Classic Fantasy Thieves - A Roses & Wyght Story
#11
Chapter 5 -  The Legend Of The House Of Lost And Found

System: Adventurers! 
Tools: CRGE; BOLD; Never Engine Random Tables; DMMuse; rpgsolo.com

Setup:
The setting and map images used in this chapter come from Brenton Haerr’s One Page Dungeon “The House of Lost and Found.”


[Scene 1, Surge count 6]

Main Thread: Retrieving the artifact
Minor Threads: Leira and Thieves Guild; Tristan’s Wedding; Bhart’s Career; Conspiracy against the King

Leira, Ilhard, and Vyncent reach the top of the stairs and find themselves in a room that stands in stark contrast to the rest of the rooms they have passed through so far. Where all the others were regal and serious with dark wood furniture and sophisticated decoration and tapestries, this room is bright and bit cheery, with furniture painted white and drapes of bright colored flowers. The room is clearly a bedroom, with a dresser against one wall, a vanity against another, a small table and chairs in a corner, and a small, one-person bed is tucked in the opposite corner. From the size of the furniture and the playful coloring of the drapes and blanket, this room appears to be made for a young girl. The only exit is a door across the room from the stairway.


[Image: Vy_ocikP5wjy0ZQh0TAB_v1r3N2bEFtufaQwjWMT...tsQjZ070Xg]


The table and dresser top are bare of any items except for a small mirror on a stand. Ilhard casually opens a couple of drawers and finds them empty. Leira spots something on the bed and moves over for a closer look. Resting on the bed is a rag doll wearing a pale blue dress, positioned as to appear as though it were sleeping, except the doll has no head to rest on the pillow! Leira reaches a hand out for it but halts, thinking better of picking up the eerie effigy.

“Who’s room is this, Vyncent?” Leira asks.

“I do not know.” He answers solemnly.

“You don’t know!” She glares at him. “Then what was all that witch-spit you babbled about downstairs! Heed the tales! Listen to the warnings! You act as though you know all about this place but you’ve never heard one story of a child?”

“You’ll have to forgive him, Bar Thief,” Ilhard interrupts. “Vee puts way too much faith in legends, tales, and children’s fables, treating them as though they hold ancient truths. I suspect he even believes turtles and rabbits actually compete in an annual foot race.”

Vyncent scowls at his partner. “While everything in a tale might not be true, there is a little truth in every tale.” Turning back to Leira, he says, “You ask your question as though you believe I can provide solid facts from a reliable source. I can’t. What I know has come from a rumor here, a ghost story there. Overheard conversations in a tavern. Bits and pieces that need to be arranged in a proper order. So, yes, I can tell you what I think I know. Is it complete? Hardly. It is accurate? Some parts probably are, but which one’s I couldn’t tell you.”

[To come up with “Legend of the House of Lost and Found” I used the BOLD story generator from Conjecture Games and some oracle questions. For anyone interested, I will post the results of those rolls at the end of the chapter.]

“Harris and Belinda Blackster both came from noble families in a distant city,” Vyncent continues. “They fell in love, were married, and had a daughter. Whether it was politics, war, crime, it’s uncertain but for some reason, they felt their home was not a safe or healthy place to raise their child. They were idealists, they longed for a land of eternal peace and thought they found it amongst the Emerfil Woods, also known as the Faerie Forests. They traveled to the enchanted woods hoping they might be allowed to stay.

“As you might know, Faerie Folk are not fond of humans, however, they took a liking to the young girl. Since it was evident that the parents' primary concern was safety for their daughter, the folk agreed to let her stay . . . but only her. Harris and Belinda would have to leave, having already been tainted by the outside world. The Blackster’s refused to leave their daughter, but the Folk had already claimed her for their own, believing an agreement had been struck. When the couple became aggressive the Folk used their magic to transform them into wolves and send them away. Once the couple left the forest they returned to their human state. However, the curse wasn’t completely lifted, for whenever they dreamed about their daughter or focused their thoughts on her during waking hours, their bodies would retake the form of the wolf, a reminder of the warning to never return to Emerfil.

“As would be expected, the Blacksters would not sit still and let their child be taken from them. They traveled the world in search of mages, alchemists, thaumaturgists, druids, anyone who might be able to lift the curse on their bodies and help them retrieve their daughter from the Folk. After a while, they formed a vast coalition of magical masters who agreed to help them, but only under certain conditions. They needed a central place to meet . . . a place where they could study, gather information, share ideas, experiment, and create the spells and potions necessary to accomplish this task. Thus the House of Lost and Found was established in Duskcall, named for the young daughter who had been lost to the Blacksters and the hope that she might one day be found.

“For years the coalition met in Duskcall and worked to find a solution. From there the tales take many paths. According to some, the mages had a change of heart, believing that once the curse was lifted they would lose the use of this house and the secrets stored inside. So they slowed their research and even kept information from Harris and Belinda until the couple grew wise of the mages’ plan.  The couple eventually severed ties and continued the research on their own, constantly traveling the world looking for a cure. However, others claim the coalition still exists. The Blacksters travel throughout the land at the mage’s request, collecting artifacts, books, and any other objects or information that might be useful and bring them back here.

“Regardless of which is true, what is certain, both from the tales and what we have already witnessed tonight, strange things are at work in the house and the residents have made sure that it is kept safe. I say we make haste, get what we came for and leave, praying to the Creator that the masters of this residence never find out it was us who was here this night.”

Leria takes a look around the room. “So this room is for their daughter.”

“That would be a fair guess,” Vyncent agrees. “But is it intended as a future home or simply a reminder, that I don’t know.”

“And what’s with the headless doll?” Ilhard askes. “Surely their daughter has a head.”

“Surely,” Vyncent says with a shrug. 

“Creepy. But you are right about one thing,” Ilhard confirms. “It’s getting late and we need to pick up the pace.”

Seeing only one other exit, the trio head for the door with Leira in the lead [RG]. There is a small rug just inside the threshold and when she steps on it the floor gives a bit and a loud click is heard.  All freeze and grip their weapons a bit tighter. Holding their breath, they wait for an attack or trap that never happens. Convinced they are going to be safe, at least for now, Leira opens the door and they press on.

[The “click” was due to the Spooky Roll: When a PC steps on a certain stone he hears a click, but nothing happens.

I made two fear rolls in this room, one for the headless doll and one for the Spooky roll. Everyone passed for each roll.]


[Scene 2, Surge count 0]

Main Thread: Retrieving the artifact
Minor Threads: Leira and Thieves Guild; Tristan’s Wedding; Bhart’s Career; Conspiracy against the King

[Spooky roll: There is a pile of teeth here.   I randomly generated who finds them.]

[Image: gOoryljAWOFrVF-W08b8q0zVJKu8W4LNMpzXaZHO...HazpCSYGTQ]

The door leads to a hallway that runs the length of the house. Three closed doors line the walls. Ilhard approaches the first and tries the knob only to find it is locked. Before he tries the second door, Leira sees a small pile of white pebble-like objects sitting in the middle of the hall. Crouching down, she examines them by poking at them with the point of her rapier.

“It’s a pile of teeth,” she tells the others. “Why would there be . . .”

Before she can finish the teeth move on their own to form an oval shape, similar to that of a mouth. The rows of teeth open wider and emit a piercing scream. While the sound startles them, both Leira and Vyncent are able to shake it off as just another attempt to ward off unwanted guests. Ilhard, on the other hand, is a bit shaken. [Failed his Fear Roll.]

“What the hellhound was that?”

“It’s just a trick,” Leria assures him. “They’re trying to scare us away.”

Ilhard tries the other two doors. Both are locked. Hoping the door furthest down the hall will bring them closer to their goal, Vyncent attempts to pick its lock. [With advantage, he rolls 2,2,5 + 3AGI=10] The lock is simple enough for Vyncent and they are quickly through the door.


[Scene 3, Surge count 0]

Main Thread: Retrieving the artifact
Minor Threads: Leira and Thieves Guild; Tristan’s Wedding; Bhart’s Career; Conspiracy against the King

Like the room before, this one has all the trappings of a bed-chamber. It’s decor, however, is intended for adults: the dark mahogany chest of drawers, the matching table and chair set with ornately carved legs in the sitting area, a full-length mirror with gold frame, the large four-post bed covered with silk linens and decorative wool blanket. The floor is covered by a fine rug imported from beyond the borders of Arigord and paintings of landscapes and architectural wonders line the walls. Other than some grooming utensils, bottles of fragrances, and other odds and ends, nothing of any great value (other than the furnishings) lay out in the open.

[Are there valuables in view? (To Conflict) 27+0 surge=27 No  +2 Surge]

[Image: DD9PRBfYKgplGLBRcF3iWb958-_tba_gvxUeBDvC...crFYfRYhoQ]

“This must be the Blackster’s bedroom,” Leira says looking around.

“Do you think they kept the artifact in here where they could keep an eye on it?” Ilhard wonders.

“No,” Leira says bluntly. “This isn’t the room.”

“What?” Vyncent asks. “Do you know what room it is in?”

“Yes, I do. I saw it when I put on the ring back in the conservatory. It was dark and dusty. [Roll MND for speculation: 1,2+5=8] My guess is up in the tower.”

“Thanks for filling us in, Bar Thief,” Ilhard says before turning his attention to the closed drawers. “But while we are here, we can take a look and see what we can find.”

“Ilhard, I don’t think it wise to rummage around blindly in this house,” Vyncent warns. “Not after the hand and the spiders.”

Before Ilhard can respond they hear voices coming from behind a closed door in the corner of the room.

“Are you hearing that?” asks the voice beyond the door. Leira thinks it sounds eerily like her own.

Vyncent puts his finger to his lips, indicating to the others to keep quiet. “I think they heard us,” he mouths.

“I have a feeling this is going to be an interesting night,” says a male voice from beyond the door.

“I always thought this place was haunted,” a third voice chimes in. “Now it’s been proven.”

[Perception Roll for all: I: 3,3,+2=8  V: 6,1+2=9   L: 4,4+5=13  All succeed, I’ll go with Ilhard for the initial recognition.]

“Wait a second,” Ilhard says, recognizing the three voices. “That’s us!”

“It’s the conversation we had in the conservatory,” Leira agrees.

“There are no spirits here,” the Ilhard-voice continues. “It must be some magic enchantment. A way to entertain guests.”

“Believe what you will, my friend,” the Vyncent-voice voice scolds as the real Ilhard angrily storms across the room and puts his hand on the doorknob. “But I’ve heard stories and I’m telling you, ghosts are not to be taken lightly.”  Ilhard yanks the door open and raises his club high, ready to bash anyone who might attack . . . 

. . . Except there is no one there. Instead, Ilhard sees racks of shirts, pants and dresses--a closet. He steps in and pushes some of the items aside just to be sure. 

“I was right after all,” Vyncent says in reference to the last words the Vyncent-voice spoke. “Ghosts are not to be taken lightly. Let’s find this statue and get out of here before anything else happens.”

[Spooky Roll: The sound of a conversation the PCs had earlier can be clearly heard from behind a door.

[Fear rolls: Ilhard passed.  Vyncent Failed. Leira not only passed, but did so with a 6,5 roll. She is fearless!]

Inside, Leira feels giddy. Yes, the house is creepy and things could get dangerous, not that they hadn’t already. Despite that, she experiences a rush of excitement. The things she has seen this night surpass any wonders of her childhood. If adventures like this were what awaited her in the Order of Two, then she wanted nothing else than to find the artifact and bring it to Beada, securing her standing in the guild.

[Image: WfrICGTwcZuOyH_w0fimBYluVwg3BoUTHufo9A1_...fT0f5_7BJw]

She sticks her head into the closet to have a closer look for herself when Vyncent urges them to move on, reminding them there are still two doors down the hallway.

[Leira’s Perception roll w/advantage: 4,2,2+5=11 > 7 Success!]

“Wait,” Leira calls out. “If the closet ends here and the hallway runs along is on the other side of that wall, then what is behind the wall in this area.” She points to a section of wall located to the left of the closet door and runs till it meets the long wall that separates the bedroom from the hallway.

[Ilhard searches for hidden doors.  MND w/adv for perception 1,5,4+2=11]

Believing the closet would be the best location for a secret door, Ilhard pushes the clothes aside and begins to examine the wall. Sure enough, he finds a gap and runs his fingers along it until he locates the catch. “The Bar Thief’s right. There is a door here.”

The three thieves pass through the closet and into another short passageway leading to a flight of stairs heading up. Ilhard freezes as he shines the lantern on the steps of the stairs. Revealed in the light is a track of large bloody footprints made by something inhuman with four long toes ending in sharp claws. Extending from each heel is another bloody mark indicating a fifth claw.

[Spooky roll: Bloody footprints left by a large creature lead down the hall, and slowly fade.]

[Image: X3k3KttHElcr6Krlvs7QOJ_mYLb-_9PB1OgpvzU2...NJ0S6JihYw]

“What . . . what in the Creator’s name made those?” Ilhard stutters.

“It’s probably another harmless trick, like the voices in the closet or the teeth in the hall,” Leira assures him, eager to see what is upstairs.

“Or the hand that clawed your eyes or the fiery spiders that took a bite outta my leg,” he reminds her.

While they bicker, Vyncent bends down to examine the prints. [Do they fade? (To Conflict) 82+ 2 surge = 84  Yes +2 surge] When he touches the first print he doesn’t feel any blood, either dry or sticky, but only the wood of the floor. The prints fade as he pulls his hand away.

“See, they were just an illusion,” Leira says to Ilhard.

“Are you sure about that? I don’t want to head up there and face a giant deformed gorilla, gargoyle or demon with nothing but a club.”

“Trust me. There is no boogeyman up in the attic.”

“How can you be so sure?”

“I’ve seen the room. Remember?”

[Fear rolls:  Ihard 6 (fail, giving him 2 fear points and a -1 on all skill checks)];  Vyncent: passes with a 9;   Leira rolls 6,6 for a total of 17. She’s eager and loving this!]

End of Chapter 5

Notes:

One aspect of Adventurers! that I often overlook is the awarding of in-game HER points. According to the rules, characters can expect to receive 1-4 HER points per session for doing things like overcoming difficult obstacles, defeating strong opponents, using their Concept or Definition, etc.. I am going to award Leira 1 HER point for using her perception to locate the hidden room, since it was beneficial in moving the task along and kept the party from further unnecessary exploration.

As promised, here are the results from BOLD and CRGE that helped develop the Legend of the House of Lost and Found.

From CRGE: Are the Blackster’s human? (To Knowledge): 7+6 surge = 13  No, but (surge resets)  … they used to be and can be once again, which lends itself to cursed werecreature.  

What type of creature (d6): 1-2: wolf  3-4: rat  5-6: cat     Roll=1 Werewolf

From BOLD:  Main Waylay - Natural- Forbidden Deprivation (Nature indicates forest. Blackster’s are deprived of both the opportunity to stay and their child.)

Nested Waylays:
1. Knowledge -  Peaceful Occult  overcome by counteraction (Blacksters’ desire to stay in the magical forest is thwarted by the Faerie Folk’s actions against them.)
2. Party -  Steady Power Play overcome by faction intervention (To gain power over the Folk, an organization of magical experts is formed.)
3. Knowledge -  Tranquil Research overcome by Change of Heart (This informed one of the two possible stories regarding the Blacksters’ progress.)
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#12
Chapter 6 -  Man’s Burdens

System: Adventurers! 
Tools: CRGE ; Never Engine Random Tables; rpgsolo.com

Setup:
The setting and map images used in this chapter come from Brenton Haerr’s One Page Dungeon “The House of Lost and Found.” 

