Saturday, November 30, 2013

Mystery of the Burned One, part 1

Thanksgiving weekend has bestowed some extra time upon me. I've done some solo gaming, finishing a couple of items, one of which was long overdue. I'm posting the next part in my Drowsbane campaign with questions 1-3. This one is “Mystery of the Burned One”. The ending is so-so, but I wanted to wrap it up.

Happy Thanksgiving all!

An FU rpg, 9Q, and Forgotten Realms mash-up. This is the fourth in a series of solo games entitled, “Last of the Drowsbane”.

Our Protagonist:

Tengrym Drowsbane
aka Veldis of Thentia
Descriptors: Veteran Mage, Swordplay, Perceptive, Principled
Gear: Enduring Elf-blade, Light Elf-corselet
FU Points: 1
Conditions: ☑ Injured

Heroic Motivation: Tengrym had defeated the demon, Egelrenardruth with the help of Elminster and the Knights of Myth Drannor. This led to the destruction of the Stone of Baolnor, which they two had been seeking. On their adventure, the brothers encountered a mysterious scarred man who worked to protect the resting place of the tablet and was suspected to be kin. Now, Tengrym has set out alone to track the man to piece together the mystery and perhaps learn more about the prophecy.

NPC Personalities

Anoris Shandorin
A fighter/mage like Tengrym, burned and scarred, a former Drowsbane member and now in the service of the drow.

Descriptors: Veteran Mage, Swordsmanship, Cunning, Disfiguration
Gear: Protective Ring, Intelligent Sword

Aurous Eagle-sighted
Half-elf constable
Descriptors: Veteran Ranger, Eagle-sighted, Archery, Bigoted
Gear: Camouflaged Scale Mail, Cold Leg Irons

Deepingdale Militia (Squad)
Descriptors: Warriors, Homemade Long Bow

Lord Thormemnon
Descriptors: Expert Orator, Naive


Dark Elf (Squad)
Descriptors: Drow Warriors, Magic Resistant, Athletic, Creatures of the Dark, Innately Magical
Gear: Adamantium Weaponry, Poisonous Darts

Dark Elf Sorcerer
Descriptors: Veteran Sorcerer, Magic Resistant, Innately Magical, Emaciated
Gear: Heart of the Stone Man

Minor Earth Elemental
Descriptors: Veteran Monster, Tough, Mindless, Stuff of the Earth

Q1b. Be the PC — pursuit, infiltration

1 Kythorn, Year of the Shadows

The next day, Tengrym bid his farewells to Jhael and Thedric and quietly slipped out of the Old Skull Inn. He was still very much in pain, and the matron of the house warned the half-elf that it was too soon to seek the road. Despite magical healing, any travel now was likely to reopen wounds.

Can he afford a horse? No, but…

Tengrym thanked her for her care and hospitality, and packed his few things to depart. He tried to bargain for an old nag, but hadn’t the coin enough. However, farmer Foalsnurse loaned a sturdy charcoal mare named Acanthus. “You’ll bring her back safe and sound,” the farmer said knowingly. Touched by the generosity, Tengrym tried to protest, but Foalsnurse would have none of it.

Grateful, Tengrym left southward immediately. By the first of Kythorn, marked by heavy rainstorms, a weary half-elf plodded into Highmoon in southern Deepingdale and sought the Rising Moon, a rowdy establishment off of Crescent Way. Weary and many shades of sore, he entered the place and inquired about the mysterious scarred half-elf, giving his description. Highmoon was the largest town near the Thunder Peaks where Tengrym had first encountered him. It stood to reason that it may have been the best place to re-provision for someone working in the wilds of the mountain vale; and chances were that someone would have taken notice of an unforgettable face.

Does he learn something? Yes…

It wasn’t long before Tengryn got his confirmation. “Aye, I’ve seen him here,” said an old coot. “Disfigured man, raspy voice, elf-blooded….”

It turned out that the man in question was seen at odd intervals in town, even in that very inn. Tengrym thanked the man for the news and paid him five silver. Then, he rented a room for the night and considered his next move.

Be the GM

Scene: dark elves pay the hero a visit at night

Is Tengrym alerted by their presence? [+Perceptive, -Unconscious, -Creatures of the Dark] Yes…

Late that night, after he was already fast asleep, some deep unconscious voice warned Tengrym of danger. He woke with a start and heard soft movement near the lock of his door. He stole out of bed and drew his magical blade.

