Epees and Sorcellerie — 3

Continuation of Part 3 of my Epees & Sorcellerie game. Last time, the party was deep in a cave system, tracking a group of bandits to their fallback position. I was disappointed by the number of uninteresting rooms in the last session, so I plan on using Mythic to supplement Scarlet Heroes for the dungeon delve.

Current Setup

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.

The Game

The party advanced east after combing through another empty cavern (room 6). The tunnel twisted through the hard stone as it worked it way further beneath the hilly country. They passed through a T intersection and continued east, not yet ready to return south.

We resume in room 6.

Room 7: The bandit headquarters (Truce/Plans). Encounter (HD3 boss, HD2 mage, 2 HD 1 minions, and an HD 1/2 dog supporter). Hidden treasure (H5 – 400 gp, 2 pieces of costly jewelry, 4 cheap gems, 3 costly gems, 5 articles of costly clothing, and a Potion of Celestial Step). Feature (Item of information — clues that are worth something to the city).

Bandit Boss. Warrior 3 (12 hp). AC 10 (chain). AT: sledgehammer (+1 hit, +1 dmg). MV 2.

Bandit Magician. Magic-User 2 (6 hp). AC 7 (none). AT: dagger (+0 hit, +0 dmg), magic lash (+1 hit, +1 dmg). MV 4. Spells: Detect Magic, Read Languages.

2 Bandits. HD 1 (2, 2 hp). AC 9 (leather and shield). AT +0 (sword). MV 3. These are the same guys as before.

Fighting Dog. HD 1/2 (3 hp). AC 9 (dex). AT: bite (+0 hit, +0 dmg). MV 5.

Up ahead, light began to flicker into the tunnel. They heard voices arguing, and then a [m/w] gravelly man’s voice shout over the tumult. The voices died back to a quiet murmur. The party paused, glanced at each other. Hallada shuttered her lantern.

Does the party manage to approach without being noticed? +2: Yes.

They crept forward, quiet in their light armor, until they could see the source of the light. The tunnel emerged into a well-lit and furnished cavern. A small crowd was clustered around a parchment-covered table, arguing, while a bearded man in chain armor frowned at them. A dog sat at his heels, growling. The party froze.

Does the dog notice them? +0: Yes, and…it barks.

Suddenly, the dog sniffed the air. Its ears perked up, then pointed. It barked. The armored man turned to the dog and then toward the tunnel where the party hid.

Check for surprise: 5 vs 2-, no surprise.

The two leather-clad bandits turned and pointed. “That’s them!” one shouted. The armored man lifted a massive sledgehammer from the table and turned toward the darkness. “Get ’em,” he snarled at the dog.

“Damn,” Josue said. “I guess we should’ve gone after them after all.”

“Run, then?” Silene asked, as she turned and started to sprint back down the corridor, stopping only long enough to loose the bolt in her crossbow into the crowded room [attacked (randomly) one of the common bandits, missed by 1], but it thudded against the man’s shield just as he drew it up.

“Didn’t realize I’m come this far with cowards,” Bruge said, but he was running right along with her. The sound of the dog drove them onward.

The dog was on them in an instant. It snapped at Josue’s shield, but the priest held the beast at arm’s length [both missed] as he hustled down the corridor.

“Lantern!” Silene called as they rounded the bend and made their way south. Hallada fumbled at the shutters on the lantern until she got the hood up, but then they were off again.

They reached the iridescent cavern in moments, just as Bruge managed to get enough room to swiped at the dog with his axe; it went down in a heap [5 damage killed it outright]. The bandits from before were on their trail, but the heavily-armored man was lagging, a few dozen paces behind now.

“Go!” Silene called to the two priests. “Get the prisoners and get outside. We’ll hold them!”

“What?!” Bruge demanded, but the priests were already gone.

“The bridge. Fire!” She had her crossbow up again. Bruge skidded to a halt and dropped his axe, fumbling for the bow hanging across his back. Both shots, snapped around over the soaring bridge, went wide, and then the bandits were upon them. They dropped their bows and scrambled for their daggers as the bandits crashed into them. Silene took a deep cut across her forearm as she tried to ready her blade [5 damage leaves her at 1 hp], while Bruge stepped carefully back and his foe’s swipe went wide.

