Classic Fantasy Kage Gordain - Chapter 5 Posted
#1
KAGE GORDAIN - PREPARATION

In the weeks following the end of my Roses & Wyght story, I’ve been preparing for my next campaign. The story that I want to tell is rather ambitious and required a lot of pre-game set-up, hence the delay. The majority of the preparation dealt with character creation. I have six potential PCs, and, while not every one may go on the main quest, I needed to have them prepared anyway, as which ones I will use is unknown at this time. This first post will be a review of the game system and a general explanation of my character creation process.

GAME SYSTEM:

Kage Gordain will be played using the Tunnels & Trolls rule system. There are several versions of T&T available. The only full version of the rules that I own is Version 5, which many T&T players still consider the best. In addition, I have short rules for versions 7 and Deluxe. For this game, I will rely heavily on V5, but add a few changes from the later versions that I particularly like, such as:

- Wizardry (WIZ) will be used for casting spells. ( V5 uses Strength (STR))

-Speed (SPD) will be rolled as a stat. Technically, SPD existed in V5, but it wasn’t officially considered one of the starting stats.

- Personal “adds” (points that boost your attack in combat) will be added for every point greater than 12 in the following stats: STR, DEX (dexterity), LCK (luck), and SPD.  Characters will not receive negative “adds” for stats with less than 9 points, as they did in V5.

- Talents. Each character gains one talent per level, which gives them a pre-set 1d6 bonus to saving rolls on a particular stat in appropriate situations.

- Warriors get 1 personal “add” for every level of their character.

- Other differences and homebrew rules will be indicated as they come up during play.

CHARACTER CREATION:

The story I created consists of five characters that are part of an existing team, and one new-comer. 

The new member of the team, Kristopher Milgward, was created during my playthrough of the published T&T solitaire adventure “Seven Ayes.” That adventure encourages the player to use one of their predefined characters and pre-written backstory, which I did. “Seven Ayes” presented Kristopher with a raucous night in a tavern, ending with a bar fight and Kristopher being enslaved as an oarsman about a ship belonging to Frogbeard the Pirate. The solitaire adventure offered a chance for the character to make a Luck Saving Roll and escape. I legitimately made that roll for Kris and was able to use the details of his escape to explain how he became a member of the team. When I began playing “Seven Ayes” I had no idea that the ending would lead naturally into this adventure. I just thought it would be a good way to give that character some experience while getting a chance to play some solo T&T. Things like that have seemed to happen often since I’ve begun this hobby.

The remaining five PCs were created using the following steps:

BIRTH:

I had a general idea of the make-up of the team and simply assigned a class, kin (race) and gender to each. Additionally, I wrote a general one to two sentence background for each, just to have a vague idea of their history. More details were either filled in during the remainder of character creation or left to be fleshed out as I advance the story.

STATISTICS:

T&T characters have eight stats: Strength (STR), Dexterity (DEX), Intelligence (INT), Luck (LCK), Constitution (CON), Speed (SPD), Wizardry (WIZ), and Charisma (CHA). I rolled up each character using the method of rolling eight numbers, then assigning them to each stat to best represent the character’s class and kin. 

T&T uses 3d6 to determine each stat. If you roll triples, you keep that number and roll again, adding the two totals together. If you roll triples again, you repeat the process. Additionally, stat rolls assume the character is human. Any non-human kin receive modifiers for some of their stats (i.e. Elves multiply INT and LCK by 2, Halflings reduce their STR by half)

A character’s level is based on their highest statistic. If a character’s highest stat is in the teens or less, they are level 1. If it is in the 20s, they are level 2. 30s, level 3 and so on.

WEAPONS AND ARMOR:

Since this group of characters is an experienced party, I didn’t make them “buy” starting armor and weapons but simply assigned them appropriate gear. Also, I felt it was plausible that some of their equipment might be magical. I allowed each character a 50/50 “yes or no” roll for each character level.  For each “yes”, I randomly chose an item and gave it +1 to either it’s attack or defense, as appropriate.

LANGUAGES:

Each character speaks their own language. In addition to their native tongue, any characters with an INT over 12 can know one additional language per point. Any characters who met this criterion had additional languages chosen at random from the Version 5 rule book Languages table. In the case of non-humans I counted Common as one of these additional languages and, for the sake of communication, I automatically gave Common to any non-humans who didn’t qualify for a second language. I did have two exceptions. One character does not speak Common at all. Another human character received a second language, even though their INT was below 12. The reason for both of these will become apparent during the story.

WEALTH:

According to T&T rules, beginning characters roll 3d6 and multiply by 10 for their starting gold. Despite being experienced, I rolled this anyway to give each some money to start off the game.

MAGIC SPELLS:

Wizards and Rogues can cast magic spells. A level 1 wizard already knows all the level 1 spells. This is considered to be a part of their standard training. As their level increases, they can learn new spells of higher levels. Unlike many other RPG’s, there is not a set number of spell wizards learn at each level. Instead, they can learn as many as they wish as long as they can find them or pay for training. In this game, I have two wizards, a level one and a level two. For the level two wizard, I rolled a d4 to determine how many level 2 spells they have learned and picked them based on what seemed appropriate.

Rogue characters begin with just one spell but can learn spells as they advance. For each of my rogues, I chose a spell that seemed appropriate for the character and their personal story or motivation.

PERSONAL INFORMATION:

Here is where character creation got fun, as well as took up a lot of time.

First, using the NPC description tables found in the D30 Sandbox Companion, I generated each character’s personal appearance, overriding the roll and using my own preferences from time to time when I already had an idea of what a character should look like.

Next, using UNE I generated 3 motivations for each character to help shape their actions. Some fit nicely with their basic backstory. Some were surprising. Others I have no idea how I will work into the tale.

Finally, since this is a group of experienced adventurers, I wanted to advance them in some way to reflect their growth. Luckily, Trollzine Magazine Issue 3 contains a “Background and Inheritance” table that accommodated this nicely. The table contains opportunities for characters to increase their stats, gain special abilities, or obtain helpful items. For each character, I rolled 1d4+1 times on the table.

And that wraps up the majority of character creation. Details about each character will be revealed in the story when appropriate.

ONE FINAL WORD:

Despite being around since the 1970s, I only discovered Tunnels & Trolls earlier this year. As can be assumed, I do not have a lot of experience playing the game and, most of what I do have came from solitaire adventures. From my own experience, as well as what I’ve read, things can go south very fast and a party can wipe without warning. I say this just to warn you that this has the potential of being a rather short campaign. Of course, I hope that doesn’t happen and the characters I have created seem a bit beefy and able to handle a lot. That being said, the rules are very open to customizing combat through “stunts” and saving rolls. For instance, a character might want to attempt to topple over a statue on top of a group of attacking trolls in order to take a few out before melee even begins. In that case, a Stat and Level is determined for a saving roll (i.e. a Level 2 STR check). If the character makes the roll, then he is successful and the anticipated results occur (i.e. 1d4 trolls are pinned under the statue). If things look grim, I might play fast and loose with these types of stunts to give the characters a fighting chance and you, the reader, an interesting story.

That’s about all for preparation. I will begin the story in the next post where we will meet our characters, learn a little about them and their organization, and find out what their next campaign will be.

Thanks for reading and I look forward to getting started with actual gameplay.
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#2
CHAPTER 1 - UNDER THE HOARD

Game System: Tunnels & Trolls
Tools: UNE; d30 Sandbox Companion; Trollzine Magazine Vol. 3; donjon Random Campaign Generator; Johnn Four’s 5 Room Dungeons; and others

Setup

This chapter will be heavy on narrative, light on solo mechanics. That being said, a lot of dice rolling and such went into the character information included in this chapter (See Preparation post for details). Apart from character information, assume all names (NPCs, places, etc.) were randomly generated, at least in part. Any other significant information that was obtained through the use of some type of generator will be noted with the [RG] designation, for anyone who is curious about these things. Finally, I used the Random Campaign Generator found at donjon.bin.sh to generate some details about the starting city, not so much to lock me into any particular description or feature, but to provide some inspiration when needed (geographical names, deities, inns, etc.)

[Scene 1]

[Image: 0gvOi3k1p-Y8QgTqa-3WY_WqDKdzi7uWBD55IFOt...-WBA=w2400]
The Dragon's Hoard

Shelves stacked with plates, bowls, goblets, and other tableware ranging in material from plain wood to decorated ceramic to etched metal. Racks of weapons in various states of wear. Mannequins adorned in dresses, shirts, vests, corsets and blouses. A pile of ropes and chains in one corner. A stack of chests and boxes in another. Just about any manner of item or trinket could be found at The Dragon’s Hoard, Baybrook’s most successful thrift shoppe.

The Hoard’s owner, Garlen Notleigh, prided himself in his ability to meet everyone’s individual needs. Keeping a varied inventory of items was always a priority, from the most simple that even the poorest folk could afford, to the exquisitely ornate that that could fetch hundreds, if not thousands in gold from a discerning and wealthy client. It didn’t hurt that the shoppe’s name evoked images of rare treasure, the reward of some great quest. “If a customer wants to believe they are buying some rare artifact from an actual dragon’s hoard,” Garlen would say, “Who am I to tell them any different.”  Especially, he thinks to himself, when it might actually be true.

It is late and the portly, thin-haired owner is helping his last customer of the day. Tilly, an elven seamstress, places a selection of colorful bolts of cloth on the counter. She smiles cheerly at Garlen.
“Well, Tilly, you are looking much more cheerful these days,” Garlen remarks, his smile framed by a thin goatee.

“Thank you. I’m just relieved that things worked out for my sister in Eshhill.”

[Tilly’s story is based on keywords from RPGsolo.com’s “Getting Started” option: The setting is shadowy tunnel involving superb short sword. Shadowy secret entrance. Trying to stop you is the doppelganger skilled in sword fighting.]

“That’s right!” Garlen recalls. “You told me that a family heirloom was lost or stolen or something like that?”

“Stolen. An ornamental golden sword that had been in her husband’s family for centuries was willed to them after his uncle passed away last fall. It was supposed to be delivered last month, but someone posing as her husband intercepted the delivery.”

“Now I remember. That will be 10 gold,” Garlen said, totaling up the cost of Tilly’s purchase.  “I guess everything worked itself out.”

“Yes, it did, thanks to Kage Gordain,” the seamstress explained, opening her coin purse. “My sister contacted him when her husband couldn’t find out anything about the thief on his own. The way I heard it, Kage tracked the thief to some caves just outside of town, overcame the rogue, and retrieved the golden sword.”

“Kage Gordain? I hear he’s very secretive. Did your sister actually meet him?”

“Oh no. All dealings were done through one of Gordain’s associates.”

Tilly picks up her cloth and heads for the door as Garlen follows behind. “Thanks, as always. These are just what I need for my dress orders.”

“Thank you, Tilly. You are one of my best customers and it’s a pleasure doing business with you.”

The two say their farewells and Garlen locks up once Tilly has left. He quickly straightens up a few children’s toys on a shelf before heading to the back of the store. 

Through a simple wooden door behind the counter is Garlen’s personal living space. The room is about half the length of the entire building and contains a bed, nightstand, table and chair, a couple chests, and a few other simple pieces of furniture. A second door out of the room leads to a storage area.

  The walls of Garlen’s room are modestly decorated with a few small paintings and a decorative shield. The gaudiest item, however, is a large, marble relief mounted on the wall opposite the entrance to the room. The carved stone is a portrait, some say  a self-portrait, of a rather famous sculptor and artist. This relief is unique, in that it depicts the artist with an entire left ear, an ear he lost in a duel with another man over the love of a woman. Approaching the portrait, Garlen reaches out and tugs on the intact ear. There is a click and the left edge pops away from the wall, pivoting on hinges hidden under the right edge. [RG] Garlen pulls the relief away to reveal a small alcove and a stairway leading down into the basement. He enters and closes the secret door behind him before making the descent down.

[Scene 2]

Kristopher Miglward stands in a windowless room  lit by several lanterns hanging from hooks embedded in the walls. With him are five other individuals, three of which he is meeting for the first time.  He already knows Sylralei, the female elf with the wave of silver hair, and Dalen, the stocky, bearded dwarf. The pair freed him and the other slaves from Frogbeard the Pirate before inviting him to join their team. It was the two of them that led him here via a tunnel connected to the basement of the Hare’s House Inn.

