Thursday, 21 January 2016

Das schwarze Auge solo - Part V: „Ich bin in eine fremde Stadt verschlagen“

It is a crisp and bright winter's day as Travjane bids her friends at the cloister good-bye, and sets out over the hills. She has a half-day's walk ahead of her, but her recent success has given her a hopeful feeling, and lightens the trek. After a couple hours she sees the small city of Weihenhorst in the distance across the river Breite, its stout walls and proud spires gleaming in the rays of the Praios-Orb.

She's only been to Weihenhorst twice before, and then only as a stopover on her pilgrimages to the Travia temple in far-off Greifenfurt. All she really remembers of it was the crowds and the noise and the smell,  not as big or as overwhelming as Greifenfurt, but a bit cramped and loud and smelly for her country tastes. Still, it's her best chance of uncovering the identities of Widow Brinnske's murder -- and exacting her revenge.

[But first, some parish notices.

Travjane hasn't had time to improve her skills (nor will she for a few scenes yet -- I've played through 21, and she still hasn't had a good break), but she is due some Adventure Points for the little excursus with the bandit ghosts and the ogre. I read and re-read the section on how many AP to award, but I kept putting off making the actual decision. There weren't many encounters, but she saved some ghosts, helped kill an ogre, and won the respect of the priests of Boron. As 5AP is the smallest suggested reward for a short adventure, I think I will just give her the 5AP, but with the proviso that 2 of them may only be used to increase her Singing skill, since it proved oddly pivotal to the way everything worked out. So at some point she will have 10AP to spend.

I am using Midkemia Press' Cities book for random encounters in Weihenhorst, though there have been a few re-rolls of results that really don't fit Aventuria, or at least this part of it. I generally roll for an encounter every time the party/PC moves around within a precinct, or enters a new one. Mundane encounters that lead nowhere probably won't get noted unless they add to the flavour of the big (from Travjane's perspective) city. But even she will eventually get over "X accidentally bumps into character" results.

As Travjane is a stranger in Weihenhorst, she will be getting a -3 penalty on most social rolls (-2 for being an outsider here, and -1 for her witch's streak). This doesn't apply to doing business with merchants, and there will be other individual exceptions.]

Scene 12

Out of control (d8)

Setup: Weihenhorst

NPC list: villagers, family, Ulmia the confectioner, villain, villain henchmen, Jalosch the dwarf, wandering mage

Threads: revenge, the ivory box

Travjane feels decidedly self-conscious as she crosses under the stone archway into the city. The crowds and the noise she remembers, the smell though reminds her a little too much of the ogre. She is soon lost in the bustle of a busy street, jostled by passers-by who make attempt at politeness, and just keep walking. Her own attempts at being civil go equally unheeded.

Her demeanour, her clothes, her speech all have the air of the country about them, and she's never been quite so aware of that as she is now. She had smiled as sweetly as she might at the soldiers guarding the gate, but even they only sighed and told her not to block traffic. Everyone seems so hurried, so self-important, so very urban, if not urbane. Those who deign to notice her do so only down their noses, she is sure. Perhaps she will have to buy some shoes.

After a few minutes hopeless meandering, she decides to go straight the merchant's quarter and take care of her business.

[looking for the Merchant's quarter on her own requires a Streetwise (Cunning/Intuition/Charisma) check. Her roll is 1/18/11, which fails as she has 0 skill. The failure requires another encounter check wherever she ends up by mistake: (1d6) 1-4 stay in poor quarter, 5-6 blunder into rich quarter; 3=poor.]

Travjane blunders down a side-street in hopes of escaping the crowd. At first, she has no such luck, but then she sees the people suddenly thinning out. Too late does she realise the reason:  a stallion has gotten loose and is stampeding through the streets of the quarter. Suddenly she is by herself in the middle of the thoroughfare, with the enraged Warunker bearing down on her.

[Warunker is a typical aventurian horse breed.

Travjane is going to cast Meekness (Sanftmut) before getting trampled. She needs to do it quickly (again) so there's a -1 penalty. The horse's Mental Strength is 0 (no mods). She rolls 14/7/8 against Courage/Intuition/Charisma, so needs to use 2 skill to bring the 14 down to (13-1=)12; 2 skill remaining = QL1. 1d20=17, no Mindergeister.]

Travjane stands her ground as the horse gallops up the street, and looks it right in the eye. It skitters to a stop and bows its head sheepishly. She walks right up and pats it on its flank, and speaks to it softly. "Did something give you a fright? No need to be so skittish; no one here will hurt you. The big city can be scary when you're on your own. Trust me, I know."