Be the PC Again

Does he take them by surprise? [-Creatures of the Dark] No, but…

He waited for the door to slowly open a fraction. Slowly a figure entered as Tengrym watched from behind the door. The lurker spied movement from the corner of his eye, but the half-elf had the tactical advantage for the moment. Little could have prepared for the sight of utter black garments, stark white hair, and red, almond-shaped eyes. It was the drow! And there were more in the hallway.

Does Tengrym beat them back? [+tactical advantage] Yes, and…
☑ Confused

A word of magic and a overhanded feint meant to overbear, and a bright light flashed, blinding the intruder and two accomplices. The dark elf cried out and put up his dark blade defensively as Tengrym lashed out and hacked. He cut down one and fought back the others, securing the door with a spell to hold it.

Using the moments of confusion, Tengrym snatched up his belongings and escaped out the window.

Does he escape? [+Confused] Yes, and…

He walked along the eves and escaped, alighting on the floor below, and detecting no sign of pursuit behind him. How quickly he had drawn attention astonished him — and these were dark elves! It looked as though if he were to get any rest, he wouldn’t get it where it was known he was quartering.

Q2. Be the GM — intrigue, pursuit

Scene: In the morning, the constabulary goes on a manhunt, tracking Tengrym in a glade

Does he hear their approach? Yes, but…

2 Kythorn, Year of the Shadows

Tengrym awoke to the sound of whispers and the soft swish of blades of grass at the passing of stealthy forms. He had selected a shaded area just beyond a little glade near a fresh gurgling brook. He quickly snatched up his pack and sword, but did not hear the approach in time to conceal himself. A group emerged from the trail headed by a tall reddish haired man with clearly elvish blood wearing scale armor and soft forest greens and earth browns. The archer led an ill-equipped group of men with bows. The group stopped having spotted Tengrym tense and ready to bolt. Immediately, arrows were nocked and pulled to ear.

The half-elf leader stopped before the others, holding out his hand with a staying gesture to the men behind him.

“I am Aurous, constable of Deepingdale,” he said in a deep voice. “We seek one Veldis to answer for disturbances at the Rising Moon last night. Be you he?”

Be the PC Again

Tengrym’s mind swam with possibilities. He didn’t want to flee now for fear of implicating himself in something that was not his fault. He did wish to speak with the authorities regarding the dark elf night raid, but he didn’t want to place himself under arrest for endangering any townsfolk or causing damage.

“I am he,” Tengrym said. At least they used his alias. “I will come peacefully to speak with the lord of Highmoon.”

Be the GM Once More

Since Tengrym came peacefully, Aurous let him walk alone. However he asked him to surrender his weapons. The Drowsbane saw the deadly intent in the eyes of the militiamen.

“You have my word that I shall cause you no harm,” Tengrym said in answer. “Unless you are charging me as an outlaw of some sort, I shall keep my sword — sheathed — at my side.”

Does Tengrym convince Aurous to let him keep his arms? No…

“That cannot be, sir,” Aurous answered gravely. Leg irons hung at his side. “I have my orders.”

Before he took a step forward, Tengrym tensed. He prepared himself mentally for flight, although his body was still sore from his ordeal less than a tenday before.

“If you threaten to take me against my will or take my sword, be prepared for a tough fight,” he said, “unless you can lay charges against me.”

Does his firm stance change anything? [+Principled] Yes, but…

Aurous stared for long moments with a hard challenge in his grey eyes. “Very well,” he said at last. “But if you make any sudden moves, you will know how a pincushion feels.”

After the showdown, Tengrym went peacefully with Aurous and his contingent.

Q3. Be the GM — betrayal, revelation

Scene: Tengrym is brought to a well-fortified manse outside the actual town of Highmoon to meet the current lord, a young and naive man named Thormemnon.
Personalities: Using the NPC 9Qs, I determine the following about lord Thormemnon. His role and homeland are obvious, and he’s naive; but for his talent, I rolled: ; an orator!

Tengrym was escorted back toward Highmoon. Rather than follow the main road directly there, the group took a rural road north a half mile from the town gate and climbed a wooded ridge. There, amid noble furs and broadleaf trees was a sprawling manor house. Stone walls and turrets about the house made it quite defensible, and access was limited to a causeway that climbed up a rocky point that jutted above the smaller trees. The place was guarded by grim-faced men in mail with spear and bow.

