Classic Fantasy (Against the Darkmaster) - Search for the Orb of Silver Dawn
#1
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My other stories/games: (Jodi's Story - Zombie Apocalypse | The Oracle - Military Sci-Fi | Shadow of the Demon - 5e D&D | Crown Jewel - Wargame | Trailing Kyle Rahn - Mythic Starwars | Eilwen's Tale - Ironsworn)


Time to start a new solo RPG thread using the amazing Against the Darkmaster RPG! 

First some background: My RP gaming days started as a teen in the mid 80s where I was introduced to MERP (Iron Crown Enterprise's Middle Earth Roleplaying). 

[Image: pic535150.jpg]
(Image from rpggeek.com)

DnD, when I grew up, was anathema, and it was viewed nearly akin to devil worship. But a game built around the noble works of Tolkien? My mom was okay with that, and my happy days of adventuring began. From there, we went to Rolemaster, and then GURPS, then branching out into various other games. But it all started with MERP, and so that system has a fond spot in my heart. 

Fast forward to just a couple of months ago and I discovered Against the Darkmaster while watching "Me, Myself, and Die" on YouTube. After checking out the hefty Quick Start guide, I promptly ordered the even more hefty Core book.

Here's a pic of my Core book copy:
[Image: VsD.png]

-- What I Like About the System --
  • It's not DnD. Don't get me wrong, I love 5e a ton, but there's something about this game... A gritty type of realism. With its open-ended system, even orcs can be dangerous... Smile
  • You play a hero. Not a mere adventurer, but a hero!
  • Your role is clear, you are...against the Darkmaster and are meant to be heroic.
  • It's setting neutral and will work in any setting that has a solid Darkmaster feel. The rules draw inspiration from these books/series: Lord of the Rings, The Black Cauldron, The Wheel of Time, the Sword of Shannara, Dragonlance, etc. 
  • Magic has a more subtle feel than DnD.
  • PC death is a real possibility even from low-level monsters. This is because combat is brutally dangerous and should be avoided when possible.
  • Combat is different. There are no initiative rolls... Actions are declared and combat is largely simultaneous with longer reach weapons hitting first.
  • It has that old school feel with dozens and dozens of charts, weapons, armor types, hundreds of spells... etc
  • Character creation is varied. And by mixing together different Kins, Cultures, and Vocations and various Background options along with your character's Passions (the things that motivate them), you can create a variety of unique and interesting characters.
  • Many optional rules are available to to make the game your own.
  • Hugely, the black and white art in the book is old school and AMAZING!
  • Finally, from its mechanics, the art, and the setting options, the game lovingly plays homage to its MERP roots.

Check it out here:
https://www.vsdarkmaster.com/

--- How I'll Run It ---
Because combat can be so brutal, without a party, a single PC may not survive long. The game is meant to be played as a fellowship of heroes who set out to fight against the Darkmaster and its minions. I will start out with a single PC. I'll make some minor adjustments to the rules to facilitate a single character. I'll add NPC helpers and possibly a full party as the fiction dictates. At some point, I may switch to using the Fantasy Grounds ruleset to do the heavy lifting for combat.

--- The Setting ---
I'll do a homebrew setting that will come about organically during play and from character notes and passions.
Sometimes all you need is a random world map. And lo and behold, here's a good one, I think. Smile 
[Image: ddln1er-b5681a87-d07e-4f5f-9566-a5d27642...8UV8K3klD0]
(Map creator is enanoakd. This link gives you a closer view: deviantart.com)
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#2
Episode 1
And away we go! We start in media res with our first PC, Arnstein Armstrong.

Arnstein stood atop a summit in the Sorrowhills as he looked down on the Silver Bay far in the distance. Gray clouds scudded overhead, and the bay didn’t gleam silver as told in the tales of song, so much as it looked like an old worn steel plate.

Behind him, the Serpent Spine mountains drove deep roots into the earth, their faces heavy with snow and their peaks indistinct from the perpetual white clouds this time of year. Thankfully, further south in the Sorrowhills he had left the snow behind, but the storm clouds in the early spring that loomed behind him threatened more wind and rain.

He pulled his gray cloak about him. A lullaby was all he had to go on, but it was his only hope to find Lady Maerwen.

The trail of her captors had grown stale long ago and so he sought after more esoteric means of finding her...

“A lullaby...” he muttered. Was he down to chasing lullabies? Still the scholars he met in Flamefall seemed to suggest that there was some truth to the rhyme:

Silvermoon Silvermoon
Thou art fallen
Fallen from on high
Silvermoon Silvermoon
Thou art calling
Calling me nigh
Silvermoon Silvermoon
Thy tune both fair and fey
Calls to me,
Ever calls to me
And I must away
To Silvermoon bay

“Just an old rhyme,” others had said.

The song he had heard as an infant, sung by his mother. His memory of her face was hazy but he remembered her sharp pain in her twisted face when she fell atop his bed, bleeding out her last. Protecting her son with her own body.

Much more clear and recent were the memories of his dwarven caretakers. They had raised him with the strength of the mountains in his arms.

He fingered the medallion about his neck, it bore an emblem of an eagle in flight and he thought of his human heritage.

His was the race of High Men, long lived, noble and stalwart. His ancestors had claimed the lands from Eaglepoint on the west to the Teal River on the east. But something had hunted his family, had hunted and hated his bloodline with a savage fury and had nearly wiped them off the face of the land. The Dwarves who raised him had told him little, only that a dark force moved upon the land, and it was better to remain safe and hidden behind mountains of stone, better not to seek after such things. But he could not ignore the stirrings of his own blood.

“Who are you who hunts me?” he whispered to the wind in challenge. But the wind didn’t answer though it did seem to tug at his cloak a little harder.

“I will not ever remain hidden,” he continued. “Someday, we shall see face to face. Then we shall see who is master. Someday the lands of my fathers and my fathers before them shall be reclaimed.”

The wind whipped his long hair back from his noble features and he tucked away his medallion under his chain shirt and scratched his chin. After two-weeks in the wild, he was in need of a shave... and a bath.

Is he following tracks of something?
(50/50 | 7[d10]) Yes

He takes his time and studies the tracks.
His Hunting skill stinks --
5 + 20 for taking time  + the roll of
55 = 55[d100]

= 80
But taking time helps.


He bent and fingered the tracks again. He saw the paw marks in the earth two days ago and they led this way. His huge war mattock hung on his back over his chain shirt and a smaller one-handed battle axe hung at his belt, gifts of his Dwarven upbringing, but he hardly noticed their weight.

He had worked long and hard at the forge pounding out the iron and honing the edges and points until they gleamed in the lantern light. More than smithing,  though, he had learned how to use these tools of warefare and such long tutelage had developed the large muscles in his arms and chest.

His eyes followed the trail again. He was more methodical than keen-eyed, and when he lost the trail, he simply walked back and forth in a criss-cross pattern until he found it again. Methodical and slow...

‘Twas but a single wolf, but it wasn’t until now that he saw that the depressions in the earth bore witness that either it was a larger, heavier variety, or...perhaps it bore some burden. A rider?

Instantly alert, he pulled the war mattock off his back and felt the firm wood under calloused hands just as the first smatterings of rain pelted cold and hard onto the already wet earth about him.

Is he traveling alone?
(Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

Does the wolf / rider attack?
(Unlikely | 6[d10]) No, but...

He heard a crackling of brush and spun. He caught a glimpse of the animal as it loped away, disappearing into the trees behind him as the rain came down now a dense sheet.

Does it have a rider?
(Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

He had caught sight of a creature on its back. Small, ashen skin, pointed teeth, yellow eyes that gleamed with ill intent. It was of the same race as those who took Maerwen that ill-fated night two moons hence.

“Maerwen...” he groaned and pounded one fist on his thigh. But he needed shelter and food.  His stores had run out this morning, and he would not be able to catch a wolf that didn’t want to be caught.

As he sought for a place to rest, he thought of the rider. Its presence both worried and heartened him. That such was found here, this close to civilized lands bothered him. But that it might shed light on the whereabouts of his lost lady Maerwen, his heart fairly leaped to charge after the creature.

What has he heard of such creatures?
Songs and Tales 15 + roll
88 = 88[d100]
= 103

“Redcap,” he muttered. He remembered hearing tales how they rarely attacked alone and were fond of surprises and ambushes, and cunning enough to craft snares and traps. He glanced about, anxious there might be more, but no... he was alone.