He stepped back into the man’s backswing and buried his blade in the man’s neck [4 dmg kills him], then turned to help Silene as she and her opponent feinted back and forth [both miss badly].

Just then, the armored bandit chief and a lithe young women stepped out into the cavern. The man before them shouted for help just as Bruge struck him hard against the shield [AC match staggers the man; -1 AC] and Silene’s dagger slashed his belly open [3 damage, dead].

They sheathed their daggers and picked up their bows and axes as the remaining enemies raced across the bridge. “Josue!?” Silene called behind her.

Is the priest nearby? -1: Yes!

“I’m beside you,” the priest called. “Hallada has the prisoners; she’s taking them outside.”

He handed Silene the lantern and stepped in front of her, lifting his shield high. “We’ll stop them here.”

Who will fight Bruge? Mage or Boss? Mage.

A moment later, Josue’s breath was taken away as the bandit leader’s sledge caught him full in the shield, but the warrior-priest rolled with the blow and returned as well as he got [chief missed; Josue hit for 3 damage. 9 hp left]. The wizard wasn’t as sturdy; her arcane whisperings fizzled as Bruge stepped through a lash of burning ozone and cleaved her head from her shoulders with a single blow [she missed badly; he hit for 7 and killed her].

The bandit chief roared and spun his hammer around for another strike [passed morale], but the flurry of blows from both sides tripped him up and Josue’s hammer struck hard against his elbow [5 dmg, 4 hp left]. The man howled and allowed his grip to slip just for a second, just long for the priest to step inside and cleave in his skull [hit for 7, dead].

The party stood, panting, in the quiet room. For a long time, no one moved. Finally, Josue looked at Silene and said, “We need to get Hallada. You’re hurt bad.”

This time, the warrior did not protest. “That might be a good idea,” she said. Josue helped her south into the improvised jail while Bruge rooted through the purses of the dead. He came up with a handful of coins [4d6=14 gp] and a bottle of cloudy, vaporous liquid [the potion of Celestial Step].

By the time he rejoined the others, Hallada was just finishing a prayer over the injured warrior, who seemed [healing, +6 hp] almost entirely herself again.

“Now then, shall we?” Silene asked as she rose and dusted herself off.

“Shall we what?” Hallada asked.

“See what these bastards were doing, of course. And what they had that made it worth it.”

“You need rest,” the priestess clucked.

“There will be time for that,” Silene argued. The headed back north into the caves.

What is the headquarters like? Aggressively/Bizarre

The chambers were immaculately clean, for the cave hideout of a bunch of brigands, and filled with bizarre carvings of almost-human idols, made of wood, stone, and bone. Josue set to smashing them with his hammer before Silene stopped him and grabbed one.

“This could be worth something to the army boys,” she said as she dropped it into her pouch.

+Thread: Weird statues found in bandit hideout.

Search Check: 11+2w = 13, pass

They set about tearing the room to pieces, and soon enough found a heavy chest hidden behind a box of moldering flour. Each checked carefully for traps, but finding none, agreed to open it.

Can it be smashed open? +1: No.

The iron bands wrapped around it made it impervious to Bruge’s axe, so, gritting his teeth, the warrior flipped the latch and tipped the lid open. When nothing happened, he allowed himself to finally exhale, and then to laugh.

“Ale in both hands, tonight!” he shouted when he looked into the chest. None of the others could disagree. They tipped the contents out onto the floor and tallied them carefully, each watching the others. None had seen such a hoard.

They found an outfit–cloak, shirt, shoes, the works–of the finely-printed cotton, worth 390 gp; 4 sardonyx gems worth 40 gp each; three onxy stones worth 200 gp each; a small sack stuffed with 400 gold coins; and, best of all, a matched set of silver jewelry (an amulet and bangle) worth 100 and 300 gp, respectively.

“We have to get back to town,” Silene said. No one disagreed.

They packed the things carefully into their bags and headed for the exit.

“Where are our prisoners?” Bruge asked.

“Just outside,” Hallada said. “I tied them to a tree.”

Are they still there? +2: Yes.

And so they were. The party tied the two prisoners to leads and led them back through the forest to the trade road. They traveled a little ways down the path and then headed into the woods a few hundred yards to camp and rest. They had a long day of marching ahead of them.

Night Encounter Check: No.

