Wizard-Thief: Session 4

After having a week-ish long break due to family in town, I have been looking forward to getting back to my solo campaigns. Since I have been short on space and time, I’m running another segment of my Pits and Perils Alandra adventure instead of my Ruins of the Undercity Labyrinth Lord campaign.

In session 3, the party scaled the walls of the bottled-up tower and learned that both Georgia and Nell had been corrupted and would not be coming back peaceably.

Ritual Magic

Bookkeeping

Alandra, Magician 1 (25/250 xp); HP 3/5; SP 1/2; Dexterity/Performer; Atk +0 (Daggers, +1 dmg); MV 50′; Purse: 2 gp 5 sp 2 cp; Inventory (9): bedroll, rations (7), dagger (2), flint, torch (3), waterskin, 10′ pole, 20′ rope; Spells: Hide, Link, Song

Ben, Archer; HP 4/7+1 (leather); Hunter; Atk +0 (Bow or Dagger); MV 40′Inventory (7): bedroll, rations (1), bow (19), dagger, flint, torch (1), waterskin

Lanaior, Footman; HP 5/8+2 (chain); Carpenter; Atk +0 (Axe, +1 damage); MV 30′Inventory (6): bedroll, rations (1), axe, flint, torch (2), waterskin

Tia, Archer; HP 3/7+1 (leather); Bowyer; Atk +0 (Bow or Dagger); MV 40′Inventory (7): bedroll, rations (1), bow (20), dagger, flint, torch (1), waterskin (currently fled and hiding in forest)

Begin Session 4

Reminder: You can find links to all sessions of this game from my Campaign Logs page. There is also a Companion Page featuring the latest information about this campaign, including up-to-date character sheets.

Scene 9 — Into Stonereach

Quest NPCs: Georgia, ghoul (2 hp); Nell, necromancer (2 hp)
Quest Threads: Defeat the necromancer and her minions
Setup: Enter Stonereach and end the necromancer’s threat
Chaos roll: 8 vs 4, no chaos

I will be using a simplified d6 system to explore the dungeon:

1 = empty
2 = monster only
3 = monster + treasure
4 = trap
5 = trap + treasure
6 = treasure

Does the door lead into a room? +0: yes
What kind?
Develop/Dispute (a war room)
Contents: empty

The door opens into a large room filled with tables and maps of the surrounding region. The party enters carefully, Lanaior in the lead with his axe held high, followed closely behind by Alandra and Ben, who is carrying a dagger and the party’s torch.

Do the maps show this local region, including the village? +4: no
Does anyone recognize the area shown? +0: no

Ben examines the maps, but just shakes his head. “I’ve hunted most everything within a few miles of town, and I can tell you for certain that these maps don’t show anywhere around here.”

Lanaior has not traveled far and has little to contribute, but Alandra checks the map as well, only to verify that she, too, knows nothing of the location shown. “It’s not the area near the City of Spires, and I’ve traveled little between here and there. Still, it may be important to show your authorities…especially if they factor into a necromancer’s plans. Can you help me roll them up?”

+Inventory: Alandra took war maps.

How many other doors are there leading out? d4: 1
Is it open? +0: yes
Does it lead to a room? +0: yes + event
Event: Ambiguous – develop the public

The party finishes searching the room as they head toward the far door. In the corner they find a small, ink-stained printing press upon which are hundreds of leaflets bearing agitprop aimed against various local nobles and free-city municipalities. None of them appear to offer much in the way of concrete arguments, but all seem clearly designed to stir up unrest within a population.

“I think we may have stumbled onto something more serious than a necromancer playing at robber-baron,” Alandra says, fingering through a handful of the leaflets. She stuffs them into her pocket in case they prove useful later.

They approach the open doorway now.

Is the room beyond illuminated? +0: yes
What kind of room is it?
Frantically/Watery
Contents? Trap!

A pair of tall stone cylinders stand shoulder-high in this room, directly beneath openings in the ceiling that admit the pale purple light of the coming morning. “Cisterns?” Lanaior asks, moving towards one of the cylinders. “Why would the toll house need this much water so close to a river?”

The reason becomes clear as soon as they enter the room. There is a soft click as one of the party treads on a loose stone, and suddenly the entire floor beneath them starts to tip downward and a deluge of water rushes from the heavy cisterns and pushes them backward.

Save vs Trap (CON): 6, 5, 4 vs 7, the whole party falls 10′, taking d3 damage each

Suddenly, they are swept down a cramped culvert and pushed out of the keep midway up the wall, where they plummet a dozen feet into a midden heap.

Save vs Fall (DEX) to halve damage: 9, 8, 8
Adjusted damage rolls: 
2, 1, 1
HP remaining: Alandra: 1, Ben: 3, Lanaior: 4

The three extract themselves from the heap and dust themselves off, checking for injuries. Other than Alandra, who twisted a shoulder badly in the fall and very nearly smashed her head open on a rock, the party seems whole.

