DSA 1 – Gideon’s Game – Session 1

This game is designed to be a quick adventure using the first edition rules of Das Schwarze Auge, at least so far as I could find an unofficial retroclone/translation of them online. Any differences from the official rules are either because they were missing/wrong in my source or I didn’t like them and changed it ;-).

Character Creation

Gideon: Adventurer 1 (0/100 xp); CO 10 – IN 11 – CH 9 – AG 13 – ST 10; LP 30/30; AT 10; PA 9; PRO 2; Purse: 20 sp; Inventory: short sword (d6+2/2/0/0), dagger (d6+1/3/0/-4), padded armor (2)

Quick note: weapon stats are (damage/breakage roll/accuracy penalty/defense penalty). The main game mechanic involves rolling under your scores for Courage, Intelligence, Charisma, Agility, Strength, or Attack/Parry on a d20 when relevant situations occur. Gideon’s high AG means that his Attack OR Parry start with a +1 bonus; I’ve chosen to boost his Parry to increase survivability.

Gideon is a thief, raised rough by thieves and cutpurses in the back alleys of a great city. He is nothing special–passably strong and reasonably sharp, though his tongue gets him into trouble more than it gets him out of it–but his reflexes and agility are exceptional, and he quickly built a reputation for himself on his knifework and second-story skills.

Oracle

I’m going to be trying out a much simpler system than mythic this time, inspired by the Tiny Solitary Soldiers and other blogs’ simple oracles. I will roll 1 or more d6s each time I ask the oracle a question, along with a single d20. If the d20 result is less than or equal to the Chaos factor, I’ll roll a Mythic event. Otherwise it’s ignored.

The oracle dice that are rolled take either the highest result (for 50/50 or better odds) or the lowest result (for unlikely or worse odds). The die chosen is interpreted like this:

  1. No, and…
  2. No
  3. No, but…
  4. Yes, but…
  5. Yes
  6. Yes, and…

Question formats will be written like this:

Question text? answer result + event (if an event is shown)

If a question has odds other than 50/50, there will be a plus or minus after the question mark to show how many extra dice I am rolling. If the symbols are pluses, I will take the highest of the dice. If they are minuses, I will be taking the lowest.

Is something likely to happen going to occur? +1: yes, but… (in this question, I rolled 2 oracle dice and took the highest)

Is the king really a demon? -2: yes, and… (in this case, I would have rolled 3 dice and taken the lowest–for this result, that means I rolled 3 6s. Surprising!)

I will be using this system rather that standard mythic because Das Schwarze Auge uses just d6 and d20, so I’ll have the dice at hand anyway. It does not give quite the granularity of odds that my normal system does, but I think that the 50%, 75%, and 87.5% should be sufficient–the randomness itself will create stories, regardless.

Session 1

Scene 1.

Setup: PC Negative – Block/Pain
Chaos: Level 3, no roll
NPCs: thieves’ guild, city watch
Threads: get rich

Gideon wakes up to a pounding ache just inside his head. His mouth tastes like sour beer and whiskey.

Is in in a tavern? no, but… he’s right behind one

He recognizes the alley in which he’s woken up–it’s just behind The Queen’s Rest tavern. That makes sense. Gideon vaguely recalls following some beauty in there the night before, and then attempting to beat a shipwright at a drinking game to win her over. The fact that he’s in the alley now instead of nestled to her bosom in a soft bed implies that it was ill-fated from the start. He shrugs and climbs to his feet. At least his sword and purse are still there. He’ll have to remember to tip the barkeep a copper bit next time he’s inside.

Does he have anywhere to be? yes, and… + event
Event: NPC Positive (thieves’ guild) – overindulge/friendship
Does he need to be somewhere for work? +1 yes, but… he doesn’t know what the job is

Suddenly, Gideon realizes that the sun is nearly peaked–it’s almost noon! Cursing, he walks to the end of the alley and then joins the general traffic on the street. He’s already late to Emanuel’s.

IN test to reach it in time: 18 vs 11, fail

He makes a bad call and turns down a busy street, only to be sidelined by a passing retinue of some minor princeling. The short cut ends up taking twenty minutes longer than he’d hoped, and by the time Gideon reaches Emanuel’s, the place is packed full.

Is Emanuel’s a thieves’ guild front? +1 yes, but… the guild isn’t running this operation

Gideon tries to shove his way in the front door [ST test: 3 vs 10], and he quickly manages to squirm in between two pickpockets to take a place at one of the tables inside.

