Thursday, 20 April 2017

LotFP solo hex & dungeon crawl : Part IV

25 March, A.D. 1601

The ruined monastery must have been built five or six hundred years ago. It has fallen completely into decay and has seemingly been swallowed up by the forest. Thick, nearly impassable growth of brush, weeds, and even the trees themselves hide the few remaining walls from view, and create a sort of maze through the remnants of the ancient abbey.

[I used the Scarlet Heroes dungeon tables for the ground-level, even the Type, which turned out to be Isolated Monastery.

It has 3d6=6 locations. The Goal of the dungeon is the entrance to the catacombs beneath. The Threat (for calculating trap damage and monster hit dice) roll indicated, "It’s much worse than you expected in there; the threat is equal to the PC’s level plus 1d4." The party has an average level of 2; 1d4+2= threat 4.

Since it's all overgrown and has lots of tumbled walls, the connexions between areas aren't necessarily direct, so the Locations table results could be used as-is without straining credibility (e.g. Priest's Quarters attached directly to the kitchen).]

After about 20 minutes of searching, Éliane pulls aside a dying bush that conceals a hole in the outer wall which is big enough to walk through. They draw weapons and step inside.

[Turn 1]

Once inside, they find the walls reach higher than expected, and whilst there is a canopy of green around them, the ruins are mostly open to the sky. The area they are in is a long, narrow enclosure. The flagstones of the flooring are old and cracked, and choked with weeds, and here and there raised lumps hint at where the hall's furnishings once must have been.

[location 1 - prayer hall
contents: encounter & treasure (not hidden)

encounter: Unusual foe; roll on a Bestiary chapter encounter table.

Not all the Scarlet Heroes monsters work thematically with an LotFP game set outside of Quelong, but I rolled Nagar, the Ash Basilisk (AC: 17, HD 5, Move: 120', 1 bite, Dmg:1d8, ML: 9, Special: gaze turns to ash).

Fortunately, it is surprised.]

At the end of the hall, is a raised area that was formerly a holy altar, now mere cracked stones split by the roots of a twisted and gnarled tree. Not to be outdone by Nature, Hell itself has visited a further injury on this once sacred place, for upon it rests a demon conjured up from the smoking recesses of hell. The thing has the form of a dull black lizard as large as a man. Though its eyes be closed, a baleful radiance shines forth from them, visible even in the daylight, in mockery of Him, Who is the Light of the World.

[Round 1]
The creature stirs as the party creep forward, weapons at the ready. Éliane and Lalie raise their pistols. Artuš wishes he hadn't left Horst the arquebus to guard the camp. Waldemar changes his grip on his spear. The thing raises its head, suddenly aware that it is not alone -- but in that very instant two shots ring out. It screeches and contorts as two wounds open in its scaly hide, and begin leaking the greasy yellow fluid it uses for blood [6+2=8damage, leaving it with 13hp]. Waldemar's spear falls short and clatters harmlessly over the ground.

[Round 2 - it wins the initiative]
The thing wheels about, and opens its terrible eyes. It's terrible luminous gaze rests first on [1d5=] Waldemar. A moment later he is no more, his entire body turned to ash. His empty clothes hang in the air a moment longer then fall to the ground in a heap. His helmet bounces one and rolls away.

The things jaws snap at Artuš as he gets near, and he instinctively steps back out of reach [bite missed, sword missed]. Beate flanks the beast, and the tip of her rapier opens a long but shallow gash in its side [2 damage brings it to 11p].

Éliane and Lalie draw their blades.

[Round 3]
The thing turns its attention to one who wounded it. Beate feels the terrible heat of its gaze play over her for an instant, and then it has clamped its jaws around her calf. Fortunately her heavy skirts act as padding, or she might have lost a leg [she made her Death save, but was bitten for 1 point of damage]. It throws her off balance, and she nearly drops her sword.

Artuš and Lalie get on either side of it, and plunge their blades down into its back. The creature's hiss of agony is cut short as it turns into ash itself, which flutters down to the ground in dry flakes.

[They both hit for 6 damage, which put it at -1hp; technically not quite dead, but as it has been vanquished, I allowed myself some GM's poetic licence.
The treasure table roll came up "No encounter treasure, but M2 worth of room contents".]

Something glitters beneath the tangled vines on the ruined altar. Éliane cuts it free with her dagger, and holds it up for the others to see. "This'll fetch a pretty price," she says, holding aloft a gleaming chalice, and then two more just as beatiful and ornate [100sp each].

Lalie and Artuš join her in admiring their prizes for a few moments, before she stows them in her pack. Beate just stares at them in an admixture of terror and disgust. "You... your concern..." she babbles for a moment, before coming to herself. "I can't believe the three of you. What about Waldemar?"

"Right," says Artuš, "you'd best take his helmet. And maybe his buff coat, if it fits."

"What?!" responds Beate, her terror turning to indignation.

"O carissima femina," says Lalie, "who knows what other monsters lurk deeper in the ruins.... Waldemar is beyond hope; I shall light a candle for him later. Here, I'll help you brush these things off if my sweet Éliane will reload my pistol for me."

Éliane accepts the pistol with a smile. Beate scowls, but concedes to the others' evident experience. They clean off the helm and coat as best they are able, and Lalie helps Beate get into them. But Lalie stops several times and swears as she fumbles the laces in front.

"Your hands are trembling," says Beate."

"Of course they are, after what we've just seen. I'm not made of iron! And that is why you must wear these -- in hopes that your final hour may not come to-day."

[Turn 2]

A doorway in the northwest corner leads out into a very large, open space, bounded on all four sides with the remains of walls. The centre is almost entirely choked with brambles, vines, and, surprisingly, wildflowers. After a few fruitless minutes of trying to hack their way into the centre, the explorers give up and look for an easier path along the perimeter.

[Location 2 - garden - empty]

A well-trodden path leads along the eastern wall, and out through a hole in the top of the northern wall. The path winds through a maze of shrubs and fallen masonry, and ends in a low stone archway.

[Turn 3]

The room beyond is bounded by broken-faced but otherwise solid walls. Its dirt floor has been swept smooth by its inhabitants, the four of whom turn to face the explorers as they enter. They are -- or were -- human, but have changed in some gruesome and unnatural fashion. Their fingers are overlong and tipped with pointed claws, and their wildly staring eyes are featureless pools of red. All are covered in filth and dried gore, and some are still clad in the tattered remains of simple peasants' clothes. One stands nearly seven feet tall, and appears to have had his throat cut -- not that it hampers him in the slightest.

[Location 3 - Priest's quarters
contents: encounter & treasure

The encounter table result was "1d4+T hit dice worth of foes numbering several Minions or Civilians and possibly an Elite". Turning to the dungeon inhabitants table, I rolled "degenerates". I decided the Elite should be further mutated, and gave it a roll on the special powers table.

3x degenerates (AC: 14, HD 1, Move: 120', 1 attack, Dmg: 1d6, ML: 9)
1x mutated degenerate (AC: 14, HD 4, Move: 120', 1 attack, Dmg: 1d6, ML: 12, Special: Undead. Morale 12 and immune to living concerns.)