Earlier, when he looked, did he see any dwellings or shelters down by the bay?
(Somewhat Likely | 7[d10]) Yes
But the distance on the map is 100km. That’s like 60 miles. From where he is in the mountains, that’s probably a three days journey for him to get there. So that’s not an option for today.

He watched until he didn’t see any more motion and then turned east, down towards Silver Bay, slipping and sliding along the muddy trail in search of shelter.

Wandering 5 + 20 for taking time + roll
48 = 48[d100]

He tried to be methodical, but the sheets of rain and the encroaching darkness didn’t help this time. Before long, he slipped down a muddy incline and found himself in a gully. Rivulets of water rushed down around him in the slimy mud. In the distance, he heard the snapping of branches, and saw a churning mass of water rush towards him.

He tried to pull himself up the embankment, grasping at gnarled roots and sharp rocks for any kind of purchase.

Athletics 80 + roll
20 = 20[d100]

100 right on the money.

Mud sucking at his boots and legs, he heaved himself out of the gully before the wall of water careened down the small ravine, smashing through where he had just been, in a muddy roil of ruin.

He sat under a tree, for a moment, cold and bedraggled from cold mud and water. He hugged himself and tried to puzzle out what to do. He was no woodsman. While he didn’t fear the woods, like his Dwarven caretakers did, he had been raised with stone for a roof above him

“Stone for a roof,” he mused and pulled himself to his feet.

He traversed parallel to the gully, watching and hearing how the water moved for some indication of an overhang that offered shelter.

Perception
20 + 20 taking time + 39[d100]
= 79
Partial Success

He found a stone overhang that the water careened off of and carefully made his way to it. Soaking wet, he huddled there for a moment and felt the wind cold and brisk.

Is there a cave?
(Somewhat Unlikely | 9[d10]) Yes

In the darkness, he could only make out that he was in fact sitting near a larger depression in the earth. He felt with his arm and the wall disappeared entirely and he only felt air.

Does he see light?
(Unlikely | 1[d10]) No, and...

He needed light but the wind was cutting through the overhang sending in a misty spray that would make any firework untenable.

He moved on hands and knees, carefully feeling about. Then he dangled himself over the ledge, holding onto a boulder and let his legs fall.

Do his feet touch the ground?
(Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

The drop to the interior ledge or floor was small, only a few feet.  He moved down and was now sheltered from any moisture, and the rock felt cool and dry.

He felt around for a bit.

Is it larger than just a ledge?
(50/50 | 2[d10]) No

Frowning, and not wishing to press his luck further, he settled in for the night on the ledge. He carefully took off his heavy chain shirt and wet jerkin and draped them over the ledge. Then he huddled there against the cold rock and thought of the many a warm meal he had had of roasted venison in the company of his hearty shorter companions.

Though he had been raised with the dwarves, the last ten years he had been traveling on the surface. And the last two years had been the sweetest and the darkest. He had met Lady Maerwen, Princess and daughter of King Alda, King of the Seven Towers.

Was King Alda happy about it?
Unlikely. I mean, I have a daughter, and I know what some guys are like...
(Unlikely | 1[d10]) No, and...

King Alda forbade their union, considering him what was it? Ah yes, a “stray dog raised by Dwarves” were his words.

Arnstein had left, not wanting to be the reason for a rift between daughter and sire.

But Maerwen was headstrong. Headstrong and lovely and...those eyes. He smiled and leaned his head against the rock at the memory of her kiss.

He tossed a pebble into the imagined vastness and heard it clink far below.

He was no lovesick lad, but a man full grown by many years. But still... He clenched his fist. He would see her rescued!

Princess Maerwen, in defiance of propriety and out of love for him, had defied her father’s commands, and caught up with him ‘ere he left, finding him down at a common roadside inn some twenty leagues from the Palace of Silks at Qolis.

She was taken. Who took her?
Pirates?
(50/50 | 6[d10]) Yes, but...

Pirates hit the coast that night. They tore apart the place, killing and maiming with abandon.
He fought valiantly to get to her. He killed six men and the floorboards were slippery with their blood when the last of them fell. But she was gone by then. The pirate grinned in a toothy raved smile and babbled about “The Lord of Night comes. He comes!” but what chilled Arnstein most was, “And he seeks a bride of this mortal realm.”

He took a sip of water. King Alda, his fury unmatched, had blamed Arnstein for his daughter’s loss and had nearly slain him on the spot. But Arnstein had been saved by the witnesses of those about him who had seen his desperate attempts to save the princess.

“Give me one reason why I shouldn’t gut you like the dog you are?” Alda had spat.

“Because I will find her,” he had vowed to King Alda then. “By the grave of my father and fathers father before him and the lands I hold dear, I will find your daughter!”

It was perhaps not the finest speech, but he was sincere, and it was at least sufficient to spare his life.

And thus Arnstein was banned from the Kingdom of the Seven Towers, the gem of The Burnt Lands, on penalty of death, save in the company of the King’s daughter, Maerwen.

He has plenty of water, but no food at the moment.

Starvation rules
TSR save vs 2x number of days (so 1)  not eating. That’s a SR of 60.
He has a 40 1d100
16 = 16[d100]
I’m going to spend a Drive point to bump that up by 10 and reroll. He was 1 Drive left. Solo players start at 2 Drive -- house rules! Smile

50 + roll
99 = 99[d100]
95 = 95[d100]
And open ended to boot.
244

He’s still “Weary” but suffers no negative yet.

He shook away the dark thoughts. The pirates had fled but where no one knew and so, he sought for the orb. The orb that could reveal secrets.

The night passed miserably, the cold rock, his shivering skin, the hard bed, it all made for a rather interminable night. Eventually he dried out and dozed off to the rushing water. Minutes and seconds eventually heaped upon one another to slowly move hour atop hour until the light of dawn came.

The next day cramped and sore, Arnstein donned his now-dry clothes and armor and continued his travels.

Weather? I rolled something here and reveal narratively http://chaoticshiny.com/forecastgen.php

Is he being hunted? (because of who he is, it’s likely)
(Likely | 8[d10]) Yes

Do they pick up his tracks?
Hunting 5 + 1d100 sight
+10 wolf help
97 = 97[d100]
23 = 23[d100]

Open ended...
135
Uh oh.

The storm had passed and a scattering of clouds remained. It felt good to feel the sunlight on his face.

He decided to head directly for the bay. His waterskins were full, and surely he could go a few days without food. And at the bay, would there not be fishermen and fish?

As so, he headed east, down the rocky trail moderate gusts of wind buffeted him now and then, but he made good time and felt heartened despite the rumblings of his stomach.

About noon, as he descended, towards the valley floor the terrain changed to one of ledges dotted with pines and conifers and boulders. The warm pine scent made him smile and he imagined a platter of hot venison.

The trail drove steeply down in numerous switchbacks, surrounded by ledges and cliffs.

Wolf Stealth 30 +
60 = 60[d100]
= 90 - 10 for rocky terrain= 80

vs
Perception 20 +
67 = 67[d100]
87

Yay, he’s not surprised

Hearing the bare scraping of rock on slate, he turned and saw a wolf skid to a halt on a ledge some fifteen above him, sending a spray of pebbles and gritty sand out from under its paws. Its knobby ashen-skinned rider barred its teeth in tandem with the wolf. Then the rider used its legs to guide its mount. It pulled out a shortbow and fitted an arrow. The wolf snarled and barked, anxious for a bite of flesh. In the distance, the howling of another wolf far away, but drawing nearer, distance.

Not one for subtlety, Arnstein yelled a battlecry and leaped into action, heaving himself up the near-sheer rocky incline.

Athletics 80+-35 armor penalty + 20 armor skill = +65 + roll
47 = 47[d100]

In a heroic leap, he bounded and clawed himself up the side of the cliff and swung over the top of the ledge.

He swung over the edge and rolled to his feet just as the wolf lunged at him.

Wolf bite +70 + 20 for higher ground = +90 + roll
15 = 15[d100]

Arnstein got very lucky on that roll.
105 - 25 defense = 80 vs medium armor on the Beast Attack Table
4 hits (now 116/120)

He rushed the creature, gripping its hair in his strong grip, the smell of wolf thick in his nostrils, its maw snapping against his chain shirt.

