Thursday, 31 July 2014

6 Thaumont 1000AC, Marta's Story, Part 3

I got my nose to the ground again right after breakfast. I had a hunch that Brandyleaf Mousenut was in the game. My contacts told me he was in town. To look at he was nothing. Just another barefoot, fatgut Halfling with a pipe and an eye for an extra meal. In reality he was as dangerous as red dragon guarding her egg. I knew he had offed some serious clout in Karameikos and Thyatia. Well, I was going to mix it up with him. I needed a word and this might be what I needed to get the target out into the open.

Notes: I rolled an investigation scene. It was 'Ambush a dangerous Actor'. The dice then produced an elite halfling assassin for me. Ok, I can roll with that.

Brandyleaf was laying low at a highbrow eatery on the good side of town. I spotted him immediately as I went into the main room. He was the one with enough plates of food before him to keep the entire army on the campaign trail. The empty plates beside him told a story of their own too. I needed to get near enough to add some herbs to his food but I needed a distraction first. It could not be too obvious. This guy new the business and would recognise something off immediately. Fortunately I had a plan. My herbs would do the trick. There were a couple of others in the room near the Halfling. I joined their table and ordered lunch. As I reached for the jug of water I sprinkled some herbs on the nearest guy's food. Then I waited. It did not take long after he tucked in. Suddenly he retched. I got ready. Then he sprang to his feet, falling over the bench we were sitting on. He scrambled up again clutching his hand to his mouth, retching all the time. I jumped up to avoid the rush and stumbled against the Halfling's table. I was too slow. The Halfling grabbed my arm as his other hand grabbed his knife and thrust it at me. I wriggled and dodged but he still ran a line across my ribs (-2 HPs). I managed to get my arm back and let rip with a spell. He froze, off balance and then toppled to the floor. I could see in his eyes that he wanted to murder me, but he could not move at all. I grabbed him and hightailed it out of there. I needed my quiet shack for the next bit.

Notes: Brandyleaf Mousenut (HD6, Elite Slayer). I chose this to suit his character and reputation. I made the test to put poison in his food an opposed one and he won easily. This meant that he got the drop on Marta. She broke away after being knifed and cast a Hold Person spell, which he failed very badly. So much for the Elite Slayer bit then. Bad luck can get anyone. Using spells in this part of town raised the Heat by 2.

Back at the shack I got to work on Brandyleaf. I strung him from the rafters and waited for the spell to wear off. I also cured my knife cut and swore to get some better armour next time I took on an elite assassin. After he came round, I explained his options to him. He could die here and now or he could tell me how to get into the target's home without setting off any traps or alerting the guard. If he told me right and I made it back, I would free him and let him live. He quickly told me what I wanted to know. There was no percentage in silence for him.

Notes: With 10 victory points Marta moved to the final action scene. I rolled 'Convince an Actor ally of the foe to betray them'. She succeeded easily.

That night the new bride of Eltheriem Chossum killed herself with poison after penning a note decrying the perverted and corrupt practices of her new husband. She gave the note to a messenger and sent him off to deliver it to Chossum's biggest rival in town. Looked like New Chossum would be in for a shake-up then. Brandyleaf was not in the shack when I returned. Probably best for him. I could not let him live with what he knew. I was a worried he might try something, but once I was out of town and into the forest we were on my turf. He was a townie and knew it. I'll keep an eye out for the Halfling, but I don't expect him to come after me unless there's money involved. Honour is not enough motivation for him.

Notes: So, that's Marta's story. We may see her again or we may not, as the gods will it. I'll return to Broneslav next week.

Marta
Level 3 Cleric
Hit Points 12
Herbalism 2
Streetwise 3
Long Distance Runner 1
Contacts in the Veiled Society 1
Spells: Cure Light Wounds, Detect Magic, Hold Person

Adventure
Threat: 3
Marta's Victory Points: 10
Target's Victory Points: 3
Heat: 3
Clues: 1

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

5 Thaumont 1000AC - Marta's Story, Part 2

The assassin was careless. What a schmuck! I did not even need to rough him up. A quick word in the shell-like of a guard and the assassin was in pokey facing the usual bad guard worse guard routine. The target would know I was around now. Good. They might slip up. I still needed to get them out in the open, so I needed to cause more carnage. I had a plan for that.

