Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Das schwarze Auge solo - Part XIV: „Was blickt ihr mir nach, und was wollt ihr von mir?“

Travjane and Darian pass the night in silence. Having told once of the disaster beneath the ruins, Travjane is loathe to discuss it again, nor is Darian so heartless as to prod her on it. They fall asleep in their little tent, hidden as best they could manage it under the snow-laden branches of an obliging pine. The wind howls outside, but they are insensible to it, wrapped up as they are in their own cares, he lamenting the failure of their venture, and fretting about his shop back in Weihenhorst, she thinking of nothing but how to return and slay such a terrible beast, and recover the bodies of her poor new friends.

Scene 28

Madness (d6)

Setup: head back to Weihenhorst

NPC list: NPC list: villagers, family, Ulmia the confectioner, Decius Keiler: knight & villain, villain henchmen, Jalosch the dwarf, wandering mage, Darian the tailor, Kamillio the rival tailor, Captain of the guards at Weihenhorst, Linnert the carpetmaker, the cobbler, Darian's apprentice, Uli the cadet

Threads: revenge, the ivory box, get the needle, revenge against Captain, explore ruins

[Quick accounting: Both took 3 damage from failed climbing rolls on the way down. There were no nighttime encounters. Travjane's survival check succeeded, so the campsite was adequate. Regeneration rolls (1d6) for a decent night's sleep: Darian +1LeP, Travjane +1 LeP, +5 AsP.]

Erdstag 4. Firun 1040 BF

The morning comes, in all its grey and overcast glory. The temperature is well below freezing, but the clouds do no more than threaten to release their burden of snow. Yet plenty remains upon the ground for our heroes to trudge through. And trudge they do, following their route back to Winterfels as best they might.

[Travjane  makes an Orientieering (Skill 3) roll: success QL1, so they don't get lost. But they do follow the route of their guide from before, who did.

A random encounter is indicated. 1d12= ~2pm.
via BOLD: hard foes-horror-illusory
Q: Since it's illusory, how does it appear? Re-rolling modifier = legendary]

The sun peaks out from the clouds by the time they stop to rest and have a bit of lunch. They are cheered somewhat by the light and warmth, but after another hour's travel they are getting a bit snowblind. Darian had been starting to fear his friend's black mood, but as the day went on the witch's indomitable spirit cast off again its shackles of misery, and she began to be positively chatty.

"...and so my step-parents entrusted my education to the old priest of Praios at the village shrine. He  knew what I was about, and I guess so did they at that point, but they hoped his ministrations would turn me into a good little girl and banish my witchy ways. And he taught me to read and write, and both he and they were very happy when I learnt Bosporano -- I read it as well as Garethi, now -- but for different reasons. They thought I would read the old histories of Mittelreich and be improved by the stories of the noble heroes and heroines who made our land great. But really these great figures of the past were all pretty -- wait! SSsshhhhh! Look very carefully up ahead... I think we'd better back away very slowly and try to hide... The Twelve protect us!"

For indeed, a ways ahead on the path, guarding the only pass through the steep, snowy peaks surrounding them, sits a great white dragon in the attitude of a cat, watchful and proud.

The witch and half-elf creep gingerly backwards, step by careful step, the soft crunch of the snow beneath their feet resounding like thunder in their ears. The dragon seems not to take any notice of the pair -- perhaps the Twelve really had heard Travjane's prayer.

They cower in the shade of a copse of fir, hiding behind an old tree that had fallen to the ground under the weight of the snow. Darian curls up in a ball and hides his face in his hands, nearly in tears from fright. The witch adopts a more practical approach, covering her dark hair with a white scarf, and peering out from time to time to see if the fantastical beast has moved on.

The sun goes once more behind the clouds, and little by little Travjane's glare-blinded vison resolves into a clearer depiction of her surroundings. And when she chances another peek round the fallen tree to spy on the dragon, she cannot help but laugh at the sight which has finally been revealed to her in perfect clarity.