Of those he didn’t know, Kelseen is human, like him. She has short red hair, a muscular build, a stoic face, and is dressed in full scale armor, despite there being no likelihood of danger tonight. The second stranger, Nen, is a bushy-haired halfling wearing commoner’s clothes. The third stands away from the group in a shadowy portion of the room, his back against the wall. The tall, imposing figure wears black lamellar armor and keeps one hand on a heavy mace leaning against the wall next to him. Although he wears a hood, his black eyes, leathery grey skin, and short upturned tusks could still be seen, identifying him as an urook.

Having not had a chance to speak since they parted on individual missions, Kelseen and Nen are filling Sylralei and Dalen in on the details of their last adventure. 

“It was probably the most beautiful sword I have ever seen,” Nen explains. “The blade was solid gold. The hilt covered in diamonds, emeralds, and rubies.”

“It must have been worth over a million in gold,” Kelseen adds.

“It’s a shame that Eldan didn’t live to see it,” Nen says, his head bowed.

“What happened to him?” Kristopher asks.

“Troll bashed his head in while he was picking a lock on a chest,” Kelseen answers.

“Yeah,” the halfling adds. “Those tunnels were crawling with ‘em. The creature must have been well hidden because none of us saw him until it was too late.”

“Giant’s spit!” Dalen the dwarf curses. “We haven’t lost a teammate since we ran into that great beast under Castle Lorechester.”

“Who would have ever guessed we’d find a dragon living in a dungeon?” Sylralei asks rhetorically.

“It’s unheard of!” Nen agrees. 

“Urrumph!” grunts the urook from the back of the room.

“Well, at least the rest of you got a larger share of the treasure, right?” Kristopher asks, grasping for the silver lining.

“It doesn’t work that way, lad,” Dalen says. “If a member of the party is killed on a mission, their share goes to Garlen.”

“It’s his way of ensuring that we don’t turn on each other,” Kelseen explains.

“Would any of you actually do that?” Kristopher asks.

No one speaks, but Nen and Dalen look at Sylralei and Kelseen as the two females throw a quick glance at each other before averting their eyes. The awkward moment is broken by a voice coming from across the room.

“Okay, everyone. Take your seats” The group turns to see Garlen descending the staircase from the shop above. As they disperse and head for a row of simple wooden chairs, Kris notes that the urook doesn’t move but stays put.

“What’s his story?” he asks Nen, nodding back toward the hooded figure.

“Tozhug? He Kelseen’s friend. She’s the only one who understands him.”

Realizing that is about as much explanation as he will get right now, the ex-outlaw sits and turns his attention to his new benefactor.

Garlen stands behind a long, sturdy-legged oak table and pages through a leather-bound book. Several other books, papers, and a quill and inkwell adorn the table’s surface. To the right of the table stands a tall dressing mirror framed in silver. Next to it is a short, round silver stand which appears fused to the mirror’s frame. Three sets of prongs reach up from the top of the stand in a triangular pattern. A brown leather pouch hangs from a hook on the side of the stand.  From its bulges, it appears to contain several items.

Garlen looks up and addresses the group. “Welcome. Before we . . . uh, did we forget to dress, Sylralie?” He is looking directly at the elf who is wearing a sheer silk robe, its black leather hem and belt the only things covering her feminine allures . . . just barely.

She replies matter-of-factly. “The latest group of soldiers just finished their training and are having a few drinks at Knave’s Garden Tavern before receiving their assignments. I thought I might head over there after the meeting to give them a proper send-off.”

Kelseen sighs and lifts her eyes up to the goddess Ilmis.

“Okay. Well then, moving on,” Garlen continues, “I see you have met Kristopher, our newest invitee. Kris was one of the slaves Dalen and Syl freed during their last mission. Syl thought he might make a nice addition to our group.”

“To our group,” Kelseen asks, “or to her bed?”

“Jealous?” Syl questions, her gaze piercing the homely woman. “Actually,” she continues, turning to the dark-haired rogue sitting to her left, “he showed no interest in me of that manner. In fact, if any of the other men even looked at me longer than was appropriate, Kristopher made sure they kept in their place. I knew then that he had his head on straight.”

[Image: 93023313-fantasy-elf-female-with-short-h....jpg?ver=6]
'"Jealous?" Syl questions.

“Just protecting the lady’s honor,” Kristopher explains.

“You don’t know the lady,” Dalen chimes in.

Kristopher hears a series of short growls come from the back of the room which he interprets as the urook’s best attempt at laughter.

“Anyway,” Sylralei continues, “That, along with his strength and other skills . . . survival skills, “ she quickly adds, cutting off any snide comments from Kelseen, “Made him a good candidate for Kage Gordain.”

“And a timely one, at that, considering our recent loss,” Garlen ends the discussion with a reference to Eldan’s recent death. “Now to matters at hand. We have three potential clients. They are standing by for their interviews, so let’s not keep them waiting any longer.”

He steps over to the mirror and retrieves the leather pouch from the stand. Loosening the ties, he reaches in and pulls out a ruby orb about the size of an orange. Gently, he places it in one of the prong holders on top of the stand.  He reaches back into the pouch twice to repeats the process, once with a ruby orb and again with an amethyst orb.

[Using the d30 Sandbox Companion’s Adventure Generator Tables, I came up with the following information: Trigger: Message -- Major Goal: rally ally/form allegiances -- Obstacle to Goal: Pass a Series of Tests -- Location: thorpe (village or hamlet) -- Location feature: Fountain (I interpret as any water feature) -- Villain Goal/Reason: Derangement/Insanity -- Artifact: Spellbook -- Key NPC: noble teacher


Most of the client’s description was generated at npcgenerator.com. Should this be the mission chosen for this campaign, the dungeon will be randomly generated primarily using Wizardawn’s “Dungeon Door” tool.]

Once the final orb is in place the reflection in the mirror begins to morph as the image of the lantern lit room disappears, to be replaced by image a bald human male with a short beard, dressed in clerical robes. The room behind him appears to be the interior of a church or chapel. The cleric moves his head around as his gaze shifts to various points of the mirror, as though he is searching for something.

“Hello sir,” Garlen speaks to the man in the mirror. “Can you hear me?”

“Kage? Mr. Gordain? Is that you? I’m sorry, but I cannot see you.”

“Nor will you. What is important is that I can see you. Now, please tell me your name and explain the job for which you wish to hire me.”

The man clears his throat and begins.  “My name is Borin Farlight. I am the Priest of  Mara, the God of Knowledge, for the village of Arnfalls. The last priest, in fact, unless my son is able to take my place when I grow too old to perform my duties. If not, then I fear Mara’s influence will fade from Arnfalls and the church will lose what once was a strong holding.

“I have sent my son several times to Camor to study at the Great Cathedral, however, each time he was refused and sent back home. They would give excuses such as he doesn’t show enough potential or they currently have more acolytes than they can teach adequately. As far as I’m concerned, both are nonsense. I feel the real reason is that they would prefer any association between Arnfalls and Mara be severed and hopefully a shameful blot on the history of the Church would be quietly forgotten.

“We have recently, however, been given new hope. The Arch-Priest has fallen ill. He is feverish, bed-ridden, and slips in an out of delirium. Some of the priests fear he is either going insane, or worse, possessed. Their best hope is an ancient book of prayers that contains powerful healing and exorcism invocations. That book is currently located in Arnfalls and they have now agreed to train my son, providing he brings them the book.”

“Then it appears your problem is solved and you don’t need me,” Garlen cuts in.  “Just send them the book. They heal the Arch-Priest. Your son gets training. Mara continues to watch over Arnfalls.”

“It’s not that simple,” Father Farlight continues. “How much do you know about our village’s history, Mr. Gordain?

“Not much, I’m afraid.”

“That’s not surprising. Earlier I mentioned that the Church considers Arnfalls a shameful blot on their history, a blot they would like to eradicate from this world’s memory. You see, years ago, Arnfalls was the center of Mara worship in all of Egron. The Great Cathedral was located here and for decades pilgrims from all over came to pray and offer their tithes to the Knowledge God. The Cathedral was actually carved into the side of the cliffs that line the northern edge of what was then a small town. The entrance was located beside a high, yet modest, waterfall and the interior was carefully formed out of an existing cave system. When I was a young acolyte I spent many of my days in those halls and no church was ever more grand than the Cathedral’s sanctuary.

“That was until the day the creatures came. No one knows why or exactly from where, but suddenly one day beasts, monsters, and even some undead began to wander out from what remained of the original caves. Giant spiders. Kobolds. Goblins. Ghouls. Skeletons. It was horrible. When only one or two appeared they could be handled by a few well-equipped priests or fighters. But more and more came until eventually the entire Cathedral was overrun and the clergy had to flee. To keep the horde from spilling out into the streets of Arnfalls, the priests used a few scrolls of  Minor Hellbomb Burts leftover from the Cathedral’s construction to blast the cliffs above the entrance, sending down earth and boulders to seal it off. Unfortunately, the blasts wore away the upper rim of the cliff, causing the falls to widen. A sudden rush of water came plummeting down, washing away the road to the entrance, as well as a quarter of the town.

“In the year that followed, the congregation built this small church I now preside over but leadership began making plans to relocate the main Seat of worship. Partly because of fear that the monsters might eventually find another way to the village, but mostly due to embarrassment over the fact that their prayers and power could not protect their Great sanctuary from lowly creatures. They considered Arnfalls cursed and wanted nothing to do with it. In the years following the majority of the priesthood moved to Camor, many days from here, and built a new Cathedral, leaving only a small number of priests to attend to the village until they slowly died off.”

Garlen stroked his thin goatee in thought. “And the prayer book?”

“Lost inside the old Cathedral.”

“As I thought. I understand now why you contacted me. So let’s talk business. I am currently in talks with several clients, but if I do choose your request my fee is 200 gold, payable upfront. I trust that will not be a problem since you sought me out you must know my reputation.”

“That is correct,” Farlight confirms.

“In addition,” Garlen continues, “Any items or treasure recovered during the mission other than what you have specifically asked me to retrieve become my possession if I so wish.”

“That’s a bit excessive, Mr. Gordain.”

“I do not disagree, Father Farlight. But if you are coming to me I have to assume that you have exhausted all other means to retrieve the book and I am pretty much your last hope. Am I correct?”

“You are.”

“Then those are my terms. I assure you I have several clients already willing to hire me. Would you still like to be considered?”

Father Farlight hesitates but eventually concedes.

“Good. My associate who brought you the LinkMirror will wait for me to contact him with my decision. If I agree to help you, you can pay him the initial fee and I will begin working on your case immediately.”

After wishing Farlight well and saying his good-byes, Garlen removes a couple of orbs from their prongs. Immediately, the image of the priest reverts back to a reflection of the dimly lit basement. None of the seated adventurers (or standing, in Tozhug’s case) speak as their benefactor rearranges the orbs on the stand. As before, the mirror’s reflection alters to show the group their next potential client.

[This next mission is inspired from an adventure randomly chosen from Johnn Four’s Book 5 Room Dungeons. Reading only the introduction (so as not to spoil anything), the only info I have is that it takes place on the mysterious and dangerous Crossbones Island. Pirates might be involved. That’s it. Everything below is my attempt to work with that information. Again, the client was generated using npcgenerator.com.]

In the mirror is the image of a woman sitting behind a large, oaken desk, a banner hanging on the wall behind her. She is elderly with curled gray hair and wrinkled white skin. Despite her apparent age, she holds herself straight with an air of dignity. She introduces herself to Garlen (still playing the role of Kage Gordain, of course) as Isabel Mistsplittler, the Governor of a small country called Sirisea. After exchanging greetings, she explains her need.

“In the course of settling a dispute with a neighboring county, we were granted ownership of a small island several miles off Sirisea’s coast. There is no need to go into the details of the dispute except to say that the island seemed fair compensation at the time. However, in the following months, we fear we may have been . . . how should I put it . . . conned. 

“We have sent several crews to the location noted both on the deed and own navigational charts. Their purpose was to survey the island and return with the information so the Board of Counselors could determine the best use for this newly obtained land. When the first ship failed to return in a reasonable time we sent another. It’s been several weeks and we have heard nothing from either crew.

