Thursday, March 23, 2017

What's Going On?


I haven't posted much in a while. My last actual play posts using Barbarians of Lemuria (Mythic Edition) were lots of fun, and I may return to that. But my solo hobby allows me to indulge in my gamer ADD desires.

Recently, I've discovered the beautiful game, White Box: Fantastic Medieval Adventure Game by Charlie Mason over at Seattle Hill Games. I understand that imminently the game will get a make-over and new name, but it's got my attention at the moment.

I cut my teeth on the old Red Box (Mentzer), and this little gem has got that old feeling coming back. It's also simple enough (Thievery - I'm looking at you!) that I feel I can run a dungeon romp with a handful of characters and not feel overwhelmed. nHere are a few things I'm going to try with it:
  • The Location Crafter. I used this wonderful game attachment by Tana Pigeon for my BoL run back during SGAM 2016. In other tests, I've had more consistently good results. Can this work with an old school crawl? I'm currently finding out. One of the things that helps me set my location results to graph paper is to ask in vague terms of game turns how long does it take to get from one point to another...this immediately suggests dimensions for my rooms and corridors. It also helps me count off resources.
  • The Black Hack. I just love the usage die! Tracking gear is my least favorite part of that old game. This can help me grab an "adventuring pack" with a d12 and roll when I require something. I can even roll 2 or 3 dice, taking the worse result if what I need is rarer or valuable. That's a time saver.
  • Tweaks. Along with tracking gear, I sort of like the fidget-iness of counting encumbrance, but not in a solo game where I have to track lots of other stuff too. Armor will indicate the general movement rate of the character, and a general treasure level chart that I'll devise in increments of impact upon party movement (assuming treasure is easily dividable) will help me see at a glance the effects of a big haul.
Will I post it and finish it? That's to be determined, but I'm having fun at the moment.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Valda and the Desolation of the Fire Coast, part 6


Better late than never? Continued from here, the thrilling conclusion of Valda's adventure as part of the 2016 Solo Gaming Appreciation Month...

11. The Observatory


Location Roll — expected, expected, none (11, 11, 2; reduce location & encounter list by 5 due to over-extending)

Across the domed roof, Valda stared out at the blustery nighttime skyline high above Parsool. She had a choice — to accept defeat, or to finish a most likely intentional improbable task. To accept defeat would necessarily incur the wrath of the city’s war counselor, not to mention King Bley.

No! This was not acceptable. Valda vowed to turn her misfortune around.

The ice princess stole across the granite dome and skittered down one smooth sheer side to a narrow ledge. Following this, she found a slender window space through which to crawl. Having done so, she found herself inside a large area within the dome broken by frequent window slits letting in the night sky. Several outward-pointing spy glasses were set about the perimeter of the observatory. The palace’s master no doubt used the heavens to gather much of his wisdom or to channel the will of his god.

Q. Are there places to hide? (50/50) Yes (7)
Easy (-1) Hide — Calamitous Failure (hero point gained)
Do guards enter? (likely) No (2)
Is it Paol? (50/50) Yes!!! (8)
What’s he like? oddly enormous, cheerfully soft

Paol Steelgard (villain)
Strength 3, Agility 0, Mind 0, Appeal 1
Melee 2, Ranged -1, Initiative 1, Defense 2
Careers: Priest 2, Warrior 1, Blacksmith 1, Noble 0
Lifeblood: 15
Villain Points: 5
Fate Points: 2
Traits: Hard to Kill
Trappings: sword (d6), medium armor (2 protection; -1 agility)

Valda knelt to hide, but heard footsteps. It was too late!

In strode a lean man of hardened muscles and a bald pate. He stepped with the wary deadliness of an andrak, his eyes were wicked yet controlled. He wore the raiment of a priest over a steel breastplate. At his hip was a curved sword which was now brandished in the man’s mighty grip.

“So, you are the assassin come for me!” he said in bass tones. Paol Steelgard stalked slowly around the room, holding his arms out wide. “Here I am, slayer. Have at me!”