"Darian," says the witch, "I fear we've spent the better part of an hour hiding from a big, snow-covered rock!"

The rest of the day passes without incident, real or imagined.

[Another Survival roll, another good campsite. But I rolled another 1 on the encounter d6, so something happens during the night.

BOLD: knowledge-occult-incompetant
solution: seldom-used skill

The occult-incompetant result made me instantly think Kobold playing a prank that backfires. So,

Q: What does it do? Harm / Environment]

Once again the weary travellers have settled into their tent for the night. Even Travjane thinks it's too cold to be outside, so they douse their fire and try to take their watch shifts inside the tent. This predictably backfires, and the two both drift off into sleep.

But in the blackness of the night, Darian wakes, and tries to get his companion's attention. "Travjane... Travjane! Wake up. I think our tent is leaking. My feet are all wet."

The witch sits up and groggily feels around in the darkness. Putting her hand in a freezing-cold puddle of water shocks her right awake. Water is indded pouring in through the tent's front. She opens the flaps and peers outside. The dim moonlight reveals that the tent is now at the edge of a seeming lake. Splashing in the water is a little wizened mannikin, whose head keeps slipping beneath the surface.

"Help!" cries the little kobold in a thin, screeching voice. "Help me! I can't swim!"

Travjane feels pity for the little fairy creature, and wades right into the water to save him.

[Some dice rolls:
She needs a Magic Lore (Cunning/Cuning/Intuition, skill 4) roll to know what she's looking at: 4/2/5, success at QL2 - she knows exactly what she's dealing with.
She needs a Swim roll (Agility/Constitution/Strength, skill 2) to manage the pond: 10/7/5, success.
And finally, she needs a Feat of Strength (Constitution/Strength/Strength, skill 0) to drag the kobold to shore. She gets a +3 bonus for its small size: 4/11/11, success.]

The pond has filled up a rather deep depression in the ground; the waters are soon well over Travjane's head. She swims over to the helpless sprite, takes him by the hand, and pulls him back to safety. Darian, who has been vainly trying to bail water from their rapidly filling tent, merely stares in wonderment at the small creature which Travjane sits down on a snow drift, coughing and spluttering.

"Are you alright?" asks Travjane.

"Y-y-yes," answers the kobold through chattering teeth. "Thanks to you."

"What happened?"

"I thought I'd play a trick on you and melt all the snow. I didn't think I'd get caught up in it."

[Travjane needs to make an Etiquette (Cunning/Intuition/Charisma, skill 0) roll to treat with the Fairy correctly: 3/11/13, success. Lucky for her, as an angry Kobold is honestly a more fearsome foe than the Zant that ate two of her friends.]

"I guess the joke's on us all then!" laughs Travjane. "But, Herr Kobold, you're sure that you're alright?"

"I'll be fine. I just need to dry out."

"So do we. Do you live round here?"

"Oh, yes! I live in my cozy little kobold-house in a great, old tree."

"Could we come in and warm up too? Only we're ever so cold and ever so far from home."

[Fast Talk (Courage/Intuition/Charisma, skill 2) roll to convince him, +2 bonus since she saved him: 7/1/15, success]

"Of course!" says the kobold. "You did save me after all. Come along. And bring your poor, sodden friend."

[Q: Alles klar? 50/50 (4+): O2 C1 - No, and...]

Darian and Travjane pull their sodden tent to higher ground, and leave it lay, assuming it will still be there in the morning. They are both soaked through, and need to get out of the chill. And the kobold seems a bit impatient with their operation. But then it happily leads them off through the forest. When they see his tree, there can be no doubt that it is the abode of a forest fairy, for the huge old oak towers above the other trees, which incline slighty towards it in a posture of reverence. "Right this way," says the kobold. "We can warm ourselves by my hearth. Follow me!" And with that, the kobold leaps up into the air and jumps right through a knothole no bigger than a ducat, its body seeming to stretch and contort as it wriggles through.

