Friday, May 24, 2019

Solo Play - Grave Dancer

Keen of sight and keen of blades
Our daring Dancer is so brave
Strike and strike and miss a parry
Fatal against a fowl so scary

Now Dancer is stone on her grave

Diary of Sydney Harcurt
Previous Entries

Yellow Moon-Dog, 5th Rising

Following the Rorystone Road through the hills after leaving Haldon’s. We couldn’t make it all the way to Byrny today. Perpetua spotted an overgrown ravine up the hillside. We stopped when we saw a cocktrice hunting amoung the bushes a few yards away. Readying our weapons, we attacked the foul creature, with Watseka pelting it first with molten stones, while I shot my crossbow and Tlichnolli lobbed a dart at it. Then Perpetua closed with it, striking it mightily several times, before it pecked her. Her look of horror as the stone crept up her leg to her face and she helplessly toppled over will haunt me forever. Tlichnolli slew it then, but too late.
We found another traveller’s stoney body sleeping in the ravine. Staff, dagger and pouch by his side. The pouch holds silver and gems. It is the sergeant who stopped us by Hellbridge. Where was he going? Had he already warned someone about us? Why would he? What is in the box we are delivering?
We decided we would go to Byrny tomorrow, as there is a supposed to be a priestess of Sister Perpetua’s order there.

Yellow Moon-Dog, 6th Rising 

Staying at the Golden Chimera in Byrny. We can buy mounts here, and Tlichnolli says he’s not leaving without a bow. If you’re looking for the Temple to the Lady in this town - it’s the small one. Dedicated to the Lady in her aspects of Wisdom and War, the priestess, Tallulah, took the news of Perpetua’s fate quietly and asked that we return tomorrow after morning prayers.

Yellow Moon-Dog, 7th Rising Byrny. 

Tlichnolli and I went over to The Armory for his crossbow and some more bolts. The proprietor, Nebellor, has a huge selection for such an out of the way place. T. says it’s all very good to excellent workmanship. He bought the biggest crossbow I’ve ever seen. I told him he was compensating - he didn’t get the joke. As usual. Watseka wasn’t in when we returned, so we went to see Tallulah and found that W had joined her in praying for Perpetua. I didn’t think they were that close.
W. and Tallulah told us they wanted to check out the box for Fladhal. Watseka started making passes and chanted something like “Aesmati Felagio” and the box was outlined in St Ungulant’s Fire. Then Tallulah said a prayer to Athena, reached into a bowl and pulled out a ripe olive. She told us it was safe to open the box. Inside is a statue, maybe a foot tall, of a demon - solid ebony at the feet and just an outline in silver wire at the head. I didn’t recognize it and neither did they.
Then in the best dramatic fashion (well, no thunder and lightning involved, but great timing) the door opened, framing a simply dressed woman with black hair fading to gray and hazel eyes. She introduced herself as Betucia Egastania, and asked if we had were the travellers from the CIty State. When Watseka said yes, she began questioning us about her son, Hersarypes. Apparently he was a sailor, whose ship had returned from a profitable voyage and he was returning home to her. I was telling her we hadn’t when Watseka interrupted asking if she had another son, who was a constable in the city state perhaps. When she said that her son Icles was a sergeant, my heart sank - the stone traveller sharing Perpetua’s fate! We returned the remaining silver and the gems to her, promising to hire a wagon and recover his body. We’ll bring Perpetua in to adorn the Temple where she would have danced in life.

Yellow Moon-Dog, 8th Rising 

Byrny. Lucky I’m alive today. We rented a cart and mule from the mining guild to recover Perpetua and Betucia’s son’s bodies. We had almost reached them when I spotted a landshark eating a corpse. I thought it was a man and horse, but the militia who went out said it looked like a centaur had been killed. Anyway, as soon, as I saw it I turned and ran with Tlichnolli, Watseka and the mule in close pursuit. We’ll try again tomorrow.

Scene 3.3
Chaos Level: 2
Transition: Several Days later
Location: Hex 2113 - Along the Rorystone Road
Focus: Twilight Road to Anvil
Characters: Watseka, Sydeny Harcurt, Tlichnolli, Perpetua Maria de Rosario;
Offstage: Constables, Miortus; Haldon’s family and servants
Threads: Fladhal’s Box, Usual Suspects

Unable to make the entire journey to Byrny in one day, the travellers looked for shelter in the hills near the road. Rolling a random encounter using my home rules, I determined it was Challenge/Wandering Monster ( a standard wilderness monster encounter); checking on the chart I had made for the area, I rolled a cockatrice. Another check showed that it was in it’s lair. ACKS Lairs & Encounters has cocktrices living in a cave. I decided that the cockatrice lived in a narrow ravine with overhanging bushes making a roof overhead. I also reduced the number appearing from a random 7 to 1. These are first level characters and a TPK would have resulted.

