Wednesday, 25 February 2015

LotFP Solo - Part the Forty-Fourth: „So stehst du, o Schloß meiner Väter / Mir treu und fest in dem Sinn“

"Lycinia!" shouts Emmeline as she scurries into the study, "I've just had the most marvellous news! A letter arrived yesterday for father! Can you imagine who from? And what it said? Oh, you'll never guess! But he said yes!"

"Emmeline, calm down," says Lycinia. "This must be exciting news, for you've not addressed me in Elvish."

"Oh! Haven't I? It's just too exciting," says Emmeline. Then she composes herself, takes a deep breath, and begins again, slowly, and in the elfin tongue. "Lady Margiste is travelling homeward from a pilgrimage to the Monastery of the Blue stones. She's going to be stopping over for a night in Wandlebourne before sailing across the bay. And she's invited me to come stay with her for a month."

"Who is Lady Margiste?"

"She's the daughter of the Marquess of Limenne. A very fine Noble Lady of Quality, according to papa. And she's only my dearest friend in the world! And I do so love to visit; she lives in the loveliest old castle. They've a wonderful library, too, so I think you'll like it. You don't mind, do you, coming along that is? Only, papa wants you to go as my chaperone. He doesn't trust her brother's intentions, you see; he'd... well, he'd not make me his wife, you understand. Not that he's ever paid me a bit of notice! A right piece of work, is that one! But you know how papa is. You will come, won't you? Oh, please say you'll come! I'm ever so anxious for you to meet Lady Margiste!"

[In preparation for the adventure, Emmeline takes Lycinia into town for some shopping. Papa has given her 50sp to buy herself a new gown. Lycinia spends 3gp (150sp) on a really nice gown (one whose skirts can conceal a pistol, and provide reasonably easy access to it), 4 more nice dresses (they are going for a month - 25sp each), an ornamental scabbard (an elven lady is never without her sword - 50sp), and 12 apostles & a bag of shot (7sp). They spend 3 days making various preparations, packing (Lycinia insists on bringing the rapiers for practise), and waiting for the tailors to deliver the clothing.

Whilst they were out, I rolled two random encounters (in Cities). Nothing came of either of them, so I had almost stricken them from the record. But one of them may become important later, so I went into an older draft of the adventure notes (fortunately saved in email) in order to put them back.

encounter 1: Whilst strolling through the wealthy neighbourhood, Lycinia and Emmeline chance upon a group of seven private soldiers: muscle for one of the city factions, essentially a group of well-dressed thugs. They aren't in a particularly difficult mood, and let the ladies pass with a show of overblown gallantry.

encounter 2: As Emmeline is dragging Lycinia through the thoroughfares of the market district, the elf spots a townsman nailing a notice to a post. An important city guild (strangely unnamed) is recruiting hardy souls for an expedition, leaving two weeks from today, downriver from Finnsover, possibly as far as the ruins of--  Here it is that Emmeline grabs Lycinia's arm and pulls her on down the street. "I saw you looking at the notice," says Emmeline, "and I know how you ache for your life of adventure. But we'll be travelling out of the city very soon, and besides, we already have an urgent mission of our very own: I've got to find gloves that match my new gown. Else it's the end of the world!" And so saying, Emmeline drags a laughing elf down the street.

On the 3rd evening Lady Margiste arrives. To conclude the preliminaries, let's meet the NPCs.]

There are three in Lady Margiste's party. The Lady herself is a young woman of about Emmeline's age. She is tall and shapely; she's quite a bit more graceful, and certainly much prettier than Emmeline, but she can be excessively shallow and juvenile. She genuinely loves her dear friend Emmeline, but that love is not without a tinge of pity. Lady Margiste is seldom far from her governess, a formidable duenna, hawk-faced and eagle-eyed, whose withering stare, it is said, could stop a charging horse. The governess does, of course, have a name, but only answers to 'madam' -- and only when spoken in a polite tone. The third member of their party is their bodyguard, Gerdie, a freckled and baby-faced mercenary who wears her red hair in two long braids. Gerdie is an affable sort, whose common speech seems at odds with the finery in which she's clad. The governess prefers that she not speak in polite company, and Gerdie is actually afraid of her enough to comply. In town Gerdie wears leather armour and an elegant rapier. She feels more comfortable when they travel, with her longsword, heavy crossbow, and chainmail.

          CH CN DX IN ST WI HP ML
Emmeline  16 11  8 14  8  9  4  7
Lady M    12 11 14 12  9  4  6  7
Governess 11  8  8 10  9 13  4  9
Gerdie    11 16 12 12 14 10  6* 7

* The first three NPCs are 0-level. Gerdie will be a fighter of level 1d4-1. I'm keeping it a mystery for now. If she's 0-level, then her hit points are as stated.

They arrive late in the evening, with only a single small bag between them, having sent the rest of their baggage on ahead to the ship. Emmeline does her excited best to entertain them, but the governess sends them on to bed early, as they have a full day of travel come the morrow.

[I'm running a Horror Theme adventure from Mythic Variations. It has a slightly different Event Focus table and a special rule that the Chaos Factor never goes down; it either rises or stays the same. The Chaos Factor starts at 4, and the first scene is always an ambiguous event.

The scenes are much shorter than the ones I've been playing. I'm going to present the Mythic scene information in a truncated form after the first, only noting the Chaos factor, Threads and NPC list when something changes.]

Scene: 1
Chaos: 4
setup: Ambiguous Event (whilst travelling to Brightpool by boat)
Threads: travel to castle, chaperone Emmeline
NPCs: Emmeline, Lady Margiste, Lady M's governess, Gerdie, ship's captain & crew

day 49

That morning our band of travellers boards a cog, the Empress Marava, in Wandlebourne's harbour, and sets sail across the bay bound for the town of Brightpool. They are the only passengers, having paid the captain extra for the privilege. There is a stiff wind, and the captain anticipates a swift voyage. Lycinia has never been in a ship like this before. She wants to remain above deck for the voyage and watch, but after about 15 minutes the cold and the biting wind forces her below.

[They need to sail 12 hexes (24 miles). I rolled a strong wind: movement rate doubled but there is a 10% chance to take on water. Fortunately, the ship avoids this hazard, and the encounter check also comes up No Encounter. Onto the Ambiguous Event (Gratify / Extravagance) which begins the horror...]

Lycinia descends into the ship to find Lady Margiste avidly digging through one of her travelling  trunks, much to the dismay of her governess, who scolds her for making a mess of their clean linens. Gerdie is making herself scarce, Emmeline is watching with undue interest.

"Here it is!" exclaims Lady Margiste, triumphantly holding a small wooden box aloft. "My dearest Emmeline, I've brought you a present." Emmeline can barely contain her excitement, and holds her hands out expectantly. But her friend is insensible to this, and continues. "Since my brother was away, father let me have a rummage through mother's jewellery box and wear what I like round the castle. He likes it. He thinks it's a way of keeping her memory alive. I don't understand the endless objections that-- oh, but you've heard this before, and I shouldn't get off topic. Not when you're going to absolutely burst from suspense if I don't show you the gift. Well, before we left for the pilgrimage, one day I found a strange necklace amongst all of mother's jewels. It wasn't hers, I'm sure of it. One of the servants must have found it and just assumed that it was, and put it in with the rest. It's very lovely, but I could never wear it. I look hideous in gold! But you, my dear one, oh, you've just the colouration! Here, let me put it on you."

So saying, Lady Margiste opens the box to reveal a glittering golden necklace with beads of carnelian. She fastens it around Emmeline's neck and then steps back to admire it. Emmeline is tearing up with joy. Lady Margiste finds a small mirror and hands it to Emmeline that she may see herself in it. After a few moments, she exclaims, "I love it!" and throws her arms round her friend who returns the embrace with true sweetness, but also just a little bit of self-satisfaction. After a minute, Emmeline says, "I absolutely must see it again." As she pulls back to admire herself once more, Lady Margiste's elbow accidentally knocks the mirror from Emmeline's hand. It falls to the deck, shattering the glass.

"Ooh, bad luck," says Gerdie.

Scene: 2
setup: travel to castle by horse
NPCs: Emmeline, Lady Margiste, Lady M's governess, Gerdie (removed the ship's crew)

Once landed at Brightpool, the travellers waste no time in procuring horses and setting out immediately. If they make good time, it should be less than a half-day's ride to the castle.

[random encounter: a gargoyle, in the hex right before the river
Reaction roll is 4, Unfriendly.
Q: Is it a Wizard's Guild agent? 50/50: 30, Yes.
Q: What is its mission? Judge / Adversities (doing reconnaissance)
Q: Has Lady M's family pissed off the guild or one of its members? 50/50: 61, No.]

As they are approaching the river, a shadow falls over them. A monstrous, bat-winged gargoyle is flying overhead. Seeing them, it circles once, then descends before them, blocking their path. The massive beast stands nearly 9 feet tall, and flexing its wings appears even larger.

The riders stop short. Gerdie rides to the fore, and issues challenge, "Stand aside in the name of the Marquess of Limenne! We have no dispute wi' ye."

[UNE: hostile-surrender-wealth] "Puny, fleshy creatures," says the gargoyle in a voice that sounds like stones grating against one another, "give me some of your shiny baubles and I'll go away." It flexes its claws menacingly.

[Initiative: PCs 5, gargoyle 4. It's now time to figure out Gerdie's level. She turns out to be a (1d4-1=) 3rd level fighter, with 20hp.]

The Gargoyle
AC 16, HD 4, HP 19, MV 90' ground or 150' fly, Attacks 4 (2 claws, bite, horns), Damage 1d3/1d3/1d6/1d4, ML 11, Save F8, Special: only hit by magic weapons

[round 1]
Lycinia has already decided that diplomacy will be useless. She spurs her horse and charges. She swings her sword as she rides past, catching the gargoyle full in the chest, which cracks open at the impact of the enchanted blade [8x2=16 damage. It's down to 3hp]. The gargoyle whirls about as she streaks by, grabbing at her arm with its claw and just catching her shoulder with one of its horns. She is nearly unhorsed, but the injuries are not severe [claw 2 damage, horn 1; she's down to 13hp]. The beast has turned its back on Gerdie, who strikes at it with her longsword, right between its shoulders. With a clang! the sword rebounds off its stony hide.

