The Undercity – Session 10

The Setup

In my last Undercity game, the party slept through the gates of the City of Spires and began their winding journey toward the ruins known as the Bridge of Light in the employ of a small cult that calls themselves the Circle of the Star.

Undercity - World Map - 3 (day 1-3 of travel)
The road thus far.

Mythic Factors

Chaos: level 4

NPCs: Valencia (agent of the City), Lothar (thief), Qadira (prophetess), Fairuza (Speaker), Circle of the Star, Guldor and Company

Threads: bounty on the death cult, escort the Circle

Character Sheets

Thudok, Fighter 1 (773 exp). HP 9/9; AC 17 (plate + shield); Atk +2 (long sword, d8+2); Purse: 157 gp 5 sp 5 cp, 275 alloy coins (137.5 gp); Inventory (7): long sword, bedroll, waterskin, ration, hammer, spikes (4), 20′ rope

Horatio, Cleric 1 (810 exp). HP 8/8; AC 16 (band + shield); Atk +0 (d6 mace); Purse: 157 gp 5 sp 5 cp, fire opal (800 gp); Inventory (6): mace, bedroll, waterskin, ration, flint, torches (4); Spell: Cure Light Wounds*

Gadroom, Magic-User 1 (773 exp). HP 5/5; AC 10 (robes); Atk -2 (d4-2 dagger); Purse: 157 gp 5 sp 5 cp, 275 alloy coins (137.5 gp); Inventory (8): dagger, bedroll, waterskin, ration, flint, torches (3), spellbook, mapping equipment; Spells: Sleep*, Read Magic, Invisibility

Xevius, Thief 1 (773 exp). HP 7/7; AC 12 (leather + dex); Atk +1 (d4 daggers); Purse: 157 gp 5 sp 5 cp, cut jasper (50 gp); Inventory (8): Dagger, dagger, thieves’ tools, bedroll, waterskin, ration, 10′ pole, 20′ rope

The Game

Reminder: You can find character stats, quests, etc., on the Undercity campaign’s Companion Page, and you can find links to every session on the Campaign Logs page.

Scene 5 – Continued.

Setup: Overland travel
Chaos: level 4, but no roll–will be using d30 tools.

Note: I will be rolling 2d6 for each hex I enter along this trip. A roll of 1 on the first die will mean that I have a road encounter, per the d30 Sandbox companion. A roll of 1-2 on the second die will mean that I have found a settlement or a feature, which will also be added per the Companion, but may or may not provide any additional adventure.

Undercity - World Map - 2 (path to Bridge of Light)
The planned route.

Day 4.

The party heads north-east now, pushing through the last of the desert and emerging finally into the vast grasslands above. The party sees some signs here of another group’s passing, but though they spend the rest of the day on high alert, see no other travelers even come nightfall. Camp that evening is [abnormally/empty] still and quiet.

Has anyone gone missing? -4: no + event
Event: 
Move away from thread (escort caravan) – release/energy

Everyone is spread out and cautious this night, worried that the tracks may have been riders from the City out to chase them. They set watches throughout the night, and the normal bustle of the camp is subdued. So it is that [d2] Thudok finds himself alone with the prophetess, Qadira, in camp that night.

[inquisitive – curiosity – campaign]
“What are you doing here, warrior?” she asks. “I thought you were on watch.”

“I’ve been relieved,” the large man says. He steps into her tent. “I thought it was, perhaps, time you allowed yourself some relief, as well.”

[prejudiced – reputation – retainers]
“Fairuza told me of her first encounter with you and your friend!” Qadira snorts. “I had thought he would be the first to approach… Perhaps he is shy.” She points to the night beyond. “Outside, warrior,” she commands. “I belong to the Star alone, as do all of her People. Tell your companions, as well–we’ll have no more of this talk, lest you find yourself alone in the desert with neither caravan nor pay!”

It’s Thudok’s time to snort. “A Star makes a poor bedfellow, prophetess,” he says, stepping out into the night to find Xevius and warn the little man off his own romantic plans.

Ed.: I’ve been reading stories of Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser lately, if you can’t tell.

Day 5.

The entire caravan seems to be ride a little lighter now that they have left the scorching wastes and ridden down into the grasslands. The pack animals graze gratefully when they stop to rest and the wheels turn easily over the firm, level ground. They travel the first 12 miles of the day easily, but riders approach as they stop to water and feed the animals around midday.

Road Encounter: attack by 4 0 HD enemies

The lookout is the first to spot a party incoming, calling out when the group is [3d6x10] about 180 yards distant. Horatio and the others grab up their arms and move to position themselves between the approaching party and the wagons.

“Who’s coming?” he calls up to the lithe girl serving as lookout atop the tallest wagon.

“Four,” she says, “though they’re too distant to see if they’re men or women. They’re [very/clean] dressed in some kind of white robes, covered head to foot!”