[Scene 1, Surge count 4]

Main Thread: Retrieving the artifact
Minor Threads: Leira and Thieves Guild; Tristan’s Wedding; Bhart’s Career; Conspiracy against the King

Whether he is truly convinced or not, Ilhard finally accepts the fact that they are here to complete a mission for the guild, monster or not. He grips his club a little tighter and leads the way up the stairs.

At the top, instead of a door, a drab, grey curtain divides the stairwell from the rest of the attic. Ilhard glances back to make sure Leira and Vyncent are ready. Sucking in a deep breath he pulls back the curtain. Beyond is a dusty, dank attic, cobwebs hanging from the rafters. The entire room isn’t very large, barely as large as the master bedroom they left. All along the walls are boxes, crates and chests, presumably filled with ornate or strange objects. A few of them lay open, their contents partially removed and either set on the floor or on top of a nearby crate. Among the treasures are vases, crystals, clothing, statues, and other trinkets similar to items they’ve seen displayed throughout the house. 

[Image: LRhZrL_6MFb79mEGywHT0GOadElhXqK0et1gQmvX...sR6mBCVesw]

Once all three thieves reach the top of the stairs it is an easy task to find the object of their search. Sitting on a short table in the center of the room is the foot tall salt statue Leira saw in her vision, the barebacked man hunched over and balancing a large sphere, half his size, on his shoulders.

“Rats.” Leira says. 

“Complaining?” Vyncent asks, surprised. “Isn’t this what we came for?”

“That wasn’t a complaint, it was a warning from my vision. Once I grab the relic we will be attacked by very large rats.” 

[At this point I used the Never Engine Weird [Stuff] Generator to fill in the gaps regarding the artifact. The full description will be posted at the end of the chapter.]

Leria begins to walk to the table. As she does, she is very aware of the silence. It is so quiet, in fact, she doesn’t even hear her boots touching the floor until her final step ends in a heavy tap. [Per Spooky Roll: The PCs suddenly realize that their footfalls have been completely silent for several minutes. As soon as they do so, their footsteps can be heard again.]  She keeps her sword hand ready as she reaches out with the other to grab the statue, eyes scanning the room. Leira wraps her fingers around the statuette’s waist and lifts it several inches off the table. Suddenly she hears skittering and screeching and [2d3] three rats run out of the shadows, each about four times the size of a normal rat. Leira drops the artifact back on the table and retreats a step or two to stand side-by-side with her companions.

[Each rat has STR: 1   AGI: 2  MND: 0   ATK: 2  DEF: 2  END: 3  Thick Fur: AR 6

Since the party was anticipating the attack I won’t have them make a surprise saving roll.]

Rounds 1-3: 

All is chaos as the thieves swing wildly at the rats while dodging and rats swerve to avoid being hit while snapping their teeth at the intruders. [Everyone misses the first round] However, it doesn’t take long for the rats to size up their opponents and get the upper hand. The rat Ilhard targeted shoots between his legs then turns and jumps on his back. It is able to take a bite of Ilhard’s shoulder before it is thrown off [Rat Crit defended, giving him two attacks on Ilhard]. Before it is completely out of reach, the animal is able to get one more bite on Ilhard’s hand. [Ilhard takes a total of -2 END, dropping him to 3 END total]

Another rat charges at Leira seeming careless of its own safety. Leira swings her rapier at the easy target and hits squarely, but the rodent’s thick fur is able to absorb some of the blow. [Makes its Armor Roll to reduce damage enough to barely stay alive.] The rat doesn’t flinch but leaps at Leria, hitting her squarely in the chest. Unable to resist its momentum, she pushed back falls, smacking her head against the edge of the crate. She loses consciousness as the rat continues to scratch and bite through her leather.

[This was a total disaster. On the rat’s turn, it wins the roll with a score of 13 vs. 7. (Note, Leira’s roll was 4,1 + 2 DEF) Leira would take -4 END which puts her at -1. But she has some HER points. I can spend a point to either reroll or add 1 point to her total. Thinking it shouldn’t be too hard to roll better than 5 I choose to reroll. Big mistake. She rolls another 4,1. I use another HER point and reroll.  2,1, even worse. I use her final HER point to make one last attempt. For the third time, she rolls a 4,1.  So, there’s no getting around it. Leira is down and at -1 is in danger of dying (pending a roll on my death table). Futhermore, I feel it’s only fair that if she doesn’t get attention her condition could get worse, so I determine that every three rounds she will lose another END point until the battle is over.] 

The only one of the thieves who has any success is Vyncent who is able to lop off an ear of the rodent that is attacking him. [Inflicts 1 END damage]

Round 4:

Feeling the sting of Vyncent’s dagger, the rat turns to retreat but Vyncent doesn’t let him go easily. Reaching out, he makes a grab for its tail and succeeds. The rat screeches as it first pulls hard to get away then turns back to nip at the hand that is holding it. However, before it can get its teeth close Vyncent plunges his blade into its back, killing it instantly. [10 vs. 6 for -3 END]

Meanwhile, Ihlard keeps swinging at his opponent with his bludgeon but the critter is too nimble and easily avoids being hit. At the same time, the rat fails to take a bite out of the thief. This goes on for several seconds until Ilhard feels something hit him from behind. The rat that had just taken Leira down has turned its attention toward Ilhard [RG] and pounced. [Ilhard uses a HER point to avoid damage.]

Rounds 5-9

Ilhard attempts to pull the rat from his back while Vyncent lends a hand and attacks the rat Ilhard was originally targeting. It gets a nip in at Vyncent [-1 END] but the thief retaliates with a flurry of blows [An action in Adventurers! where you can make multiple attacks if your ATK is high enough]. Blood spills from fresh wounds, but the rat refuses to go down. He makes a final lunge, but Vyncent easily steps aside and slices down with his dagger, decapitating the furry fiend.

Meanwhile, his partner is having a difficult time with the rat on his back. Ilhard reaches over his shoulder but is unable to get a hold of the critter. He resorts to blindly flailing at it with his club as it continues to bite and scratch him. Having dispatched his own opponent, Vyncent stands aside looking for an opportunity to help. He fears injuring his friend if he tries to attack while the rat is still on Ilhard’s back. Eventually, Ihard nears Vee and turns so that his back is completely facing the other thief. Vyncent reaches out, grabs the rat by the scruff of the neck, and pulls him off. In a split second, he is driving his dagger into the rat’s side and ending the battle.

[During these rounds Ilhard sustained another 1 END damage and had to spend another HER point. He is down to 2 END and 0 HER.  Leira has dropped to -2 END due to the length of the battle.]

The two stay alert in case more rodents rush from the shadows. After a few moments, they are convinced there will be no more attacks. Ilhard turns his attention to Leira who lies motionless on the floor, her blonde hair stained red from the puddle of blood forming behind it.

“Damn!” he exclaims as he kneels down next to her.

“If she’s dead you’re carrying her out,” Vyncent says flatly.

“Vee! Have you no concern?”

“Beada sent her and you on this task. Not me. You chose me. This was Leira’s initiation and what has she done? We killed the rats. We killed the hand. We killed the spiders. She’s done nothing, but if she returns with the artifact my concern is she’ll get the reward.”

[Does Ilhard reveal what he knows about Beada’s interest in Leira? (To Conflict) 77+4=81 Yes +2 Surge)]

“I know you’re frustrated, Vee,” Ilhard assures his friend. “But the Master Thief has held an interest in this girl since I told her about meeting her in the holding cells. I don’t know what she’s planning. Honest. But I do know she believes the Bar Thief might be the key to succeeding.”

“But Beada didn’t sound happy that you brought her to the meeting.”

“Yes, but that had nothing to do with her interest in the girl. It was more about revealing sensitive guild information before we were sure about Leira.”

I’m sure about her,” Vyncents states. “I’m sure she’s not Order material.”

“But that’s not for you to decide. That’s what Master Thief Beada planned on finding out in this mission. It’s some kind of test, but I don’t know if it’s about ability, willingness, or nerves. I’m sorry I’ve kept you in the dark about this, but you know how secretive the Master Thief can be.”

[Leira’s death roll: 4=Unconscious  This was rolled after the battle was over, however, I took it into account while writing the narrative and decided that she took a good bite and in the process of shaking off the rat fell and hit her head on the corner of a box. Leira is at 1 END when she wakes up.]

Fear rolls: Ilhard gained another fear point (now at 3). Leira made her roll despite my giving her a severe disadvantage due to nearly dying.]

“Ohh!” 

Ilhard turns at the sound of Leira stirring. “Bar Thief! Easy. You’ve taken a nasty strike to the head.”

Leira slowly sits up with Ilhard’s help as he explains how the battle with the rats went down.

“Wasn’t much help, was I?” she said sheepishly.

“You let us know they were coming,” Ilhard reassures her. “That was something.”

Vyncent scoffs, exaggerating his sigh to be sure others can hear.

“Never mind him,” Ilhard whispers in Leira’s ear.

[Adventurers! allows characters to regain 1 END point if they make a successful MND roll. They can do this a number of times equal to their STR+1 per day. Leira restores 2 points and Ilhard 3. Vyncent does nothing.]

Back on her feet, Leira steps over to the statuette and examines it. The stone-carrying figure stands on a circular base that is about two inches thick. Etched around the base are the words, “Man’s Burdens Pass From Generation To Generation.”

[Image: vfwuyAPaTjY6SsktdMZjIZt1DpD6cysTIwM7B46g...PI-rRu-NyA]
Man's Burdens

[AGI roll: 5,4 + 2 AGI = 11 Success!]

She reaches out and tests the spherical portion of the statue. Twisting it a bit, Leria manages to disconnect the boulder from where it is perched on the man’s shoulders. Once she removes her hand from the base and only holds the removed part, her father appears standing before her. 

“Daddy?”

The other two thieves look at each other, confused. They cannot see the image themselves. 

The image of Traugott Rosemight stands silent, not acknowledging his daughter.

“Is that you, father?” Leira asks, tears filling her eyes. 

“Who are you talking to, Leira?” Ilhard asks.

“My father! He’s standing right there.” She points in the direction of the silent vision.

[Does someone take the sphere away from her? (To Conflict) 78+6 surge = 84  Yes (+2 surge)

MND roll to see who realizes what is going on. I: 4,2+2=8   V:6,4+2=12  Since Vee got higher, he’ll be the one to act.]

Vyncent realizes the sphere must be affecting Leira and reaches out to snatch it away from her. She offers no resistance. As soon as Vyncent pulls it away, he drops it to avoid succumbing to its spell. Leira swoons a bit, then quickly looks around the room. 

“Where’d he go?” she asks. “Dad!”

“It was an illusion,” Ilhard explains, grabbing her by the shoulders. “Your father is not here. It was a trick played on you by the artifact.”

Meanwhile, Vyncent finds a scrap of rag and uses it to pick up the sphere, being careful not to make direct contact with his skin, and returns it to the base by connecting pegs with slots and giving it a twist.

“I’m sure there is more to this than seeing a vision of the dead,” he says. “But that’s not something we are going to figure out now. I’ll just hold on to this until we meet up with Beada.”

“No!” Leira protests, grabbing the reassembled artifact off the table. “I was sent after this. I will hold on to it.”

“As you wish,” Vyncent shrugs, actually relieved to be rid of it. “I’d just as well leave it here, myself.”

[I’ll make another fear roll for the whole statue incident: I: 7   V: 11   L w/disadvantage: 8  All Pass]   

By this time, all three are ready to take leave of the house. They exit the attic and head back to the front door, deciding to leave any unexplored area as is.


[Scene 2, Surge count 8]


Main Thread: Retrieving the artifact
Minor Threads: Leira and Thieves Guild; Tristan’s Wedding; Bhart’s Career; Conspiracy against the King

[Does Vyncent return the crown? (Likely - To Ending)  96+8 surge= 104 Yes, and unexpectedly 1=foreshadowing   or  98+8 surge = 106 Yes, and unexpectedly 2=tying off   Will choose the second roll, as scene is tying off this thread already, however, by the end of the chapter I will have included the foreshadowing as well.  Surge resets.]  


They reach the front door without incident and without stopping to pick up any more “treasure” along the way. Ilhard cracks open the door and scouts the area. Turning back to let the others know the coast is clear he sees Vyncent near the glass display case. He has retrieved the crown from his pack and is working at the latch on the case.

“What are you doing, Vee?” Ilhard asks.

“Returning the crown,” he says matter-of-factly.

“But you were so insistent about grabbing something for yourself,” Ilhard reminds him.

“That was before I fought a living hand, heard teeth scream, and listened to my own voice speak from behind a closed door. The less opportunity I give them to track me down the better.”

“What about the artifact and the books?” Leira asks, pointing out that they were still taking things from the house.

“Unfortunately, the artifact is part of our task,” Vyncent says. “As for the books, they’re not in my pack. With any luck, the Blacksters will only look for the individuals who actually carried the items out the door.”

“Thanks, friend!” Ilhard says thinking of the book of poetry sitting in his own sack. “Let’s get out of here.” He slips through the door and the other two follow.

[Is there a curse placed on the thieves? (To Endings = 22 No  (+2 surge)]

The trio walks several blocks before parting ways. As she makes her way back to the Faint Mule Hostel, Leira does her best to stick to alleyways and darkened streets. Even though there are few people out at this time of night, she wants to make extra certain that no one sees a scratched and bloody woman in leather armor limping down the street away from the House of Lost and Found.

Arriving at her home, she heads around the side of the building before entering. She draws a bucket of water from the rain barrel and grabs a rag that is lying nearby. She attempts to wash the dirt, blood, and sweat from her hands and face and does her best to dunk her hair in the bucket to wash the blood from her blonde curls. Having difficulty, she finally just lifts the whole bucket, leans back and pours the water over the top of her head. Finished with the make-shift bath, Leria enters the hostel through the side door. 

[Is Bhart waiting for her? (To Endings) 6-2 surge = 4 No and . . . he actually left some food out for her.  (Surge resets)]

Cautiously, Leira enters the sitting room hoping no one is up, really not in the mood to explain her disheveled state. She breathes a sigh of relief when she finds the room empty, then smiles when she looks at a small table in the room. On it sits a plate with a slice of bread, a hunk of cheese, and an apple. Tucked under the plate is a small square of parchment with her name written on it in Bhart’s handwriting.

“Thank you, brother,” she whispers as she picks up the apple and takes a bite. Leira savors the sweet juice as it trickles down her throat, then picks up the plate and heads up to her room. 


[Scene 3, Surge count 0]

Main Thread: Wrapping up Retrieving the artifact
Minor Threads: Leira and Thieves Guild; Tristan’s Wedding; Bhart’s Career; Conspiracy against the King

Finishing the snack in her room, Leira peels the leather armor off her body and leaves it in a pile on the floor. Exhausted, she falls onto her bed, but not before retrieving the silver bat-shaped ring from her pouch. She stared at it as she turned it over in her hands. What would she see if she placed it on her finger a second time? Curious as she was, she slips it on. 

