I roll for Carys’ duty to the county patrol and it comes up positive, so we will have to attend to that this time. The roll for the appearance of their enemy comes up negative. Bastian’s next insomnia episode is due March 20. The roll for what’s at stake indicates another personal plot opportunity for Bastian.
Carys has 11 HP and 8 FP left. Bastian has 4 HP and 7 FP left.
The Village March 16:
Last time, the heroes successfully entered the temple and slew the barbarian leader. Now they return to the village to hopefully convince Zaniel to meet with Riona now that they have helped him out.
Since when we were hired for this, we were told the reward was dwindling we need to check how long the mission took. Travel time was one hour, so the expected time was only 3 units of time. It took us over a day to do it, which is far over the time. I rule that there is no reward at this point.
The siblings leave the temple behind and arrive back in town later that day. It is not hard to locate Zaniel, and they show him the personal effects of the barbarian they slew. Zaniel asks what took them so long. Carys tells him about the temple,and he says he was about to give up on them. He also winks. Is he joking? The siblings can’t tell.
Since they successfully completed the mission, and devoted one entire session to it, I subtract 3 from the roll on the experience table. The result is one character point each. Hooray! Having helped Zaniel, we would get a +2 to convince him, but he is quite hard to convince (16) so we should probably do him another favor. I roll it up: Peril 3, pays 600 sp, 8 days away, no rush, investigate!, who committed the crime?
Zaniel seems pleased that the heroes succeeded and asks if they could do him another favor. Apparently, he is supposed to travel to a town 8 days east and investigate a series of strange murders. He doesn’t know a lot about it and he thinks that the heroes might really enjoy it (wink, wink). Plus, that way he gets to stay here and continue training the villagers.
Also, Carys’ duty to the county patrol showed up, so I decide to roll up an adventure representing that. Peril 2, 3 days away, no rush, slay!, collect the bounty. Ok, that makes sense for a freelance patroller I guess. The bounty is on an underworld organization and the site is a ruin. Sounds like bandits.
That evening, a runner from the county patrol arrives in the village asking for help. Carys immediately answers his request, identifying herself as a member of the county patrol. The runner says that a group of bandits has been attacking travelers and there is a bounty on their heads. He tracked some of them to a ruin about 3 days journey from here, but was too afraid to go further. The bandits are part of some strange organization and each one has a tattoo of a knife on their right hand.
Carys says that she and Bastian will look into it as soon as Bastian has recovered from his injuries.
The siblings stay in the village two weeks and rest to recover their HP. Since Bastian has HT 10, he recovers an HP roughly every two days. Rather than roll all that, I just say it takes him 2 weeks to recover the 7 HP he lost earlier. His insomnia comes and goes during this time and gets scheduled again for April 3. They can also use this time to spend character points and buy things.
So far, they have found 362 sp in coins, and a 200 sp jewel. That is not enough to cover cost of living, so I decide that Carys has to get a job while Bastian recovers. I figure she can use her armoury skill to help maintain the village militia’s arms and armor. I’d say this is freelance work, so her pay is affected by her skill roll. She rolls a 10 which fails by 1 so she only collects 90% of the pay. Based on a monthly pay of 800 silver, her two week pay is a total of 360 silver.
The siblings still can’t afford status 0 cost of living, so they go for status -1 this month which costs them 300 sp each so they have 320 sp left over assuming they can sell their jewel. Carys buys heavy leather leggings and sleeves so limb hits are less dangerous. That leaves them with 10 silver pieces and the jewel. Clearly, they need a rewarding adventure.
I contemplate spending character points, but hold onto them for now.
Journey to the Ruins, April 1:
With Bastian fully recovered, they head toward the ruins to dispatch some bandits.
The journey is as perilous as expected (Peril 2) and should take three days. Being nearby, a unit of time is 12 hours and the expected time for the adventure is therefore 18 units of time. We will only have to roll navigation once on the journey. Both Carys and Bastian succeed at hiking so it only takes two and a half days. It is hard to believe, but Carys succeeds at her navigation roll so they don’t get lost. She does fail survival, though and it leads to a choice of two mishaps.
The first day is uneventful as the siblings head east from the village through the grasslands. Carys is glad to be adventuring again, and Bastian feels much better after his two week rest.
They enter a new region today. I roll a small 8 day across alpine forest region which is a wilderness and populated by leprechauns. The theme is dangerous. Interesting.
Gradually, the elevation starts to rise and the grasslands give way to evergreen forests. Although the trees are beautiful, the siblings can’t shake the feeling that they are being watched. The terrain is rough and difficult to move through.
Both of the mishaps turn out to be obstacles. The first is a standard obstacle, requiring IQ to pass through it and causing crushing damage. The second is a trivial obstacle requiring DX to pass and leading to a swimming obstacle if failed.
