. 'Twould be a shame to throw it away now." [UNE: friendly-alliance-history]

"Spit it out already."

"I love our little chats so! That's why I always ask Gzashal for the privilege of being the go-between. He's got another job for you, you see. Interested? Hm?"

[Q: Does the woman accept? Likely: 33, Yes +Event: Move toward a thread - What am I doing? - Stop / A project]

"Assuming it pays well, we're interested. But we can't meet today. We need a few days to recover from the last job he gave us. But it looks like Yuclender's plans are finished. He's got no one left to carry them out!"

"Good. Then you'll be able to devote yourselves fully to this new avenue of endeavour. But Gzashal is anxious to see you. He's requested you grace him with your beauteous presence [in 1d3 days=] tomorrow."

[Q: Will the youth stay here? 50/50: 01, Exceptional yes - he has to.]

"Yeah, fine," says the woman after a thoughtful pause. "I guess I'd better tell Aadferick to make a bigger stew then."

As the pair disappear into the cave, questions begin to whirl in the mind of the hidden observer. "Who are they? she thinks, "And what of those names they mentioned? Do I work for this Yuclender? Is he my ally? my liege? And who is Gzashal, and why did he want us killed? Or were we just pawns in some game between the two?"

The answers, she knows, will not come. At least she's found the cave on her map, to give it some context. She should probably be able to get from here to the city now, or to the temple. Though she'd like a word with whoever it was that sketched out this little map, if only to ask them why they hadn't labelled anything thereon. But for now, she'd like a look in the cave, in the hopes that it contains some more definite clues to the sorry mess she's in. Perhaps she'll get her chance on the morrow, when they go to meet with the mysterious Gzashal.

She goes to look for a better hiding place, somewhere on the high ground above the gap where she can still see the comings and goings. She finds a small deadfall which should, she hopes, do the trick [makes a Hide roll]. She's a bit worried about being found during the day, and forces herself to stay awake [succeeding in a Stamina roll (CONx5=55%)] to stay awake until nightfall.

[Q: Is there a night patrol sent out form the cave? Unlikely: 25, Yes. They get a Search skill of 15+(1d6x5)=30%, but roll a 32, failure.] There is a quick patrol made by some of the cave's inhabitants at dusk, but they fortunately do not discover her position.

The next morning, she wakes with a start. She greedily consumes the last of her meagre provisions, and drains most of the canteen. Whatever happens today, she thinks, it will be her last day hanging about outside the cave. She once again take up her dull vigil.

[She succeeds in a Search roll to notice them leave.
Q: Do they all go? Unlikely: 95, Exceptional no. Just the leader and the youth.
Q: Does anyone emerge later? 50/50: 04, Exceptional yes. 1d6=3 of them.]

Sometime mid-morning she watches the youth and the angry woman set out from the cave. She had been hoping that more of them would leave, and decides to watch a bit longer. After an hour or so she is rewarded for her patience; three more people emerge from the cave bearing hunting spears. There is an enormous man wearing a red feather in his cap, a shifty-looking mustachioed man, and a slightly-built young woman in a long hood. They stride off into the forest in the opposite direction to the others.

By her reckoning, there should only be two more inside the cave -- assuming she had been right about their tracks. [There's actually 1d4=3 of them]. Her curiosity overcomes all caution; she decides to sneak into the cave to have a look round.

She decides to risk it and sneaks into the cave.

[room I - monster & treasure

1d3=1 person present. donjon was down for network maintenance, so I rolled a d30 on the Key NPC chart, getting 'pilgrim (as 1st-level cleric)'. I opened my copy of the Homeric hymns at random and got Hermes, so the encounter is with a priest/ess of the god of wealth.

Q: What's (1d6=m) the priest doing? Work hard / A path]

Inside the cave is a large, oblong space with a vaulted ceiling. The remains of a cooking fire still smoulders near the entrance, and a pair of torches set in copper stands on either side near the back illuminate the areas the daylight does not reach. Two gaps in stone walls lead off into the darkness. The rocky floor is in the main uneven, but mostly uncluttered, thanks, no doubt, to the man currently sweeping  it up with a bundle of rushes.

[the PC must roll Move Quietly (67%) vs. the priest's Listen (15+1d6x5) 35%: 48 vs. 61: success]

She creeps up behind the man, who is obliviously going about his task. She puts her dagger to his throat, and he stands stock sill. "Sssshhhhh," she cautions, tapping him on the back with the hilt of her sword for emphasis, "we're going to go outside and have a little chat now."

[Q: Does the priest resist? Unlikely: 04, Exceptional yes. There's no way he could use a spell in this position, so,
Q: How? Trick / Animals]

The priest makes as if to comply, then suddenly lets out a piercing whistle. The sound of scampering feet answers immediately, rushing down one of the dark passageways.

[I've been working on an excel spreadsheet to randomly generate full stat blocks, but it isn't finished yet. Thus, the stat blocks below are only partial, as I only rolled what I needed for the encounter. All the priest's skills were 15+(1d6x5); this approximates the skill level for 'regulars' according to the MW rulebook, but still provides variation. Spells were, of course, totally random.

Guard Dog
STR  5
CON 11
SIZ  6
DEX 11
HP   9
Bite 40% 1d6-1d4
Dodge 25%
TF 4

DEX 13
CON 11
SIZ 11
HP  11
Dodge 30%, Listen 35%
TF 6
Spells: Clumsiness 1, Sorcerer's Armour 4

Initiative is in descending DEX order: PC, priest, dog]

[Round 1]
As his assailant hesitates for a moment -- surprised by the whistle and the running footsteps [and ceding the initiative] -- the priest attempts to twist out from under her grasp. He ducks down and away from the dagger at his throat, only to find it plunged into his flank instead. He falls to the ground of the cave with the long dagger buried up to the hilt in his side, and the light leaves his eyes forever. [the PC rolled an 05; with her dagger skill of 52% this is a special success. The priest failed his dodge, so he is hit and the weapon damage is doubled to 2d4+4 (+ normal damage bonus) . 11 damage kills him outright.]