Notes: The action scene was 'Sabotage a tool, evidence or ally'. Marta easily passed the check.

Time for some fun. I had stashed the Elf at a brothel owned by some 'friends'. It catered to alternative tastes and I reckoned that his image would be spoilt by being found there. There was this mug called Anastasios at the Bitter Oak tavern. He hung out there like a bad smell and occasionally did a bit of looking into things or sword work. He would make a great patsy, so I let it be known that the Elf might be worth shaking down and where he could be found. I didn't have to tell Anastasios twice. You coulda heard the Elf howl on the other side of Karameikos. I reckon the target musta heard it too. Might be the target tried to off the Elf now, or maybe make the problem go away another way. I just needed to watch and wait.

Notes: I chose another action scene to use up the second clue and rolled 'pass an incriminating or disgraceful Clue to an Actor'. I decided that Marta had not killed the Elf but had chosen to use her contacts to make sure he could be found in the right place to suit her. Again she passed the check easily and the job was done.

I hung out near the Elf's pad again. I figures the target's goons would be round to check on him soon. It took a while but soon enough a squad of local toughs piled through his door. A short while later they came out again. I followed them to a Wheelwright's workshop on the seedier side of town.

Notes: The next scene was an investigation one. I rolled 'Stake out an Actor or location'. It seemed obvious that the Actor should be the Elf. Marta's dice were on fire tonight. She scored another Clue and another Victory point but the delay netted the target one more point.

Might be there was something in there worth taking or the boss might be in there. I could do this the easy way and wait for them to leave before I broke in to steal everything or I could do it my way. I chose my way. The target mighta been in there so I figured it was worthwhile. As I went through the door I saw a fat man leaving out the back. There were eight toughs between me and that door. I waded in. Two of the goons went down immediately and two more on the backswing. Then they had their swords out. I ducked under one sword and straight into two more (-2HPs) before jumping over their leader's sword. I followed this up with a jab to the throat and kick to the groin, before spinning to break the jaw of a goon. That left two. One dropped his sword and ran. The other waved his sword wildly in my direction. I disarmed him and broke his skull. I ran for the back door but the target was long gone. I was getting closer though. I bandaged my wounds (+2 HPs) and ransacked the place. I found some papers clumsily hidden there. I headed for the inn to read them. I had time for some sleep too before I moved in on the target.

Notes: With a Clue in my pocket I chose an action scene. I rolled 'Plunder resources necessary to the foe's plan'. Great. I figured that the goons would lead Marta to a hideout and she might find out more about the target. She had the option on making a check at +2 or going to a fight. I chose fight because she is a bit of an action girl. The fight went much better than the last one.

Marta
Level 3 Cleric
Hit Points 12
Herbalism 2
Streetwise 3
Long Distance Runner 1
Contacts in the Veiled Society 1
Spells: Cure Light Wounds, Detect Magic, Hold Person

Adventure
Threat: 3
Marta's Victory Points: 9
Target's Victory Points: 3
Heat: 1
Clues: 0

Gratuitous Kitten Photos for Javier

We lost one of our cats earlier this year. She was 16 and suffered liver failure. It was very sad, because she used to keep me company by sitting on the edge of my desk while I was working. Occasionally it was an obstruction because she liked to sit on my books and notes, but I did not mind.
Jasmine helping me reorganise my office
Since then our other cat has been enjoying the pleasure of being lone cat in the house. That was until we went to our local Cats Protection League shelter to get him a companion. As it happened, they had a few cats of a suitable age that would have been perfect. However, as soon as the lady at the CPL learned that we had no children she redirected us to the kittens section. She had a glut of kittens. As a result, we came home with two feral kittens. Yes, feral. Sounds about right for us. They have been with us for five weeks now and are much more domesticated but it has taken some effort on our part and a lot of bribery with food.
First day at home. We used most of those plasters after handling the kittens
Fortunately, after the first couple of weeks they started to fit in better.
Viking Verity
Then I learnt that they may not have been feral after all. It seems that they were just gamers.
Proof that my recessed gaming table can preserve board games beneath the drop leaves despite the best efforts of kittens