“Sirisea is a small, primarily agricultural country. We do not have a lot of trained warriors, and those we do have are more interested in their own affairs than affairs of state. My point is, I need to know if the island exists, what is to be found there, and if it can be of any use to us. No Sirisean seems willing to risk their lives on such a mission. From what I’ve heard about you, Mr. Gordain, risking your life is little more than a nuisance in your line of work. Would you please consider helping Sirisea in this most urgent endeavor?”

As with the priest from Arnfalls, Garlen discusses payment and terms with Isabel, to which both she readily agreed. He tells the female official that he would be back in touch with a decision and again removes the orbs and rearranges for the third and final interview. 

[The third option will be a Tunnels & Trolls GM scenario (module) published in Trollzine Magazine Vol. 3. Most of the information below comes straight from the introduction to that adventure.]

The image that forms in the mirror is clearly of some sort of laboratory. Standing in its midst is a grey-haired man wearing extravagant blue and red robes embroidered with patterns of gold and silver thread. On his head he wears an equally extravagant turban.

“Ah, the magnificent Kage Gordain. Your reputation is known throughout the many lands of Barisea,” the robed man begins once Garlen greets him. “A warrior of great strength. A wizard well-tested in the magical arts. A rogue, cunning like no other. It humbles me to simply have the honor of speaking with you.

“I am Kolvarod the Arcanist, Son of the warlord Koshtak. I am a skilled warlock having studied under Golam Drusar, as well as a collector of ancient Agathonian relics. I have bestowed upon myself the singular purpose of preserving all knowledge of that lost empire.” 

Garlen begins to twirl his hand in a “hurry-up” gesture, even though he is aware that  Kolvarod can’t see him.

“I have recently come into the possession of certain documents that appear to be ledgers that would have been buried the warlord Agathor himself. The peddler from whom I purchased them told me that he himself obtained them from an old man living in the Lighthouse of Nyzam, who in turn claims they came from tombs beneath the lighthouse. This interests me since I desire to obtain the Scepter of Agathor, the magical rod which aided the Warlock in conquering the lands that made up his empire. It is my belief that the Scepter would have been buried with him in his tomb. 

“It would please me to offer you the opportunity, Mr. Gordain, to enter the tomb and retrieve the Scepter of Agathor for my collection. Your fine assistant, this strapping young man who brought me the LinkMirror, tells me your fee is two hundred gold. Phsst. That is much too meager a price for a task such as this. I am willing to offer you twice that amount.” 

“Most magnificent Kolvarod, your overly generous offer has all but taken the breath from my lungs,” Garlen responds, mimicking the warlock’s grandiloquent speech. “I am truly honored to even be considered for such a quest. However, I must ask. Why would such a great warlock as yourself need assistance fetching this artifact? You appear more than capable of procuring it yourself.”

“Oh . . . well . . .um,” Kolvarod stammers as his eyes appear to search for something that isn’t there. “You see, I am in much demand here in Maegar. Yes, that’s it! My duties keep me way too busy to have time to explore on my own these days. So regretfully I must send others on these dangerous missions that I should rightfully be taking on myself. Did I mention that I am offering you three times your normal fee? Six-hundred gold. As well as any items or treasure you find in the emperor’s grand tomb . . . other than the Scepter, of course,” he quickly adds.

The thrift shop owner glances over to the seated adventures, his eyes alighting on Sylralei. The silver-haired elf responds with a slight nod.

“Very well then, Kolvarod. I will take your request under consideration.”

After a rather flowery farewell, Garlen retrieves the three orbs from their prongs and places them back in the leather pouch. Stepping back to the table he addresses the group.

“There you have it. Three more offers. So, what are your thoughts?”

End of Chapter 1

Wrap up:

And that is also my question to you. What are your thoughts? Which adventure would you like to see? Which members of Kage Gordain would you like to see go on the quest? (I anticipate it will be a party of four.) Please leave your suggestions in a reply or send them to me in a private message, if you prefer.  To be clear, this is not a vote, in that I will automatically choose whichever mission or characters are requested most. But I will seriously consider them and make choices that I believe will best hold everyone’s interest. You have a little time to respond as I need to catch up on several other projects and -- well -- I sorta have a hurricane barreling down on me that might knock out my power for a few days.  See you on the other side.
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#3
CHAPTER 2 - THE HORIZON

Game System: Tunnels & Trolls
Tools: rpgsolo.com solo engine; d30 Sandbox Companion; UNE; r/Behind the Tables; other random generators

Setup: 

To determine which adventure to choose, I decided to let each character get a vote based on a random table. Since the “Island Adventure” received the most interest from readers, I weighted that choice heavier. Based on a d8 roll 1-4=Island Adventure, 5-6=Cathedral, 7-8=Lighthouse

I figured some of my characters might have personal preferences as to which task they would want to accept. In those cases I adjusted by one pip, adding or subtracting a point to the appropriate ranges. (i.e. Galen would lean toward the job that paid more, so I took a point from the Island Adventure and added it to the Lighthouse.)

Kris, Syl, and Nen had no preferences, so they rolled straight. Kris and Nen both chose the Island while Syl wanted to explore the Cathedral, as it seemed much more exciting and she was itching for some challenging combat. 

Dalen, being a dwarf, typically feels much more at home underground. Also, he is always looking for the most interesting stories to turn into tales to tell the town’s children. Therefore, I moved one point from the Island over to the Lighthouse. Surprisingly, he avoided both subterranean jobs and suggested they explore the island. Perhaps he thought “Mysterious Island” made for a better story after all.

Kelseen, being a staunch follower of Ilmis, the Goddess of Light, would prefer the mission with religious implications. Tozhug, only being understood by Kelseen, his friend, tends to mainly go on missions with the female warrior. For both I shifted one point from the island and added it to the Cathederal. Once again, the rolls surprised me as Kelseen voted for the lighthouse (for who knows why) and Tozhug opted for the island. His reason, as interpreted by Kel, was that he’d never been on a ship before.

As mentioned in my example, I adjusted Garlen’s roll in the direction of the Lighthouse, but I guess he felt that Kolvarod the Arcanist was a bit too pompous and his task too self-serving, for he too opted to help Sirisea find out what is going on with their island.

Five votes for the island adventure seals the deal. Our team is going sailing. Now for our team. I chose to send Kristopher, Sylralei, Kelseen and Dalen. Kristopher because I expect he’ll be my primary POV for this campaign; Sylralei and Dalen because they already have a relationship with Kristopher (not to mention I feel I can have some fun writing Sylralei); and Kelseen, partly by default (I’ll explain in a moment) and partly because I like the interaction between her and the elf. Since we already have a wizard, I felt Nen would be redundant. Which left the two warriors. I planned on a team of four which meant I only had room for one: Kelseen or Tozhug. Since Tozhug would have difficulty communicating without Kelseen, it seemed obvious that he would stay home and spend some time visiting with his clan.

The team:

Kristopher Miglward - Lvl 1 Male Human Rogue (Outlaw)
STR: 17   CON: 18
DEX: 14   SPD: 12
INT: 10   WIZ: 10
LCK: 17   CHA: 14  Total Personal Adds: 12

WEAPONS: Scimitar (4 dice); Dirk (2 dice + 1)
ARMOR: Leather (6 Hits)
TALENTS*: Roguery (+4 LCK); Endurance (+4 CON)
LANGUAGES: Common
SPELLS: (LVL 1)Oh There It Is


Sylralei Lumnum - Lvl 2 Female Elven Wizard
STR: 12   CON: 17
DEX: 11   SPD: 8
INT: 15   WIZ: 26
LCK: 15   CHA: 20  Total Personal Adds: 3

WEAPONS: Magic Quarterstaff (2 dice, reduces WIZ cost for spells); Bich’wa Dagger (2 dice + 3)
ARMOR: Blue Leather w/Silver highlights, custom fitting (6 Hits); +1 Cloak (1 Hit)
TALENTS*: Balance (+1 DEX); Marksmanship (3 pt. bonus to missile attacks); Well-Connected (Might know 
          someone who can help in certain situations.)
LANGUAGES: Elven, Common, Serpentine, Simian
SPELLS: (LVL 1)Detect Magic, Lock Tight, Will-O-Wisp, Knock Knock, Oh There It Is, Take That You Fiend, 
         Vorpal Blade, Oh go Away, Teacher, Hocus Pocus (LVL 2) Poor Baby, Magic Fangs, My Wish Your 
         Command**


Kelseen Havensorrow - Lvl 1 Human Warrior
STR: 18   CON: 10
DEX: 10   SPD: 8
INT: 10   WIZ: 5
LCK: 8    CHA: 8  Total Personal Adds: 6

WEAPONS: +1 Broad Sword (3 dice + 4 + 1[magic]); Crossbow (5 dice)
ARMOR: Scale Mail (16 [8x2 for Warrior Class]); Target Shield (8 [4x2 for class])
TALENTS*: Brawling (+5 STR)
LANGUAGES: Common, Urook
INVENTORY: Master Crafted Compass (+10 to direction SR)


Dalen Dimflayer - Lvl 2 Male Dwarven Rogue
STR: 22   CON: 20
DEX: 13   SPD: 7
INT: 14   WIZ: 6
LCK: 16   CHA: 8  Total Personal Adds: 15

WEAPONS: Broad Axe (4 dice); +1 Sax Dagger (2 dice + 5 + 1[magic])
ARMOR: Scale Mail (8 Hits); Target Shield (4 Hit)
TALENTS*: Roguery (+4 INT); Literary Knowledge (+4 INT);   
          Well-Connected (Might know someone who can help.)
LANGUAGES: Dwarven, Common, Trollish
SPELLS: (LVL 1)Oh go Away

* Talents apply to their skill SR bonus only when the task is related to the talent.

** The spell “My Wish Your Command” is a charm person spell that exists in the Version 5 rulebook. The only difference is that I changed the name of the spell because . . . well . . . simply put, the original name, while possibly acceptable back in the 70s/80s, comes across as a bit racist in today’s culture.

In addition to their individual goods, the party leaves with 1d4=4 healing potions from the Kage Gordain common stash. (I modeled the healing potions after D&D potions. Each heals 2d4+2 CON points.)

[Scene 1]

The fastest route to Sirisea is by ocean, requiring the party to travel down the Raven’s River to the port at the river’s mouth. After gathering their armor and equipment, the four board a barge moored at the docks on the outskirts of town.  The uneventful journey down the river takes nearly a full day.

Once they arrive, Kelseen and Dalen make several inquiries along the wharf until they find a merchant ship making the journey to Sirisea, a fine carrack named The Horizon. The four book passage, then look for a room at a nearby inn for the night, as they set sail early the next morning for the five-day journey.

[Scene 2]

(Encounter Roll: 1d6=1 From r/behind the tables Sailing Ship Encounters: At the next stop in port the sailors sing a batch of work songs the bards have never heard before.)

Most of the first day’s journey is along the Egronian coast, as the Horizon is scheduled to pick up additional cargo at the port in Fayhand before heading out to sea. They reach dock around dusk and Syralei, Kristopher and Dalen decide to go ashore with some of the other sailors to find some drink and grub. Kelseen, not one to frequent seedy establishments, chooses to stay aboard and keep an eye on their supplies. Dalen considers it a smart move, as the group is not familiar with this crew and their honesty. Sylralei considers it wise, as she is sure Kelseen would be a bore.

[Image: merchant_ship_scene_by_dashinvaine_d5wt3...fZysLEhrPA]
"The Horizon" in port

The trio soon comes upon a windowless two-story building with a sign mounted near the door identifying it as the Baron’s Flail Tavern. [From d30 Sandbox Companion] Entering, they find a typical bar and serving room alive with the conversation and singing of sailors and ruffians alike. In each of the four corners of the room stands a stone statue of some breed of wild cat: panther, leopard, tiger, and lion. Perhaps the most surprising thing in the room were the professional women, as they were uncharacteristically attractive for an establishment of this sort.

“Don’t stare too long,” Syl warns Kris. “You might find yourself being charged for the privilege.” 

“Interesting statues,” Kris notes.

“My guess is they’re symbolic for the type of game the Baron likes to hunt,” suggests Dalen.