(Ed: She actually died when I first rolled, but I then realized that falling damage in Pits & Perils is d6 per 20′ rather than 10′. That saved her life–which I’m grateful for. Dying by being flushed would be a fairly ignominious end for our hero.)

However, whole and hearty are different things, and the group as a whole feels quite dispirited about the idea of climbing and again facing the necromancer or her ghoul companion.

Lanaior is the first to put on a brave face. “A close call,” he says, “but one we’ll be wiser for the next time. I would not have expected such foul trickery, even from a necromancer.”

Alandra is loath to step in, when she knows little of the two women inside, but she is grateful when Ben speaks up, echoing her own thoughts: “Next time? You want to go back in there? For what?”

Lanaior moves as if to respond, but he comes up short. Alandra could tell that Georgia was on his lips, but the memory of the foul thing she had become stole the idea away.

Alandra steps in now, emboldened by the fact that she is not alone in her desire to be basically anywhere but in that tower again. “Lanaior,” she says, laying a hand on his arm, “we came to rescue your friend. I’m…terribly sorry we weren’t able to do that, but us risking our lives–and others’ lives!–for her now seems selfish. We have those maps, remember, and the leaflets–if the water didn’t wash them blank. If something bigger is going on, the people have to know!”

Does Lanaior agree to go peacefully? +4: yes

The big man takes a breath, but soon nods. “You’re right, both of you. I just…I can’t believe we lost young Georgia to Nell…and what that witch did to my wife! It’s like losing her again…”

New Thread: Stop the necromancer’s threat
New Thread: Find someone who can identify the maps they recovered

Scene 10 — The Road Back to Town

Setup: The party returns through the forest to town
Chaos roll: 9 vs 4, no chaos

The party, with a last look back at the shuttered toll house, heads back into the woods toward the village. In the growing light of morning it does not look quite so wicked or impenetrable, but the three keep the fear of the night before in mind as they watch the road and trees around them.

Does anything happen on the road? +0: x-yes
What? PC Positive – Haggle/Vehicle

Boy Feeding a Cart Horse

They haven’t gone far before they find a young boy worriedly talking to a bone-thin horse, walking along a narrow cart-trail that wends its way through the woods to the village.

Does Ben know the boy? +2: yes

“Norman?” he calls out, stepping out of the woods and waving the others over. “What are you doing making a ruckus out here?”

“It’s old Tamora, mister Ben,” the boy says, after his initial shock at seeing the party subsides. “She’s mired up and I’m having a right time trying to get her out and moving.”

The hunter smiles. “Tell you what. We haven’t got a lot to offer, but we’re heading to town as well. We’ll help get her out of this mud, and I’ll even throw in an apple I’ve got in my pack, if you’ll let us tag along and throw our bags in the back of your cart.”

The boy looks at their small backpacks, decides that they wouldn’t be noticed by the old horse, and readily agrees. After a few minutes of pushing they’re all on their way, and all their loads are a little lighter (except the horse’s, but she’s happy to trade the weight for the apple).

Scene 11 — Back in Town

Setup: The party returns to town to rest and report their findings
Chaos: 10 vs 4, no chaos

Village Scene with Tower

The village is already awake by the time they return, and merchants are doing a slow business in the square as the outlying farmers sell their goods to the villagers and tradesmen. The boy and his horse trundle off to set up a small tent to sell his father’s produce while the party grabs their packs and heads off.

Can the party find the captain of the watch? +2: x-yes

They haven’t been looking more than five minutes before a pair of militia men in leather shirts and bearing spears and shields stops them in the street, shouting, “Ho, Lanaior, Ben! Magnar has asked to see you.”

“Magnar?” Alandra asks.

Lanaior leans toward her. “Captain of the militia, this year. He’s a…”

Merchant? -2: no, but… something that contributes to trade

“…teamster. Doesn’t run the wagons himself, anymore, but owns a fair few of them.”

The party sets off after the guards while Alandra and Lanaior continue their conversation.

“What kind of man is he?” Alandra asks.

What kind? quietly/soft

Lanaior shrugs. “An unlikely captain,” he admits, “but his words carry weight on the council, and he’s got a lot invested in this town. Without his wagons, I’d have little lumber for my shop.”

Scene 12 — Meeting with the Authorities

Setup: Reporting on their findings to the Captain of the Militia
Chaos roll: 9 vs 4, no chaos

Woman meeting with merchant

Does Magnar receive them in his business? +0: yes, but… not him personally
Are they well-received? +6: x-yes

The soldiers show them to the door of the sprawling house that stands next to a well-ordered wagon yard. A man comes out immediately, clearly waiting for there arrival. He is well-dressed in the plain manner of a servant, not a merchant, and he introduces himself as Magnar’s secretary, Franz.