Is there a speaker present? +1 yes, but… he isn’t popular

The assembled crowd–almost a mob, Gideon can see–is booing a scrawny looking man trying to command their attention from atop Emanuel’s bar. The old barkeep is looking up at the man with–is it derision?–a look of boredom and maybe some pity.

What is he saying? magic/rumor

“…danger to the expedition, no doubt, but the chance of recovering these magics would make any risk worth it,” he says, barely audible over the jeering of the crowd.

Do they dislike him because he’s a civil servant? yes, but… the offer is good

“How much are you paying?” Gideon shouts above the crowd.

The man seems pleased to have received any feedback at all. “The Great and Illustrious Lord Fathan will offer ten golden ducats to each man who completes his expedition, as well as an equal share of any treasure found beside the bauble he’s seeking.”

Does anyone else seem interested? +1 yes, but… only a few

The crowd eventually filters back out into the street; few of the guild members are willing to work for Lord Fathan for any price, remembering too clearly his iron-handed treatment of thieves in his ward. Eventually, only [d6] two of them are left in the tavern’s now-vacant room.

Gideon and the others approach Fathan’s man.

[(neutral) scheming – agenda – antagonist]
“So, only two of you, hmm? Lord Fathan will not be pleased, but you should be…sufficient…for his plans. We have no choice either way; certain factions in the City mean that my lord must act outside his own house for this mission.”

This sounds suspicious, but Gideon can practically hear those 10 ducats rattling around in his purse, so he holds his tongue.

Who is his new companion (UNE): A conniving conscript, slightly stronger than the party. Motivated to implement force, chronicle science, and undermine faith.

Eli Barnard: Warrior 2 (100/300 xp); CO 12 – IN 11 – CH 8 – AG 13 – ST 13; LP 41/41; AT 11; PA 9; PRO 4 (leather and shield); Inventory: saber (d6+4/2/0/0)

Gideon groans when he recognizes his companion. Eli Barnard is an ex-soldier, tough enough in a fight, but a true pill to spend any time with, always spouting off blasphemies against Loxa, goddess of luck. Saying that she’s dead! Not even the most callous thief would be so bold.

[(sociable) knowing – news – superiors]
Eli laughs. “Emanuel’s is far from your master’s house, that’s for certain. But there’s no need to be so coy, little man. Word of the movement against the House Fathan filters down to us smallfolk, you know.” He leans in close. “That’s why you’re going to need to pay us so well. What does your master want?”

d30 mission generator: solve a murder or death (22) by navigating a labyrinth (20) to retrieve an amulet (1)
Do people suspect Lord Fathan of murder? yes, but… they applaud the killing
Why does he need it recovered? abandon/animals

“Lord Fathan brought glory to his house and the emperor by slaying the dark druid Vandercal many years ago,” the steward explains, “but before the druid died he swore that he would return to curse the man who struck him down.

“A few moons ago, Lord Fathan’s overland commercial interests have begun to be plagued with…poor luck. Animals have been dying of illness, throwing shoes, and getting snake-bitten. His competitors have sensed this weakness and are moving to take over some of his more profitable routes.”

IN check: 8 vs 11

Gideon nods. Like most thieves of any competence, he keeps up on the goings-on of the great merchant princes. Fathan’s shipping troubles have become serious enough that even street vendors are beginning to complain about low inventory. “How can we help?” he asks.

[insane – chaos – retainers]
“With everything going on, Lord Fathan is loath to trust any but the, ahem, most loyal of his retainers. If the other houses have any hand in this recent misfortune, they are likely to be deeply integrated into many of his operations.” The steward puffs up his chest as he says, “So, he sent me to hire men of skill and…buyable…loyalty to do a certain job.”

Do they know where Vandercal is buried? +1 yes, and… they have a key to get in

“Vandercal’s minions took his body after Lord Fathan hewed him down those years ago. After the battle, they swept down on the carnage and disappeared with his corpse–our men lost sight of them in minutes once they disappeared beneath the trees. When this recent trouble started, though, we took care to track down one of that foul order and…put the question to them. He directed our Lord’s men to a small temple high in the foothills.”

“You want us to put it to the torch?” Eli asks.

“Hardly!” the steward replies. “If such broad strokes were needed, we would have hired mercenaries. We want you to get inside. The druid wore a certain icon, an amulet of a twisted sapling. Find it, bring it back, and you’ll have 10 ducats a piece. Any other relics you find within are yours.”