[round 2]
Lycinia twists in the saddle and brings her sword down right upon the gargoyle's forehead. It stumbles backward, then collapses in a pile of rubble [4 damage brought it to -1hp].

Lycinia rides back to resume her place next to Emmeline. "It's days like this," she says, "that are why I am teaching you to use the rapier."

Scene: 3
setup: Altered - (was: arrive, settle in)
NPCs: Emmeline, Lady Margiste, Lady M's governess, Gerdie

Château Télème is a stalwart pile of grey stone which broods across the plains of the March of Limenne. The curtain walls have been the better of many a besieging army in days past, and still look to best another in days to come. Lady Margiste's father, the Marquess of Limenne, holds the title handed down from eldest child to eldest child ever since the first of his ancestors conquered these lands for the Kingdom long ago. As the travellers ride over the drawbridge and through the front gate, Lycinia catches sight of the painted and gilt escutcheon hanging over the entryway, bearing as ti does a curious motto written in an archaic form of the common tongue: ki veuil, doit (Qui veut, doit).

"Little wonder," she thinks, "that Terentius doesn't trust Lady Margiste's brother around his daughter!"

The courtyard is empty. There isn't even a soldier to be seen on the battlements. Lady Margiste seems perturbed, but is doing her best to put on a brave face. Lycinia notices her reaction, but says nothing [I use Search for general Perception  rolls (which years of Call of Cthulhu always make me want to call Spot Hidden); Lycinia is the only one who passed her check].

When they enter the castle proper, they find that everyone inside is in a state of confusion bordering on panic. Lady Margiste sees Franval, her father's valet, scurry by, and grabs him by the arm. "What's going on?" she asks tremulously.

[This is a horror adventure, so someone ought to be dead. Using the d30 Sandbox Companion's Noble Household Officers table comes up with: Laundry.]

"One of the maids has been found dead in the laundry, my lady," says Franval, a dapper man of about 50, looking almost like a stage-player in his velvet livery. The sigh with which he delivers this news does nothing to dispel the illusion.

"Light God protect us!" says Lady Margiste. "But I was afraid you were going to say that Father's condition had worsened. Or... But what did happen?"

[Q: Is foul play suspected? Somewhat likely: 99, Exceptional No +Event: NPC Action - valet - Lie / Hope]

"The foolish girl went and hanged herself! And so soon after the last suicide. Such a mess you've come home to, my lady! But your father is improving, don't you fret. I wager he'll see a few more winters after this one!"

[Q: Does Lady M believe him? Somewhat likely: 53, No. Her reaction (UNE): scheming - arrangement - rewards]

Lady Margiste flushes at his words and clenches her fists. "Telling me lies so I'll keep you on after he's gone will get you nowhere! Perhaps you'd better work on my brother instead. And just where is he at a time like this?"

[Q: Does the valet know? Likely: 40, Yes: a random hex]

"He's at Castle Uldmere."

"Whatever for?"

[Mythic: Take / Peace]

"He's trying to end the siege through diplomacy."

"That doesn't sound at all like my brother!"

"He left with a scroll bearing the seal of the King himself."

"What is going on here?" demands the governess. "Where is everyone? How have you let things get into this deplorable state?"

"And did I hear you say there have been two suicides?" asks Lycinia.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

LotFP Solo - Part the Forty-Third: „Und alle Pflicht erscheint ein leerer Wahn“

[Scene 5 - An Obstacle]

Thiery opens the door a crack and peeks into the next room as the young wizard lies back down in his bed.

[Q: Are there guards on the stairs? 50/50: 80, No.
Q: in the hall? 50/50: 74, No.]

The hall and staircase are well lit, but empty. Thiery motions for his companions to follow. At the top of the stairs, the empty hall is lit by a single taper. The light coming from underneath the antechamber door is very bright.

"We've no choice," says Lycinia, "Thiery, open the door as quietly as you can. If there any guards, I'll put them to sleep."

"A trivial task for the Prince of Thieves," says Thiery. Ruprecht rolls his eyes and readies his mace.

[Truth of guards being here: 2+1+1d6=8, partly true.]

Inside the antechamber there is a loaded crossbow on a table next to a deck of cards and an abandoned game of solitaire, but no guard to be seen. The door to the bedroom is ajar. The room is much colder than the rest of the house. Lycinia tiptoes slowly forward, followed by her compatriots.

[The pair of Partly True rumour results are interpreted thus: the baron/guard should be there, but isn't right now.]

Inside the bedroom, a man in leather armour and wearing a shortsword at his belt is standing before the great, four poster bed. He is holding up one end of the plush duvet to reveal a humanoid figure beneath, made of pillows and assorted bits of clothing. A sharp chill comes in through the wide open window.

[The guard is Surprised, the PCs are not.]

Lycinia goes up behind the guard, and holds her dagger at his throat. "Where's the baron?" she hisses.

[The guard's Morale is 7; he fails his morale check.]

The guard goes rigid, afraid to even let go of the bedding. "I don't know," he responds. "He sneaked out!"

"Where might he have gone?"

[Q: Does guard have an answer? 50/50: 11, Yes + Event: NPC Negative - the MU - Vengeance / Wounds (more of this later)
Q: Might he have gone to a tavern? 23, yes
Q: Why? Propose / Intrigues - he's on the pull]

"Could we discuss this with the window closed, please?" asks the guard. "I'll tell you everything I know. Just don't hurt me!"

Lycinia takes the man's shortsword from its scabbard as Ruprecht shrugs and closes the window. The guard sits down on the bed, doing his best to avoid the gaze of his captors.

"The baron was always going on about this tavern he really liked, the Mermaid & Rose. He said they got these real fancy courtesans there. An' he was always going on about how they must miss him, since he hasn't been there in so so long. He was layin' it on pretty thick... I think he's been sneaking out this whole time. What I don't get is, why he'd keep coming back to this madhouse."

The party quickly confer about the best course of action following this revelation, and decide to look for the baron at the Mermaid & Rose. Lycinia offers the guard 2 gold coins if he'll precede them down the stairs and signal if the coast is clear.

[His monthly wage is 63sp, as the bribe is half again that much, it's worth a +1 bonus. Rolling 2d6 against his Morale, 7+1=8, success.

Q: Any encounters on the way out? Unlikely: 93, Exceptional no: no more encounters whilst the PCs are in the house.)

The guard readily agrees. They follow him back down the stairs. The door to the wizard's room is slightly ajar. As Thiery pushes it open, the light from the hall falls over the bed, and reveals a grisly sight: the wizard lies murdered in his bed, a shortsword buried up to the hilt in his chest.

[Guard fails another morale roll] The guard is terrified by the gory scene and begs to come with the party and escape. Lycinia assents, and gives him back his sword along with the promised gold. They sneak back through the house to the sleeper's room, and get out the window without incident.

The guard runs off alone into the night as they set off to find the Mermaid & Rose.

[Scene 6 - A Revelation]

Ruprecht thinks he knows of the place. It's [Tavern is Level 1d6=6] far too classy for such as he, but this only makes him more anxious to actually get a peek inside. Should he be allowed inside, that is.

[The tavern is in the same quarter of the city as the Reverend Lady's townhouse, down a side street. Since they've never been, trying to find it will require 1d3=2 encounter checks. The first came up as no encounter, the second was with a patrol of the town watch. I rolled a 12 for their reaction. The entire encounter consists in the watch walking past and their sergeant calling out, "Have a nice night, citizens!"]

The Mermaid & Rose has an impressive façade, done up in a mélange of exotic foreign styles. Two great brass braziers flank the entrance, roaring with flame. Two enormous armoured men stand at attention between the braziers, their halberds crossed to bar the entrance. They take one look at the trio approaching them, and instantly move the weapons aside. "Come right in, gentlefolk," they exclaim.

[Reaction roll = 11; Thiery is there in all his finery, Lycinia is an elf, and Ruprect must obviously be their bodyguard. This place has a somewhat louche reputation, so patrons arriving up in dark, concealing cloaks is almost de rigeur.

Time to see if baron Ugues is here. Treating the guard's information as a rumour, the Truth roll comes up 9, Mostly True. I will extrapolate with a d6: 1-2 not here yet, 3-4 was here but left, 5-6 in a private room. I roll a 5.]

The tavern is filled with revellers whose purses are filled with gold. You can theoretically pay for things with silver here, but no one who's anyone would be caught dead so doing. The kitchen serves fare that the King himself dreams of some day tasting. There are bottles of wine in the cellar older than the city. All the élite vices are on offer, as well as a host of esoteric pleasures for the true connoisseur. Thiery thinks he's in heaven. Lycinia feels she's in hell, Ruprecht is just trying not to laugh.

Looking round the labyrinth of opulence that passes for a common room, there is no sign of the baron. There are a few people who might be he, but as none of the party have ever met him...

Thiery decides to take the direct approach. He walks up to a group of young rakes standing about, watching one of their number slowly pouring out draughts of a syrupy red liquid. [reaction roll = 4] "I say, my good ma--"

"Get lost."

"I merely wished to ask--"

"Piss off."

Ruprect drags Thiery bodily away before the rakes go for their swords. The two watch as Lycinia goes over to a pretty waitress and whispers something in her ear. [reaction = 10] The waitress laughs and says something, then Lycinia comes back smiling. "He's upstairs," she says, "in something called the Ixitxachitl Room."

At the top of the stairs is a single long corridor spanning the length of the building. There are 10 widely-spaced doors, five on either side. Each door is covered in plates of beaten gold, each bearing a scene in low relief, depicting the most terrible monsters of the deep: kuo-toa, sahuagin, kraken, aboleth... and finally, the demonolotrous manta-rays known as ixitxachitl.

[Q: Is the door locked? Very Likely, 92, No.
Q: Do the PCs barge in at an inopportune moment? 50/50: 12, Yes (at least it wasn't an Exceptional Yes...)]

