Epees and Sorcellerie — 2

NOTE: This is a continuation of Part 1 of my solo adventure in the world of the d6-based retro-style RPG, Epees & Sorcellerie. My goal for this game is to let the adventure and plot take center stage and hope that emergent storytelling will eventually bloom, rather than focusing on the game and oracle as any kind of fiction-generating tool. As such, a lot of the characters will be poorly sketched out at first, but should reveal themselves if they survive long enough.

Setup Material

Experience Record

  • Thunderbird = 300 exp

Character Sheets

Hallada, P1 (109 exp). S4 D9 C4 I9 W12 C7. HP 4/4. AC 10 (shield). AT: mace (-1 hit, -1 dmg). Spells (1/2): healing, detect magic. Inventory: holy symbol, scripture, dagger, blanket, 2 ration, lantern, brooch (35 gp value). 21 gp. Goal: overthrow/pleasures (a real wet blanket).

Bruge, W1 (109 exp). S10 D12 C8 I6 W9 C7. HP: 4/4. AC 12 (none). AT: battle axe (+2 hit, +2 dmg) or bow (+3 hit, +2 dmg). Inventory: dagger, blanket, 2 ration. 22 gp. Goal: harm/illusions (all about tearing down the veneer of civilization).

Silene, W1 (109 exp). S8 D7 C10 I8 W5 C9. HP: 6/8. AC 9 (leather and shield). AT: sword (+1 hit, +0 dmg) or crossbow (+1 hit, +0 dmg). Inventory: dagger, blanket, 2 ration, lantern. 20 gp. Goal: travel/portals (wanderlust, insatiable curiosity).

Josue, P1 (109 exp). S9 D9 C7 I4 W11 C8. HP: 5/6. AC 10 (shield). AT: hammer (+1 hit, +1 dmg). Spells (2): healing, sanctuary. Inventory: holy symbol, scripture, dagger, blanket, 2 ration, torch. 21 gp. Goal: procrastinate/enemies (standing alone against an unspecified threat).

Mythic Stuff

NPCs: Barssus, a foppish and overpromoted captain in the Hierophant’s army.

Threads: Discover the fate of the missing supply wagon to earn 100 gp each.

The Game

The party lurked outside the cave, waiting for something to happen. Silene fiddled with her crossbow. Bruge picked his nails with the edge of his axe.

Do they see anything? -1: No. Random encounter check while waiting: None.

But all was quiet. They waited the better part of an hour and grew bored. Finally, Josue rose. “I’m going in,” he said. “Justice can’t wait any longer.”

Silene rolled her eyes as Hallada stood up, but she stood up to follow the priests as well. Bruge caught up as they neared the cave entrance. He took a few practice swings with his axe and shouldered his way up to the front.

Marching Order: Bruge and Josue in front. Silene (holding her crossbow) and Hallada (holding mace and lantern) in the second row.

They traveled on deep into the cliff face before the low, unworked corridor ended at door.

Listen Check (Josue): 5+2 = 7, moderate. If there is a monster in the room I will decide whether a moderate success would have been enough to hear it. If so, the party will be able to prepare/surprise the foes.

Room 1: 2000′ hexagon, exits to north and east. Contains Monster and 275 gp + 850 ep. What is the monster? Ruin/Home. What is the room like? Busily/Damaged. An ogre smashing his own cave up. A moderate listen check would definitely determine that. Is the ogre a slave or the occupant? Slave. Is it full-grown? -1: No.

Josue leaned toward the door and then jerked back. He placed a finger to his lips, but a moment later there was no need for secrecy. A great roar resounded inside the room, and they heard the sound of stones smashing together. The party hoisted their weapons.

Josue kicked the door in. Beyond was a huge, hexagonal cave. Rubble and stalagmites broke the even floor. Within, a hideous naked man raged against a chain the thickness of a man’s wrist. He was eight, nine feet tall, easy, and his eyes were made with a dumb rage.

Reminder: You can find links to every one of my solo session game reports on my Campaign Logs page.

Young Ogre: HD 3+1 (13 hp). AC 9. AT +2, DMG (club): +1, MV 4.

Surprise Check: No surprise.

The beastly man whipped his head around as the door opened and howled. Silene loosed her crossbow, but the bolt flew wide.