Hard (-1) priority roll — fail (6)
Q. What tactic does Paol use? Haggle Plans
Paol attack — hit (9) — villain point spent to get a Mighty Success (Bloody Slash) 13 damage!
Valda — spends a hero point for Shattered Shield

The man lunged impossibly swift. A killing blow arced down threatening to slice her in twain. She had time but to raise her sword in defense. Her weapon shattered into a thousand pieces, though nearly impervious Valgardian steel it was. She dropped to a knee, her arm numbed by the ferocity of the blow.

“Who sent you, wench?” the man hissed, circling.

Valda attack — miss (8)

The ice princess went for a dagger concealed in her boot and sprang. Paol deftly sidestepped at the last moment. “You’ll never know!” she hissed.

Paol attack — miss (8)

The royal counselor countered with a swift riposte, but the deft barbarian woman was already standing opposite him after an acrobatic roll.

He turned to follow. “You are a greenhorn, girl,” he said. “No one of import sent you — or at least meant for you to be the real threat against me,” he said.

Valda attack — miss (6)

Valda swore, slashing wildly. “You’ll find I am more than capable of the task.” Paol deflected her dagger.

Paol attack — miss (5)

“I will let you live,” he said with a half-hearted swipe, “…if you give me the name of your employer.”

Valda attack — miss (7)

“Never!”

“Then, you leave me no choice!” the priest-guardian said.

Paol attack — miss (8) — VP spent for Luck of the Gods — miss (6)
Valda attack — hit (10) — HP spent for Mighty Success (Bloody Slash) 8 damage!

A fierce exchange took place. Paol stepped away to widen the distance, but Valda was relentless, always closing the distance with her swift footwork. He grunted as she found an opening that pierced his armor, drawing first blood.

Paol — spends a VP to Shake Off Wounds (1)
Valda attacks — miss (8) — HP spent for Luck of the Gods — hit (9) — another HP spent to get Precision Blow — 0 damage

The warrior-priest was stunned. Valda did not falter, smelling victory. She wrapped herself around him from the back, and brought her dagger across his eyes. He cried out and thrashed. Blood freely flowed into his sight.

“She-demon! Morgazzon curse you!” he screamed.

Paol attacks — hit (10) — 3 damage
Valda attacks — hit (12) — final HP spent for Bloody Slash — 8 damage

By luck, the speaker of Fyrzon struck a glancing blow. Valda was bloodied but felt not the slice of the blade. She danced close and sank her dagger into Paol’s abdomen. He sank slowly in a wordless curse.

“No!” she whispered. “Nemmereth take you!”

She recovered her dagger when he had passed on to the realm of the dead and scooped up his scimitar to replace her own blade. It would also serve nicely as a token to show Erion.

Hard (-1) escape — success (13)

She slipped out quietly into the night into the sleepless and windy city…

Epilogue


She met with her master the very same night, dropping Paol Steelgard’s sword at Erion’s feet. She gloated over the trophy and her mentor’s passive facade.

“I did it!” she bragged.

Q. Was the timing critical in the mission? (likely) Yes (4)

“You failed,” he said simply, robbing her of her victorious mirth. “Your task was to be completed the same night we spoke — before Steelgard’s meeting with King Bley. Also, the King now knows your face. You cannot work in Parsool again.”

Fires roiled in Valda’s breast. She wished to cut Erion down where he stood. “No matter!” she said, salvaging some composure. “I have the skills I need. It is time for me to move on.”

Q. Does he agree? (50/50) No (5)

“Not yet,” Erion said. “You are reckless and uncouth. You are not an assassin yet. What would complete your skills is an even more daunting task though the King spares no expense to hunt you down. This job calls for subtlety.”

Valda cocked her head to the side, intrigued. “What do you wish of me…?”

Not sure if I will add more adventures of Valda, but I like the process and result. BoL plays fast and deadly, even though it's fairly traditional mechanics. Lots of fun in this little indie gem.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Valda and the Desolation of the Fire Coast, part 5


Way behind on my SGAM updates. A short, single scene today, continuing Valda’s contract. In this one, an ophidian twist squeezes our heroine. Lesson to be learned: always check unfamiliar bathrooms for critters.

 

10. Steam Room


Location Roll — random (efficiently lovely), trap, random (peacefully lonely) (7, 6, 4)

Valda loped down a corridor with a descending grade. The tunnel grew hot and steamy. Presently, she emerged into a large room tiled in white and sometimes colorful slate. Steam was thick and immediately made her skin glisten. The details of the room were hidden within the gloom. Somewhere above, a skylight shed some illumination about the bathroom.