Ruprecht pushes the door open, and he and his compatriots slip inside. The party is somewhat disappointed to note that the monster theme does not extend to the room's décor. The baron and his belle-de-nuit are caught, non iamiam in flagrante delicto, saltem vere in delicto inflagraturo.

[The occupants of the chamber are, needless to say, Surprised.]

A chorus of "eeeewwwwww"s alerts the amorous couple that they are no longer alone. The young lady swiftly covers herself with a sheet and assumes an air of false modesty. The baron covers his midsection with a pillow, in very real embarrassment.

"Would you mind telling me," says the baron, pulling up his trousers, "just what in the Nine Hells you're doing here?"

"Your uncle sent us to rescue you," says Thiery.

"Do I look like I'm in need of rescue? I'm only a 'prisoner' of Lady Étice because I let her think I am. I can't believe uncle Denys ordered a rescue mission. I had almost figured out the whole of the good Lady's evil plan so I could inform the King!" [via UNE: mysterious - misdirection - enemy]

"What is her plan?" asks Lycinia.

"I don't know! I didn't have it yet!"

"Look," say Ruprecht, "you had probably better come with us to see your uncle."

[reaction roll=5]

"I'm busy. And when I'm finished with my business here I'm going right back to my 'cell', so why don't you all just run along and tell my uncle I have everything under control."

"No," says Ruprecht, hefting his mace, "we really think you ought to come with us now."

Thiery throws his cloak aside to expose the rapier at his belt. Lycinia merely glares. [The barons morale is only 7; 2d6=10, failed his ML check.]

The baron petulantly finishes dressing, and wraps himself in his cloak.

[Scene 7 - final scene]

The party lead the baron back through the cold night to their employer's townhouse. A servant has been waiting up just in case, and admits them to the warm parlour before running up to fetch his master.

The merchant is pleased to see the success of their mission, and asks for details. They tell him everything: sneaking in, the disloyal secretary, the wizard and his murder, the guard who helped them in exchange for his freedom. Baron Ugues insists that there was no danger, and that it was all going to plan.

[What does the merchant say? UNE: predjudiced - discrimination - flaws]

His uncle will hear none of his nephew's explanations. He gives the baron a right bollocking for everything from his lifestyle to his nonsensical 'plan'. After a few minutes of constant invective, he notices that this family affair is making his guests rather fidgety. He produces three purses full of gold, and thanks each of the party in turn as he hands them over. The servant shows them to the door, and they part ways.

[Q: All's well that ends well? 50/50: 32, Yes. Everyone makes it home without incident.

The PCs earn 30gp (=1500sp) each. They also get XP. But how much. The award of 1d20x100xp for a dangerous mission according to the Cities book seems likely to provide too many XP for a single night's work. However, awarding XP by the LotFP book (for encounters and treasure, but not payment) goes too far the other way:

4x 0 level fighter (secretary, guard, waitress, baron) 10x4=40
1x 2nd level MU =50
total: 90/3= 30xp each

That's a bit shabby for an an adventure that totals c. 4100 words of write-ups. Rather than come up with some sort of alternate exploration-based system, I'm just going to don my DM hat once again and say it feels like about 350xp worth of adventure. Since I'm probably being stingy, I'll let them keep the extra 30xp from encounters. So,

Thiery: 250+380=630xp total
Ruprecht: 75+380=455xp total

Neither of them gain a level. They'd better do something if they want to keep adventuring with Lycinia, who will certainly be 4th level by the next time she sees them (they aren't in the next adventure, which isn't finished but has already run 34, admittedly short, Mythic scenes).

Lycinia has earned a handful of XP for knocking around the catch-up tables and a brief encounter with a wild boar, plus the adventure makes 150+50+380= 580xp since departing Feyalldra. She's still about 1200xp shy of 4th level.

She has a 40% chance to keep her job after the mission - she rolls a 37. Terentius is a bit concerned to hear that she came back home an hour before dawn, but he doesn't say anything at this time.

Thus ends her 7th week in Wandlebourne.]

Thursday, 19 February 2015

LotFP Solo - Part the Forty-Second: „Die freie Nacht ist aufgegangen, / Unsichtbar wird ein Mensch dem andern“

"You were recommended to me," says the portly merchant, casting a quick glance over his shoulder, "by a mutual acquaintance, who said you're... not afraid of dangerous pursuits, and are looking for something to spice up your quiet life in Wandlebourne. I don't think we should talk about it here; too many prying ears in this place. But let me assure you it's nothing too questionable: just something that will require a good bit of discretion. And I'm willing to pay handsomely for your services."

"I'm sure it's all fine," says Lycinia, eyes gleaming. "When do I start?"

"I've got two others coming too.. We'll meet in an out-of-the way tavern near the warehouse district in 3 days. I've written the name on this slip of parchment."

"I'll be there."

[Randomly generating the mission using the appendix at the back of Cities produced: Capture Employer's Relative. It will pay (1d20x100 = 1500sp) 30 gold coins each.

I used the d30 Sandbox companion (AG10: KEY NPC) to determine the target and the mission giver.
Target: Noble (baron - relation to king: family friend)
Employer: Merchant (shipping)

Q: Is the merchant an agent of the true employer? 50/50: 76, No (he is the true employer).
Q: Is the baron an Important Person in the kingdom? 50/50: 52, No.
Q: Does the baron have any factional leanings? 50/50: 73, No.

I've never used the 7-scene Adventure before, so this seemed a good time to try it out. I'll still be answering questions via Mythic, but the Chaos will stay at 5.]

day 43

[Opening Scene]

The Leaf & Badger is a workmans' tavern where the shipbuilders convene to drown their sorrows in cheap ale [Cities: Level 2 tavern, townspersons - artisan types]. The drinks are notoriously week, but at the end of the day the house specialty, rabbit in wine-currant sauce, makes up for it [d30 Sandbox Companion, for reputation & specialties].

It's been below freezing all day and looks to be bitterly cold again this night. Lycinia arrives, wrapped in her long, hooded travelling cloak and muttering a prayer to the elven gods that this merchant has secured a table by the hearth.

He hasn't quite, preferring the shadowy far corner, but the roaring fire and densely-packed bodies filling the clamorous tavern provide an ample tonic to the winter's chill. With the merchant sit two other men.

The first is a small, lithe man in ostentatious finery. His many rings and silk tunic and fur-lined cloak all seem to have been purchased just yesterday. Nor does the flashy rapier at his belt shows any sing of wear. "I am Thiery," says he, waving his hand as cavalierly as you like, "known as the Prince of Thieves." Lycinia notes his slight lisp, and the incongruity of his missing front teeth -- or maybe it's not so incongruous. She could imagine wanting to hit this guy herself.

The second man merely nods and introduces himself curtly as Ruprecht. His tatty leather armour and dented iron mace tell the opposite story from the well-dressed man's opulence. He looks like he'd be useful in a fight, though he does seem a little malnourished.

"I'm Lycinia," says Lycinia as the other two size her up. Their poker-faces are good enough that she can't tell what they think of her.

"Good, we're all here," says the merchant. "help yourself to some wine and we'll get started. I take it none of you have heard of the noble House of Foulche -- there's no reason you should have done. We are an old but minor family of unlanded nobles. My nephew Ugues, the current Baron Foulche has been kidnapped. He is being held prisoner in Wandlebourne, in the townhouse of the Reverend Lady Isbal Étice, a priestess of Light and rather successful cloth merchant. What she wants with him I cannot say, but her behaviour has been becoming steadily more erratic this last twelvemonth. Ugues is a dissipated creature and a bit useless, but he is family. I fear for his life as the good lady's captive."

[Die rolls that figured all that out, in order:

Q: Does the merchant know where the baron is? 50/50: 43, Yes.

I used the random city creation tables (in Cities) to pick a location: Wealthy Quarter, residence

Q: Is that the baron's house? 50/50: 81, No.
Q: Is the baron a prisoner? 50/50: 48, Yes.

The house is owned by a random NPC: aristocrat (1d6=f), one of the powerful merchants of Wandlebourne. she's also a Cleric, Level 1d8 if encountered.

The merchant offers to pay (1d20=15 x 100sp) 30gp each for the baron's safe return.

Q: Will anyone be followed from the meeting? 50/50: 90, No.]

The three agree readily to the merchant's very generous terms, and arrange a meeting elsewhere the following night, with their gear and ready for action.

[Scene 2: A puzzle (how do we get in?)]

Lycinia fortunately has had the afternoon and night off, and made it out of the house without Emmeline or her father being any the wiser.

The party meets at a vaguely respectable tavern [level 3 - townspersons: artisans & priests] in the Merchant Quarter, fairly near to the wealthy neighbourhood where the Reverend Lady Étice lives. They are all wearing heavy cowled cloaks, though as it's bitterly cold and snowing out, this does not make them at all conspicuous. Ruprecht is wearing exactly the same ensemble as the night before. The "Prince of Thieves" is wearing much less flashy accessories than he had been. Lycinia has left her sword at home; if no one sees it, nor gets a good look at her face, she reasons, she will most likely be mistaken for a human woman. Brysinadd has already offered to be her alibi should things go wrong (for it was indeed she that recommended Lycinia for the job). They each down a mug of mulled wine as proof against the cold, and then set out into the dark streets of the quarter.

[Q: Are the PCs being watched/followed? Unlikely: 65, No.

There will be a random encounter roll every time the PCs move into or within a neighbourhood. The first one (Merchants' Quarter) comes up with a Workgang: PCs are forced to detour around a street that is closed off for repairs. This would have been interesting in other circumstances, but they've not even a time limit at this stage.]

In the wealthy quarter, the midnight streets are empty [no encounter]; the snow keeping everyone indoors.

The Reverend Lady Étice's townhouse is comprised of [1d3+1=] three storeys. There are two small balconies outside the first floor windows. Lights are visible within on the ground floor, behind the closed shutters. The townhouse is flanked by others, so there is no way round the back, and only a single front door [all via Mythic questions before I went and got a map].