[Her spell will only last 3 minutes, so she is going to try to calm it down completely using the Animal Lore skill (Courage/Courage/Charisma; skill 6). Her roll of 2/15/4 succeeds with 4 points left over, so QL2.

Q: Is the owner coming after it? Likely (3+): O3 C5 - Yes]

Travjane's honeyed words calm the beast, and it stands still and content. Soon a red-faced [1d6=] townsman trots panting up the street.

"He yours?" asks Travjane.

The man puts one hand on the horse to steady himself, and nods assent to her enquiry. After a few moments, he is able to speak. "How... how did you... do that?"

"Rahja smiles on me," says Travjane with an impish smile. "Say, how does one get to the merchants' quarter from here?"

[The horse is the usual symbol of the love goddess.

Travjane gets a +3 bonus to streetwise for getting directions, and makes the roll easily this time.]

The merchant's quarter seems at first indistinguishable from the rest of the city, but Travjane soon begins to notice the brightly-painted signs, colourful pennants and banners, and cleaner cobblestones. There are shops selling all manner of wares, and the squares are full of tents, booths, and stalls in no less grand display.

Travjane's eye soon lights upon a jeweller's shop, and she ducks inside to see about getting the heavy silver necklace she found in the ogre's ruin appraised.

[I never put a value on the treasure, so I will simply give Travjane a Commerce (Handel) roll to see how good a deal she can get. Commerce uses Cunning/Intuition/Charisma. Travjane has skill 0. I made a quick chart for the value determination based on her roll:

Success: 1d20d
Failure: 1d10d
Critical: 2d20d
Fumble: 1d20H

Remember, a ducat is worth 10 silver talers, and a taler is worth 10 hellers. And to put it in context, in many of the fan-made solitaire adventures I've played, your character undertakes a mission with a promised reward of 7-12 ducats. My PC who earned 67AP from adventures has amassed a total purse of 137d. DSA is not a game where every dungeon contains more cash than the GNP of a small nation.

And so Travjane rolls 8/13/20 - failure. 1d10=3]

"It's a nice piece," agrees the merchant, "but it's a little heavy. Not many people would wear it, but the metal is worth a bit on its own. Mind if I ask where you got it?"

"Off an ogre. Well, not off the ogre itself, because ick. But it was dropped near its lair."

"That explains the dirt... I can give you three ducats for it."

"Can I have that in silver?"


The merchant counts 30 talers out of his strongbox as Travjane produces her coin purse. She looks at the 5s and 10h therein and grimaces. "You wouldn't, perchance, know of a good, cheap place to stay in town?" she asks.

Travjane leaves the jewellers and heads back to the neighbourhood by the gate [poor quarter] hopefully following the directions she's been given properly.

[Random encounter roll turns up "Peasant needs help... they have information that will be of interest to the character".

1d6=m, d30 (NPCO2b: Trade)=tailor

Personality: Smooth, Direct

  1. hinder modesty (=make elegant fashions)
  2. attempt magic
  3. review friends (doesn't trust them)
  NPC Relationship: peaceful
  Conversation Mood: neutral
  mysterious - obscurity - skills]

Travjane is fighting her way down another crowded street when she hears a voice behind her. "Hey! wait up. I need to talk to you!" She turns to see a well-dressed young man waving at her. As he gets closer she realises his youth may be an illusion -- for there is certainly elven blood in his veins.

"I saw your handiwork with the horse earlier," he says, "but then I lost sight of you. I have need of someone who is well-versed in magic. You're not a guild mage, are you?"

"Um, hardly that," says a bemused Travjane.

"But you do use the arcane arts."

"One of them..."

"I am sure it will be sufficient."

"But I have important business in town."

"Will it take long?"

"I'm not sure."

"When will you know?"

"I have to see a merchant about a box. In fact, a magic box. I can't really say more."

"Maybe I can help you with your problem, and you can help me with mine." [UNE: inquisitive - petition - campaign]

"I don't even know who you are. Or if I can trust you."

[On that note, Travjane is going to make an Empathy (Cunning/Intuition/Charisma, Skill 5) roll to try to suss out the half-elf's motives, which he is going to resist with Fast-Talk (Courage/Intuition/Charisma, skill 3). As he is a townsperson, I will be using the Bürger(in) stats posted on Ulisses-Spiele's site (thus, his controlling attributes scores are 12/13/12).

Empathy roll: 3/10/5, QL2
Fast-talk roll: 15/8/18, fail. So I can ask Mythic--

Q: Does he seem on the level? 50/50 (4+): O3 C7 - No.]

"Why wouldn't you trust me?" asks the half-elf.

"Oh, let's see," replies Travjane, "trying to avoid the guild, approaching a stranger in the street with an unnamed proposition, the way you keep looking over your shoulder..."