Large baths divided the room, all fed by a fountain in likeness to a great stoic warrior with closed eyes. Some of the areas were also for washing laundry or crockery.

Q. What does the trap do? abandon hope

As she lurked and watched for danger, she stepped on some sort of loose tile. Suddenly, the doors at either end of the room slammed shut. In desperation, Valda turned and tried to push the solid stone door open, but it was closed fast.

She was trapped!

Glodol (unique creature)

A glodol is a large snake found in the jungles that grows extremely long. Although not poisonous, they have a tremendously strong body and are very quiet and sneaky. They kill their prey through strangulation.

Size: Large
Traits: furtive; special attack: constriction. If a glodol attacks by ambush when its prey is unaware and hits, it inflicts automatic damage each turn (d6H) unless the victims can break free with a Hard strength task.

Strength:    4    Attack:    +2
Agility:    1    Damage:    bite (d6) or constriction (d6H)
Mind:    -1    Defense:    1
Lifeblood:    20    Protection:    1

Hard (-1) observe roll — fail (4)

She fought with the slick door, but there were no latches, rings, or catches that could open them from within. Beyond the periphery of her awareness, a small trap door opened in one of the pools, and an immense camouflaged serpent swam slowly out and over the lip. Its forked tongue darted out of its mouth as the large reptile gauged its prey.

Then, it struck!

Note: since the snake is statted as a full monster, I’m going to summarize this struggle round by round, instead of as a whole…

Glodal attacks for free with a bonus — miss (8)

Round 2

Initiative roll — Valda scores a mighty success!
Valda: attack — hit (11; 4 damage)
Glodal: attack — miss (8)

From behind, Valda sensed something as the giant slithering doom poised itself. Suddenly, the monster lunged to wrap its great coils around the slender northron. The ice princess deftly moved aside and readied her blade. She had but a moment to regard the thing with loathing and then struck, scoring the smooth scaly hide along the great snake’s flank.

Round 3

Valda: attack — calamitous failure! (Valda earns a hero point)
Glodal: attack — miss (6)

The assassin pressed the attack, but a thick coil checked her step, tripping her backwards. Her Valgardian blade skittered from her grip. In desperation, she drew her dagger dove aside as the great head of the serpent struck.

Round 4

Valda: attack — hit (14; 1 damage)
Glodal: attack — mighty success! (12; 4 damage; knockdown)

Valda turned and struck again, but another unseen coil tripped her afresh. This time, she was pinned underneath a heavy sinuous length. However, she still had her dagger in hand. The creature’s hissing head loomed closer, its slitted eyes regarding its prey deviously.

Round 5

Valda: attack — hit (12; 2 damage; 1 hero point spent for mighty success — bloody slash)
Glodal: attack — miss (7)

Rather than try to gain her feet, Valda awaited the inevitable strike. She turned to the side at the exact moment when the deadly fanged attack came, and the next moment drove her dagger hard into the thing’s head, gouging one of the monster’s eyes.

Round 6

Valda: attack — hit (9; 1 damage)
Glodal: attack — miss (7)

Valda struck again and again, but her small blade was largely ineffectual against the great serpent.

Round 7

Valda: attack — hit (9; 1 hero point spent for mighty success — 1 point + bloody slash)
Glodal: dead

The creature struck again. This time, the ice princess latched on with her hind legs, wrapping herself around the beast’s large diamond-shaped head to keep its deadly jaws trapped shut. The thing smashed and thrashed against the tiles, but still Valda held. She plunged her dagger into its head. With a final quiver, the giant beast slumped to the floor atop the gasping assassin. She had killed the monster!

3 Lifeblood restored

She wriggled free of the heavy serpent and immediately went to the water to wash herself clean of the serpent’s filth and clean her wounds. The fountain continued to stare sightlessly at her. The play of water gurgled despite the violence that had just transpired. She recovered her sword and next sought a way out of the bath room.

