Thursday, October 23, 2014

Soloplay - CotMa IV - Now Hiring

Cast
Myrphines - scion of the Heraclidae
Midymnoios Moncheri - Paladin of Athena, called One Hand after losing his left to a carnivorous fly
Thekitor - dwarven delver
Segestes One-Eye - Barbarian warrior of the Harii.  Came south along the Amber Road.  Lost an eye fighting kobolds.

NPCs
The Egyptian - Landlord of the 'Old Fish', cheapest lodgings in Scodra

Ikexanlas - The town physician

Scene:  Hiring extra muscle while the barbarian recuperates and another descent into the dungeon.  Chaos 4, rolled a 6.  Scene goes as planned.

After settling into rooms at the Unhappy Banker, they sent out for the town physician, Ikexanlas, a middle aged man with thin black hair and a large mole on his left cheek.   He appeared wearing a costly tunic, disfigured with blood, wine and other impolite stains from his rounds.  He examined and cleaned Segestes' wounds, and told them he would return daily to check on him.

The other three met to discuss their next move. Midymnoios and Thekitor pushed to hire more fighting men and attack the kobolds.  It turned out Midymnoios's oath to Athena required him to hunt down and wipe out kobolds and their ilk [Goblin Slayer Proficiency].  Thekitor considered them racial enemies, no better than the other vermin occasionally found in mines.  Myrphines was undecided, but had not yet shared his vision of a restored Corinth and a humbled barbarian Rome with his new companions.  He decided to say nothing of his own goals until he knew they wouldn't betray him and acquiesced to their plan.

They hired scribes to write and post advertisements in Greek and Latin.  They also hired Azotes, a maimed old warrior who had lost a hand and a half in fighting to go around to the taverns and inns and announce that a Paladin of Athena was hiring warriors at the Unhappy Banker.

The first day of the hiring was quiet until the afternoon, when a sturdily built young lady in a costly peplon entered the common room of the Unhappy Banker.  She strode over to Midymnoios and announced that she was Naneia, a devotee of Athena, trained in spear and sword, who wished a chance to show here devotion under a one of the goddess' chosen champions.

The second day, another woman showed up with an unstrung bow in hand.  Her name was Ilieones, and she too was a devotee of Athena as were most warrior women.  She agreed to accompany Midymnoios on the expedition.

No one came the thrid day, but two applicants appeared on the fourth.  The first was a cavalry man, who one hearing that an underground expedition was planned, refused the offer saying he didn't see the point of fighting on the ground, much less under it.  Later a man diffidently approached the table, he introduced himself as Akus, and was an expert with the sling.  He expressed interest in joining the expedition, but negotiated a higher monthly wage.

The fifth day brought two more applicants, Jumilanas, a crossbow man who had sailed down to Alexandria and served as a mercenary for Ptolemy.  He too negotiated a higher wage based on his claimed experiences.  Another cavalry man came, he was eager to be employed, but attempted to convince Midymnoios that a mounted expedition against goblins was what he should be doing, instead of crawling nto their holes.

On the seventh day a final applicant showed up, but as he too was a horseman, the interview quickly, but amicable ended.

[After the three combats I've run I realized that the party needed to be augmented, and that they had the money to hire people.  ACKS allows for 0 level henchmen, so I used a mash up of the ACKS mercenary availability and AD&D 1e Henchman Hiring rules to determine who showed up.  First I determined the number of each type of mercenary available in a Class IV market (not a lot).  Then I went to the DMG and had them post notices , hire a cryer and spend money in bars, 100GP total.  I rolled luckily and ended up reaching 58% of the available mercenaries (minimum would have been 15%).  Rather than working out what 58% of the total was, I turned it around and determined that each of the available mercenaries had a 58% chance of showing up.  

Realistically, there would have been less than a one percent chance that a woman would have been a warrior in that era, but this is fantasy, so I use a straight 1 in 4 chance for an adventurer to be female.  Once I determined that they were female, it made a lot of sense that they would be followers of the war goddess aspect of Athena, like the paladin.]