“Will we have to fight?” Gideon asks.

Will they? no, and… it’s been abandoned
“I think not. The most Holy Emperor himself has long since driven the foul cult underground. Few remain who would admit to following their ways, and those few are scattered and hidden. Besides bandits along the way, I doubt you’ll need draw your blade.”

Note: His guess is not necessarily the truth. When we reach the dungeon, though, it will make encounters less likely to occur. We’ll let the dice reveal whether there truly are foes there or not.

Is it far to the temple? -1 no, and… they can get there in less than a day + event
Event: PC Positive – Move/Ambush (no encounter checks along the way!)

“I can get this amulet,” Gideon says, “regardless of whether eccentric tree-worshippers still lurk around it. But I’ll need a few coins, first. Travel is expensive, even when it isn’t far, and travel to war is even more expensive.”

CH check: 2 vs 9, success!
The steward frowns, but accedes. He hands over 50 silver pennies to each of the men. “A tenth now,” he says, “and the other nine ducats when the amulet is returned. Although you’ve my lord’s coin in your purse, now. That means you are in his service, and he’ll not forget it. Understand?”

[friendly – shelter – contacts]
“If you’ve truly got another nine ducats for such a small chore, you needn’t worry about our loyalty, little man,” Eli says. “Tell us where to find you when we’ve got your knick-knack.”

Should they go to the Fathan house? -1 no + event
Event: NPC negative (city watch) – truce/nature

“Back here, of course,” the steward says. “Emanuel can send a runner. Now, hadn’t you best get going?” With that curt dismissal, the steward gathers up his things and disappears into the back room of the tavern. Emanuel follows after. Guild business.

The two thieves now step out into the street, and they’re immediately disappointed to see that a cold wind has blown in from the mountains. “Storm clouds to the north,” Gideon points out.

Eli grunts. “Hate to be on the wall today,” he responds.

Gideon shoots the man a glance. “You know, you really ought to quit reminding folks that you used to be on the Watch. Some of the guys don’t much care for them.”

Chaos: +0, still at 3

Scene 2

Setup: The pair equip themselves for an adventure
Chaos: 3, interrupt – Introduce NPC – Abuse/Military (we’ll meet a bit of a jerk)

Gideon and Eli head out into the street to lighten their suddenly-heavy purses. “I’ve had my eye on a new dagger or two,” Gideon mentions, “though perhaps a set of boiled leather like you’ve got would suit me better for this job…”

Does Eli stick with Gideon? no
Is Gideon being followed? +1: no
Does reach the shop without trouble? yes

Not too far from Emanuel’s, Eli make a brief excuse and disappears down a shaded side-street, telling Gideon to meet him at the north gate the next morning. Gideon takes some relief in the man’s absence, knowing that even standing near the blasphemer must surely impart some small level of bad luck. Loxa be praised!

Can he find all of the mundane gear he’s looking for? +1: yes, and… he gets a fair price

He heads down toward the markets. A few stops later and he’s gathered a sturdy lantern (3 sp) and flint (5 cp), a pint of oil (1 sp), a rope (2 sp), blanket (2 sp), and enough food (5 cp) and water (2 sp) to travel with. Some quick talking gets his cost down to just nine silver pennies.

Does he encounter the NPC in the next store? +2: no, but… they’re watching him

One stop left. Gideon heads to a smith to pick up another set of daggers for throwing or close-in work, as the need arises. [IN check: 7 vs 11, success] A nagging feeling at the back of his neck finally gets his attention, and he realizes that he’s being followed.

Does he recognize the pursuer’s allegiance? -1: yes, and… he does it surreptitiously + event
Is the follower of the Watch? yes, but… a woman who’s known to moonlight
Event: Ambiguous Event – Overindulge/The Intellectual

Silence Murray. A low-level officer of the City Watch and known agent of several of the major houses. Gideon knows he hasn’t done anything of late to arouse her interest, regardless of employer. So she’s interested in his new job. Curious.

Fortunately, the crowd ahead thickens–a visiting philosopher-priest is haranguing a rapt crowd about the Kingdom of Earthly Vices. Gideon can’t quite tell whether he’s for it or against it, but he dives into the crowd and attempts to lose himself in the press.

AG test: 8 vs 13, success

He moves quickly, and when he passes through the other side he manages to catch a glimpse of Silence lost in the dense crowd.