Tough (-2) find a release mechanism — failure (2)
Tough (-2) climb to the skylight — success (9)

The barbarian once more sought a way out. She felt about for hidden mechanisms, trap doors, and concealed pressure plates, but found none. Next she observed the statue fountain as it spilled its waters into the now bloodied pools. She belted her sword about her waist and climbed the statue. Using a combination of determination, agility, and luck, she squirmed her way to the skylight by wedging herself into the oddly shaped chimney. Eventually, she found freedom in the open air above the structure’s roof. As she did, the sliding door below to the bath room opened, guards pouring in only to find the slain guardian.

A harrowing encounter! But Valda lived. Tune in again when Valda makes her final confrontation with the concern of her contract. While Valda emerge successful, or we she succumb to a greater foe? Find out next time...

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Valda and the Desolation of the Fire Coast, part 4



Continued from here, in this part, Valda explores deeper...and the heat is on! It is clear that subtlety is not Valda’s strong suit in the third part of my Barbarians of Lemuria solo actual play for the 2016 Solo Gaming Appreciation Month.

7. The Dome


Location Roll — expected, random, none (3, 7, 5)
Q. What does the encounter look like? Loudly Hard

The opposite way led to another doorway. This opened to a descending stair that hugged the inside of the central dome of the palace. Many ways branched off from this landing or that. The winding stair descended two levels to the main floor of the building. Skylights allowed the starlight to enter.

As she descended, bells of alarm tolling incessantly, a group of guardsmen entered the floor below led by a hulking man of huge proportions. He looked up as Valda was mid-span down the way. In a booming voice, he commanded his men after her.

Kalev Bauk (tough)
Strength 2, Agility -1, Mind 0, Appeal 0
Melee 1, Ranged 0, Initiative 0, Defense 1
Careers: Mercenary 1, Captain 1
Lifeblood: 8
Protection: Medium armor (2) (-1 Agility (already figured)
Weapons: Sword (d6)

Palace Guards (rabble)
Guard 1; 3 LB each (x6); 1d3 damage (d6L horde)

Q. Do the footsteps of pursuit get louder? (likely) No (2)
Q. Is there chandeliers or curtains? (likely) No (2)
Q. Is there a nearby side passage? (likely) No (1)

A half-dozen men issued up the stairs in their war regalia. Valda couldn’t make the next landing and side passage before the men would beat her there. Instead, she faced them with a ferocious snarl, staking out a point of defense near a column on higher ground.

Battle ensues — Valda takes 1 damage

The snarling northron bested the six men, sending each sprawling on the floor or fleeing for their lives. Their huge captain stared incredulously at the barbarian streaked with soot and heaving like a feral pict.

“Bah!” he growled, drawing his own broadsword. “Can’t even defeat a woman!”

The man flew up the stairs. Valda was ready for him.

Battle ensues — no damage

The two squared off, but the barbarian woman yielded no ground. They exchanged savage blows, but the barbarian was too quick. The man tried to use his superior size to take her down into a bear hug, but he only managed to skewer himself on her waiting blade.

She pushed him off and stole downstairs.

8. The New Crypt


Location Roll — special (random [Nicely Young] barely there), random (Frantically Important), random (Gratefully Macabre) (6, 7, 4)

Valda turned down a darkened passage and immediately was swallowed by a maze of tarpaulins. The air was dusty, and she caught herself before running to a wall. Someone squealed. When she got her bearings, she found herself in a small alcove of fresh and partial construction. She saw it was a small crypt with a newly chiseled tombstone. The squeal came from a scrawny household servant — or more likely official, like a seneschal, in a nightcap and gown.

“Don’t kill me!” he sobbed, sinking to his knees.

“Get out of my sight, knave!” she hissed in her thick northern accent. The man got to his feet and ran out.

She wished not to be trapped there, so turned about to find another hiding place.

9. The Bedchamber


Location Roll — Bedchamber, King Bley, none (7, 9, 9)
Q. Are the king’s advisors with him? (likely) Yes (4)
Q. Any fighting men? (likely) Yes (9)
Q. Does the king have any fighting ability? (50/50) No (5)

King’s Advisors (rabble)
Scribe 1, 1 LB each (x6); 1d3 damage (d6L horde)

King Zandar Bley (villain)

Strength -1, Agility 0, Mind 2, Appeal 3
Melee 0, Ranged 1, Initiative 2, Defense 1
Careers: Merchant 2, Mariner 1, Noble 2, Priest 0
Lifeblood: 9
Villain Points: 2
Traits: friends-in-high-places
Trappings: rich clothing, dagger (d6L)