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

3-4 Thaumont 1000 AC - Marta's Story, Part 1

The names Marta. I'm Traladaran and proud of it. Halav was greater than any of those rotbags from Thyatia. Most times people don't call on me. I'm a hermit. I live out of the way in the woods. People only find me when they have trouble. I make it go away. That is my gods-given mission. So this guy stumbled through the woods and he needed someone to go away permanently. He was Traladaran, short and non-descript but he had a bulging purse and the gods always like a good offering, so I accepted. Cash up front, of course. It's a donation to the Church, not a fee. Gods willing, his problem will go away.

Notes: I chose rather than rolled the urban adventure plot: An antagonist seeks the assassination of a target. I decided that she would carry out the assassination herself. I have not yet decided if she is actually evil, or if her assassination is in the name of the greater good. We'll see how things develop.

So this rube stumbles up to me in the woods while I'm gathering poisons for the job. He seemed a bit tough even for a young 'un that was newly sheared. His clothes spoke money but his sword and the blood on the hem of his cloak spoke danger. Said his name was Broneslav. Fortunately he was heading north and I was heading only part of his way. I figures that the target would have protection. This guy looked handy so I went along with him part way. I was tempted to try dragging him along the rest of the way but decided not to. Something told me he had a conscience. Can't be doing with that.

I got to New Chossum. It was another fleapit town with muddy streets full of detritus. Some of the detritus was human. My first job was to find where the target was.

Notes: Investigation Scene (Bribe an actor to give you a clue). This results in a conflict scene. Marta had to outmanoeuvre a local official who had been bribed by the contact.

I'd heard that Crazy Maximilian at the Red Leaf Tavern might have some gen on the mark. He spotted me the moment I walked through the door. He put down the filthy rag he had been smearing the dirt on the bartop with and planted both fists in the smeared dirt.

"What you after?"
"I'm looking for someone."
"Same old, same old then, eh? Right, here's how it's gonna go down. I been gettin' problems with the Reeve. You gotta fix that for me and I'll clue you in. Deal?"

I decided it would be easier than whaling the tar outta Max and went off to the Reeve's office. So, the official was playin' hardball. I tried to deal. I tried threats. Seems he had the backing of some of the bigger cheeses and was not going to play ball. I backed out before it got really nasty. I was going to have to try a different tack.

Notes: Miserable failure on the task check so the target gains 1 VP as Marta fails the scene.

This was going to take longer than I liked. These fleapit cities stink. Give me the forest any day. Anyway, I decided to nose around a bit. Over in the market I found a guard willing to talk. Well, it was only midday and his tongue had already been loosened by the slop they call ale round here. He was staggering around the market a bit much and I offered him support. I supported the goon right into an alley and worked him over a bit until he gave up a name. This was going to be tricky. Turns out this Elf, Fillindyl, had a little love nest over on the north side. I needed to have a word. The compound was guarded too well so I had to wait until dark. The evening wore on and eventually he came out. He had his posse with him. He looked confident with the sabre at his side. The mooks with him looked like run of the mill thugs. They never saw me as they passed, so I took the opportunity the gods had given me . Seems it was the gods of poor luck watching me tonight. I knocked one of the mooks on the back of the head and then slipped in the freezing mud. They looked like someone socked them in the kisser the way their jaws hit the floor. I guess they weren't expecting me. I followed up with a blow to the head of one mook that should have felled him but he just looked stupidly at me. I tried again and he went down. Then they decided to get their groove on. My ribs and head took a hammering. Then I got it together and crushed the skulls of two more mooks before they bloodied my face up some. Two of the goons ran for it. I let them go and pounded on their boss. A blow to the gut had him calling for Hughie. The other goon tried to stand his ground and cracked my arm in a way I took unkindly to. I returned the favour and broke his nose. Suddenly it was quiet but for the groaning of the wounded. I grabbed this Fillindyl. I'd already found an empty shack earlier. I carried him there and dumped him like the sack of garbage he was. Then I bound my wounds. A bucket of stinking water woke him up enough to talk. He thought he was a tough guy. I showed him that he did not know the meaning of the word. He sang like a canary in the end.