Can the parties reach each other this round? +0: No.

The groups roared together, all thought of silent entry obviously lost. The party knew their only hope now was ferocity. Josue called out to his got as he hefted his shield and charged at the devilish man [sanctuary spell, +1 AC and +1 save for 10 minutes].

Silene dropped her crossbow and charged after them, drawing her sword as she ran. She was late, though–the others smashed into the brute in the midst of the ruined chamber. Hallada was first, but her clumsy hammer strike overbalanced her and she went down. The ogre hefted a stone and brought it down, hard, on her head [4 damage, fatal]–or would have, had she not thrown herself backward and got her shield up time to block. It shattered beneath the force of the blow, numbing her arm and bruising her to the bone [she survived the hit by sacrificing the shield–a once-per-combat ability if you have extra shields]. Bruge swept in behind her with a stinging swipe across the man’s calves [2 damage] that hardly slowed it. Josue’s attack was ineffectual, but distracted the ogre long enough for Silene and Bruge to work their ways to the beast’s blind spots [the party will now get a +1 to hit due to flanking it].

Wandering Monster check for the noise: No.

As the ogre dodged another of Bruge’s powerful swipes [miss], Josue stepped up behind and brought his hammer down against the side of the man’s knee [7 damage]. It screamed it pain and stumbled as its leg buckled beneath the blow. Hallada shouted in victory as she waded forward–but in vain. The ogre leapt back to its feat and lunged onto the woman. It brought a stone down against her forearm, shattering the bone and following through to crush the face behind [4 damage, unconscious]. Silene’s sword followed the attack, but pierced only soft fatty tissue [1 damage].

As the ogre turned on the woman, Bruge finally connected with his axe. He jumped into the air as the ogre whirled, then brought his axe down with a plunging two-handed arc that buried the weapon deep in the creature’s skull [3 damage, dead].

Wandering Monster: No.

The party stood, panting, as the creature shook on the ground and then lay still. Only then did they go to Hallada. Josue knelt beside the woman, felt her pulse, and then said a short prayer of thanks.

“You can heal her?” Bruge asked.

Josue did not answer except to begin praying. His words came to a crescendo as a gust of wind howled into the passage from the world outside and Hallada gave a great gasping cough. She opened her eyes and sat up [+2 hp, 2/4 hp left]. She winced and felt her bruised face. “At least everything’s still there,” she said.

Search the Room (Wisdom): 10. Is that good enough to find the treasure? +1: No.

They searched the room as Hallada rallied, but they found little but stinking offal. Forming up, they headed for the east door.

Listen: 13, good enough to hear anything.

Room 2: Contents — Wildly/Familiar (the men they’re looking for). Are they prisoners? +2: Yes. Are the guards here? +1: Yes. Who are they? Judge/A Path — just common bandits who think they own that road. How many? 1d6=3.

Suddenly, there was a pounding at the door. The party fell into combat stance, but the door didn’t open. Instead, a voice shouted through the door: “Quit the howling, you big lug! It’s cooking!” They heard a muttered damn as the voice trailed away.

Bruge and Josue took positions on either side of the door. Silene retrieved her crossbow and readied a bolt. Hallada closed the lantern’s flaps and plunged them into darkness.

“Ready?” Josue asked. Bruge hit the door with his axe and screamed as he charged through it. Josue shouted and scrambled to follow.

Surprise Check: 2 vs 4-, success. The party was going to have a good chance to surprise since they were coming from the dark and knew about the bandits in advance.

3 Bandits: HD 1 (6, 5, 2 hp). AC 9 (leather and shield). AT +0 (sword). MV 3.

The door swung inward and revealed a cramped barracks. Straw was piled against one wall in rough beds, and a small group of men sat around an improvised table. The first looked up just as Silene’s bolt thudded against the wood beside his hand.

“What the–?”

But then Bruge and Josue were amongst them, laying about with hammer and axe. They scattered beneath the onslaught, managing to keep ahead of the flurry even as they spilled ale and coins across the uneven ground [only Bruge hit, and only for 2 damage].