Conflicting Action - Brawl
Arnstein - 70 + 75 = 75[d100]
Wolf - 50 + 10 redcap help + 34 = 34[d100]

Apparently there’s a ranged phase B here that I missed, but he was flying through the air, I don’t think he could have shot anyway.

Then with a mighty heave, he hurled both wolf and rider off the ledge. They spun about, separated, and hit the rocks below.

Fall for 5m means we can only get 90 max on the attack table.
5x5 = 25 is the CMB:

For redcap:
25+30 = 30[d100] = 55
2 hits weee.

For wolf:
25+40 = 40[d100]= 65
5 hits weee.

Well...that was anticlimactic. I was hoping to stun one of them to even the score.

They hit in a tumble of dust and rock and a canine whine. With mild scrapes, and appearing only somewhat dazed, they regained their feet.

The redcap ran for its bow and scattered arrows and began to fit one to the string. The wolf held back, guarding its master, snarling up at Arnstein.

Arnstein tore his axe off his belt and then leaped from the ledge with a cry. He swung his axe with both hands as he hit.

Declaration phase is done.

Movement.
Redcap darts to his fallen bow and sets an arrow from off the ground.

Wolf interposes itself between Arnstein and Redcap.

Arnstein leaps off the ledge, his battle axe raised high. I’ll do Arnsteins attack first since it’s at the same time as he hits the ground, and because of higher ground he has the longer weapon, it’ll happen first and then hitting the ground, is his Athletics to see if he messed up his legs at all. They seemed to handle a fifteen foot height jump, so it shouldn’t be too bad.

Half action to draw weapon -20, +100 skill, +20 height advantage as he comes slamming down.
100 + roll 94 = 94[d100]
Minus 30 def
164 Edged against NA. (The highest he can get with this weapon type is 150.)
30 hits and a Lethal crit.
Wolf 70/110 HPs
Wow... he rolled an 8. Wha wha wha whaaaa
58 = 8[d100]+50
Minor forearm (foreleg) cut. +4 Damage, 1 Bleed, and Stunned.

Nope. Spending my second Drive point to reroll that! The lethality drops to Grievous.
Great... even worse.
43 = 13[d100]+30
Minor chest wound. +3 Damage, 1 Bleed, -5 to all actions.


99 = 34[d100]+65
Athletics check for leaping off ledge.
Partial success. He succeeds but with a complication. He sprained his ankle. Don’t know what that would give. Maybe  -2 meters to his move until end of combat?
Sure, we’ll go with that.

Next round:
Wolf Bleed 1
69/110

Declaration
The redcap, backpedals dangerously close to another ledge that has a 100m drop (buhahah), and raises the bow to shoot as the wolf leaps to attack Arnstein.

Arnstein will reserve 50 to block the wolf’s attack and will use his remaining 50 to drop the wolf. Hopefully he can avoid getting skewered from the arrow.

Movement Phase

The redcap backpedaled dangerously close to a sheer cliff drop of at least three hundred feet.

Ranged phase A
Whoosh. 122 = 87[d100]+35
Minus 25 for Def = 97
8 Sup (108/120)
1 = 1[d100]
Hah. He rolled a 1 on the critical table! No extra damage.


He raised his bow and shot, the arrow drew blood, but it wasn’t a deep wound.

Melee phase
Arnstein drove his axe down onto the wolf.
22 = 2[d100]-30+50
He rolled a 2. That’s a fumble my friend. Yee haw. Go hero!
98 = 88[d100]+10

But the pain and shock from the arrow caused Arnstein to slip his grip, and he sliced himself on his own blade.

Superficial cut critical
77 = 77[d100]

Slice through side. If the target's wearing armor: +5 Damage, Stunned.

The wolf attacked next. With all the modifiers for defense and the wolf’s negative and his parry, the attack is
70 = 80[d100]-10
3 hits

Next round.
Arnstein tried to blink away pain from the cut that bit deep into his side.

The Redcap loaded another arrow and grinned wickedly, drawing back the bow.

The wolf leaped at Arnstein who still blinked away tears of pain.

Arnstein will use as much as he can, half his full 100 CMB, so 50 to block the wolf’s attack. Not much he can do about the arrow. Will have to trust to fate.

Bite 70+20 for target being stunned -5 for wolf’s minor wound. = 85 - 50 parry = 35-25 Def = 10 + roll 94 = 94[d100]

Wow... almost open ended. 94 + 10 = 104 vs medium armor
9 Sup Arnstein is now at 91/120
+3 Damage. If the target's not wearing leg protection, the blow lunges deeper: 3 Bleed.

Yeah, I need to get some greaves.
It’s on my todo list.

Now the arrow from the redcap goes off.
+35 - 25 def + 20 stunned = 30 + roll
62 = 62[d100]
= 92 on pierce (-20 for loading that round) so only 72. (Whew 0 hits)

Its fangs tore into his thigh muscle before he could kick the animal away. He felt the warm blood from his wound. Then another arrow glanced off his chain shirt.

Yay. He’s no longer stunned.
Action declaration.
The small figure grinned as it picked up another arrow and set it to its string then drew to his ear. This time it held its attack, aiming.

The wolf leaped at Arnstein’s neck. Arnstein tried to knock the slavering muzzle aside (parry of 40) and then he rushed at the Redcap, his axe raised.

Wolf attack of 70-60 = 25 with combined defenses.

96 = 96[d100]
96 = 96[d100]
45 = 45[d100]

Not good. Wolfie open ended twice!
For a total of 262.
Thankfully the max a medium animal can give is 120 on a bite. 14 hits and a Light critical.
78 = 68[d100]+10

Direct shot the chest. If the target's unarmored, the strike pierces deep: +8 Damage, 4 Bleed, and Stunned. If the target's wearing armor: +4 Damage and 2 Bleed.

Thank goodness for armor. At least he’s not stunned, amazingly enough, and with no negatives. His blood loss is a real concern though. Arnstein is at 70/120 and is bleeding 5 per turn.

I’m not sure if the wolf was able to go first, but since he’s running past him and engaging the redcap, narratively it seemed appropriate.

His axe raised, he brought it down on the Redcap.

He defended 40 so he only has a 60 for his attack.

60+roll
59 = 59[d100]
120 minus def of 25 = 95
11 and a light
37 = 27[d100]+10
Minor chest wound. +3 Damage, 1 Bleed, -5 to all actions.

Our hero is rolling very poorly.

The redcap sprang to the side with a minor gash along his breastbone and the arrow clattered to the ground.

Next round.
Declaration: It’ll quick draw and fire this turn during missile phase B. The wolf will leap at Arnstein. Arnstein will parry 50 on the wolf and then use his brawl skill to knock down (ie knock back) the Recap sending him over the edge.

Arnstein’s Brawl -50 = +20
+20 - 25 = -5
54 = 59[d100]-5

Redcap +10
43 = 33[d100]+10

Knockdown...and narratively back too I think since they’re close to the edge.

The Redcap tumbled back, screaming to his death to crash on the rock below.

I won’t bother rolling that. Okay maybe I will, just to figure out how much one takes on a 100m fall. Every meter is +5 CMB.
So +500 + roll 90 = 90[d100]
590 + 30 (just to be technically accurate). 620 on the table. Overkill. Top of the chart is 42 damage and Lethal crit
The hit points kill it, so no reason to roll on crit table.

Wolf attacks
70-5-50 (parry) - 25 (def) = -10 + roll
90 = 90[d100]
Dang, why is it rolling so well?

-10 is 80 on attack table so 4
41 = 41[d100]

He’s now at 59/120 HPs. Not good. That means he’s “Bruised” and at a -20 to his actions.

Next Round
Mr. Wolf snarls and bites at him again. It’s pretty angry that he shoved its master off the ledge. Arnstein moves away from the ledge, and focuses on pure attack, putting all 100 into his attack. He’s hoping to stun or critically main the wolf before it can get a good attack on him.
So 100 - 20 for bruised = 80 + roll. He has a longer weapon, so he hits first.
36 = 36[d100]

Poor roll.
80+36 = 116 - def 30 = 86
Still 10 and Light critical.
(with that the wolf is bruised too, so that’s good)
75 = 75[d100]
+10 for light crit = 85
Deeper cut to thigh. If the target's wearing leg armor: +3 Damage. If not, +6 Damage, 3 Bleed, Stunned, and -20 to all actions.