"Maybe we should go somewhere more private where we can discuss this in a more civilised fashion."


"I'm buying."

"Why not?"

The half-elf, who introduces himself as Darian, leads her down the main street of the quarter and finds a nice-looking public house, not in the least bit shady looking. Inside it is warm and relatively clean, and the punters seem to mostly be merchants from the quarter.

He finds a table not too far from the fire and leaves Travjane there whilst he goes up to the bar. He soon comes back to table with flagon of good wine.

[UNE for the pitch: knowing - effects - relics]

"So," he begins as he pours, "you know the songs of bards and the old legends are full of items enchanted and wonderful: staves, rings, genie's lamps and the like. But besides these there are items having a more quotidian function, not for the mighty heroes but for the ones, such as I, whom the heroes must find along their way. Who raises the hero's mount? Who forges the hero's sword? And, perhaps even more unsung than these: who sews the hero's clothes?"

"Would that be you?"

"Precisely. Though lately my clientele has been mostly the gentry of Weihenhorst... but no matter. I have set my eyes on an object most rare and wonderful which will attract mighty heroes to my humble shop: a magic needle, that can sew metal as if it were thread."

"Where is this needle?"

[Q: Where is it? (improbable = Weihenhorst) 1d30=Kalmansfeld... no]

"Travillo, another tailor here in the city, has it. But he won't ever use it! He just keeps it locked up in a box as a 'treasure' to 'admire'. He won't even show anyone its marvellous working!"

"And you want me to steal it, I'm supposing?"

"Well... however you get it is fine by me. If you think you can just take it, well and good, but I'd have looked for a thief if I thought that were the best method."

"So what did you have in mind?"

"Use your magic! Force him to part with it. Control his mind or... I don't know, magic things."

"Can I think about it?"

"Sure, I guess."

"Fine. What'll you give me if I help you, anyways? That might help me think."

"I have some information that will make this all worth your while."

"Information? For me?"

[Q: Information? For her? Doubtful (6): O3 C3 - No, but... may lead to other clues coincidentally
+Event: NPC negative - Ulmia - Excitement / Suffering (noted for later)]

"No, of course not. I don't know you, and I am not in the habit of spying on new arrivals. But it will definitely be of interest to a woman of your talents."

"Alright. I'll come here tomorrow evening with my answer. Say, at dinnertime? I can't work on an empty stomach, you understand, so I'll need you to pay a modest retainer... in kind."

"Tomorrow it is then. But as it's a pleasant evening, and assuming you aren't otherwise engaged, might I tempt you with more wine?"

"Why not?"

Travjane and Darian spend a pleasant evening chatting about all sorts of things, save their potential arrangement. Darian is too careful to risk pushing too hard, especially since he thinks she'll probably agree. He also doesn't ask too many questions about what she's doing in Weihenhorst in the first place, which discretion does much to convince Travjane that he might be worth doing business with after all.

[Travjane is, however, having wine for dinner. She'll need to make a Carousing (Cunning/Constitution/Strength, skill 0) roll: 16/8/13, failure. She will suffer 1 level of Stupor (Betäubung) for 1 hour, and wake the next morning with a headache (per the rulebook).]

The pair talk well into the evening, at which point Travjane remembers she has nowhere to stay in Weihenhorst yet. She isn't entirely sure she can remember the jeweller's directions to the cheap inn, nor follow them in this state [-1 penalty for Stupor]. The half-elf seems a bit wobbly himself. "This has been fun and all," says Travjane rising unsteadily to her feet, "but I really need to sort out my lodgings for the night."

[Q: Rooms available here? Unlikely (5+): O5 C2 - Yes, and...]

"They have rooms upstairs that are supposed to be quite comfortable," offers Darian. Travjane bids the tailor good eve, and see you tomorrow, and stumbles off to see if a room is in fact free. She is given a small garret room which more than exceeds her expectations. She has some bread and meat sent up, eats it mechanically sitting on the side of the bed, then passes out in her clothes. The bed is warm and cozy, but Travjane's sleep is fitful and plagued by bizarre dreams.

[The Yes, and... result makes this Good Accommodations, so she gets +1 to regeneration rolls. But I am giving her -2 for bad sleep; I know from experience that when I have wine for dinner, I certainly don't get back all my magic points. 1d6-1= 1AsP regained (to 22/34).]


  1. So what awaits her in the new day?

    -- Jeff

    1. A series of completely aleatory events and encounters that ends up looking like it could have been a pre-written adventure...

      I believe we've discussed serendipity here before.

    2. Indeed we have discussed it before . . . and I have seen it happen so many times . . . as player, as GM, as solo player and so on.

      -- Jeff

  2. This is a very good series.