Silene’s second bolt [missed, randomly targets Bruge] snapped against the head of Bruge’s axe and caused him to miss a bandit’s arm as the man tried frantically to draw his sword. Josue’s swing was better; his hammer cracked against the skull of the man in front of him, dropping him like a stone [hit for 5, unconscious].

Morale Check: 4, fail. Is there anywhere to run? +0: Yes, and… The caves are a maze.

The two bandits stood now, weapons drawn, with their backs to the wall opposite the door as Bruge and Josue closed around them. Suddenly, they dashed north, past the attackers, and slipped into a tunnel hidden behind a hanging curtain on the northern wall. Silene’s bolt caught the largest man in the shoulder [2 damage, 2 hp left], but he just grunted and kept running.

This will count as defeating three bandits, since two ran away, but if we reencounter them then the party will not get double experience.

Bruge started after them, but Josue reached out and grabbed his arm, held him back. The big warrior snarled and turned, but the stern priest shook his head. “Into the caves? The devil will wait; we’ll not need to chase him.”

Hallada entered the room as the two pulled down the curtain to ensure they weren’t being watched. The lantern revealed a stretch of twisting tunnel that ran roughly northeast before it curved west. There was no one to be seen.

Treasure? Just standard for the encounter. I’ll roll on Scarlet Heroes’ treasure troves for 3 scruffy bandits’ purses. 9 gold pieces (no jewelry, darn).

Silene scooped up a handful of gold coins that had tumbled onto the ground. She looked at them doubtfully. “Better be more than this further on,” she said as she pocketed them.

They turned east, where a pair of narrow cracks cut into the walls. Shield up, Josue lead the way in.

Are the prisoners still alive? +0: Yes.

The crack widened into a small chamber. [d4=] A pair of beaten and bound soldiers lay against the far wall. They flinched as the lantern light fell on them. Hallada stepped forward, held out a hand. “Peace,” she said. “We’re here to find you, brothers.”

Can they walk? +0: No + Event. Introduce a new NPC – Dispute/Competition

The [m/w] man nearest her groaned as she removed the gag from his mouth. “Thanks be to God! From the army? Listen–this [m/w] woman’s a liar and a traitor! Don’t untie her!”

Hallada already had her hands on the woman’s gag, but she slowly lowered them. “Explain.”

“She’s with the bandits. Tipped them off! I saw her talking to someone in the woods a few miles before the ambush.”

The woman beside him shook her head, shouted muffled screams into her gag, tried to kick the man beside her.

Hallada glanced back at the others. Silene shrugged. Bruge said, “Leave ’em both tied.” Josue said, “We can’t risk letting a traitor free, even if she does work against the heretic-king.”

She bent back down. “Stay quiet,” she said. “We’ll be back.”

“No!” the man shouted. “Don’t leave us here. If they get back–“

“They’ll kill you,” Silene interrupted. “We can’t leave you untied, and we can’t take you with us. So you stay until we come back. Keep quiet and hope they don’t find us.”

“What’s that?” Bruge asked. “I told that soft man I’d find his wagon. We did. I’m not about to get myself killed for the benefit of the Hierophant or his army.”

“We don’t know which of these two is the traitor. We don’t know who’s pulling the strings here. If we go back now, we may get our coin, but the wagon’s still gone.”

“So?” Bruge asked.

“So,” Silene said, “if we can solve the problem, how much more is Barssus going to owe us?”

“By the gods,” Bruge cursed, but he hefted his axe nonetheless.

“Don’t kill each other,” Silene said to the pair of bound guards. “I’ll just assume the survivor was trying to cover her–or his–tracks.” They both groaned and quieted down as the party left them in the dark.

Room 3. Wide Gallery, no encounter, exposed treasure (type M1, 60gp), no trap, architectural feature (beautiful to behold).

They crept along the northern passage until it opened into a vast gallery. All three caught their breath. They stepped out onto a natural land bridge that extended over a great emptiness. On all sides, the walls of the caverns glowed and reflected their light until it filled the great hall like a rainbow. Far, far below, a pool of water shone, disturbed only by the occasional plop of a thick droplet of water from somewhere up above.

They crossed to the far side of the bridge without incident, where the ground grew broken and rocky. They stopped beside a short stone, where a runner had obviously tripped recently. A smear of blood lay on the ground a few feet away, and beside that was a slender golden necklace, set with turquoise studs [60 gp treasure]. Bruge stooped down, turned it over in his hands, and nodded.