She looks up as she lets go the dagger, and sees a mangy guard dog rushing for her, its slavering jaws snapping. It is wary of the steel in her hand, and does not get close enough to fix its fangs in her flesh [it rolls a 59 for its bite attack (40%), a miss.]

[round 2]
As the dog comes at her again, she brings her sword to bear. The blade crashes down on the top of its head with a loud crack as its skull gives way. It falls and is still. [sword attack hits, dodge fails, 1d8+1+1d4=10; the dog is killed.]

[Q: Was anyone else roused by the noise? Very Likely: 64, Yes. 1d2=1 person. d30= pilgrim (as 1st-level cleric) again; 1d6=4, a priestess.

STR 12
CON 10
SIZ 12
INT 13
POW 16
DEX 15
CHA  6
HP  11
Spells: Sorcerer's Sureness 4, Muddle 1, Pox 1
Skills: Move Quietly 20%, Quarterstaff 50%
TF 9

When she heard the commotion, the priestess cast Sorcerer's Sureness at level 4 (for 4 magic points), which gives her +80% to her stealth skill. Things look bad for our heroine...]

She retrieves her dagger from the fallen priest, and wipes the both her blades clean on his tunic. The pool of blood in which he lies tells her it will be useless trying to rouse him for an interrogation. She shrugs her shoulders, then wanders over toward the back wall to fetch a torch. Then suddenly...

[priestess' move quietly (100%) vs. the PC's Listen (61%); 34 vs. 04! The special success beats the normal success, so she notices the priestess.]

...she wheels about to confront a woman padding up behind her, quarterstaff poised to strike.

[normal initiative, so the PC goes first. [sword attack (62%) vs. quarterstaff parry (50%); 41v15= both normal successes, so the hit is parried. The priestess's counterattack produces the same results.]

She swings her sword at the surprised woman, who instinctively blocks with her staff. A tiny chip flies from the hardwood as the sword bites into it [cosmetic only, not damage to the weapon's hp]. The woman thrusts back with the iron-tipped end of her staff, but it too is turned aside by her foe.

[round 2]
The sword rings as it once again rebounds off the solid wood [the hit is parried], and she feels the vibrations in her sword arm. The iron shod staff whirls round at her, and the momentary distraction hinders her defence. [the priestess rolls a 10, a special success. The PC's parry is only a normal success, which only commutes the Special hit to a normal one. 1d8= 3 damage, dropping her to 4hp. This puts her past the Major Wound threshold again, so she needs to roll POWx4% to stay conscious: 39, she's OK. Well, as OK as anyone can be with only 4hp left.]

The staff cashes into her side; she can feel her fractured ribs pushed back out of place. The flare of pain shoots through her, so great she nearly passes out, but with grim resolve she refuses to give in.

[round 3]
She lashes out with her weapon, so fast her opponent has no chance to block. [33 successful attack vs. 55 failed parry]. The sharp blade catches her in the neck, right above the stiff leather collar of her armour, and nearly severs her head from her shoulders. [damage roll is 13(maximum); soft leather armour reduces damage by 1d4-1, which is this case was 0.]

"Dammit," she thinks as she contemplates the nearly headless woman on the cave floor, "this isn't helping me get any answers."

She lowers her sword, and the movement sends fresh waves of pain through her injured ribs. She gingerly investigates the new injury, and can feel the unevenness beneath her fingertips. Gritting her teeth, she applies pressure with her hands and twists her torso slightly. There's a painful popping, but the bones snap back into place. She experiments with a bit more movement, and is pleased to find that it is no more sore than when she first came into the cave. It will have to do. [She made a successful Physik (35%) roll, which heals 1d3 to a single wound. A roll of 3 completely cancels the 3 points she took from the staff hit. She's back to 7hp, but  can only be further healed by time or magic, but even magic can only be applied once per day to any given injury.]

She pauses fora few moments to regain her composure, and then stands absolutely still, straining to hear anything that should yet be approaching with murderous intent. All is stillness in the cave, save the occasional crackling of the torches [she actually failed her Listen roll, but no one else was coming anyway]. She decides instead to make a cursory examination of this chamber before moving on [she makes a Search roll].

She finds a few dirty pots and pans near the fire, and an enormous greatsword propped up against one wall, but nothing else of any real interest. Checking the bodies, she finds that each has a coin purse, netting her 31 bronze and 5 silver coins. The priest wears a plain gold ring [90BP] and the priestess has a polished carnelian pendant [90BP] and a wrought gold ring set with a fine emerald [1300BP]. "So I'm desperate enough to loot the dead," she thinks with mild disgust, as she nevertheless puts the treasure into her bag. [The horde was rolled on the 2nd edition Runequest treasure tables; the priest, guard dog, and priestess had a combined Treasure Factor of 19. To adjust for the fact that Bronze pieces are 5 to the Silver Piece rather than 10 Clacks to the Lunar, I halved the amount rolled on that column. I may very well revisit the treasure table to avoid enriching my PC(s) overmuch from easy encounters; but, as you shall see in posts to come, this keeps not being an issue.]

Satisfied that her loot is safely stowed away, she takes one of the torches from the wall and decides to explore one of the passages.