No surprise, the PCs win initiative.]

[Round 1]
Lalie and Éliane are firing their pistols into the assembled nightmares almost before they've even thought to do it. One of the creatures falls gasping as the ball punctures its lung [6 damage puts it at 0hp].

One rushes Lalie, but the pistol in her other hand makes it think twice about getting close [it missed].

Beate engages the other, and despite her new armour comes away bloodied and hurt [3 damage leaves her with 1hp].

Artuš swings his broadsword at the giant's face. The point tears off the thing's nose and upper lip, which only seems to make it angry [2 damage put it at 17hp]. Black goop slowly oozes forth from the wound. The beast tries to return the favour, but the downward sweep of its claws is deflected off the rim of the mercenary's helmet.

[Round 2]
Artuš stabs forward before it can pull back from its swing, and a stinking deliquescence slides out of its stomach [5 damage drops it to 12hp]. The smell causes Artuš to falter, and he barely wards off its riposte with his arm rather than his blade. Fortunately his armour takes the brunt of it [2 damage leaves him with 8hp].

Beate is spurred on by pain and fear both, fighting for her life with a greater ferocity than she had ever thought possible. Her sword flashes to the left, the right, the left again, and then her foe is haemorrhaging out its lifeblood at her feet [7 damage dropped it to -3hp, mortally wounded].

Lalie's foe is dancing about in front of her, and she can't get a clear shot. Suddenly it leaps forward and grabs her by both wrists. It wrenches her arm out of the way, and she hears a tendon pop in her shoulder. The pistol discharges harmlessly into the air during the struggle [her attack missed; it hit her for 1 damage; it also made its Morale check].

[Round 3]
Éliane has meanwhile been manoeuvring round behind the one that has grabbed her friend. She buries her dagger up to the hilt in its back. It spasms once and collapses [1d4x2=4 damage, dropping it to -1hp].

Neither Artuš nor Beate inflict more than a scratch on the giant [miss,miss], and it almost slips and falls in the pool of its own insides when it tries to counter-attack [rolled a 1].

[Round 4]
The awful giant is soon surrounded. Lalie draws her rapier and hamstrings the giant from behind in a single fluid motion [7damage]. As it falls to its knees, Artuš raises his sword above his head, and brings it down with both hands, splitting the things skull in twain [7 more damage destroys it]. All four are splashed by something unutterably foul, but at least the hideous creature is defeated.

Beate sacrifices her outermost skirt so they can all wipe the foulness from themselves, and parts of a petticoat for bandages. Despite her injuries [1hp left], she insists she is able to press onwards. But Beate's pride cannot mask her condition, so as Lalie reloads her pistols she hands them over to her, urging her to avoid direct confrontations if at all possible.

Meanwhile Éliane has ferreted out the degenerates' treasure trove, an embroidered silk purse hidden amongst some straw bedding.

[treasure: 1/10 C4 minor ruin's wealth
1d6+4 x 100 gp, 1d6+4 Cheap Jewelry, 1d4 Costly Jewelry, 25% for 1 Precious Jewelry, 1d3 Lesser and 25% for 1 Greater Magic Item]

The purse itself is stained and worthless, but its owner must have been a lady of some means. Inside is a goodly quantity of silver Kaisergroschen [100 actual silver pieces], a fine golden chain bracelet [40sp], a single opal earring [300sp] and a plain steel flask [unlabelled potion].

Éliane opens the flask, and her nose wrinkles. "Nom de Dieu ! I think this perfume's gone off. Or else madame liked to smell of jambon cru."

She goes to pour it out, but Lalie stops her short. "Think, ma belle," she says, "have you ever known a fine lady to keep her perfume in such a common-looking object as this? That's no perfume, I'll wager, but an elixir! Give it me, and I shall tease the secrets from it later."

Éliane laughs in reply, then stoppers the flask. "And such understanding, ô mon âme, is why you're so dear to me!"

[Turn 4]

The crumbling south wall offers egress to another long, open space, this one divided into weed-choked sections by the remains of interior walls. A twisting path has been beaten through it. The explorers follow it through to another roughly-intact chamber [Location 4 - more priest's quarters]. But though it shews signs of habitation -- droppings, half-eaten rotten fruit, animal (hopefully) bones, etc. -- there is little else of interest. 

[Turn 5]

A gap in the wall separating the room from the large open space is filled by a thorny bush. They'd overlooked it on the other side, but from this angle it is evidently easy to push aside (with a blade or mailed fist) and exit back into the garden. A narrow track through the centre of it is also visible from this angle. The explorers carefully squeeze through the gap and proceed down the trail, exiting the garden through an actual doorway in the western wall.

[Turn 6]

A small corridor awaits beyond the door, which formerly led along the inside of the garden wall, but is now strewn with rubble and overgrown with greenery as to make it night impassable. It certainly seems to be untouched by the inhabitants of this forlorn place. One small anteroom is attainable, and it seems to offer some promise.

[Location 5 - relic chamber - hidden treasure, hazard]

The room's walls are mostly crumbling stone, but bits of coloured plaster still cling stubbornly to one of them. Here is a faded foot in a roman sandal, here a hand with two fingers extended, and opposite a bodiless mouth and beard are surmounted by a pale yellow halo.

Under the weeds at the very back of the room, Éliane thinks she sees the glitter of precious metal [she makes a search roll; d6=2, success]. "Look what I see!" she exclaims. "Someone's thrown some sort of nasty goo all over it, but I think I can manage to just reach in without touching it."

"Éliane, stop that right now," scolds Lalie. "There's jagged, rusting metal everywhere."

"I think it's the remains of a shelf, or maybe a chest."

"I don't give a damn what it was, Éliane dear. I just don't want you to hurt yourself."

"I'm fine. I think I've just about got it..."

"I don't see why you don't just let me use my magic..."

"You worry too much. Save it for something I can't reach..."

[Hazard=Trapped container. If Treasure, save or take Td6 damage.
Éliane needs to save vs. Device: d20=18! success.
Hoard type M2, worth 600sp]

Éliane deftly removes her prize without so much as a scratch on her arm. She examines the treasure for a moment, then holds it aloft triumphantly for the others to see. "A reliquary!" she says. "I think it's some fingers. I wonder how many fingers St. Eustace had..."

"Didn't we see one of his hands in Amiens?" asks Lalie.

"I think we saw three."

[Turn 7]
The only exit is back to garden. They walk as much of the perimeter as they are able, and find another passage in the southwest corner.

[Turn 8]
As evidenced by the great hearth and cooking cauldron, this room was, and still is, the kitchen. But of more immediate concern is the group of eight inhuman fiends in filthy rags occupying it. They are in two groups; half of them are by the hearth, trying with clumsy eagerness to kindle a fire, the other four are attending to a struggling young man in torn and befouled monks robes. Three hold his arms and legs to prevent his escape, the fourth is trying to stop his mouth so he can no longer scream or cry for help.