Notes: I diced up 7 Thugs and 1 Veteran for this fight. Marta had nothing but miserable failures to hit or do damage at the start of the fight but managed to ride out the 9 damage she suffered long enough for half the thugs to run and to take out the rest of the group. She healed 2 damage straight after the fight and gained 1 Clue and 1 VP as a result of this action. I increased the Heat by 1 because Fillindyl is a relatively important cog in this town.

I disposed of the Elf and cleaned myself up. Then I headed back to my inn. I needed a day in bed to get back on form before I did a bit more snooping around. I had the name of a local assassin. I figured to rough him up and make the target look bad. That would help get them out in the open.

Notes: With a full day's rest and her healing skills Marta regained all her hit points at the cost of ceding some advantage to her target who gained 1 VP. Her next scene will be an Action scene using 1 Clue up.

In all of these scenes I am using the rules more as inspiration than anything else. I have in mind a pulp, gumshoe style adventure and I am letting the theme develop the story based on what I am rolling.

Marta
Level 3 Cleric
Hit Points 12
Herbalism 2
Streetwise 3
Other traits to be decided still
Spells: Cure Light Wounds, Detect Magic, Hold Person

Adventure
Threat: 3
Marta's Victory Points: 2
Target's Victory Points: 2
Heat: 1
Clues: 2

Sunday, 27 July 2014

3-6 Thaumont 1000AC - Rechyndyr to Threshold

The day was cold, but the journey to Rifflian went without incident. Broneslav was keen to get there because it had been several days since he had enjoyed the comforts of a town. He planned to splurge on ale and a good bed for the night, before setting off the next day towards Verge, which he hoped to reach late the following day.

The 4th was a freezing morning and Broneslav was not amused at having to break the ice on the water bucket to wash his face that morning. He was soon on his way and feeling warmer from the exercise. Like the day before, he encountered no trouble and the rest of his journey to Threshold passed in similar fashion with little to remark on apart from the sheer dinginess and squalor of the inn at the eastern entrance to the mountain pass on the Threshold road.

Broneslav was pleased to reach Threshold by lunchtime on the 6th. To celebrate he took the rest of the day off and splurged on food, a bath and expensive wine. He would deliver the message on the morrow and look for paid work to fill his rapidly depleting purse.

Meanwhile, in New Chossum ...

Notes: No encounters at all heading north. The map is untidy around the edges because I have been fiddling with adding in detail and have realised that my original efforts do not accord with various other maps I have. In the end this will be my version of Karameikos, but I would like it to be relatively close to the various other versions available online and especially with the smaller scale maps printed in the gazetteers and D&D Cyclopaedia. You can view various maps I have used as inspiration at the Vaults of Pandius.

The lack of encounters led me to dice up a few things to do with Marta. Her adventures will be documented in the next few posts as I run her through a solo urban adventure using the rules in Scarlet Heroes.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

2 Thaumont 1000AC - Midwood to Rechyndyr

The morning dawned clear and cloudless with only a slight chill in the air as Broneslav left Midwood and turned his feet northwards. The day should see him easily reach Rechyndyr before nightfall which meant the prospect of a good meal and some entertainment before bed. He relished the prospect. Midwood, as its name implied was a small village in a clearing in the woods. The woods here were not as dense as the woods to the north-west where the Callarii Elves claimed their homes. They were easily cleared as the fields around Midwood showed but still provided plenty of timber for charcoal and construction. Broneslav followed the road through the shade of the trees.