Leira’s bedroom fades from view and she finds herself standing in an unfamiliar room.  In front of her stands a member of the Knight’s Guards, their back to her. The only distinguishing feature Leira can see is the guardsman’s short blonde hair. The guard, sword drawn, is standing over a fallen body that is lying facedown. Leira can tell it is a man with dark hair but little else. Is it Harper? Bhart? Someone she hasn’t met yet?

Suddenly, the guard turns toward her and Leria can see that it is a rather husky woman. In fact, she recognizes her from the Sacrament of Fortitude Celebration. It is Sacreelia Fiststeel, the captain of the King’s Guard. 

“Now to take care of you,” Fiststeel says, fury clearly evident in her eyes. She raises her sword and advances upon Leira.

Liera gasps and throws open her eyes, back in her bedroom. She rips the ring from her finger and lays there panting. From her experience earlier this evening, she’s pretty sure this is a vision of something she will experience in the future. But what did she see? Why is the captain of the King’s Guard coming after her? And who was the man on the floor?


Notes:

[For completing the House adventures I will award Leira 3 EXP. Originally I was only going to award her 2 as her actual contribution to the battles was minor, however, I gave a (d6) die roll the opportunity to be a benevolent GM, with a roll of 5-6 adding an extra EXP point. I rolled a 5.

Below is the full description of the artifact retrieved from the attic. All items in brackets were the results of rolls on the Never Engine Weird [Stuff] generator. Since I’m not expecting this item to play any significant role in the remainder of this campaign I feel it’s okay to share this information at this time without giving away any spoilers:

Artifact to be retrieved from House: This [statuette] comes from [an abandoned shrine] and is made of [salt]. It reproduces or grows via [laying eggs]. It [brings memories to life] and [spreads disease]. It [imprisons] and it [serves].]

Based on those rolls and some other randomly generated tid-bits I came up with this description:

The artifact is a statute that is entitled “Man’s Burdens” which resembles the character of Atlas from our Greek Mythology. The statuette is actually made up of two separate parts, the man and the sphere, that can be detached from each other. The item is actually a mind-control device. When assembled, the statuette does nothing. However, if only the sphere is held and the individual makes direct contact, they (and only they) will see a vision of a personally influential individual who has passed away, most commonly a family member but not necessarily.  The vision will remain still and silent unless someone else holds the man portion of the statue. That person can then “speak” through the vision and command the person under its spell to perform any task. The enchanted person must make a MND saving roll with a (-4) modifier. If they fail they will be compelled to perform whatever task they are given until they complete it. If a person has fallen under the spell once and another attempt is made to control them, the MND needs to be made again, but this time with disadvantage. If a person is aware that the vision is nothing but an illusion, they will make their MND roll with advantage and no modifiers.

I know, a lot of planning for an object that may never be used, but you never know. 
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#13
CHAPTER 7 - Trapperville

System: Adventurers! 
Tools: CRGE; rpgsolo.com

Setup:  Did Bhart see Leira this morning? [To conflict] 50+0  surge=50 No.  +2 Surge.


[Scene 1, Surge count 2]

Main Thread: Tristan’s Wedding
Minor Threads: Leira and Thieves Guild; Bhart’s Career; Conspiracy against the King

“I need a job!”

Bhartram looks up from his work to see the bard Tristan standing just inside the backyard of the Faint Mule Inn. Bhart sits on a small stool building traps for the farmer’s orders. Scattered around him are various planks of wood, dowels, ropes, nails, and tools. In the corner of the yard stands a shed with its door wide open and more building materials sticking out.

“You have a job, Tristan,” Bhart reminds him. “You’re a bard.”

“I know. But I need to get a steady job.” Tristan then proceeds to tell his friend about the visit from Whilbur Freedane, Maegan’s father, the previous day and the plan to win Maegan’s mother’s blessing for their marriage. 

“So I guess you’ve decided to marry her,” Bhart states, remembering that Tristan was still on the fence due to Maegan’s deception about her true identity.

“Her father assured me that her feelings for me are genuine. And I’d be fooling myself if I said I haven’t fallen for her over these past months.”

“Well, that’s great!” Bhart exclaims, rising to his feet and clapping him on the back. “But the wedding's only in a few days, that is if you were sticking to the original schedule.”

“I know. I don’t have much time.”

“Can you postpone?”

“Of course, but Cherry . . . I mean Maegan’s been so looking forward to it, I don’t want her to wait any longer. Not to mention, if we can convince her mother I would want to have the ceremony as soon as possible before she has a chance to change her mind.”

“Ceremony’s not really a problem,” Bhart reminds him. “All the plans are made with Hattia to hold it at the Wooden Frost Giant’s Flagon. The challenge is finding you a job. Today, if at all possible. What skills do you have?”

“Other than music, not much,” Tristan responds, shoulders slumped. “I guess I can do physical labor. And it doesn’t even have to be for long. Just till after the wedding.”

Bhart thinks for a moment.  While he does, he glances around the yard at the partially completed traps. 

“I have a thought,” he says. “Tristan, how do you feel about getting into the trap making business?”

“But I know nothing about building traps.”

“Actually, I had something else in mind. Are you free this afternoon?”

Tristan confirms and the two spend the next half hour discussing their new business arrangement.


[Scene 2, Surge count 2]

Main Thread: Conspiracy against the King
Minor Threads: Leira and Thieves Guild; Bhart’s Career; Tristan’s Wedding

[What is the nature of the meeting?  C.Q. = Refuse/The innocent  
Captain Fiststeel knows that Harper was one of the people who foiled the assassination attempt. While, as far as she knows, he’s innocent of any knowledge of her involvement in the plan, Fiststeel refuses to be comfortable with that assumption and needs to find out what information Harper might have.]

Captain Sacreelia Fiststeel sits at her desk and reads over Lieutenant Rynit’s report on Harper Wyghtwing. Fiststeel recognized him almost immediately after he joined the King’s Guard as one of the “Saviors of the Sacrament,” the name the citizens have given the small group that thwarted the King’s assassination. His record appears exemplary and his loyalty to the King and Guard is unquestionable, a trait which concerns the Captain. Should Wyghtwing ever suspect her, would she be able to convince him that she is indeed loyal as well.  It was time for her to test what he knows or suspects. 

 [Image: thEaKhbKX_AyBfQTh6LA7e9P8nH0p-fbm11qozky...oW3BG8jTvA]
Fiststeel’s office

“Serell!” She calls out. The door to her chamber opens and a page steps in. “Has Guard Wyghtwing arrived?”

“Yes, Captain. He is here.”

“Let him in.” She glances once more at the report as Serell exits and Harper enters. The door closes behind him. 

“Harper Wyghtwing,” Fiststeel says as she stands to shake his hand. “I’ve been reading Rynit’s report and it appears you have done well these past few weeks.”

“Yes, Captain,” Harper responds. “It’s an honor serving the King.”

[Random words: idealize pale]

“I remember meeting you back at the Sacrament ceremony.” She flashes Harper a wide smile. “You performed a great service for Duskcall that day, you and your friends.”

“Thank you,” Harper responds, blushing slightly, remembering that, in reality, he didn’t even arrive on the stage until after the assassins were apprehended. “We were just doing what any good citizen should have done.”

“Still, it must have been exciting for you. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if part of the reason you joined the Guard was in the hopes of similar adventures. The reality of mundane patrols must pale in comparison to those idealized expectations.”

[Charater’s reactions will be determined by a MND challenge, with the winner being more convincing, or intimidating, depending on the nature of the conversation. Fiststeel has a 1 MND. She also has the Charisma skill which gives her advantage on persuasion or intimidation rolls.
MND Roll F: 8+1=9  H: 6+3=9  Tie. Harper is even keel.]

“If things get excited I’ll be ready,” Harper assures her. “But a quiet patrol is a safe patrol.”

Fiststeel accepts his response but can’t help and wonder if he’s just being careful not to sound proud.

[Random words: hall have]

“I’m glad you don’t find patrol too boring. However, getting back to the assassination attempt, as you are aware the assassins had infiltrated the King’s Guard and had men positioned on stage. Which brings me to the reason for this meeting. Your involvement that day is no secret amongst the Guard and I would imagine that makes you a popular person around here.”

[Have other guardsmen shown an interest in him because of this? to Knowledge 97+2 surge=99 Yes, and unexpectedly  (17) six degrees (a meaningful connection is made between two characters) - oh crap, Harper will begin to suspect Fiststeel   Surge resets.

MND Roll: F: 7+1=8  H: 9+3=12  Harper wins and knows to be cautious.]

Harper has had many conversations over the past couple of months about the assassination attempt but decides to keep that close to the chest until he has a better feel for where the Captain is heading with all this. “I’ve spoken with a Guard or two about that day.”

“What I am most interested in,” Fiststeel cuts to the chase, “Is any information about additional spies or traitors. In your discussions, Wyghtwing, have you heard anything in these halls, whether it be fact or rumor, that might help identify anyone else who might be part of the conspiracy?”

[Instead of making another Oracle check, I’m going to assume from the Six Degrees result that he has heard tidbits and rumors, but the last MND roll is still in play.]

“Of course, there has been concern about another attempt on the King’s life and the possibility that there might be more traitors,” Harper admits. “Beyond that, however, I have heard no concrete accusations.” 

 [MND roll to determine if Fiststeel believes him: F: 8+1 MND=9   H: 1,1 crit fail. It’s obvious to her that Harper’s holding back.  Does she suspect he knows about her involvement? To Conflict: 97+0 surge Yes, but . . . she also thinks that she might just be paranoid. Surge resets/stays at 0]

For the record, has Harper already begun to connect the dots. A successful MND roll says yes. 4,2+3 MND=9]

Harper pauses a bit too long between sentences, making it clear to Fiststeel that he’s choosing his words carefully. “Are you sure you haven’t heard anything?” she pushes. “It’s been my experience that people are eager to share opinions and theories.” [Since she is using intimidation, I’ll make another MND check with advantage for Charisma skill: F: 1,2,1+1=4   H: 5+3=8 Harper is still in control.

Random words: elfin nurse]

Thoughts fly through Harper’s brain. Of course, he and the others had discussed the Huntsmen’s involvement in the Guard and how that could have been possible. All sorts of theories were offered and everyone was named as a suspect at some point, even Captain Fiststeel herself. Most were said in jest or dismissed as ridiculous. But this current line of questioning has stirred something up specifically about Captain Fisteel that he wishes he could remember.

“Nothing that I would put any real faith in, Captain,” Harper says. Then, hoping to give her something and end this conversation he quickly adds, “The most credible theory is Shum’s. He believes the elves were behind the whole thing. But he was nursing his third mug of ale at the time and you know elves aren’t very well-liked in the city.” Harper gives a quick laugh which betrays his opinion of the theory.

“Yes, I do,” Fiststeel agrees and smiles back, showing her dismissal of the idea as well. “Well then, I think we are about done. Keep your ears open, Wyghtwing, and if you hear anything let me know.”

“Yes, Captain,” Harper replies and quickly exits the room, his haste not lost Fiststeel.

Captain Fiststeel sits back down and stares at the closed door. What does Wyghtwing know? Why was he holding back? That crap about the elves was just to appease her. She was sure of that. Was it because he knows that she was in charge of the entire assassination plot? Did he become a King’s Guard, to keep an eye on her? 

Eventually, she had to tell herself to stop, that she was probably just being paranoid. It was more likely that Wyghtwing was simply nervous in front of his commander. 

[Has Fiststeel replaced the fallen Huntsmen? To Conflict - 1+0=1 No, and unexpectedly (11) limelit (the rest of the scene goes great for the PC). Well, that was going to happen anyway. surge stays at 0] 

Still, Sacreelia Fiststeel wishes she had replaced the Huntsmen who were exposed during the Sacrament. If for no other reason, to have someone to keep an eye on Harper Wyghtwing, or perhaps see to it that he is killed if need be.


[Scene 3, Surge count 0]

Main Thread: Conspiracy against the King
Minor Threads: Leira and Thieves Guild; Bhart’s Career; Tristan’s Wedding

Meanwhile, Harper walks the halls of the castle on his way back to the barracks. The nagging thought keeps running through his head that something was off about the meeting with Captain Fiststeel. He was expecting a “get to know the troops” talk, or perhaps even a performance review. What he didn’t expect was to be grilled about rumors concerning an event that happened two months ago. Did she seem a bit too eager for information? And what was it that this meeting reminded him of?

As he exits the castle and crosses the training yard it came to him. Several of the other Guardsmen commented on the Captain’s frequent meetings with the Guards who turned out to be traitors. They were summoned to her quarters twice, sometimes three times as often as any other Guard, especially the one Harper knew as Shylock, the Huntsman Lieutenant. 

Could that be it? Could there be any truth to the rumors that Captain Fiststeel might have helped set up the assassination attempt? Part of Harper didn’t want to believe it, but then he remembered Leira’s comment after the event about it being odd that the Captain would send Guardsmen away from the King to deal with disturbances in the crowd. 

Harper didn’t know what he had stumbled upon, if anything, but he was going to keep his ears and eyes open. If the King’s life was still in danger, this time he wasn’t going to fail.


[Scene 4, Surge count 0]

Main Thread: Tristan’s Wedding
Minor Threads: Leira and Thieves Guild; Bhart’s Career; Conspiracy against the King

[Image: jsl854DnwcKenReMIpnslleEPp4u7tt05RS4uBqo...8eAufXNqcw]
Duskcall Marketplace

The Duskcall street market is a hustle and bustle of bodies and vendors. Among the crowds are Bhartram Rosemight and Tristan Cleves. While Bhart knows that most of his clientele will be the farmers, he is really limiting his sales by traveling to one farm at a time. If he can reach more people at once he could do well. Setting up a stall in the market place seems like a way he might accomplish that.

Targeting the farmers, the trap maker found a prime spot amongst the food stalls. However, it didn’t appear that Bhart is the only one hoping to use this strategy. Across the street and a few stalls down he spots his previous employer and, in his opinion, inferior trap maker Ugran Hillhide. Urgan stands in front of his stall with a tiny cage in his hand. He waves it around and calls out, “If you’ve got rats, I’ve got traps!”

“I don’t know about this, Bhart,” Tristan says with concern. “Do we really have to sell here? Urgan’s a good guy. I’d hate to steal his business.”

“Hmph,” Bhart scoffs. “‘A Hillhide trap is a piece of crap’ would be a more accurate slogan.” 

“I don’t think that would attract many customers,” Tristan replies.

Bhart sighs. “I wasn’t serious. Anyway, you know what to do. Now get out in the street and do your thing.” He waves the bard away toward the street with the back of his hands.

Tristan steps out into the crowd, drawing amused looks from the citizens passing by. He wears motley minstrel’s garb, much more colorful than anything he would typically don for a performance. It does its job, however, as he is quickly the center of attention.

“Ladies and Gentlemen,” Tristan calls out. “May I have your attention please.“ As more people stop and gather Tristan strums out a tune on his lute that sounds something like this

Then he begins to sing:

Farmhand, Are varmints getting you down?
I said, farmhand, there’s a fox just roamin’ around
I said, farmhand, if crows are making you frown.
I have news to make you happy

Innkeep, you hear rats in your walls.
I said, Shopkeep, mice are invading your stalls.
You can stop them, if my words you just heed.
My friend Bhart has just what you need.

Bhart Rosemight makes the best T - R - A - Ps
Oh yeah he builds the best T - R - A - Ps
Bhart has everything to remove all your woes.
Those foxes, rats, mice, and crows

Bring it on down to Trapperville!