[Location 6 - encounter & treasure
encounter: 8HD minions - degenerates, as above

Also, as this is the last room (and it hasn't appeared yet), there was a 50/50 chance for the Goal of the dungeon to be here (it is). The Goal is technically a way down into the catacombs, where significant treasures should be found, but I also decided to include the Key NPC from the d30 Sandbox Companion's adventure generator results: Pilgrim (as first-level cleric). d6=m]

The degenerates like to hear their meals scream, so they ungagged the monk before throwing him in the pot. He had only been praying quietly until he heard shots nearby. The degenerate have been trying to keep him silent and still ever since. And that is why (1d6=2) they are Surprised.]

[Round 1]
Beate, Éliane, and Lalie raise their pistols and fire into the group by the hearth. Two fall dead, a third begins spraying blood from an artery but does not fall [random targets, but 3d4=1,2,4. They were reduced to -3, -5 and 1hp].

[Round 2 - PCs win initiative]
The fiends turn and rush howling to attack, but the explorers are ready to meet them. Lalie keeps one at bay with her rapier, and Éliane dissuades another from getting too close with her dagger [4x missed]. Artuš cuts one down with his sword [4 damage drops it to -1hp]. Two rush Beate. The bleeding one gets close enough to drench her with the arterial spray, and she discharges her second pistol directly into its chest [6 damage drops it to -5hp]; it will not bother her again. But the other makes a grab for her, though only manages to slap its clawed hand against her. The thick buff coat keeps the claws from her skin, but the impact of the hand upon her already injured torso results in a shock of pain that brings her to her knees [1 damage puts her at 0hp].

[Rounds 3-5]
The remaining fiends fight with inhuman ferocity, but in the end are no match for the explorers' quick reflexes and sharp steel. The things soon all lie dead or dying on the kitchen's dirt floor, and Artuš makes sure to speed them all on their way. [The degenerates never failed a Morale roll, nor succeeded in a To Hit roll for the rest of the fight.]

The monk has been cowering against the wall the whole time. Éliane manages to convince him that he has been rescued, and is safe now. Artuš and Lalie tend to Beate, who is conscious but cannot walk on her own.

Scarlet Heroes dungeon map

There is a doorway into what must have been the refectory, but most of that is impassable. There is a great yawning hole in the ground, and the suggestion of a stone room beneath, but no one is in a fit state for further exploration, so they decide to head back to camp. As they are leaving the kitchen, Lalie sees a gleam, and finds a stack of silver patens the degenerates have been using as dinner plates [Hoard M2: 600sp]. She tucks them into her pack before they go.

[I made a Loyalty check to make sure Horst was still there: 2d6=5, he is.

Q: Does the pilgrim have any spell still memorised? 50/50 (4+): O6 C3 - Yes, but... random:
purify food & drink
Q: Is he from round here? 50/50 (4+): O2 C5 - No.]

Back in the camp, Horst busies himself with cooking and tending to Beate in order not to hear the account of what happened; his companions' blood stains and injuries are enough to give him nightmares for months.

The monk, who introduces himself as Brother Paulus, is very forthright about his time at the ruins. "I had slipped by the ones on the surface, but more of those... those degenerates came up from below and captured me. They must also live in the catacombs..."

"The catacombs?" asks Éliane.

"Where they keep the cup!"

"Which cup?"

"Why, the cup of St. Uraias of Erfurt. You've not heard of him? Oh... He is a local saint -- he once, in an act of true mercy, let a leper drink from his cup -- and the leper was miraculously healed! The cup was put in a shrine before his tomb underneath this very monastery. But alas I cannot retrieve it!"

"We could help you," offers Éliane, even as she thinks, "I bet it's worth a fortune." Glancing at her friends, she can read the same thoughts in their faces.

"But... the danger..." says Brother Paulus.

"Perhaps reinforcements are in order," says Lalie. "We can handle the physical dangers, if only we had more help with the spiritual dangers to be found within."

[Q: Pilgrim know of local church? Likely (3+): O3 C2 - Yes, and... close by (1d4+1 hexes away = hex 08.03]

"There is a church in Rötenzell; it's not far from here. I stopped there on my pilgrimage. Perhaps, if we explain to them what we've discovered..."

[Q: peaceful night? 50/50 (4+): O6 C7 - Yes.]

Brother Paulus is greatly fatigued from his ordeal, and falls asleep the moment night falls. The others hold a quiet conference. The all are of the opinion that it will be easier to recruit help from the church if they offer up some of the recovered items as a show of good faith, wagering some of their current treasure against the promise of still richer rewards. Besides, as valuable as the reliquary may be, trying to sell it without good contacts would be more of a hassle -- and a danger -- than it is worth. Beate is Protestant, but decides to keep quiet about it in order to make recruitment easier -- she's always been more interested in temporal than spiritual affairs, anyways. Horst's opinion isn't consulted, but he's been given more silver than his promised share so far, so seems happy to go along with his employers' wishes.

26-27 March

The next morning Fr. Paulus makes manifest the true power of his faith by erasing the hurt of poor Beate [cure light wounds brings her back to full hp]. Both Artuš and Lalie are feeling a bit better after a good night's sleep [each gained back 1hp overnight].

It takes a day and a half to reach the tiny village of Rötenzell, a small bastion of Catholicism in otherwise Protestant Thüringen. The villagers are somewhat stand-offish, but Father Fredrik, the village priest -- a fiery, somewhat loutish, self-styled defender of the faith -- is more than eager to take up arms in the cause of religion. The donation of the reliquary only confirms his opinion of these God-sent crusaders of righteousness.

The priest [1st level cleric] dons his grandfather's chain byrnie and stands in the village square  waving an old broadsword about, preaching about the Holy Mission to Vanquish the very Demons of Hell and recover the Sacred Cup they have stolen. This causes most of the villagers to avoid the strangers even more, but, mush to everyone's surprise, actually recruits two stalwarts for the expedition. One is a young nun called Sister Margarita [1st level cleric], who was in the village visiting her parents whilst collecting some donations for her order. The second is a sturdy farmer named Werner [0-level fighter], who had done some fighting in his younger days.

Brother Paulus, the pilgrim
Cleric, Level 1, male
Cha 12 Con 6 Dex 12 Int 14 Str 11 Wis 17
HP 2, AC 12, AL: L, ML 9
Origin: German mercantile class
Languages: German, Latin
Religion: Catholic
Weapons: cudgel
Equipment: wooden cross, sack

Father Fredrik
Cleric, Level 1, male
Cha 9 Con 9 Dex 15 Int 6 Str 14 Wis 5
HP 3, AC 17, AL: L, ML 9
Origin: German tradesman
Languages: German
Religion: Catholic
Weapons: sword
Equipment: chain armour, lantern, tinderbox, oil x2, holy water x3, liber agendarum, wooden crucifix

Sister Margarita
Cleric, Level 1, female
Cha 11 Con 11 Dex 7 Int 12 Str 7 Wis 8
HP 4, AC 12, AL: L, ML 7
Origin: German gentry
Languages: German
Religion: Catholic
Weapons: light mace
Equipment: morion, silver crucifix

Level 0, male
Cha 11 Con 12 Dex 12 Int 8 Str 17 Wis 11
HP 5, AC 16, AL: N, ML 8
Origin: German peasant
Languages: German
Religion: Catholic
Weapons: halberd
Equipment: buff coat, pikeman's armour, morion, wooden cross

[I had asked the Oracle--
Q: Does their donation convince church to send help? Likely (3+): O6 C5 - Yes

They could recruit 1d4 NPCs, rolling a d12 for each one to determine type, class, and level.
d12: 1-2 C1, 3-4 C2, 5 C3, 6-9 F0 (priest), 10-11 F0 (militia), 12 F1 (merc)

The party still get the XP for the reliquary. And speaking of which, {maths redacted} each PC earns 596xp. Artuš is now 30xp away from 2nd level, and Lalie about 200 away from 3rd. I really hope they both make it through the dungeon alive...