About mid-morning he saw a creature ahead. He could not easily make it out in the dappled shade of the trees, so he strung his bow and sneaked forward. The creature did not move as he approached. Once he got a clear view of it, he realised it was a horse. It was still wearing its tack and was tied to a tree. Investigating further Broneslav spotted a shoe print in the mud near the horse, then a trail of them leading into the forest. Cautiously he followed the trail. The rain of the previous day ensured that the forest floor was muddy and that the trail was easy to follow. He could also be certain that the trail was fresh because the shoe prints were not clear and had not been washed away by the rain. A short while later Broneslav came upon a rather smelly and dirty woman grubbing in the dirt near the base of a tree. She did not appear to be a threat, so Broneslav returned his arrow to its quiver and stopped a short distance from her as was polite. He coughed.

Notes: I rolled a random encounter with a riding horse. Asking myself why it was there, I rolled the adventure encounter The Dubious Hermit and added a hermit of some description to the encounter. I then rolled her class and race (Level 3 Human Traladaran Cleric) and her attitude towards Broneslav. This was neutral but willing to parlay. Broneslav is not the type to hit first and ask questions later, so he approached the hermit peacefully. The hermit responded well. Dicing for what she was doing I got a result of looking for something. I decided to make it a plant that could be used for medicinal purposes. I don't know why she is looking for it yet, or what she plans to do with it. I'll probably bring that back in at a later date if it seems right.

"Hello," the woman said looking up smiling. Although dirty, she was quite well-dressed and had crows' feet at the corners of her eyes indicating that she smiled a lot. Her brown eyes twinkled.
"I've been digging for Pennyroot. I think I have enough now too."
She stashed the roots in a pouch on her belt.
"Which way are you heading?"
"Northwards," replied Broneslav and introduced himself.
"I'm Marta. I'm heading to New Chossum. Perhaps we could travel together. My horse is just over by the road."
Broneslav agreed to travel with her so they set off back on the road together. The rest of the journey was uneventful and Marta left on the side road to New Chossum shortly before midday. Broneslav reached Rechyndyr in the early evening and settled in for a relaxing night.

Broneslav's Journey Day 2
NPC: Marta (Human Cleric, L3, Herbalist 2, other traits undecided yet.12 hit points. Attack Bonus +2, Fray die 1d6. Staff (1d6) and leather armour (AC 7)).

Sunday, 20 July 2014

1 Thaumont 1000AC - The Shearing Ceremony

1 Thaumont 1000AC
Broneslav Torenescu was not impressed to be told to take a message to Threshold in the far northern wilderness. He was a keen hunter so one might have thought that the wilderness would be his choice of habitat but he preferred to hunt closer to home. That way he could sit by the fire drinking ale and telling tall tales in the evening after a day out. He was not happy that the journey would take him so far from that fire or from the lovely Milka, she of the white flesh and rose red lips. But, as a younger cousin of the Torenescu clan he had little choice in the matter. When the Old Man spoke everyone had to listen and obey or the gold Royals would cease to flow in your direction. In this case he had been shamed into asking for the Shearing Ceremony and the Old Man had taken advantage.

His parents had been hinting for some time that he should ask for Shearing but he had resisted until Milka started to ask if he were a man or a boy. That decided it. Shortly after that he stood in the courtyard of the family home while his father cut a ragged strip from the bottom of his cloak. The family all cheered, patted his back and wished him luck. Various family members pressed packages of food into his hands as he was ushered to the gates of the villa. His father handed him a sealed packet, "Take this to our factor in Threshold. The Old Man has asked this of you and suggests that you may best prove yourself in that wilderness there. You would be wise to heed him."

As the gates swung open, Broneslav saw the rain ahead of him as a token of his near future. He trudged out into the street and headed towards the north gate of Specularum. Footsteps pattering in the mud behind him caused him to turn. It was Milka. She pressed a kiss onto his lips and said, "Don't take too long to prove yourself. I'll wait for you but I can be impatient, you know." With that she turned and fled to the cover of the villa once more. The gates closed again and Broneslav was left alone with his thoughts and the prospect of a long journey ahead of him. It was early morning so he had a full day's march to come. Time to head for the Duke's Road. With any luck he would get to the ruins of Krakatos for an early lunch and to visit the shrine of Petra. Then he would press on and overnight at the village of Midwood. It was tempting to stop for the night in Krakatos, but he really wanted to get the journey over as quickly as possible. Then possibly he could start making his reputation as the Shearing Ceremony demanded.

