Monday, October 6, 2014

The Adventures of Glendal Lorg, Scarlet Hero (1.2)

The Story So Far....

Glendal Lorg the Visionary, lately of the Phantom Cabal, has invaded the heretofore peaceful ruin of the Fort of the Unholy Mound, bringing death in his wake.  He has successfully infiltrated and navigated the first room of the complex, striking down the ruffian Looters.  Details can be found here.

Having gathered his wits and his riches, Glendal surveyed his surroundings.  Where to go next?  That answer was immediately evident by the simple fact that there was only one exit from the cistern, an arched doorway leading to the northeast.

Turn 3, Room 2
For simplicity's sake, I'll briefly repeat the sequence of events as stated in the first episode.

Wandering monsters only after every third turn.

Upon entering a new room, roll to see if the Goal is present.  A d20 roll of 20 is required.  I roll d20 = another 15 = No.

Next, in order, determine:  room type, then room contents (Encounter?; Treasure?; Hazard?; Feature?).

First, direction = d10 = 3 = North East from current room.

Room type d20 = 12 = Mess hall.
Encounter d10 = 4 = No.
Treasure d10 = 10 = Yes.
Hazard d10 = 8 = No.
Feature d10 = 3 = No.

Glendal edged carefully through the sagging archway, sword at the ready, eyes sweeping the shadows ahead.  He let out a pent-up breath upon seeing that the room was empty of occupants.

Judging by the furnishings, moldering as they were, this had once been the fort's Mess Hall.  Tables and benches filled the medium-sized space.  Many of the tables were still intact, due mostly to their stout construction.  Some fallen shelves lined the wall or spilled onto the floor, mixing together broken plates and other pottery.  A fireplace for cooking was set into one wall; nothing but ashes filled its maw.

The room was nothing but dust, debris and emptiness...except for the pile of treasure sitting unguarded on one of the tables, neatly sorted.

Glendal approached as cautiously as his greed would allow.  It seemed evident to him that the Looters, either from the previous room or others as yet unseen, had already pilfered this room of it's secrets, and stacked it with great care for later taking.  Glendal decided he would take advantage of their consideration and go ahead and take it all.

Eyeing it with a skilled appraisal, Glendal estimated that there were...

Treasure Found roll 3d6 = 1 + 2 + 4 = 7 = "No encounter treasure, but M2 worth of room contents."

The M2 is a "Substantial Cash Amount" of 2d4 x 100gp = 4 + 3 = 700 gp!

...700 gold pieces stacked in neat towers!  Apparently dinner was never free for the soldiers of the fort, but the Cook wasn't able to get away from the doom that overcame the installation, with his money.  And the Looters had dug it out from wherever the scoundrel had hidden it.

However, Glendal was faced with a conundrum:  700 gold pieces weighed far too much for him to carry, especially with the ruin only partially explored, combined with what he had found previously.

I orignally decided to go with the time-honored value of 10 gp = 1 pound, as it's detailed in the Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game.  Pretty standard, I felt.  I like easy math.  But then I saw where Scarlet Heroes has it's own conversion value of 50 coins = 1 pound.  I liked that a little more, especially as it lets me stay fully in Scarlet Heroes as much as possible (ignoring the parts that I previously said I would ignore).  However, it's still too much weight to lug around.  Which is a good problem to have!

Returning quickly to the previous room, Glendal carefully divested one of the dead men of the use of his knapsack.  And then, back facing the gleaming happy pile, he swept as much as would fit (all of it, by chance) into the bag, tied it closed, and stowed it under a particularly extra-broken table, completely out of sight.  Assuming he survived (and Glendal's ego would admit no chance of failure yet) he could always return for it later on his triumphant way back to town.  He kept the other treasure with him, though.  You never knew when a toe ring might come in handy.

Turn 3 ended.  Time for the first Wandering Monster check, a straight-up 1 in 6 chance.  d6 = 3 = No.

After the noisy clinking of the coins, Glendal stopped to listen.  All was quiet.  He moved toward the only other exit out of the Mess Hall, a doorway leading southeast.

Turn 4, Room 3:
Direction roll d10 = 5 = South East.
Room Type d20 = 20 = Vault.
Encounter d10 = 9 = Yes.
Treasure d10 = 10 + 3 for an encounter = Yes.
Hazard d10 = 5 = No.
Feature d10 = 4 = No.

Goal d20 = 1 = No Boss.

Glendal slid through the shadows like he was a part of them, making no more noise than the breeze through the trees.  Peering around the corner he spied out the next room.  Six hearty thugs were millling around a glistening pile of loot, their silhouettes blurring and mixing together as they reached and counted.

Glendal thought he could make out two leader-types among them, giving orders for the distribution of the wealth.  Six was a lot to handle, but his blood was up after the first battle, and the glorious treasure so easily found just now.  Glendal decided surprise might be to his advantage; running away certainly never entered his mind!

Encounter Found roll 3d6 = 4 + 6 + 6 = 16 = "2d4 hit dice of Minions plus 2xT hit dice worth of Elites, Mages or Boss enemies."  The Goal roll decided there was no Boss here.