King’s Guard (toughs, 4)
Strength 2, Agility -1, Mind 0, Appeal 0
Melee 1, Ranged 0, Initiative 0, Defense 1
Careers: Guard 2
Lifeblood: 7
Trappings: sword, shield (1), medium armor (2)

Valda turned down another corridor and passed through a door. There, a torchlit bedchamber stood. Just ahead of her was King Bley and his escort. “Let us hide here, m’lord,” one of his advisors said. The group all heard the door behind them and turned. The king’s face turned ashen when he saw it was the intruder, bloody blade in hand, and face streaked with soot like an assassin.

Q. Does the king order an attack? (likely) Yes (4)

“Kill her!” the man said, drawing his rich silken robe about him. Four armed men detached from the king’s retinue and advanced in the small space.

Q. Does Valda have room to retreat? (50/50) Yes (10)
Moderate (0) evasion — success (9)

The ice princess turned and fled with the four king’s guards behind her. She turned a sharp blind and, as soon as she was beyond sight, ducked within the shadowed opening to the crypt and knelt within the shadows.

Moderate (0) hide — success (12)

The soldiers lumbered by. “Where did she go?” one asked. “This way!” answered another. She heard them head towards more distant shouting.

When it was clear, she furtively retreated to the bedchamber.

Q. Did the king lock the door from within? (50/50) Yes (8)

The northron swordswoman found the door barred from within. It would require a prodigious effort, but she nonetheless tried.

Demanding (-4) kick — failure (6)

She smashed at the door, but it was made of solid jallallibar, and would not yield.

Q. Does that alert men to her location? (likely) No (3)

She heard hushed whispers from within. It was no use…she would not have a hostage. With little other choice, she explored further along the adjoining corridors.

Getting quite messy for Valda. Will she be able to fulfill her contract? Will Steelgard find her first and best her in battle? Find out next time. Monstrous serpent guardians await...

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Valda and the Desolation of the Fire Coast, part 3

Credit: Donato Giancola
Continued from here, in this part, Valda takes the more direct route...right up to the front door of Paol Steelgard's palace! Things quickly get hot in the third part of my Barbarians of Lemuria solo actual play for the 2016 Solo Gaming Appreciation Month.

In our last session, Valda starting casing the joint. I haven't actually shown the lists upon which the Location Crafter is built. So far, we have the following for the Steelgard compound:

Paol Steelgard’s Temple-Palace of Fyrzon:
  • Locations: expected • expected • expected • random • shrine (U) • special • kitchen (U) • bedchamber (U) • random • armory (U) • complete
  • Encounters: none • none • none • guardian • trap • trap • random • Paol (U) • King Bley (U) • King’s advisors
  • Objects: none • none • none • random • none • random

4. The Gate


She strode up the winding causeway. Her hope was that with the king in audience, there would be less eyes on the front gate.

Q. Does anyone challenge her? (likely) Yes (10)
Q. Are these guards rabble? (50/50) Yes (9) [randomly determine 2 of them]
Q. Do they come out of the gate? (50/50) No (1)
Q. Do others come out of nearby guard positions? (50/50) Yes (9) [randomly determine 6 of them]

Palace Guards (rabble)
Guard 1; 3 LB each (x6); 1d3 damage (d6L horde)

However, when Valda arrived at the gate, two guards shouted out a challenge. She ducked to the side. From out of a guardhouse, six armed men appeared after a shout of warning from the gate. With little room to maneuver, the ice princess put her back to the wall, drawing her sword. The guards looked at one another dubiously, but obliged her.

Battle takes place — Valda takes 1 damage

A fierce melee ensued. The men circled, but could scarcely get through her considerable defenses. They scored a minor hit to her shoulder. She fought like a lioness — with respective ferocity as well as noise. She growled as she made the narrow windy ledge red with blood.

Moderate (0) climb — success (10)

She finished the six, then replaced her sword. She took to the outer wall of the palace and climbed high into the upper levels above. She disappeared silently before the two gate guards came to reinforce their fallen friends. She slipped through a window and tended her wounds. Below, the alarm rang.