“I wish I’d brought a bow,” Thudok thinks, not for the first time this trip.

Warriors (4): 0 HD (hp 6, 5, 4, 2); Atk: +0 (spear, d6); Atk: +0 (dagger, d4); AC 11 (dex); MV 40′; ML ??

Dervish

Are they riding horses? +0: yes, but… they’re sickly

The party quickly sees that the four approaching warriors are mounted on thin, spindly-legged horses that are clearly unsuited for battle. As if to prove this, they stop and dismount 120 yards from the party and approach on foot.

“Halt and announce yourself!” Thudok shouts, his voice booming across the plain.

Do they speak? +0: no

Perhaps unsurprisingly, they unlimber short spears and advance.

“This way, then?” Thudok says. His own sword comes up quickly, and he and Horatio step forward to place their shields in front of the wizard and thief.

Finally, the men close to within fighting distance.

Round 1. The party wins initiative and back away from their foes toward the wagons, wary of the short throwing spears. They shout for any women in the wagons to fall back toward further ones.

Are they close enough to take cover? +3: no, but… there are several scraggly trees that will make for a tough shot for enemies throwing spears

The spearmen run forward, closing the gap to just within spear range. Shouting in a foreign tongue, they loose their spears at [1-2 T, 3-4 H, 5 X, 6 G] Horatio and Thudok. The spears thrown toward the cleric go comically wide, though the two aimed at Thudok fly straight and true. One strikes a twisted branch (blocked only by the -1 to-hit from the cover) and glances away, but the other sinks painfully into his thigh (3 dmg leaves him with 6 hp).

Roaring, the party charges forward. Xevius and Horatio dash into the midst of the warriors as they draw wicked curved daggers, while Gadroom stays close to Thudok, taking cover behind his shield. Xevius’s daggers flash quickly, but the warrior fighting him twists backward, falling out of range. Horatio’s strike is more true, and his mace shatters the skull of one warrior (5 dmg vs 2 hp).

Morale check: they have 10 ML; ML roll = 10

They let up a mighty cry and press the attack back against the two fighters in their midst. Two turn their daggers on Horatio, one slipping through to leave a nasty cut on his weapon arm (2 dmg), while the other just manages to catch Xevius with a lightning-fast stroke. Only his own reflexes allow him to avoid the worst of the attack (1 dmg).

“You’re a fast one, aren’t you?” he sneers, wiping the blood from his forehead with the back of his hand.

Does she respond? -2: yes

[hostile – destruction – flaws]
“Fast enough to spill your accursed blood, devil-man!”

She has little time to follow up her insult, for Thudok is then upon them, long sword flashing in the sun. She ducks his blow easily, and the large warrior nearly topples over, cursing his own wounded leg as it threatens to buckle beneath his weight (rolled a 1). Her confidence is misplaced, though, for Xevius follows his companion’s awkward swing with a devastating thrust (4 dmg vs 6 hp, 2 hp left), nearly striking her heart. Gasping for breath, she falls away. Horatio struggles to keep the two fighting him at bay and can do little on offense (rolled a 1).

Horatio and Xevius both take painful cuts in the ensuing counters, but swing back quickly. Thudok’s sword takes the head from the shoulders of the woman attacking Xevius (7 dmg vs 2 hp), while Horatio batters one of the men fighting him (2 dmg vs 5 hp). Xevius charges up behind the man, lunging with his dagger while he stumbles backward from the mace’s blow. Unfortunately, he trips on a root hidden in the tall grass and misses his helpless foe (rolled 2+4). Gadroom hefts his dagger and hurls it at the man, hoping that luck is with him. The dagger goes wide, though, and he finds himself unarmed. He backs away quickly.

Both attackers turn on Xevius as he scrambles to his feet. His own daggers turn one of their aside, but the other sneaks his blade inside Xevius’s defenses and deals him a painful slash (2 hp). He retaliates, sinking his blade into the man’s neck and holding it there as the man bleeds out in seconds.

Morale Check: 7 vs 10-, success

The last warrior, surrounded by dead friends, howls into the sky and charges forward, only to be skewered by Thudok’s already-bloodied blade (4 dmg vs 4 hp). Gasping, he falls to the ground.

Can they question him? -2: yes

Horatio holds his hands to the man’s wounds, trying to keep him stable but unwilling to use the Lord of Hosts’ blessing on a heathen attacker without more information. “Who are you?” he demands. “Why did you try to kill us?”

[(guarded) hostile – combat – community]
The man’s voice is soft, his words garbled by blood. “…the way…of spear and blood…demands it.”

“Were you hunting for us? Did someone send you to kill us?”

Were they chasing the party in particular? -4: yes
The man nods. “…honor and…gold…for the women of the Heathen Star… We are…of the way of spear and blood…and so we came.”