“With his flail?” Syl asks, referencing the tavern’s name.

Dalen is about to respond when he simply bursts out in hearty laughter at the joke.

The three find space at the bar while the rest of the Horizon’s crewmen filla couple of tables. Just beyond them, a crew from another ship join together in a drunken shanty. When they finish, the Horizon’s crew ask them to sing it again, as they had never heard the tune before. Kris, Syl, and Dalen listen more closely as the song speaks of dangerous islands to the east. Their curiosity is piqued, as there is a possibility that the song might hold some clues to their own destination, but in the end, the details were simply too vague to identify any specific location.

[Does the song sound like it holds any importance to the group?
(50/50 | 8[d10]) Yes
Is it about their destination?
(Somewhat Unlikely | 6[d10]) No, but… It does talk about island dangers in the east, which is where the group is heading.]

The night goes on and the human, elf, and dwarf relax and drink a few tankards of ale. After a while, a sailor wearing patched breeches sidles up next to Sylralei. As he puts his elbows up on the bar, she notices a tattoo of a large black snake wrapped around his upper arm. Written amongst the creature's scales is a date, which typically means it commemorates some significant event in the life of the one who wears it. [RG from r/behind the tables Sailor generator]

[Do any of the patrons give Syl any trouble?
(50/50 | 5[d10]) No, but… One does mistake her for one of the prostitutes.
UNE for NPC: friendly-support-campaign = Thinking Syl’s a prostitute looking for a client, the sailor is willing to help in any way he can (wink, wink).]

“Can’t say we get many elves here in the Flail,” the tattooed sailor opens the conversation. 

“Is that so?” Sylralei replies. She nods toward the man’s arm. “Your snake’s dated. What’s the story?”

“When I was a bit younger my crew was hired to transport our cargo to the client's storehouses, a two days journey through the jungle. Along the way, our captain was set upon by a giant black constrictor. Without hesitation or any concern for my own well-being, I leaped upon the beast and sliced it open with my dirk.” He makes a swiping gesture in front of him as if slashing something with an imaginary dagger. “Saved my captain’s life that day. Earned me a promotion and this momento.” He nods towards the tattoo.

Syl smiles in approval.

Sailor Snake looks around at the other patrons, then turns back to the silver-haired elf. “I hate to see you here all alone.”

“Oh?”

“Like I said, we don’t see many elves of your profession. Unfortunately for you, most men are wary of what they don’t know. Tend to stick with humans. But I hate to see you go home without a fair even’ns wage. Let me buy you a drink, then I’ll . . . uh . . . show you around town?”

“Thanks for the offer,” Syl says, getting up off the stool. “But I’m afraid you are a bit...large for my tastes. I prefer my men small.” She drops her hand to rest behind Dalen’s head before gently nudging him toward the door. The dwarf blushes while simultaneously stifling a snicker at the absurdity of Sylralei’s suggestion. As she walks out the door, Sylralei playfully waves her fingers at the sailor. Kristopher pays their tab and discreetly follows behind.

[Scene 3]

[I am charging each character 10 gp to cover drinks, lodging, food and passage fees for the entire journey.

Navigation: Once a day I will make a navigation check to see if the ship stays on course. First I determined the INT of the navigation using 3d6 + 1d6 for experience. INT=15. Next, using column III of the d30 Sandbox Companion weather event table, I determine the sailing conditions. Based on those conditions, I determine the level of INT SR needed to stay on course: L1 for clear or single-cell event, L2 for multi-cell non-severe events, L3 for multi-cell severe events and supercell. If the navigator fails his roll, the Off-course Determination tables will be consulted. If the ship veers off-course by more than 12 degrees twice, an extra day is added to the journey.

System Inf: Saving Rolls (SR) are based on 2d + stat. The target score for L1 is 20, L2 is 25, etc. adding 5 for each level. Doubles allow you to roll again and a “1” and “2” is an automatic fail.

Day 3 - leave port. Weather: 8=No precipitation  Nav Roll: L1SR=7+15=22 Success 
Encounter Roll: 1 (Instead of consulting Behind the Tables, I am opting for an event of my own creation.)

The Horizon sets sail in the morning for the four-day journey to Sirisea. After the first hour or so, the sailors fall into a normal routine and there is little for the party of adventurers to do except rest, roam around the deck, or gaze out over the water. All is fine until, just before the sun goes down, a shrill shriek pierces the air. All on the deck, including Kris, Dalen, and Kelseen, turn to see a tense Sylralei staring in white-faced horror at a coil of rope. Speaking the words of a Take That You Fiend spell, the elven wizard reaches out her hand and sends a directed burst of energy at the coil. The group barely catches sight of the small, grey mouse poking out its head before the rodent is blasted into oblivion, bits of hair, tail, and blood spraying across the freshly swabbed deck.

“She can fight off 10 goblins and a Warg,” Dalen explains to Kris, “But a mouse crosses her path and she just falls to pieces.”

With a wide, mirthy smile, Kelseen walks up to the shaken elf and puts a consoling arm around her shoulders. “It’s okay, Syl. The bad, bad mouse is gone now.”

Syl shudders, oblivious to Kelseen’s patronizing tone. “Ugh! Those things are evil! Pure evil!”

[Scene 4]

Day 4 - at sea. Weather: Single Cell event, 27 min., 1” rain 4 mph wind     Nav Roll: 1LV SR= 9+15=24 Success!   
Encounter Roll: 1 (My we are having an eventful journey. d20 on Behind the Tables - A woman stares mournfully at the sea. She seems an unlikely passenger.  I began rolling on the d30 Companion’s NPC tables for inspiration until I got Motivation = Avoiding Responsibility. At that moment I knew after whom this NPC would be modeled.)

The next morning the passengers and crew awake to an overcast sky. Dark clouds form around the ship and the skies open in a downpour. Though the storm drops a fair amount of rain, it only lasts about half an hour and the sun’s rays soon break through the clouds.

Later that afternoon, while Dalen is taking a walk on the deck, he spots a young woman standing at the rail staring out to sea with a forlorn look across her face. While she was not originally on the vessel when Dalen and the others began their journey on the Horizon, he recalls her boarding right before the ship cast off from Fayhand. She is pretty with a round face framed by dark brown, nearly black, hair that falls just below her shoulders in relaxed curls. Her long garments are akin to those worn by the caravan merchants who travel to Egron from the west. Dalen finds little else remarkable about her appearance, save for the long, jagged scar that runs down her right arm. 

The Dwarf takes a place next to her by the rail just as two marine creatures arch out of the sea and dive back into the waves in unison. 

“Those dolphins are beautiful creatures,” he begins. “Wouldn’t you say?” 

“Dolphins,” the young woman repeats as though she is hearing the name for the first time. “Yes, I suppose they are. We don’t have oceans or dolphins back home.”

“And where might that be?”

“Anzakàr.”

Ahh, the desert. that would explain the dress, Dalen thinks.

Turning to face his new acquaintance, Dalen sticks out his hand in greeting. “Dalen Dimflayer. Adventurer and Hunter of Tales.”

A smile breaks through her doleful countenance as she accepts the offered hand. “Lachaidiga. And what tales are you hunting today?”

“Yours, I hope.”

[Image: lachport.jpg]
A smile breaks through her doleful countenance...

“And what makes you think I have a tale worth hunting?” Lachaidiga asks, turning back to the sea.

“A young girl traveling alone, an unlikely passenger on a merchant ship, stares out over the horizon with a look of sorrow. There must be a story in there somewhere.”

She lets out a quiet sigh. “It’s really not that exciting a tale. I come from an influential family back in Anzakàr. My parents are both deceased, which makes my older brother Enzzal the count and head of the family. He is one for order and appearance and he feels strongly that it is nigh time I am wed. Even went so far as to pick a suitor and offer him my dowry. Needless to say, I was furious. Oh, Alkinu … the soldier I am to wed … is nice enough, I suppose, but married life is not for me. I want my independence. I want to see the world and go on adventures, like you. Not stay at home and entertain the guests. But Enzzal was insistent, so I had to flee. Leave my home and friends. My brother has much influence in Anzakàr and sent soldiers to find me and drag me back home. I was able to avoid them, but unfortunately, my only hope to be free is to keep traveling further away, despite never see my home again.” Lachaidiga's eyes water at the thought. “So, as you can see, it’s not much of a tale.” 

“But you, you’re all alone,” Dalen says with concern. “Are you not afraid?”

“A bit,” she agrees. “But I’m far from helpless. Like your friend, the mouse-killer, I am versed in the magical arts.”

“So you are a wizard then?”

“I prefer Sorceress. At least that’s what they called me back home.”

The pair turn their gaze back to the water where the playful dolphins still follow alongside the vessel. For several moments the silence hangs thick in the air. Lachaidiga’s forlorn expression returned with greater heaviness as she watches the graceful sea mammals leap and play, free and seemingly without care. Dalen, noting the longing in her eyes, rests a comforting hand on the small of her back.

“I’ll make you a deal,” she says, breaking the silence. “Should our journey turn out to be a bit too boring . . . no run-ins with pirates nor encounters with fearsome sea monsters . . . I do have some stories from my life in Anzakàr and my flight from home that might thrill even an adventuresome dwarf like you. I’d be willing to share, provided you agree to keep me company. What do you say, Dalen, Hunter of Tales?”

“I’d say you have a deal, Lachaidiga the Sorceress!”

He reaches out his hand once again to seal the agreement with a handshake. Ignoring the extended hand, Lachaidiga leans in to give the dwarf a gentle kiss on the cheek.

Wrap up:

To learn more about the real Lachaidiga (or should I say, the real character), you can read about her adventures here
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#4
CHAPTER 3  -  STORMS A BREWIN’

Game System: Tunnels & Trolls
Tools: rpgsolo.com solo engine; d30 Sandbox Companion

Setup:

One commenter on my last post mentioned that he was interested in a nautical adventure. Well, he’ll get his fair share in this chapter.

A great deal of the gameplay for this chapter involved a lot of dice rolls on various tables, saving throws, oracle questions, on-the-fly rules generation, and other statistical calculations. There was not a lot of story-telling in the bare-bones play. That being said, there is a story to be told and I will do my best to trim down the gameplay elements and find a good balance of rolls/table information vs. narrative. If, for any reason, you want more of the “behind-the-scenes” information, feel free to contact me privately and I’ll be happy to send you this chapter’s notes.

Finally, nearly all the rolls were done at the beginning of each day. For story purposes, I will spread out the information to correspond with the narrative.

[Scene 1]

Day 5 - At Sea
Encounter Roll: 2 None

With nearly two full days of travel left, Kristopher expected that life aboard the Horizon would fall into a routine and grow rather dull. However, with his experience as a slave aboard Frogbeard the Pirate’s personal galley fresh in his mind, he was content with simply sitting back and watching the sailors work. He also watched his companions, picking up as much information as he could about his new found friends.

Dalen spends much of the day sitting on the deck with Lachaidiga, listening to her tales. She speaks of her years learning her magic from the serpentfolk, murder investigations, desert caravans, haunted ruins, a battle with a shaman of deception, and confronting cultists. The dwarf listens with rapt attention, occasionally jotting notes in a worn leather-bound book.

Kelseen, not being one for laziness, eagerly pitches in where she can. While it isn’t expected of the passengers, she gladly assists the other sailors with the daily tasks. Kristopher notes one crewman who seems to take a particular interest in the husky warrior woman, complimenting her on her strength and endurance. While Kris suspects Kelseen would deny any mutual interest in her admirer, he does notice her blush once or twice when offered a kind word that addresses her more as a woman than as a worker.

Sylralei is her usual self, flirting with many of the sailors, yet doing no actual work. While Kris believes she has no real romantic interest in any of the sweaty and gritty seamen and is only playing with them, he does lose track of her a time or two, only to see her later emerge from below deck, closely followed by sailor cautiously looking around to see if he has been noticed. 

The day goes on like this until mid-afternoon when the sky darkens. Winds began to pick up and, just before dusk, the rain begins to fall. It is soon evident that this is not going to be a short squall, but a long drawn-out battle with the heavens. Several inches of rain falls every hour, with strong winds and heavy waves rocking the ship. The crew do their best to control the vessel and limit any damage while the few passengers stay below deck. None of the party venture out except for Dalen who occasionally has to empty a wooden bucket that had been filled by a seasick Lachaidiga. 