Lycinia thinks they should reconnoitre, and plan a way in. The other two vote [1-3 agree, 4-6 go in now] to go in at once. Lycinia acquiesces; she can always turn invisible and escape if things go poorly.

Lycinia and Ruprecht keep watch down opposite sides of the street whilst Thiery scales the wall to the left-hand balcony (he doesn't want to risk making noise with his grappling hook). [Thiery has 2 in 6 Climb skill. It's barely a 10' climb, so he'll only take falling damage if he rolls a 6. Each try after the first will require another random encounter check. He makes the second roll, and the encounter check comes up nil.]

Thiery ties his rope to the iron railing, and the others follow him up [no roll needed with rope]. Thiery hides the rope in a planter so it is not easily visible from street.

[Q: Is the window locked? Sure thing: 74, Yes.
Thiery has a Tinker skill of 2 in 6; he rolls a 2 on the first try!]

Thiery slides a long thin bar (as new as the rest of his things, note his companions with a feeling akin to dread) under the window and unfastens the latch.

[Scene 3 - Obstacle]

[Q: Is the room occupied? 50/50: 25, Yes.

Exceptional Yes on such a question will indicate more than one occupant. And from here on in, anyone in a dark room will be assumed to be asleep, and the PCs will Surprise them on a roll of 1-4, and thus not wake them up.]

This is obviously a bedroom for one of the house's more important residents. Whoever it is, they are fast asleep in the large bed, and though they stir a bit and pull the blankets more tightly about themselves when the cold draught sweeps into the room, they don't wake up as the three invaders climb carefully inside off the balcony and close the shutters gently behind them.

[Q: Is it the baron? 50/50: 54, No. It's (1d6=5) some woman.
Q: Is there a light coming from under the door? 50/50: 41, Yes. (1-2 faint, 3-4 moderate, 5-6 bright; again, this will be a standard check for inside the house.)]

A faint light comes from underneath the bedroom door.

"We should interrogate the sleeper," Lycinia whispers.

"Are you mad?" asks Thiery.

"No, she's right," says Ruprecht. "Otherwise we're just bumbling around in the dark."

"Don't worry," says Lycinia, "I can make sure she goes back to sleep with my magic."

Reassured by the elf's words, Thiery goes to wake her quietly, with his hand over her mouth, and a dagger at her throat.

The woman awakes with a start. She's middle-aged, with long, greying hair and -- at the moment -- terrified and staring eyes.

"Who are you?" rasps Thiery.

[d30 Sandbox Companion AG10: KEY NPC table - she's a Scribe (the private secretary to the Rev. Lady Étice. Her Loyalty/Morale, using the standard LotFP rules, is 7.

She failed morale check on an 11; Her Reaction roll is 6, Neutral.]

"Don't hurt me!" she pleads quietly as Thiery uncovers her mouth.

"Do you know where the Baron is?"

[Q: Does she? Likely: 64, Yes.]

"He's being kept upstairs, in the room above this one."

"This was just a bad dream," says Lycinia. "Sleep now."

The elven magic takes hold of the frightened woman who slips back into a deep slumber.

[I rolled a random room on the map (a nonsensical result would have indicated a basement cell or the like). When the PC's reach the indicated room, I will roll on my rumours Truth table at -2, with the proviso that 'Mostly True' is good enough for her to have been honest.]

[Scene 4 - A Revelation]

Opening the door, the trio creep out into the hall. It is lit by a single wall sconce, whose candle has burnt down to nearly nothing. The light shows brightly underneath the door to their left, but the opposite door seems dark.

Thiery opens the door a little, and can just make out the shape of another sleeper in the bedchamber. As the party slink inside, the sleeper sits up abruptly and calls out, "Who's there?"

Lycinia pads up to him quickly, dagger in hand. She puts her finger to her lips. The man does not move.

[d30 Sandbox Companion NPC: he's a Magic-User
Q: Is he a guest? 73, No.
Loyalty=5!; Reaction roll=10.]

"What do you want?" whispers the young man. "And who are you?"

"We're here for the baron," says Lycinia. "We won't hurt you if you cooperate."

[UNE: inquisitive-scepticism-antagonist]

"You want the baron? Take him. Just leave me out of it. I'm tired of Mme. Étice and her schemes."

"What schemes?" asks Lycinia.

[Q: Is she a de Molleré supporter? 26, Yes.
Q: What does the MU want? Break / Travel]

"She's planning to use the baron in some plot to discredit the Church in Wandlebourne, which she thinks will gain support for the schismatics. Look, I don't really care a toss about any of this. I just want to leave this place."

"Why can't you?" asks the elf, intrigued.

[UNE is good at answering Why: insane-confusion-rewards]

"I'm absolutely skint, her Ladyship is nuts, and no one here ever knows when, or if, they're getting paid next. I'm pretty much stuck."

"If you can help us," says Lycinia, "we might be able to get you out of here. I've got 10 gold coins on me. More than enough for your travelling expenses."

[Q: Does he agree? 03, Exceptional yes.]

"That's... that's enough to get back to Aylesbyrig and the guild. They'd have to accept my petition. I'm a wizard, you see. Or at least, will be some day. Look, as much as I want out of here, I'm honestly not sure about you lot. How's this for a deal: you come back through here when you have the baron, and then I'll leave with you. But if you're caught I was asleep the whole time; I don't her ladyship to curse me with her... however it is she works her magic."


"The baron's still upstairs, I think, in the room above the one opposite this. Go out that door, up the stairs, through the big hall doorway then through the antechamber to the bedroom. There's probably a guard there, so be careful."

[For reference:
MU2, CH 9 CN 12 DX 5 IN 14 STR 13 WIS 12 HP4
spellbook: read magic, sleep, message, hold portal, spider climb

Since the party Asked an NPC with a reaction roll of 10+, I get to roll one of the truth dice now for each rumour; baron's location 3, guards present, 2. The PCs will plan accordingly; even if he's wrong, there's got to be something dangerous around here.

And it was totally random, but both rumours about the baron's location point to the same room. The map is limited, and the PCs are definitely heading straight there, so it's time to put my DM hat on. So, rolling on the truth table--

Secretary: 2d6-2=8, partly true
MU: 2d6+1=8, partly true

Noted for subsequent interpretation.]

Thursday, 12 February 2015

LotFP Solo - Part the Forty-First: "Then share with titled crowds the common lot"

day 118

The ride to Wandlebourne is uneventful. Lycinia arrives in early afternoon, pays the 1sp entrance toll, and leads her horse into the city. She hopes to remember how to find the inn she once stayed in with her friends when they were helping poor Eril, the vampire -- that place with the famous eel pies...

--- --- ---

So, now that Lycinia is in Wandlebourne, her city adventure (i.e. knocking around semi-aimlessly) was played out with the City Catch-Up Tables in the Midkemia Press Cities book. Play continued until she rolled Offered a Dangerous Mission, at which point the 7-scene adventure with Ruprecht the fighter and Thiery the specialist began.

Now that I'm used to how the tables work, I think they have even greater value for soloists than just running through them as is. It would be a good experiment to run through them a bit at a time, using them to frame an adventure and set up scenes to be played out with Mythic (or what have you) rather then just taking each result as a given. But this is a project for another day; right now I will just write up the weekly events & activities as they came, and present a series of vignettes inspired by the table results, as some of this becomes the foundation for the adventure which follows after the dangerous mission.

For reference (d30 Sandbox companion results), Wandlebourne is a small city of about 7200 residents. It is a plutocracy, run by the shipping and trade guilds. The economy is prosperous and the people are accepting of outsiders. There is one good armoursmith, 3 horse dealers, and an alchemist (other shops to be determined as necessary).

Also, now that she's both finished her Quest and forced to live in the human realms, I'm going to switch from recording time by how many days it's been since the 8 elves left Feyalldra, and switch to an actual campaign calendar. The calendar is based on the normal Gregorian calendar, but I will rename the months and days at some point to make them more fantasy-sounding. New Year's Eve falls on the 122nd day of the Quest-time reckoning, 4 days after she gets to Wandlebourne.

Enough with the notes already; onwards to 'adventure'!

Week 1 (ends on the 3rd day of the new year)

Event: (+5% for event occurrence due to high INT and general getting-into-trouble-ness) Offended someone -- an aristocrat (a d% roll on the Aristocrat sub-table in the encounter section makes a Gentleman); she must pay 1d100=49% of total worth to avoid going to jail or having to flee.

Lycinia is minding her own business in a public house near the inn (for a change of scene) when a gaudily dressed fop backs into her table, spilling her wine all over him and ruining -- absolutely ruining, do you hear!? -- his costly silk garment. He suggests that if she gave him some of the sparkly trinkets she is wearing, he might be so distracted by their glimmer as to forget this most heinous affront. Lycinia had just been brooding over the loss of gentle Miolla, who, she reasons, would be most upset if Lycinia were to gut this idiot right here and now. She wordlessly removes a handful of jewellery and hands it over wordlessly, though makes a point of resting her hand on her sword hilt when done. The fop scurries off with his prizes.

She has given up the porphyry pendant, 3 gold rings, and the ornate bronze fibula (900sp in total -- slightly more than half of her total worth); the incident still will give her a -10% penalty to any Accused Of A Crime rolls.

Looking for work: it's either get a job, or go through the hassle of selling jewellery for living expenses. So she decides to see what's out there. She gets a +10 modifier on the search for having a noble background, and +10 for being literate. 1d100+20=60, a Noble-type job is found: 1d24=21, scholar. It pays 3d20=38sp weekly, + maintenance (room/board/clothing) at Lvl4 (upper class).

Lycinia has been attracting no small amount of attention wandering through the wealthy district of the city. Rumours have spread of her run-in with the fop, and the sight of her walking through the city streets in her new dress (and with the gleaming sword at her belt) cannot help but attract attention. Someone soon decides that their new-years' ball would have just that much more caché with one of the fair folk present, and presses an invitation into her hand before any of their peers/rivals have a chance to do the same.