2d4 Minions = 1 + 3 = 4 hit dice = 4 Novice Adventurers.
2xT = 2 hit dice worth of Elites or Mages.  I arbitrarily opted for a 60/40 split for which might appear.  d% = 40% = 2 hit dice of Elites = 2 Skilled Freebooters.

I rolled for Glendal's steathiness in sneaking up on the enemies.  I opted for a DC 11, an average difficulty:  the Looters were busy, Glendal is very quiet.  2d8 = 2 + 7 + (3 for being an Adventuring Thief) + (2 DEX bonus) = 14.  Success!

Stepping quickly and forcefully out of the doorway, yet still a cautious distance away from the Looters, Glendal called out in a commanding voice, "Hand over the treasure and no one gets hurt!"

The Looters froze for a moment, and then it all began...

I was a little unclear at this point as I was playing, since I was still learning my way around the game, as to which exact reaction table I should use.  I mentioned this last episode too.  The Dungeon section specifically directs you to the Reaction table on page 117 (see below), but I found this to be a bit vague for my tastes.  I think it would work well with sort of a "named" NPC, but not with semi-random dungeon dwellers.  Then again, a player with more imagination than me, or less of a desire for tables to roll on, might use it pefectly well!

First I rolled for a Reaction Roll from page 55 in the Beastiary chapter.  I rolled 2d8 = 3 + 6 + (1 for CHA modifier) + (no social traits applied) = 10 = "Most probable outcome comes to pass."

I didn't really know how to apply that.  So to determine the Looters general attitude, I used the Encounter Twists:  Their Attitude Toward the Hero Is... table on page 79.

I just used the same roll = 10 = "The usual, but they might parlay if that seems plausible."

Hmm.  O.K., but how to decide if parlaying seems plausible?  This is where and why I like rolling on tables, to determine some of these things for me, so that it's not just Me Making Stuff Up.

I then used the Reactions table on page 117 to give the Looters a suitable attitude.  I arbitrarily labelled them as "Unfriendly NPCs," rolled 2d6 = 1 + 2 = 3 = "Anger/Scorn."

Alright, now we're getting somewhere.  "The most probably outcome comes to pass, but they might parlay if that seems plausible, and they regard me/Glendal with anger and scorn."

I decided this was the perfect place to use the Oracle table on page 115.  With their attitude established, I asked the Oracle, "Do they comply with Glendal's demand to give up the loot?"  Based on their attitude, I deemed this as "Unlikely."  I rolled d20 = 2 = No.

With muttered snarls and oaths, the two Skilled Freebooters (i.e., the leaders) stepped back from the pile of treasure.  There was the metallic shing as swords cleared scabbards, and six angry, wary ruffians converged on the lone Elf.

Momentarily nonplussed by the fact that the thugs had not run away from his obvious awesomeness, Glendal missed with all his attacks.  Yep, missed six guys standing there in front of him.

In return, the Novice Adventurer third from the left, clad in a soiled red tunic, swung at Glendal with enthusiasm...but also missed.

The Novice second from the left also swung, less carefully, and missed as well.

The first Freebooter, using the Novice's body as cover, swept under Glendal's defenses, drawing blood nearly to the point of his incapacitation!

The second leader, not as graceful, missed his swing.

The last two Novices, on the far left and far right, also missed, having misjudged their weapons' reach.

The Minions have the same stats as before:
HD 1
Attack +1
Damage 1d6
Morale 7

The Elites are:
HD 1
AC 5
Attack +1
Damage 1d10
Morale 10

I rolled d8 + DEX modifier (0) for their initiative, although it didn't matter too much truly.  Glendal goes first each round.

The one Elite who hit, hit for maximum damage of 4 points!  Ouch!  I saw that this could quickly become too much for Glendal, but I wasn't ready to run away yet.

Sucking in his breath at the pain, Glendal focused his next attacks on the more dangerous leaders, especially the one who hurt him.  Showing his true superiority, Glendal, with an almost careless backhand slash, killed both Freebooters, the sword slinging blood from the neck of one into the eyes of the Novices!  This caused the Novices to flinch back, making the Elf miss his main attack.

Lucky for me, the Fray Die hit with a 6 which equals 2 hit dice of damage, with also equals two 1-hit dice opponents, which in this case happened to equal the two Elites.  Whew!  With their 1d10 potential damage now gone I felt a lot better about this fight.  I also determined that a Morale check was in order for the Minions.

Seeing both of their leaders cut down, nearly effortlessly, was too much for the fresh-off-the-street scum Novices.  Maybe they weren't really meant to be Adventurers after all!  All four stared briefly at the still-twitching corpses, and then, with one motion, turned and ran further into the fortress.

Morale check:  2d6 vs 7 = 2 + 6 = 8 = Fail!  All Minions flee.  I supposed I could have checked each one individually, but it seemed narratively better to just make one check; especially since they ran away!

Glendal let them go.

Wiping his sword clean on one of the dead men, the Elf turned to survey his hard-earned gains.  Once again, the Looters had done a lot of the work for him:  they had dug the scattered bits of treasure from out of its hiding places, and left it neatly arrayed for him to take possession of.  How nice.