The bewildered travellers walk round and round the great oak, but cannot discern an entrance suitable for big folk. Travjane sighs, and tries knocking on the trunk as if it were a door. The kobold's head emerges from the knothole, and he looks at them quizzically.

"Please, Herr Kobold, how do we get inside?"

"Just follow me like I said."

"But Herr Kobold, we don't have the means to make ourselves that small. However shall we come in?"

"I'm so sorry, but I don't rightly know how to get you in, if you can't just come yourselves. Oh, and it's past my bedtime! Good night. I hope you get warm."

And then it disappears.

Travjane and Darian trudge dejectedly back to their tent. Darian salvages what little he can from the sodden mess, whilst Travjane sets about making the largest fire she can.

[Survival (Courage/Agility/Constitution, skill 4) roll to make a decent campfire: failure; She spends a Fate point to re-roll: 2/14/7, QL2. They'll get no regeneration rolls for the night, but neither will the cold kill them.]

The pair spend a miserable night huddled before the roaring fire, but at least don't they don't die. Travjane even manages to rig up a makeshift drying rack, and they have dry clothes to change into within an hour. The night is still long, and they scarcely get any sleep, but as the dawn arrives they feel a second wind come over them.

It's another hard day of travel through the wintery mountains, but by evening they are safely abed in the inn at Winterfels.

[A day's worth of uninteresting die rolls redacted.

Travjane rolls double sixes for her Regeneration that night; she's back to full LeP and 11AsP. Darian is fully healed.

Q: Quiet time in town? 50/50 (4+): O6 C3 - Yes, but...]

Darian and Travjane were so exhausted when they reached the village that they completely failed to notice how spooked the villagers were that only two came back. They cannot but notice this superstitious dread in the inn's common room in the morning, and after purchasing a new, dry tent from an obliging weaver, they quickly set out on the road. They avoid the Herberge des ruhigen Aufenthalt entirely, detouring through the forest and going as far as they can before making camp in order to avoid the resident bandits.

The night is cold, and they daren't make a fire, so they huddle close for warmth. Darian dreams of being back in the city and in his own bed. Travjane merely has nightmares about being back in Hohendorf -- for they must pass that way tomorrow. [No encounters, survival ok, +6 AsP...]

Rohalstag 7. Firun 1040 BF

[The d30 Sandbox Companion produces a hostile road encounter - Attack.
2 NPCs of equivalent level
1d6 hexes down the road=3

Q: Are they bandits? O1 C2 - No, and... they think party are bandits.

d30 NPC table for type: 1d10 will produce a character type (equal to Travjane), 1d20+10 will decide the equivalent of Darian. They are a Fighter (as Geron from the quickstart), and a Messenger (unmodified Bürgerin stats).]

When they are about halfway to Hohendorf, Darian and Travjane see another pair of travellers coming up the road towards them. One is a youngish woman wearing a plain, brown travelling cloak. Behind her is a large man in leather armour, armed with a crossbow. They take one look at the bedraggled pair coming towards them and the man raises his crossbow.

"Hold!" calls the man, "Get you gone, villains! You'll not find us easy marks!"

"Don't you dare threaten us!" hisses Travjane, "or I'll have your intestines for garters!"

[Round 1
Initiative: Darian 18, Warrior 17, Messenger 17, Travjane 15]

Darian draws his rapier in hopes of backing up Travjane's words, but as he does so the warrior merely turns his crossbow on [1-3 T, 4-6 D] Travjane and shoots. She was tensed and expecting it however, and springs to one side in anticipation, lest she make an easy target. She can feel the whoosh of air in the bolt's wake as it speeds past her ear. [The warrior has Ranged Attack 13, +2 bonus for short range, and he rolled  a 14, which would have hit; there is a -4 penalty for dodging bows & crossbows (Schusswaffen), but Travjane with her Dodge 8 rolled a 4, just making it.]