With this last line, Tristan swings his lute around his back, takes a step forward, and thrusts his hands out, one palm up in front of him and one up over his head, giving them a slight wave.

The crowd claps and several walk over to Bhart’s stall to see what kinds of traps he is selling. [What is Hillhide’s response per Playeveryrole.com - (Negative disposition)?   a fearful response] Bhart looks across the street at his former boss who stares back with bewilderment and concern. Bhart’s mouth turns up in a wide grin.


[Scene 5, Surge count 0]

Main Thread: Tristan’s Wedding
Minor Threads: Leira and Thieves Guild; Bhart’s Career; Conspiracy against the King

[The purpose of this scene is to convince Ambra Freedane that Maegan and Tristan should marry. There will be four individuals who may influence Ambra’s decision. Each individual will make a MND challenge at the appropriate time. (Ambra’s MND is 2). If she loses 3 or more of the challenges she will agree to the marriage. If she only loses 2, either Maegan or her father (MND 1) will need to work a little harder and win a challenge to change her mind. If Ambra only loses 1, both Maegan and father will have to win challenges. If Ambra wins all the initial challenges, she is firm and will not allow the marriage.]

Tristan stands in the Freedane’s elegant living room. Ambra and Whilbur Freedane sit in matching high-backed cushioned lounge chairs. Each chair is covered in dark red upholstery highlighted with gold embroidery.  Off to the side, Maegan sits on a matching sofa. She is dressed in a simple deep blue dress and her short, wavy red hair is adorned with small white flowers. The rest of the furniture in the room is made from polished dark wood and brass fixtures. Silver and gold candelabras provide light, as well as a bright glowing sphere that hangs on a chain from the center of the ceiling. Tristan can only assume this mysterious globe is powered by some magical force.

“And it is because of my love and admiration for your daughter, Mrs. Freedane,” Tristan says already in the midst of his appeal, “That I have come to a major decision in my life. I have chosen to abandon my uncertain career in the bard’s trade . . . or at least set it aside for the time being.” This last part he quickly adds as an aside after glancing at Maegan and seeing her face fall. She is completely unaware of Tristan and her father’s plan and the bard knows she would never want him to give up his music, even if it means they can marry. 

“Instead,” Tristan continues. “I have recently acquired a position working for an esteemed tradesman, a skilled maker of traps who hails from a line of honored trap-makers.” While all this is technically true, he does his best to make Bhart sound more like a world-renowned artisan instead of a relative nobody who learned the trade from his dad.

[Tristan will use his charisma skill to get an advantage. Also, charisma rolls are at -1 due to the scar he received in the catch-up to this campaign.
T: 2,6,5-1+3 MND=13   A: 1,1 Crit fail which means nothing special.  1 Challenge Lost]

Ambra’s face brightens a bit at Tristan’s employer’s impressive credentials.”Oooh, sounds like there might be some potential, Mr. Cleves. Is your master anyone we might know?”

“Oh, I’m afraid not,” Tristan admits. “He only just recently started serving the fine citizens and farms of Duskcall. It may take several weeks for his business to grow in this city, but he will make a name for himself. I assure you that. In fact, I believe ‘ole Ugran Hillhide is already scrambling to keep his customers.”

“Stable work in a good trade is an important step in providing for a family,” Ambra agrees, then turns to her daughter. “Still dear, young Mr. Cleves is just getting started. It will be some time, if ever, before he saves enough to provide for you and the lifestyle you have grown up with. Kenneth Robinchild, however, already has an established apprenticeship with his father. He will soon have his own clients and be able to offer you a lifestyle well beyond that of a trapmaker.”

Maegan’s face sours and her eyes roll. “Mom! You know it’s not about the money or the lifestyle. I want passion. I want love. And frankly, Kenneth has the personality of an owl: stiff, head in the trees, intelligent but without feelings.” She turns and beams at her fiance. “Tristan makes me happy. He cares for me more than he does his job. And I hope he doesn’t give up his music completely. The songs from his lute brighten my day . . . it brightens everyone’s day. In fact, it’s my dream that one day we can perform together. Oh, mom!” She clutches her hands to her chest. “You know how much I love the stage.”

[MND roll (Maegan has MND 2):   Mgn:  1,3+2 MND=6   A: 6,5+2 MND=13  1 Win, 1 Loss]

“I know. I know. But my sweet, dear Maegan, dress rehearsals and happy tunes don’t satisfy the creditors. I only indulged your acting fancy to give you something to do until we found a worthy suitor to take care of you. Once you’re married to Kenneth and have children you’ll have a real life with real responsibilities and won’t need a pretend life anymore.”

Tristan holds his breath as he watches Maegan’s enraged face turn a shade redder than her hair. Before she loses it completely and launches into her mother with a stream of obscenities that would make everyone in the room blush, Tristan jumps in.

“With all due respect, Mrs. Freedane, I come from a family that has done well for themselves. I live in my own house and can already provide your daughter with a home. And money won’t be a problem.”

Ambra gives him an icy stare. “Am I not correct, Mr. Cleves, that our daughter came to us just a couple of weeks ago looking for an advance on her dowry so you could pay a fine and be released from jail. Do you think I’m going to allow my girl to marry a broke criminal?”

“Ambra!” Whilbur Freedane jumps to his feet. “Watch your manners! Tristan is a guest in our house . . . my guest . . . and you will show him the respect he deserves. As far as those trumped-up charges, had I known Tristan before that all happened I would have probably paid the fine myself . . .  right before having the dog’s owner thrown in jail himself for reckless endangerment of Duskcallian citizens.

“And Kenneth Robinchild? Really, Ambra? He barely knows the law, he loses most of his cases, and he has no head for business. In fact, he actually paid his last client to let him represent them just so he could get more experience. I bet in three years he’ll be unhirable. Then he and Maegan will be broke, homeless, and unhappy. 

“Has he even shown any interest in getting married to anyone, let alone Maegan? If so, I haven’t seen it and I certainly haven’t heard Maegan talk about him like she does this young man standing before us. She hasn’t stopped doting on him since she told us about him. Have you listened? She can’t wait to be with him. They’re already engaged. And I approve!”

[MND Roll: W: 6,5+1 MND = 12    A: 1,1 crit fail, again.  1 win, 2 loses]

Sufficiently chastened, Ambra places her folded hands in her lap and bows her head, unwilling to look her husband in the eye. She and Whilbur have talked about this many times before and she knew there was truth in what her husband said about Kenneth Robinchild. However, she had hoped that all he needed was a little confidence and more practice. Besides, she knew nothing about this Tristan person.

Ambra’s thoughts are suddenly interrupted by a ruckus coming from the direction of the front door. They can hear the butler arguing with someone.

“Sir, you can not go in there.”

“I know, but it’s important that I speak with Tristan right away.”

Just then, Bhart rushes through the arched entry to the living room and looks in Tristan’s direction. Right behind him follows the frazzled butler.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Freedane. I tried to stop him.”  Whilbur waves the butler away with a flick of his hand, curious as to what this stranger wants.

“Sorry to interrupt, Mr. and Mrs. Freedane. Maegan,” Bhart says as he crosses the room to speak with his friend. “Tristan, you need to come with me right away. The marketplace was a success! We received over a dozen new orders. I need help right away building the traps.”

“But Bhart,” Tristan objects. “You know I have no idea how to make . . .”

“How to make more time in the day?” Bhart cuts Tristan off before he can inadvertently expose the ruse. “Neither do I. That’s why I need your help! Together we can meet the deadline.” He grabs Tristan’s arm and begins to drag him out of the room. “Partner, we are going to be rich!” he exclaims as they disappear from sight. 

Once outside, Tristan pulls free and demands an explanation. “What is this all about? Was my advertising really that effective?”

“I may have exaggerated a bit,” Bhart admits. “But we did get a couple of orders.”

“Why then would you burst in and drag me out before I’ve had a chance to convince Cherry’s mom?” Tristan asks, flustered enough to revert to using Maegan’s stage name.

“I thought it might help. You’re trying to convince Mrs. Freedane that you’re a successful merchant. Right?. I figured if I came in announcing that we had more orders than one man can handle and that we’re going to make a lot of money, that would be impressive.” Bhart glances back at the mansion. “Do you think it worked?”

[MND roll: B: 6,5+3 MND=14   A: 5,5+2 MND=12  Both high rolls and a close result. I guess she was turned off at the extremely bourgeois display but had to admit that Tristan might be able to provide for her daughter better than she originally thought.  1 Win. 3 Losses. Ambra approves of the marriage.]


 [Scene 6, Surge count 0]

Main Thread: Tristan’s Wedding
Minor Threads: Leira and Thieves Guild; Bhart’s Career; Conspiracy against the King

Maegan has changed into her sleeping gown, climbed into her bed, and is about to blow out the single candle on the nightstand when there is a soft rapping on her door.

“Sweet dear, may I come in?”

Recognizing her mother’s voice, Maegan gives her permission. Ambra Freedane enters and sits in a chair next to the bed. She reaches out and takes her daughter’s hand in one of her own. Her free hand gently strokes Maegan’s hair.

“Can you forgive me?” Ambra asks. 

“For what, Mom. You were just looking out for my best interests.” Despite her anger earlier, the girl loves her mother and knows that she would never intentionally cause her pain. Maegan also is well aware that she hasn’t always been the model daughter, giving Ambra good reason to be concerned.

“That’s true, but I also should be looking out for your heart. I like things. I like status. And I was judging your happiness based on what I like. But you are not me. And your father’s right. Kenneth Robinchild is a bit of a dolt.” They both smile at that. “What I’m trying to say is that if you are sure Mr. Cleves is the man for you, then I approve of you marrying him.”

“Oh, mother! Thank you!” Maegan raises up and begins to throw her arms around her mother’s neck until Ambra stops her.

“Under one condition.”

Concern fills Maegan’s head as she asks what.

“That your father and I oversee the wedding.”

“But it’s only two days away.” 

“Yes,” Ambra agrees. “We would prefer that you push it back a few weeks, but I know you’re too stubborn to do that. Still, your father and I have connections . . . and money . . . and we should be able to do something nice for you.”

Ambra gives her daughter a big, loving smile and this time allows her girl to give her a great big hug.


Wrap-Up:

Typically, I don’t draw attention to my cultural references and just let them speak for themselves. If the reader gets it, great. If not, no big deal. However, since this chapter’s reference is rather front and center, obscure (especially if you don’t live in the U.S.), and a bit out of character for the rest of the story in its absurdity, I thought I should at least provide a link to one of the skits on which the marketplace scene is based.
(link: https://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/...lle/n35373)
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  • RocknRollFTW
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#14
Hey Teviko. Nice update. Do you use an online tool for CRGE? I do own the PDF myself, but would like an online emulator if there is one.
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#15
I do use the actual PDF myself, mainly because I like rolling dice and the "slow reveal." As far as an emulator, there is a phone app called "Adventuresmith" that has a CRGE emulator, as well as many other tools. However, I believe the app is only available on Android. Beyond that, there may be another automated products out there, but I don't personally know of one.
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#16
CHAPTER 8: THE WEDDING

System: Adventurers! 
Tools: CRGE; d30 Sandbox Companion; rpgsolo.com

Setup:  By the time of the wedding Bhart and Leira would have had a discussion about her scar. Without narrating the entire conversation I will just make a couple of rolls to determine how that conversation went and fill in the details if needed later.

First, a roll on my reaction table to see how well Bhart responds. 3-Poor, worse than expected

Leira and Bhart will make opposing MND rolls to see if Leira can tell Bhart a story that will satisfy his curiosity. While she has advantage due to the “Charisma” skill, her roll will also be modified by (-2) for the “Poor” reaction roll.
L: 1,2,2 = 4-2+5MND = 7      B: 5,3+3MND = 11  Bhart is not convinced. The effects of this will be revealed over the following scenes.


[Scene 1, Surge count 0]

Main Thread: Tristan’s Wedding
Minor Threads: Leira and Thieves Guild; Bhart’s Career; Conspiracy against the King

Were the Freedane’s able to secure the main sanctuary? (To Knowledge) 92 Yes, but . . the High Priest is unavailable for the ceremony.

Ambra Freedane was not mistaken when she told her daughter that her and Whilbur had connections and money. With less than 48 hours till the ceremony, the influential couple was not only able to make arrangements to hold the wedding at the Cathedral of the Creator, located across the plaza from the King’s Castle but were also able to secure the use of the main sanctuary. Additionally, at the last minute, they found a cook who could cater the reception that was being held in one of the Cathedral’s banquet halls. For decorations, they rounded up several friends and acquaintances (who were encouraged with invitations to the service and the feast afterward). About the only part of Ambra’s plans that fell short was to have the High Priest preside over the nuptials, as he was unavailable. Instead, they had to settle for one of the lesser clerics.

[Image: sQFLiGcV7OY1uz26zXY25R8QVFW3ZVMPJ3x54PNr...9AMQ=w2400]
Cathedral of the Creator

Also, because of the last minute arrangements, the wedding party was not able to do a run through the previous evening, as is tradition. Instead, everyone had to arrive the morning of the wedding, roughly four hours before the ceremony, to go over the details. By now most of the party has arrived: Maegan’s parents and siblings; Tristan and one of his groomsmen; Bhart, his best man, Leira, a bridesmaid; and Harper, who just came to watch. They are just waiting for the last few stragglers to arrive before beginning.

Off in a corner, Harper and Leira take the opportunity to catch up. They have not seen each other since Harper moved out of the hostel and into the guard’s barracks. 

“That’s a nasty cut,” Harper says, running his finger gently down the red gash healing on Leira’s right cheek. “Did it happen at the Flagon?”

“A couple of nights ago things got rough,” she lies. “Some guys drank a bit too much. Heated words were spoken. Before you knew it a bottle was broken, swings were taken and I was a bit too close.” She offers a “whatcha gonna do” smile.

“Bhart seems pretty upset about it. Said it’s all because you agreed to be the tavern guard?”

Leira regrets having made up that story but now if forced to keep up the ruse. “Yeah. I filled in for Hames a couple of nights, you know, having some experience saving the King and all.” She flashes Harper a conspiratorial smile. “But the scar had nothing to do with that. I was just serving tables. But Bhart didn’t want to hear it. He wants me to leave the Wooden Flagon all together and find something ‘less dangerous’.”

“Well, he is your brother and I have to admit, seeing this, I am a bit concerned, myself.” Seeing disappointment cross Leira’s face he quickly adds, “But I’m sure you know what you are doing and will make a wise choice. I can even give you some fighting tips in case you plan on filling in for Hames again.”

“I would like that.” Leira smiles at the offer. “In fact, the sooner the better.”

Just then they are interrupted by a concerned Tristan.

“Have either of you seen Maegan?”

“I saw her parents,” Leira answers. “Didn’t she come with them?”

“No. [Per oracle] They came early to make sure all the set up was going well. Maegan was coming later with her brothers and sisters.”

“But they’re here already,” Harper says. “Have you asked them?”

“I did talk to her sister but all she could tell me was she was delayed and should be here soon.”

[Do the siblings know anything? To knowledge: 88+2 surge=90 Yes, but . . . they are hesitant to say anything. reset surge]

Harper isn’t convinced. “Let’s talk to her again.”

The three call Bhart over and then go to find Maegan’s sister. They spot Holly and Maegan’s younger brother Devyn sitting in a pew. 

