Monday, 6 May 2019
BRP solo - Part IV: „Ich frage keine Blume / Ich frage keinen Stern“
"You cannot come in here like that!" protests the ianitor, Cemmeret, as the gargoyles take up position behind him with their halberds.
"But time is of the essence! I must see Orezuthía at once."
"This is a place of study and repose for the members of our guild, an august body to which you, unless I have been misinformed, do not currently belong. We aren't in the habit of allowing ill-tempered warriors in full armour and bristling with weapons to stomp inside whenever they feel so inclined. Not even elvish ones."
"Fine. I haven't the time to argue," says Lycinia. The gargoyles tense as she takes the pistol from her belt, but instantly relax as she places it carefully on the step before her. She unclasps her sword belt, which clatters down around her feet. Her miséricorde is still skittering down the stone steps as she begins wriggling out of her mail hauberk, which she discards just hastily.
"Now I will go to see Orezuthía," says Lycinia as she shoulders her sack and pushes past the sputtering ianitor. The gargoyles step aside to admit her into the hall, and she is almost certain she can see a smirk flash cross their stony, otherwise impassive faces.
Chaos: Out of Control (1d8)
Setup: back to the Guild
NPCs: Orezuthía the Arcane, Geredrom, importer
Threads: find & stop Geredrom the wizard
"I need a necromancer," says Lycinia, half out of breath.
"I believe 'hello' is a more usual greeting in these lands," says Orezuthía. "And keep your voice down -- that's not the sort of magic one does here."
"No, I mean in the original sense. I need someone who can speak to the spirits of the dead."
"Really? Whatever for?"
Lycinia opens her leather satchel to reveal a human head inside. "I have some questions I need to ask her."
"Oh! What a sight. But I see that my trust in you was well placed. You really are willing to do whatever it takes, aren't you?"
"Théscine once said I over-react sometimes... but this seemed the most expedient course of action." (In point of fact, Lycinia couldn't bring herself to cut off the head of the woman she found still alive, but does not see any wisdom in revealing this fact.)
[Q: Does O know Speak with Dead? Unlikely (5+): O5 C4 - Yes, but... not memorised. Can cast from spellbook.]
"I know the spell you're after, but I haven't used it in an age. Tell me everything whilst I find the book it's in."
"I would very much like to learn this spell," hazards the elf. "I found it on a scroll once, but I had to use it ere I could copy it down into my own grimoire."
"Then you understand," says the wizard, digging through piles of old tomes, "we have to prepare our questions in advance. And that we'll be limited by how long she's been dead. When exactly did she die?"
"I don't know. This morning, perhaps? Maybe last night?"
"Oh? So you didn't k--"
"Don't get tetchy. I'm well past judging you... just intrigued. Ah! but here it is; now let's get started. Hmmm... just put that on the floor. No, leave it in the satchel. I don't want it dripping everywhere."
[Speak with Dead isn't included in Classic Fantasy, but is trivial to convert. I didn't worry about skill as Orezuthía can cast slowly and has plenty of time & Magic Points to get it right. The LotFP spell allowed the deceased a saving throw to resist, so POW vs. POW on the resistance table. As a 9th Level M-U, Orezuthía has POW of 1D8+13=18, the farm girl has the normal range, 3D6=12; this gives her a 20% to resist, but she fails the roll.
Q: Has she been dead more than a day? Certain (2+): O1 C1 - No, and... died shortly before L got to the farm (thus, they get three questions since it's within 24 hours).
+Event: Move toward a thread - use / charms. the questions will result in a Clue.]
They discuss avenues of questioning before casting the spell. Orezuthía agrees to follow Lycinia's lead, though she herself will still need to ask the questions. When all is in readiness, Orezuthía opens her dusty tome and begins the incantation.
The head's eyes suddenly open when the last syllable is pronounced. Orezuthía sets the weighty volume aside and addresses the head. "What happened leading up to your death?"
The head's lips move sluggishly, and the voice that answers seems detached and far away. "He tricked us! We thought Geredrom was our friend, but then he put a sleeping draught in our wine. When we awakened, we were chained up in the barn, and he used our insides to form a magic circle as we yet lived..." [UNE: knowing - speech - antagonist]
"What about the delivery of serpents?" says Lycinia, and Orezuthía echoes her words.
"He didn't say. We were happy to keep them in the barn for a while. They ate all the rats." [friendly - gratitude - retainers]
"Did he say why he was doing this?"