The young woman produces a stout cudgel from underneath her cloak.

Travjane throws the branch she has been using as a walking stick up into the air. It does not fall to the ground, but leaps instead towards the surprised warrior. [She cast Radau again, 4AsP, no Mindergeister, 12/14/1 succeeds at QL1 despite (or rather because of) the -1 penalty for quick casting. It rolls 14 for its Initiativa, and has AT 11.]

[Round 2]
Darian's momentary bravado drains away, and he stands stock-still, holding his rapier in what he hopes is a threatening attidude. The warrior casts aside his crossbow, and draws a sword and dagger.

The young woman moves to attack (1-3 D, 4-6 T) Darian. The half-elf surprises himself at the deftness with which he imposes his blade between the cudgel and his face [5 hits, 3 parries].

Travjane draws her heavy dagger as the animated branch smashes down on the warrior's shoulder [1d6+3 -3 armour = 6 damage, leaving him at 23 LeP].

[Round 3]
Darian, emboldened by his sudden martial prowess, swings his rapier at the young woman with great panache. Perhaps too much, for it merely makes swishing noises as it bisects empty air. When he pauses for a moment in disbelief, the woman hits him hard with her cudgel [5 damage drops him to 24 LeP].

The warrior advances upon Travjane. He leads with his dagger, which the witch can easily avoid, but she leaves herself open to his sword, whose blade draws a long red line down her arm. [He's got the Two-handed Fighting combat ability, so his AT and PA are at -1 with each weapon instead of -2. The sword connects for 6 damage, dropping Travjane to 23 LeP.]

Travjane can't get close enough to use her dagger, lest the sword strike her again [-2 AT for Short vs. Medium weapon, she missed].

The branch has no such fear. It flies right at the warriors face. He raises his sword just in time, but presents the flat of the blade, and with a clang the blade bends where it is struck. [The branch technically missed, but the warrior fumbled his parry, with the result being Damaged Weapon. It has -2 AT and PA until fixed.]

[Round 4]
Darian and the young woman trade blows ineffectually. Neither is really a trained fighter.

The warrior fares little better against Travjane. His bent sword is enough of an impediment that she gets through his defences, and stabs him viciously in the stomach with her curved blade -- though his armour takes the worst of it [(1d6+2=5)-3=2 damage].

The branch smacks the warrior again [6-3=3 damage, leaving him at 18 LeP], and he cries out in [1 level of] pain.

[Round 5]
The half-elf's next attack does him no credit. He recieves a glancing blow upside the head which makes him see stars [4 damage drops him to 20 LeP & 1 level of Pain].

The warrior is a seasoned veteran, and will fight on despite his injuries [Morale check: flees when 50% LeP lost]. However, the bent sword proves to be entirely too awkward a weapon, and after another clumsyt swing, he throws it down in disgust [his attack Fumbled, so he ditched the sword. The fumble result was Lose Next Action (dagger attack), but dropping the sword can be done for free].

As the warrior does not press his attack, Travjane hesitates [miss], but the branch hits him in the side [7-3=4 damage, drops him to 14LeP and 2 pain].

[Round 6]
The pain of his wounds is too great for Darian, and he turns to run, but he cannot shake his attacker. The young woman bashes him in the shoulder again [3 damage puts him at 17 LeP. To flee, he needs to make a Body Control (Agility/Agility/Constitution) roll at -2 (-1 for 1 opponent, -1 for Pain). He failed, so only got half his movement rate].

The warrior [now at 2 Pain, under 50% LeP] also decides he's had enough, and tries to back away swiftly, but does not get very far [also fleeing; his Body control Skill is at 7, but he has a -4 penalty (-2pain, -2 opponents). He also fails and gets a half-move].

"That's right," sneers the witch, "run away from me, you coward." She lets the magic of the Radau lapse, but takes a menacing step forward with her dagger as the branch falls. She has an even worse spell in mind should he come at her with his knife.