In the afternoon, the siblings find their way blocked by a swift moving stream. After a little looking, Carys finds a tree that has fallen across the stream that they could use as a bridge. A bit upstream, the stream comes out from a cave. They could walk over the cave, but the ground looks fragile there and they would have to be careful to avoid a collapse.
Carys decides to crawl along the fallen tree. She rolls a 9 on her DX check and succeeds in getting across. Bastian rolls an 11 and falls in the water. Encumbered, his swimming skill is six, so this looks bad, but in a fit of good luck he rolls a 6 and swims ashore.
They decide to cross via the tree. Carys is more agile and goes first. Although the tree is wet and there are odd branches that make the crossing awkward, she makes it. She then drops her pack and removes her armor in case she has to try some life-saving action. Bastian gets about two thirds of the way across before he slips and falls into the stream. Carys watches anxiously, but her brother’s head pops up out of the water and he swims clumsily to shore.
Bastian is cold and wet, but otherwise unharmed.
The rest of the journey is easy and they arrive at the specified ruins around midday. It appears to be an old, abandoned fort. Carys notes that it would be an excellent place for bandits.
I roll very low on the What is this dungeon like really? table and find it is not as dangerous as expected and there is more loot! What a deal. So now the dungeon is Peril 1. The entrance is possibly structurally unsound. I don’t have anyone with a particularly relevant skill, but since it is a fort, I allow Carys to roll against Soldier with an additional -2 penalty (like a work around). Despite needing a 7, she succeeds. She determines that it is safe.
No one appears to be on guard, so the siblings draw weapons (Bastian readies his crossbow) and move toward the old gate. They approach cautiously, and Carys notices a problem: the old portcullis is in the up position, but the chain holding it there was not secured properly. (Basic guardhouse protocol was part of her county patrol training). After checking and double checking, she determines that it will hold fine in the short term. The bandits certainly aren’t professional soldiers if they did it though.
Checking for what is up ahead gives two routes: both appear to be standard lairs, but one is a promising route to the goal.
In the main courtyard, they see the state of the ruin. Most of the short towers have crumbled, only one is still complete. The main keep-like building is in surprisingly good condition. There are worn paths to both. The siblings decide to try the main keep.
Things are what they seem and it is a standard encounter. I roll a single Peril 2 monster. It is the tertiary monster type (I rule that the primary type is human bandits) based on the theme, which is base. I roll Dwarf-kin. So the bandits aren’t all human; there are dwarves as well. There is no table for dwarf-kin, but there is a racial template in Basic and the standard stat block gives me
ST 10, DX 11, IQ 10, HT 11, HP 10, Per 11, Will 11, FP 11, SM -1, Speed 5.5, Move 5, DR 2 so leather armor, Artificer 1, Detect Gold (vague), Extended Lifespan 1, Night Vision 5. He will use a crossbow, short sword and shield all at skill 11. He will have Dodge, Parry and Block of 10. Bastian fails his stealth roll, so the dwarf knows we are coming.
Carys opens the front door and sees a dwarf in leather armor aiming a crossbow at her. She steps forward and holds her shield up (this is all out defense: block). The dwarf fires his crossbow, but the bolt lodges in Carys’ shield. Bastian returns fire and just misses.
Carys moves to reach 2. The dwarf readies his sword and shield. Bastian readies his mace and shield.
Carys stabs at the dwarf, aiming for the heart, the dwarf retreats a step and parries the attack. The dwarf moves to reach 1 and takes all out defense:dodge. Bastian moves closer.
Carys steps back and swings for the right leg, the dwarf tries to dodge, but fails. The sword does 6 damage minus 2 for armor and then times 1.5 for cut for a total of 6. That is over one half HP, so the limb is crippled and 5 damage is dealt. The dwarf falls to the ground, but succeeds in the HT roll to avoid stun. The dwarf gets into a sitting posture and waves his weapons threateningly. “You will never take me alive! Long live the Black Knife!” Bastian stops short, staying out of the dwarf’s reach.
Carys stays out of reach and stabs at the dwarf, who tries to parry, but due to his sitting posture fails to and she rolls high on damage, dealing 5 which is doubled to 10. The dwarf succeeds in his roll to avoid stun and stay conscious.
Let’s be honest, here. The dwarf can lie down and crawl at us, but with Carys having a reach 2 weapon, he has no realistic chance. I rule that he dies.
The dwarf starts crawling toward the siblings but collapses before he gets very far. Cautiously, Carys dispatches him. The siblings cut off his tattooed hand for the bounty and put it in a separate sack.
The opportunity is a extra-informative lore point.