One character and the cocktrice were surprised. Using Mythic, I decided it was unlikely that they knew what a cocktrice was, as they had never encountered one. However all three of the unsurprised characters rolled low enough that they recognized it for what it was.

One round of missile fire and Burning Hands later, they closed to melee with the Blade Dancer leading the way. She got in two good hits before the cocktrice bit her and she failed her save. The Fighter and Bard both rolled hits the next round slaying the monster.

While ACKS says all treasure for cocktrice's is petrified on a victim’s body; I don’t like that rule in a Gold for XP system - so I came up with the alternative of a traveler being bitten in his sleep after taking off his pouch. 3246 SP and 5 Gems (50gp Jasper; 75 gp Sardonyx; 75 gp zircon; 75 gp Chalcedony; 750 gp Imperial Topaz)

Do they recognize the traveler? Unlikely roll 94 -Exceptional No. They mistake the body for someone else. (1 - Mortius (their employer); 2- A member of Haldon’s family; 3 - one of the constables they encountered in the City State; 4 - Sydney’s family; 5- Tlichnolli’s family; 6 - Watseka’s family) Rolled 3 - they think it was one of the constables who stopped them in the City State.

Scene 3.4
Chaos Level: 3 (Increased due to character death)
Transition: Next Day
Location: Byrny
Focus: Twilight Road to Anvil
Characters: Watseka, Sydeny Harcurt, Tlichnolli,;
Offstage: Constables, Miortus; Haldon’s family and servants
Threads: Fladhal’s Box, Usual Suspects
Role of Honor: Perpetua Maria de Rosario - Petrified by cockatrice

Byrny - No encounters enroute.
Byrny and it’s NPCs are detailed in the Judges Guild supplement The Mines of Custalcon
Use my oracle rules
Finishing their journey to Byrny, the group has three goals in town (1) inform the local priestess of Athena about Perpetua’s death (2) improve their armor and weapons (3) buy horses with their new found cash.

Thread: Fladhal's Box
Will Tallulah, Priestess of Athena see them? Likely.64=Yes
Is there a cleric to join the group? Very unlikely 64 = No
How many healers are available to hire? Class V 92 = none

Thread: Usual Suspects
Since they're outside the City State, any positive responses will only increase the Chaos level for the next full scene
Do they have any interactions with the militia. Very Unlikely 87 no
Do the found silver coins they're spending pique a merchant's interest? What a coincidence
99 Critical No - something happens
Random Event 30 = New NPC
Is the new NPC related to the traveler? Likely 07 = yes
Relationship (1) Family (2) Friend (3) Employer (4) Employee (5) Attend same temple (6) Owes money to Roll 1
Family Relationship (1) Father (2) Sister (3) Mother (4) Brother (5-6) Cousin Roll 3
Do they make the connection? Likely 01 Critical Success

Tlichnolli and Sydney visit the local weapon and armor smith. Tlichnolli purchases an arbalest, nothing else meets the standard of better than what they have, fits and can be used by them. Going on to the priestess, the party decides they should know what’s in the box that Perpetua died while delivering. Watseka casts Detect Magic, then the priestess Tallulah cast Augury to determine if it was safe to open.

One of the things I like about ACKS is the concept of Spell Signatures - every magic user has their own look and effects for the same spell. Watseka is an Elementalist, so I decided that for Detect Magic things will be outlined in St Elmo’s Fire - but being a huge Terry Pratchett fan, I used his version “ST Ungulant’s fire” (ST Ungulant appears as a minor character in Small God's and the term St Ungulant's fire is used in Snuff.) 
For a priestess of Athena, who gave the Greeks the olive tree, I though using a ripe olive as favorable sign would be good.

Watska doesn’t have Identify and Sydney failed her Loremastery check, so they don’t know what the statue is.

Because of the mistaken identity of the stone traveler, I was checking if their paranoia about the City State constables would ratchet up based on someone becoming interested in the silver they were spending. And then Mythic hands me a random encounter with the traveler’s mother. Because they successfully connect her to the stone traveler, and scored a critical success, they not only give back the unspent funds, they’ll hire a horse and wagon to bring both bodies back to town.

Even with a mule and cart it will only be a one day round trip. Crossing hexes, so Random Encounter Roll Type 26 = Challenge; Challenge 22 = Wandering Monster; Rorystone Vale: 11 = Bullete - Could be a TPK.

Encounter range is 240 yards, neither party is surprised. Seeing the large extremely dangerous monster, the party immediately turns to flee. Ready to abandon the rental mule. The bulette will pursue on a 2-8 - roll is 11. No pursuit why?
Already eating 1-6; fighting 6:
Looked up large monsters on my random encounter tables for the area
(1)Ogres (2) Manticore (3) Centaur (4) Bear (5) Chimera (6) Hill Giant
Roll 1 - eating. 3 - centaur

Does the regiment go out to deal with it - likely 37 = yes
Has the landshark burrowed away? possible 20 = yes

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