[Round 7]
Darian turns and runs off into the woods [Body Control just succeeds, so he can flee.
[Q: Does the woman pursue? 50/50 (4+): O6 C6 - Yes +Event: Move toward a thread - revenge against captain - Violate / Business (noted)]

The young woman runs after her, brandishing her club above her head.

Travjane stands still as the warrior turns and flees into the forest in the opposite direction.

[Round 8]
Darian runs, but his pursuer does not relent. She even manages to hit him in the back hard enough to crack a rib [7 damage drops Darian to 10 LeP]. Travjane runs after the woman herself to save her friend.

[Q: Can Travjane catch her before she catches Darian? 50/50 (4+): O2 C6 - No.]

[Round x]
Darian keeps running until he realises that escape is not an option; he must stand and fight. He tries to ward off the woman's attack, but he is too tired and weak. She hits him solidly on the crown and he tumbles into the snow at her feet [5 damage puts him at 5LeP, thus unconscious].

[Round x+1]
Travjane is right behind them. The woman wheels about just in time to see the witch bearing down on her, and she hits Travjane hard enough to knock the wind out of her [8 damage leaves her with 15 LeP]. But the witch keeps going, and drives her dagger deep into the woman's midsection [rolling 1, then 7: critical hit (the woman's dodge is halved, and fails). 1d6+2=6, x2=12 damage, leaving her at 17 LeP with 1 Pain, and so under her Morale threshhold].

[Round x+2]
The woman turns and flees in a panic, dropping her cudgel in her flight, and holding her bleeding stomach with both hands. Travjane is happy to let her go.

But then she sees Darian lying still, and her joy vanishes. She rushes to the side of the stricken tailor. His breathing is ragged, but he lives. Travjane has almost no magic left but pours all she can into a healing charm [Balsam Salabunde, cures 5 points].

The half-elf looks up at her wearily. "I thought I was done for," he says weakly, then collapses back onto the ground. But a moment later he opens his eyes and studies her intently. "Why is your hair standing straight up like that?" he asks.

"It happens sometimes. When I do too much magic. Can we please talk about something else?" [She finally failed a roll to avoid the Mindergeister.]

The annoying little sprites eventually tire of their game, and Travjane's coiffeur returns to its normal, less-bouyant state. She tells Darian to sit tight for a minute, then goes back to look at the road.

[Q: Any problems? 50/50 (4+): O3 C2 - No, and...]

The discarded weapons lie in the path where they were thrown. She retireves her branch (though it do her no good for a while) and takes the warrior's crossbow as well before returning to her friend.

"I think they won't be back," she says. "And I've even claimed us a little prize. But what do we do now? The herberge is too dangerous. I suppose I can get you to Hohendorf. You can rest up there. But I can't stay. My step-parents--"

"You really think they can keep you there?" interrupts Darian. "Ha! I'd like to see them try." [UNE: prejudiced - belief - power]

"You don't know what they're like!"

"But how would I get back to Weihenhorst on my own? The roads aren't safe, if you hadn't noticed. And I'm not much of a fighter..."

"You have to help me then. As soon as you're well enough to travel, you have to explain that, I dunno, that I owe you and it's my duty to escort you safely home, or... or..."

"Or the kobold will come to get me!" [insane - fear - last scene]

"Perfect! You're the best!"

Scene 29

Madness (d6)

Setup: chaos die =4, Interrupt (was: rest up in Hohendorf)
Interrupt: NPC negative - cobbler - Bestow/Trials

[The cobbler will be in prison by the time Travjane gets back to Weihenhorst.]