"He babbled something about needing to appease some wicked goddess, and to trick her into reversing death itself." [hostile - death - antagonist]
The head has barely fallen silent before Orezuthía exclaims, "The madman! He thinks he can bring [d6=] her back!"
"Her?" asks Lycinia. "Her who?"
[Q: Who? 1d6: 1 mother, 2 daughter, 3 friend, 4 lover, 5 wizard, 6 demigod; d6=5]
"Varaniira the Seeress, one of the most powerful wizards of this age."
"To hear her final prophecy, of course! No doubt he's found a way to compel her to speak it. And avoid her curse." [hear / sentiments]
"You really don't know, do you? I am surprised word of her prophecy hadn't reached the faerie forest."
"More likely it has -- but has not been divulged by order of the council."
"No doubt. Well, her final prophecy was said to be about a power so great she dared not pronounce it, for fear of the repercussions. So she went willingly to her own death, but only after she had conjured a curse so terrible against any who would disturb her rest, that it..." Orezuthía shudders in spite of herself.
"I understand. I don't suppose you'd let me use the library?"
* * *
[And for the record, I had asked--
Q: Does Lycinia get her 'parcel' through city gate without any problems? 50/50 (4+): O6 C5 - Yes.
but putting that at the beginning would have spoilt the surprise. There were also no random encounters of note on the way back.]
Chaos: Out of Control (1d8)
Setup: in the library
NPCs: Orezuthía the Arcane, Geredrom, importer
Threads: find & stop Geredrom the wizard
Orezuthía escorts Lycinia to the great library. The elf can't help but look round in wonderment at the row upon row of magnificent stacks, groaning under the weight superannuated tomes, even older scrolls, and tablets of wood, clay, and stone that predate many of the ancient elvish books she was once allowed to consult in the magician's school of far away fair Feyalldra.
"Try not to look so gormless," scolds Orezuthía, "or you'll be relegated to the apprentices' section." Lycinia composes herself at once. Orezuthía strides across the room and right up to the podium behind which the head librarian, a being whose face is perpetually shrouded in the darkness of its heavy cowl, is sitting and turning the vellum pages of a codex bound in human skin with an unnaturally withered, begloved hand.
"This one's looking into a delicate matter of Guild business for me," says Orezuthía, jabbing a thumb over her shoulder. "I trust you'll afford her every courtesy you'd afford me."
The cowled figure makes a shaky, yet sweeping gesture towards a nearby wooden frame, upon which rests an oversized tome, nearly as tall as Lycinia herself. "Our catalogue," says Orezuthía. "It's easier if you know how to ask it for what you want, but I'm sure you'll make do." Lycinia once again regrets having had to use a spell from the captured scroll [Bookspeak] before she had the chance to transcribe it into her own spellbook. She suppresses a sigh, and begins leafing through the weighty book.
[Library research may be one of my favourite things in real life, but it makes for terrible storytelling. So imagine, if you will, a montage sequence of Lycinia searching through the gigantic catalogue, running her finger across the carefully scribed rows of titles and shelf locations, and her eyes lighting up as she finds a book she thinks will help. Then doing it again... and again... and again... then finally getting a stack of books to consult, and reading... reading... reading some more. To really shake things up, imagine the quizzical look on her face as she comes across a significant passage, then flips back 10, 20, 30 pages to compare it to something she'd read earlier in the book.
So anyways, she can make one Library Use (34%) roll every 4 hours; realistically, that's going to be 2 rolls.
1st roll: d%=20!
Q: What does she learn? return / existence : reincarnation as way of bypassing hereditary curse
2nd roll: d%=04! special success. She'll get 1d3=2 pieces of information
From my grimoire title generator (WIP):
The Bizarre Night of Miscreation
written by a dreadful king
Spells contained: special
She learns --
conceal / air : must be done in place hidden from the sky
approach / moment : astral cycles, 1d8=7 days left
Q: Does the ritual require constant tending? 50/50: O6 C6 - Yes.
+Event: PC negative - advance / order (see below)
Q: Does it require perishable supplies? 50/50: O3 C4 - no, but... distinctive ones
Q: How long does it take in total? 20+1d100=81 days]
Lycinia spends the whole day in the great library, but when she finally stumbles back to Orezuthía's chambers she is beaming with her success.
"I know what Geredrom is doing," says Lycinia triumphantly.
"Tell me before you collapse," replies Orezuthía.
