Friday, 5 August 2016

5. The Road to Riches is Treacherous

Last Chance, Xen’drik
Dravago 6, 997 YK

I had intended to skip to the next settlement, Last Chance, in the last session. But, now that we have guides, that scene seems unimportant. Perhaps it’s time to roll another Perilous Journey instead.

Mythic GME Chaos Rank: 5
Scene setup: d10=8 (unchanged)

Scout(Arjen): 2D6(5 3) -1 = 7 Partial success.
You notice sign of a nearby Danger
Navigate(Kyorlin): 2D6(3 5) +1+1 = 10 Success!
You make good time, reaching a point of the GM’s choosing.

Okay, we make it to Last Chance. Kyorlin gets an extra +1 because his trade is a Xen’drik guide, and Funnel World gives a +1 to any character using their trade skills in a check.

Navigate(Kyorlin): 2D6(4 6) +1+1 = 12 Success!
You make good time.
Scout(Raenros): 2D6(5 4) +1 = 10 Success!
You get the drop on whatever lies ahead. You discern a beneficial aspect of the terrain.

They encountered few settlements or travellers on the road south. They passed a wagon and some Stormreach guards, returning from resupplying a distant watchtower; and, one day, Arjen saw a hobgoblin camp in the jungle, though well off the road. But they encountered no trouble, and it was around ten days later that they arrived in Last Chance, the last significant Khorvairian settlement. South from here were only drow, giants, and the unknown.

Last Chance was only a small hamlet, population around forty, so the expedition outnumbered the regular inhabitants. The main building was a large Ghallanda hostel, The Sword and the Book, built of stone and fortified against raiders. The rest of the settlement was just a smithy and a few ramshackle houses.

The proprietor of the hostel, a stout halfling called Joyas d’Ghallanda, was surprised to see such a large party; he confessed that he could not provide supplies for many weeks to such a large group. Esinor had bought plenty of food back in Stormreach though, so they only troubled Joyas for one night—and even then, only the wizard and her apprentices got to sleep in the hostel. The camp outside was lively enough though; it was the day of the Tain Gala back in Sharn, so some of the adventurers from there spent the night dancing and singing songs. The journey from here on was not likely to offer another such comfortable stop.

They set out again the next morning. There was no more road to follow; to the south lay hundreds of miles of thick jungle. There was no road from here on, and the pace slowed as they had to cut a way for the wagons.

They were away from the coast now, and the sea breeze was much missed. The weather was always hot, and the jungle air humid, making it a taxing journey for most of the expedition. The drow were in their element, of course, and Raenros had experience of living in the thick forest of the Reaches; but many of those on the expedition, like Kalina, were from the cities of the Five, quite unused to this sort of hiking. In addition, the thick barrier of the jungle prevented them from seeing far ahead or around; only the drow knew what lay out of sight in this vast wilderness.

Kalina’s group had had the hard work until now, but, in the denser jungle, their job was the more pleasant one. The main group had to cut away the jungle to allow passage for the wagons; Kalina’s group just had to find the best path. Though there was no road, Raenros became good at locating paths made by past expeditions, where the jungle had already been cut back or at least trampled down, making things easier for the group behind.

Jungle north of Obsidian City, Xen’drik
Dravago 9, 997 YK

Mythic GME Chaos Rank: 4
Scene setup: d10=8 (unchanged)

Navigate(Kluthlin): 2D6(1 1) -1+1 = 2 Failure!
Scout(Arjen): 2D6(2 1) -1 = 2 Failure!
Does a hostile force find the expedition? 50:50 ().
Fate d100(77)=No
Event: Move Towards a Thread: Arrive Friendship

The most obvious friendship here is the drow; having them be friendly, rather than just along-for-the-money, gives a much better chance that they stick around and help Kalina & co get through this alive.

Friends later—first we need to pick our GM moves for the failed rolls. It’s not a hostile thing that finds the expedition; so it’s something that the expedition finds.

Let’s roll a Discovery from Perilous Wilds, then:
d12 (11) = Structure; d12 (11) = Ruin; d12 (11) = Dungeon.
Creature responsible d4+4 (1+4) = Human, but I think I’ll convert that to drow as the native inhabitants here; humans have not been in this area long enough to have ruins. Age d8+4 (7+4) = ancient.

Defy Danger(CON)(Arjen): 2D6(6 5) -1 = 10 Success!

A few days later, Kluthlin returned from scouting, seeking Kalina’s attention. It was mid-afternoon, and the day was the hottest so far; Kalina, Arjan, Petovar and Sakhisli were all soaked in sweat. Kluthlin seemed fine though, and gestured off to the side of their path.