Wolf can’t attack because it’s Stunned. I think it’s likely that the wolf tries to run away.

(Likely | 8[d10]) Yes

It can’t Disengage due to the Stun condition,  but it can try to Run Away? (Update: You can’t take move actions when you’re stunned so he wouldn’t have been able to run away, but I didn’t know that then...)

Conflicting action
Wolf has 50-40 = +10 + roll 89 = 89[d100]
99 total

Arnstein is at -20
80-20 = +60 + roll  56 = 56[d100]
116 total

So Arnstein gets an attack with the On Rear bonus of +30.
100-20 (bruised) + 30 (rear attack) + 20 (vs stunned) = 130 + roll 35 = 35[d100]
-30 def = 135 edged
25 hits and lethal crit

12 = 12[d100]
+50 (for Lethal)  = 62
Minor forearm cut. +4 Damage, 1 Bleed, and Stunned

The wolf bounded away, limping and yelping from its wounds. Arnstien wavered on his feet for a moment then grimaced in pain and put pressure on his bleeding thigh. He hobbled over to a tree trunk and sat down. Tearing off part of his cloak with his teeth, he tied the cloak piece around his thigh. He swooned momentarily from the pain, but gritted his teeth and pressed on.

I realize now, after reading this later, that I probably should have rolled a Healer check at a challenging difficulty to (-10) due to his -5 HP per round bleeding. That’s called Severe Bleeding and requires a Healer’s Kit too.

He briefly considered going after the wolf. Perhaps it would bleed out with no one to tend its grievous wounds and he could follow the trail and--

In the distance, he heard that other wolf howling again, coming closer. This Redcap wasn’t operating alone.

No time to stay.

He set his jaw, quickly fashioned a makeshift crutch from a tree limb, tied up the laces in his boot tightly where he sprained his ankle, and hobbled down the mountain as fast as he could.

Do his pursuers chase him out of the mountains?
That would move them into more civilized lands, I think. I’ll say Somewhat Unlikely at this stage of things.
(Somewhat Unlikely | 6[d10]) No, but...

As night fell, the howling of multiple wolves in the hills behind him grew in intensity. There must be more gathering. A band of riders then? The hairs on his neck stood on end with each howl but he kept moving.

And was it his imagination or did a smattering of evil laughter chase him out of the mountains? He didn’t dare stop; determined, he pressed on through the night.

XP: Lvl 1 starts at 10 XP.
+1-3 for traveling to a new location, I’ll say 1.
+1-3 for facing dangerous foes/situations. I’ll say 2.
+1-2 for suffering a life-threatening wound or for surviving a serious threat to his life, I’ll say +1
14/20 to level up.
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#3
Congrats on getting the book! It looks like a great system.

Thank you for sharing and for the links. Looking forward to your adventure.
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#4
Sure thing. Btw, I'm sharing your site and this thread on the "Against the Darkmaster" Discord channel as well. Thanks again for your amazing site.
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#5
Episode 2
Rain? (50/50 | 4[d10]) No
Moonlight? (Somewhat Likely | 6[d10]) Yes

Arnstein walked through the night, moving out of the mountains and down onto the highlands. The Bloody Highlands they were called, so named for a series of battles that took place over three hundred years ago when kingdoms of the east clashed with those of the west in the plains between The Navel and the Spirit’s River. It is said that the plains were carpeted with so many fallen that they were heaped up into great piles for the vultures to feast on and the stench made the land uninhabitable for a generation.

The wind felt cold, but at least no rain plagued his journey, though the dark clouds bunched up across the sky, now and then, blocking the moon's pale light.

He drank one waterskin, gulping down the cool liquid. His leg wound ached as he hobbled on his crutch, and each step on it sent a jolt of pain through him. He grimaced and felt his side. The wetness had turned to a lightly-crusted scab that itched under his chain shirt. He hardly noticed the sprained ankle. The hours crept slowly by.

When dawn came, his stomach rumbled, and he felt lightheaded from loss of blood. He brushed hands against the grainy feeling in his eyes and stifled a yawn.

Day 2 without food/rest means a TSR vs level 4. That's a SR (Save Roll) difficulty of 70
40 + roll

48 = 48[d100]
88 so still no negative effects yet.

I’m rolling for Hazards for this new terrain type of the highlands. He’s in a (lightly) populated area, but still populated. Who does it involve?
[i]Free People
[/i]
65 = 65[d100]

Who does he meet?
Dispute / Energy

About mid-day, he heard the rumble of horse hooves on the tundra, and saw a band of riders crest a low eastern rise.

A band of warriors?
Yes

Large band?
(50/50 | 4[d10]) No

There were perhaps a dozen riders. He squinted, trying to make out their heraldry.

Cultures roll. Skill of 10 + roll
30 = 30[d100]
40. Failure.

But as they drew near, he didn’t recognize the banners of blue and green with a yellow sunburst that fluttered fitfully in the wind.

Are they hostile? I’ll use the Reaction Rolls table
52 = 52[d100]
Neutral

The band noticed him as he weaved and nearly stumbled on unsteady feet. He raises a hand to hail them.

Do they stop?
No

Are they in haste?
Yes

Fleeing from something?
(Somewhat Unlikely | 9[d10]) Yes

The band of warriors noticed him, but they’re concerned about something over their shoulders, and many of them glanced backwards, then leaned forward in their saddles, driving bloody spurs into already lathered mounts.

Has he stumbled upon a battle?
(Somewhat Likely | 9[d10]) Yes

It’s then that he saw another war-band crest the rise behind the first, this of different heraldry, that of a red serpent coiled around a golden tree on a green field. He saw dozens of warriors from this larger band.

Cultures
40 = 40[d100]
+10 = 50

He didn't recognize this new band either. He heard a harsh horn blast from a man in a brass armor with a green cloak, and mounted archers form a ragged line. They drew and shot at the riders in flight.

Do they drop many of the fleeing band?
(Somewhat Likely | 1[d10]) No, and...

The arrows arced high, but the fleeing band were too far away, and the arrows fell short of their intended targets.

Do any come close to hitting our hero?
(50/50 | 8[d10]) Yes

Yet Arstein was much closer and some arrows drove into the ground around him. He dove for cover into the low tough grasses.

I’ll say 30% chance of him taking an attack.
72 = 72[d100]

He heard the hiss of arrows as they struck the ground around him. He rolled down into a small depression, seeking safety.

Are any actively trying to kill or capture him? Their blood might be up and if they think he’s a member of the enemy band...

(Somewhat Unlikely | 8[d10]) Yes

Well great; let’s see if he survives another day... He’s already wounded.

First, he’ll try and hide to avoid the:
Contest of Stealth vs their Perception.

He has a -35 movement penalty to stealth from his armor but gets to add his +20 Armor skill bonus to offset that. He has a Stealth skill of +25. So -15 = a modified 10 total in Stealth. It’ll come down to the die roll.

He moved forward in the grasses on hands and feet, and he heard a shout and the thunder of hooves drew closer.

He saw that the depression led to a semi-dry river bed. In a half run, half crawl, he darted under an overhang of spreading roots from a gnarled tree and pulled back into the darkness, his breath ragged in his ears. He yanked out his battle axe and waited. Surely, they had seen him...

He smelled the wet earth and felt the damp and clay-like soil and roots brushed his head, neck, and back as he crouched in the small cavity.

His breathing sounded too loudly, and his heartbeat drummed to the sound of the horses that galloped past his hiding spot. He counted a score of warriors. Then there were past him.

Were they speaking the common tongue?
(50/50 | 3[d10]) No

Interesting...

They shouted in a guttural, harsh tongue he had never heard before.

Here was the result of his
Stealth 10 + roll:
82 = 82[d100]

Vs. their
Perception  15 + roll:
2 = 2[d100]

Lucky!

He waited until he could no longer hear the sound of hoofbeats before he cautiously emerged from his hiding place, mud and dirt caking his hair and face. He didn’t remember seeing any armies or large raiding vessels down on the plains or the coast yesterday. But if this second band were raiders from the sea, perhaps they came ashore last night. Perhaps this engagement was just a warmup between picket forces, and the real battle was just starting?