“I like it,” he said as he dropped it into his pouch.

“Didn’t take your for a turquoise man, myself,” Silene said.

“Keep moving,” Bruge grunted.

Room 4. Tunnel intersection. Empty.

The tunnel continued north for another 30 feet before it came to a four-way intersection.

“Well, shit,” Silene observed. “Where do we go now?”

“Back to Barssus, to get paid,” Bruge said.

“And leave the road in these murderers’ hands?” Josue asked.

“I want women and ale in these hands,” Bruge answered, gesturing needlessly at himself, “and the ale, at least, requires coin.”

“We’re going west,” Silene said. She stepped forward and the others fell in to keep up.

Room 5. Circular chamber. Empty.

They tramped through an empty cavern, before heading northwest.

Room 6. Crumbling, dry cave. Hidden treasure: 60 gp. Search result (Wisdom): 5+2 = 7. Is that enough? +0: Yes, and…they find it quickly enough they don’t have to risk a random encounter to search.

“This is boring,” Bruge complained as they moved into yet another empty cavern. The floor here was limestone, worn smooth by water long ago vanished. Piles of dust and loose stones, fallen from the ceiling above, littered the floor.

“Does this help?” [1d3=] Josue asked. He kicked trough a pile of stones and came up holding a small purse. He opened it and counted quickly. “There must be sixty coins in here.”

“Let me see,” Bruge demanded.

“Later,” Josue answered. “If someone hid coins here, it means we’re getting close.”

“We’d better be,” Bruge grumbled. “I didn’t sign up with you lot just to die in a cave for some southern army squabble.”

“Then why did you sign up?” Hallada asked.

Bruge laughed. “To die in a cave for a mountain of gold. Like you promised.”

Wrap Up

Well, this dungeon is taking a little longer than I thought, but it’s going a little faster now that I have switched to Scarlet Heroes for the dungeon generator. It seems fun and it’s easy to run, but I think I need to whip through the empty rooms faster and pay more attention to wandering monsters and torch life, if the system generates 70% empty rooms. That’s a lot!

Experience Record

  • Thunderbird = 300 exp
  • Young Ogre = 300 exp
  • 3 bandits = 300 exp
  • turquoise necklace = 60 exp
  • found gold = 60 exp

Character Sheets

Hallada, P1 (109 exp). S4 D9 C4 I9 W12 C7. HP 2/4. AC 9 (nothing). AT: mace (-1 hit, -1 dmg). Spells (1/2): healing, detect magic. Inventory: holy symbol, scripture, dagger, blanket, 2 ration, lantern, brooch (35 gp value). 21 gp. Goal: overthrow/pleasures (a real wet blanket).

Bruge, W1 (109 exp). S10 D12 C8 I6 W9 C7. HP: 4/4. AC 12 (none). AT: battle axe (+2 hit, +2 dmg) or bow (+3 hit, +2 dmg). Inventory: dagger, blanket, 2 ration, turquoise necklace (60 gp). 22 gp. Goal: harm/illusions (all about tearing down the veneer of civilization).

Silene, W1 (109 exp). S8 D7 C10 I8 W5 C9. HP: 6/8. AC 9 (leather and shield). AT: sword (+1 hit, +0 dmg) or crossbow (+1 hit, +0 dmg). Inventory: dagger, blanket, 2 ration, lantern. 29 gp. Goal: travel/portals (wanderlust, insatiable curiosity).

Josue, P1 (109 exp). S9 D9 C7 I4 W11 C8. HP: 5/6. AC 10 (shield). AT: hammer (+1 hit, +1 dmg). Spells (0/2): healing, sanctuary. Inventory: holy symbol, scripture, dagger, blanket, 2 ration, torch. 81 gp. Goal: procrastinate/enemies (standing alone against an unspecified threat).

Mythic Stuff

NPCs: Barssus, a foppish and overpromoted captain in the Hierophant’s army. Pair of soldiers, one of whom may be a traitor.

Threads: Discover the fate of the missing supply wagon to earn 100 gp each.

One thought on “Epees and Sorcellerie — 2

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