Entering a large bailey, a group of armsmen challenged Aurous. The half-elf ranger asked to see the lord. Near a fountain, a young man in rich velvet finery and foppish hose answered. “I am here, master Aurous. Have you brought the outlaw for questioning?”

Tengrym blistered at the arrogance and inexperience of a young lad barely out of his teens. The boy’s face was framed in page-length blonde hair and his blue eyes were cold and calculating, yet did not belie the true youth and naïveté about him.

“I have, Lord Thormemnon,” answered Aurous. Tengrym could not help but mark the veiled irritation in his throat.

“I see he is yet armed! Guards! Guards!” called the young man, who looked as though he might very well melt from mortification.

“My lord,” interrupted Aurous with more irritation. “He came peacefully as we asked.”

Four mailed men came to stand guard about the young lord. “Very well,” he said, trying to make it sound very much like a proclamation. “What is your name, sir?” he asked, addressing Tengrym directly.

“I go by Veldis, my lord,” he answered cooly. “…of Thentia.”

The youth regarded the half-elf for some time, almost unsure what to say next. “I see, I see. Tell me, Veldis, did you cause the deaths of five men at the Rising Moon last night? Answer quick!”

Be the PC

Tengrym’s eyes flashed in shock. Deaths of men? What is this fool boy talking about? he wondered to himself. “What men do you speak of?” he stammered, unsure of what words to pick.

Seeing Tengrym flustered, the young lord’s face darkened. “Five good men lost their lives in the inn last night…their throats cut as they slept in the common room. There was disarray near your room, and someone had left by the window to escape through the night like a coward!”

Tengrym now saw the cunning trap he now was on the verge of triggering. The drow raiders must have certainly silenced any possible watchers before their approach to his room. If he were now to tell the full tale, it would bring to attention his true name, and thus draw more possible trouble. He wished not to reveal himself, especially in light of finding the mysterious burned man who had guarded the demon’s lair in the Thunder Peaks.

However, seeing no other immediate solution, and also wishing to alert the locals of a possible threat in their midst — perhaps even a dire one — he spoke.

“During the night, I was assailed,” he began, and truthfully told the tale of his sudden nighttime fight and flight. “It was clear to me that my safety was not assured in Highmoon,” he summarized. “I see now my error in judgment to not first seek the authorities. But had I known that others’ safety was at stake, my actions would have been entirely different — and at my own peril.”

Be the GM Once More

The young lord pursed his lips and pressed his fingertips together, trying to appear wise and thoughtful. “So you say, so you say. Yes, well, then you must remain in my care until my men have had a chance to investigate the matter further. Guards, disarm him and place him in custody.”

The men tensed, as did Tengrym. The half-elf put up a staying hand. He did not yet draw his sword. Aurous cast questioning looks between lord Thormemnon and Tengrym.

“Wait!” said the Drowsbane. “I came in good faith — peacefully — and by my own volition. I will yet stay in town and you may summon me when it pleases you, my lord. Yet, I will not allow myself to be bound against my will, or my blade taken from me without further grounds to lay such charges upon me. Do not do this!”

Does he shake the lord’s resolve? [+principled, +naive] Yes, and…
☑ Humiliated

The face of the young lord blanched as though he was just scolded by his stern father with a slap on his rump. His face turned red and his jaw worked wordlessly. Tengrym turned and began walking away.

“You may send word to me at the Rising Moon,” he said over his shoulder.

No one stepped forward to intercept him.


  1. I thought when the NPC lord turned out to be an orator there might be a debate scene, but the roll that led to him being so easily "humiliated" by a semi-legal argument cut that option rather short. Still, that stunted moment could actually be interesting for developing that NPC if you so desired. Why, indeed, would an orator be so quickly "shut down" by such a quick retort?

    1. You are absolutely right about that. Even though he was humiliated, that should have only been touché, and not a coup de grace. I think I saw the scene as going on too long. Once thing I promise myself to improve is cutting length. But, that turned into a less interesting story!

      I wasn't satisfied by the direction of this one and the ensuing result...which is probably why it took me more than two months to come back and finish it off. Still glad I did...there is more potential for exciting stuff in this campaign.