He moved up the dry embankment and raised his head barely above the grasses and searched the horizon line east. He didn’t see anything. He listened.

Cries of wounded?
(Likely | 7[d10]) Yes

Common tongue?
(Likely | 6[d10]) Yes

He froze and heard a ragged groaning somewhere to the east. The sound of the wounded. He made out words. “Oh gods...” a horrible groan. “Oh gods above...”

He moved cautiously toward the sound, his axe at the ready. But he didn’t hear any hoofbeats, and soon he saw a fallen rider who writhed in pain in the short grasses.

I’ll use on rpg solo’s Get Damage button to see how badly he’s hurt.
(21 = 19[d20]+2) Killed.

I’ve already established he’s heard the cries of wounded. I’ll take that roll to mean this man doesn’t have long to live....

The wounded man's horse lay on its side, eyes open, unbreathing. Three arrows speared its flank. The rider had another arrow in his side, just above his lowest rib and a second in his chest. In addition, his leg was trapped under his fallen mount, and a spear was thrust full through his thigh. Blood covered the gray blue grasses about him.

The wounded man bore a cloak of blue, now turned a reddish muddy brown from the earth and blood that smeared across it, marring its yellow sunburst. He coughed weakly when he saw Arnstein, but he didn't shrink back in fear. It seemed he had resigned himself to his fate.

“Come to finish me off, have you?” Blood caked his lips and bubbled at his teeth. The scent of blood-iron clung to him.

Arnstein had seen enough death to know this man would not last more than a few minutes. Less if he were moved.

He knelt beside the man, his eyes ever cautious of what might be on the horizon.

“Who are you?” Arnstein asked. “And whom do you serve?”

“I'm Aldred,” he said in a wheeze. “I serve the people of the Silver City, and my oaths are to their defense and to Lord Tozak.”

It Tozak a king?
(50/50 | 4[d10]) No

Arnstein knew something of the Silver City. On the old maps it was sometimes shown as Kyargor, but had taken on the name of the Silver City because of its approximation to the Silver Bay. He knew Kyargor was a large coastal city to the south east on the other side of the bay. Some called the bay a sea due to its size.

“Then you serve King Rillelon in Jiashan?”

“Yes. Rillelon is king. But Lord Tozak has charge of defending the three bays and its surrounding lands. He is my liege lord.”

“Who are those who attacked you? Raiders and pirates?”

Invaders from the sea?
Yes, and...

Aldred tried to shake his head. “No,” he gasped. “This was more than mere rabble....too organized. Too many. Hundreds of ships....An invasion.”

“From where?”

From the Sunrise ocean?
No, and...
I guess that means the other end of the map far to the west, maybe even off the map.

Does Aldred know their origin?
(Unlikely | 3[d10]) No

World building, a little:
Is this force servants of the Darkmaster? Not that Arstein would know this, but it'll help me interpret the oracle results better.
(Somewhat Likely | 6[d10]) Yes +Event: Agree / Advice
Sounds like they made some agreement with the Darkmaster.

“I only know that they came from the west,” he coughed and his breathing grew more ragged. For a long time he said nothing but clutched at Arnstein’s hand in his own and Arstein saw it was caked blood and earth and flecks of grass.

“I saw their heraldry, a red serpent around a tree. Do you know where it’s from?”

(Unlikely | 2[d10]) No

Aldred shook his head slightly.

“And what of the Silver City? Does it still stand?” Arnstein asked, feeling the warrior’s fading strength in his grip.

Does Aldred know?
No

“Haven’t heard,” Aldred said and his eyes fluttered behind closed lids. He exhaled in shallow gasps and then continued. “Our unit was  stationed at the keep on Copper Island.  We saw fires across the Silver Bay. Perhaps the Silver City has taken fire. I don't know. We fought them for three days and nights. In the end, there were too many... We were pushed back and overrun.  We retreated across the channel and were going to make for Jiaoshan. But we got hit by another force here behind us. Sir...Please. My wife, Kaylana,” Aldred coughed, his grip tighter, and his eyes were wide open but unfocused now. “She won’t know...that I won’t be coming back.” That last he said, striving to sit up, but the effort was too much. He fell back, his strength spent.

“Hush. Fear not, friend,” Aldred said. “I swear on my honor, that if it be in my power, I will seek her out and bring her word that you fought and died well in defense of her freedom.”

Aldred nodded weakly. Strove to say more, but he could not. Soon the flesh that housed his spirit stopped struggling, its lifeblood spent on these grasses far from home and lifeless eyes stared up to the wide gray sky. Arnstein brushed his hand over the man's face and closed his eyes then with drew his hand from the now-slack grip.

Was Aldred wearing a helmet?
(50/50 | 9[d10]) Yes

Does it fit Arnstein?
(Somewhat Likely | 3[d10]) No

Greaves?
(50/50 | 1[d10]) No, and...

Was he carrying anything else that’s useful, like Healer’s Kit?
(50/50 | 1[d10]) No, and...

Fine. Be that way!

There was little more he could do. For a moment, he thought about taking the man’s helmet, but it didn’t look like it would fit; and Aldred didn’t have anything else of value.

Arnstein spent the next while placing a cairn of rocks upon the lifeless body. Then he bowed a prayer to the gods, hoping they would accept this man's soul into the realms beyond. That done, he stood and began to make his way northeast. He might already be behind enemy lines now, but there was nothing for it. With redcaps and wolves to the west and an invading army coming from the west and the south, the only way was northeast. Then he stopped and looked back at the cairn. No, not yet. Aldred’s horse was dead, but Arnstein saw that it was fresh enough that he could eat the meat. He cut off strips of its flesh, hobbled back to the overhanging tree roots and started a cook fire in its sheltered overhang.

He saw enough smoke on the horizon that he doubted one small strand from his fire would attract much attention.

I forgot to roll his Healer skill from before. I’ll do that now to see how well his wounds are healing. He has no skill in this area and his Stat bonus in that area is 0. He has a flat zero. So it’s just his die roll.
79 = 79[d100]

That would be a success, but because he had been losing 5 HP per round, it was a -10 challenging wound which makes the final result a 69. On a failure, the blood loss is temporarily stopped but the wound still isn’t healed. So he needs to find another way to heal it or to be treated by a different healer. Basically he can’t go up in his HPs until it heals and he'll be at a permanent -20 to his action rolls because of his Bruised condition.

XP:
+1-3 for traveling to a new location, I’ll say 1.
+1-3 for facing dangerous foes/situations. I’ll say 1.
16/20 to level up.
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#6
Episode 3
The next day, Arnstein hiked north along the coast of the western side of the Silver Bay. He at least had food and water for a couple of days. But every step felt like glass tore through his thigh and the wound kept breaking open. He needed healing soon or infection would set in.

Evidence of more landings ahead of him?
(Somewhat Likely | 1[d10]) No, and...

Did he run into any fallen enemy warriors?
(Somewhat Unlikely | 2[d10]) No

Other than the force he had avoided yesterday, he hadn’t seen evidence of any attacks to the north of him.

By evening time, he hobbled into a small fishing village named Claris. (not on map) A few trade ships were tied up along its warf. Its small tavern was packed with patrons. It smelled of beer, piss, fish oil, and salty ocean spray.

Smoke wafted about the rafters of the tavern’s sagging roof.

Did they see any strange ships heading north up the bay?
(Somewhat Likely | 7[d10]) Yes

Do they have anyone skilled in healing?
(Somewhat Likely | 7[d10]) Yes

Did any friendly soldiers come this way recently?
(50/50 | 9[d10]) Yes

Has the news of the invasion reached this village yet?
(Somewhat Likely | 3[d10]) No +Event: Guide / Vehicle

Guide what kind of vehicle? Ship?
(50/50 | 6[d10]) Yes, but...
For what purpose?
Travel
Evil

Arnstein ordered food and spoke to any who would listen, telling them of what he knew about the invaders and his experience with Aldred.

Frowns and curses were built upon an undercurrent of fear. As he spoke, a tall man with a weather-beaten and bearded face and keen eyes the color of a stormy sea, studied him. On his hips, he bore twin cutlasses with ivory handles.

“I’ve seen some strange ships heading north up the bay,” the tall man said, waving his pipe towards the direction of the bay. “You say those are from this invasion force?”

Arnstein looked out the window at the fog roll in from the bay and back to the bearded man and nodded. “That’s what the dying soldier I met said.”