The party spend 1d3=3 days in the village. They can easily buy provisions. Beate manages to buy a matchlock arquebus with powder & shot. Lalie uses a talisman to cast Identify on the unlabeled potion: Potion of Resistance (per Scarlet Heroes).

The trip back is completely uneventful. They arrive about noon on the 31st. After lunch they leave Horst to set up camp in the old prayer hall [Location 1] so they haven't far to go should they come back laden with treasure and/or the injured. They leave him with both arquebuses to defend himself, and head back to the well.

Next post, the lower dungeon...]

Sunday, 16 April 2017

LotFP solo hex & dungeon crawl : Part III

12 March, A.D. 1601

Beate and Lalie need to spend the day recuperating. To pass the time, Artuš and Horst try their hand at bow hunting. They come back in the evening with a brace of pheasants each, a most welcome respite from trail rations and hardtack. A fine feast is had by all, but alas! their jealous mule, seeking richer fare of his own, ingests a poisonous root, and is found dead the next morning.

[bushcraft roll=2, success; 1d6=5 rations worth of food.

Event: Mount / pack beast eats toxic root, dies

I also rolled twice for random encounters since the party was split, with an encounter occurring at the camp: 1d6=2 bandits. The Scarlet Heroes encounter tables told me the bandits were "Trying to avoid a hunting local authority", "Disinclined to fight unless that seems necessary", and "At least one of them has half again normal hit dice" (so Ftr-0 and Ftr-1). They surprised the PCs, so I asked the Oracle:

Q: Same group of bandits? Likely (3+): O2 C5 - No.
Q: Authorities close? 50/50 (4+): O2 C6 - No.
Q: Ask for help? unknown 1d6=6 doubtful: O1 C5 - No.

Well, then... that was a lot of dice rolling to get to No Encounter. I kept this all in my notes, though, as there was a chance that it might make sense when interpreted in light of further encounters, and/or provide background for the region. It didn't, sadly, but that's just the vagaries of aleatory adventuring.]

13 March

Beate and Lalie still need rest. Artuš and Horst try hunting again, but retreat back to camp after barely half an hour as the skies open up and pelt the forest with rain [event: blinding rain]. The rest of the day is spent trying to avoid the water dripping into their tents.

14 March

Supplies are dwindling, so they decide to head back to Drudenwiese to re-supply. At one point a black bear stumbles across their path, but the beast is terribly injured and easily scared off with a pistol shot.

[travel back to 03.04
encounter: Bear, Black: gravely wounded, Morale lowered by 3 (to 4)]

15-16 March

They slog for two more days through the forest. Intermittent rain showers keep the mud puddles formed by the storm two days ago from ever drying up. Near dusk on the second day they come across a hunters' camp half-mired in the muck. One of the three tents is intact, a second has collapsed under a fallen branch, a third has been uprooted and lies several yards from the rest. An old-fashioned broadsword is thrust into the ground by the remains of a firepit, with a hunting horn dangling on a cord looped round its hilt. Three bodies -- two men and a woman -- lie face down in the ground, caked with mud.

Artuš makes to cross himself, but his eye catches a faint glimmer on the woman's neck; he can just make out the clunky golden necklace she wears. "She'll not be needing such vanities where she's going," he says, pointing, and the others nod in agreement. "Best see if there's any more to be had."

But as they approach, the three corpses rise shakily to their feet, and lurch forward to attack. Their eyes stare fixedly, and their mouths hang slackly open. None make a sound, not even when run through with sharp steel. Waldemar drops one with his poleaxe, but then freezes in place, unsure of what he is witnessing. Horst runs to hide behind a tree as the others begin hacking the strange, silent foes to pieces. A fourth plods up behind Beate and grabs at her, dislocating her shoulder. She turns about to face it, and it smashes her in the face. She falls into the muck, unmoving. Artuš steps over her and removes the thing's head with a single sword stroke.

With all their foes vanquished, Éliane rushes to Beate's aid, pulling her face from the mud so she can breathe. "Don't touch her!" shouts Artuš.

"Merde alors !" replies Éliane. "She's alive! Help me get her somewhere dry, you fool."

"I must make sure our foes will not rise again," says Artuš flatly, and sets about the gory business of decapitating the other three.

Waldemar still stands clutching the haft of his weapon tightly, mouth agape, staring at the carnage before him. Horst dares not look out from behind his tree. Lalie helps Éliane move Beate to a patch of solid ground, and does her best to wipe the mud from the unconscious woman's face.

Artuš finishes his grim endeavour, and comes back to see Beate. "Well?" he asks, sword still in hand.

"I think she'll live," says Éliane, "no thanks to you."

"We must watch her carefully," says Artuš, "and if she starts to look... unnatural in any way, we must destroy her at once. Before she wounds any one of us... and causes us to turn also."

He shudders at the recollection. Neither Lalie nor Éliane of know what change the mercenary speaks, but something in his voice convinces them to heed his warning, and not press for more information than is given.

The two women wait with Beate for over an hour as Artuš and Horst set up camp about half a mile away. Beate wakes with a concussion and can barely move her left arm, but it seems like there will be no permanent damage. Horst comes to fetch them, and the three take turns helping their barely conscious friend get to camp. Artuš insists she be given her own tent, and that the watches be positioned to see that she doesn't emerge in some awful state during the night.

Despite Artuš' wild words, Horst and Waldemar have already persuaded themselves that it had all just been a normal bandit ambush, and that the others put too much stock in fairy stories.

There is a momentary distraction from the paranoia when Artuš displays the glittering treasures he found in the mud: a heavy necklace of gilt copper beads [30sp], a plain gold fibula [70sp], a silver brooch set with lapis lazuli [80sp], and a very old (possibly Roman) silver belt buckle [80sp].

[Travel to 04.06, then 04.08
event: Meet an Encounter stranded in the mud
feature: hunting camp in 04.08
contents: Trove type C1
encounter = 1d6 hungry ghosts; I just used zombie stats since I've had them memorised since about 1982 or so.

The fight took but three rounds, and only Beate took damage, though it put her at -1hp. These zombies won't cause her to change like the ones in the Tutorial book solo adventure, but Artuš doesn't know that.]

17-20 March

In the morning Lalie checks on Beate. She can barely move, but her colour is coming back. They build a litter for her and set off as soon as possible, arriving back in Drudenwiese a day and a half later. Beate gets bed rest at the inn, whilst the rest busy themselves with resupplying. Éliane makes discreet enquiries at the church, thinking that a priest might not be a bad idea to have along, but is informed that unless she wishes to renounce her Papist ways then she had ought not to set foot in the village church again.