“Hello, Holly,” Leira speaks first, thinking the teenage girl might be more comfortable speaking with her instead of the men.  “We are trying to find your sister. Do you know where she might be?”

Holly looks around for Maegan before answering. “I’m sure she’ll be here soon.”

“Why didn’t she come with you?”

“She . . .  she had to take care of something.” 

“What?” Tristan asked impatiently. “She’s supposed to be here. Everyone’s waiting.”

Holly remains silent and is obviously avoiding eye contact with Tristan.

“She stopped to talk with her other boyfriend while we were coming here,” Devyn finally said, drawing an elbow to the ribs from his sister.

“Other boyfriend?” Tristan questions, now even more concerned.

“Yeah, some guy named Laramie,” Devyn responds, casting Holly a warning look before she elbows him a second time.

“It’s not like that!” Holly quickly interrupts seeing the pain on Tristan’s face. “He was just someone she used to hang around. He took the relationship more seriously than Maegan did, but my sister made sure to end it a long time ago, before you and she got engaged. He kept coming around, though, and Maegan kept telling him she wasn’t interested.

“He must have seen us walking to the cathedral today because he ran up begging to talk to Maegan. She was annoyed but told us to go on while she took care of him. That’s the last we saw of her.”

Something about the story triggered a memory in Harper. “You said his name was Laramie?” he asked Devyn. “What did he look like?”

“A little pudgy. Curly brown hair, about down to here.” Devyn raises his hand to a point just below his shoulders. [RG-d30 Sandbox]

“I know that guy,” Bhart cuts in. “A week or so ago he wanted me to steal a love potion for him to use on an old girlfriend.”

“Several weeks ago I met Laramie at the Brewed Awakening,” Harper says. “He wanted me to help him get back together with his ex-girlfriend as well. But that girlfriend got married weeks ago.”

“No! No!” Bhart corrected. “That was Maegan. She was just playing another role, like she did with Tristan. That’s how she was trying to get rid of him, by telling him she was getting married.”

“Do you think something may have happened to her?” Leira asks.

“I don’t know,” Bhart admits, “But let’s go find out. Tristan, you stay here. Harper, Leira and I will try to find her.”

[Do the siblings know where Laramie lives or works? To Knowledge (Unlikely) 88+0 surge=88 Yes but or   16+0 surge=16 No and  The worst of the two is No and. Surge stays at 0]

Neither of Maegan’s siblings knew anything more about Laramie. A quick check with the eldest brother reveals that he knows even less [the “and”] All Harper, Bhart, Leira have to go on is the last place Holly and Devyn had seen their sister. Since they are close to the barracks, Harper decides to quickly grab his weapons and vest with the king’s crest, just in case he needs to act in official Guard capacity. Then he will check out the scene where Maegan was left. Meanwhile, Leira and Bhart will check out some of the taverns to see if anyone knows Laramie and where he might be found.


[Scene 2 -  Surge Count: 0]
Main Thread: Missing Maegan
Minor Threads: Tristan’s Wedding; Leira and Thieves Guild; Bhart’s Career; Conspiracy against the King

[For Leira and Bhart I’ll make one investigation check each. First I will roll a MND check. Success means they will be able to convince someone to talk assuming there is anyone who knows something. Then I will make an oracle roll to see if there is any info to be had.  If there is, the following table will be used.  1-home  2-business 3-both (different locations)  4-both (same location) 5-the entire plan  6-roll again.

Per rolls, both Leira and Bhart are not only able to find out useful information, they both spoke with people who knew the entire plan. Apparently, Laramie likes to talk.

For Harper, I did a MND check to see if he is able to spot any clues (Success) and then an Oracle roll to determine if there were actually any clues to be found. (Yes, there were.)]

About three-quarters of an hour later Bhart and Leira meet up with Harper who is examining something he found along the side of the cobblestone street.

“I’ve found some flower petals that look similar to what is being used in the wedding,” he tells the Rosemights when they were within earshot. “Didn’t Holly have her bouquet with her this morning?”

[Image: Qw2HlLBlBBtL-QS4ZG2AHijzdk0tpeG9Q1_zGYCY...yMtQ=w2400]

“I believe she did,” Leira confirms. “Maybe Maegan was bringing her’s as well and some petals fell off in the struggle.”

Harper looks up sharply, “Struggle?”

Leira and Bhart ran into each other several minutes earlier and compared stories. Now they told Harper what they learned. 

Laramie is indeed the man who solicited Harper and Bhart in the past and Maegen is his ex-girlfriend who supposedly was getting married. By now the jilted lover was aware that the whole marriage story was a ruse just to get him to leave her alone. Laramie was angry, hurt, confused, but not dissuaded. He still, for some reason, believed that he could win Maegan’s heart. Over the past couple of days news of her marriage to Tristan spread rapidly, mainly due to Ambra’s announcement of the event and the rush to get the preparations completed. Laramie caught wind of this and felt desperate. The best plan he could come up with was to kidnap Maegan, keep her from going through with the wedding, and try to convince her to marry him instead. Not a great plan, to be sure, but to be expected from the same person who asked Harper to do something very similar and asked Bhart to get him a potion so he could drug his ex-girlfriend. 

“And you each heard this from two different people?” Harper asked incredulously.

“Apparently he likes to talk when he’s had a bit to drink,” Leira confirms.

“And you and I were practically strangers when he approached us,” Bhart reminds him.

“That’s true. Did they have any idea where he might have taken her?”

[1. home  2. shop  3 both are the same place.   d3=2 shop  
What is his profession per d30 sandbox = 13 tradesman  18 leather craftsman]

“He is a leather craftsman and runs his own shop. They suggested he would take her there since it was more private than his home,” Bhart explains and gives Harper the name of the shop. They know where it is and head in that direction.

Harper keeps scanning the streets for any more petals or other items Maegan may have dropped accidentally or on purpose to leave a trail, however, he sees nothing. [Per oracle] After several minutes they arrive at the leather shop. Not knowing Laramie’s plans, they look for a way behind the row of shops to see if there are windows or entrances in the back.  [Is there an alley directly adjacent to the shop? To Conflict=66+8 surge=74  Yes +2 surge   Do they see them through a window in the 1) alley or 2) rear?  d2=2 rear] Luckily, an alleyway runs along one side of the shop. The trio duck in. While there are a couple of windows that open out to the ally nothing can be seen within. There are few more windows in the back of the shop and it is through one of these that they spot both Laramie and Maegan.

They appear to be in a storeroom with crates and piles of leather. Maegan is seated in a wooden chair, her arms bound behind her and her legs bound to the chair with leather straps. Fitted in her mouth is a cloth gag.  Both Harper and Bhart recognize Laramie who paces back and forth in front of his prisoner. Every now and then he stops to say something to her. The party can’t hear the words, but his body language seems like he is begging with Maegan.

They back away and discuss their options. While Harper didn’t see an obvious weapon in the room, he has reason to believe Lamarmie might have one or be able to grab one easily, even if it’s just a leather working tool. There is no way to get in the window fast enough. With no way in other than the windows, Bhart checks to see if they can be opened. Unfortunately, none budged, either locked or permanently sealed.  [Per oracle, no door and windows sealed.]

Harper comes up with a plan. Considering the situation, he falls back on his authority as a King’s Guard and declares this an unknown and dangerous circumstance, warranting quick action and, if necessary, the use of deadly force. He hands Bhart his sword and instructs him to go to the front of the store and try to get in the door. Meanwhile, he and Leira will prepare to shoot Laramie though the window with Harper’s bow. Whether he actually shoots or just threatens will depend on whether or not Bhart can gain entrance to the store. Should they have a need to defend themselves, Harper and Leira are armed with daggers.

“Grab that rock,” Harper instructs Leira as Bhart disappears around the corner of the building. “Get ready to smash the window as soon as you see Bhart enter the room.”

“What if he can’t get in?”

“Then I’ll tell you when.” Harper nocks an arrow, draws the bow back halfway, and waits.


[Scene 3 -  Surge Count: 8]

Main Thread: Missing Maegan
Minor Threads: Tristan’s Wedding; Leira and Thieves Guild; Bhart’s Career; Conspiracy against the King

[Is the door locked? To conflict - Likely (as Laramie his holding someone captive)  31+8 surge=39 No        48+8surge=56 Yes   Going with Yes +2 surge

Bhart knows nothing about picking locks, however, since he is familiar with working mechanisms from his trap making I’ll only make it a “difficult (-2)” chance to jimmy the lock instead of “very difficult (-4)”]

Bhart reaches the front door but finds it locked. He examines the lock. While he is not a skilled lockpick, he has built some intricate mechanisms on rat and bird traps. The lock seems old and the handle is rather loose. Bhart pulls out his dagger, wedges it between the frame and door near the lock, and tries to force the bolt. [4,4+2AGI - 2= 8 success] As he suspected, the locking mechanism was weak and gave with little trouble.

“Hey, what are you doing?” 

Bhart looks up to see a middle-aged [d6 even=female odd=male  2] woman scowling at him, and coming up behind her a [d6 4] female member of the King’s Guard.


[Scene 4 -  Surge Count: 10]

Main Thread: Missing Maegan
Minor Threads: Tristan’s Wedding; Leira and Thieves Guild; Bhart’s Career; Conspiracy against the King

[If Bhart doesn’t appear in 5 minutes, Harper will take action. How many minutes till Bhart makes it to the storeroom? d6+2=4+2=6

Laramie: S:0  A:-1  M:0  END: 3

Perception Check for Laramie to see if he notices Harper out the window. It will be a “Very Difficult -4” challenge as he is focused on Maegan. 1,2-4=-1]

While he waits, Harper stands with bow ready but just to the side of the window to lessen the chances of being seen. Leira stands across from him on the other side, just barely peeking beyond the frame. All their caution, however, is probably unnecessary as all of Laramie’s focus is on his captive who is staring daggers at him. Every now and then she will shake her head vigorously at whatever he is saying.

“What is taking Bhart so long?” Leira whispers.

“He must be having trouble with the door,” Harper says. “We can’t wait any longer. Give me a moment to aim [adds +1 to ATK], then smash the window. Ready?”

Leira nods.

Harper steps back from the window and draws the string all the way back. He aims low, looking to hit Laramie in the thigh. Leira arcs her arm up and lets the rock fly through the glass. [5,4 + 1 STR + 2 Easy = 12 Success] Startled, Laramie turns toward the window and stops dead in his tracks. [fails surprise roll and gets -2 to DEF] Harper make a quick adjustment and releases the arrow which strikes its target just above the kneecap. [Harper wins attack 9 to 6. Laramie is at 1 END]   

“King’s Guard! Stop where you are!” Harper calls out, quickly nocking another arrow. 

Laramie screams in pain and throws up his hands in surrender. “Don’t shoot,” he cries, tears beginning to stream down his face. “I’m sorry. Don’t shoot!” [Laramie fails his morale roll by 51%, which is a surrender] 


[Scene 5 -  Surge Count: 10]

Main Thread: Missing Maegan
Minor Threads: Tristan’s Wedding; Leira and Thieves Guild; Bhart’s Career; Conspiracy against the King

“You need to trust me. I’m a friend of Harp Wyghtwing, a member of the King’s Guard,” Bhart pleads desperately with the Guardswoman who is about to arrest him for attempted burglary. “The owner of this shop has kidnapped a woman and I need to get in there and stop him.”

The Guardswoman is assessing Bhart with a flat, unbelieving stare when a man’s scream is heard from within the shop. Bhart wastes no time rushing into the shop, the Guardswoman close behind. They speed across the main room and through the doorway that leads to the storeroom where Laramie and Maegan are. Upon entering Bhart sees Laramie with his hands up, slowly sinking to the floor in pain due to the arrow protruding from his leg. He raises the point of his sword toward the wounded man to keep him at bay.  The shocked Guardswoman stands in the doorway, her eyes shifting from Bhart and Laramie to the bound and gagged woman in the chair. “What in the name of the Creator is going on here!” 

Harper identifies himself through the window before he and Leira round the shop and enter through the front door. By the time they arrive, Maegan has been cut free. Harper explains the situation to the Guardswoman and, holding the higher rank, gives her instructions. Leaving the Rosemight’s to escort Maegan back to the cathedral, Harper goes with his fellow soldier to transport the prisoner to the castle dungeon, assuring the others he will not miss the ceremony.


[Scene 6 -  Surge Count: 10]

Main Thread: Tristan’s Wedding
Minor Threads: Leira and Thieves Guild; Bhart’s Career; Conspiracy against the King

The wedding was magnificent, employing all the pomp and circumstance one would expect from a ceremony of the noble class. Maegan was mesmerizing, dressed in her mother’s flowing white wedding gown. Tristan stood amazed, blushing at the beauty of his bride. The ceremony was officiated by one of the church’s clerics and both Leira and Bhart were members of the wedding party. Tristan wanted to add Harper at the last minute as thanks for his part in saving Maegan, however, tradition required an even number of groomsmen to bridesmaids. Harper was appreciative but just as content to stand back and observe.

After the official ceremony, everyone moved to one of the dining halls for the reception, which featured a string quartet, dancing, and a spread full of the finest culinary delicacies that might be found in all of Arigord. 

As the afternoon shifts to evening, the newly married couple find themselves gathering together with their friends the Rosemights, Harper, and Naglen Clayhanger.

“A nice ceremony,” Harper says.

“And you make a beautiful bride,” Leira compliments Maegan.

Maegan expresses her thanks to Leira as Tristan asks if they all had a good time.

“If nothing else, the food is excellent,” Bhart says before sucking the last bits of meat off a chicken bone.

The happy couple nod, then look at each other wistfully. 

“Is something the matter,” Leria asks. “You both look like . . . I don’t know. Like there’s something you want but aren’t getting.”

“This is all great,” Tristan begins. “And  really appreciated everything Maegan’s parents have done, but . . . “

“But it’s a bit stuffy,”  Maegan interrupts. “My parents don’t know how to have a good time. This is my wedding night. I want to cut loose.”

“Well, you know,” Naglen says, “We did reserve the Wooden Frost Giant Flagon for tonight.”

The six of them look from one to another before fully comprehending the meaning of the halfling’s words, at which point they all smile in silent agreement.


[Scene 7 -  Surge Count: 10]

Main Thread: Tristan’s Wedding
Minor Threads: Leira and Thieves Guild; Bhart’s Career; Conspiracy against the King

The hour is late and the Wooden Frost Giant Flagon Tavern is filled to capacity plus. In addition to Harper, the Rosemight’s, and the Cleves, most of the patrons were the newly married couple’s rougher, less refined friends and acquaintances, as well as several regular patrons who just happened to wander in off the street. The ale was flowing freely and celebratory music filled the air. Tonight’s occasion: The Wedding of Tristan and Maegan, or more accurately, The Vow Renewal Ceremony of Tristan and Maegan.

Tristan and Maegan stand on the small raised platform that Tristan the musicians use as a stage when they perform at the Flagon. Tristan has changed into his finest performance garb and Maegan is wearing a simple green dress. Between them, on a crate, stands Hattia Sandheaver, the tavern’s halfling bartender and owner. Throughout Dusckall bartenders often officiate over the weddings of their most frequent patrons. The general consensus is that they have to listen to bar tales all day and night and often know more about the engaged couple than the priest and clerics do, so why shouldn’t they be allowed to marry them? Sure, the legitimacy of these tavern weddings come into question from time to time, especially should legal issues arise, but none of this is a concern for the Cleves as they have already had an official service.