Recovery — 1 lifeblood restored

5. Upper Corridor


Location Roll — expected, none, random (3, 3, 6)
Q. What does the object look like? Frighteningly Dirty

When Valda had bandaged her shoulder, she looked around. She was in an outside arcaded corridor overlooking the front portion of the palace. It ran either direction, following the rounded contour of the structure. As such, it obscured what lay beyond either stretch.

She looked over at a pot teeming with flies. Its odor revealed its contents — that of human filth. Most likely, given its presence, this was a guarded way. Valda might have encountered the guard stationed here had the alarm not been triggered.

She drew her sword again and arbitrarily moved to her left.

6. The Kitchen


Location Roll — kitchen, trap, none (7, 5, 5)
Q. How does the trap behave? Deceive Success

The outside corridor passed through a doorway and into a crowded kitchen. The small tiled place was cramped and hot from the furnace and smelled of pungent herbs and spices. A dozen butchered game birds lay on a board, but no blade was within sight.

Angry Cook (tough)
Strength 2, Agility 0, Mind 1, Appeal -1
Melee 2, Ranged 0, Initiative 0, Defense 0
Careers: Cook 1, Worker 1
Lifeblood: 5
Protection: none
Weapons: butcher blade (d6L)

Spot hiding cook — success (10)

Valda sensed that all was not right. The alarm bell still tolled. From a pantry door that was slightly ajar, she noticed faint movement. Suddenly, a large screaming bearded cook with a butcher’s knife came flying out of hiding.

Battle ensues — no damage

A brief scuffle broke out. After a few close exchanges, the butchered cook joined his scattered chickens on the floor.

Q. Does this draw attention? (50/50) Yes (7)

From further beyond, Valda heard the shouts of men and approaching feet. She turned and fled the opposite direction.

As it turns out, Valda is not too subtle. Find out what happens next when she stumbles upon the king...

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Valda and the Desolation of the Fire Coast, part 2

Map of Lemuria. Credit: hellionsart.com

Parsool


Continued from part 1, in this part we chronicle the Ice Princess’s exploits in Parsool, answering the following questions:
  1. What jobs will she pull on behalf of her new mentor to learn more secrets of the blade?
  2. What can she learn of her enemy?
  3. Can she fully trust Erion Khul, or will she find a knife in her own back?
The purpose is also to use the Location Crafter for my main oracle and driver. Therefore, much of the game will be devoted to exploration. The goal is to carry on enough to earn an advancement or two.

After the first saga, the second will likely focus on getting to the Fire Coast and infiltrating Methyn Sarr’s considerable fortress. Whether I’ll see through to such a long goal is dubious. Yet, I’m hopeful.

Adventure 1: The First Job


1. The Mark


Q. Who is Valda’s first target? What does he look like and what does he do? Cautiously Military; Overthrow Emotions

Paol Steelgard was a high priest of Fyrzon, the Sentinel, the god who watches over the stairs. He was of paramount importance in Parsool, serving both as war counselor and commander of the army for King Zandar Bley. He was respected and feared in equal parts and led an extremely solitary and private life.

“Steelgard?” echoed Valda.

Erion stared back in silent answer.

“Why him?” she asked.
Q. Does he say? (50/50) No (5)

“The details of the contract is all you shall know or care about,” answered Erion in his hallmark sibilant hiss. “…Except the details of the mark — where he lives, what he does, his defenses, and the means of egress from his domicile.”

Q. Is she to take him in his home? (50/50) Yes (6)

Q. What does it look like? Playfully Horrible

Valda listened as Erion described Paol Steelgard’s palace. It sat on a lone hill opposite the king’s palace looming above the harbor, a single large dome unadorned by landscaping other than that purely defensible or uninviting. A sheer climb up a daunting cliff was needed. Inside, none knew the layout of the place, but it was rumored to be very utility and orderly within, with a shrine to Fyrzon, and bedchamber, a kitchen, and most likely an armory. Nothing was actually known.

“It is said that through some miracle of the red lotus,” concluded Erion, “the priest of Fyrzon does not sleep. You may find him most likely in training with his weapons, or at meditation before his shrine. But beware! The palace is most likely trapped or guarded by some hidden thing.”

Valda kissed the man on the forehead. She picked up her blade and a knife. “I’ll be back before the end of the night,” she boasted.