[I followed the d30 Sandbox Companion for the attempt to recruit a cleric: -7 modifier meant none were even available.

Q: Any trouble at the inn? 50/50 (4+): O1 C3 - No, but... they soon wear out their welcome.

Since they made it back to civilisation with treasure, I calculated XP -- not that I thought anyone would level up, but I am trying to get over my bad habit of letting bookkeeping slide for too long. As a hireling, Horst gets a 1/10th share of XP and as a henchman Waldemar gets 1/2.

I'll spare you the maths. Each PC earns 210xp and ~147sp. Horst is owed 14sp and Waldemar 75sp, but Horst gets 10sp cash plus the 30sp necklace, and Waldemar gets the brooch (80sp). Their room & board are also paid for (3sp/day x6 people x3days = 54sp for the whole party).]

21 March

Their new mule laden with provisions, they once again set out into the forest. Horst leads them along a slightly different route -- consciously or otherwise -- in order to avoid the scene of the horror in the mud [though still via hex 04.08].

That day they come across a group of rough-looking individuals, escorting a bruised and bloodied but otherwise indistinguishable man with his hands tied behind his back. Their voices had been heard from some way off, but their evident shock at seeing travellers in the forest causes them to stop short when the party come into view.

[encounter: 1d6=5 bandits
Purpose: escort an exile to the edge of their lands
Attitude: The usual, but they might parlay if that seems plausible
Condition: One of them is too badly injured to fight (the exile)
The bandits were surprised.]

Éliane calls out a greeting [reaction=8+1]. The leader returns the greeting, but makes no further overtures. Both groups continue on their own paths.

[Q: Do they surreptitiously follow party? Likely (3+): O5 C1 - Yes, and... with 1d6=3 fellows.]

The bandits quickly finish their internal affair, and collect three more compatriots, intent on overtaking and ambushing the travellers.

[Stealth roll fails, no surprise, encounter distance 100'. Each is a 0-level fighter, and rolled a d10 to determine what missile weapon they carry: 1 shortbow, 2 longbow, 3-4 light crossbow, 5-7 heavy crossbow, 8-9 pistol, 10 arquebus]

The bandits squabble too much to mount an effective surprise attack, and the travellers turn to see them approaching from a distance. Artuš and Waldemar each ready a bow, Éliane draws her pistols, Lalie merely stands defiant with arms crossed.

"Come no closer!" shouts Éliane. "We do not take prisoners."

[Round 1]
The bandits do not respond, and instead [d6: 1-3 advance, 4-6 attack] advance slowly [move 30'] and begin to spread out. The party [who won initiative but waited to see what the bandits would do] take cover behind a fallen tree trunk, but keep an eye on the advancing foe [partial cover, +4AC]. Horst beats a hasty retreat with the mule.

[Round 2]
The bandits [attack 1-4 or advance 5-6] continue their advance, spreading further out in an attempt to flank the travellers.

[Round 3]
Éliane's pistol goes off with a loud report, but the ball does not meet its target [-4 range penalty]. Artuš and Waldemar each loose an arrow; two bandits fall bleeding into the dirt. Lalie screeches a hideous word in an unknown tongue. There is a bright ripple in the air from her outstretched fingers [Magic Missile], and the bandit arquebusier cries out sharply, his face burnt and shredded by an unseen force. The four remaining bandits flee in terror [2d6=10, failed Morale].

The fallen bandits have nothing of value save their weapons. A short and longbow are added to the mule's pack with some extra arrows. Artuš claims the matchlock arquebus for himself.

[Q: Will the bandits try again? Doubtful (6): O1 C8 - No.]

They make no fire that night, and double the watch, but all is quiet.

22-24 March

The next three days' travel is largely uneventful; some vermin get into the rations [event, -1day food] and they find a dark cave[hex 05.03] which they daren't approach, but those are the worst of the obstacles. When the ruins are at last sighted, they double back to make camp about a mile away. Again they double the guard and make no fire, lest they attract the bandits they've seen near the spring or risk drawing the attention of whoever -- or whatever -- may be lurking in the ruins.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

LotFP solo hex & dungeon crawl : Part II

4 March, A.D. 1601

The next day sees them arrive safely at the village of Drudenwiese. It is a smallish settlement in a large meadow [Wiese], surrounded by deep forest that could very well be the haunt of elves [Druden] and sprites, but for all that the village turns out to be unremarkable. The inn is sufficient, if not truly comfortable, and the peasants are more than happy to sell provisions and other sundries to the strangers in their midst.

[Lalie has spent 3sp(lodging) and 3cp(food) x6PCs x4days = ~80sp (rounding up for convenience & extra wine) on the trip. She and Éliane shell out a further 160sp for supplies; they buy a mule (25sp), saddlebags (1sp), 2 weeks' iron rations for 6 people (84sp), and 2 tents (50sp).

Here begins the exploration portion of the adventure. I generated a quick 10x10 map (with custom settings) in Hexographer and put Drudenwiese in the middle of the bottom row. The treasure map indicates the treasure is to be found somewhere between the mountain range and the small peak at 01.00.

I used the Scarlet Heroes wilderness tables for the hexcrawling. The party's movement rate is 18 miles per day, halved for forest & hills. For simplicity's sake, I made the hexes 4.5 miles across (rather than SH's recommended 6 miles), so they can travel 2 hexes/day, or explore 1/day; the forest is pretty thick so it seems a realistic reduction. There's only a 1-in-6 chance of noticing a feature if the party is travelling, but I roll a lot of 1's. There is also a 1-in-6 chance of getting lost each day; Horst has a bushcraft skill of 3 to mitigate this.

I guessed (correctly) that the Scarlet Heroes tables would put ruins somewhere in right area of the hexmap. Had there not been any, I would have improvised some other woodland horror from which to make an adventure.

Fresh water and fodder for the mule is easy to find and not tracked. The party's supplies were tracked on scratch paper as I always lose track of things like this if I just type it into my notes.]

5-7 March

The party set out from the quiet little village and head north into the forest. Progress is very slow once they get more than a mile from the settlement. The occasion hunter's track is found, but even these are choked with undergrowth.

The first two days pass wholly without incident. On the third they pass the remains of a hunting camp where a fire had gotten out of control. Some bushes are scorched and burnt, and a tent has been reduced to cinders, but fortunately the spring rains kept the blaze from spreading. The camp seems to have been in recent use -- a pack is discovered containing a loaf of bread that has just gone stale -- but whether the fire was deliberate or accidental is impossible to determine. Horst tries to make sense of some footprints in the soil, but none lead out of the camp in any certain direction.

[Hexcrawls are fun to play, but there are a lot of dice rolls that produce nothing worth reporting. For example:

5 March

d6= not lost
hexes 03.08-04.08
d6= no encounter
d8= no event
d8= no feature

6 March

d6=1, maybe lost
bushcraft roll d6=2, not lost
hexes 04.07-03.06
d6= no encounter
d8= no event
d8= no feature

7 March

d6= not lost
hexes 03.05-03.04
d6= no encounter
d8= no event
d8= feature
d6=1, notice feature when travelling

1d2= feature in hex 03.04
feature=Settlement, Hunting camp
current state=Scorched by fire
contents=Signs of recent use

Can Horst make any sense of tracks? Bushcraft 3: d6=4, no.
extra encounter roll for recently used camp: d6=no encounter

So from here on in, I'll only be narrating the important parts.]