At the ball in another new dress (and still with her sword!), she meets a dizzying array of cads, rascals, social climbers, libertines both fashionable and otherwise, soi-disants poets, courtesans, cuckolds, and their hangers-on. She is overwhelmed by it all, and wishes she'd held out for a better invitation.

She is rescued in the end by the unlikeliest of white knights. Terentius Holzfäller is a lawyer: educated, wealthy, successful, but ultimately of low birth. His one desire in life, he explains, is to see his daughter rise to a station that befits her and marry into a noble family. To this end, he has spared no expense on her education, which, he adds with evident pride, is progressing very well. She is very accomplished in music, dancing, history, and languages, though her command of elvish (high and low) suffers from only ever having had human tutors. Would she perhaps...

Lycinia readily accepts the position, and spends the rest of the party getting to know her new employer. The other attendees wonder how on earth such a peasant could hold the attentions of the mysterious fairy woman.

Savings: (d% roll, no bonuses for Wis or living conditions) She saves 30% of her salary this week (11sp 4cp). Also, the free room&board that comes with her job means she doesn't have to pay any living expenses for the week. I decided this meant that Terentius paid her tab at the inn as a gesture of his largesse.

Gambling: No.

Purchases: She bought 2 fine dresses (25sp each).

Learn new skills/weapons: I had written, 'no - wrong game' in my notes, but it occurs to me that this could be used to pick up skills for the job tables and maybe things like 'sailor' as per the LotFP rules. But that's for later, too.

Also, she earns 25xp for every week not spent incarcerated. I'll tally these later.

Week 2 (days 4-10)

Lycinia spends this week getting to know her charge. Emmeline is 17 years old. She is very bright, exceptionally charming and good-natured, and somewhat excitable. She is average height, slender, much fairer than her father, and usually described as 'tolerably pretty' rather than beautiful. Lycinia finds her a bit frivolous, but likes her well enough. Emmeline is somewhat in awe of the elf, but excited that they are nearly the same size; they can share each others clothes!

Emmeline speaks fairly good elvish, but like most humans her accent is appalling -- worse than ever Aldira's was. Lycinia and Emmeline speak elvish exclusively in private, and in public whenever it isn't impolite. Lycinia is happy having someone she can talk to in the city without resorting to barbarous human tongues.
Miss Emmeline Holzfäller
Ch 16 CN 11 Dx 8 In 14 St 8 Wi 9
0-level HP 4 Morale 7

Event: Lycinia helps an aristocrat. A d% roll of 96 indicates the aristocrat has superb connexions, and offers to get Lycinia titled.

Whilst Emmeline is showing Lycinia the city (one boutique at a time), there is a sudden commotion in the marketplace. An aged noblewoman is yelling, "Stop! Thief!" as her aged manservant runs ineffectually after the culprit. Lycinia uses her magic, and the sleeping thief is quickly apprehended by the city watch arriving on the scene.

Later that day, a letter is delivered to Lycinia by a liveried footman. It contains a message from the noblewoman, offering her saviour the benefit of her influence at court. Why, with a few words to the King and Queen, she could be made a baroness! She writes back -- dictating to Emmeline -- politely declining the offer, and signing her missive Princess Lycinia, with all due forms of elven formality. It is intended as a lesson for Emmeline, but she is surprised to find that her charge knows as much about the elvish systems of nobility as she does about her own people's.

Work: Lycinia saves her whole salary this week, as Emmeline (or, more precisely, Emmeline's maid with a purse full of papa's money) pays for everything.

Purchases: Emmeline does convince Lycinia to buy 2 more nice dresses (20sp each) for every day wear. She does not reveal her plans to borrow them...yet.

Week 3 (days 11-17)

Lycinia has a lot to learn about human society. The upper classes especially are so different to the nobles of fair Feyalldra. Even the Unseelie Court which rules the Goblin Forest is less alien than these creatures. Lycinia is quite scandalised to learn that, as much as her father has done everything in his power to raise his beloved daughter as a woman of quality, he has somehow neglected to teach her to fight with sword and spear. Emmeline insists that this is hardly unusual, but Lycinia won't hear of it. She drags Emmeline to the weaponsmith's to buy a pair of rapiers and some armour for Emmeline to wear during lessons. Emmeline protests that it isn't strictly ladylike, but is inwardly thrilled.

Work: Lycinia saves nothing this week.
Purchases: 50sp for rapiers & armour

Week 4 (days 18-24)

Event: Befriended someone - a government worker. This person's influence will reduce any jail time by -1d6 weeks, reduces the chance of enslavement from being on a workgang to 05%, and gives a +10% bonus to avoid conviction if accused of crime (cancelling the penalty gained in week 1)

Lycinia often goes visiting with Emmeline, who is anxious to show off her new tutor; it has by now become common gossip amongst Wandlebourne's polite society that an elven princess is attached to the Holzfäller household. Lycinia is somewhat baffled by the attention, but uses it as a way to learn about how humans, or at least a certain stratum of humans, think.

Occasionally Lycinia is introduced to someone whom she considers worthy of notice. At one soirée, she runs into a woman named Byrsinadd, who is an inspector for the bureau of weights and measures. Byrsinadd was once a trader working the Ullgrim-Cheapington-Wandlebourne overland route for a maritime exporter, and picked up a working knowledge of elvish language, and more importantly, etiquette, on the job. She also has a wry wit, and makes Lycinia laugh with (not at) her.

Work: She saves 10% of her salary (3sp 8cp)

Companionship is a nebulous little entry. Basically, a character requires companionship once every 5 weeks or they will lose a point of Charisma per week until they get some, at which point CHA returns to normal. Companionship comes in 6 levels, as does Room & Board and clothing maintenance. Companionship at level 3 or less comes with a chance of disease. Nowhere, however, is companionship defined. I assumed, on first reading (and as my previous posts will attest) that it was just supposed to represent generally going out and socialising, and the chance of disease (which lowers CON) was merely indicative of the insalubrious character of lower establishments: dirty kitchens, dirty patrons, that stock fantasy tavernkeeper wiping the counter with a dirty rag, etc. But the more I look at it, the more it occurs to me that this is supposed to be some abstract euphemism for visiting brothels. Now, I'm no prude -- at the time of writing the book on my night table is actually a collection of short stories by the Marquis de Sade (Contes étranges, Gallimard 2014) -- but I prefer my less specific and (potentially) less bawdy interpretation.

Lycinia is not joined to her charge at the hip, and occasionally finds herself with a night off and nothing to do. She tracks down her new friend, Brysinadd, and the two spend an evening at the Anchor eating eel pies, drinking rather too much mead, and kvetching about mutual acquaintances in Society [Level 4 companionship, 20sp, 0% chance of illness].

Week 5 (days 25-31)

Week 5 passes without incident.

Week 6 (days 32-38)

Four items of interest: combining them all (plus some loose interpretation) makes up the narrative at the end.

Event: befriend someone - guildmaster. They give the PC a present of 50sp and provide a +5% bonus to avoid conviction is accused of a crime.

Work: save 30% of salary (11sp 4cp)

Gambling: +5% bonus on the gambling results table due to 16 INT. She risks 50sp, breaks even.

Companionship: level 2. costs 4sp, 15% chance of disease (70=avoided)

Terentius does not ever expect Lycinia to accompany him and his daughter to the great cathedral of the Light God in Wandlebourne. So when they must attend an important festival (The Vigil of St. Uriun, an all-night affair), she finds herself once again seeking the company of her new friend. Brysinadd, it so happens, never met a card game she didn't like; in fact she'd been invited to one this evening, and would her new friend like to come along? Lycinia has never before experienced this arcane human ritual, and decides it's in the best interests of her education to try it at least once.

Brysinadd leads Lycinia through the narrow side streets near the docks to a seedy little tavern. It's overcrowded, and seems to currently be on fire ("no, that's just tobacco smoke," her friend assures her), but isn't obviously a den of thieves or cutthroats. Lycinia offers to buy them some wine; they don't serve wine here. Lycinia settles for an ale, and Brysinadd a beer, which the barman mysteriously pours out of the same barrel. "So it's that kind of place," observes Lycinia in elvish [Level 2 companionship].

The two fight their way through the crowd to a door round the back, and Brysinadd knocks a staccato rhythm. A scowling, one-eyed man bids them enter.

Despite the plain attire of the dozen or so people in the hazy little room, they are obviously all well-to-do. The little club is comprised of ship captains, minor functionaries, shop stewards, even a landless nobleman. There are two tables are for cards, and a third for dice. Stakes are cash only, and no credit is ever given; they're all in positions of financial responsibility, and have witnessed their 'betters' ruined by gaming debts, so will have none of that here. Brysinadd didn't want to see her new friend forced to flee the city on her first real night out.

Lycinia tries her hand at cards, and has soon lost everything in her purse. The master of the sailmakers guild takes pity on the poor confused elf, and gives her a purse of 50sp so she can keep playing. Her fortunes remain variable, but in the end she manages to walk out with a larger purse than she brought in [50+11-4=57sp, +4cp].

"So," asks Brysinadd, as they walk home through the cold dawn, "what did you think?"

"It was interesting," says Lycinia, "but it's not really my thing. I went from a life of ease in the forest one day to a quest full of perils and horrors and strife and... and now that I've gone back to a quite and, honestly, idle life, I find that despite all the terror and death I really miss it. Tonight just saw no real risk. I just wish -- I dunno -- someone would come up to me and say 'I really need your help, for this dangerous mission...'"

Week 7

Event: Sometimes wishes come true...

Monday, 9 February 2015

LotFP Solo - Part the Fortieth: „Das ist ein schlechtes Wetter / Es regnet und stürmt und schneit“

It begins to snow, getting heavier and heavier as the day wears on but at least the wind is only moderate. Lycinia nearly loses the road once or twice, but never strays far from her course. She sees almost no one along the way. A wild boar once crosses her path, and looks as if it might be trouble [reaction=4, hostile], but she puts it to sleep with her magic and continues on her way. She just manages to reach Cheapington by nightfall [being lightly encumbered, she needs to make a forced march to get there].