Bastian searches the body for clues and finds an encoded map of the surrounding area. He studies it for ten minutes or so. The mix of human and dwarven symbols indicates that the bandit group has both races as members. More worrisome is the crude picture of some tentacled monster with the warning ‘Stay away’ written on the back. It looks like the bandits may not be alone in these ruins.
Monster ecology is now complete: Primary human bandits, secondary aberrations, and tertiary dwarf-kin. What’s up ahead gives two routes: a safe area and a deadly lair that is a promising route.
Looking around the front part of the keep, they find a window that looks out on an overgrown garden that doesn’t look like it has been disturbed for years. Moving further in, they find a door labeled ‘Great Hall’ with some recent graffiti. They ready themselves and open the door.
Rolls indicate things are as they seem and there is indeed a deadly encounter here. I roll two Peril 2 monsters, but when I roll for type, I get region’s primary monster type. I have to roll for that and get Beast-kin. To me that could be beast-men of some kind, or monstrous beasts. I give it a 50-50 chance and come out with monstrous beasts. I choose monstrous wolves. Looking at wolf stats on GURPS Animalia they seem to fit a Peril 2 weak but agile opponent. I tweak a few things.
ST 8, DX 12, IQ 4, HT 11, HP 8, Per 12, Will 10, FP 14, SM -1, Speed 5.75, Move 9, DR 2 Thick Hide, Brawling 14, Wrestling 14, Combat Reflexes, Bite 1d-2 cut, Dodge 9.
The most obvious thing is that there is a hole in one of the walls that leads outside. Also obvious are the two wolves eating what looks like the remains of a bandit. They are about 20 yards away and both look up and snarl. Carys makes a survival check and realizes these are no ordinary wolves, but the cursed dark wolves who hate humans.
Carys moves 4 yards into the room. The wolves move 9 yards toward the siblings. Bastian aims his crossbow at the one heading toward him.
Carys takes all out defense: block. One wolf pounces at her, but critically misses and falls down. The other wolf moves past her toward Bastian. Now only at range 2, Bastian fires at that wolf and hits it in the foreleg for 4 damage, crippling it. The wolf passes its check for stun but now has move 4.
Carys stabs at the down wolf, aiming for vitals and hits, but does not roll much damage and only does 3. That wolf rolls to a kneeling position. The other wolf pounces at Bastian, who successfully ducks out of the way and draws his mace and shield.
Carys swings at her wolf again, getting lucky and hitting its skull for a total of 12 damage. The wolf falls down and is stunned. It stays down. The other wolf moves to reach C and bites at Bastian, who blocks the attack. He steps back to range 1 and swings his mace at the wolf, who dodges.
Carys turns and moves to reach 2 on Bastian’s wolf. The wolf bites Bastian in the groin, but luckily his leather skirt prevent the teeth from sinking in. Bastian swings, but the wolf continues to dodge.
Carys swings at the torso of the wolf and hits, for 6 cutting damage which turns into 9. The wolf avoids stunning, but has -5 HP. It collapses on its turn.
I roll a medium hoard of treasure for an opportunity. Maybe the dead bandit has something valuable. Since there is extra loot in this dungeon, I get to roll for three treasure pieces. It is all coins.
After making sure the wolves were dead, the siblings searched the body of the bandit. Unfortunately, his hand is missing so they won’t be able to collect a bounty on him. They do find a pouch of 30 silver pieces on his belt. He also appears to have been carrying a large, heavy box full of silver pieces. The coins are a mix of local and foreign currency and there are about 1800 of them! Both siblings take 600 coins (50 pounds) moving them up to heavy encumberance.
Unfortunately, it is clear that the former great hall is a dead end. The collapsing stonework has made all the exits worthless. The siblings decide to backtrack and investigate the abandoned garden area.
The siblings head to the garden, which seemed like a safe area, but things are not what they seemed! Now I find out it is an area full of obstacles, traps, hazards, or wards! A roll on the mishap table indicates a trivial one. It turns out to be based on the theme and is an obstacle requiring DX, Acrobatics or Jumping.
They enter into the overgrown garden and cut through part of the plants. They come to a deep trench with tall pillars such that the tops of the pillars almost form stepping stones across. Bastian says that at one point, the trench was probably full of water and made for a lovely center point to the garden (Gardening skill, remember?). Anyway, now they will have to hop from pillar to pillar and hope they are all still sturdy.
Carys needs to check her acrophobia here, since the fall is definitely possible. She rolls a 15, which technically succeeds, but I feel like roleplaying that she gets scared. Bastian is supportive, even though it is not that far down, and they decide to backtrack some more.
Will they have some better luck in the tower that is still standing? What is this sinister Black Knife organization? How many hands can they stuff into their bounty sack? All this and more (or less!) in Session 5!