The road to Krakatos was not busy but Broneslav passed several travellers heading southwards and a few heading north. It was mid-morning when he first caught sight of the walls of Krakatos in the distance. Unfortunately, it was also mid-morning when a group of bandits decided that he looked like he might be worth robbing. The hedges of the fields beside the road provided sufficient cover for them to hide behind and choose their prey while remaining unspotted. Sadly for Broneslav his keen eyesight was not as good as the bandits' skill at hiding and he was among them before he even knew they were there. Broneslav found himself facing 5 men armed with swords and spears.

I made an opposed test to see if Broneslav spotted the lurking bandits. He lost miserably so they ambushed him. Being bandits I assumed that they would prefer not to fight and would rely on intimidation so they lost the ambush advantage and it went straight to a combat round.

"Hand over all your stuff and no-one needs to get hurt!" ordered the head bandit with an ugly sneer on his face, "You're outnumbered and don't stand a chance, so save yourself some pain."

Broneslav's hand leapt to his sword hilt but three of the bandits were quicker. He ducked under the blow of one bandit, leapt over the sword of the second and landed straight in the path of the spear of the third which scored a bloody line across his leg. Then his sword was out and he slashed across gut of a fat and slow bandit. The man's legs folded under him and his intestines poured out of the hole Broneslav had made (4 damage!). Continuing the slash, Broneslav spun and took the head off the next bandit with a rising blow, slashed downwards cutting a diagonal line from shoulder to waist of the third and sliced the leg off the fourth with a blow to the knee. Then he backhanded the final bandit in the face with the hilt of his sword breaking the man's nose and crushing his face. In just a few seconds all five bandits were dead. Broneslav wiped his sword on the clothes of the cleanest bandit and bound up his wound. Then he sheathed his sword and continued on his way.

Notes: So, wow, that combat was quick and brutal. It lasted one round thanks to the massive amount of damage that Broneslav rolled for his sword attack. He does 1d8+3 damage with his sword but damage points are not read as they would be in other games. Instead, a 1 is 0 damage, 2-5 is 1 damage, and so on. He rolled 10 and got 4 damage. Unlike other games, the monsters can take an amount of damage equal to their hit dice. The bandits are 1 hit die each and so can take 1 damage each. In Scarlet Heroes damage carries over, so you can kill more than one creature each round, thus with 4 damage Broneslav was able to kill four 1hd bandits. The second attack was his Fray Die, which is a die that a hero may roll each round they are in combat with enemies of equal or lower level. It does damage in the same way as the ordinary attack. This is one way that the system balances out the normal monster numbers against a single hero. Broneslav took 1 damage in the fight, which he was able to heal by bandaging his wounds. He can bandage up to 2 hit points of fresh damage per fight.

The rest of the day was peaceful as he passed only farmers and traders along the way. Lunch at Krakatos was a little watery and disappointing as the rain continued to fall, but his visit to the shrine of the Warrior Princess Petra bolstered him for the rest of the journey. Shortly after he left a small offering of food at the shrine the rain let up and Broneslav was able to make good time for the rest of the day, reaching Midwood early in the evening. Fortified by a good meal he retired early to bed. It would be another busy day tomorrow.

Broneslav's journey. Day 1
Note on the map
Broneslav is not on an island. The map only shows his route for this first part of the journey. I had filled in much of the rest of the area shown on this map, but CC3 crashed and reverted to this version instead of the newest version I had saved, so I have decided to use it rather than spend ages filling in the details again. I am a tad irked by this, but shall continue to fill in the details as Broneslav travels further. In this way I hope to have a 1 hex = 1 mile map of Karameikos in the end.

Character
Broneslav Torenescu (S16, D14, C15, I12, W10, Ch14, F1, hp9, AC4, Sword 1d8+3, Bow 1d8)
Human (Traladaran)
XPs: 50
Traits: Torenescu Family Member 1, Hunter 1, Keen Vision 1, Good Education 1, Empathy with Animals 1
Goal: Prove that he is an adult following the Shearing Ceremony
Quest: Deliver a message to the Torenescu factor in Threshold