Cheapington is as dismal as ever. There is a festival for the souls of the departed [d30 Sandbox event: religious, death (solemn)] casting a particularly oppressive atmosphere over the town, and the local merchants all seem beset by their own petty rivalries on top of it. At least there's a room free at the inn [all Mythic questions].

[random encounter: goblin
reaction=10, Talkative
UNE: the elf/goblin relationship is Neutral, d%=77, a Sociable conversation mood; friendly-comfort-history]

Lycinia is drinking alone in the common room of the inn when she is startled out of her reveries by a high-pitched, croaking voice behind her, which calls out in low elvish, "Tis good to see a friendly face! These humans are all so suspicious."

She wheels about on the bar stool to see a goblin: small and twisted, green-skinned, and with a curved dagger thrust through his belt like a sword. The hideous sprite is smiling up at her, an expression which could curdle milk and give nightmares to the tender-hearted, but one that Lycinia, as another of the fairy folk, reads as simple good cheer.

[Q: What does the goblin want? Activity / Elements
Q: What is goblin's longer-term goal? Negligence / Weapons]

Lycinia and the goblin spend the evening in pleasant conversation. The goblin has been out exploring the world, but, like Théscine, his adventures have taken their toll. He is headed back to his home in the Goblin Forest via Feyalldra, and intends to retire and hang his sword above his mantel [Negligence / Weapons], as a reminder of the things he's seen. He does suggest that the only fun to be had in Cheapington would be a nice snowball fight [Activity / Elements], but Lycinia is exhausted from travel (and emotionally drained), so politely declines.

day 114

The next morning the goblin announces that he must ride for Feyalldra today, before the snow gets any deeper; it's scarcely stopped all night long. He does reiterate his request, however, and Lycinia decides to indulge his fae fancies. As they lob snow missiles at one another from across the town square, their antics attract a good deal of notice, and soon they are joined by about a dozen of the town's children, and a fair few apprentices as well. The town priests eventually put a stop to the hijinx, as unbefitting this time of solemnity. The children and apprentices stomp back inside, the goblin bids Lycinia farewell and rides off on his timber wolf, and the elf goes back to the inn to look for the end of another bottle.

day 115

The following day the snow falls even more heavily, and the wind starts to pick up. Lycinia alternates between siting by the fire and buying supplies for her journey.

That evening there is a great commotion in the common room as a group of five men come out of the snow. Their leader is a man of about thirty, dark-haired, with an olive complexion, and piercing eyes. He strides immediately up to the innkeeper and slams a handful of gold coins down on the counter. "My men and I require your best rooms," he thunders, "if someone has them already, you'll just have to turn 'em out."

"But-- but, m'lord," stammers the innkeeper, "one of them is taken by-- by that elf over there." He points, then adds, in a stage whisper, "She's a princess."

"Damnable precedence!" sneers the young man, "Fine, she can stay put. But I'll have the rest, or your head, do you hear? And then see about some food for us. We've ridden long through the snow and had hoped to find a warmer welcome than this!"

The staff of the inn all buzz around the angry man and his followers with a chorus of "yes m'lord, no m'lord"; it's obvious they all know and fear him. After he and his men have gotten settled in and finished their meal, he detaches himself from their table to investigate the elf.

He strides over to where the heavy-lidded Lycinia is sitting behind a forest of empty bottles. He looks her up and down, then, "I am Manfred," says he, "Earl of Vuldois."

"Princess Lycinia of Feyalldra."

"Enchanté. Forgive me for not introducing myself sooner," he says, "but my men and I have ridden hard from Ullgrim this day, and by the innkeeper's surprise at seeing us I surmise the messenger I sent ahead never made it. I should have sent a better rider! But, if I may ask, what brings you to Cheapington? It's not often you elves have business here when the merchants are away for the winter."

"Ummm," replies Lycinia,"I sort of got kicked out of the forest. I'm just passing through."

[His reaction roll is 7, Indifferent.
UNE: relationship = distrustful, conversation mood = sociable
inquisitive - scepticism - the character]

"Really? What could you possibly have done to be exiled from fair Feyalldra?"

"It's complicated..."

"Very well, I shan't pry. And I shall thank you not to enquire too closely into my own reasons for stopping over in this... fine village."

Lycinia and Manfred engage in small talk for a few more minutes, covering such breathtaking topics as the weather, the state of the roads, whether the red wine here tastes less like vinegar than the white. At the first possible instant, he makes his apologies and rejoins his associates. Lycinia has the impression that Manfred is more used to talking at women than to them, but as she wants to avoid a fight and suspects they're all going to be stuck here for a few days, she doesn't cause a scene.

Sometime in the night, the blizzard hits in earnest. Wind howls, trees are uprooted, and several buildings in Cheapington are damaged. No one leaves the inn for the next two days entire. On the first day [day 116], out of boredom, Lycinia tries to strike up a conversation with Manfred again.

"Since I need somewhere to go," she begins, "I wonder if you could tell me what the situation is in the kingdom? Last I heard, there was a war brewing, and the church was falling apart..."

[Lycinia has decided Ask an NPC. Since Manfred's reaction was not 10+, the truth of this will have to wait until she is actually confronted with evidence or meets someone in charge. So, to determine what he tells her--
Rumour Quality: 1d6= 2, Major 
Magnitude: 2d6=9, benefit or difficulty: ±2
What is the rumour about (Mythic): Negligence / Status quo; one of the factions isn't paying attention and is losing ground every day to their opponents. There are 4 factions: 2 secular (Baron Forzdeleu vs. Count d'Estancbel) and 2 religious (orthodoxy vs. schismatics), so...
Faction: 1d4=orthodoxy]

"The church needs new leadership," says Manfred, "and those idiots who simper around the Reverend Father de Val d'Oine and his cronies are too stubborn to realise it. And they're so convinced that being 'right', as they see it, will carry the day that they don't notice how many are going over to de Molleré's cause."

[The rest of this episode was determined by some Mythic questions to see what happens for the 48 hours that people are trapped inside the inn. I was very nearly going to gloss over the entire Cheapington episode in favour of more interesting doings in Wandlebourne, but at the last minute I decided not to. The goblin episode is good for a bit of world-building, and possibly a returning NPC down the line. The introduction of Manfred is being retained because because he and Lycinia are destined to cross paths again; I've played well ahead of this point, and the Cheapington narrative has definitely been shaped a bit by his return. None of the events were changed from how they played out, just given a bit more colour and detail. In fact, I hadn't even managed to name him until after he came back. There are benefits to not typing everything up immediately! Manfred's stats (so far) for reference:

Manfred, Earl of Vuldois
4th level Fighter
Cha 5 Con 17 Dex 8 Int 12 Str 12 Wis 10
Personality: rakish, brutal
Appearance: olive complexion, black hair, clean-shaven, piercing eyes
motivations (UNE):
-(attempt religion) try to get to the Church of St Gelevaard for new year's festival
-(operate communications) bring a secret message for de Molleré's supporters there
-(aid atrocities) he intends to kill an Orthodoxy supporter

Now, on to the questions:

Q: Do things get uncomfortable with everyone stuck indoors? Unlikely: 29, Yes.
Q: How? Mistrust / Food - Manfred thinks someone's trying to poison him?

Q: Does he blame the elf? 50/50: 98, Exceptional No. - He thinks Lycinia can help with her magic.

Q: Is anyone actually after him? Very Unlikely: 43, No.]

As the blizzard rages without, and Manfred within, the inns guests spend more and more time avoiding the common room. Lycinia is relieved not to be drawn too far into the madness. She does, however, take to sleeping with bed pushed against door.

day 118

At long last, after a final night of terrific gales, the morning comes, calm, serene and bright. Even the birds are singing. Lycinia gathers her things, pays the innkeeper and merchants (142sp total - including the riding horse) and rides south towards Wandlebourne with all possible speed.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

LotFP Solo - Part the Thirty-Ninth: „Ja es liegt die Welt jetzt vor mir offen“

Having spent the better part of two days recounting their Quest to the sage and the council of elders in, Lycinia and Théscine are once again summoned to the Shimmering Hall at the centre of wondrous Feyalldra for an audience. They march solemnly into the hall, and stand before the elders, rulers of the fairy kingdom, resplendent in their white robes and bearing the great white staves, which illumine the Shimmering Hall by their mystical radiance. The two young elves stand with their eyes downcast in reverence and awe. The sage, most venerable of all the elven elders, steps forward to address them.

"We have been long in deliberation," says the sage, "for the reports ye bring of the world outside our fair Feyalldra are troubling. And the account of your Quest, successful though it be, did greatly sadden our council as it shall our people. So costly was it in terms of lives -- both elven and mortal -- and by these losses are we so greatly diminished, and do bitterly weep to see so many from our finest bloodlines cut down.

"But you did succeed in your Quest, and return with this most terrible grimoire of black sorcery, though without the thief himself, whom we had hoped to reform, or at least punish according to our own Law. And for your deeds, we now lay the mantle of adulthood on both your shoulders.

"Théscine, look you now to me; I welcome you in your own right as a Lady and a Knight in the court of fair Feyalldra.

"Lycinia, look you now to me. You, who by your own admission have consulted the wicked tome, and in the full knowledge that it be a forbidden thing, are hereby banished from our forest home forever!"

The Shimmering Hall

[At some point I had decided that when the first quest were over, some of the PCs would part ways, as 8 person parties require a bit too much paperwork. When only 2 of them made it back, it became clear that Théscine would stay in Feyalldra, having had enough of the adventuring life. I decided to let some time pass in Feyalldra with a Mythic 'tween story' (above).

Tween story setup: Lycinia gets restless and decides to leave on a new adventure after 1d3 months.
Does it hold? 50/50: 97, Exceptional No, there is a random event instead--
PC negative - Proceedings / The innocent (Found to have consulted the Forgotten Reckoning of Bliss, she is exiled from Feyalldra after 1d20= 7 days).

I'm in the midst of trying to figure out how to manage the enormous NPC list that I've generated over the course of the campaign. At the moment, I have sub-divided it into two lists. I'll see how this works in practise as I go.]