A murmur ran through the patrons of the tavern. Fear and excitement. Some darted out the door to spread the news.

“You got that wound from them?” the tall man asked at the crusted, blood-stained bandage about Arnstein’s thigh.

A serving maid brought them ale and fish and potato stew.

“No,” Arnstein said and felt the throb of pain from his leg. He dug into the stew and after several long minutes leaned back. “That was earlier. In the Sorrow Hills. I ran into a rider on the back of a wolf. Pale ashen skin, an angular face, pointed teeth. Redcap.”

The tall man grunted but Arnstein saw the look on his face.

“You’ve seen them too?”

(50/50 | 10[d10]) Yes, and... +Event: Pursue / A project

The tall man eyed Arnstein and frowned at the tavern’s patrons. Then it looked as if he had decided something. He lowered his voice, and leaned towards Arnstein. “We could use your help with something, stranger, seeing as how you're obviously skilled in fighting and have had dealings with these invaders.”

“Call me Arnstein,” he said. “What do you need?”

“I am called Parth. Come with me,” he stood and led Arnstein down a narrow hallway to a small dark room. A clay pot with a wick burned smokily in fish oil. It provided some light in the dismal room. The beams sagged under the weight of years. Old paint flaked off the bowed slats on the walls.

Parth motioned to a rickety table and poured some mulled wine into thick clay mugs and pushed a plate of fried fish and crumbly black bread toward Arnstein.

“I captain the Gray Gull,” Parth began. She’s a fast merchant ship. I’ve been sailing the Crescent Sea and the Bays since before I became a man.

He sighed and relit his pipe. “Three days ago, we took on a shipment of ore from the mouth of Spirit’s River. That’s when things went wrong...”

He took a sip of wine and grimaced before continuing.

What’s the evil? Something found in or with the ore?

(50/50 | 1[d10]) No, and...

Sounds like an item then.

“Miners from the Thunderpeaks uncovered something while digging. They chased a silver vein deep and uncovered a...room. Or rather a complex of rooms made of hewn rock.

“Strange markings were etched on the walls in a language they couldn’t read. They said ‘the air felt wrong’.”

He took a long pull on his pipe and the smoke drifted up in white plumes. “And on a black stone table in the center of the room was this.”

Parth looked at the door, then the window, then carefully reached into a weathered leather satchel and pulled out a metal rod, about the length of a man’s forearm. He set the rod between them.

It seemed to suck in the light, save where silver runes etched along its surface gleamed. The oil map’s light guttered in its dish as if drawn towards the dark metal, and the shadows in the corners seemed to grow.

Songs and Tales to see if he’s heard anything of it:
49 = 49[d100]
  • 10 skill
Failure.

“What is it?” Arntein whispered, touching it gingerly with one hand. It felt cold the touch, colder than he would have expected

“That’s what I need your help figuring out.”

“I’ve never seen its like, nor am I a Loremaster. What do you expect from me?” Arnstein asked.

“The miners who brought it to me, perished to a man, hunted by those same ashen-skinned devils” Parth said.

“Redcaps,” Arnstein gave a grim nod.

“Whatever. Call them what you will: Redcaps, Goblins, Grey Devils. They delight in murder and mayhem. They crept aboard the Gull and slaughtered a quarter of my crew before the rest of us managed to fend them off, cut anchor, and fly south.” he gripped his mug and slammed it down, his facial muscles twitching. “A quarter of my crew!” The wine sloshed over his hand in a small purple wave.

“They’re not usually so bold,” Arnstein said.

Arnstein watched him. Parth exhaled and eventually regained his composure. He poured more wine into his mug. “I think they’re after this,” he nodded to the rod that sat between them.

“We ended up here early this morning to take on supplies. I gave strict orders for my crew to stay aboard the Gull. I don’t want word of this,” he nodded to the black rod, “getting out.”

“Understandable,” Arnstein agreed. “But you’re saying more of those creatures dwell in the Thunderpeaks? How many creatures did you see when you finally broke free?”

Larger than a small band?
(Somewhat Likely | 3[d10]) No

“By the time we left, only a small band remained. But there might be more in those mountains, I don’t know. There’s always rumors of unsavory creatures dwelling in the dark places of the earth.”

“They might come here,” Arnstein warned.

“You look like you can handle yourself,” Parth said. “I know a fighting man when I see one. As I was saying, we could use your help.”

“I think you underestimate me, Parth,” Arenstien scoffed. “I barely survived an encounter with a single redcap and his wolf mount.”

Parth scratched his cheek with the stem of his pipe and shook his head.  “That’s just bad luck. It happens sometimes. But you at least know the invaders,”

“I know of them and I hid from those that I did see. I don’t think I’m--”

“Yes, you’ve seen them and you’ve fought the Gray Devils! Fire and Demons, man! I need your help! There’s something important about all this, I know it!”

Arnstein had a sudden idea about those mountains up Spirit’s River. It wasn’t quite in the Silver Bay, but it was in the general region. He leaned forward and held Parth’s eyes.
“This complex in the Thunderhills, did the miners mention any other items they saw? An orb perhaps? Made of silver?”

Does the captain know the legends of the orb?
(Somewhat Likely | 9[d10]) Yes +Event: Carry / Outside

“You speak of the Orb of the Silver Dawn,” Parth said with a small smile. “Isn’t that just a myth?”

Did the miners say anything about seeing something like that to Parth?

(50/50 | 5[d10]) No, but...

“Just answer the question,” Arnstein said.

“You help me, take this rod to The Silver City, and I’ll tell you everything I know about it,” Parth said.

“I’ll lend what aid that I can,” Arnstein said, “on one condition: you do more than just tell me tales about that orb. Help me look for it. ”

Charisma skill +25
75 = 75[d100]
= 100 success!

“Legends and child tales! I can’t spend my whole life chasing tales,” Parth growled. “I have a business to run!”

“And there’s an enemy fleet swarming the Bays of the Crescent Sea. How long do you think your merchant business will last? Besides, any...valuables we find there, if any, we’ll split evenly.”

Parth leaned back and studied Arnstein. After a while, he gave a reluctant grunt. “You make some persuasive points...” Parth muttered. He tapped out his pipe onto the table and finished his wine. “I’ll help, but anything beyond one month, and my services are available only if you bring enough coin to sway me.”

“Very well, one month,” Arnstein said. He shook Parth’s weathered hand. Then added with a grimace, “Oh, and I hope your ship has a healer, or you’ll be swabbing my blood off your decks.”

"You'll be swabbing my decks if you do," Parth said pulling Arnstein up. "Come on, I'll show you to him."

XP:
+1-3 for traveling to a new location, I’ll say 1.
Now 17/20
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#7
(11-24-2022, 02:33 PM)Jingo Wrote: Charisma skill +25
75 = 75[d100]
= 100 success!

Tips:
If you use the "Roll Dice" text box, you can enter 1d100+25.
Or, if you use MAD (Mark's Adventure Dice), you can click the plus or minus sign next to "Modifier".
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#8
(Thanks Mark. I did know that but don't always remember.)

Episode 4

They spent the night on the Gray Gull. Parth gave him one of the sailor’s bunks.

With a full stomach, a bed to sleep in, and the bushy-headed red-haired man, named Kirabo, with his strange smelling bitter herbs looking after his wounds, Arnstein slept long and hard and awoke long after they were underway.

Wind conditions:
57 = 57[d100]
Normal

Under normal conditions, it should take two days to cross the Silver Bay and arrive at The Silver City (aka Kyargor)

I’ll say there’s a 30% of a Hazard encountered each day due to the invasion.

Day 1
27 = 27[d100]

Day 2
25 = 25[d100]

There you go two encounters. Let’s see what they run into for day 1. I’m rolling on the Water Hazards table:
2 = 2[d100]
The heroes’ voyage is hindered by constant unfavorable winds. Is it just a stroke of bad luck or is something more sinister at work?

Are winds such as these usual for this season?
(50/50 | 2[d10]) No

Is it being caused by the rod?
(Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

Let’s see how well the ship’s healer did on him:
Healer has a skill of 60.
60 - 10 for the severe bleeding wound = +50
Roll
37 = 37[d100]
Total of 87 for a partial success.
His wounds were only minor though, so in three days of rest, he should be healed.
For the partial success, the complication I choose is that he’s at the Weary condition for the three days.