Travel checks: no, no.

The woke early the next morning, after a quiet night, and made their way back to town. The walls of the city were a welcome sight as they grew closer. They were stopped by guards as they neared the gate. The man saw the prisoners’ armor, recognized it as the army’s. He blew a whistle, demanded answers as spearmen swarmed out of the gatehouse.

Josue stepped forward. “Let us through to the captain,” he demanded. “Something is afoot in the wood.”

Wrap Up

Experience Record

*Note that I am adjusting the exp from enemies because I was going by the E&S rulebook, but when I looked at them carefully I realized that would be way too high as-written along with xp-for-gp, so I am adjusting EXP values here for monsters to be in line with Labyrinth Lord/Lamentations.

  • Thunderbird = 65 exp
  • Young Ogre = 50 exp
  • 3 bandits = 30 exp
  • turquoise necklace = 60 exp
  • found gold = 60 exp
  • dog = 5 exp
  • magic-user = 29 exp
  • bandit chief = 50 exp
  • jewelry = 400 exp
  • gems = 760 exp
  • clothes = 390 exp
  • coins = none, because they were recovered from known humans who were hiding them

This is a total of 1,899 exp, which rounds to 475 exp for each character. A comfortable haul, but they’re still a long way away from leveling up. It should hopefully be enough money to buy the slower members of the party some better armor, and maybe some other more specialized tools of the trade.

Character Sheets

Hallada, P1 (584 exp). S4 D9 C4 I9 W12 C7. HP 4/4. AC 9 (nothing). AT: mace (-1 hit, -1 dmg). Spells (0/2): healing, detect magic. Inventory: holy symbol, scripture, dagger, blanket, 1 ration, lantern, brooch (35 gp value). 121 gp. Goal: overthrow/pleasures (a real wet blanket).

Bruge, W1 (584 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, 1 ration, turquoise necklace (60 gp), unidentified potion (celestial step). 136 gp. Goal: harm/illusions (all about tearing down the veneer of civilization).

Silene, W1 (584 exp). S8 D7 C10 I8 W5 C9. HP: 8/8. AC 9 (leather and shield). AT: sword (+1 hit, +0 dmg) or crossbow (+1 hit, +0 dmg). Inventory: dagger, blanket, 1 ration, lantern, strange idol. 129 gp. Goal: travel/portals (wanderlust, insatiable curiosity).

Josue, P1 (584 exp). S9 D9 C7 I4 W11 C8. HP: 6/6. AC 10 (shield). AT: hammer (+1 hit, +1 dmg). Spells (0/2): healing, sanctuary. Inventory: holy symbol, scripture, dagger, blanket, 1 ration, torch. 181 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. Weird statues found in bandit hideout.

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.

Continue reading “Epees and Sorcellerie — 2”

Epees and Sorcellerie – 1

I have decided that Ironsworn really isn’t for me. I didn’t like that my character felt helpless at everything, and that dice rolls prevent what I had been hoping to be light diversionary quest legs into meandering, obstacle-filled trudges. I’m sure there’s a way to play it well, but until I have a chance to watch some videos/find some AARs, I think I’m going to step back to D&D inspired party roleplaying for a while.

In this session, I’ve decided to roll up a party of Epees & Sorcellerie characters and explore a dungeon generated entirely through Mythic.

Also, I’m going to apologize right off the bat for some truly horrendous switching between past and present tense. I write these up in the wordpress editor as I play, and depending on the pace of the game during a particular session (these usually take 3-5 days to play through), I may accidentally get swept up in what feels right, only to come back the next day during a placid scene and forget I was doing present tense for the adventure. Please forgive me.

Characters

I started by discarding any PC with a total score of lower than +0, since I figured they would be unlikely to choose the adventuring warrior life.

Bruge, W1. 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, ration. 10 gp. Goal: harm/illusions (all about tearing down the veneer of civilization).

Josue, P1. S9 D9 C7 I4 W11 C8. HP: 6/6. AC 10 (shield). AT: hammer (+1 hit, +1 dmg). Spells (2): healing, sanctuary. Inventory: holy symbol, scripture, dagger, blanket, ration, torch. 9 gp. Goal: procrastinate/enemies (standing alone against an unspecified threat).