The Horizon is tossed about for most of the night until the storm settles down after nearly four hours of continuous rain and wind. When there is a slight break in the cloud cover, the ship’s navigator takes a reading and is surprised to discover that the ship is only a few degrees off-course. A survey of the damage reveals that, despite the terrible winds, the crew did a good job of securing the ship and it is expected that any repairs could be finished quickly, allowing them to on time in Sirisea.

[The d30 Sandbox companion weather roll indicated a severe multi-cell line of storms. The total number of cells was eight with no breaks. The total time of the storm was 3.48 hrs, with rain up to 3.5” every 30 minutes and winds reaching speeds of just under 25 mph.

The navigator automatically failed a L3SR with a roll of  “1” and “2”. Condition modifiers required an off-course roll on the “Heavily Impaired” table. Fortunately, the result was only 12 degrees to port off course.

Is the ship damaged?
(Likely | 7[d10]) Yes
Does the damage take more than one day to repair?
(Unlikely | 1[d10]) No, and… Repairs could be made fast enough that they will actually not lose any time.
Did any crew get washed overboard during the storm?
(Unlikely | 1[d10]) No, and.. Crew was able to keep damage to a minimum, saving repair time.]

[Image: 5rGSUwVCQJsqfSBdPbzLBJKrIsjsa2qlUpplNkX0...nDtw=w2400]
It is soon evident that this is...a long, drawn-out battle with the heavens. 


[Scene 2]

Day 6: At sea, on schedule to arrive in port [Encounter Roll: 5 none]

The Horizon’s revelry is short-lived, however. Just before dawn, another series of storms wash over the ship. While this new series lasts for only about a quarter of the length of the first storm and there are some short breaks in the rain, the wind and savagery are just as strong and any preliminary repairs are undone and structures already weakened break completely. A mast and several of the booms are cracked and need repair. Rope and netting are thrown around and tangled. Even the rudder takes severe damage, making the ship difficult to steer. About the only good news is that, once again, no lives are lost.

[Weather Roll: Severe Multi-cell cluster. 3 clusters of approx. 25 min. each with short breaks between. Wind and rain similar to previous day’s storm.
Is the ship damaged?
(50/50 | 10[d10]) Yes, and… it undoes preliminary repairs and douses any hopes of arriving on time.
Did anyone get washed overboard?
(Unlikely | 2[d10]) No  +Event: Oppress / Travel (this is not so much an “event” as it is a confirmation of the current situation).
How severe is the damage? (d6 roll) 1-2: Light 3-4: moderate 5-6: heavy  1d6=4 Moderate
Each day the crew will need to make a SR against their LUCK ( rolled as 15) to complete repairs in time to make it to port the following day. The level is based on how severe the damages are: L1 for light, L2 for moderate, L3 for heavy. If they fail, they must roll again the next day, adjusting the SR down one level.
Repair Roll: (L2 - Target 25) 11+15=26 Success. They should be able to make repairs and reach Sirisea on Day 7.

The sun rises and the beaten and battered crew assess the damage. They are dismayed at what they find, realizing that it could take the better part of the day to get the ship in decent sailing condition. The party lends a hand wherever they can. Kristopher, Kelseen, and Dalen help the crew with the physical repairs while Syl and Lachiadiga use their magic to tend to any injuries suffered during the storms. [Syl heals 1d6=6 sailors, Lach heals 4, Syl gets Adventure Points (T&T’s XP) for each point of WIZ spent. I will assume she expends an average 4 points per sailor, giving her 24 AP.]

After the two had tended to a couple of sailors, Lachaidiga grows puzzled at Sylralei’s methods. To her, it seems like the elf is either overly concerned about the sailors’ well-being or is mothering them.

“Why do you address each sailor by saying ‘Poor baby”?” Lachaidiga finally asks.

Syl casts the sorceress an incredulous look. “It’s the name of the spell?”

“The name of the spell?” Lachaidiga repeats confused.

“Yes. ‘Poor Baby’ is the name of the healing spell, the same spell you are casting.”

“That’s not what we call it in Anzakàr. We just call it ‘Heal’.”

Syl rolls her eyes as she turns to another injured sailor, muttering, “You Anzakàrians are so dull!”

Elsewhere, the ship’s navigator takes a new reading once the cloud cover clears enough for him to see the sky. To his dismay, he realizes they have been sailing off course by about 90 degrees for the last several hours, thanks in part to the damaged rudder. As if the repairs weren’t enough, this would surely delay their arrival even more.

[Conditions required a L3SR for navigation. The navigator failed the roll. Modifiers dictated the use of the Moderate Impairment table to determine how much they were off-course. The ship was 90 starboard. This was already taken into account when I determined that the ship would be delayed by one day.]

[Scene 3]

Day 7: At sea, scheduled to arrive in port [Encounter Roll: 2 none]

Repairs go well through the remainder of day 6 and the morning of day 7. Spirits are high among passengers and crew when the lookout spots another string of storms heading in their direction. Quickly everyone secures what they can before the waves begin to roll and the winds begin to blow. For most of the afternoon the ship endures a pounding that undoes much of their previous work, as well as creates new damage. Unable to do much to fight the wind or steer with an impared rudder, the ship drifts aimlessly off course.  [Weather: 5 Severe cells with several inches of rain and winds in the mid 20 mphs. Navigator failed a L3SR and the ship was off course by 174 degrees to starboard. While the ship's ability to stay on course is rolled using the navigator’s abilities, I tend to attribute the current results to a combination of poor navigation and impared ability to physically control the vessel. 
An Oracle roll indicated additional damage. Repair SR rolls will begin on day 7, starting at L3.]

[Scene 4]

Day 8: Adrift at sea [Encounter Roll: 3 none]

The damages to the Horizon are much too numerous to fix in one day, and the crew does their best to at least repair the rudder and hoist some small sails in order to keep the ship from drifting too far off course. It would be at least another day before repairs will be sufficient to make any real progress toward shore. Luckily, the weather is much more accommodating with only a few small showers to cool them off and no severe storms to hinder their progress. [Failed an L3SR to repair the ship. Weather was a multi-cell non-severe cluster with a few mild showers.]

In the meantime, Kelseen lends the navigator her Master Crafted Compass. With the aid of the compass, his own tools, and clearer skies, he is able to keep the ship on course for Sirisea.

Meanwhile, in the small country of Sirisea, the Governor, Isabel Mistspillter, grows concerned that Kage Gordain and his associates have not arrived. She doesn’t fear that the hero has absconded with the payment, as she knows they were to arrive on the Horizon and so far the ship has not docked.  Her real concern is that they might be lost at sea. Several other ships that have arrived in the past couple of days spoke of rough seas and raging storms. And of course, there are always the pirates who travel on the ocean looking for easy plunder.

Luckily, Mistspillter knows there is an Orthonian naval cutter currently docked at the port. (Orthon being the country that shares a southern border with Sirisea.) She sends word to the ship, requesting that they conduct a search for the missing merchant ship. The captain agrees to make a sweep a hundred miles or so off-shore from Sirisea over the next several days. 

[Is the ship missed at port?
(50/50 | 7[d10]) Yes
Is a search boat sent out?
(Likely | 9[d10]) Yes +Event: Overindulge / Weapons (Navy ship is sent out in case of Pirates.)

The search for the Horizon will be based on a L4SR on LUCK. This roll will start on Day 9. Every day after that will be a L3SR. The first day is harder because the search ship is still close to shore and they have no idea where to look. It is a little easier after the first day due to already having covered some of the area, but a search at sea is difficult, therefore the SR will never be easier than L3.]

[Scene 5]

Day 9: Ocean
Encounter: 6 none
Weather: Single cell, a half hour of less than 1” of rain and 4mph winds.
Navigation: With the Master Compass the navigator easily makes the L1SR with a roll of 35.
Repair Roll: (L2SR) 23=Fail! Try again on Day 10 to have a chance of arriving on Day 11.

Food is beginning to become an issue on the Horizon due to the extra days at sea. Thankfully, the rain has provided more than enough drinking water in the catch barrels, but the Captain decides to institute rationing. To offset this, some of the crew put together makeshift fishing nets and drag them alongside the craft. Everyone’s spirits are raised when they are able to catch several fish on their first day trying. 

[Is food becoming an issue?
(Somewhat Likely | 6[d10]) Yes  (Crew has enough water due to rain, but must start rationing food. Each day crew members will lose a certain amount of strength. They will lose 2 STR unless they catch fish, in which case they will only lose 1 STR. Each day they will fish using d30 Companion hunting tables for coastal areas. Basically, they have 15 out of 30 chance to catch fish. If this goes on long enough so that characters start nearing 0 STR, I’ll figure out what happens.)
Crew Size: d20+20=29 consisting of 1 Captain, 1 First Mate, 27 regular sailors. 
Captain STR (5d6): 16
1st Mate STR (4d6): 19
Sailors (3d6, 10 min.): 15

Fishing Roll: 7 Catch Fish  (STR Tally: Capt: 15, 1stM 18, Sailors 14, PCs Kris: 16, Syl 11, Kel 17, Dal 21, Lach: 9 (I started Lachaidiga at 10. Her original character was created under the Runequest 6 ruleset, which also uses 3d6. I kept her RQ stat, but added 1 STR point to simulate experience in the gap between her written adventures and this one.)
Search Party: LS4SR (Target 35) 7+15=22 No rescue.

[Scene 6]

Day 10: Ocean
Encounter: 4 none
Weather: 1 No precipitation (Yay!)
Navigator easily makes his SR and didn’t even need the Master Compass.
The crew also makes their L1 repair SR, meaning ship will reach shore on Day 11, pending any additional delays.
Fishing Roll: 28 No fish (STR Tally:  Capt: 13, 1stM 16, Sailors 12, PCs Kris 14, Syl 9, Kel 15, Dal 19, Lach 7)
Search Party: L3SR (Target 30)=20 No rescue.

The crew finally finish repairs and the ship is back on course traveling towards Sirisea. The Captain informs the passengers that they should arrive in port on the following day. More at ease, the party takes time to relax. Kelseen retreats to the lower decks to sleep while Lachiadiga resumes telling Dalen of her adventures in Anzakàr. Syl lingers nearby, just within earshot. She attempts to appear uninterested, but Kristopher notices her continual glances in their direction and the turn of an ear towards them, as though she is straining to hear what they are saying.

[Scene 7]

Day 10: Arrive in port.
Encounter: 3 None
Weather: Single cell, insignificant
Navigation: Easy success
Fishing: 25 No fish (STR tally Capt. 11, 1st M 14, Sailors 10, PCs Kris 12, Syl 7, Kel 13, Dal 17, Lach 5)
Search Party: L3SR (Target 30)=1,2 automatic fail.

Four days late, the Horizon finally arrives in the Port of Sirisea. Dockworkers are overjoyed to see them, but not as much as the crew and passengers are to finally be back on land. Wasting no time, Sylralei flags down a messenger and tells (d6 Even M/Odd F=2) him to give a message to the Governor that Kage Gordain and his associates have arrived, but, due to the nature of their travels, will require at least one day of rest. Kage will be in touch when he is ready to continue the mission.

As the other three unload their equipment from the ship, Kristopher asks Dalen about his new found friend.

“I heard some of those stories the Anzakàrian sorceress was telling you,” Kris begins. “Do you think she might be of some help to us?”

“Shhhh!” Dalen hushes the dark-haired warrior and he casts a quick glance in Lachiadiga’s direction to see if she heard. “The treasure expectation for this mission is already pretty low. Do you want to short yourself by adding an extra cut? Besides,” the dwarf continues, motioning Kris’ gaze to where Lachiadiga is lying prone, kissing the ground, “We’re traveling to an island and I don’t believe that girl will be boarding another ship any time soon!”

[Image: GpVkBnRKs3UOAdrAeF6T-cklqHhG4XWdVtnLK4WW...Je3Q=w2400]
"I don’t believe that girl will be boarding another ship any time soon!"