Hattia raises her hands and lets out a shrill whistle. The band stops playing and the crowd quiets down.

“Good evening friends and patrons! As many of you know -- and those of you who don’t are in for a treat -- we are here to celebrate the marriage of Maegan Freedane to Tristan Cleves. Both of these fine youngsters have graced this fine establishment with their presence and performance and have become good friends of mine.”  Hattia goes on to relay a few stories of the happy couple and say a few words about love and marriage until, finally, it is time for the renewal of the vows.

“Tristan, do you vow to love and cherish Maegan, caring and protecting her for the rest of her life? Making sure to take her to the merriest parties, serve her the finest wine, and carry her home safely once it’s gotten late and she’s long since passed out?”

Tristan’s face brightens even more than it already was as he laughs and agrees, ”I do so vow!” Everyone in the room raises their mugs and lets out a resounding “Ay!”

“Maegan,” Hattia continues, turning to the girl with the short, strawberry blonde hair. “Do you vow to love and cherish Tristan, caring for and supporting him the rest of his life? Applauding him when he performs -- despite the occasional wrong note -- and reprimanding him gently when you need to remind him that you are not his personal cook or housekeeper?”

Maegan looks thoughtfully before answering. “I think I’m okay with the personal cook thing.” Hattia gives her a questioning look. “Have you tasted his cooking?”

Laughter fills the room and Tristan’s face turns a shade of red.

“Of course I do so vow!” Maegan agrees, throwing her arms around Tristan’s neck and giving him a big kiss as everyone again raises their mugs and shouts, “Ay!”

“Then by the power invested in me by the Wooden Frost Giant Flagon and the Duskcall Barkeeps Guild, I give you Tristan and Maegan Cleves!  Let the partyin’ commence! First round is on the Flagon!”

[Image: tumblr_p54gqq0zIV1unc256o1_1280.jpg]
Celebrating at the Flagon


[Scene 8 -  Surge Count: 10]

Main Thread: Tristan’s Wedding
Minor Threads: Leira and Thieves Guild; Bhart’s Career; Conspiracy against the King

“Somethin’s on your mind, Rosie,” Hattia remarks to Bhart, using the nickname she picked up from Harper and knows he hates. She’d been watching the man for the past several minutes sip his ale and stare at his sister and Harper dancing out on the floor. Currently, the band is playing a slow ballad and the two of them sway from side to side, bodies touching and eyes locked. “Care to tell me?”

Bhart snaps out of his trace at Hattia’s question. “I don’t know, Hattia. Leira’s keeping something from me, I’m sure of it.”

“How so?”

“For instance, that cut on her face. I asked her about it. How couldn’t I? It’s right there. She told me about the bar brawl, but it was obvious she was hiding something. [Driven by the MND challenge back in the Setup] Have you noticed anything the past several nights?”

The halfling thinks for a moment. “No. Can’t say that I have, except for her suddenly rearranging her schedule a couple of nights this past week. But she had Vicky cover for her so I didn’t mind.”

“So she could fill in for Hames.” Bhart declares, remembering Leira’s new responsibilities.

“Hames?  Why would she fill in for Hames? No, so she could have the nights off.”

Bhart throws Hattia a puzzled look, one the barkeep has seen many times before from others. Instantly, she understands Bhart’s cause for suspicion.

“And I’ll tell you something else,” she adds. “That cut on her face, that didn’t come from any bar brawl.”

Without a word, Bhart takes a long draught of ale from his mug and turns back to regard his sister.  What in Arigord is she up to?
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#17
I just finished reading this thread and I just wanted to say that I think this is really cool!
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#18
(12-07-2020, 05:35 AM)RocknRollFTW Wrote: I just finished reading this thread and I just wanted to say that I think this is really cool!

Thanks, RnR. I've had some other projects and responsibilities over the month of November so unfortunately, I had to set this aside for a few weeks. I'm picking up the campaign again today and plan to have at least one, possibly two more posts before the end of the year.
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#19
CHAPTER 9: THE WRECKS

System: Adventurers! 
Tools: CRGE ; Never Engine Random Generators; rpgsolo.com

Setup (Surge Count 10): 

There is a little bit of administrative work that needs to be done before we continue with the campaign.

First, it was established during the Catch-Up that Maegan’s parents had a dowry set aside for her and part of it was used to pay Tristan’s fine after being thrown in jail. A random roll determined the full amount of the dowry to be 70gp. So after subtracting Tristan’s fines, that left 22gp, 2sp for the couple to put in their savings.

Next, the thieves took two books from the House of Lost and Found. A book of poetry called “Breath of my Future” and a book about astrological fortune-telling. Ilhard held on to the books and turned them over to Elinzia, the thieves guild’s fence, to evaluate and sell. Any future proceeds will go into the guild’s general coffers and none of the party will receive any direct benefit from the items.

Between the wedding and the start of this story, Leira takes Harper up on his offer to train her in sword fighting. This, plus her experience in the House, raises her AGI from 2 to 3 (Narrative reasoning for spending 4 EXP points to raise a stat). This also has the side benefit of raising her END to 7.

Finally, between the wedding and my anticipated start of this chapter, does Bhart confront Leira about her secret activities? [To Conflict = 17-10 surge=7  No, and…  Surge resets to 0]

Bhart is really concerned about Leira and really wants to know what is going on. However, he knows she’s stubborn and independent. Bringing it up again will probably lead to another loud yelling match, from which Bhart will walk away with no new information and an upset stomach. For his own sanity, he’s decided to just drop the issue for the time being [the “and”]. Besides, she proved herself capable of taking care of herself during the first week they were in Duskcall when they confronted the Huntsmen. In fact, at times she seemed more sure of herself than he or Harper had. Tough as it might be, Bhart resolves to do his best to let Leria handle her own affairs and only discuss it with her should she bring it up herself.

Finally, Salaries. Tristan didn’t work this week other than helping Bhart, so he’ll get nothing. Bhart will get paid later in the week when he delivers the traps.  Per a roll on the Cities tables, Harper saves none of his salary (6gp.) I’ll say he used a portion of it for a gift for Tristan and Maegan.  Leira saved 10% of salary from the tavern (2sp).


[Scene 1, Surge count 0]

Main Thread: Leira and Thieves Guild
Minor Threads: Bhart’s Career; Conspiracy against the King

Leira hands the statuette of the man with the large sphere on  his shoulders to Beada Ashbane, the Master of the Order of Two. It has been nearly a week since she last saw the Master Thief during her first introduction to the guild. A lot has happened since then. Besides retrieving this artifact from the House of Lost and Found, Tristan and Maegan had been married, she and Harper spent a lot of time together training (not to mention rekindling some feelings that had been dormant for some time), and her brother Bhartram has been avoiding her. Leria was tired of waiting around and was relieved to not only move forward with the guild but to also get rid of this strange statue that made her uncomfortable ever since it revealed that mysterious vision of her father.

Beada leans forward across the large oak desk to take it from the young recruit. [Does Beada know any specific information about the statue? (To knowledge)  20+0 surge=20 No, and . .  she couldn’t care less about its function.  surge resets] She gives it a quick look, let’s out a “hmpf,” then places it unceremoniously on a shelf behind her next to a candlestick and other small trinkets.

Confused at Beada’s disinterest, Leira asks, “So?  What does it do?”

“I don’t know,” Beada shrugs. 

“Aren’t you interested in what we discovered?”

“No. It’s unimportant.”

“Unimportant?” Leira exclaims. “We risked our lives! You specifically asked for this artifact! What do you mean it’s unimportant?”

“It’s not the artifact I was interested in,” Beada explains, meeting Leria’s gaze with a cold stare. “It’s you. I needed to be sure you would follow orders without question. I needed to be sure you had the willpower to face the unknown and not run. What better test than the House of Lost and Found? Wouldn’t you agree?”

Leira doesn’t respond, but doesn’t turn away either.

“I should let you know, Vyncent was not impressed with your performance,” Beads continues, resting back in her chair and folding her arms across her chest. “Sure, you ultimately found the statuette but offered little else. In fact, he feels that if it weren’t for them you never would have succeeded.”

Despite resolving herself not to be intimidated, Leira finally succumbs to the scrutiny and drops her eyes.

“I’ll admit, I had hoped for a better report,” the older thief confides. “However, it’s understandable. Ilhard and Vyncent are two of my best, trained to take initiative. Regardless of how competent a thief you are, your efforts would have been overshadowed. Regardless, I learned what I needed to learn.”

“And that is?” Leira asks, once again looking up.

“That you, Leira, are fearless, willing to take on a challenge, and will see a task through to the end. That is exactly who I need to complete a special assignment.”

“But why me? You just told me yourself, Ilhard and Vyncet are some of the best. Why not use them?”

Beada once again leans forward and rests her hands on the desk, fingers interlaced. “Two reasons, my young thief. The first, and most important, is that you have connections and a reputation inside the King’s castle. You saved the King’s life and your boyfriend is a member of the King’s Guard.”

“Just friend,” Leira corrects, but can’t stop her cheeks from reddening.

“Yeah, friend,” Beada agrees while simultaneously giving the blushing girl a knowing smirk. “The second reason is a bit more selfish. It’s a dangerous mission. Things could go very wrong and I’m not about to lose important guild members because of it.”

“So I’m expendable. Is that it?” Leira says, plainly stating what the other woman merely danced around.

“Yes, for now,” Beada admits. “But succeed, live, not get thrown in the dungeon, and you will have earned your place among the Order of Two.”

Leira searches the Master Thief’s face for any sign of deceit. 

[L’s Perception (MND) roll vs. B’s Charisma (MND)   L: 10  B: 13]

Though Leira has only met Beada once before, she finds her rather convincing. Nothing on her face nor in her body language screams betrayal. That, as well as what she has learned from Ilhard, leads her to trust the older woman sitting in front of her.

“What is this mission?” She finally asks.

[Okay, while I have a general idea of what she will be doing, the specific quest will be determined with Never Engine’s Espionage Mission Generator. Like the Weird [Stuff] Generator, you roll on multiple tables and fill in the blanks in the mission’s description. I will roll only what is necessary. 

The mission is to [6-Steal/Destroy Supplies] via [49-Socializing] in [13-a City]. Resistance will come from [25-Regular military], but an ally can be found in [100-Mercenary]. Potential intelligence can be uncovered via [26-Reconnaisssance], revealing [63-Damning Documents]. Completion of the mission will result in the gain of [Withheld for now]. Possible Twists and Turns: [To be rolled at a later appropriate moment].

Does Beada know specifically about Orcan? (To Knowledge - 81+0 surge=81 Yes, and…  surge resets]

“Someone is planning to assassinate King Angelo,” Beada states plainly.

Leira scoffs. “Master, you are about two months behind the times.”

“The Sacrament attempt was only a part of a larger plan. Because it failed doesn’t mean it’s over. The person who wishes to remove the King is a merchant named Orcan. I use the term “merchant” loosely. More accurately, he’s a powerful dealer in a rather nefarious trade: the human trade.” Beada pauses to let this sink in. 

“How do you know this?” Leira questions.

“Like any other business, we have a network of thieves among the cities of Arigord. News travels. The point is, King Angelo has made it difficult for Orcan to conduct business freely and Orcan would like to see that situation change. The most efficient method is to kill the King and, with any luck, have him replaced with someone a bit more lenient towards the slave trade.

“Orcan has a contact within the castle. Someone trusted by the King. We’ve even managed to intercept a letter intended for that person.” Beada pushes a sheet of parchment that rests on her desk toward Leira. She picks it up and looks it over. The letter contains some general comments about Orcan’s desires and proposed methods and timelines, but nothing specific to thwart another attempt.

“We have strong reason to believe the intended recipient of that letter is Sacreelia Fiststeel, the Captain of the King’s Guard.”

Leira’s eyes shoot up and catch Beada’s gaze. It takes but a moment for her to recall her curiosity about some of the Captain’s actions on the day of the first assassination attempt. Furthermore, this information helps to explain the vision she received from the ring several nights ago.

“Interesting,” Leira finally says. “But why should this concern the Order?”

“Because, King Angelo is good for the Order’s business,” Beada explains. “No, before you ask it’s not like he secretly supports the guild and condones all that we do. In fact, he would have no problem seeing one of us rot in the dungeon should our crimes warrant that punishment. However, over the years we have learned how to deal with him. We know what he tolerates, what he doesn’t, and we tailor our jobs appropriately. We avoid the wealthy quarters and respect those we do target by leaving much more than we take.  Additionally, we have mild alliances with some of the Guardsmen and officials in his court. They don’t always pursue us as diligently as they should and occasionally even turn a blind eye towards us. When a guild member does get caught it’s not uncommon for a mild sentence to be handed down or even dismissed completely. Bottom line, such knowledge takes years to acquire and test, and starting over with new leadership would seriously affect our coffers and safety. We would like to avoid that. 

“And that’s where you come in. I need to find some solid evidence, preferably physical, that Captain Fiststeel is plotting against the King.”

“Why don’t you just show this to the King?” Leira asks, holding up the letter.

“As I’m sure you read, there’s nothing in the letter identifying the recipient. All it does is implicate Orcan, but that’s no big surprise.”

In her head, Leria begins to fit the pieces together. Because of her connection to Harper, a member of the King’s Guard, and her saving the King’s life, Beada must think she has special connections within the castle. While she might have a little more influence than the rest of the Order, Leria isn’t as confident as she thinks Beada is. There’s no guarantee Harper can, or will, help and all of Leria’s goodwill with the King was probably used up when she was arrested for shoplifting. Accomplishing this mission seems like a long shot. But didn’t Beada say as much in a roundabout fashion by admitting that Leira was expendable?

“What if I accept and later choose to bail if it gets too dangerous?” Leria asks, weighing the stakes.

“Well, obviously you will forfeit membership in the Guild, not only today, but forever. Furthermore, we will disavow any knowledge of you and you may no longer seek our assistance in any manner, formal or informal. Finally, don’t be surprised if your name is dropped here and there as a person of interest, should we ever need a scapegoat.”

“Thanks,” Leria replies, her words dripping with sarcasm. “At least I get to live?”

Beada’s mouth turns up in a wide grin. “We’re not the Huntsmen.”

“Fine. I’m in.” Leira accepts the mission.

“Good!” Beada exclaims, throwing her hands up in mild celebration. “But before you go, let me give you some advice. First, use all your resources. Your resources are what you know, who you know, abilities given to you by the Creator, and abilities you have honed on your own. Use everything and everyone. Yes, people are tools. Don’t forget that. Second, you are on a mission for the Order of Two. That means the Order is a resource. Use it. And third, while you are on a mission for the Order, you are not a member of the Order. If it’s a choice between the Order or you, we will always choose the Order.”

“Yes, you have made that perfectly clear,” Leira acknowledges.

With that, Master Thief Beada gives Leira her leave and the young thief leaves the office.


[Scene 2, Surge count 0]

Main Thread: Expose Fiststeel
Minor Threads: Bhart’s Career; Conspiracy against the King

What in the Creator’s Name have I gotten myself into? Leira thinks to herself. It was bad enough when they came to Duskcall and took on the Huntsmen. Now she’s taking on the King’s Guard? 

But that wasn’t exactly true. The entire King’s Guard wasn’t corrupt, only the Captain and possibly a few trusted men. But did that really matter? Who would the Guard and King believe? She, a serving girl working at a local tavern, or the head of the King’s military. Would even Harper believe her? She doubted it. Not without proof. 

