Thursday, November 3, 2016

Valda and the Desolation of the Fire Coast, part 2

Map of Lemuria. Credit:


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...

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