Sunday, March 10, 2013

Smugglers in the Dark - Part 2

Here is the first report on my solo dungeon delving. You can read about the characters here and the dungeon generation system here. Rules details and other comments are shown in square brackets.

Ingont arrived at the village nearly at sunset, to avoid drawing too much attention. For the same reason, he met Swyem at the closing trading post, not the tavern or her house. Seeing her brought him some joy, mostly from the memories of their childhood, when they could afford to be careless. Swyem told him that she had confirmed the location of the kobold lair, but she could not find anything new about the courier or who could have poisoned him.

On the following day, Swyem and Eryz left in the afternoon, allegedly on a trip to a nearby village. Ingont, who had rented a room at an old widow's house, left again at sunset. The trio met in the woods, halfway between the village and the kobold lair and camped there for the night. The plan was Ingont's to avoid prying eyes from the villagers.

Before sunrise, they left their horses at the camp and walked to the entrance of the lair. Stone steps covered with dead leaves and roots led down into a dark opening. Once inside, they could see that the passage continued ahead and there was a second corridor leading away from the left side. [Turn 1: Entrance to the dungeon. I just rolled a die to find out how many exits there were. Marching order: Eryz leads, followed by Ingont, who carries a lantern, and lastly Swyem. I mapped each explored dungeon area as a 5x5 block in gridded paper.]

When they reached the point where the passage forked to the left, Ingont whispered, "let's move this way." Eryz frowned. That path was narrower and, in the dark, it was possible to see bones and skulls on the floor and even on the walls -- some broken. "Can't you see the bones? It's probably trapped," said Eryz impatiently. "If it was, these fools set them off long ago," returned Ingont pointing at the bones. Swyem finally decided to speak, "that's a bad idea, Ingont. Some traps can trigger more than once." Ingont nodded, "all right, let's move then." Eryz smirked. [Turn 2: Investigating their current location and deciding which way to go. I rolled "violently magnificent" on the Mythic description for how the secondary corridor looked like. I thought Ingont would want to take that path for being less obvious than straight ahead and confirmed it with Mythic. Likewise, I confirmed that Eryz would be wary of going that route. Finally, I asked Mythic "does Swyem agree with Ingont?" getting a "no," and thus deciding the party would keep on the main passage.]

The party crossed a door made of rotting, damp wood. The corridor went on, reaching an intersection with another path. Looking around the corners, there was only darkness and no sound of creatures from any direction. "Let's continue," said Ingont as if he was making the decision for the group. [Turn 3: my first card draw was a 2 of spades. I rolled a 5 for doors, so there were 4 exits and I decided it would be an intersection. This time I simply asked "do they keep on the same path?" getting a "yes."]

Moving ahead, the group reached another door. As Swyem approached it to listen for noises on the other side, she noticed a mechanical lock partly concealed under grime. "Locked," she whispered. She held her ear against the wood but could hear nothing on the other side. Swyem spent several minutes trying to unlock the door, to no avail. "I suppose you can't make something about this, Ingont?," she asked. The mage was frowning. That might be the door to a storage room, but if so, someone would have the key. "Let's move back, find another way." [Turn 4: a 3 of spades. Coupled with a roll of 1, this would be a simple corridor. The door on the other side turned out to be locked. As I did not provide for the possibility of corners, I asked Mythic, "does the corridor turn?" getting a "no."]

The stale air, the strain put in all senses to try to detect danger and the effort put in moving silently made walking in this underground tough. The party moved back to the intersection they had crossed before and paused for a quick rest. Eryz leaned against a wall where he could see three of the corridors. Swyem and Ingont sat near the opposite corner. [Turn 5: Moved back to the intersection. Turn 6: Resting to avoid fatigue.]

After a few minutes' rest, Swyem stood up and asked, "so, where to?" Ingont gave a faint smile, an eerie sight under the light of the lantern, "I was going to ask you the same." Eryz started walking down one of the corridors, saying "this way." Ingont looked at him a little annoyed but followed. Swyem just shrugged. At the end of the corridor, the fighter pushed the door but it would not open. Swyem whispered, "another lock," and proceeded to pick it open, her pride hurt from the previous failure. [Turn 7: As I saw no reason to choose one way or another, I rolled a die to pick the left or right corridor. I got the right one, which ended on another locked door but this time Swyem succeeded on her Open Locks roll by rolling a 14!]