Still, Harper might be able to help. Thinking back to the Sacrament of Fortitude and the assassination attempt on the King, if she, an untrained citizen, noticed irregularities in Captain Fiststeel’s orders, then surely other members of the Guard noticed them, as well. Also, with every conspiracy, there must be leaks. Someone has to either know or suspect something. “Use your resources,” Beada said. Maybe if she could speak with some of the members of the Guard, Leira could charm some information from them. And the best way to meet some Guardsmen is through Harper.

[Using a combination of rolls on my “Description Table” and CRGE, I determine that Leira is unable to find Harper and she has no idea where the King’s Guard like to hang out when not on duty (i.e. What tavern do they go to after a shift for a drink?)]

Right now, Leira’s greatest obstacle is finding Harper. She has no idea what part of the city he might be patrolling or if he’s even on patrol today. The best she could do is wander about and hope that she runs into him. This also will give her some time to think of some sort of plan.

Leira searches through the merchant and middle-class districts first since she was already in the vicinity. Unfortunately, she does not find Harper. She considers the wealthier west side of Duskcall, but soon dismisses the idea as it is rare that Harper is assigned to protect the nobility, being rather new to the Guard. Besides, it is a bit more of a walk than she wishes to make at the moment. Instead, she decides to roam through the lower class streets. 

Most of the houses in this part of town, known by the locals as “The Wrecks,” were run down and in need of repair. The inhabitants weren’t much better, their bodies thin from hunger and their clothes dirty and torn. One thing that stands out to Leira is the lack of beggars that are common in the merchant district. This was a relief at first, as she is tired of constantly being hounded for a hand-out. However, once she realizes that the lack of beggars on the street is probably due to the fact that this is where those poor folks live, her heart drops and she feels ashamed at her irritation. No honest citizen should have to live like this.

As she tries to think of some way she might be able to help, however small, she hears a small voice. It sounds to her like a small female child whimpering. She listens closer and thinks she hears the word “Mommy.”  Leira carefully walks along the space between a shack and a two-story brick building in the direction of the crying child. 

Rounding the corner of the shack Leira finds herself in a dilapidated garden growing nothing but weeds and a few bare-limbed trees. Sitting on an overturned bucket is a little girl, possibly five or six years old, dressed in a plain burlap dress. Her face, arms, and legs are smudged with dirt and soot and her hair is all a mess except for a single braid that lays across her shoulder. She looks up when Leira nears, her tears carving rivulets through the filth of her cheeks.

[Image: UNa_7BzBnSdDnAq0vAac0D17vEQIP9Nz8Zq-st1G...xM0Q=w2400]
Her face, arms, and legs are smudged with dirt

“Hello,” Leria says, squatting down to meet the girl’s eyes. “Are you lost?”

“I . . . can’t find my mommy,” the girl sniffs.

“Oh, that’s too bad,” Leira says, putting a hand on the girl’s shoulder. “Do you live around here? Can I take you home?”

Just then, Leira notices the girl’s eyes flitter for just a second to look at something behind her shoulder. Instinctively, Leria dodges to the side as something swings past, barely brushing her arm. She spins around to see a man dressed in dirty work clothes holding a club and approaching for another attack.

[I rolled a random encounter. Using one of  Never Engine’s Urban Encounter Generators I rolled an ambush by thugs, using the ruse of luring the PC off the path and the strategy of springing out from concealment.

The thug is armed with a club. His ATK is 1. His DEF is 1. His END is 5. 
Leira has a high enough ATK to use “Flurry of Blows” This gives her two attacks each round with the second having a -2 modifier.]

Rounds 1-4:

Leira is barely able to pull her rapier from its sheath before the man is on top of her. She takes a few swings to brush the man back. He is only momentarily deterred and charges again, causing Leira to break off her attack and back off herself. In an attempt to regain her advantage, Leria steps toward her attacker but her foot slips on some gravel and her balance is compromised. Seeing an opening, the man swings his club hard hoping to send Leira to the ground. Somehow, Leira manages to grab the man’s wrist and slow his swing enough to keep the strike from doing any serious damage. [Thug rolled a critical defense which gave him an extra attack, which Leira successfully defended.]

Breaking Leira’s grip, the thug moves to take another swing but then shifts his arm to thrust the club in a poking fashion, hoping to strike his target in the gut and knock the wind out of her. Leira responds with a deft flick of her wrist, using the rapier to push the club to the side. [Leira rolled double 2’s, allowing her rapier to deflect the only point of damage done by the thug.] With her opponent open for attack, Leira counters with a swing of her blade that cuts right across the thug’s torso, opening a wide gash.  [Instead of “Flurry,” Leira uses “Wild Attack” which gives her one attack at +2, doing 4 damage.] Now fighting for his life, the thug gives a backswing that catches Leira square in the side of the ribs. [Thug’s rolled 6,6, for a critical attack, doing 5 damage. However, Leira’s armor roll absorbed 2 of those.]

The two combatants step away from each other to catch their breath and quickly assess their wounds. Leira presses her free hand to her side and the man looks down at the red stain spreading across his torn shirt.

“I’m just trying to feed my family,” the man says as if to justify his actions.

Instead of being moved by the man’s words, Leira is infuriated. “And I’m just trying to stay alive!”

“Don’t worry,” he says. “I’ll go.” He starts to head for the alley between the buildings, which is now behind Leira, but when he gets close he suddenly lunges once again, hoping to catch her off-guard. [Round 5] Leira is faster, however, and brings the point of her weapon up in time to drive it through her attacker’s chest. [3 damage, dropping him to -2 END]

“Idiot!” Leira mumbles in frustration as she kicks the fallen thug for good measure. Not only does he not move, but Leira suspects he might even be dead. [A roll on my death table confirms this.] Remembering the little girl, she spins around to find her huddled in the corner of the garden beneath the bare branches of a scraggly tree. Without thinking, Leira marches over, her rapier held out point first. She stops with the sharp tip only a foot away from the girl’s face. The scared child shakes, tears streaming down her face.

“Was that your father!” Leira demands to know. “Your brother!  Was this some kind of trick to rob me?”

The girl remains quiet except for the deep heaving of her attempts to hold back her sobs.

Leira whips the rapier around and points with it to the garden’s exit around the corner of the shack. “Get out of here!” She orders the girl. “And don’t let me ever see you again!”

The girl doesn’t move, frozen to the spot in fear.

“Go!” Leira screams, which breaks the spell and sends the waif sprinting across the garden.

Who uses a child as bait? Leira wonders. How desperate do you need to be? And what kind of life will that girl have? Growing up in squalor, now possibly without a father. She and Bhart didn’t have much, but they were loved and there was always food on the table. They were just lucky, she guesses. Much luckier than this peasant girl.

“Wait!” Leira cries out. 

She turns to see the girl standing near the corner of the shack looking at her, her bottom lip quivering. Leira reaches into her pouch and pulls out a gold coin. She tosses it and it lands in the dirt at the girl’s feet. She makes no move to pick it up.

“Take it,” Leira says, her voice softer and more controlled than before. “Get yourself something to eat.”

The girl hesitates but a moment before bending down to grab the coin in her grimy hand. Then, not waiting for Leira to change her mind, she runs as fast as she can from the frightening woman with the sword.

Leira swallows hard before leaving the garden herself and heading back to the merchant quarter.


[Scene 3, Surge count 4]

Main Thread: Expose Fiststeel
Minor Threads: Bhart’s Career; Conspiracy against the King

While many stores in Duskcall’s merchant district cater to a specific need or interest, such as clothing, weapons, art, furniture, etc., the Golden Rose carries a little bit of everything. It has racks of clothes, shelves full of books, miscellaneous weapons, vessels and chests of all shapes and sizes to name a few. However, the largest portion of items for sale is various works of art and jewelry scattered throughout the shop. Leira knows that most, if not all of these are created or modified by Elinza, the Guild’s fence and resident crafter, from items pilfered by the Order of Two. She finds Elinzia sorting through various clothing items contained in a plain wooden crate. 

“Hey, Leira,” she says in her rather cheerful voice, before doing a double-take. “What happened to you?”

Leira realizes she must look a bit dirty and beaten from her near mugging. “Got into a tussle over in the Wrecks.”

“What are you doing in there? The Order tends to keep out of that part of town.”

“Too dangerous?”

“No,” Elinza explains. “Nothing of any value worth the guild’s time.”

Leira knows Elinzia means physical things to steal, but she can’t help but wonder if that's also the attitude many Duskcallians have about the people living in the slums. “New item’s for sale?” Leira asks, indicating the crate.

“Yeah. It’s a crate Driffin scored from the public storehouse. When people fail to pay the upkeep on the crates and items they keep there, the storehouse puts the items up for auction,” Elinzia explains. “It’s usually a blind sale as the bidders don’t know what’s in the crates. Driffin manages the accounts at the storehouse at a reduced rate in exchange for some perks. Sometimes they’ll let him see what’s in a lot before it’s up for bid. Other lots they’ll let him buy real cheap before an auction. Or, every now and then, he will just be given a box that doesn’t sell.  Driffin brings them here. We keep what we can use and sell the rest. It goes a long way to help fund the Order.

“But I’m sure you didn’t come here to talk auctions,” Elinzia says, wiping her hands on her skirt and turning to give Leira her full attention. “What can I do for you?”

“Beada’s given me my next task. If I succeed, she’ll make me a full member of the guild.”

“Well, that’s exciting!” Elinzia says, her face bright with excitement.

“It is, but it’s a daunting task. I need to find proof that the Captain of the King’s Guard is a traitor.”

Elinzia’s excitement immediately vanishes and is replaced by a frown of concern.

“What I was hoping,” Leria continues, “Is that you might have some useful information.”

“I don’t know,” the crafting rogue replies. “I’ve never been in the castle and I know nothing about the Captain.”

“Actually, what I was wondering is if you are familiar with the Duskcall Historical Society?”

“A bit. I’ve sold them an item or two in the past. Some legit. Other’s good forgeries.”  Elinza says this last with a bemused smirk.

“Exactly how familiar with the Society are you?” Leria asks, stressing the word “how” to let Elinza know she’s looking for more than just surface knowledge.

[Does E know about the Huntsmen’s involvement with the society? (To Knowledge) 37-4 surge=33 No +2 surge]

“What do you mean?” Elinzia asks with a scrutinizing gaze.

“Huntsmen? Tunnel? Anything” 

“No! Tell me more,” Elinzia says, intrigued.

“When my brother and I first came to Duskcall we had a run-in with the Huntsmen. We learned that the assassin’s guild had a secret tunnel that ran from the Historical Society to the castle. We even explored part of it. I’m thinking I might have to use it if my friend Harper can’t or won’t help me get inside.”

“Could be dangerous,” Elinzia speculates.

“Yes,” Leria agrees, “But I have some tricks I can use. The problem is, the Society’s curator has seen me and may remember who I am. Do you happen to know if Barda still works there?” [(To Conflict, since the answer affects the mission) 62+6 surge = 68 Yes  +2 surge]

“Unfortunately, he does.”

“Hellhounds!” Leira curses. “I was hoping the Huntsmen would have replaced him after we got past him into the tunnel. Do you have anything else that might be helpful?”

[Does Elinza know if Barda lives in the museum? (To Conflict) 45-8 Surge=37 No +2 surge]

“Sorry,” Elinzia apologizes. “I don’t.”

Leira thinks for a moment before asking one last question. “You wouldn’t know where the King’s Guard hang out when they’re not on duty?”

[Does she? (To Knowledge since it doesn’t involve a direct obstacle) 75+10 surge = 85 Yes and surge resets]

“That one I know!  The Cozy Fish. It’s a tavern just near the Guard’s barracks, just off the plaza in front of the castle.”

Leria remembers the place from their celebration after saving the King several months ago.

“In fact, if you run into a Guard named Dedericus you should talk to him. He’s a friend of our guild and often has useful information about the goings-on inside the castle.” [This is both the “and” and possibly the  “ally that can be found in a mercenary” that was generated as part of the mission.]

“Thanks,” Leira says. “That might be helpful.” She wishes Elinzia well and turns to leave the store. However, before she walks out the door, she stops and turns back.

“Elinzia? Are we any better than the common street thugs?”

Elinzia throws her a puzzled look, not sure what is prompting this question from this new recruit.

“Of course,” she finally answers. “Thugs just want money for themselves. The Order is providing a service. Someone, usually a merchant, needs something they don’t have and we help them get it. For a fee, of course. We’re not a charity, after all.”

“No, of course not,” Leira agrees, pretty sure Eliznia fails to catch the sarcasm in her voice. “But we’re still helping them take things that don’t belong to them.”

“True, but the person targeted this week is typically the one doing the targeting next week. It all works out in the end. If it’s going to happen anyway, why shouldn’t we profit from it? And if we can pick up a few items for ourselves on the side, all that much better.” Eliznia’s wide grin betrays her pride in the Order’s work.

“But to what end? What good comes of it?” 

“Excitement. Adventure. Enough gold to live a little better than the next guy,” Elinza suggests.

“I guess.” Leira lowers her eyes in contemplation. “But is that really better than the poor guy who steals simply to survive? To clothe and feed his family the only way he is able?”

Before Eliznia can answer Leira leaves, letting the shop door close silently behind her.
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#20
CHAPTER 10: TWO TAVERNS AND A BRAWL

System: Adventurers! 
Tools: CRGE ; d30 Sandbox Companion; Secret Santicore 2013 ; rpgsolo.com


[Scene 1, Surge count 0]
Main Thread: Expose Fiststeel
Minor Threads: Bhart’s Career; Conspiracy against the King

After leaving Elinzia at the Golden Rose, Leira returns home to prepare for a night at the Cozy Fish. She decides to change out of her leather armor and put on something a little less menacing and more apt to put the soldiers at ease. Wearing a plain cream-colored skirt, leather corset, and dark purple sleeveless blouse, she leaves for the tavern just as the sun begins to set over the city walls. While she is without the protection of armor, she doesn’t go unarmed, bringing along her rapier attached to her waist and a dagger concealed within her skirt.

[Image: YJdhVjcLWYPL8JsxyUMoLMZEqMFunrxBEpKkZ11q...6Hfg=w2400]
Something a Little Less Menacing

Arriving at the Fish, she waits outside for a group to enter, slipping in with them so as not to draw unnecessary attention to herself. [AGI test for success: 6,2+3AGI=11 Success!] Upon entering she quickly moves over to a darkened corner to assess the room. 

She has only been in this tavern once before, that being the night of the Sacrament Celebration shortly after she and her friends thwarted Shylock’s attempt on King Angelo’s life. What then impressed her most about the Fish was the quality of its furnishings: thick wooden chairs and tables, clearly dwarven made, that are highly polished and relatively free of nicks, scrapes, and gouges that often told of rowdy brawls or drunken competitions involving dagger and hatches. Leira suspects it is the regular presence of the King’s Guard that keeps the rowdiness to a minimum. No faster way to the castle dungeon than to be dragged in by the person you just insulted at the bar. 