8 March

Horst announces they've reached the area roughly indicated on the treasure map, so they'd best slow down, or they're liable to walk right by the ruins. They readily take his advice; that's what they're paying him for, after all. [search hex 03.03]

9 March

As [1d6=] Waldemar is answering nature's call, he stumbles (literally) across a sleeping adder. The serpent, incensed by its interrupted beauty sleep, expresses its displeasure by biting him (nowhere embarrassing, fortunately) before slithering away from the clumsy primate. The venom leaves him weak and feverish, but does not spell his doom.

[The party search hex 04.03.
event=Poisonous vermin bite; Td4 damage. I let T=1 as they're just in a normal forest, and I'm not using the Scarlet Heroes reduced damage rules. I even gave Waldemar a saving throw vs. poison for half damage, but he failed: 3 damage left him with 1hp.]

As dusk approaches, they come upon a bubbling spring [d8=feature] of cool, fresh water, and decide to make their camp thereby. Poor Waldemar looks as if he's about to drop, and if the natural source has any healing powers, he could certainly use them!

[Q: Any special effects? Unlikely (5+): O2 C4 - No, but... double chance of encounters in this hex.]

10 March

Waldemar looks scarcely better the next morning. Beate offers to stay in the camp today and look after him whilst the others continue their exploration.

[Exploring hex 05.02:
feature: ruin, Isolated monastery. That was rather sudden, so I decided to check the oracle--
Q: Is this their goal? 50/50 (4+): O5 C6 - Yes.]

They return before Beate has even thought of making a fire to cook some broth for the patient's lunch. "What's wrong?" she asks.

"Wrong?" says Lalie. "Ma chère demoiselle, we've found the ruins!"

"And...? Didn't you explore them, even just a little?"

"No. We should all go. In full strength."

Beate doesn't understand their reticence, but holds her tongue [this is her first adventure, so she yet lives in blissful ignorance of the horrors the others have seen].

11 March

There is some quiet discussion concerning what to do about Waldemar (some of it quite privately, out of earshot of the rest, and in French). But he seems to be on the mend, and everyone agrees they may need his spear should the ruins prove to be inhabited by bandits (or worse), so they plan to stay by the spring for another day and attempt the ruins on the morrow, in full strength.

[He will heal back to full hit points on this day if he isn't killed first by the
Encounter=Human, Bandit x1d6

I used the SH encounter tables to flesh it out--
Their Current Purpose, Given Their Location, Is To....Check a trapline they have in the area
Attitude=Looking for an excuse to prey on the hero
Size/Condition=Maximum normal encounter numbers or size

I used the bandit stats in the SH as a starting point. The leader (f) is a 1d4=first level fighter, the rest are 0-level.

a  f  9 11 16  7  6 11  2 17 shortsword
b  f  6 16  7 12 15 11  3 14 shortsword
c  f 10  9 12 10  7 11  4 15 shortsword
d  m  6 14 11 13  9 12  3 14 long bow
e  m 12 11  9 11 13  4  6 14 short bow
f  m 14 16  9  7 16  8  9 16 halberd

Q: Day encounter? Likely (3+): O5 C8 - Yes.
surprise dice=3,1 bandits surprised

As usual, this was played out in strict initiative order, but will be narrated in a more sensible fashion.]

The day is mostly peaceful, even a little boring, but as it wears on footsteps are heard walking through the underbrush. A group of six raggedy persons is heading towards the spring, seemingly oblivious to the presence of the party. They are clad in dirty rags and armour cobbled together from various cast-off pieces, though one -- the leader, most probably -- wears a full set of pikeman's armour and has a halberd resting on his shoulder. Behind him walk three women carrying shields and short swords, and a pair of mismatched bowman.

Artuš calls out a friendly soldier's greeting. The newcomers start at the sound, then turn to see its source, and raise their weapons in anything but a friendly reply.

[Round 1 - PCs lose initiative]
The bowman nock and loose arrows before their targets have had a chance to even stand up [targets were decided on 1d6: 1-2 A, 3 B, 4 L, 5 E, 6 H (Waldemar is asleep in a tent)]. One arrow sails past Artuš' head and sticks in a tree. The other sails past his head on the other side, and sticks in Beate's chest [4 damage leaves her with 1hp]. She screams and scrambles for cover behind a thick stump, and Horst follows close behind.

Lalie and Éliane draw their pistols as they rise. Artuš draws his sword, rising and trotting towards the enemy.

[Round 2]
The bowmen change targets [d8: 1-3 L, 4-6 E, 7-8 A], surmising the pistolières a bigger threat than even the soldier rushing at them. Their arrows fail to hit their mark, however.

The halberdier and one of the swordswomen move up to meet Artuš, who bats their arms aside easily [they roll abysmally]. Artuš delivers a punishing blow with his sword, smashing the man's ill cared-for gorget in two, and leaving a bloody wound [8 damage drops f to 1hp].

The other two swordswomen move up and around, trying to manoeuvre behind Lalie and Éliane. Two shots ring out [random targets (d6): 1-3 longbow, 4-6 shortbow]. Both women assumed their companion would instinctively target the longbowman, so take aim at the other. One ball catches him in the abdomen, and blood sprays out his back as it continues through unimpeded. The second hits him between the eyes a moment later. He falls to the forest floor, and his soul continues falling ever downward, for he did not die in a state of grace [5+8 damage put him at -7hp].

[Round 3]
[The bandits have a 7 Morale, so must check it when guns are first used against them; 2d6=6, they will stand.]

The longbowman nocks another arrow, and tries to avenge his comrade in arms. Lalie shortly has an arrow protruding from her right shoulder. She cries out something one would not expect from a woman of her noble breeding, but does not falter despite the pain [3 damage leave her with 3hp].

[Swordswoman tactics (d6): 1-2 both rush in at L&E, 3-4 both hesitate for 1 round, 5-6 on rushes and one waits.]

One of the swordswomen (c) rushes at Éliane, but is tripped up by dirty cook pots and nearly falls [rolled a 3]. Éliane turns at the sound, and discharges her second pistol right into the woman's stomach. She falls, helpless with agony [4 damage drops her to exactly 0hp]. Lalie takes careful aim at the longbowman, who drops bleeding beside his companion [5 damage to -2hp].

Artuš presses his advantage. The swordswoman fights hesitantly, which saves her life, for the halberdier makes a bold assault, and finds his doom on the point of the mercenary's sword [6 damage drops him to -5hp].

[Round 4]
The two remaining swordswomen turn and flee in opposite directions into the forest. Lalie lets her pistols fall to the ground [Checked morale again due to losses: 2d6=10].