The lock gave in with a 'click' and Eryz pushed it open, revealing a moderately-sized, rectangular stone chamber. A single torch posted on a wall illuminated it partially, and there were many boards and panels with crude drawings and paintings on the walls. In the middle of the room, three kobolds turned and stared at the party. One of them started talking in the rasp and convoluted language that the adventurers had also learned in dark places with bad companies: "You come here looking for someone?" Ingont managed to start a story about a missing friend but was interrupted by Eryz drawing his sword and charging the nearest kobold. He felt Swyem brush past him, dagger in hand, and then it was too late to talk. [Turn 8: I drew another card, this time a six of spades. This resolved as a room with three doors, all unlocked, and three kobolds in them. However, as this was a black card, it would mean a social interaction, rather than combat. I used the Mythic description chart to get a description for the room: "oddly glorious." I then used the Universal NPC Emulator to define the kobolds' bearing and focus: "the inquisitive kobolds talk of a request about your enemy." I asked "would he/she want to talk?" for each adventurer. Eryz (unlikely): exceptional no, Swyem (50/50): no, Ingont (likely):exceptional yes.]

The kobolds were faster and, upon noticing Eryz's move, drew their weapons and charged. Eryz and one of the kobolds exchanged blows to no effect. Another kobold slashed at Swyem, drawing blood. Ingont pointed a finger at the last kobold and spoke some twisted words. A blue flash lit the room for an instant, and a blue bolt of light hit the kobold, knocking it back lifeless. Ingont drew his dagger and stabbed the kobold attacking Swyem, but not before he cut her again. The three of them surrounded the remaining kobold and cut him down. [Turn 9: Combat. The kobolds won the initiative, charging the three adventurers. As Swyem and Eryz were moving into combat, I decided they reached them in the first round. For Ingont, I rolled a 50/50 chance getting a "no," so the kobold would fight him only on the next round. I ran combat normally; Ingont spent his spell, and Swyem lost two hit points. The party found 37 copper pieces on the kobolds.]

Swyem was breathing heavily and her leather armor was soaked in blood from one of her wounds. "This isn't looking good," said Eryz looking at her. "Dog-face got me," she said with a painful expression. "Let's go back to the camp, I can bandage myself there."
Ingont was not happy with the situation. "If we leave now, they will find these bodies and will be waiting for us when we return." Eryz stared at him angrily, "My sister needs time to recover. I won't push on to see her die here." Ingont stared back, trying to hide the fact that, right now, he felt intimidated by him, "You may not realize it, but it was your carelessness that got her hurt. We didn't need to fight."
"Ingont," Swyem called, "you know we can't go on like this." She was right, and the mage knew it. "Besides, we can carry the bodies, toss 'em into the river," interrupted Eryz. [Turn 10: I figured Ingont would want to go ahead at least a little more, but I asked "does he/she want to go ahead?" for the others. Swyem (unlikely): exceptional no, Eryz (no way): no." The rest of the dialogue was brainstormed from the character descriptions and situation.]

Ingont carried one of the kobolds, while Eryz lifted the other two. The party walked out of the dungeon under the light of the morning sun. Eryz was tasked with disposing of the bodies, while Ingont guarded the camp so that Swyem could rest. They planned to return to the kobold lair on the next morning. [Rolling for recovery, Swyem got back to full hit points (just 3 anyway). I asked the question "Will the kobolds notice that something is wrong?" with unlikely odds and got a "yes," so when the party enters again, the odds of encountering wandering monsters will be increased from 1 to 1-2 on a six-sided die.]

To be continued...


Fitz-Badger said...

Interesting so far. I like the way you're reporting this, with the Mythic/game bits in blue between the in-game action. Makes it easy to follow and to see how you're playing.

JF said...

Turn 8 caught my attention. You drew a social encounter with kobolds in an "oddly glorious" room, and there was one PC that "exceptionally" wanted to talk to the creatures. Nothing very social took place since another PC "exceptionally" wanted to chop the monsters up, and another PC also wanted to hack n slash.

Here's my question: In a "global weighting" of the main action of this scene, more participants wanted to talk (kobolds+PC) so the impetus for chatting would have been stronger than killing despite how two individuals differed, but it seems like you went in a more "local" direction (kobolds / PCs) with antsy adventurers negating the chance to socialize. So, in the "weighting" of how a scene will play out, how do you determine the course of events?

Ricardo said...

Thanks for the comments. @JF: I think that I messed up for not taking into account the kobolds intentions. So I had one PC willing to talk and two not interested in doing so, and that was enough to turn the encounter into combat. As you pointed out, this also killed the meaning of the card's color. I will have to think more about this to have a consistent system :)

Sean said...

Interesting game play. Really caught the feel of 1st level dungeoneering for me.

I see what JF means about how you weight actions, but I don't really have a solution. I will say though that if even one person wants to fight that probably means there's going to be one. Unless of course the ones who don't want to can some how restrain or intimidate the ones that do.

Right now I don't see the Mage being able to stop the fighter from doing it his way. Sorry I don't remember their names right now.