Wrap Up:

In addition to Dalen’s reasoning, I’m also not interested in doing a full character conversion, nor hijacking another Solo RPGer’s character any more than I already have. Thanks G.N. for being a good sport!
Reply
#5
CHAPTER 4 - THE PORT OF SIRISEA

Game System: Tunnels & Trolls
Tools: rpgsolo.com solo engine; r/BehindTheTables; d30 Sandbox Companion, other random generators

Setup
Everyone received 25 AP for the journey to Sirisea.
The party spends one day to recover in a local inn. At some time during that time, Dalen buys 40’ rope. Each character spends 1 gp for room and board.
I made an encounter check for the day of rest. d6=2 no event.

[Scene 1]

Isabel Mistspillter is sitting at her large desk, penning a letter to [RPGSolo: Relentless musician] a minstrel group calling themselves “Attitude of the Stage.” “Attitude” has contacted the Governor's office multiple times asking to be the main performers for the upcoming Festival of Youth celebration. Mistsppillter’s carefully worded rejection letter is nearly complete when her assistant ushers a visitor into the office. She holds up a halting hand while finishing the last sentence. She signs the letter, hastily sprinkles the parchment with sand, and hands it to the assistant for delivery after folding and sealing it.

With that out of the way, the Governor now focuses her attention on the woman standing before her. She is of average height with broad shoulders and muscular arms and legs. Her auburn hair is cut short. She is wearing a full set of scale mail and holds a helmet under her arm. Hanging from her belt is a broad sword and strapped to her back is a crossbow and quiver of bolts.

“Greetings, Your Governorship,” the visitor says, standing at attention. “My name is Kelseen Havensorrow and I am here on behalf of Kage Gordain. Kage, myself and a couple of other associates are prepared for our mission.”

[From PlayEveryRole.com: The PC gives: an awed response]

“Four of you!” the Governor exclaims, impressed. “Wow, I didn’t think our concerns would warrant that much attention. I honestly expected just Mr. Gordain and possibly one hireling to do little more than assess the situation and offer some possible courses of action.”

“Ma’am, I can assure you Mr. Gordain takes your concerns seriously and considers it his personal responsibility to remedy any situation as best as he is able, to your satisfaction.”

[Does the Gov. question Kage's absence?
(50/50 | 4[d10]) No +Event: Cruelty / Possessions (to be addressed later)
Does the Gov. have a ship secured to take the party to the island?
(Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and… (it’s the naval galley that was looking for the Horizon.)]

“I am glad to hear that,” Mistspillter says in response to Kelseen’s explanation. “The vessel that will be taking you to Crossbones Isle . . . yes, that is the official name of the island listed on the deed . . . the vessel is called the Skylark. It has actually just returned to port after searching for your own delayed vessel. The Skylark is on loan to us from Orthon, our allies to the south. It is a navy ship, so it does have some weaponry and trained men, should you encounter any trouble. Here is the information you will need. The Skylark’s Captain also has a copy. Good luck. I look forward to your return.”

She hands Kelseen a pack of documents. The warrior woman gives a slight bow of the head in salutation and leaves the office building. 

[Time for the event rolled above: Cruelty / Possessions]

Several blocks from the government building the finer business and establishments thin out until Kelseen finds herself walking past dilapidated homes and seedy inns. Such neighborhoods are typical near seaports and primarily support the dockworkers and sailors. Just about the time Kelseen is able to the masts of some of the taller ships poking up over the roofs,  (1d4) two rough-looking figures step out of an alleyway and block her progress. The taller of the two is a human male holding a club. His partner is a halfling armed with a short sword. Both are wearing leather jerkins.

[T&T Combat: In most tabletop RPG’s combat is handled as individual attacks against a specific opponent. In Tunnels & Trolls, projectile combat, magic, and stunts (officially referred to as “Unusual Combat” in the version 5 rules) are the only actions that are one-on-one. All other combat is handled as group-on-group.

Every combat round, each character or monster rolls a certain number of d6 dice and adds to the result their “combat adds” (points added to the dice roll). The number of dice and adds are determined by such factors as a weapon, character stats, and monster rating. After all of a party’s characters have rolled, their individual attack scores are added together to form a single score for the entire party. The opposing party does the same and both numbers are compared. The party with the highest number wins the round and the losing party takes damage equal to the difference between the two numbers. The damage is distributed among the various members of the losing party. While there are of course exceptions to the above, this describes about 80% of T&T combat.

This method of combat poses some particular narrative challenges for the solo-roleplayer. First, there is no description of unique actions taken by individual character to inspire the narrative. Second, if each roll is considered a real round of combat, that would mean that only one party lands any blows while all the other party totally misses. This is not representative of normal combat rounds where there is usually a give and take.

Therefore, this is how I plan on handling combat narration. I will typically conduct the entire combat first. Then, depending on the results of each round, I will construct a story that loosely follows the order of combat but arrives at the final results.

For this first encounter, I will present the final narrative first, then explain the mechanics at the end. As I have done in the past, I will go into great detail for this first encounter to help give the reader a feel for the mechanics, but only list significant or interesting rolls for future encounters.]

“That’s a fine looking sword you’ve got there,” says the human, eyeing the weapon hanging from Kelseen’s belt.

“That it is,” Kelseen agrees.

“And that money purse looks kinda nice, as well,” says the halfling, eyeing the pouch also hanging from her belt.

“Yes, I am kinda attached to it.” Kelseen replies.

The two rogues step closer to Kelseen in unison. “I think it’s about time you became unattached to it,” says the human, tapping his club against his palm.

Once they are in striking the red-haired warrior kicks out with her right leg, landing the flat of her foot square in the halfling’s chest. With an audible expulsion of breath, the thief is lifted off the ground as he flies back several feet, tumbling to the ground, and losing his grip on his sword. In the moment it takes the human to watch his friend fly, Kelseen draws her own broadsword from its sheath and rakes the point across his belly, slicing through the leather jerkin.

The wounded man puts one hand to the cut but doesn’t hesitate in his counterattack. Unfortunately for him, it isn’t fast enough and is struck down dead with a second swing of Kelseen’s sword.

Turning her attention to the second thief who is still trying to catch his breath, Kelseen waits patiently as he slowly gets to his feet and retrieves his weapon.

“Your partner’s dead. Run along now,” she suggests, giving the halfling every attempt to save his own skin.
 
“You think you are so tough,” he snarls and charges, weapon held high.

Kelseen lets out a mild sigh as she steps aside and stabs with her broadsword.  The halfling is unable to avoid the strike due to his own momentum. The blade slides in between his ribs, killing him instantly.

As the dead man slumps to the ground, Kelseen looks around at the people who have stopped to watch but are cautiously keeping their distance. 

“They tripped,” she explains, resheathing her broadsword and walking away toward the docks.


[Image: aGT355tc4H3_PRSbMiuPcWjeRgslrbb3nR-hJbxL...n_fg=w2400]
They tripped.
[I randomly rolled two thieves: a human and a halfling and randomly chose a weapon and armor (either shirt or leather jerkin) for each. Next, I rolled stats.

Weapon on 6d 1-3: Dirk  4-5: club  6: short sword    EVEN: Shirt ODD: Leather jerkin

     ST  DX  IN  LK  CON SP  WZ  CH  ADDS  WPN
HUM  11  10  10  13  16  12  8  12  +1   Club, Lthr Jerkin
HFL  8  11   7  14  12  12  13  9   +2  Sht Swd, Lthr Jerkin

The human, armed with a club, would roll 3d6 and +1 add. The halfling, armed with a short sword, would roll 3d6 and +2 adds. Together, their attack would be 6d6 + 3 adds.

Kelseen, armed with a +1 broad sword would attack with 3d6 +12 adds. 

I didn’t like these odds, so I wanted to even things up a bit by having Kelseen attempt a stunt, namely kicking the Halfling down. While stunts, or Unusual Combat, is discussed in the T&T rules, very little details are given and it is pretty much up to the GM’s discretion to assign an appropriate Saving Roll Level and Stat. 

I decided the SR would be against DEX. As for level, I compared both STR and DEX. . Kelseen has higher STR and they are even on DEX, which I felt put the roll teetering on L1 to L2. The kicker, however, (no pun intended) is Kelseen’s Brawling talent. While technically it only gives advantage to STR rolls, I felt it was applicable in determining SR Level, and therefore required only a L1 SR for success (Target: 20).

Kelseen rolled double 6’s, giving her an additional roll: 6,6,1,3=16 + 10 DEX = 26 total.

Turns out she would have succeeded on at L2 anyway! Had she failed she would have a penalty assessed to her next combat round, but I will discuss that if/when it happens in the future.

Halfling down for (1d4) 4 turns.

Does Kelseen have her shield? d6 1-4: yes 5-6: no  1=yes, which means she can absorb an additional 8 points of damage.

Finally, it’s time for combat.

Turn 1: Human (3d6+1): 12 vs.   Kelseen (3d6+12): 27  
             Kelseen wins by 15 points. The Human’s leather absorbs 1. Total Dmg: 14  Hum: 2 CON

Turn 2: Human: 10   Kelseen: 25  Kelseen wins. Dmg: 15-1  Hum: -12 CON  Dead.

Halfling is technically down for 2 more turns, but Kelseen is gracious enough not to attack when he is down. He does need to make a morale check, however. I use my own personal reaction table and modifiers that are based on OSRICs rules. Halfling would need to make a 50% or less roll. He rolls 16 and stupidly stays to fight.

Turn 3: Halfling (3d6+2): 13     Kelseen (3d6+12): 27 
           Kelseen wins. Dmg.: 14-1 (for leather)=13   Halfling: -1 CON

Not the best example to demonstrate the group combat dynamic, but I think you have an idea of how T&T combat works.]

[Scene 2]

The next morning, Dalen sits on the edge of a crate down at the docks. Grouped around in front of him are about ten boys and girls. They listen intently as the dwarf, dressed in full scale mail and broad axe hanging at his side, tells them a story about a seaside village much like their own. This village was protected by a large, green dragon named El’Ott who had befriended a young boy who lived there. 

“One night,” Dalen tells the rapt children, “A violent storm blew in, covering the coast with rain and wind. It was so bad, the flame in the lighthouse was blown out. Now, El’Ott was flying just off-shore when he spotted a ship struggling to get to the port. It was having a hard time due to all the waves, but worse, because the lighthouse was out, the ship was in danger of running ashore. The dragon knew he had to help.”

The children’s eyes widen with excitement. 

“Flying swiftly, El’Ott reached the lighthouse in mere seconds. The lighthouse owner flew the widows open wide around the doused beacon so the beast could blast it with his fiery breath. El’Ott made several attempts but to no avail. The wick was soaked. Looking back at sea, the dragon saw the ship getting closer and knew he had one last chance. Taking a deep breath, El’Ott let out one last, long stream of flames. The constant heat dried the wick as it finally caught fire, lighting up the sky. The ship, just feet away from the jagged rocks, saw the warning and was able to change course. 

“And that, kids, is how El’Ott the dragon saved all the sailors on the ship that night!”

The kids cheer and ask for another story, however, Dalen notices that Kristopher had approached moments before to let the dwarf know they were ready to sail. “I’m sorry, kids, but I have to go on more adventures. Maybe when I’m back ashore I will tell you another.”

The children scatter while Dalen joins Kristopher and the two walk down the dock to the Skylark.

“You really get a kick out of telling your stories to those children, don’t you,” the former outlaw asks.

“Of course!” Dalen answers emphatically. “That’s the main reason I go on these missions. To have real-life experiences that I can turn into children’s tales. The gold is nice, but the expression on their little faces is the real treasure!”

“So that’s why you write everything down in that leather book of yours.”

“A story-teller can never have enough tales.”

Kristopher thinks about the story Dalen just finished moments ago. “So, are all the stories you tell based on real adventures?”

“They sure are,” Dalen confirms.

“So, a dragon really saved a ship by lighting a beacon?”

“Giants, no!” the dwarf exclaims. “The dragon was actually frying the lighthouse’s owner because he stole some of the beast’s treasure. The fact that the ship saw the flame and was able to avoid the rocks was just a coincidence. But that version is a bit too horrific for the boys and girls. Mine is a bit more palatable.”

[Crossbones Island is (2d10) 140 miles off-shore, or about 3 days travel per Basic Fantasy RPG rules for a sailing ship similar to a cutter.