Scene 1

Chaos: 5

Setup: leaving Feyalldra

NPC list(s):
1. the Elders of the Elven Forest
2. Siorighan MU12
3. Reverend Father Gelnay de Val d'Oine
4. Reverend Father de Molleré
5. Sir Gaunet & Jönnick
6. Baron Iehan Forzdeleu
7. Count Rotres d'Estancbel
8. Lady Delphinia
9. Orezuthía the Arcane
10. (secondary list - roll again)
 1. Ranwitha the Pious Merchant
 2. Tibalt & Barnot
 3. dwarven mercenaries
 4. griffon
 5. Brother Mundlo
 6. Zuhal B'thallit
 7. centaur lizard
 8. Jola
 9. Cemmeret
 10. Efalgyt the Enchanter

1. find somewhere to go / something to do / somewhere to stay

day 113

Lycinia was given a day and a night to prepare. The elders made a full search of her possessions, and removed any items they deemed dangerous or unsuitable.

[Q: Are any of her special items confiscated? (50/50 for each)
-magic torch: 04, Exceptional Yes; this is destroyed as a thing of evil.
-magic sword: 90, No; a princess of Feyalldra, even an exiled one, ought to have a proper sword.
-The Phantasmagorical Silence: 15, Yes; a wizard died reading this -- it may be cursed.
-Vethrelcem's spellbook: 27, Yes; a wizard who would own such a dangerous book as the proceeding one is not to be trusted -- who knows what awful secrets reside in his personal writings.
-the strange papyrus: 43, Yes. A work on demons is inappropriate reading material.

Q: Can Théscine give her a scroll before she goes? 50/50: 35, Yes.

Also, the experience award for the final adventure and the side-quest with Efalgyt came to 2089XP each. Théscine advanced to 4rd level, but Lycinia is still a bit shy of 4th. Here's her character sheet at the start of her exile:]

female Elf, Level 3, XP: 10223/12000
Cha 11 Con 14 Dex 16 Int 16 Str 15 Wis 9
Hit Points: 16
Social Standing: Princess
Personality: taciturn, curious
Armour: chainmail
Weapons: magic longsword, silvered dagger, dagger, wheelock pistol (no ammo)
Equipment: tinderbox, bedroll, scroll case (for personal spellbook), map of the kingdom, backpack, ink, silver mirror, potion of gaseous form, Scroll (Phantasmal Force, Stone Shape, Extension, Floating Disk)
Wealth: 6gp, porphyry pendant (400sp), fine silver necklace (200sp), ornate bronze fibula (200sp), 3 gold rings (100sp each), coiled serpent armband (gold with lapis eyes - 350sp), carved green jade thumb ring (150sp)
Spellbook: Read Magic, sleep, invisibility

A dozen elven warriors meet Lycinia at dawn, wearing full ceremonial armour. Their faces are completely hidden beneath their ornate helms, and each carries a spear tipped with adamantine or mithral. They do not speak, and Lycinia knows better than to try addressing them. They proceed through the forest in silence. There are none who come to see her go, nor her family nor any of her childhood friends; only Théscine rushes out of her house to accompany her friend, trudging after her in the heavy blanket of snow.

"Lycinia!" she shouts, "Slow down! I want to walk with you until you leave the forest. I can't believe they've done this to you. I'm sure it must be a mistake. They'll have to let you come back some day. They'll have to!"

"Oh, Théscine," she replies, "you are quite the optimist. I do still wish you'd come with me, but I understand why you can't."

"I'm sorry. It's all too much for me. I don't think I shall ever leave Feyalldra again if I can help it."

"What will you do?"

"I think I'll work at the temple, tending the gardens or something. Something where I can dig in the dirt all day and grow things. Then I'll find a husband, settle down, and have eleven babies."

"We're a dying race, Théscine."

"Not if I can help it! Besides, I have to have eleven. I've already got their names all picked out. You can probably guess..."

"You... Wait-- you don't think you can bring them back... not all of them..."

"Why not? Why couldn't a human soul be reborn into one of us? And even if they don't, it will honour their memory."

"You're going to force an elven child to go through life called Father Rochouart?"

"Well, maybe as a middle name," says Théscine. They walk for a while in silence, then Théscine finds she can no longer keep her question bundled up inside. "Lycinia, what will you do now?"

"I don't know. Head south to Wandlebourne, I guess. Wait out the winter there. Maybe I'll go back to Chateau l'Oret in the spring; we left some things there, and I'm curious to see where the treasure map leads."

"Will you help the baron."

"If I must. I'm not in the mood to get involved in the humans' war."

"Well, if you do... just promise you won't come back to Feyalldra at the head of a conquering army or anything."


"You do tend to over-react a bit, you know."

When they have reached the stone circle, the warriors halt. "I know," says Théscine tearfully, I'm not allowed any further. Lycinia, here, take this scroll; I won't be needing it. I wrapped the map up inside it. And here's some cakes for the journey."

"Don't be sad. This isn't goodbye. And I'll write you... somehow."

She kisses Théscine goodbye, then turns and walks into the midst of the sarsens. Two of the warriors remain without, and cross their spears to symbolically deny her return. The rest follow her as a escort. When they have reached the centre, the captain produces a linen scroll, and reads out the formal decree of banishment. Lycinia does not look back, but heads south upon the road. Only once she has gone several miles, and is sure that she is alone, does she permit the tears welling in her eyes to finally fall.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

LotFP Solo - Part the Thirty-Eighth: „Hinunter in der Erde Schooß / Weg aus des Lichtes Reichen“

"You see," explains the old wizard, surrounded by the instruments of his art, "I was... not always content to sit alone in my tower and contemplate the deeper mysteries of magic. And at some point, I picked up an interest in the manipulatio...n of Time. Pur...suing this line of enquiry led me to... the attention of a certain other guild wizard, a foolish and r...eckless chap, calling himself Itragad. He... too had theories of time, and I, intrigued be...yond all sense by his research, offered to help him in one of his mad experiments. Now... time starts and stops for me, seemingly at random. I don't see it, only the jumps and su...dden changes of the world around me. It has been, according to... my apprentice, more than two years since I've been this way, but to me it seems sc...arcely a twelvemonth. And in all... this time, I've searched for the answer, some way of undoing this curse which... that fool Itragad's dabbling has inflicted... upon me. I did discover the whereabout...s of an item that has the power to undo the damage, but I have had no way... of getting to it. Until y...ou arrived..."

Scene 39

Chaos: 8

Setup: Efalgyt's task

Characters: the Elders of the Elven Forest, Ranwitha the Pious Merchant, Siorighan MU12,  Tibalt & Barnot, dwarven mercenaries, griffon, Reverend Father Gelnay de Val d'Oine, Reverend Father de Molleré, Brother Mundlo, Zuhal B'thallit, centaur lizard, Jola, Sir Gaunet, Jönnick, Baron Iehan Forzdeleu, Count Rotres d'Estancbel, Lady Delphinia, evil cult, Orezuthía the Wise, Cemmeret

Threads: help Efalgyt, bring the book back to Feyalldra

[The last post was a bit rambly and not much happened, so for this one I am cutting straight to the chase and (after a minimum of notes) jumping right into Adventure.

Efalgyt's reaction roll towards the party was an 11, so he was more than happy to see two elves show up at his door. A conversation roll from UNE came up with: friendly - support - current story; if the PCs help, he can teleport them to the Elven Temple in Feyalldra.

I think it was the d30 Companion that gave him a Curse, so lifting it provided a ready-made task to accomplish. I'm not great at coming up with curses, but I found this web page:

The game effect is that he has a 50% chance to be unable to act each combat round; I extrapolated the rest from that. To break the curse, he needs to recover the enchanted, golden torc belonging to a legendary king of the hill people, which was buried with him in a barrow tomb somewhere (roll for a random hex) in the forest south of Ullgrim.

The dungeon and its contents were determined with the Random Tomb charts in Best of Dragon Vol. 1 (which I had been wanting to play with), and the DMG random dungeon charts to fill in the blanks (and the map). The basic rolls for the tomb came up with it being the tomb of a King, comprised of 1d10 rooms with traps secret doors, and magical guard spells, and that it would be guarded by a creature from 6th level monster chart.

Efalgyt the Enchanter
10th level Magic-User
CH 12 CN 7 DX 14 IN 15 ST 9 WS 9
HP 25 AC 15
staff, leather armour
1 magic missile, mending, read magic, identify
2 continual light, levitate, detect invisible, web
3 gaseous form, gust of wind, speak with dead
4 minor globe of protection, protection from normal weapons
5 teleport x2

The PCs have spent a week healing up in his tower. On the morning of the expedition, he gave each of them a healing potion (reserving one for himself).]

day 105

All being prepared for their expedition, Efalgyt leads the two elves up to the roof of his tower, halting uncontrollably -- several times -- as the curse intermittently stops time from flowing for him. The elves are as patient as can be with the wizard, though they have grown increasingly eager to free him from his plight. As they emerge from the comfortable warmth of the wizard's lair, the biting cold of a clear winter's morning delivers a shock to their senses. They draw their cloaks around them and then take hold of the wizard's own cloak as he begins the words of a great spell. And in the blink of an eye they are somewhere else.

A storm is coming in over the isle from the southwest. The wind howls through the trees of the thick forest, and the snow falls heavy upon them. "This... is the place," shouts Efalgyt over the gale as he points toward a large, snow-covered mound, "I'm glad you... brought a shovel!"

He leads the elves round to the southern side of the mound, and indicates the slope. "The entrance is here." Lycinia wordlessly begins clearing the snow as Théscine and the wizard huddle in the lee of an obliging oak. Within an hour the stone-lined entrance to the barrow mound has been cleared, revealing a short passage [room 1] terminating in a wooden door which, though having blocked the tomb entrance for centuries, seems as new as the day it was made. Gilded symbols incised in the wood spell out the name of Gaen Cuhilluthan, an ancient high king of the hill folk.

