Classic Fantasy Kage Gordain - Chapter 7 Posted
#11
CHAPTER 7 - THE BRINK OF DEATH

Game System: Tunnels & Trolls
Tools: rpgsolo.com solo engine; T&T resources at Wizardawn, other random generators


[Scene 1]

“Kristopher!  Byrd!” Dalen’s voice calls out as he, Sylralei, and Kelseen backtrack having not found a water source themselves. 

“How far did they go?” Sylralei asks.  “They should have heard us by now.”

Kelseen spots some trampled underbrush and a few broken twigs. “I think they went this way,” she says, directing the others’ attention to what she sees. 

After a few more minutes they come to the break in the bushes where Kris and Byrd entered twenty minutes earlier. Leading the group, Kelseen is the first to notice Kris lying face down next to a muddy pool of water. She quickly scans the area for signs of the midshipman. “Kristopher’s down! Anyone see Byrd?”

Sylralei pushes past the woman warrior and, seeing Kris lying there, rushes to his side. 

[Does Syl drop her staff in her hurry to get to Kris?

(50/50 | 5[d10]) No, but… she does lay it down when she arrives and grabs Kris, negating the staff’s effect of lowering WIZ cost.]

Kneeling next to her fallen companion, Syl lets go of her quarterstaff so she can use both hands to turn him over. The elf sees the bloody wound in his chest and fears the worst.

“Poor Baby! Poor Baby! Poor Baby!” she repeats, rapidly casting a total of four Poor Baby spells on Kristopher. 

Kristopher weakly opens his eye and coughs. “Syl, what . . . what’s going on?” 

“We found you lying on the ground. I thought you were dead.”

[Byrd’s surprise attack on Kristopher last chapter dropped his CON to exactly 0. While the letter of the rulebook states that characters die when their CON reaches 0, as is typical in T&T the GM is given discretion in this area. To account for this I have created a “Death Table” for instances when a character’s CON drops below 0. The character may be unconscious, seriously wounded, or dead, with the probability of a worse outcome increasing the further into the negative a character drops. Normally, a 0 on my table is always “unconscious”. 

Usually, this means a character will regain consciousness of their own accord. However, in this instance, I had to consider the circumstances. A single strike through the chest that drops a character 13 CON at once is a severe blow that would probably worsen if not treated soon. To account for this, I determined that for every 5 minutes that passed, Kris would lose an additional 1 CON.

The time it took the party to find him was calculated as 1d10+10=10+10=20 minutes. This meant Kris’ CON would drop to -4.  At -4, all outcomes were a possibility. Luckily, Kris rolled a “1” on the table, which resulted in merely being unconscious.

Next, I rolled to see if he regained consciousness on his own. He didn’t, which meant Syl’s first Poor Baby spell raised him to 1 CON.  Had he awoken I would have given him 1 CON point and Syl’s spells would have been added to that. It was basically a 1 point penalty. When all was said and done, Kris is alive with 3 CON.]

“Byrd,” Kris begins, trying to piece together what he remembers. “I think he attacked me. I was stabbed . . . and he was standing there with a bloody sword. I don’t know. I must’ve blacked out then.”

Dalen was already rummaging through Kris’ pack while he was speaking. “Giant’s spit! The gem is gone!  I think he also took a healing potion.”

“He better hope he’s dead when I catch up to him,” Kelseen declares looking out into the trees, “Because the jungle will be much kinder to him then me if I find him alive.”

As Kel begins to head off in the direction she believes Byrd went, Dalen quickly gets up and catches her. “Wait! Think about this. We don’t know how far he has gotten.”

“That’s exactly why we need to go after him right away!”

“Kris needs to rest and we can’t just leave him here. Besides, you said it yourself. The jungle might take care of him for us. You saw how inept he was.”

Kelseen doesn’t respond but does stop, a seething expression still on her face as she stares off into the jungle.

“Okay, now let’s get back to . . . “ Dalen stops midsentence as he turns back to where he left the others, only to see Kris sitting next to the pond alone and Sylralei standing several feet away, her back to them all.  “Kel, take care of Kristopher. I need to check on Syl.”