Arnstein awoke around noon. His eyes felt gummy and his mouth tasted sour. He rinsed his mouth and teeth with lime juice and dried mint leaves and hobbled on deck.

His side was healed, save for a pink scar. His thigh felt better.

Unfavorable winds plagued them, sending the sails billowing backwards, fraying both ropes and tempers.

“It’s not natural,” Parth muttered to Arnstein as he studied the clouds in the distance. “Those clouds should be closer and darker for this kind of wind. Yet there they sit, far in the distance, white and blissful as can be and no matter how we tack the ship, the winds are ever contrary!”

The sailors looked at each other, casting dark glances about them, muttering and drawing superstitious signs of protection in the air.

He shouted out a command, “Break out the oars!”

They all took turns at the oars, including Arnstein. The ship made progress albeit much more slowly than had the winds behaved. His arms and thigh ached, and he nearly fell asleep twice from the herb drink Kirabo made him drink.

This will add another day on their journey

Rolling for Day 2 Hazard
32 = 32[d100]

The wreckage of another ship drifts near the heroes' vessel. The PCs spot a lone survivor, clinging to the wreckage with his remaining strengths. Maybe he can tell them what tragedy befell the ship.

On the second day, the winds went back to normal, but in the late afternoon, as the sun was beginning to set, they saw the wreckage of a ship with a lone survivor adrift with the pull of the waves.

“Heave to!” Parth commanded and they came near and cast a line down to the ...

1 - Woman
2 - Man
3 - Girl
4 - Boy

Rolled a 2 - Man

.... man clinging to a floating barrel.

“Your name friend? And what befell you?” Parth said when the thin and bedraggled man of not quite middle years sat on a bench on the deck, a blanket about his shoulders and a hot drink in his hands.

Invasion attacked his ship?
(Likely | 4[d10]) No, but...

Was he aboard a big ship?
(50/50 | 8[d10]) Yes

Was he part of the Silver City navy?
(50/50 | 4[d10]) No

Is he captain of the ruined ship?
(Unlikely | 1[d10]) No, and...

“I’m Michi,” he said and his voice trembled. “Our ship, the Skywind was a large whaler. Two days ago, we were returning to The Silver City with our haul. As we drifted through a dense fog bank, we heard the sounds of fighting.”

He shivered from the cold and pulled the blanket tighter about his shoulders. “The fog was thick as soup, and we couldn’t see but a few feet in front of us. Suddenly a massive ship bearing a standard of a crimson viper coiled about a golden tree, came right at us. We tried to turn hard to starboard but to no avail. The other vessel rammed the Skywind hard, a massive iron-plated prow split our ship in two.”

Did they take prisoners?
(50/50 | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

“They made a special effort to search the wreckage for any survivors. Any of our crew that they could find, including dead corpses, they hauled out of the water. I hid under some wreckage until they left.”

“Dead corpses?” Arnstein asked. “Why?”

Did he see why?
(50/50 | 8[d10]) Yes

He swallowed and looked away, and the cup in his hand shook, sloshing hot tea over his hand, but didn’t seem to notice. “I wish I could unsee it...”

It took him a moment before he could continue his tale.

“The unhurt they put in shackles and took them below deck,” Michi began.

“A figure came on deck, robed all in black, its face covered with a bronze mask of curious design, its hands also of strange bronze gauntlets. A circular bronze plate was tied about its chest in chains of silver. Both breastplate and mask had etchings, like some kind of runework lay upon them.”

“Was this figure human or elf or dwarf?” Parth asked.

“What race or gender, I could not tell. It moved strange like....like... flowing water and smoke with a human walk mixed in, I guess. I cannot explain it.

“This figure drew forth a bone dagger, and as it chanted words, it slit the throats of all the wounded. Their blood steamed on the deck and off his knife... It--” he swallowed. “It drained their blood, carefully collecting all of it into large clay jars.”

“Why?” Parth asked.

“I don’t understand it, but I saw it. The soldiers stacked all the dead corspes like so much cordwood upon the deck, neat as you please. This figure sprinkled the fresh blood upon each one, chanting words that made my skin crawl, making strange gestures in the air that felt--wrong. The blood seeped and ran down, turned black in color, and then it ran...up into ears and noses and eyes until it disappeared. It wasn’t natural!” he shivered again and rocked back and forth.

Did he see what happened next?
(Somewhat Unlikely | 4[d10]) No

“After that, I don’t know what happened. Soldiers pulled tarps over the pile and the ship moved on out of sight. There’s little else I know.”

“Thank you,” Parth said. Then he instructed his crew. “Take him below and give him some hot food and a place to sleep.”

“This tale has an ill feel about it,” Parth said and he turned to look at Arnstein. “What do you think?”

Arcana:
47 = 47[d100]
+5
= 52 Failure

Songs and Tales:
90 = 90[d100]
+15
= 105 Success

Arnstein frowned “I know little of such things. As you know, I am no Loremaster, but I have heard a few tales in my travels. I traveled for a time across the Burnt Lands with a Taleweaver by the name of Indrion.

“He told of The Doom of Vedyien and Haukeen. In his tale Indrion said that Vedyien, an elf maiden, a princess, bore a beauty that shone with incomparable light.

“She fell in love with Haukeen, a handsome elf warrior, strong and true, yet with a heart that grew ever-proud from his own strength at arms and conquest.

“Though their union was forbidden by her father, she took pity on Haukeen’s love and bound herself to him in a hidden marriage.

“For a time, happiness seemed to be in endless supply as sunlight and starlight wheeled above them and day chased after day. But as the wise say, all things must eventually fail.

“From their union, a child grew in her womb. But it was sickly and died a month before birth. Vedyien fell ill from sorrow and from complications at the child’s stillbirth. It became clear that soon she would pass beyond this mortal realm to join her child.

“Haukeen, stricken with loss, fed his fear. Faith failed and he drew despair from a dark well in his heart. He became drunk on it and then drowned in it...

“In sorrow, she pleaded for her beloved Haukeen to stop his grieving, to spend the remaining days at her side.

“But driven by doubt, he left her, promising to soon return. But he was deceived, and his seeking only begat ever distant travels as he vowed to save her life no matter the cost.

“Bitterness burned hot when she died, and all reason fled. Haukeen made a pact with the servants of darkness that he would serve them if she could remain at his side forevermore.

“He sought deep in the earth after words and whispered songs and arts best left hidden; Instead of allowing her to move beyond this mortal realm, he sought to bind her flesh and a portion of her spirit to this earth in a mocking semblance of life.

“He found a way to make that happen. He used his arts to preserve the corpse. Then for ten years he sought after additional lore and perfected his dark arts.

“On the tenth anniversary of her death, he took the slew six innocents, and poured their blood upon his wife’s corpse.

“A few verses stands out thus, near as I can remember:

Rivulets of Riven Red
Flowed Fitfull
Upon Her Crown’ed Head

The Cries of Crimson Fountains
Fell Fretfull
Upon Her Bow’ed Head

Ribbons Red Crossed to the Dead
Turned Twisting
Into Her Fateful Head

“The tale then told how her corpse had some color after that, that it moved haltingly, a pale jerking imitation, a cruel and mocking half-life, a puppet for Haukeen to command but not his wife.

“And Haukeen mourned ever more. For his pride and anger and hate bore a fruit beyond his comprehension and he fell into the doom of darkness, a slave to its will.

“Some say they are united still and that you can hear their keening cry upon cleft and hill, on lonely waves when wind is shrill, cold, and despairing.”

His tale done, the long silence that followed revealed the flapping of sails, the smacking of salt-ridden waves on the prow that cut through the water, and the cries of gulls overhead.

Parth leaned back against the center mast. “Well told, friend Arnstein” the ship’s captain muttered, and a rueful grimness edged his voice. “Should your arm ever grow weak, you could become a Taleweaver yourself.”

Arnstein smiled. “Indrion could tell it better... He knows the full song by heart.”

“A dismal tale,” Parth said. “It sets my teeth on edge. So, we’re dealing with Necromancy then?”

“Perhaps,” Arnstein answered. “We must warn The Silver City.”

“And with all haste,” Parth agreed.

The next day they headed east between the Ring Islands to the south, and the Silver City in the distance to the north east. The sky was partly cloudy all day, as if the sun could not decide whether it was worth asserting itself.