+NPC: Silence Murray (freelancer)

Free of his shadow, Gideon eventually finds his way to a smithy where he’s able to buy a pair of small, well-balanced daggers for forty silver pennies. He slips them into his belt, where they’re quick at hand for throwing.

Chaos: +1, since there is now a mysterious tail

Scene 3

Setup: Meet with Eli the next day
Chaos: 1 vs 4, interrupt!
Event: PC Negative – Divide/Technology

The next morning, one penny poorer for room and a night’s board, Gideon heads toward the north gate to meet his new companion-in-arms. His heavy pack and multiple weapons mark him as a man heading out for adventure.

Does someone try to pickpocket him? +1: yes, and… they do it well (-2 penalty)
AG test to notice: 11 vs 13-2, success!

Suddenly, Gideon notices the weight on his belt shift slightly. He glances down to see a kid quickly slipping away into the crowd. Snapping his hand out, Gideon grabs the kid’s tunic and yanks him back just as the boy slips one of Gideon’s new knives into his belt.

“Wrong target, kid,” Gideon says.

Does the boy give it back? +3: yes, and… apologizes

The boy looks up with wide eyes, suddenly realizing that Gideon is no helpless traveler. He stammers a cowed apology and Gideon lets the boy go after pressing a copper bit into his palm and telling him to be more careful. He remembers what it was like to grow up alone in the city.

Chaos: -1, back to 3

Scene 4

Setup: Meet Eli and depart
Chaos: 6 vs 3, no chaos

Gideon reaches the gate not long after the cathedral bells toll out the third hour. Almost on time.

Is Eli waiting for him? +1: yes

The grizzled soldier is standing beside the gate already. Like Gideon, he’s got a heavy pack slung over his back. Unlike the lithe thief, Eli looks completely comfortable beneath the load. The benefits of campaigning, Gideon supposes.

Ed: I will be handling Eli’s inventory by rolling for the likelihood of him having brought anything in particular, and then reducing his purse by the associated amount. Things like rations are obviously a VERY LIKELY thing to bring, while a hand mirror would probably be VERY UNLIKELY.

[neutral – demand – enemy]
Eli nods impassively when he sees Gideon. “You came.” He glances at the knives on Gideon’s belt. “You didn’t believe our employer that we’ll find no foes?”

“Better safe then sorry,” Gideon says.

The warrior taps the long saber hanging from his belt. “In that, we agree,” he says.

Do they leave town without any issues? +1: yes, and… they’re helped along
How are they helped? oppress/outside

As they leave the gate, they notice several soldiers wearing the regalia of House Fathan. The captain approaches, holding up a hand in the sign of peace. “You’re Gideon and Eli, in the employ of our master’s house?” the man asks.

Eli nods.

“I’ve been sent to give you these.” He hands over bundles of rations wrapped in oiled blankets. “The weather-watchers are predicting that this wind will bring heavy storms. Lord Fathan doesn’t want his investment to wash away.”

Inventory: +1 ration and blanket each

The pair take the proffered goods and place them in their packs. The guards nod briskly and move away, back toward the gate. Gideon and Eli set off along the road, following the route the steward described for them. The road to the druid’s tomb is not long, and they expected to arrive in just [2d6] 12 hours, after a long day of marching.

The trail there is [mockingly/masculine] roughly maintained and lacks significant landmarks to make finding their way easy, but the pair eventually find the small trail that leads up into the forested foothills.

Ed: I don’t make any encounter checks because of the positive event I rolled earlier meaning there were no ambushes along the road.

Do they find the tomb the first night? -1: no, but… they find something interesting
Evidence of someone else? no
Evidence of the Druids? +1: yes, but… it’s old

The trail soon fades amidst the trees, but the pair wander until the last of the daylight sinks away, looking for the tomb or a warm place to lay up for the night–and given how cold the night has become, Gideon would prefer the latter.

Soon enough, they emerge into a clearing where a ring of standing stones, each nearly twice as tall as a man, encircle a patch of lush, emerald green grass.

Any encounters here? -1: yes, but… not an ambush
d30 NPC: a fisherman

The two thieves draw their weapons as they hear a noise beneath the trees, although it quickly resolves into a jaunty whistle. Lowering their weapons some but unwilling to let their guards down entirely, they move behind a pair of the standing stones until a man with a long fishing rod and string of trout steps out into the clearing opposite them.