Théscine and Efalgyt hurry inside as Lycinia lights her torch. She's feeling quite warm after the exertion of clearing the passage, but her compatriots spend a few minutes warming their hands around the brightly burning flame. When they are prepared, Lycinia speaks a charm over the door [casts Knock; Q: does this work? 50/50: 46, Yes.] which slowly swings inward, revealing a chamber beyond [room 2].

The high king was once a renowned hunter; within the vaulted chamber are the decaying relics of his most prized trophies. The walls are lined with the heads of game, magnificent stags whose antlers touch the ceiling, when not crumbled to dust or fallen away with the passage of years. Amongst the stags are the tusked heads of wild boar in similar states of decay. On a rusty iron pedestal is the skull of what may be a horned ogre or giant. Unknown pelts cover the floor, squelching with dampness when trodden over. Pride of place is given to a taxidermied owlbear, stuffed and standing upright in a posture of menace. The smell of damp fur and mold is overpowering.

As the elves reach the middle of the chamber, the stuffed owlbear comes to life and rushes toward them, its hooked beak opening in a silent roar.

[Room contents were Monster Only, which I rolled on the dungeon level 5 wandering monster table in the Expert rulebook. An owlbear living in a sealed tomb made no sense, so I decided it was a trophy (which led to the rest of the room description) with stats as a living specimen: AC 16, HD 5, HP 23, #Att: 3, Dmg 1-8 /1-8 /1-8.

Surprise die for the party came up a 2; the MU is surprised but not the elves. PCs win initiative.]

Efalgyt is still in the doorway. A look of shock comes over his face, and he freezes, as the curse holds him still in time. The elves are unperturbed.

[round 1]
Lycinia does not hesitate, but boldly pronounces words of power; green sparks shoot from her outstretched fingers and tear smouldering holes in the lurching creature [her Magic Missile does 8 damage, leaving it with 15hp]. Théscine rushes to meet it, swinging her magical sword, but the beast knocks the blade aside with a sweep of its paw. It snaps with its beak at the small elf, whose armour keeps her shoulder from being pierced, but its paw smashing down on her shoulder causes her to stagger back in agony [4 damage drops her to 5hp].

[round 2]
Lycinia draws her sword, and advances on the beast, but cannot get close enough to land a blow. Théscine recovers and lashes out as it lowers its head in an attempt to bite her friend. The sword crashes down on its head. There is a muffled crunch of brittle, old bone and a glass eye is knocked loose to bounce onto the floor [7 damage puts it at 8hp; its attack rolls are a miserable 6, 4, and 6; sometimes it's nice to know that it doesn't only happen to PCs].

[round 3]
Lycinia steps in closer, intending to behead the thing with a well-placed backhanded swing. She is rewarded for her bravado with claws raking her neck and the beak nearly biting through her gauntlet [8 damage in total drops her to 8hp]. And she gets in Théscine's way.

[round 4]
Théscine manoeuvres round Lycinia and strikes out at the thing's neck. The head comes away, but the beast still rears up to attack [3 damage reduces it to 5hp]. Lycina takes advantage of its posture and delivers a solid blow to its side, splintering the wooden frame holding it together [5 damage destroys it]. The owlbear falls over in a particularly sad heap.

[round 5]
"Watch out!" shrieks Efalgyt suddenly, as he assumes a defencive posture. "Oh, how embarrassing. Was it a long fight?"

The elves cannot but smirk at the poor wizard, though Théscine's ribs are too sore to laugh. Each of them downs the healing elixir they have been given [Lycinia is back to 14hp, Théscine back to her full 9].

A thorough search of the room reveals nothing of value, but Théscine does find a part of the wall which pivots, allowing entry to a secret room beyond. Even she must duck to get through it.

The room beyond the secret door [room 3] is a bit larger than the trophy room, with wooden doors -- again seeming untouched by time and the elements -- on three sides. It is otherwise bare, save for an ornately carved obelisk in the centre.

Efalgyt studies the incised marks down the side of the obelisk for a while, then finally says, "it's a warning... not to distur...b the tomb." The elves look closely, but cannot see anything resembling writing at all. They shrug, and Efalgyt responds, "Well, it wouldn't be a tomb without a warning like that, I suppose." They decide to press on.

Opening the eastern door reveals a [room 4] short passage ending in a heavy door with iron bands. Lycinia takes a cautious step forward and feels the floor collapse underneath her. She jumps back just in time [saves vs. Paralyzation] to avoid falling in to a deep pit. Examining the door from across the pit, she isn't at all sure it will even open.

The door on the western side of the chamber leads to a storeroom [room 5], which seems to have held food and drink for the king to take into the afterlife. It possibly smells even worse then the trophy room, and no one feel particularly interested in rifling through its contents.

Behind the northern door is a low-ceilinged corridor leading east and west much farther than Lycinia's torch can cast its light. The elves look to Efalgyt for a suggestion. "Well," opines the wizard, "the mythology of the hill people pl...aces the land of the dead to the west. Perhaps that w...ay will hold the burial chamber."

They advance to the west down the long passage. Lycinia and Théscine must often pause to allow Efalgyt to catch up. The passage eventually turns back on itself in a sort of squared-off spiral, and in the centre is another large room with rough stone walls [room 6].

This is evidently the treasury, though the fine fabrics and rich tapestries have long since mouldered away. In a low trough, however, silver coins glitter in the torchlight.

[room contents - treasure only: 9000sp. Protected by a gas trap: fear gas, save vs. magic or flee.]

"We can come back for these lat--" begins Efalgyt, but this time he is not cut off by the curse freezing him in place. This room, unlike all the rest, smells faintly of cinnamon; a not at all unpleasant and indeed welcome change. But as the three all breathed deeply of the fragranced air, they unknowingly inhaled the magical gas hanging in the atmosphere of the treasury. The magic took immediate hols, and filled them all with praeternatural dread of the treasure. When the elves have come back to their senses, they are back in the obelisk room, out of breath from their panicked flight [saving throws were 4, 9, and 4!].

"Oh, hells," curses Théscine, "the wizard..."

They duck back into the hall. As if on cue, they hear the patter of footsteps, then silence, then the footsteps start up again. The frightened wizard is soon back in the torchlight. "Thank you," he pants, "for coming back with... the light."

The eastern corridor turns sharply to the north, rises about 10' then descends for 20' before emptying out into an immense tholos tomb [room 7] with a deep well in the centre.

As the explorers peer down into the well, straining to make out the bottom in the torchlight, they do not notice a spectral shape coalescing behind them, until one of its skeletal hands grabs Efalgyt by the shoulder. His flesh begins to wither under the phantom's touch [PCs surprised, Efalgyt takes 7 damage, leaving him with 19 hp. I rolled 25hp for the monster].

Guardian Spirit
No. Enc.: 1
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 150' (50')
Armour Class: 14/7
Hit Dice: 5+2
Attacks: 1
Damage: 2d6
Save: C5
Morale: 12
Treasure Type: Nil
Undead, high intelligence, only hit by silver/magic, destroyed by holy water

[round 1 - PCs win initiative]
Théscine summons the magic within her to throw a shower of green sparks at the phantom, which whizz around the helpless wizard and cause the spectralform to waver [8 damage drops it to 17hp]. Lycinia slashes at it with her blade, hoping to dislodge its diaphanous claw, but the sword passes harmlessly through the ghost. Poor Efalgyt has frozen again, and the necrosis spreads underneath the phantom's grasping hand (5 damage drops him to 14hp].

[round 2]
Théscine goes for its arm with her magical blade. The sword slices right through it as did Lycinia's but leaves a ripple in the shape as it loses some coherence. It darts back its hand from the wizard's shoulder as if in pain [2 damage put it at 15hp]. Lycinia draws her silver dagger [-2 to hit this round for drawing; she misses] as Efalgyt snaps suddenly into action. He whirls about, waving his arm in a gesture of power. A crimson flash erupts from the circle described by his hand, tearing through the phantom which dissipates with a screech [he cast Magic Missile; 10d4 = 26 damage].

After the battle, Lycinia lights a second torch and throws it down the well, which proves to be only 30' deep. The elves carefully descend using a rope and grappling hook, Efalgyt levitates downward by means of his magic.

The skeleton of the high king lies exposed on a slab of stone. Time has not been kind to the king; all his finery has rotted away, and even some of his jewelry has corroded and fallen in to the dirt. But a few pieces still glitter, as does his sword. The eyes of the two elves glitter back when they behold the treasure, but they make no move towards it.

"I don't think we should be taking all this," says Théscine.

"Suddenly I feel like a grave robber," adds Lycinia, "and not in a good way."

"Nonsense," answers Efalgyt. "High King Gaen Cuhilluthan was a wicked man in life, and it is said he murdered all the wizards who had laboured to prepare this tomb for him."

"So who gets first pick?" ask the elves in unison.

[The treasure tables for the random tombs are a bit excessive, so I reduced the value of the gems & jewellery to 1/10 what I rolled. This still resulted in--

Gems: 1x 1000sp, 3x 50sp
Jewellery: 3000sp total
Misc. Magic table II: this will be the torc.]
Magic item: sword - I keep rolling +2/+3 vs. Lycanthropes; I've come up with a different version of this rather than the standard B/X jobbie. I was saving it for something special but I might as well get it into play now.

Also -- Q: Does Efalgyt keep his word? Likely: 25, Yes.


The golden rings and bracelets and the three small opals are split evenly. Efalgyt claims the torc as it was the object of his quest. Théscine takes the enormous emerald as the sword is obviously magical, and she already has one. The three do admire the sword in the torchlight for a few moments. The long blade is broad and sharp, and gleams like silver. The hilt is all of the same metal, ornately worked, and the pommel is in the shape of a man's head, with long hair and beard. "It almost looks like you, Efalgyt," laughs Théscine, "only angrier."

Having completely denuded the wicked king of riches, the three carefully ascend the rope and exit the tomb. Once outside, the two elves take hold of his cloak,and in the blink of an eye they are standing on the gleaming marble steps of the magnificent elven temple in their forest home. News of the arrival flies from mouth to mouth, and the temple attendants come running, curious to meet the returning elves, and hear tell of their great Quest.