Scene 30

Madness (d6)

Setup: rest up in Hohendorf

NPC list: NPC list: villagers, family, Ulmia the confectioner, Decius Keiler: knight & villain, villain henchmen, Jalosch the dwarf, wandering mage, Darian the tailor, Kamillio the rival tailor, Captain of the guards at Weihenhorst, Linnert the carpetmaker, the cobbler, Darian's apprentice, Uli the cadet

Threads: revenge, the ivory box, get the needle, revenge against Captain, explore ruins

[Q: What's reception like in Hohendorf? Proceedings / Intrigues]

The rest of the trip down to Hohendorf is uneventful. They are received more warmly than expected, but even Travjane admits that the sight of them, bloodied and battered from fighting, was certain to excite the pity of the pious folk of the village.

They decide to stay three days, no more. Darian promises that he will do his best to travel on the fourth day, no matter what state he is in.

Travjane's step-parents are genuinely worried at first, but it soon fades, to be replaced by the usual animosity. They get the village priestess to intervene [1d3=3] on the third day.

[First, the Regeneration rolls-
D 15 to 21 LeP
T 8 to 23 LeP, 13 to 13 AsP

Now to flesh out the Priestess

NPC Relationship: distrustful
Conversation Mood: cautious
inquisitive - investigation - the character

Personality: Abusive, Forceful

1. proclaim narcissism (other people's, not her own)
2. blight myths (uphold religious orthodoxy)
3. shepherd the world

Age 1d6+1 x10= 50s]

On the third day, the village's Praios priestess comes to call at the inn, asking to see Travjane. The witch knew this was coming, but consents to the interview. She suggests they go for a walk in the woods where they might speak privately. The priestess protests, saying the cold of Firun is not good for her old bones. They walk over to sit in the village temple as a compromise.

"So, Travjane, you return to Hohendorf once again. Where have you been all this time? And why do you stay away?"

"My fate isn't in this pitiful little village. You've only to look at me to know I don't belong here."

"My, my... a month in the big city and already she puts on airs! Travjane, I fear you've gotten all full of yourself."

"It's not like that at all. But I have responsibilities now; real ones, not like sweeping out the common room every morning. There are things I must put right -- injustices to which I cannot turn a blind eye. You -- a priestess of the Heavenly Judge [Himmlischer Richter] -- should understand that more than most."

[Using the priestess' religion against her will require a Gods & Cults (Cunning/Cunning/Intuition, skill 0) roll for Travjane to not put her foot in it: 11/2/3, success!]

"I see. Perhaps your reasons are not entirely selfish. And your concern for your friend does you credit, bringing him here to recuperate even though you knew what would happen." [knowing - telling - last action]

[Travjane gets an Empathy check (KL/IN/CH, skill 5) to get a feel for how to handle the Priestess. QL will reduce the -3 social penalty for being a witch. Roll: 6/2/14, QL2!]

"What else could I do? Darian is a tailor, and not cut out for dangerous adventures. I just need to see him well and get him home safely again, and then go back to finish what I started. My other companions and I went below an old ruin. And we fought a monster there -- a demon! And two of us were lost. I need to go back, to slay this horrible creature of darkness, and recover my friends' bodies for burial. I must go to the Rabenkloster; they'll understand there. And they trust me in matters such as these... unless you yourself want to come vanquish this foe of the light."

[Travjane gets a Fast Talk (MU/IN/CH skill 2) roll for the above, her final gambit, with only a-1 penalty: 10/5/4, success.]

"Oh, Travjane! I'm far too old for such adventures. Ministering to the spiritual needs of this village takes all my time now. Orvik and Kala are to wed next month; that's more than enough excitement for me. Now, I cannot say I have no reservations about the path you've chosen to walk -- I do not share the opinion of my predecessor that witchcraft is a blameless profession -- but I do see that your heart is in the right place, and I will not stand in your way. I will talk to your parents, and try to make them see that your remaining here is not in anyone's best interests."

Such is Travjane's relief that she falls a-weeping for joy, and kisses the priestess' hands again and again in gratitude.

The Adventure continues here.


  1. Lesson of the day . . . don't turn your back to enemy.

    -- Jeff