“What is it?” Kalina asked; but the drow did not speak Common, and just continued gesturing. Kalina mopped her brow. “Alright them. Let’s see what he has to show us.”

It seemed far enough in the heat, but it took only ten minutes to reach their destination. Kalina saw a broken-down wall through the trees ahead, and Kluthlin led them towards it.

Change the environment Put someone in a spot

It was a large ruinous building. At this end it was hollow, with only one floor above ground with the roof and floor of that long gone. They peered through a doorway, the door long gone, looking down into the level below them; dirt and vines and rubble covered the floor, and it was hard to tell what the building might once have been. Kluthlin jumped down, and Arjen followed him.

“What are you doing?” said Kalina, still standing in the doorway above them.

Arjen looked up, and shrugged. “I’m just following him; he’s the drow, he knows his way around the jungle. We are here to loot ruins, Kalina.”

Funnel World gives dwarves a move,

Smell Gold(Sakhisli): Present riches at a price: Yes, there’s gold nearby

“There will be gold in a place like this,” said Sakhisli, as she dropped down as well.

“And it’s cooler down here, Balinor be praised.” Arjen leaned against the cool stone and let out a sigh.

Great, we’re back to terrible adventuring party times.

Is the threat here mainly Indiana Jones stuff: traps, collapses, etc? 50:50 ().
Fate d100(33)=Yes
Discern Realities(Kalina): 2D6(5 5) +0 = 10 Success!
What happened here recently? What is about to happen? What should I be on the lookout for?

Kalina took one last glance at the jungle behind her, then dropped down as well. The ruin might be dangerous, but she wanted the group to stick together—and exploring the ruin would make a change from the days of slogging through the jungle. It appeared that this place, whatever it had once been, was long abandoned.

Kluthlin was moving forwards, towards an area where more of the ruins were still standing. Vines and crumbled stone crunched underfoot as the group advanced. Then Kalina took a step and realised that the floor underfoot was wooden instead of stone here; the wood sagged with her weight.

Put someone in a spot: I’ll spend my second GM move from the failed scouting, to try to get them stuck inside the ruin.

Aid(Kalina): 2D6(3 3) +1 = 7 Partial success.
Worse outcome
Defy Danger(DEX)(Aided)(Kluthlin): 2D6(4 2) +0+1 = 7 Partial success.
Worse outcome

She looked to Kluthlin just as the floor under him gave way. He was caught by surprise, but Kalina dived forward and grabbed his hand as he fell. She managed to stop his fall for a moment, and caught a glimpse of a deep, dark hole below them—and then the floor under her gave way also, and she grasped at the edge with her free hand. Kluthlin’s swung away from the hole and she felt his weight lifted from her; she looked back down and saw that there was a lower level to the ruin here, and Kluthlin had made it to the floor beside the hole.

“Kalina, are you alright?” Petovar came to the edge and reached for her arm.

“Everyone stay back,” she shouted. “I am fine, but this roof is not safe.”

Show a downside to their class, race, equipment: no rope, remember?

Time to invoke the Perilous Wilds random dungeon generation rules.

Dungeon: small, ruined by time, build by drow, function Random prison.
Theme: Random all is lost?

See What They Find: Common, Discovery (magic weapon/armor)

Our adventurer’s luck continues?

As her eyes adjusted to the light, Kalina could see that they were in a room, around twenty feet square, with a large wooden table on one side and a weapons rack on the other side. Some of the floor boards were missing in the middle of the room, underneath her, but the beams were still in place and the rest of the floor looked okay. Kluthlin reached out a hand and helped her down into the room.

“Does anyone have any rope?” she called up.

After a moment, Sakhisli called down, ”No ma’am.”

“It’s dangerous to come out to that edge.” Kalina could see the underside of what they had walked on above now: the wooden beams supporting the roof here were rotted through, moreso than the floor. “The walls are stone, so get back to the stone around the sides.”

“We’ll try to break through by the wall,” shouted Sakhisli.

Discern Realities(Kluthlin): 2D6(3 3) +0 = 6 Failure!
Reveal an unwelcome truth: ancient weapons are ruined

Random Kluthlin gets the magic item here. I put together a random table of weapons from various sources and rolled Magicbane (from Nethack): an athame which protects the bearer from magic and caused random magical effects when you hit stuff with it. That could be interesting.

Kalina went over to the table. There were a few knives, plates and ceramic pots here, but any food was long gone; the room had not been used in a long time. She turned and joined Kluthlin at the weapons’ rack; there were some ruined spears, the rotted remains of some leather armour, and swords rusted beyond use. Kluthlin had grabbed one ancient broad-bladed dagger, and shoved it under his belt; there was nothing else of use here.