The dwarf cautiously approaches the elf. “Syl, is everything okay.”

She waves him off with a flick of her hand. “I’m fine, Dalen.”

“Then why are you over here instead of tending to Kris or talking strategy . . .  or criticizing Kel’s decision to chase after Byrd?”

“I thought he was dead. He could have died.”

“People have been seriously injured and even killed on missions before,” Dalen reminds her. “Those times never affected you.”

“Those times weren’t my fault!”

“What are you talking about? This wasn’t your fault. You weren’t even here. This is that sailor’s fault.”

Syl spins around and looks down on the dwarf, revealing her tear-streamed face. “I’m the reason Kris is even here. I’m the one who told him about Kage Gordain. I’m the one who encouraged him. If it wasn’t for me he’d probably be comfortable in some tavern right now instead of lying in the grass on some Jopha-forsaken island with a sword run through his chest!”

Dalen gives her a moment to catch her breath and calm down before speaking.  “Is this about Shemar?”

Syl says nothing.

“You were not responsible for Shemar’s death. You never led him on. Your relationship was honest and genuine. His actions, what he did, was borne out his feelings for you, the real you. You couldn’t have stopped him even if you begged him otherwise. And you are not responsible for what happened to Kris. He made his own decision to come here. Weren’t you listening last night? You actually saved him, not only from Frogbeard but from a meaningless life. If he was killed, I’m sure he would have rather died trying to make a difference in this world instead of in some drunken tavern brawl.”

Sylralei considers this a moment, not quite ready to fully give in. After a moment she lets out a long breath and relaxes, realizing there might be some wisdom in the dwarf’s words.

Dalen holds his arms open wide, offering a hug to the elf.  A slight smile crosses her face as she accepts. They embrace for several seconds.

“This is a bit awkward,” Dalen finally admits, his face buried just above Syl’s navel, her breasts pressing into his forehead.

“Yeah, it is,” Syl agrees, releasing the Dwarf from her grasp.

They both take a few seconds to regain their composure before heading back to Kel and Kris.

“Tell you what,” Dalen suggests. “I’ll take lead for a bit and give you a chance to sort things out. How does that sound?”

“Sounds great. Thanks.”

By the time the two return to the pond Kristopher has gotten to his feet, though he is still holding on to Kelseen for support. 

“I don’t know what you two were talking about,” Kelseen starts in, “But while you were chatting that traitor is getting away.”

“Let him,” Dalen responds.

“But he has our stuff, not to mention he tried to kill Kris.”

“I agree, I’d like to track him down myself,” Dalen admits. “But we don’t know exactly where which direction he went. He probably doesn’t know how to get back to the beach himself and will end up lost, if he even makes it past the quicksand or the jungle creatures. He’s as good as dead and we probably have to chalk the gem up as a loss.

“Besides, Kris still needs to rest and regain strength before we move on. Syl needs to conserve her magic, so I suggest Kris drinks one of the healing potions. While he’s recovering we can discuss our next move.”

[Kris drinks Dalen’s healing potion for 2d4+2=6 CON points of healing, bringing him to a total of 9.]

“We have three options,” Dalen explains. “First is to head back to the cave and explore the false wall, but I’ll veto that right away. If the Skylark doesn’t get a message from us soon, or if Byrd actually makes it back to the ship, they might believe we are dead and leave without us. Which brings us to a choice, do we head up the cliff and try to signal the ship, or do we head for the coast?”

“I say head for the coast,” Kelseen suggests. “If we’re lucky we might also catch the thief.”

“Either way will be difficult for Kris,” Sylralei says. “He’s still recovering, however, there are too many hidden dangers in the jungle. Our best bet might be to go up. Probably faster, as well.”

“I’m feeling better,” Kris informs the group. “But heading up sounds like the better option. Besides signaling the ship we . . . oh, we’ve got visitors!”

“I see ‘em, too,” Dalen says, pointing across the small pond at two crimson-toned spiders about the size of a very large jungle cat. 