Arnstein stood on the bow with Parth.

Are the Ring Islands to the south occupied by enemy troops?
(Somewhat Likely | 6[d10]) Yes

For this Day 3, I’ll just decide the hazard as it’s this day that they come into the region of The Silver City and see its state. The hazard is likely to involve the invaders.

Is the city still standing?
(Likely | 7[d10]) Yes

Is it under siege?
(Somewhat Likely | 3[d10]) No

Does that mean it’s been taken over? I think no... at least not yet.
(Unlikely | 2[d10]) No

Are the invading forces in retreat? Probably not.
(Unlikely | 3[d10]) No

I think this sets the enemy's initial Menace Rating to 2, but as time goes on and reinforcements continue to pour in, it’ll grow to 4.

Plumes of smoke rose oily black above the dozens of wharfs where numerous burning and burned-out hulks of both friend and foe bobbed in the waves, their masts raised to heaven like stalks of burned and broken corn.

Let’s check the city’s damage using RPGSolo’s Mechanical Damage button:
(3 = 3[d20]) Negligible: Nick/Scratch/Dent.

Kyargor, The Silver City, its sunburst emblem flapping proudly and boldly in a stiff breeze and under a red sunset, looked to be bathed in blood. Yet, still the city stood, some of its towers blackened and burnt but not crumbled. Its stalwart defenders lined the ramparts, defiant.

Looking north to the bay, Arnstein could see that a massive city wall surrounded the city, and on the bay-side, the wall continued over the bay, supported on wide stone arches that extended out across the bay. Ships that attempted to land on the many wharfs had to pass through these arches. And atop huge towers and bulwarks built at intervals along the walls, catapults and ballistae and armed troops rained projectiles down upon the approaching forces.

Some invading troops had broken through and had landed among the many wharfs and were lining up to assault the city, but they were hampered by the projectiles that smashed around them. Other invading troops had landed further afield to the east and west and were forming up in better order.

Also, a battle still raged in the bay, near the wharfs itself. Ships of the Silver City that still remained afloat, contended in valiant battle to fend off the cruel foe that hemmed them in.

From the walls about the bay, catapults and ballista and archers launched flaming projectiles down upon the still-approaching invaders.

Smoke drifted across the waves, like spirits of the damned, heavy and thick with sorrow.

Do they see the large ship that Michi saw?
(Somewhat Likely | 8[d10]) Yes

Does it see them? (somewhat unlikely as it’s probably distracted by the active battle)
(Somewhat Unlikely | 3[d10]) No

Are they spotted by at least some invading vessel as they get closer to the Wharf themselves?
(Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...
By two of them. Great.

“Looks like they’re trying to form a blockade,” Arnstein said.

Part nodded. “All hands! Prepare for battle!” Parth shouted to his crew. “We need to get past those walls and to a safe wharf! Full sails and raise our standard high!”

They scurried about, sails and rigging to eke the most speed out of the vessel so that she can get through to the safety of the cities defenses.

Arnstein dashed to the heavy ropes and helped to pull the canvas taut on the main mast.

First we see if we can get past the initial blockade then there will be a chase to see if they can reach the safety of the city defenses in time. (There isn’t a sailing skill per se, but an optional rule says that Riding skill can be used for any kind of vehicle Piloting skill.

I haven’t rolled up Parth as a full character and he’s the one with the seamanship skills. Judging from kin and culture, I’d suggest he’s a lvl 2 Common, Human Male. That will give him about a +50 Piloting/Ride, and his vessel, being a fast and nimble merchant ship, will give an additional +10 for chases/evasions. Cutlass is +50.

Are the enemies piloting them common opponent types?

(Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...
They prob have a Piloting skill of around +20

I’ll give the enemy ships a +10 for the two ships working together to close with and trap Parth’s ship before he can break through their blockade.

Arnstein will use his Athletics (dashing about assisting with sails and ropes and such) to assist in Parth’s roll.

80 Athletics - 35 armor movement penalty + 20 armor skill = +65 Athletics + roll of
29 = 29[d100]

94 total (partial), so this gives Parth another +10 bonus but there’s a complication for Arnstein for the partial.

Parth barked out more orders and the men leaped to obey with alacrity. The ship leaped forward.

“Watch out!” one of the sailors called, and Arnstein, who was trying to tie down a thick rope, looked up in time to see the massive boom swinging towards his head.

With a startled cry, he tried to duck under it.

+50 attack - Def 25 = +25 + roll of:
14 = 14[d100]

He dropped to the ground, and it whooshed over his head.

“Keep hold of that thing!” Arnstein growled.

The other sailor, abashed, grabbed the boom and lashed it.

Arnstein climbed to his feet and finished tying down the line.

The two enemy vessels closed with the Gray Gull, their oars pounding the water to a cadence of deep bass drums, a dark pounding sound that promised violence and slavery. The Gray Gull, leaped across the waves attempting to cut between them.

“Keep slightly to the left, helmsman," Parth shouted. "When we are within two hundred feet of that oncoming schooner, turn hard to starboard and we’ll cut between them!”

“Aye Captain!”

Parth’s Piloting roll: 50 + 10 (ship), +10 (Arnstein) = +70 + roll of
9 = 9[d100] that was a really poor roll.
79
vs
Enemy’s Piloting roll: 20  + 10 (aid from other ship) = +30 + roll of
41 = 41[d100]
71 total

Ooo closee! Nice job Arnstein! This was an important and decisive roll, I think, and will earn him an XP at the end.

The invading ships closed with them. One invading ship came close, but the Gull managed to shear off its oars on one side as she passed closely past it, and that ship fell behind.

Missile fire was erratic on both sides as they shot passed. Arrows slammed about them onto the deck, but no one took any hurt.

The Gull quickly pulled out of missile range. But the two enemy ships turned sharply to give pursuit.

Enemy skill check to see if they can turn tightly and keep initial distance: +20 + 14 = 14[d100]
= 34 total (failure)

Now we come to the Chase rules to see if the Gull can get away.

Chase Rules
  • Determine Distance between ships: 2 (arbitrary)
  • Determine Escape Value 2 + 3 = 5

“That’s it! Now to the walls, quick as an arrow!” he shouted commands and kept the ship moving, dodging past wreckage about them.

Parth: 70 + roll
53 = 53[d100]
= 123
vs
Enemy (ships -- one is falling behind from sheared oars so they don’t get the assist) 20 + roll
66 = 66[d100]
= 86

Distance between extends to 3.

We do it again.
Parth: 70 + roll
5 = 5[d100]
75
vs
Enemy: 20 + roll
26 = 26[d100]
46

Distance extends to 4

“Keep on it, lads!” Parth shouted. “We’re almost to the walls!”

Rinse and Repeat:
Parth 70 + roll
70 = 70[d100]
= 140
vs
Enemy: 20+
20 = 20[d100]
= 40

Distance extends to 5

I don't see the need to keep this up. Statistically they won’t be able to catch them.

Do their pursuers give up?
(Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

The enemy ships turned hard before they came into ballista and catapult range. As the Gray Gull drew near to the relative safety of the bay wall, two navy ships took up position and escorted it further into the bay near the wharfs, flanking them on either side, ordering them to follow them.

The flanking ships led the Gull past a burning wharf, consumed in smoke and flame and through a narrow gate known as the “Needle”. The gate was wide enough to allow the passage of two ships at a time onto the river (not on map) that bisected the city. Arnstein saw the battle raging behind them in the bay as more enemy ships continued to pour into the conflict. He saw one of the catapults atop the wall out in the bay get hit by counter fire. It smashed and fell back into the bay off the wall. A ballista in the same region took fire from a volley of flaming arrows from a fast-moving invading ship. He saw more and more enemy landing craft starting to get past the bay wall and land troops onto the wharfs.

Then they were inside and the gatehouse over the river lowered its portcullis. Inside, the citizens of Silver City buzzed with activity, bringing equipment and supplies to soldiers lining the walls and soldiers helped tie their ship to a dock.

You traveled to a location never seen before: + 1 XP
You faced a dangerous situation: +1 XP
You discovered secrets of an ancient past: +1 XP
Your might or bravery solved the most critical situation: +1 XP

That gives him 4 points, that’s enough to give him 21/20 and he’ll go up to lvl 2.
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