By this time Segestes was recovered enough to join them in the common room, although still weak from his wounds.  They decided to take the rest of the week for him to get into shape and them to practice working as a unit before they re-entered the ruins.

With the barbarian recovered they proceeded the next morning to the ruins through the rain.  Entering the gate, Myrphines again saw a shadowy figure need the shed by the keep.  Determined to find out who else was exploring the ruins, he led the band forward.

     'Hail, friend, what bring you out in such weather?"

     "Malvern sent me to look for some fat chickens to pluck.  What brings you to this miserable spot?"

     Midymnoios jokes, "Segestes here lost an eye fighting some kobolds down below the northwest tower and we came back to look for it.  This Malvern, what is he a some sort of Prince of Chicken Thieves?"

      The bandit tugged at his chin  "Aye, he's such a greedy robber that when he can't find any half-dead chickens to steal from, he robs his own men of the rewards of their work."

     "Really..." Midymnoios said thoughtfully, "what does he find so attractive about half dead chickens?"

     "They carry more gold on the way out of the ruins than they do on the way in." responded the bandit.

     "Are you suggesting that we should be wary when we return?"

     "You're treasure hunters and grave robbers like the rest.  Who do you think has more gold, a pack of scabrous, scaly kobolds - or the bandit who has been stealing from those who took the kobolds' gold?"
   
     Thekitor took up the conversation "And what would you want for your help?"

     "A full share of the treasure" the bandit replied "I told Malven I wanted out and he refused to pay me.  Keeping the gold safe he said.  Well, I'm sick of living in this rockpile.  I earned the gold and I want my share."

[Mythic.  Anyone in courtyard? Unlikely, Average - 14 Yes.  
Same guy as the first time? Average/ Average - 67 No.  
Another bandit?  Likely/Average - 40 Yes. 

 Myrphines is pretty curious about who might be living in the ruins and wants to find more information.  The bandit has been sent out to find out who has been entering the ruins and how they're getting down below without being observed by the gang.  

Does the party find out about the bandits? Highly Difficult/ Above Average chance (The paladin has a 13 Charisma) - 06 Exceptional Yes.  
Does the party let slip where they are going? High Difficulty/Average - 02 Exceptional Yes.  

Going back to Modeling NPC Conversations, an Exceptional Yes when talking with an NPC dwelling in the dungeon indicates they may be a disaffected minion of the bad guy. 

Is the bandit disaffected?  Unlikely/Above Average - 05 Exceptional Yes.  Not only disaffected, but suggests that the party attack the bandit gang!]

Alenus the bandit explained that Malven had a dozen brigands who kept watch on the inner courtyard and robbed parties leaving from the central tower.  He offered to show them a back way into the bandit lair that wasn't visible to the sentries on the roof.  He led them to the righthand door near the gateway to the inner courtyard,  Naneia had to put her shoulder to the door (ST 16) to get it to open. [Took two tries, Random Encounter check -6, no encounter].  Quickly moving through the intervening chambers, they came to a door set in the thick wall dividing the inner and outer courtyards, here it was used as the interior wall.  Alenus warned them that there was a door on each side of the wall and then one final door to the bandit's barracks on the other sode of the hall.  The first door opened easily, but the second groaned loudly as it opened. {It took two tries again.  Random Encounter check - 1.  Rather than making it truely random, I decided that it meant the bandits in the next room heard the door being forced.]  Naneia broke down the door into the bandits lair, five crossbow bolts splintered on the wall or stuck in the door frame as Segestes charged in, followed by Midymnoios.  Rushing the bandits, who had dropped their crossbows and were drawing swords, his great sword sliced through the belly of one and into the neck of his neighbor.

The second round, the paladin and barabarian were joined by Myrphines and the dwarf, Thekitor.  The paladin slew his opponent, while Myrphines and Thekitor chopped down theirs.  But there was a shout as two more bandits clattered down the stairs from the roof with drawn swords.  The leader swung ineffectually at Myrphines. Then the door on the far end of the room opened and two more bolts flew out, but the crossbowmen's endeavors to miss their fellow gang members resulted in the bolts sailing wide of the melee

In the third round, the two new crossbowmen dropped their missile weapons drew swords and advanced to into the room.  Segestes, Thekitor and Midymnoios charged across the space to meet them.  Three more opponents stayed back and shot crossbows at the trio, wounding Midymnoios. Myrphines was joined in battling the two sentries from the stairs by Naneia and Iliones.  But the sentries were faster and dropped Naneia with a bow to the heart and Myrphines with a blow to the groin.