[Image: zmk_0yxjJLLPYHHgvhyvKLjzpOP9kmpI-MerqadU...OjY7kJkFfg]
"Oh, we've got visitors!"

[Per an encounter roll, 2 Blood Spiders enter the area. The spiders are based on monster tables listed on Wizardawn. I used Huge Spiders with 25 MR. each. If they roll a “6”, a character must make an SR against poison.

Approx. 20 minutes have passed and Syl has regained 2 WIZ.  Kris and Dalen made a L2 LCK roll to spot the spiders before they attacked, given them one round to prepare.

Does Kelseen have a loaded crossbow?  (50/50 | 3[d10]) No]

Kelseen, cursing that she did not have the foresight to load her crossbow, picks it up and starts loading it. 

Kristopher looks around for his weapon for the first time since Byrd has left. “My scimitar! I can’t find it.”

“Here,” Syl calls out, handing him her Bich’wa. “This is a little better than your dirk.” She then prepares to cast a spell at the eight-legged creatures rounding the pond in their direction.

Kelseen gets her crossbow loaded and raises it just in time to fire off one shot the quickly approaching spiders. Unfortunately, her shot goes wide. [Failed the  L2 DEX roll] Dalen and Kris are ready with their weapons, but the monster’s momentum allows it to plow through and sink its fangs into Kelseen’s leg. [Spider rolled a “6”. Low roll on a d6 determines who is poisoned. Kel lost.]

Meanwhile, Sylralei hits the second spider with a Take That You Fiend spell that is powerful enough to kill it immediately. [TTYF cast at Level 2 for 30 CON. After Round 1 one spider is dead, the other is down to 19 MR]

“It burns!” Kelseen cries through gritted teeth, clutching her leg and falling back. Dalen and Kris finish off the remaining spider as Syl quickly rushes to Kel’s side and uses most of her remaining magic to heal her as fast as possible. As the wizard casts her spell, Kel rummages through her pack, pulls out the healing potion she was responsible for, and drinks it.

Kelseen stands, stronger but still feeling the effects of the venom. Syl pulls out the last vial of healing potion and offers it to her. “Not yet. That’s our last bottle. I think I’ll be fine.”

But she is not. Almost as soon as she says she’ll be fine, Kel is overcome with a feeling of faintness and crumbles to the ground. Syl removes the stopper from the vial and pushes it to Kel’s mouth, forcing her to drink. Kel lies back, giving the magical liquid time to work. After several minutes she is feeling much better and gets to her feet. 

[The poison mechanic is a combination of Wizdawn’s description and the T&T V5 rules. Per Wizdawn, for a spider of this size, someone who is injected with venom must make a L3 CON roll. Failure means death. That’s a bit too harsh in my book, so I revised it.  According to the T&T, effects from spider poison last 5 combat rounds. Combining the two, this is how I handled it. Kel had to make the L3 CON roll. If she makes the roll, the poison’s effects are neutralized and she takes no damage. If she failed, she would take 1d6 CON damage and move to round 2.  The same L3 CON check is made on round 2. If she fails, the SR for round three is dropped by one, resulting in a L2 CON check. Round 4 will drop to a L1 CON check and it will remain at L1 until round 5. After round 5 the venom’s effects totally wear off. 

The poison rolls for this combat went as such:

R1: Kel fails L3 check and takes 2 points of damage. (Current CON: 2)
R2: Syl casts Poor Baby to heal Kel for 4 CON. Kel fails L3 check and takes 4 points damage (CON: 2)
R3: Kel recovers 6 CON from healing potion, but fails L2 check and loses 3 (CON: 5)
R4: Kel fails L1 check and loses 3 CON (CON:2)
R5: Kel drinks final potion and recovers enough CON to bring her back to a full health of 10 CON. She fails L1 check but only takes 1 damage. (Final CON: 9)]

“That was a close one,” Dalen admits.

“I’ve never seen spiders that color red before,” Kristopher says.

“Those were Blood Spiders,” Sylralei explains. “Really no different from other giant spiders ‘cept for the color.”