[Round 5]
Lalie speaks some strange syllables in the barbarous Chaldean tongue, and makes a pagan gesture in the air before her. Two streaks of shining yet colourless light whizz from her fingertips to burn the fleeing women, though neither is so hurt as to halt her flight. [Lalie cast magic missile; 1d4 damage each, save for half.]

Waldemar sleepily emerges from his tent, looking flushed with health. "What happened?" he asks. Éliane fusses over her poor dear Lalie's wound whilst Horst tries to tend to a very irritable Beate, who soon sends him away. Artuš takes Horst and Waldemar to help him search the fallen bandits. They find a total of 15 silver coins, and a thin golden bracelet set round with tourmalines [1x costly jewellery, 400sp]. The bracelet will be stowed in the (currently empty) treasure pack, but the coins are given over to Horst. Waldemar helps himself to the longbow, and the halberdier's breastplate and tassets [+2AC].

When they come back to the camp, they find Lalie wiping blood off the blade of her rapier and talking to Éliane. "...mais, ma chère mignonne," she is saying, "elle a faillit de te blesser ! Ah ! but I see our friends have returned. Before she died, this brigand confessed that there are ten total in her band, and they have made camp not far from here. Perhaps we had ought not to remain by the spring this night."

[Interrogating the injured swordswoman: reaction roll=7, neutral, so she only gave them the barest information about numbers. Bandit lair=2d6

Q: Any useful rumour? Doubtful (6): O5 C5 - No. +Event (see below)
Q: Will the bandits track them down that night? Unlikely (5+): O3 C6 - No

This was a good time to check Horst's Loyalty. 3d6+3=16, giving him Loyalty/Morale 10. 2d6=5, he survived the encounter and isn't sorry to see the bandits dead, so he isn't thinking of running.]

They move their camp in a clearing about half a mile from the spring, and make only a small fire to cook some broth, and they make sure it is put out before dusk. The injured are spared from taking a turn keeping watch. The half moon is visible through the forest canopy, and whilst it does little to illumine the scene, at least it provides a record of the passing time for the watchers.

As Éliane sits on an overturned log, listening to the sounds of the nocturnal forest, she has aught else to do but gaze up at the heavens. But the fatigue of exploration and excitement must be beginning to overcome her, for the longer she stares upward, the more her tired eyes see movement where there is none. She rubs her eyes, and tries to focus again. And then she realises that it be no illusion nor trick of a tired mind -- the fixed stars are in motion, subtly changing their positions in the firmament. [the Event from above: Ambiguous event - fix / heaven]

She drops her pistols in amazement, clambers back into her tent, and begins shaking her friend awake. "Lalie! Lalie, my sweet, wake up!" she whispers. "You've got to come see this!"

Lalie follows her groggily outside, and follows Éliane's finger pointing straight up into the sky.

"You see it too? Then I'm not mad. Tell me, what can it mean?"

Lalie stares for some time as the constellations stretch and contort almost imperceptibly.

[Q: Meaning? tell / melancholy]

Lalie takes Éliane's hands before she has the courage to speak. "There is great sadness ahead for us all."

"Even us?" asks Éliane.

"Even us."

"We'd better not tell the others."

"No. Of course not."

Saturday, 8 April 2017

LotFP solo hex & dungeon crawl : Part I

I've been working on my historical LotFP adventure again of late, but I still have nothing in any shape to post. The setting information is taking rather too long to put in a fit state for sharing, and my house rules for magic (second revision) are similarly proving hard to finish. And I haven't even started making my game notes into anything readable. So, in the interim, I thought I'd try another short and simple adventure chronicling the further exploits of my auxiliary PCs for the main campaign (their first adventure can be found here).

Here are their stats again for reference, in the format I'm using for the main campaign:

Lalie Roquentin (« Laelia »)
Magic-user, Level 2, female
Cha 10 Con 6 Dex 9 Int 17 Str 12 Wis 14
HP 6, AC 14 (leather armour), AL: C
Origin: French minor nobility
Languages: French, Latin, German, English, Greek
Religion: Catholic
Weapons: rapier, brace of wheel lock pistols
Equipment: spellbook, shovel, crowbar, backpack, torch, 2 empty vials, silver mirror, chalk, ink, steel holy symbol, talismans (hold portal, message, identifyx2)
Spellbook: Unseen servant, Magic Missile, Mending, Floating Disk

Éliane Meursault
Specialist, Level 3, female
Cha 15 Con 13 Dex 18 Int 15 Str 13 Wis 7
HP 13, AC 15, AL: N
Origin: Parisian urban poor
Languages: French, English, German
Religion: Catholic
Weapons: dagger, brace of wheel lock pistols
Equipment: specialists' tools, strength potion, shot bag, powder horn, torch, backpack, sack
Skills: Stealth-4, Search-4, Sleight of hand-2, Sneak attack x2

After some high living in Amiens (-750sp each), things turned sour, and our heroines decided to travel to Germany. In a coaching inn south of Nürnberg, they made the acquaintance of a mis-matched pair of wanderers (2 more PCs), who had come into the possession of an old treasure map.

Artuš Mlynář was a stout, young mercenary from Bohemia. After fighting for the Spanish in the failed siege of Nieuwpoort, he decided to abandon military life and seek his fortune elsewhere. Strange encounters with the living dead and vile witchery ensued, but at least he's his own master now. (Fun fact #1: Artuš is actually my (surviving) character from the solo adventure in the Grindhouse Edition LotFP tutorial book. After that he had a city adventure using Scarlet Heroes urban adventure tables (no fray dice or lowered damage). Fun fact #2: I named him without thinking too hard about it; when typing out his stats I realised his name translates to 'Arthur Miller'.)

Artuš Mlynář
Fighter, Level 1, male
Cha 12 Con 17 Dex 12  Int 9 Str 13 Wis 10
HP 10, AC 16 chain, AL: N
Origin: Bohemian peasantry
Languages: Czech, German
Religion: Catholic
Weapons: sword, dagger
Equipment: map in leather scroll case, rope, tinderbox, torch, backpack, 144sp

His companion is a quiet spinster. Beate Schleiermacher is tall, rigid, and underweight, and her thinning grey hair and pinched face makes her look much older than her 39 years. She was the middle daughter of a prosperous merchant in Augsburg, and spent her days in happy seclusion in her father's private library, or studying history, philosophy, and mathematics with private tutors. Her father has recently died, and instead of a legacy left behind only debts. She fled the city in disgrace, taking with her what little she could carry (starting money 3d6x10=50sp), intending to throw herself on the mercy of a distant cousin in Nürnberg.

Beate Schleiermacher
Specialist, Level 1, female
Cha 5 Con 12 Dex 15 Int 13 Str 11 Wis 14
HP 5, AC 13 (no armour), AL: N
Origin: German mercantile class
Languages: German, French, Latin
Religion: Lutheran
Weapons: rapier
Equipment: 2 torches, blank book, ink & stylus, steel mirror, backpack, wooden holy symbol, 18sp, 1cp
Skills: Architecture 3, Languages 3

Artuš had just met Beate in the coaching inn the day before, as he recognised her as a woman of learning and he needed help deciphering the old map he'd acquired. The pair recognised Lalie and Éliane as being similarly-minded individuals the moment they walked in the door. The four have decided to become equal partners in the treasure-finding expedition. They almost even trust one another.