Note: The Location Crafter works by constructing lists, which may have random elements in them. When you enter a new location, you roll on these lists, putting together a context for an event or encounter. As characters explore, they will natural delve deeper into the location's lists. Players can also roll simple or complex questions, making it a fairly effective and simple oracle for solo play.
 

2. The Lofty Palace


The pale northron barbarian bound her bright red hair and streaked her face and bare arms with soot, then stole away in the starlit night to the singular mount that upheld the strange dome shaped domicile of the famous war counselor.

She stared up at the impossibly sheer sides of the mountain to the daunting height. Most would pal in terror. Not Valda of Valgard. 

Demanding (-4) climb — fail (5) 
Hero Point for “Luck of the Gods” — fail (4) 

However, the very rock of the mountain was hewn with some oily substance, and virtually smooth-sided with almost no handholds. Foiled at every attempt, Valda was forced to seek an alternative form of entry. She retreated to a safe place where she could eye the causeway that wound up the inaccessible slope. 

Moderate (0) observe — success (11)

The barbarian would-be assassin noted that no traffic approached by the causeway. She noted a hoist high up on the rear of the structure. She retreated further into the quiet stalls of the market and waited for the inevitable supplies that would be loaded. 

Q. Do these come soon before the sun is up? (likely) No (3)

Early in the morning, Valda watched as the early peddlers arrived to open their stalls. The market came to life. But it wasn’t until the next evening that the suppliers rolled their noisy cart to the loading area. Down came the hoist and platform. The supplies went slowly up the sheer sides of the mountain, housed by a couple of indistinguishable figures high above. Valda noted the source of the cart. 

Q. Does she note any other routine activities of interest? (50/50) Yes (9)
Q. What are these? Leadership Antagonize 

As Valda noted these activities, a large train passed by. Among these was none other than King Bley and his advisors. “What will Lord Steelgard advise us for his nightly council?” she heard one ask.

“I’ll ensure it be no more of his zealous drivel,” answered the king.

The group slowly wound their way up the precarious causeway and were led inside. Valda noted the fortuitous activities, and followed the supply porters back to their origin. 

Easy (+1) shadow and spy — success (10) 
Q. Would this means of entry be easy? (likely) No (3) 

She made her way into a storeroom and cellar in the back of a large building of shops and stalls. There, the cart sat directly in the open. Many porters, peddlers and folk milled about constantly, making this way tricky, but not impossible.

This was turning out to be more difficult than Valda had anticipated. Erion was testing her well.

 

3. A Second Try


Valda found a place to rest. She did not want her mentor to point out that she had already failed to deliver on her playful promise. After sleeping much of the afternoon, she roused herself. She decided the best course was to follow King Bley into the palace. 

Hard (-1) capture some pigeons — calamitous failure (natural 2)

She went about trying to secure a distraction. She stalked a group of pigeons. They evaded her. Soon, she found herself on the roof of a warehouse. She nearly toppled into the square below trying to lunge at another. That’s when she saw the royal procession already bearing the causeway of Paol’s estate. They were early! 

Tough (-2) vault down from on high — failure (8)

Acrobatically, Valda leapt from perch to perch and half climbed and fell to the ground. By the time she was on the square, the train began their ascent up to the palace.

She cursed her luck. This left her with the more difficult option. 

Tough (-2) haunt the warehouse — failure (4)

She returned to the supply warehouse. They were preparing another load. There was no way she could sneak into the wagon without being spotted. Instead, she waited and simply shadowed the pair as they pushed their cart to the loading area. 

Q. Does any other unexpected opportunity present itself? (unlikely) No (4)
Q. Does the porters leave allowing Varda enough time to “catch” the lift up? (50/50) No (5)

They performed their tasks and left after the lift of goods was drawn up. With nothing else to do, Valda decided to take the direct route.

Better luck next time, Valda! Stay tuned for the next part of her adventure...

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Valda and the Desolation of the Fire Coast, part 1

Credit: http://simonarpalmer.deviantart.com/

a Barbarians of Lemuria Mythic Edition solo saga using the Location Crafter for posting during Solo Gaming Appreciation Month.