Is he surprised to see them? +2: no, but… he thought they were going to be someone else

Hefting his daggers, Gideon signs for Eli to reveal himself. The warrior steps out in front of the fisherman.

The man steps back, saying “Oh, you’re he–wait, who are you?”

“You were expecting someone?”

[cautious – secrets – antagonist]
“Would anyone spend much time around these old stones if they didn’t have secrets? Who were you expecting, soldier?”

“We’re looking for the tomb of Vandercal the druid,” Eli admits. “Have you seen it?”

Has he? no, and… he hasn’t even heard of it
Has he heard of the druids at all? +1: no, but… not by name
Is he waiting for a druid? -1: no, and…the druids aren’t active in the woods
Event: Remote action – Abuse/Masses (noted)

“A tomb? Not that I know of. What’s a druid?”

Eli points at the massive henge standing around them.

The man’s face lights up. “Oh! The woods witches! No, not seen any tomb, but I only go betwixt my cabin and the little river. Never seen such good fishing. A tomb could be anywhere, I ‘spose.”

Fisherman’s IN (10) vs Gideon’s AG (13) test: 9 vs 9, AG succeeds. Gideon remains hidden and never reveals himself to the man.

Does the man have anything else to say? -1: yes, but… it doesn’t seem helpful

Mumbling a little about [travel/randomness] the many trails crisscrossing the dense woods, the man heads past the party and vanishes into the trees.

+NPC: fisherman in woods

After he’s gone, the two men share a glance. “Not so helpful,” Eli admits.

“No,” Gideon says, “but we may as well make our way toward that river. Fresh water for the night, and there may be something to see.”

Scene 5.

Setup: Make camp by the river
Chaos: 3 vs 3, interrupt!
Event: Move toward a thread (recover amulet) – oppress/anger

(they get in a fight and stumble across the tomb)

The small river runs cool and clear, and the pair of adventurers find it easily. Gideon keeps up a running commentary as they walk, filling all quiet spaces with chatter as is his wont. Eli is mostly silent until they reach the river. Both quickly agree that it is a fine place to set camp for the night.

Did Eli bring a fishing line? -2: no, but… he has a short spear for hunting (-15 sp)

The warrior drops his pack by the river and hefts his spear. “Build a fire,” he says. “I’ll be back in an hour with game. This seems like a wood with rabbits.”

“Loxa be with you,” Gideon says as he companion parts. Eli just snorts, and Gideon makes the sign of Good Chance against the soldier’s blasphemy.

Eli steps into the woods, grateful for the absence of his companion’s stream-of-consciousness blabbering. The army taught him to put up with many a companion-in-arms, but he never grew used to the ones who talked to hear their own voice.

AG and IN test to find game: 14 vs 13, 5 vs 11, fail

Eli spies a large rabbit a few minutes from camp. Creeping slowly, he chucks his spear and narrowly misses. It bolts. Charging forward, the large man grabs up his spear again and gives chase. It leads him through the woods until he loses it where the underbrush grows thick against a steep hill.

Glancing up, he sees a wall of worked stone placed into the face of the hill. The tomb! Its face is [combatively/defeated] blackened by time and disrepair, but there can be no doubt about what it is.

Eli runs back to camp, taking care to note the way.

Chaos: +1, now at 4

Wrap Up

Mythic

Chaos Level: 4

NPCs: Lord Fathan, Fathan’s steward, thieves’ guild, city watch, Vandercal (dark druid), Silence Murray, fisherman in woods

Threads: Recover Vandercal’s amulet

Delayed Events: Remote Event (Abuse/Masses)

Characters

Gideon: Adventurer 1 (0/100 xp); CO 10 – IN 11 – CH 9 – AG 13 – ST 10; LP 30/30; AT 10; PA 9; PRO 2 (padded armor); Purse: 18 sp 19 cp; Inventory (8/10): short sword (d6+2/2/0/0), 3 daggers (d6+1/3/0/-4/r-30′), lantern and 1 pint of oil, flint, 30′ rope, blanket, 2 rations, waterskin

Eli Barnard: Warrior 2 (100/300 xp); CO 12 – IN 11 – CH 8 – AG 13 – ST 13; LP 41/41; AT 11+1; PA 9; PRO 4 (leather and shield); Purse: 23 sp 20 cp; Inventory (6/13): saber (d6+4/2/0/0), shield, crowbar, ration, blanket, spear (d6+2/X/0/0/r-60′)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.