"It all makes sense now. It was all there in this ancient grimoire I found. Have you ever read The Bizarre Night of Miscreation?"
"Oh, honey, I'm just not that sort of girl!"
"I'm being serious. The ritual in there... all described... I may never eat again."
"He's... not exactly resurrecting her, and it's not precisely re-incarnation either. He's... it's like he going to regrow the flesh round her bones and have her, well, reborn. The serpents were just there to harvest their skin, and the other thing, the ritual to appease the Mother of Carrion, it was...."
"You'd better get some sleep before you fall over."
"I'm afraid of my dreams..."
* * *
But sleep she does, and when she wakes the next morning she resolves to set out into the city on Geredrom's trail. But as she leave the guildhall, she does not realise she is being followed.
[Time for the Event from above (PC negative - advance / order); another guild member moves against Lycinia due to her connection with Orezuthía.
1d8: 1-2 O's rival, 3-7 apprentice of O's rival, 8 non-wizard guild servant; 5
Terenbela, initiate of the 2nd circle
Personality: Shifty, Lucky
STR 11 CON 13 SIZ 11 INT 15
POW 13 DEX 12 CHA 14
Damage Mod +0
Hit Points 12
Spells: fools' gold, light, burning hands, hopelessness
I have some random NPC generators I made for Magic World & RQ3 that I've been using for stats, and adjusting skills etc. as needed. Someday I hope to redo them properly. Until then, I'm assuming 1d6x5% increase in skills that seem plausible, and INTx2 + 1d8x5% for beginning spells (to be rolled as needed).
Terenbela's Move Quietly (36%): 17, success
vs. L's Spot Hidden (69%): 74, she doesn't notice]
Terenbela is one of the younger apprentices, but has taken to the cutthroat internal politics of the guild like no other; there is no doubt amongst the master wizards that she shall have a long and fruitful career in their venerable institution, though possibly at the expense of one or more of them, should they not be careful. But today she is content to do the bidding of her [d6=]master, and further his schemes against his rival Orezuthía by striking at her associate. Terenbela has never met an elf before, and wishes the circumstances were otherwise, but she is certain she can best the fairy princess in guile and cunning, if perhaps not any other way. The dagger concealed under her cloak is but little comfort today; for an elven lady is never without her sword.
She swallows hard, and once she is certain the elf is far out of earshot, she begins weaving a spell upon her. [She casts Hopelessness (100m range); skill 60%, 42 = success.
POW vs. POW to resist: Lycinia has a 45% to win the contest: 25!]
Terenbela bounds up the narrow path after the elf, meeting her right before the iron gate. "Hey! hey, wait a moment," she calls. "I don't know what that old witch has got you doing, but it seems pretty hopeless."
Lycinia turn to see the breathless young woman opening a money pouch and pouring out a fortune in [fools'] gold coins into her hand.
"I feel bad for you," continues Terenbela. "Really I do. Here, take this. You can use it to get out of Ildmarch, start a new life, m--"
"Cast another spell on me and those coins will be paying for your funeral." [Persuade fails]
"Huh. You're a better magician than I thought. Especially after what they've been saying about you. You know, with what happened last time you were in Ildmarch." [UNE: mysterious - obscurity - last story.
Fast Talk (30%): 01 critical vs. L's Insight: 05, special success -- the Critical is thus reduced to a Normal success (=lie believed for 5 minutes)]
"Last time? What have you heard? What are they saying?"
"It's not my place to say. But after what happened with Itragad..."
"and then, the...."
"It's not my place to say."
"Just what is your place?"
"I'm an apprentice! But, y'know, at least the wizards aren't all whispering behind my back. I don't envy you at all. Sure you don't want my help? This money will get you pretty far in the human lands."
"I-- no! I have things to do. I suggest you get out of my way."
"Things to do? I just hope you're up to it, is all." [scheming - compromise - skills]
"Be off with you!" shrieks the elf.
[Q: Does Terenbela follow her? Unknown 1d6=4 50/50: O1 C1 - no, and...
+Event: Ambiguous event - surprise / heaven]
But Terenbela does not hear Lycinia's words, for a that moment a peal of thunder resounds in the heavens, and the wind comes in greater gusts. Terenbela takes a look up at the glowering black clouds, then hurries back inside the guildhouse, leaving the fuming elf to cool her anger in the shower of rain that begins to fall.
next post: grave robbers, murderers, and apothecaries