“How are you feeling?” Dalen asks Kelseen who by now has retrieved her weapons.

“Surprisingly not that bad. Perhaps even better than before the attack.  I think that last healing potion was extra potent.”

“She probably let herself get bitten so she had an excuse to use all the potions herself,” Syl chided.

“If you believe that then you shouldn’t have wasted your magic on me.”

“Unfortunately, I’m kinda obligated. Preservation of the team and all that.”

“Enough,” Dalen cuts in. “Let’s get to the safety of the cave and rest.”

Kristopher waits for the girls to start off before whispering to Dalen, “Does Syl really believe that about Kelseen?”

“Nah! You saw how she didn’t hesitate to heal Kel during battle. Sylralei takes every mission seriously and would never let a team member die if she can help it. But that doesn’t mean she won’t pass up an opportunity to let Kel think that helping her was some great sacrifice. It the game they play.”

[Scene 2]

[It takes 20 min to get to the cave. Syl recovers 2 WIZ (4 total)

Have any Scrats returned? Encounter roll: 2 No.]

Once they are back in the cave, Dalen suggests that Sylralei rest to regain her magic strength and Kelseen stays with her for protection. Kristopher and he will scale the cliff and try to signal the ship.

“Do you think it’s wise leaving these two alone?” Kris questions.

“Sure,” Dalen answers. “They’re not going to kill each other.”

As if on cue, Syl throws a mischievous grin Kelseen’s way and the warrior woman gives a challenging look in return.

Dalen's eyes dart from one woman to the other. “Yeah . . . I think they’ll be okay.” His voice doesn’t sound confident.  “Let’s go.”

The dwarf leaves the cave, followed closely behind by Kris.

[Scene 3]

[The pair will need to take two rounds to climb high enough to signal the ship. Each round will be similar to the jungle trek. I will roll 1d6 for terrain difficulty. The result will determine the DEX SR necessary to climb (1 = L1  2-3 = L2  4-5 = L3  6 = L4). They will employ Dalen’s rope, so if one can gets up, he will automatically pull the other up safely. Each round is 30 minutes.  If both fail their climbing checks, they can take 15 minutes to travel to another area and try again.]

Kristopher has an easier time climbing up the first several feet of the mountain. After reaching a flat area he lowers down the rope and Dalen uses it to climb up as well. [L2: Dalen fails, Kris succeeds]  At this point the cliff face steepens and the two are unable to find any hand or footholds. [L4: both fail] They head to east for a while until the ground appears angles a little. However, they were unable to climb but a few feet before sliding back down. [L3: both fail]

Before moving on, they glance through the tops of the trees out over the ocean.

“At least the Skylark is still there,” Kris says, spotting a glimpse of the navy ship.

After about another 10 minute trek, Dalen looks at the rocks and boulders and feels he can climb up. He easily pulls himself up and makes good time until he nears the next flat area. Right below it sits a long face of sheer rock about six to seven feet high. The dwarf puts one foot in a crack, pushes up and reaches out to grab the lip of the rock. His hand, however, finds a loose patch of dirt and slips off. Dalen is unable to catch himself and he tumbles back down, bouncing off the rocks, to where Kris is waiting. “Son of a cursed giant!” he swears, blood running down his dirty face. [L2 Both fail, but Dalen rolled a 1, 2 meaning a critical fail. He took 6 (1d6) CON damage as a result]

“Maybe we should head back,” Kris suggests.

“No dwarf lets a mountain get the best of him!” declares the dwarf, recovering his pride. “We move on!”

After several more minutes, the terrain gets worse instead of better. “Then again,” Dalen says, “A smart dwarf knows when it’s time to retreat, review and recalculate.” [L4 Both fail.]

Kris and Dalen turn around and head back to the cave.

End of Chapter 7

Wrap Up:

Using similar rules as those for the journey inland, I ran through Midshipman Byrd’s journey back to the Skylark. Based on that, I know whether or not he made it back to the ship, what happened to him along the way, and how long it took him. I might share this information in a future post, but for now it will remain a secret, only revealed as necessary throughout the regular narrative.
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