More impressive, however, is the display over the large fireplace’s stone hearth. As an homage to the Guards who frequent the tavern, a large iron shield bearing the sparrowhawk and red and black backing of the King’s crest hangs on the wall. Framing it on either side are two extraordinary weapons: a shining long sword and battle-axe, both fitted with golden handles adorned with precious gems and jewels. [Some tavern features were determined using d30 Sandbox Companion]

[Image: uELLqmv3jmwwWeH9PvVVjHgHlVvKiZcQJD0-LiiW...7NRw=w2400]
The Crest of Duskcall

Currently, the place is half-filled with Guards and commoners seated throughout. Two serving girls are making their way among the tables carrying trays filled with mugs of drink and plates of food, and Leira sees a third ducking behind the counter to prepare for her shift. Behind the bar, [1-4: human  5: Dwarf  6: Halfling = 5   Even M/Odd F =1] a female Dwarf with dark brown, braided hair draws ale from a keg. Leira suspects she is standing on some type of raised platform behind the bar, similar to one installed in the Wooden Frost Giant Flagon that her halfling boss, Hattia Sandheaver, uses.

In the middle of the room, she spots Harper sitting at a table. He has not seen her, however, as his back is to the door and he is engaged in lively conversation with a man and woman sitting at his table, both Guards, Leira presumes. 

[Is Harper in the Fish? (to conflict, as it could affect the mission) 65+0 surge = 65 Yes +2 surge
Does he notice her? I’ll make this a difficult perception roll. 1,1 Critical fail]

She stops one of the servers passing by. “Excuse me. Do you know if Dedericus is here?”

[Would she know him by name? (To Knowledge) 70+2surge=72 Yes +2 surge
Is Dedericus in the room? (To Conflict, affects mission) 58+4 surge Yes +2 surge]

“Why yes,” the server says, making a quick assessment of Leira. “He’s right over there,” she says, nodding to a rather thin man with reddish-brown hair sitting alone at a table. The server hurries away, casting one last glance back over her shoulder.

[Does Leira have to pass Harper’s table to get to Dedericus? (To Conflict) 97+6 surge = 103 Yes, and Unexpectedly...  surge resets]

Dedericus’ table is just beyond the one that Harper sits at. Leira knows there’s a chance that Harper might notice her, but if she passes quickly and keeps her head turned away she might have a chance. If he notices her later while she is speaking with the Guardsman, she’ll just deal with that then. Hopefully, she would have gotten the information she needs first.  She is just about to pass by Harper’s table when a large bearded man sitting at the next table over stands and blocks her way.

“Hey thar, pitty thing,” he says, swaying slightly on his feet. “Whys don’tcha come an sits wisth me for a bit?”

“I’m sorry,” Leira says. “I’m not a server. I can send one your way . . .”

“Ay know youse not one ‘a them.” He places a hand on her shoulder. “You have . . .  different job.”

“Leira?” Harper stands, noticing the girl standing next to his table. “What are you. . . ?”

“Sits down, Wyshwing,” the hulking man orders. “I shaw ‘er first.”

“She’s not what you think, Artur. Leira’s a friend of mine.”

“And tonight, Shhe’ll be my friend.”

“Artur, you’re drunk,” accuses Harper. 

“And you, mishter big shot King saver, are about to get my fisht in your face. ” Artur warns, pushing past Leira and raising his fist to finish the threat. 

“Try,” Harper threatens, “and my friends will be carrying you out the door.”

[The “Unexpectedly”: in the oracle roll above came up “entering the red,” meaning things get dangerous

Artur:  S:3 A:2 M:1 END:8  Brawling will be ATK: 2 (S-1) 
Both Artur and Harper are out of uniform, so AGI 2 is used for DEF for both.]

Artur cocks his arm back half-way and throws a punch right at Harper’s nose. [A:6  H:12] Harper easily swats it away and returns with a punch of his own.  However, since he is off-balance, his fist only lands a glancing blow across the chin. [[H: 12  A: 11  1 Damage]

“Boys! Stop this!” Leira yells, stepping in to disrupt the brawl.

Artur begins to lift his fist for another strike, but thinks better of it. “Okay, fer you, ah’ll let ‘em live.” [Does Artur take a swing at Leira? [to conflict] 12+0 surge=12 No, and . . . he actually listens.  Surge remains at 0] He takes his seat back at his table as Leira tries to leave before Harper can ask any questions. “Besides,” Artur continues, “ I wouldn’sh want a pretty thing like you having to looksh at two black eyes whilsht yer beddin’ yer boyfriend.”

Instead of letting the comment drop, Leira turns back. “I’ll have you know, unlike yourself, Harper is a gentleman and wouldn’t think of such things!”

“Oh!” Artur exclaims. “Wyghtwing the King Saver isn’t man enough to take a girl to bed. I’m sure the guys around the mesh hall will gesh a laugh outta that!” He and those at his table let out a hearty laugh as Harper casts Leira a defeated look.

Leira backs away with apologetic eyes, mouthing the words, “I’m sorry.” She takes a couple of steps back before she bumps hard into Dedericus’ table, spilling his mug in his lap.

“Oh, I’m so sorry,” she apologizes as she grabs a cloth napkin from the table and starts to wipe the spill off his shirt.

“It’s okay. It’s okay.” the drenched man assures her, trying to get her to stop. 

Leira continues wiping, leans in close, and whispers in his ear, “Meet me in an hour at the Wooden Frost Giant’s Flagon. I’m Order of Two.” She straightens up and walks away. Where she was using her free hand to support herself on the table now lay two gold pieces. 

Leira skirts the edge of the room and makes haste for the front door while Harper calls after her. [Harper follows per a “likely” oracle roll]


[Scene 2, Surge count 2]
Main Thread: Expose Fiststeel
Minor Threads: Bhart’s Career; Conspiracy against the King

“Leira! Wait!” Harper Wyghtwing calls out after his friend as he exits the Cozy Fish.

Leira tries to ignore him, but he runs after her. “I’m sorry if I got you in trouble with Artur,” she calls back to him. “But I could have handled it.”

“What were you even doing there?” he asks, catching up.

Leria stops, turns around, then grabs Harper by the collar and drags him over to a tree, out of earshot of anyone traveling along the streets. “Do you trust me?” she asks.

“Huh?”

“Do you trust me? It’s important that you trust me right now!”

“Y...Yes. Of course, I trust you.”

“Do you remember the night of the Sacrament? How we had questions about Captain Fiststeel’s actions? How she didn’t do a real good job of protecting the King?”

“Yes,” Harper answers cautiously.

“I have reason to believe that there might be some foundation to our concerns.”

“What do you mean?” Harper asks, knowing that he has been wondering the same things himself.

“I’m working with an organization that has learned that Captain Fiststeel was in charge of the assassination attempt. No, I cannot tell you the name of the organization,” she quickly adds as Harper opens his mouth to speak. “They need me to find evidence, hard evidence, condemning her. Evidence that can be taken to the King.”

Harper studies Leira closely. “You’re serious.  I don’t like this.”

“You don’t believe me.” Leira’s words are more of a statement than a question.

“Actually, I do. I’m beginning to think something’s up with her myself. Some of the stories I’ve heard from other Guardsmen, my own observations, all have me feeling like something’s off. I’m just concerned that you are going to get caught, thrown in jail, or even killed.”

“Not if I have help,” Leira assures him. “And that’s why I was at the Cozy Fish. I was hoping to speak with a contact who might have some useful information. That was until your friend had other ideas.”

“Artur’s not a friend,” Harper says with deep disgust.

“I kinda figured that out,” Leira admits. “Anyway, now that I know you suspect the Captain as well, I could really use your help.”

“I don’t know. Suspicions are one thing. Acting on them is another.”

“I’ll do all the dangerous stuff,” Leira assures him. “Your hands’ll be clean. I just need you to get me into the castle. Can you do that?” [(Unlikely, to conflict) 54+2 surge=56 (yes)  or  68+2 surge=70 (yes)]

Harper thinks for a moment. “Perhaps. Guardsmen can petition to bring a civilian in for a tour of the castle. But you have to be cleared first, you won’t be allowed any weapons, and I’m supposed to remain with you the entire time.”

“Would we have an escort?”

“I doubt it, but if I leave without you someone will know something’s up.”

Now it is Leira’s turn to think. “You’re probably right. Besides, I don’t like the idea of possibly facing someone capable of murdering the King unarmed.  I might have to find another way in. Can you at least provide me a map?”

[I know I effectively turned a “Yes” into a “Yes, but…”, however, Harper’s explanation seemed like reasonable expectations for any civilian entering the castle. Also, it compensates for rolling two “yeses” on an “unlikely” chance.  Anyway . . .

  How much of the castle can he map? I’ll roll on my 2d6 description table with a “Likely” modifier. 1,3,5 Two highest give 8  Average, as expected]

“I should be able to sketch something out. But I’ve only been in the southern portion of the castle, where the mundane castle business is handled and servants work. I don’t know the main living quarters or formal meeting rooms.”

Leira considers this. “That should help. I really only need to know where the Captain’s office is. As long as I can make it to that end of the castle I’ll be fine.” Glancing over at the Cozy Fish, she notices someone who looks like Dedericus step through the door. “However, right now I’ve got to run. I might still be able to meet that contact.”

Before Harper can say another word, Leria sprints away into the night. 


[Scene 3, Surge count 4]
Main Thread: Expose Fiststeel
Minor Threads: Bhart’s Career; Conspiracy against the King

Leira easily reaches the Flagon before Dedericus arrives. She waves a greeting to Hattia, whispers to the serving girl on duty that she’s expecting someone, and scans the room for any other Order members. Seeing none, she takes a seat at an empty table along the wall, positioning herself so she can see the front door. [A ‘No,and” CRGE roll indicated there were no Order members in the tavern and none would come during the meeting.]

Ten minutes later Dedericus walks in. The server moves to intercept him and directs him to Leira’s table. He saunters over, takes the seat opposite her, and slides the two gold coins across the tabletop.

“If this is truly Order business there’s no need to pay me,” he explains.

“I was told you were a friend of the Order. I assumed that meant you accepted payment for information.”

“Friend of the Order.  Not hire,” the Guard corrects. “Friends do favors, but if you insist on payment then the drinks are on you.”

Leira fetches the coins off the table and waves down the server. “Marie, what special is Hattia serving tonight?”

“If you like wine, she just tapped a keg of Cabernet Gormac. She purchased the red from Baron Gormac last week. Strong stuff, from what I hear.”

“I’ll just take a cider,” Dedericus says. “Stuart’s Particular, if you have it . . . and it’s been kept in the dark.”

“Ooh! You know your ciders,” Marie says, impressed. “A bit daring, as well. I hear that one drains the color from your sight.”

“Only if you’re not careful,” Dedericus returns with a wink.

“I’ll just play it safe and take the Cabernet,” Leira tells Marie before she heads off in the direction of the bar.


“So, it seems you know me, but I don’t know you,” Dedericus says, turning the conversation back to business.

“Leira Rosemight. I’m working for the Order of Two.”

“For?” Dedericus raises a questioning eyebrow. “I thought you were Order of Two?”

“Hope to be. As long as I complete this mission.”

“And what is this mission that you need help from a King’s Guard?”

Before she answers, Leira sits back in her chair and crosses her arms. “Are you really King’s Guard? You look rather scrawny to be a soldier.”

“Let’s say I’m more of a messenger for the Guard. Not all military jobs involve combat. Orders need to be sent. Messages delivered.”

Leira perks up. “You intercepted the letters! That’s how Beada knows about the traitor!”

Dedericus smiles in understanding. “Ahh. This is about Fiststeel. So, that old girl is finally doing something about it.”

“If that ‘old girl’ is Master Thief Beada, then yes, and I’m the one she has doing it. I need to get in the castle and find some way to incriminate the Captain.”

“Now, I can’t get you into the castle.”

“I know. Harper, my friend, already explained that. But any information about Fiststeel or what I might be looking for would be helpful. As messenger, I’m sure you see and hear a lot.”

“That is true. In fact, it’s the nature of my job that drew the Order’s attention. I can tell you this, I’ve been in Fiststeel’s office numerous times. There’s a particular cabinet behind her desk, more of a vault really. She keeps all her important documents locked in there. If you were going to find anything, I suspect it would be in there.”

They pause as Marie returns with their drinks. Dedericus takes a wary sip from mug before giving the serving girl a hearty thumbs up. Leira takes her goblet of red wine and hands Marie a couple silver coins.


[Image: 981TGuQ6i--wAoyJF_XGbTrrgDxiNm2BDbWjBtof...2Suw=w2400]
Marie Returns with Their Drinks

“You said locked,” Leira continues when they are once again alone. “How?”

[1-2: key 3-4: combination 5-6: magic  Roll: 2]

“Key.”

“And I bet she keeps the key with her at all times?”

“You would be right.”

“Now here’s the real question.” Leira looks Dedericus directly in the eyes. “How resourceful a friend of the Order are you?”

“If by resourceful you mean do I happen to have gotten my hands on a copy of the key . . . “ he pauses for a long time before the corners of his mouth turn up in a beaming conspiratorial smile.

[Does D have a copy of the key? (Unlikely, to conflict)  72+0 surge=72 (yes) or 77+0 surge=77 (yes)  Either way it’s a yes.  +2 surge.]

The smile that appears on Leira’s face is even wider. “Dedericus, I could kiss you!”

Dedericus says nothing but takes a long draft of his cider. “By the way, you can call me Dede. Dedericus is so formal.”

Leira regains her composure before addressing the problem facing her. “Now, I just need to get in the castle and make my way to Fiststeel’s office when she is away.”

“The second part’s easy. Midweek she holds drills on the training grounds for three to four hours,” Dede informs her. “That’s the day after tomorrow. Hopefully, that will give you plenty of time to do a thorough search.”

“It should,” Leira agrees. “Now, to get inside. Do you know about the Huntsmen’s tunnel?” 

“Of course. What good would I be as an informant if I didn’t know these things?” [per CRGE]

Leira waits expectantly. “Well?” she finally blurts when Dede fails to offer any more information.

“Oh, you’re interested in what I know. I thought you were just testing me.”

Leira rolls her eyes. “Yes. What can you tell me about the tunnel? I’ve only been in part of it.”

[Use 2d6 Description table for how much he knows. 11 - Good, better than expected
What’s better than expected?  C.Q. Punish/Emotions]

“Hmmm.” Now Dede’s surprised. “You’ve actually been in the tunnel? That’s more than me. However, I do know where it exits into the castle.”

“Can you draw me a map to Fiststeel’s office?”

“Of course. And here’s something else you might find useful. I believe you might find some disguises down there. I was outside Captain Fiststeel’s office when I heard her yelling at someone some time ago, before the assassination attempt. I think it was a Huntsman. She was giving him a real earful about being seen trying to sneak a suit of Guardsman armor and other clothing into the tunnels and how she had to get rid of the maid who saw him. The Captain must have been infuriated to have carelessly raised her voice loud enough to be heard outside her closed door.”

All this new information was much more than Leira had hoped to learn in just one day. This mission might be easier than she originally thought. 

“You have been most helpful, Dede. Are you sure you won’t take a couple gold?”

“Naw! My first consultation is always free.” He chuckles at his own wit before emptying his mug.. “But you can buy me another drink.”

“Another Stuart’s Cider?”

“Don’t be absurd! That server’s right. Too many of those and you see nothing but black and white for days.” [The intoxication side-effect listed in the aforementioned Fantasy Drink Table.]

Leira waves Marie over and orders a simple ale for Dedericus, another Cabernet for herself, and a plate of roasted potatoes for the two of them to share. They spend the next couple of hours listening to music played by a trio, swapping stories, and enjoying Hattia’s drink and food.
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