Monday, 20 August 2018

Das schwarze Auge solo - Part XV: „Rings um ruhet die Stadt; still wird die erleuchtete Gasse“

My dearest Travjane,

I hope this letter finds you well. I confess I have had a presentiment of doom ever since you left. I'm sure it cannot but be my own foolishness, mingled with the sorrow of parting with a new friend, and one so instantly dear to my heart. From what you have told me of your adventures, I am sure that there be no dangers the equal of my little ogre-slayer! But do write as soon as you've returned, or I shall have more sleepless nights.

Yrs affectionately,
Baronesse Ulinai von Galgenkreuz

P.S. You must tell me your family name! I never did get it, and my sole confidante at the academy, to whom I've told every wonderful detail of our Rahjaverhältnis, is teasing me mercilessly.

[It's been a while since my last DSA session. In the interim, the English version (The Dark Eye) has been released, which I have found has some things translated differently that the original Quickstart (though not the updated one). There's also a Rules Wiki in German and English.

so I will make a conscious effort to use proper translations instead of just guessing. I beg, as always, the readers understanding if I forget to check or leave anything in Garethi (German). The biggest difference that long-time readers will notice is that the attribute Cunning has been renamed Sagacity. I've redone Travjane's character sheet, which you can find here: ]

Scene 31

Chaos: Out of Control (d8)

Setup: back in Weihenhorst

NPC list: NPC list: villagers, family, Ulmia the confectioner, Decius Kleiber: 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

Travjane had woken Darian at dawn on the fourth day of their miserable sojourn in Hohendorf. She'd packed their bags in the night, and even packed some rations for the journey. A very sore half elf then honoured his promise to his friend the witch, and they set out on the wintry road towards home.

The journey was uneventful, their return anything but. Linnert was still at Darian's shop when they arrived in the frosty evening, berating Darian's apprentice with imprecations that would make a Thorwalish sailor faint. After a glance at the account book, Darian saw no need to stop him. The next morning, Darian turned his apprentice out into the street with a half-week's wages, and the threat of a witch's curses should he ever be heard of in Weihenhorst again.

[The die rolls were:
Q: Is Linnert really mad about their failure? 50/50 (4+): O1 C6 - No.
Q: Has Darian's apprentice done real harm to the business? 50/50 (4+): O1 C4 - No, but... enough]

"The look on his face!" laughs Darian as Travjane is brewing a pot of herbal tea. "Do you think he actually believed me about the curses?"

"I hope so," replies Travjane. "I did."

"I suppose I'll have to take on a new apprentice soon. I can't afford not to. I'd rather hoped we'd have found some treasure in the ruins to offset our costs. I don't suppose..."

"I'm no tailor! I can do the mending, but that's all. [Clothworking 1] I can help model for you again, but I'm afraid that is the limit of my powers."

"Of course. That's all I ask. You did quite increase my sales with the gowns. But if you're going to show off my creations to the monied beldames of Weihenhorst, I'm afraid you're going to need to wear shoes."

"I suppose since I led you off into a monster-infested ruin, it's the least I can do! In fact, I'd been meaning to visit my friend the cobbler. I'll need some money for the shoes, if you don't mind. Oh, and a little extra for a courier. I need to send a letter to my little cadet."

[Over the course of the previous adventure, I had two Move Towards a Thread Events for the Revenge against the Captain thread, and an additional Event putting the cobbler in gaol, so this plot is moving into the endgame.

I will use the random Scarlet Heroes Urban Adventure schema for the basic structure, but let the scenes flow as I would any others, since the 1-check-per-scene is a little too mechanistic for my tastes. Furthermore, I will not be interpreting all the Fight results as strictly combat encounters, and will of course re-roll inappropriate results on the adventure tables (there are no Watch Sorcerers in Weihenhorst, nor is there a wharf, etc.).

The plot is obviously #7: "A Target faces a calamity due to a crime committed by an untouchable Antagonist. Draw the Target and pick the Crime. If the Antagonist is not obvious, it requires a successful Investigation scenes to discover who was responsible, and the rest of the adventure to catch them, kill them, or expose them to legal consequences."

Victory points start at 0 for Travjane and the Captain. I'm starting Heat at 2 to account for the things she's already been involved in, even though most of her magic use was fairly subtle.

The outcome of this will determine whether or not the Chaos Level goes up or down for the start of the next adventure.]

Scene 32 (SH-1)
Investigation:  Hunt up an Actor whom you have reason to suspect can give you a Clue.

Travjane seals her missive with a kiss, and a great deal of wax lest anyone at the Academy has prying eyes. None would dare interfere with Her Ladyship's post, she hopes. Travjane watches the courier ride away from the city gate, then hurries over to the cobbler's shop on her second errand of the morning.