My first contribution for SGAM 2016, this is the first in a longer play report. I have decided to go with an old favorite, BoL. Simple old-school inspired gaming goes well with solo endeavors. I think it also works well with Tana Pigeon's Location Crafter, which I feel hasn't gotten much attention. It's not only good at what it says, but also just a darn good all around solo engine, locations or no.

This first post introduces our protagonist. BoL does admirably also helping to generate a backstory, and enough roots to give a few hooks already to the heroine. The setting itself is ripe with ideas too. In sticking with Sword & Sorcery sensibilities, there will be lots of moral ambiguity in this particular game.

In the "Saga" section below, I also generated more of the adventure's hooks using the Saga generator in the back of the BoL Mythic book, which is worth its weight in terms of solo usage.

Valda


A proud daughter of the Bloodwolf tribe, Valda was the youngest but most devoted to her father, King Vengal. From an early age, she would watch her brothers fight and train, and bested them in private contests of skill and arms. Eventually, she was given the respect to choose her own path and joined her brothers in hunting and times of war, even if not allowed to join the front ranks.

When her father united several tribes to sweep south, she insisted on joining them. Little would she know that she would be the sole survivor among thousands of her people when their army would be decimated at the gates of Shamballah after an unforeseen appearance of the Witch-Queen of the Fire Coast.

The Shamballahns took in the half-dead northern girl, calling her the ice princess. They trained her to ride and hunt, and mended her wounds. She would be thankful to them, but vowed to avenge her father and return his iconic helm to the bosom of Valgard and slay his killer.

Valda, a beautiful flame-haired girl of voluptuous contours, soon left Shamballah for points further south to learn of her enemy and plot her revenge. By way of her sword, or often her promiscuousness, she found her way to Parsool. There, she learned the name and some details about Methyn Sarr. She also met Erion Khul, a somewhat infamous assassin. In exchange for favors, Erion agreed to teach Valda the tricks of the trade and help her plot her audacious and improbable revenge.

Currently, she works in Parsool, picking up bits of information about‪ the Witch-‬Queen and perfecting her new skills.

Strength 1, Agility 2, Mind 0, Appeal 1

Melee 2, Ranged 0, Initiative 0, Defense 2

Careers: Barbarian 2, Hunter 0, Temptress 1, Assassin 1

Lifeblood: 11
Hero Points: 5

Languages: Lemurian, Valgardish
Boons:
  • Battle Harness — This boon allows your character to wear a chainmail bikini or a loincloth and battle harness (light armour at best) and treat it as if it were medium armour for damage protection purposes, with no armour penalties at all.
  • Born Athlete — When doing any athletic activities such as sprinting, climbing, swimming, or leaping (other than fighting), you may roll a bonus die.
  • Quick Recovery — You have a much better constitution than many. When recovering after a combat, you regain one additional lifeblood, on top of the half you recover normally. In addition, you recover one lifeblood each day regardless of the type of activity you carry out after being injured.
Flaws:
  • Distrust of Sorcery — When dealing with wizards and alchemists, you take a penalty die.
  • Illiterate — You cannot read or write, and you cannot choose a career with literacy as a requirement.
Trappings:
  • battle harness (2; treat as light)
  • Valgardian longsword (d6)
  • knife (d6L)

The Saga


Valda’s task is to obtain a certain thing. The appropriate career is temptress. The Helm of Freezing Doom. The hero gets this task as an errand of revenge.

The Witch Queen, Methyn Sarr, the fearsome and infamous sorceress, sought to destroy relics that posed a threat to Zaggath, Lord of Fire. One such item was the helm of a famous northern hero, Vengal Bloodwolf, the Thrice-Crowned — a mighty Valgardian king who led many forays deep into the south, first a petty king of a small tribe, then as a great leader of the north, and finally as a conqueror-emperor of a number of lands. His great battle helm bore great silver wings and granted the king his second moniker, that of the Freezing Doom.

King Vengal’s last campaign was short lived. In a siege against Shamballah, the northron king was assured to win. However, the Witch-Queen appeared suddenly and slew the barbarians and took the king’s helm. No male Valgardian who fought lived to see the next day. However, Vengal’s daughter was a shield maiden of her tribe, young though she was. Attended by the Shamballahns, she lived, vowing to reclaim her father’s helm and seek vengeance.

Next up, part one of the actual adventure for Valda (which doesn't go too well for her)...