His ever-more-practiced eye surveyed the piles.  Surely there was...

Treasure roll 3d6 = 3 + 6 + 6 = 15 = "One tenth of the C-type trove appropriate to the place."  This is the same as last episode.  So a C4 "Minor Ruin's Wealth" ended up being (see last episode for the details of what to roll):

...70 gold pieces; 1 piece of cheap jewelry, a malachite earring (probably the matching piece for the malachite toe ring; there were some weird dudes guarding the Fort of the Unholy Mound) (90 gp).  1 piece of costly jewelry, a bracelet with bits of amber (300 gp).  And hooray, 1 piece of precious jewelry, a deep yellowish-green peridot set in a belly chain(?) (4000 gp!).  Glendal guessed the garrison must have had a few harem girls gracing the premises.  Also 1 lesser magic item, a scroll of some sort (It happens to be a 4th Level Magic-User scroll of "Tireless Horse of Long Travel").  But no greater magic items.  Glendal had spent enough time around mages to know that this is something that will be valuable to the right person, but useless to him right now, seeing as how he cannot read or cast magic.

The wounded Elf quickly slid the gold into another of the Looters' packs, along with the scroll, and hid it carefully out of sight.  The jewelry, however, he kept with him.  He knew a certain Elven dancing girl on whom the belly chain would look particularly fetching, and with whom he could certainly get (4000 gp!) worth of entertainment.

After bandaging his sword cut, Glendal felt better.  This took a few minutes to complete, and then he was ready to continue on.

I realized at this point that I had made a mistake in the numbering of the turns so far completed.  In the One-DM-and-One-Player part of the rules, it simply says that a hero can take a few minutes after a battle to bandage wounds; they regain up to 2 hit points.  This was what was in my mind.  However, in the Dungeon Exploration part, it says first aid after a battle or trap usually takes a full turn to complete (10 minutes).  So I renumbered it on my hand-written records.  It doesn't really change anything here though, so you can relax.

Turn 5:
Glendal healed 2 hit points, putting him at 4 currently, of 6 possible.

Before leaving, Glendal gave the Vault one last check.  Surely there must be more treasure than this in the veritable Vault of the fortress!  But alas, there was no more.  It had apparently been long ago removed, much longer ago than just these dead Looters.

I asked the Oracle:  This is the Vault.  Is this all the treasure?  I assigned it an "Unknown" 50/50 value.  d20 = 10 = "No, but..."  The related d6 = 6 = "Sublimely bad or good timing by a sudden event."  To help make sense of that, I rolled on the Oracular Adjectives table:  2d20 = 9 x 5 = "History."  It would appear that the bulk of the treasure was removed in the distant past.

Checking the security of his backpack and his weapons, Glendal prepared to move into the next room.

To be continued, in the next exciting(?) installment of The Adventures of Glendal Lorg, Scarlet Hero!


  1. Personally as a GM I have never been very generous. I usually cut treasure down to 5% to 10% of what is suggested . . . and I do not grant any xp for it. As far as I'm concerned Treasure is its own reward.

    Of course I'm very much in the minority on this matter.

    -- Jeff

  2. I'm neither here or there on the subject. I just made the decision to follow the Scarlet Heroes rules as closely as possible in as many things as possible, and that's how they're written regarding treasure. There are, actually, quite a few other treasure tables to use, it just worked out that I rolled the same one twice. Plus, there's a section for ridding the hero of his treasure that I might put into play (I think it's optional).

    And XP is done a little differently too but I can't recall much about it at the moment as it hasn't really come into play yet.

  3. Interesting developments. Lots of treasure doesn't help if it becomes too much to carry off. And if you have to leave some, with the idea of returning later, there's no guarantee it will still be there when you do finally manage to return, eh?

    1. All very true. I have played more sessions than I have written up but not so many as to have found out if the treasure will still be there. First things first, though: Glendal has to survive long enough to get out!

  4. Excellent! I'm enjoying this. Please keep it up and thank you.

    1. Thank you, Sebastian. I'm really glad you're enjoying it. More is coming, just have to find the time to write it all up!

  5. How do you do your sessions?

    Do you hand write your game out then type it out later? How does that work for you?

    I type mine out on the computer as I go along.

    Kenny the Cabbage the home of solo roleplaying.

    1. I'm pretty old-school (in a lot of ways), in that I do use pencil and paper for the actualy game-play, and then I transcribe the notes into the blog, adding colorful commentary as I go but keeping with whatever I was thinking at the time I played it. I write it all down as I go.

      This is for two-fold reasons: 1) I do most (that is, all) of my solo RPing while travelling, and all I have is an Android tablet with an 85% keyboard. It's adequate but not great. 2) I thought about typing directly into Blogger as I go, using that as my notepad, but many hotels have really crummy wifi, so I can't always count on a good connection. So pencil & paper it is for the foreseeable future, at least for me.

      Also I enjoy the transcribing. It helps me to put the game into a sort of context that just parsing rules doesn't always do. And if you look at my other blog,, you'll see that I do basically the same thing for my solo tabletop wargames. I think it's just how I'm wired.