[Q: Is it boarded up? Likely (3+): O3 C4 - Yes]

But she finds the shop has been boarded up, and an official writ nailed to the door indicating the cobbler's arrest and a seizure of his assets. She goes into a nearby bookbinder's to ask what happened.

[Fast Talk (Courage/Intuition/Charisma skill 2); -2 penalty for being a peasant, additional -1 for witch's streak: 15/2/5, failure]

The bookbinder has nothing to tell her. She tries a few other merchants and tradesmen, but no one is willing to talk. But are they afraid of the captain... or her?

[For her failure, the Captain gets 1 Victory Point.

I've played a handful of SH city adventures, but for some reason I can never remember the following rule, so I'm putting it here in full as an aide-memoire: "After each Investigation or Action scene, roll 1d10; if equal or less than the total number of Investigation and Action scenes so far, the foe gains 1 Victory point."

1d10=8, so no additional VP

T0 C1 heat 2

Scene 33 (SH-2)
Conflict: Outmanoeuvre a local official suborned or bribed by the foe. Roll a die; on an odd result, add 1 Heat to the community.

She'd hoped not to have to, but after a fruitless visit to Linnert's shop (he was at least happy to see her) she decides that the only way forward is to make enquiries at the Rathaus (Guildhall). She buys shoes from a market stall (the icy cobblestones were starting to hurt her feet, and Darian would be ever so cross if she failed to do her one errand for him) then proceeds to the Rathaus apace.

Once there, she is faced with a full waiting room, for many of the good folk of Weihenhorst have come today with their petitions. After a brief, somewhat flirty conversation with the young clerk...

[Fast Talk (Courage/Intuition/Charisma, skill 2) to charm her way past the clerk: -2 not local, -1 witch's streak, +2 Good Looking II for a total -1 penalty: 13/14/11... just succeeds]

...she is told that one of the Ratsherren (aldermen) will see her anon. Anon seems to have a much different definition in the city than it did in Travjane's little village, but several hours later she is summoned back into one of the chambers.

[1d6=m, Actor description: balding, proud, seeks vengeance for a slight.]

The man who receives her cuts a commanding figure in his fur-trimmed robes of state, but his velvet cap is pulled low on his head to hide his receding hairline. The creases on his forehead give him a stern and dower mien, but there is a vibrancy in his eyes which tells Travjane that she may have found the right potential ally -- or a terrible foe if this be a blunder on her part. She intends to size him up before revealing too much, but he is anxious to get right down to business, receiving her without so much as a "the Twelve bless you".

"So, Miss, you are here to make a complaint about the arrest of a local tradesman."

"I am. I believe the watch has overstepped its bounds in this matter specifically, and several others besides."

"I see. Go on."

"I've asked round, and it seems to be an open secret amongst the merchants of this fair city that the watch is seizing property at the slightest provocation. But none dare complain, lest it happen to them."

"And your concern in this matter would be what, exactly? Forgive me for saying so, Miss, but you don't sound like a citizen of Weihenhorst."

"And that is why I feel emboldened to point out this injustice. For it is unjust, you must agree."

"I see. But certainly you must have more than knowledge of this so-called 'open secret' to bring before me. Else I fear that your complaint is but a waste of time."

[She needs to make a roll against Empathy (Sagacity/Intuition/Charisma skill 5) to suss out the official; QL will be penalty for his resistance roll in the next challenge: 7/10/1, QL2]

"Alrik the cobbler has been thrown in gaol and his property seized by the Captain. His only crime is attempting to besmirch the reputation of a rival in love. Such a misdeed is worth a trifling fine, if indeed a magistrate would even deign to hear such a case. But that isn't why he's really incarcerated. The truth of the matter is that, upon being presented with evidence of his misdemeanour, he refused to pay to have it hushed up."

[Law roll (SGC/SGC/INT, skill 0): 4/10/11, success


Willpower Cou12/Int13/Cha12, skill4; -2 penalty: 19/17/12 failure]

"You are, of course right. The Captain has gone too far, and ought to be stopped before he brings down --ahem-- any one in the city government. But we need something more substantial to go on than just, er, common knowledge."

"You shall have it within the week."


"Mightn't you have an inkling of where I should look? I'm certain I can find something, it's just I don't have your local knowledge.

The Ratsherr sighs deeply. "Very well; I have heard that the Captain has changed his drinking habits of late. He used to drink at the [d30 Sandbox tavern generator=] Three Knights, like the common soldiers. Now he spends all his time at the Purple Lion. Like he's too good for them."

"I'll start there."

[The hint was actually a reverse-engineered justification for the random Investigation Scene & Actor results in the next part.

Travjane +1 VP, Captain -1 VP (conflict scene)
1d6=odd, so +1heat (as per the scene description)

T1 C0 heat 3]

Scene 34 (SH-3)
Investigation: Tail an Actor who might have a Clue. On a check failure, face a Fight.