Hallada, P1. S4 D9 C4 I9 W12 C7. HP 4/4. AC 10 (shield). AT: mace (-1 hit, -1 dmg). Spells (2): healing, detect magic. Inventory: holy symbol, scripture, dagger, blanket, ration, lantern. 8 gp. Goal: overthrow/pleasures (a real wet blanket).

Silene, W1. S8 D7 C10 I8 W5 C9. HP: 8/8. AC 9 (leather and shield). AT: sword (+1 hit, +0 dmg) or crossbow (+1 hit, +0 dmg). Inventory: dagger, blanket, ration, lantern. 7 gp. Goal: travel/portals (wanderlust, insatiable curiosity).

The Game

The entrance hall. Low and quiet. Litter fills the dank chamber. Corridors stretch off, east and west. A tall bronze door stands before them. They head west into the darkness.

Created with DungeonScrawl. A heck of a lot easier than my old GIMP work.

What do they find? usurp/the spritual. A site of some profane ritual. Are there still people here? +1: yes. Is the room large? +0: yes.

The tunnel emerges into a smoky room, lit by fires blazing in a set of braziers in the corners. An altar, something obviously wrong, rises from the north end of the room.

Continue reading “Epees and Sorcellerie – 1”

Keep on the Borderlands Solo – 1

Inspired by Damn Elf Press, I’ve decided to start a solo Labyrinth Lord game based on the classic Keep on the Borderlands adventure. This will be a relatively hard core game that’s going to rely on good rolling and clever play. At first I’ll be using straight-d6 damage and rolling 3d6-in-order stats, but I’ll be allowing my PCs to start with max HP at first level.

Tangrir the Fencer (Fighter 1, 0/2025xp): 11-16-9-14-10-6. 8/8 hp. 16 ac (chain+dex). Melee: rapier (+0 dmg, +2 hit). Ranged: bow (+0 dmg, +2 hit). 6 gp. Inventory (5/10): rapier, bow and quiver (20), bedroll, waterskin, rations (7)

My character is Tangrir, a swordsman from a distant land who has come to the Borderlands in search of fortune. He is marked by his lithe strength, sharp mind, whip-fast rapier play, and the hideous scar that mars his face.

I’ll be seeding my adventure with the following Mythic NPCs and Threads, based on my knowledge of the module. Note that this is different from ordinary Mythic behavior in that many of these NPCs and Threads may be unknown by my character, and their presence will only be seen through random actions during events.

NPCs: corrupt priest, castellan, necromancer, captain of the watch

Threads: missing merchant, clear the Caves of Chaos

Continue reading “Keep on the Borderlands Solo – 1”

Lady Blackbird

Over the past two weeks, I have played two sessions of the freeform science-fiction/steampunk roleplaying game Lady Blackbird over Skype with some friends. This was my first experience with true “freeform” roleplaying, and it was a blast.

If you haven’t heard of it, Lady Blackbird is a free RPG available online. It is very light on rules (each character sheet includes all of the information required for a player, and the referee’s book is only 16 pages long, most of which is back story), mostly emphasizing improvisation and imagination over fleshed out adventures pre-written by the referee.

steampunk city
A city of steam. Source unknown. Thank you for letting me borrow this, however.

And indeed, the term referee is perfect for the role of the game master in Blackbird: the players are largely responsible for which adventures they want to dive into, and the ease of creating encounters means that the game is free to roam about the Wild Blue setting with little or no effort. Yes, the game includes a ‘starting scenario,’ but it would be just as easy to veer off course in search of adventure.

In our game, we have largely stuck to the established plot, but I think that if we play another campaign it will be with different characters–perhaps characters on the periphery of the plot, or perhaps simply a whole new adventure in the Blue.

Skype, by the way, has been invaluable in coordinating players in Northern California, Southern California, and Texas–if you have been hesitant to try role playing over a conference call, I would give it a shot. It works wonders. We use IRC in a different window for the random dice rolls, since you can’t (to my knowledge) use video on Skype for conference calls.

Anyway, try out Blackbird when your group is looking for a change of pace. It’s great fun, requires little or no preparation (we have now played two sessions with nothing prepared, and it worked out fine–just make sure everyone has read about the setting and their characters), and it seems like the ‘main’ plotline can be finished in just three-five sessions, depending on your group’s pace.