“My master apologizes deeply for being unable to meet you after sending his invitation, but something has come up over night and he was called suddenly away.” He points toward the house. “Please come in. I’ve many questions about your evening, and young Sister Georgia.”

The three of them follow Franz into the house, and he leads them into a spartan but functional office. [Does he invite them to sit? +0: yes] Despite their state of obvious dishevelment, he offers them seats in hard-backed wooden chairs, which they take.

Alandra suddenly realizes how very weary she is, after the long and painful night.

“Please,” he says, “tell me everything. I have heard already that young Georgia did not return with you, and I can see that Sister Nell is not back, either. What happened?”

Franz’s awareness of the situation is reassuring rather than threatening–he is a man obviously accustomed to being in control of his master’s affairs, and the town’s defense is no different from his other duties.

The party quickly fills the man in on Nell’s betrayal and Georgia’s tragic transformation, and Alandra passes the maps and leaflets across the desk. He sits in silence for a moment, and then sighs.

What does the man say? inquisitive – command – power (He’ll ask them to use their strength again)

“This is…unwelcome news. My master–the entire council–will need to be informed. In the meanwhile, I must beg of you to keep this information safe. We cannot have a panic in the village.”

SKILL – Alandra’s WIS: 10 vs 9, success
Does Franz appear to genuinely care about the town? +5: x-yes

Alandra is moved by the man’s honesty and sense of duty. “I’ll keep it secret, for my part,” she says. “This is your village’s affair–I’m only glad to have been able to help. But I don’t think it should stay secret for long. The people have to know.”

“They will,” he promises. “And, though it pains me to ask, I must beg of you a little more charity. The village will need you–all of you–again. Our militia is small–just farmers and others spending a few hours a week to keep each other safe. If what you say is true–and I believe it is–we may all have need to contribute a great deal more in the coming days.”

He counts out a handful of coins and passes [2d6=] 6 gold pieces across the table to each member of the party, waving away any protests. “A week’s wages, for a soldier. For a night’s work, and no further obligation. But I beg of you all to rest yourselves and be well.”

With little else to say, the party rises and heads out into the morning. The two villagers head home, and Alandra returns to her small room at the inn, where she looks forward very much to sleeping for the better part of a week.

+EXP: 3 exp for 6 gold pieces, 25 exp for quest
-INVENTORY: war maps
+NPC: Magnar, captain of the militia
+NPC: Franz, Magnar’s secretary

Conclusion

Well, that’s certainly not how I thought that would go. Two enemies with 2 hp each was going to be, I thought, a simple rout and then the trio would return to the village as heroes. Instead, they were nearly slaughtered by a trap and ended up slinking back to town with evidence of a much greater conspiracy. They’ll need a few days to rest and recover, but I suspect we haven’t heard the last of Alandra.

Regarding Mythic, I think it’s been odd how few alterations/interrupts I’ve gotten on my scene setups. Other than a single distant event, I think perhaps 11/12 scenes rolled out without a change. Weird, when there’s a 40% chance of any particular scene being affected. What can you do?

Characters

Alandra, Magician 1 (53/250 xp); HP 1/5; SP 1/2; Dexterity/Performer; Atk +0 (Daggers, +1 dmg); MV 50′; Purse: 8 gp 5 sp 2 cp; Inventory (8): bedroll, rations (7), dagger (2), flint, torch (3), waterskin, 10′ pole; Spells: Hide, Link, Song

Ben, Archer; HP 3/7+1 (leather); Hunter; Atk +0 (Bow or Dagger); MV 40′Inventory (7): bedroll, rations (1), bow (19), dagger, flint, torch (1), waterskin

Lanaior, Footman; HP 4/8+2 (chain); Carpenter; Atk +0 (Axe, +1 damage); MV 30′Inventory (6): bedroll, rations (1), axe, flint, torch (2), waterskin

Tools and Affiliate Links

I am using Pits & Perils as the rule system for this game. It’s rules-lite and a unique distillation of “OSR” style games without being a retroclone. I am using Mythic Game Master Emulator and its Variations I and–most importantly–Variations II for my solo GM oracle.

Reminder: You can find links to all sessions of this game from my Campaign Logs page. There is also a Companion Page featuring the latest information about this campaign, including up-to-date character sheets.

3 thoughts on “Wizard-Thief: Session 4

  1. I’m really loving the fiction and seeing how the story develops. Crazy plot twist with the cleric being the necromancer! I like especially that your wizard heroically took the lead, climb the tower, and then mixed it up in a melee with the villian. I also like how you showed that a wizard can be more than a nerd with a conical hat, a robe and spellbook.

    1. Thanks! The whole character was inspired by your post on non-traditional character roles in P&P. I wanted to see what a wizard would be like in a world where they aren’t required by rules to just be staff-carrying, robe-wearing Sleep guns.

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