Does he have anything else to say? -4: no
The man dies soon after. Horatio and the others search the bodies for weapons and coins, finding [4d6] 20 gold pieces, four daggers, and four spears. Next, they gather the thin horses and bring them back to camp. Thudok and the Circle’s teamster care for the poor beasts, who were clearly ridden hard in the last few days to catch up to the party’s lead.

+Inventory: 5 gp each, 2 daggers each to Xevius and Gadroom, 4 spears to Thudok, although he’ll keep them in the wagons.

Qadira and Horatio each pray to their gods and cast divine magic on the party, healing (1+1 and 1+1, terrible d8 rolls) most of the damage the dervishes’ daggers did to Xevius.

What does Qadira have to say about this? extravagance/love
“The Red Goddess is a queen of great passions,” she says, “and great passions lead to great hatreds. I had hoped that we could away without ire, but it seems as though She has turned against the Star. Woe to those of the Circle in this time.” She turns to the party. “I am grateful for your presence, and humbled by the risk you took for us. I doubt that we would have beaten these dervishes without your aid.

“I have little to offer besides the pay already promised, but I hear that these mounts will be fine horses once they have been nursed back to strength. I would give them to you, if you’d like them.”

Thudok grins. “We’ll take them,” he says.

Xevius groans. After Qadira walks away, he elbows his large friend in the ribs. “We could’ve talked her into real treasure, you big lug,” he says. “You and the damned horses!”

The wagons soon roll forward again, eventually ending the day just in sight of a small thorp on the edge of the lake.

d30 location encounter: thorp, 14 people, amused by outsiders, threatened by zombies

It’s little more than three houses clustered around a large vegetable garden within a fenced yard, but the residents seem amused to see the travelers crest the nearby hill. A pair of young children run up while their parents look on.

The wagons roll down toward the houses. “May we stay here for the night?” the caravan master asks one of the residents.

He laughs, looking up at the woman and Thudok. “Not thinking there’s much we could do to stop you, if we said no!” he says. “But, why would we do that? There’s food aplenty, even for the lot of you.”

Does anyone bring up the zombies? +0: no
Night encounter check, since there are undead: 4 vs 1-, nope

Camp that evening is [politely/creepy] odd; the villagers seem truly grateful to see the group, to the point that the party grows suspicious and takes care to eat only food that they see prepared themselves. Nothing comes of it, of course, but they still set a close watch that night and through until the next morning.

Undercity - World Map - 4 (day 4-5 of travel)

Wrapping Up

Mythic

Chaos: level 4

NPCs: Valencia (agent of the City), Lothar (thief), Qadira (prophetess), Fairuza (Speaker), Circle of the Star, Guldor and Company

Threads: bounty on the death cult, escort the Circle

Character Sheets

Thudok, Fighter 1 (773 exp). HP 6/9; AC 17 (plate + shield); Atk +2 (long sword, d8+2); Purse: 162 gp 5 sp 5 cp, 275 alloy coins (137.5 gp); Inventory (8/12): long sword, short spear, bedroll, waterskin, ration, hammer, spikes (4), 20′ rope

Horatio, Cleric 1 (810 exp). HP 5/8; AC 16 (band + shield); Atk +0 (mace, d6); Purse: 162 gp 5 sp 5 cp, fire opal (800 gp); Inventory (6/10): mace, bedroll, waterskin, ration, flint, torches (4); Spell: Cure Light Wounds*

Gadroom, Magic-User 1 (773 exp). HP 5/5; AC 10 (robes); Atk -2 (dagger, d4-2); Atk +0 (thrown dagger, d4); Purse: 162 gp 5 sp 5 cp, 275 alloy coins (137.5 gp); Inventory (8/8): daggers (3), bedroll, waterskin, ration, flint, torches (3), spellbook, mapping equipment; Spells: Sleep*, Read Magic, Invisibility

Xevius, Thief 1 (773 exp). HP 6/7; AC 12 (leather + dex); Atk +1 (daggers, d4); Atk +2 (thrown dagger, d4); Purse: 162 gp 5 sp 5 cp, cut jasper (50 gp); Inventory (7/10): daggers (4), thieves’ tools, bedroll, waterskin, ration, 10′ pole, 20′ rope

Tools and Affiliate Links

This is a solo game using Kabuki Kaiser’s Ruins of the Undercity dungeon generator. RotU was not used this session, as the party is adventuring above ground (although the dungeon will still be there when they get back, low on coin and desperate). I have been using the d30 Sandbox Companion to produce overland adventures.

I am using Labyrinth Lord and pieces of its Advanced Edition Companion as the rule system for this game (free, no-art versions are available on DTRPG, too). I am using Mythic Game Master Emulator and its Variations I and–most importantly–Variations II for my solo GM oracle.

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