The morning after their meeting, they take a coach to Nürnberg where, after a first refusal, they manage to engage the services of a guide to help them navigate the wilderness.

I used the Hiring Retainers rules in the LotFP Rules & Magic book. The first guide refused to work with them (3d6+1 for Éliane's charisma=8, refuse offer), so they tried again, this time offering double normal wages (for a +2 bonus). Horst is an skilled hunter and tracker, and an affable enough sort, though rather unexceptional.

Level 0, male
Cha 10 Con 9 Dex 7 Int 11 Str 11 Wis 13
HP 3, AC 11, AL: N
Origin: German peasant
Languages: German
Religion: Zwinglian
Equipment: dagger
Loyalty: *

*His Loyalty will not be determined until necessary: 3d6+3 total bonus on the Loyalty/Morale chart.

Toolbox for the adventure
I don't even remember where Artuš got the map, but it was written on his character sheet. Whatever the case, it made a good adventure hook for a completely random adventure, rolled up with the d30 Sandbox Companion's adventure generator tables. In actual fact, the first set of results sparked an idea for the main campaign, which followed on from some vague notions I had hoped to explore, so I put it aside for later and rolled up a new one:

d30 adventure
Goal: investigate location
Obstacle: awaken sleeping NPC
Location: ruins
Location feature: chapel
Phenomena: transformation
Villain goal: domination/control
Artefact: cup
Theme: terror
Key NPC: pilgrim (as 1st-level cleric)

This is a simple exploration & location-based adventure, so I have dispensed with Scenes. I haven't had to consult the Oracle very often, but I've been using d10 and occasionally d8 as the Chaos Die. To start, I decided they would need to first travel 1d4=4 days to reach a small village on the edge of the forest they must explore. Each day needed a roll on the d30 Sandbox Companion's road encounter table (scattered density) and there was a 1-in-6 chance of nighttime encounters.

NB: Unless otherwise indicated, assume everyone is speaking in German. Lalie and Éliane speak their mother tongue in private, but find it rude to converse in front of their allies who may not understand it.

Enough with the preliminaries -- adventure awaits!

--- --- ---

1 March, A.D. 1601

It's a brisk day as the band set out from Nürnberg. Lalie and Éliane have stowed their finery in their small travelling trunks to avoid notice, and wear the simple, rugged travelling clothes they've been in since their flight from France. Aside from Artuš and his obvious military bearing, they could pass for any common group of travellers.

The first day of travel is largely uneventful, but as evening approaches...

[d30 road encounter = hostile
react d30=23, attack/pursue, ML 11, 6 assailants, same level as party

Q: Bandits? 50/50 (4+): O2 C7 - No.
Q: What are they after, then? Bring / Strength

NPC Relationship: distrustful
Conversation Mood: cautious
scheming - intent - friends]

...a group of wretched-looking spearmen block their path on the road.

"You there!" calls out the captain. "Come with us. We need more soldiers for the [d30=11, count/earl] Graf's army!"

Éliane spurs her horse closer to the man, who must take a step back to keep his feet  from being stamped by its hooves. Her hands rest near her pistols, but she does not draw. She gazes down at him sternly for a few more moments before she speaks. "I think not. My Lady has urgent business in Jena."

"I doubt that very much," replies the captain a he recovers a bit of courage. "We don't wish to fight with you, we just want you to hear our proposition. The Graf is very generous toward his friends."

"I'm sure. But I would hazard to guess that he does not look kindly on his servants' trespasses, and would treat very unkindly indeed with the ones who would hinder My Lady, Madame Roquentin."

[I forgot to ask an important question at the start of the encounter. The answer is written into the narrative above, but the Event follows.
Q: Are the soldiers on horses? Likely (3+): O1 C1 - No, and... not well equipped
+Event:  New NPC - close / terror]

The captain hesitates, unsure of how to react to this new information. A second soldier steps up and asks, "Does your Lady's business take you further still than Jena?"

"Not that it's any of your business," says Éliane, "but it does, in fact, continue on from there."

"Allow me to accompany you then."

"What? says the captain in disbelief.

"I'd rather leave with them than go back... there."

[Q: How do the other soldiers react? doubt / world]

"You're a fool to run off with these... foreigners."

"I'm more afraid of what might happens if I stay. Aren't you?"

"Better the devil we know..."

"You'll let me leave?"

"Have we any choice?"

"Then I throw myself on this good lady's mercy. What say you?"

"We can use another guard," says Éliane.

[What level fighter is the new NPC? 1d6: 1-3 zero, 4-5 first, 6 second; d6=2.
He'll count as a Henchman, thus receiving a half-share of loot and XP. When it comes time to roll for his Loyalty/Morale score, he'll roll 3d6+1 on the table for being "recruited" by Éliane (CHA 15).]

Level 0, male
Cha 11 Con 10 Dex 10 Int 9 Str 15 Wis 5
HP 4, AC 14 buff coat & helmet, AL: N
Origin: German peasant
Languages: German
Religion: Lutheran
Weapons: spear
Loyalty: ?

As they continue down the road, the soldier, Waldemar by name, walks beside Éliane's horse. "So," she asks him, "why did you decide to throw in your lot with us?"

"The Graf is quite mad. I fear he is pressing people into his army for some unwholesome purpose."

"Well, we're glad of your company. But I fear I must confess: we're not exactly going directly to Jena. Or mayhap at all."

"You're not...?"

"It was just the first town up the road that came to mind."


"And where we are going, well, I just really couldn't say."


"Mon chère Waldemar, how do you feel about hunting for treasure?"

2 March

The next day they run across a troupe of players. The troupe is in high spirits, having just made more money than expected when passing through a small hamlet, and invite the party to share their midday repast. Some of the children had just been picking berries off the side of the road, and are anxious to share them with their new guests.

The party spend a welcome hour in the company of performers, and are treated to a free meal and a free show. One of the jugglers likes to tell tales, and relates the legend of a terrible witch or fairy-woman who lives in the woods outside of the aptly-named Drudenwiese, and is responsible for annual disappearances in the region. He cautions the party to not wend their way towards the accursed village. The other players laugh at him and tell him not to tell such preposterous stories, but he seems a little shaken in the telling of it, and insists it's true.

[road encounter d30=11, Travelling NPC; d30=6, caravan, troupe of performers (jugglers/acrobats)
reaction: 2d6=12 (natural)! - free show

With such a good reaction, the party can pick up a rumour: Fact about Magic, 1d6=major, 2d6=ruin (-4)

The first truth die 1d6=4 (final will add +1 for reaction 10+) -- they do credit it; strange things have been seen near there]

3 March

On the following day, settlements are few and far between. They meet not a living soul on the road, which is properly only a dirt trail. They do see a body lying beside it at one point [d30 road encounter], bloated past the point of recognition, its split skin oozing and undulating with the actions of maggots. They pass it quickly lest the noisome exhalations bear a pestilence with them, but sparing nary a thought for the poor soul called to his final reward. It's just the sort of unpleasant sight one expects on the roads now-a-days.