I will be following the same sailing rules as the previous trip on the Horizon. The Skylark’s navigator has an INT of 17.

After Kelseen returned the previous afternoon, the party easily located the Skylark and met with the naval ship’s captain. He was told to expect them and explained that they will be sailing in the morning and the four should rest up for the journey. 

The night passed uneventfully and no one came searching for Kelseen to ask why she left two corpses in the middle of the road. She figured that either the bystanders saw she was being attacked or the two bandits had a reputation and the villagers were glad to see them dead. Of course, Governor Mistspillter could have heard about it and used her influence to protect the Kelseen from questioning. Regardless, it appeared there would be no consequences.

In the morning they loaded their stuff on the cutter and Dalen, seeing they had some time before departure, went off to pass the time entertain the locals until Kristopher came to fetch him.

Sylralei and Kelseen are waiting at the end of the Skylark’s gangplank when the human and dwarf arrive. Sly and Kristopher are dressed in comfortable clothes, while Dalen and Kelseen are both wearing their full armor: Dalen because he thinks it adds to the storytelling he just finished with the children; Kelseen because . . . well, just because. The four board the ship together. 

At the top of the plank, they pass a group of sailors. Kelseen clearly hears one, a young man with dark-red sideburns that meet his moustache, complaining to his fellow crew.

“Can you believe this? Women have no business on a naval ship. And look at that one, wearing armor. What a joke. I bet she’s scared of mice.”

A couple of his friends chuckle, but most keep silent. One or two even walk away.

The naval cutter sets sail under an overcast sky. An hour into the voyage rain begins to fall. While it is nothing as strong as what they encountered during their journey to Sirisea, is does continue for several hours.

[Day 1: Weather per d30 Sandbox companion: 7 Non-Severe Cells, lasting several hours with a few inches of rain and mild to moderate winds. Enough to require a L2 navigation SR (Target 25). The roll of 26 is a success.

Encounter: d6=1, encounter. From r/BehindTheTables: “A sleepy [sailor] pushes the party to one side and says "outta ma way cur. Yer blocking the way to the mess hall."]

Later that afternoon, Kelseen and Dalen are standing on deck, deep in conversation when a group of three sailors approaches. Kelseen recognizes the lead sailor as the young man who seemed to take issue with women boarding the ship. The group stops in front of Kelseen and Dalen.

“Outta the way, wench,” the red-haired sailor demands, indicating the door behind Kelseen. “You’re blockin’ our way to the mess hall.”

Instead of moving, Kelseen straightens up and challenges the sailor’s progress. Both their eyes narrow as they face off.

After several moments, Kelseen is the first to speak. “I’m not the one who’s afraid of mice!” she hisses.

The sailor says nothing, confused at Kelseen’s meaning.

Eventually, Kelseen steps aside just enough for the sailors to pass, but not enough for them to pass unhindered. As each man brushes against the her, she’s sure to give them a healthy nudge with a stiff shoulder.

[Scene 3]

[Day 2:  Encounter: 4 None
Weather: 2 Clear skies
Navigation: L1SR (Target 20) = 3,2,17=22 Success!

Day 3: Encounter: 2 None
Weather: 3 Non-severe cells with a couple of inches of rain and moderate winds
Navigation: L2SR (Target 25) 4,4,2,3,17=30 Success!]

The next couple of days are uneventful as the skies are clear and sunny, for the most part. The Skylark does encounter a little rain and wind near the end of the third day of the journey, but the navigator and crew are well skilled and the ship easily stays it’s course. The captain tells the party that he expects to reach Crossbones Island by morning.

Sylralie awakens early the next morning and can feel that the ship has come to a standstill. Throwing on some clothes, she leaves her cabin heads above deck where she finds Kris, Dalen, and Kel already there, staring across the water. Following their gaze, Syl spots Crossbones Island sitting about half a mile off the port bow. The island is a lush green, covered with jungle and rolling hills. Several cliffs rise up out of the jungle on the far side of the island.

“Well, boys,” Sylralie says, ignoring a side-glance from Kelseen, “It looks like this is as far as this ship can take us. I guess we’ll need to hitch a ride to shore.”

[Image: Rlp-ZoVbaj3yNYkEgBnbUal1QxFwTJKLBJlSVwzx...B9ew=w2400]
Crossbones Island

End of Chapter 4

Wrap up:

I am intentionally overlooking important surveillance for the benefit of the solo experience. If this were a traditional tabletop game, or perhaps a real-life mission, it would be reasonable to expect that the Skylark would make a quick journey around the island to “scout it out” before going ashore. Since this adventure is based on a published five-room-dungeon and, in an effort to keep myself surprised, I have not read ahead, I have no idea what I might find on this island. If I were to have the ship circle the island I either have to read the entire adventure to find out if there is anything I might see and, as a result, spoil the fun of the surprise, or claim to not see anything and then risk having a continuity problem when there is actually a Pirate Ship off-shore or a large temple that could easily be spotted from a distance. My solution is to 1) not perform basic reconnaissance, and 2) include a large cliff in the geography of the island to block the far side from view, thus hiding any objects that might be seen.
Reply
#6
CHAPTER 5 - CROSSBONES ISLAND

Game System: Tunnels & Trolls
Tools: Johnn Four’s 5 Room Dungeons;  rpgsolo.com solo engine; other random generators

Setup

Now that the party has actually made it to the island, I can begin to use the published adventure on which this campaign is based. If you remember from chapters one and two, I chose an adventure from Johnn Four’s book “5 Room Dungeons”.  While the term is “5 room,” a better description would be “5 stage dungeon” as the various areas may not be physical rooms. Instead, it is a dungeon or adventure that has five parts with each part playing a particular role. Room one is the entrance or guardian. Room 2 offers some puzzle or roleplaying challenge. Room 3 is a trick or a setback. Room 4 contains the final big battle or climax. Finally, room 5 holds the reward, revelation or another plot twist.

The scenarios in Johnn Four’s book aren’t meticulously detailed and populated like a formal RPG module. Instead, they offer general descriptions of the story and contents of each of the five areas, leaving it up to the GM to fill in the exact details. To avoid spoiling the adventure for myself, I used a method based on this article.  First I zoomed out of the PDF till it was approximately 25% the normal size. Then I used the reader's magnification tool (such as Acrobat Reader’s Loupe Tool) to display only a small part of the text and read just enough to be able to move the story along.

[Scene 1]

The crew of the Skylark have lowered a tender and dropped a rope ladder over the side of the ship for boarding. Kelseen and Dalen are outfitted, as they have been for most of this journey, in their scale armor. only now they are fully armed. From Dalen’s belt hangs his broad axe and sax. Kelseen is equipped with her +1 broadsword and crossbow. Both have their target shields slung across their backs.

For the first time, Kristopher wears the simple suit of leather armor which he borrowed from Kage Gordain’s common stash. Also on loan are his scimitar and dirk.

Easily the most exquisitely dressed member of the group is the elf Sylralie. The wizard wears a custom-fitted suit of sapphire blue leather armor, highlighted with silver hemming that closely matches her short wave of hair. Draped across her back is a hooded cloak of the same blue and silver color, currently with the hood up. Finishing the ensemble is a leather belt and a pair of sleek boots that end just above the knee, both colored a darker royal blue. In addition to the Bich’wa Dagger that hangs from her belt, Syl is armed with a long ash staff, a snake’s head carved into the top.

“Your tender is ready,” Captain Pollard tells the party. “I will be sending two crew members to assist with the journey ashore and anything else you might need. This is Master Fernmaker and Midshipman Byrd.” The captain indicates two men standing by the ladder. To Kelseen’s disappointment, she recognizes Byrd as the red-headed sailor who challenged her at the mess hall door. She says nothing but gives the Midshipman a challenging glare that continues once they are seated aboard the tender.

          ST  DX  IN  LK CON  SP  WZ  CH  ADDS  
FERNMAKER 10  13   8  10  8   13  10  11  +2   
BYRD      10  16  12  11  9   8   12   9  +4   

Each is wearing a leather jerkin and greaves (Blocks 3 points) and is armed with a sabre (3d6+4)

Midshipman Byrd mans the oars and begins rowing for Crossbones Island. Kristopher and Dalen engage Master Ferntaker in idle chat, swapping stories. Every now and they Sylralei interjects a word here or there but is much more interested in the staring match between Byrd and Kelseen. When the boat is about halfway to shore Sylralei’s curiosity gets the best of her.

“What’s up with the two of you?” she asks leaning forward. “Kel, you’re looking at him like he stood you up for a date.”

Without breaking her gaze, Kelseen answers. “He thinks you’re afraid of mice.”

Sylralei’s eyebrows rise as she nods slightly in some personal understanding before leaning back. “I’d be careful if I were you, sailor. Make her mad and I can’t help you. You’re on your own.”

“Like I would need a woman’s help,” Byrd snarls.

“Okay, Arlo. Take it easy,” The Master calls out from the back of the tender.

“Why should I?” Byrd asks.

“‘Cause,” Dalen answers, “There’s four of us and only two of you.”

Byrd blows off the comment with a laugh. “And strand yourselves on the island? I don’t think so.”

“Trust me, Arlo” Kristopher cuts in, using the Midshipman’s first name, “We know how to row a boat just fine.”

The sailor offers no reply, but just keeps rowing in silence the rest of the way to shore.


[Scene 2 - Room 1: Entrance & Guardian]


After about thirty minutes the small craft makes it to shore. After the party climbs out the two crewmen pull the boat up onto the beach. 

While Sylralie and Dalen discuss the best course of action, Kristopher steps away to scan the beach, looking for any signs that the previous scouting parties made it this far. He saw no boats, debris, or bodies. Turning back to the others, he takes a step and feels something under his boot. Kicking away the sand he sees a small leather pouch tied off with a strap.

“Hey,” he calls to the others. “I found something!”  

[Are there any signs of the other two expeditions on the beach? (50/50 | 7[d10]) Yes
Is it a boat? (50/50 | 5[d10]) No, but… it’s something else
Is it bones? (50/50 | 1[d10]) No, and…  It is something belonging to a previous crew member, but it’s small and requires an L3SR on Luck to spot.
Luck Rolls: Kris is the only one to succeed with a 38 (6,6,6,3+17LK=38)]

Kris opens the pouch and examines the contents. Inside he finds 20 gold coins, a tooth, and a needle and thread. [RG except for coins] He shows the coins to Master Ferntaker.

“That’s Sirisea currency, all right,” he confirms.

“It’s a good guess that at least one of the first crews made it to the island,” Dalen says. “This must be one of the men’s money pouch. He must have dropped it.” 

“Or he could have been killed by some animal and eaten,” suggests Kelseen, “And this is all that is left of him, the rest being dragged off, washed out to sea or blown away.”

[Each character makes an L2 perception roll against Luck. This is to see if they notice something. I’m only awarding AP for successful rolls since it is not an active attempt by the character to see something. Kris and Byrd succeed.]

While Dalen is speaking, Kristopher catches a glimpse of something further inland at the edge of the jungle. He turns to tell the others when he sees Byrd also scanning the jungle. 

“Did you see that?” Kristopher asks.

“Yeah, something’s watching us.”

“Hey,” Kris calls out, getting everyone’s attention. “We think there’s something in the jungle.”

Each person prepares their weapon. Kelseen loads a bolt in her crossbow and aims in the direction of an anticipated attack. Syl mulls through two different spells, waiting to see which one will be best for this situation. 

“So, do we wait for them to come to us,” Kris asks, “Or do we . . . “

Before he can finish his sentence [1d6] 2 jaguars and [1d6] 3 panthers rush out of the jungle toward the group.

[Image: how-to-draw-a-jaguar-animal-jaguar-cat-s...4819_5.gif]

[Each cat has a Monster Rating, or MR of 34. MR represents both the attack strength end health of a monster. To determine how many dice a monster, or group of monsters, will roll, you divide their combined MR by 10, then add 1. In addition, monsters get half their MR in combat adds. So in this case, the five cats have a combined MR of 170, so they attack with 170/10 = 17+1 = 18 dice and 170/2 = 85 combat adds. The combined MR is also their CON. As they take damage their MR is reduced. When MR hits 0 the monsters are dead. As MR drops, so does a monster’s attack strength. For the most part, I will assess damage to the monster’s total MR. However, should there be an instance where it is necessary to track an individual monster’s heath (such as a missile attack that damages a specific opponent), I will take note of that. ]

Kelseen aims her crossbow at one of the jaguars, waiting for it to close the distance. Syl stays steps behind the line of fighters and mutters the words that will cast Vorpal Blade on the party’s weapons. [All swords and daggers’ attacks scores are doubled for one round.] The rest steel themselves to meet the oncoming rush. 