Defy Danger(STR)(Sakhisli): 2D6(5 6) +0 = 11 Success!

A sodden crunch sounded in the roof to the right, and then another; several of the boards collapsed down and they saw Sakhisli above, bludgeoning away the wood with her hammer.

“Did you find anything valuable yet?” she asked.

“No.” Kalina looked towards the other doors, wondering what else lay down here. “Arjen, stand watch up there; Sak, Petovar, come on down.”

Soon the four of them were ready to go. Petovar lit a torch; the only other light came from the hole in the roof behind them. Kalina gave Kluthlin the signal, and he pushed open the first door; wood creaked and the rusted hinges crackled as it swung open.

See What They Find: Common (cellblock), empty

It opened into a long room, with stone walls and floor, and iron barred doors every few feet down both sides. Some of the doors hung open, and the torch cast sharp shadows on the walls behind them. The air smelled of rust and damp and decay. As they moved into the room, Kalina saw that it was an old prison, and down each side were small cells, each only ten feet square; the remains of old wooden sleeping pallets could be seen in some of them.

See What They Find: Unique (storeroom), Discovery (coins/gems/jewellery) Give an opportunity that fits a class’ abilities: Sakhisli has the stats for a rogue.

“This looks promising,” said Sakhisli, moving to the door at the far end of the room. Unlike the first door, this one was iron-bound and looked like it was built to resist intruders. “If there’s treasure here, this is a good spot for it.

“It’s locked,” she added after pushing on the handle. “Does anyone have a knife?”

Kalina went back to the first room that they had entered and fetched a knife. When she returned Sakhisli was kneeling at the lock, examining it; Kalina handed her the knife, and she began poking it into the lock.

Defy Danger(DEX)(Sakhisli): 2D6(3 3) +1 = 7 Partial success.
Tell them the requirements or consequenced and ask: You’ll need to use up more than the knife to force the lock here

After a minute of probing the lock, she took off her pack and took out a long metal prong, from amongst the smith’s tools that she still carried. Poking that into the lock as well, she was able to twist and force the lock to turn. Then, with a heavy shove, she had the door open.

“I hate to waste good tools,” she said. The knife had broken when the lock turned; she managed to get the scriber back out, but the end was bent out of shape.

Discern Realities(Petovar): 2D6(3 4) +0 = 7 Partial success.
What should I be on the lookout for?

The room beyond was clearly a storeroom; there were no other doors, and the brackets that once supported shelves still adorned the walls. Rubbish and dust and the desiccated remains of food stores lay around the room. There was also a small wooden chest in one corner; Sakhisli opened it to reveal gold.

“See, I knew there would be gold down here,” the dwarf declared proudly. “It’s around two hundred gold coins. Kalina, let’s keep this between ourselves, eh? This isn’t Esinor’s ruined city, so this is no business of hers.”

“We did find it ourselves, Kalina; to the brave go the rewards, eh?” said Petovar, glancing at her for a moment before his eyes found their way back to the gold.

“Yes, alright. But we keep shares for Raenros and Kyorlin as well; Kluthlin won’t want to cheat his brother of a share, I’m sure.” Kalina was thinking more of how Raenros had saved her from the will-o’-the-wisp, though; she owed the dwarf more than just a little gold.

“Maybe we should leave Esinor to her city; we could strike out and find our own ruins to explore. What do you say, Kalina?” Sakhisli was in a fine mood, as she counted out gold coins.

Does Kalina’s group want to go it alone? Unlikely (Right now, they seem to have the best of both: they can do their own exploring on the way, and they have Esinor’s expedition to provide backup and food. Actually, food is a big deal; I assume they are only carrying a day’s rations, since they rejoin the main group to camp each night.).
Fate d100(15)=Yes

Okay then. Show Aid from an Enemy, or Opposition from an Ally: The adventurers are going to abandon their allies. A surprising new direction!

Kalina looked at the group around her: Petovar smiling at the gold in his hand, Sakhisli cheerfully counting out coins, and Kluthlin listening at the door. This is the adventurer’s life, she thought. We braved the dungeon, and we got the treasure. We did it. Why work for Esinor when we can do it ourselves?

End of Session(Party): We looted a memorable treasure I think—200 gold is a lot for level 0s, and the magic item too of course—so +1 XP for everyone that participated

XP: Arjen 4, Kalina 4, Raenros 2, Sakhisli 2, Kluthlin 3, Petovar 1, Kyorlin 0.

If they knew the value of that magic item, they would probably go home now: it’s worth 10,000s of gold coin to a wizard.

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