In the fourth round, the two sentries advanced on Iliones,ignoring the party's own crossbowman, Jumilanas.  That worthy advanced and slew both of the sentries.  In the mean time, Segestes had dropped one of the bandits at the far end and Thekitor had severely wounded the other.

In the fifth round, Malvern had his remaining minions slam and bar the door.  Midymnoios beat against it in vain, while Segestes and Thekitor dealt with the last bandit.  Ilieones attempted to staunch Naneia's wound to no avail.  [Mortal Wound table 04 on the d20  +2 -3 = Row 1  and a 1 on the d6. She's dead and not coming back.]

The remaining bandits ran away through a nearby postern gate while the party looked after it's fallen and cautiously checked for stragglers.   [Mortal Wounds for Myrphines.  20 on the d20 -3 +2-2 = 17 and a 2 on the d6 = Groin Hit.  He's going to be known as Myrphines the Eunuch when word of this gets out.]

Alenas pointed out the strongroom door.  Thekitor leaned down to examine the lock, "I think" he said as he started to trace the engraving with a finger.  Then he threw himself down as a lightning bolt cracked across the room.  "I thought there was a spell trap on the lock and I was right!" he crowed.  [Find trap 10 - good.  Remove trap 7 - bad.  Save vs Blast 13 , he made it]  He quickly picked the lock and they opened the door to a room containing six chests.  He examined the locks on the first two and opened them to reveal the gleam of silver and gold.  On the third he stopped during his examination of the lock and called the paladin over.  "Look here, you can see where they've put a needle next to the lock." Pointing it out with his finger, too vigorously as it turned out.  He cursed loudly in dwarvish and sat down turning pale.  He held up his finger, a single drop of blood welled from the pinprick.  [Again he found the trap, but failed to disarm it.  He also failed his save vs poison.]  He collapsed in the paladin's arms, gasping "Take me back...down the tower... stairs, first...door....." and died.  They laid him out by Naneia in the outer room.  Segestes had already directed Akus and Jumilanas to strip the dead of their armor and weapons. Ilieones was tending Myrphines in the bandit chieftain's private residence. They used some of the bandit's swords to pry open the remaining chests, recovering masses of gold and silver and three parchment scrolls.  Then they secured the doors around the cheiftan's room and settled in for the night.  Only to be disturbed immediately by a scuttling in the barracks room next door.  Cracking open the door, Segestes saw a giant spider crawling down the stairs.

Segestes ran out, but the spider froze him in place with a sticckt glob of webbing.

The next round Midymnoios gravely wounded the spider, while it's mandibles slid off of Ilieones' armor.  A stone from Akus' sling cracked harmlessly against the far wall.

The third round Ilieones gashed the spider, but the spider's jaws found a gap in her armor and she felt the toxin squirt into her bloodstream as the flesh tore away.

The fourth round Akus hit the spider in the eye with a sling stone, slaying it.  Turing to Ilieones, Midymnoios found that she was dead from the wound and poison.

In the morning, Myrphines had recovered enough to heal himself some more.  Using blankets, they drug the bodies of their fallen comrades out of the ruins.  Then they made a cairn over Naneia and Ilieones with the assistance of a couple of goatherds.  With Akus and Jumilanas carrying the dwarf's body, they returned to the ruins and went down the tower stairs.  Midymnoios pushed vainly on the first door until it was suddenly opened from the inside by a dwarf.  Three more dwarves with crossbows covered the party.  Once they saw Thekitor's body, they started ringing a gong.

[And end for now.  Chaos factor is going back up to 5.  This scene certainly didn't go as planned.]

1 comment:

  1. "This scene certainly didn't go as planned"

    A nice bit of understatement. Though Myrphines Ektomias has a nice ring to it.

    ReplyDelete