Darian agrees to accompany Travjane to the Purple Lion. She intends to extend the invitation to Linnert as well, but Darian politely declines on his behalf, explaining that it's not his sort of place. Travjane is intrigued, and doubly so when Darian suggests she wear one of his fancier creations to fit in.

She is not disappointed. In all her years as the innkeepers' daughter she'd never dreamt that such a place could exist. For one, it's so clean, though she is the only one to pass through its portal who spares a though for the poor sod who must toil to keep it that way. Then there is the clientèle: over half wealthy travellers, mingling with the cream of Weihenhorst society, such as it is. And finally the entertainment: no farmer with a mouth harp upon a table nor shepherd piping by the fire, but a small stage, apparently purpose-built. Travjane watches with rapt attention as a trio of musicians take the stage. Judging by their dress and complexion, they must hail from the distant southern reaches of Aventuria, perhaps Khunchom, or Al'Anfa, or even Brabak, like poor lost Renahban. The trio strikes up a wild melody on instruments Travjane cannot name, and the crowd falls silent. A dancer [Actor: exquisite dancer; 1d6=f] glides out before them, and the crowd pulls back to give her room. She is not at all dressed for the weather, and as she whirls and spins across the floor she begins to shed what precious little she is wearing, one filmy veil at a time.

[Perception (SGC/SGC/INT skill 2: 9/6/9, success]

But it is after her show that Travjane's interest is truly piqued, for who should the foreign woman be talking to out of the whole crowd, but the Captain. He tries to give her something out of his satchel, but she puts him off with a gesture and whispered admonition. This must be why he's changed his habitual watering hole, Travjane is sure.

When the musicians disappear, Travjane tells Darian she must wait outside to see where the dancer goes. Darian is all too eager to oblige. He wants to rush home and make some sketches based on the dancer's outfit. "South Aventurian styles could be big next spring," he explains.

Travjane is more affected by the boredom than the cold, but her perseverance pays off. She finally sees the dancer, -- bundled up in a heavy cloak, of course -- leave the tavern, and follows her through the streets...

[Stealth (COU/INT/AGL, skill 6) to tail: 10/10/11, success with QL2.
Perception (12/13/13, skill 2) 19/6/17: failure.] a non-descript cottage on a minor street in the merchant's quarter [random location = Hidden love nest]. Scarcely a minute later the Captain appears[his Perception roll at QL 1 does not beat Travjane's QL2]. He knocks, and the dancer opens the door to him. He produces something from his satchel, a small parcel wrapped in fine silk. The dancer unwraps it eagerly, then holds a glittering gold necklace up to admire. The two disappear inside.

[T +1 VP, +1 Clue

1d10=7 > 2 (Total Number of Investigation & Action Scenes, hereafter abbreviated TNIAS), so no additional enemy VP

T2 C0 heat 3
Clues: 1

Scene 35 (SH-4)
spending a Clue for an Action scene: Bring in an outside authority or useful Actor to oppose the foe.

The next day, Travjane heads into the wealthy district to track down the mage. She doesn't find her at the inn where she is staying, but contrary to all her expectations, the good Burghers of Weihenhorst are incredibly helpful, telling her just when they saw her last and in which direction she was headed. She finds the mage in a market square, buying a mug of Glühwein.

[the mage was determined to be a Guild Mage back in scene 18, so what I need to know about her is (1d6): 1-2 White, 3-4 Grey, 5-6 Black guild: 6=Schwarzmagierin
I had a portrait earmarked for her in my pics file, so I picked the first Black Guild Academy I could think of that allows red robes, according to the Codex Albyricus, the ancient book of Mage's Guild law: Halle der Erleuchtung zu Al’Anfa (in the Aventurische Magie I sourcebook).]

"Salve, O maga," calls Travjane. "Oportet me tecum loqui."

The mage turns, looks Travjane up and down, then laughs. "We read Bosporano in the Hall of Enlightenment at Al'Anfa, girl, we don't speak it."

"Sorry, but I thought, as you were a mage--"

"I assume that is why you would speak with me?"

"Yes, I--"

"And what business have you with the Black Guild, witch?"

"I've heard that the watch captain does not treat the Guild with the proper respect. Nor does he treat my Order with any either. On top of that, he's crooked, but he is about to suffer a terrible fall -- at my hand. So I hoped, when the time were right, I could count on your support."

[Etiquette (SGC/INT/CHA, skill 0) to deal with mage: 5/5/10, success]

"You've certainly made me curious. I will support you, when the time is at hand, and provided that there is no great danger to my person nor my reputation. But should you make a mess of things..."

[T +1 VP

1d10=5 > 3 TNIAS, so no additional enemy VP

T4 C0 heat 3]