When the jungle cats are within 25 feet of reaching them Kelseen lets her bolt fly. The projectile flies high and misses the jaguar, but Sylralie follows up with a magic attack of her own. Uttering the words Take That You Fiend, the elf sends a blast of energy from her outstretched hand toward one of the jaguars. It hits squarely, sending the animal tumbling. The other cats are momentarily startled by the blast, causing them to veer their path a bit. [TTYF inflicts damage to a single target equal to the spellcaster’s INT, in this case 15. Per the spell's description, the blast also has a shock effect on the rest of the enemy. This doesn’t cause damage, per se, but could result in them being distracted and hit by the rest of the party. Mechanically, this means the spellcaster’s INT is added to the total attack score.] The group takes advantage of this and press the attack while the animals are momentarily distracted.

Kristopher feels a rush of adrenaline as he swings his scimitar. This is the first time he has battled with a group since his squad was captured by the border patrol and he was separated from them. Of course, this is also the first time he has engaged in battle as a member of Kage Gordain . . . and he is enjoying the fight. The lone warrior hadn’t realized how much he missed being part of a team until this very moment.

Around him Kelseen and Dalen swing fiercely with their sword and axe, cutting through the animal’s hides. Syl has also joined the melee, jabbing jaguars with her quarterstaff and kicking panthers with the heel of her boot. Even the naval men are holding their own against the creatures. Every now and then a cat gets claw or bite in past the group’s defenses, but for the most part, their armor protects them.

The jaguar that took the brunt of Syl’s spell falls first, followed closely by one of the panthers. Ferntaker finds himself overpowered by the feline he had engaged and receives a bite on the leg before Dalen drives his axe into the back of the jaguar’s skull. Byrd is doing a fair job of fending off the remaining panther when he trips and falls on his back. Immediately the beast pounces and the Midshipman is just able to get his hands up and grab it by the throat. They struggle and the cat’s jaws inch closer to the man’s face. Byrd cries out as drool drips from the panther’s fangs into his eyes. At the exact moment Byrd’s strength gives out, he is drenched with a spray of blood as the animal collapses on top of him. He opens his eyes to see Kelseen standing over him, her sword driven through the panther’s neck. She pulls the blade from the carcass, wipes it clean on the animal’s hide and turns away, leaving the naval man to wiggle his way out from under the panther himself.

[Combat:
Round 1:
Kelseen needs to make a L4SR on DEX to hit with her crossbow. The SR level is based on distance and size of opponent (with some personal adjustments to the Version 5 rules because I feel their difficulty is too high.). She rolled a 17 and failed.
Syl casts Vorpal Blade.

Round 2:
Kelseen switched to her +1 Broadsword for the remainder of the battle and Syl casts TTYF for 15 damage.
Cats (MR 170, 18 dice + 85) = 161 (5 Spite damage)    Party: (17 dice+48) = 198 (6 Spite)
Party wins by 37 points. Since the rest of the battle is all melee, I will not be tracking individual MR for each cat.

Spite damage occurs when a “6” is rolled on the attack dice. Each “6” equals one point of damage assessed against the opponent. This damage is not blocked by armor. I rolled to randomly determine who in the party received any spite damage dealt by the cats.

Round 3:
Syl battles with her quarterstaff for the remainder of the fight.
Cats (MR 113, 12 dice + 57) = 96    Party (19 dice+51) = 116 (1 Spite)
Party wins by 20

Round 4:
Cats (MR 93, 10 dice + 47) = 90 (1 Spite)    Party (19 dice+51) = 106 (1 Spite)
Party wins by 16.

Round 5
Cats (MR 73, 8 dice + 37) = 76 (1 Spite)    Party (19 dice+51) = 125 (4 Spite)
Party wins by 49.

Round 6
Cats (MR 21, 3 dice + 11) = 21    Party (19 dice+51) = Adds alone are enough to end battle.

The only damage taken by the party was spite damage. Remaining CON is as follows:
Kr 17   Syl 16    Kel 10    Dal 18    Fer 6    Byrd 7
Syl spent 7 WIZ points during the battle.
The main party members are each awarded 43 AP (Total MR divided equally).]

With the initial threat taken care of, the party discusses their next move and decide the best course of action would be to head toward the cliffs. If there is anything to find on Crossbones Island, there is as good a place as any to look. At the very least, it will give them an overhead view of the island. Ferntaker and Byrd, concerned that they would be outnumbered if there were any more creatures around, feel it’s best if they stick with the party.

“You are a terrible shot,” Byrd says to Kelseen as he walks past her. “But you handle that sword mighty well. Thanks.” 

A subtle smile crosses Kel’s face upon hearing the equally subtle compliment.

[Do the sailors travel with the party?
(Likely [due to chance of another cat attack] | 10[d10]) Yes, and… Byrd gives Kelseen a compliment]

Dalen agrees to take the lead and Kelseen hands him her compass. Master Ferntaker follows behind the dwarf with Kristopher, Sylralie, and Byrd behind him. Kelseen is last, guarding the rear flank. There are enough breaks in the foliage that Dalen has a reasonably easy time keeping the cliffs in sight and, whenever the trees grew exceptionally thick, the compass keepst the party on course. Skittering sounds and snapping branches can be heard all around, but no more beasts dare challenge the party. After a couple of hours the group senses they are nearing the base of the cliffs.

[The party had to make 3 INT Saving Rolls out of 10 attempts to navigate the jungle, adding an extra save for every 3 failures. The roll was based on the highest INT stat of the group (15) and the level of each SR was randomly determined to simulate environmental changes. Along with each attempt, an encounter check was made. The use of the compass, which added 10 to SRs, made this challenge rather easy. The party succeeded after only three rolls and there were no encounters. Enough time passed that Syl regained all her WIZ. SR points were split among the group for AP.]


[Scene 3 - Room 2: Puzzle Challenge]


As they near the base of the cliffs the ground grows spongier underfoot. Dalen dismisses the change as due to rainwater running off the slopes and saturating the ground in the immediate area. After a few more steps, however, the dwarf suddenly sinks to his waist and can no longer feel the ground under his feet. Ferntaker, acting out of instinct, moves forward to assist. The sinking dwarf tries to warn him but isn’t fast enough as the Master also finds himself sinking in quicksand. Kristopher immediately stops and keeps the rest of the troop from advancing.

[The party had to make four successful saves against their Luck to avoid the quicksand.
Step One: Dalen failed a L3 SR.  Ferntaker’s save was a L2 (time to react to Dalen’s predicament), but he also failed. Kris only needed a L1, being third in line. He succeeded. No one else would have been required to make a SR as they would have had sufficient time to stop.
To be rescued, a rescuer must first have some item for the victim to grab onto. Then each must simultaneously succeed a SR, the victim against DEX and the rescuer against STR. After 3 fails the victim starts taking 1d6 damage.]

Kelseen rushes from the back of the line to assist, grabbing the staff Syl holds out to her as she passes. She reaches the end with the snake’s head out to Dalen who grabs hold of it. While Kel pulls Dalen to safety, Kristopher and Byrd search frantically for a branch or vine. [Both fail L2 Luck checks.]

Kel quickly checks to make sure Dalen is on solid ground before going to assist Ferntaker. Byrd is able to find a sturdy branch and reaches it out to his crewmate who tries but cannot grab hold of the end. Beginning to sink faster, the Master panics. By now Kelseen has also extended the quarterstaff to the man desperately trying to stay afloat.

“Stop flailing!” Kel calls out. “It’ll only make you sink faster. Grab the staff.”

Ferntaken reaches for both the branch and staff as the quicksand meets his chin. He is able to take hold of Kelseen’s staff, but his grip slips off on the first tug. His head goes under as the warrior thrusts the staff into the quicksand hoping the man can make one final grab.

“Wesley,” Byrd calls out. “Grab the staff!”

Kelseen pokes around waiting for a tug to let her know that Ferntaken has a hold . . . a tug that never comes. Though she knows it is over, Kel waits several moments before finally pulling the end of the staff out of the bog and handing it back to Syl.

“What are you doing?” Byrd protests. “Don’t stop! You can still save him!”

“He’s gone,” Kelseen says.

“No. Does anyone have a rope? I’ll go in after him.”

“Don’t be foolish,” Kristopher admonishes. “You’ll get yourself killed.”

“But . . . but . . . “

“You got to let it go,” Dalen advises.

Byrd gives Kelseen a long accusing glare before turning and storming away.

“Watch out for more quicksand,” Syl casually warns with an air of indifference. 

[Image: quicksand____the_aftermath____by_mudbogz-d4o4ry3.jpg]

[The entire incident took 5 rounds. Dalen and Kel both passed their saves on turn 1.  Ferntaker didn’t have anything to grab onto until round 2. He failed the next two attempts and started taking damage. He finally succeeded on round 5 and randomly grabbed Kel’s staff. Unfortunately, Kel failed her STR check. Ferntaker was down to 0 CON but I gave him one last chance, which he failed.]


[Scene 4]


After giving Byrd some time to himself away from the group, the party retrieves the mourning sailor and constructs a plan to move forward. Kristopher agrees to take the lead, as he is a bit more dexterous than the dwarf. [He has both higher LK and DEX.] He will tie one end of Dalen’s rope around his waist and Kelseen, one of the strongest party members, will follow, holding the other end. Dalen will take Kelseen’s position at the rear of the line and the others will be in the middle. 

[Kris needs to pass 3 more SRs, however, the difficulty is lowered to L2 since they are aware of the danger.]

They walk for several minutes without incident before Kris feels the ground slip out underneath him. Kelseen is quick to react and, once Kris is able to get a good grip on the rope, she pulls him out easily.

A few steps later they see a break in the trees and the base of the cliffs just beyond. Eager to get out of the bog, Kris picks up the pass only to realize he is not out of danger yet. He falls into yet another patch of quicksand and needs Kel to pull him out.

[Kris fails 2 of the 3 remaining checks, but is rescued within two turns both times.]

Safely out of the woods, the party decides to make camp and rest for the evening before going any further.


[Scene 5]


The group has built a small fire and have recently finished eating some of the rations they have brought with them. Midshipman Byrd settles down about 30 feet away from the rest to be alone while Kel tries to catch some sleep before her watch later that evening.  Dalen, Kris and Syl sit around the fire discussing the days events.

“It felt good to battle alongside a group again,” Kris admits to his new friends. “It was like when I was sent on missions with my Squad.”

“You mean raids?” Dalen corrects.

“We preferred the term missions. Until you rescued me from that pirate Frogbeard I didn’t know if I would ever experience that again. I owe you two for that.” Turning toward Sylralie, he continues, “Thank you for recommending me to Garlen. It’s good to have purpose. You can always count on me to have your back.”

“Don’t say that,” Sly responds.

“But . . . I just . . . “

“No!” She firmly cuts him off and stands. “The best advice I can give you is this: take care of yourself first. You remember that and you’ll do fine.” Before Kris can respond the elf spins and leaves him and Dalen sitting at the fire.

“What’s her story?” Kris asks.

“Oh, she certainly has one,” Dalen confirms, “But it’s hers to tell, not mine.” The dwarf lets that sink in for a moment before adding, “But something tells me she trusts you. Just give her some time.”

End of Chapter 5

Author’s note:

Thanks for reading Kage Gordain. I hope you are enjoying the story and the gameplay. I just wanted to take a moment to let you know that I will be on a family vacation for the next couple of weeks and I doubt I will be progressing this story during that time. As is, it usually takes me a couple of weeks to play and post a chapter. Unfortunately, for this story’s sake, I expect this break to push Chapter 6 out to three weeks or more. I mention this primarily to assure you I haven’t abandoned this campaign and it will pick up again in November. In the meantime, I am hoping to experiment with some short solo roleplay ideas while I am on vacation.  If anything comes out of that I will be sure to post it.
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