Saturday, September 27, 2014

Birthday Present

The person I am familiar with, the "well known solo RPG blogger" just turned 40 today.

So few days ago I decided to threat him with a book.

And the package from BookDepository arrived today, just on time.

Now all he needs is to wait for Dungen Master's Guide to be publish in December and he will be able to solo 5th edition D&D :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Parates Attack - Oolong the Scarlet Hero 2.3

Continued from previous post.

Discussing solo RPG games, Leo Tolstoy once said: Successful scenes are all alike; every failed scene  fails in its own way. It seems that Scarlet Heroes system follows this principle... 

All that I need to finish current adventure is one successful conflict scene. When playing Scarlet Heroes urban adventures, successful conflict scenes give 1VP to hero while removing 1VP from antagonist.

So, I rolled against conflict scenes table, and I got following set up: Outmaneuver a local official suborned or bribed by the foe. Roll a die; on odd result add 1 Heat to the community (Heat is a measurement of pressure community puts on the hero. After each adventure player rolls d10. If the result is equal or lower than current Heat, hero needs to face the consequences community puts on her or to play adventure dedicated to lowering Heat). I rolled 4, so Oolong earned her first heat point in Earl Grey.

Oolong started building barricades in the town as defensive outposts against incoming pirates. But she soon realized that there is not enough material available. So, she approached one of the nearby villa's determined to "borrow" some furniture for there. On the gate, she was greeted by a local aristocrat, surrounded with six body guards. 
Oolong explained her needs to him, but he just laughed at her and refused to give any of his hard earned possessions (failed charisma test). But Oolong was not going to give up that easily, so she attacked aristocrat, determined to take what she needs by force, if necessary (This counts as unnecessary use of force. It adds another heat point to the community, but if Oolong wins the fight, scene will count as successful). Our hero managed to drop two of the bodyguard thugs to the ground, but the rest ganged on her, and she barely escaped with her life (with just one health point left). 

The scene was failure, so Pirates are gaining 1 VP. Oolong also had to rest to regain strength,  so another VP for pirates is in order. Luckily, after conflict scenes player do not roll for antagonist VP, so the current result is 9:9. The last conflict scene will determine the winner of the adventure.

One more roll against conflict scenes table defines the setup as: Sabotage the foe's possession important to the plot. Roll a die; on an odd result face a fight as well as the check. I rolled 5, so no prearranged fight. 

Oolong was informed that pirates made a machine producing smoke, that will hide them from town archers once they attack. So, she sneaked behind enemy lines (dexterity test), damaged the machine (intelligence test) and sneaked back into town (dexterity again).

So this is it. 10:8 for Oolong. Reaching 10 VP triggers final action scene that will end the adventure.

Pirates are attacking. Standing in the middle of the street, shoulder to shoulder with other defenders, Oolong is fighting to survive the waves of attackers. 
She needs to survive d6+5=7 combat rounds before pirate attack is broken by the main force of defenders. And.. She managed to stay on her feet for 3 rounds..... So, pirates are awarded with another VP and final result is 10:9 for our hero. It is minor victory.

Oolong wake up in the hospital, among all others wounded during the attack (In Scarlet Heroes, city encounters are described as never lethal, since wounded characters are usually healed by the city healers before they can bleed to death, so they are able to continue. If such thing would happen in the dungeon or in the wilderness, it will be the end of the campaign...).

Pirates are defeated for the moment, and they will not pose immediate threat, but they leader was not captured, and there is a serious possibility that the town of Earl Grey will not be really safe from similar attacks in the future. 

But in the moment, town is open again, and Oolong is free to leave, and that is what is currently important to her. So, she waited for her wounds to heal, and then used some of her hard earned money to better equip herself. 
She first visited Pai Mu Tan the alchemist, and purchased some potions from him - one more potion of Invisibility, one potion of Furious might and one Antidote, all for 15000 gp. She honestly expected some discount due to her activities in the recent events, but was not given.
She also purchased some eagle feather amulet, and a donkey named Guan Yin.
Than she wished the town of Earl Grey farewell, and left into wilderness. 

Some thoughts on Scarlet heroes urban adventures: Victory points system is really interesting, and makes for a tense game. The problem of this system is with the proposed scenes. System is not really storytelling oriented, so often it feels too mechanical, like - do a test to earn a clue, without even trying to explain how does the test fits into the story, or what is the clue you earned. But all in all, this is a good system.

To be continued.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Long Jing, the Hairdresser - Oolong the Scarlet Hero 2.2.

Continuing from previous post.

As pirates close the circle around the town of Earl Grey, Oolong continues with her investigation. She decided to bribe the guards at the town gate, to tell her the name of the person who is the most insisting to be let out of the town.
After slipping d6*100=200 gp. in guards pocket she gets the name (RSC: sheep + mirror): it is Long Jing, the local hairdresser.

Oolong succeeded in the scene, so she is awarded with one clue and 1 VP. After each investigation or action scene, player roll d10. If the number rolled is lower then number of such scenes, enemy also receives victory point. This is fifth such scene, and I rolled 4, so current result is 4:5 for pirates.

Oolong continues to dig following the received lead. She pulled some of her rogue contacts to find out why is it that Long Jing wants out so desperately (Charisma test, needed 10, rolled 11, success. RSC: Giant + Snail). It seems that hairdresser crossed captain of pirates, and that if the city fails Long Jing will have some hard time under the conquerors. If Oolong can move Long Jing to safety, it might prolong invasion....

Another clue and another victory point for Oolong. Roll of 7 on d10 keeps the enemy at bay, so the result is 5:5.

Will Pai Mu Tan the alchemist allow Oolong to take Long Jing out of town through sewers? Yes but .... RSC: Cage + City he wants sewer exit destroyed once the hairdresser leaves them and Oolong returns to the town. Pai Mu Tan gives our hero some explosive charges to perform this task.

So, it is time for some action (one clue used). Oolong visited Long Jing and offered him to take him out of the town, which hairdresser gladly accepted. Oolong purchased leather armor and a rapier for his companion, and they descended into the sewers.

(Long Jing is 4HD, AC7, +1 to hit, d6 damage character. Sewers are played as d10+5=11 room dungeon).

Rooms 1 to 3 were empty. Room 4 hosted dangerous intruder, religious in nature - Red Apostle!
(Red Apostle is the most dangerous Red Tide Spawn. It is intelligent 6HD creature, with AC2 - so Oolong hits it on 14+ and Long Jing on 17+ on D20, and two attacks with +6 to hit - hits on 7+. The only good thing is that each attack does only 1d4 of damage. But that is not all: creature has flame attack that hits both my characters. Oolong needs 9+ and Long Jing 8+ on 2d8 to save, or they suffer 1d12 damage).

Initiative: Oolong, Long Jing, Red Apostle. So, if it does any good, my heroes will strike first.

Round 1: Oolong hits for 2HD! Good start, 4 more to go. Long Jing misses, Red Apostle hits but rolls snake eyes on damage, so no effect. Hairdresser fails save against fire and loses 1HD (3 left).
Round 2: Oolong hits for 1HD (3 to go). Long Jing misses, Red Apostle hits Oolong for 2 points (5 left)
Round 3: Oolong misses, but Long Jing hits for 1HD (2). Red Apostle misses on attack, but Oolong takes 2 damage from fire (3 left)
Round 4: Oolong uses wizard's staff to retreat and bind wounds. NPCs recover 1HD each - new situation Oolong 5, Long Jing 4, Red Apostle 3. 
Round 5: Oolong hits for 2HD (1). Hairdresser misses. Oolong takes 1 damage from Red Apostle's attack and 1 from fire (3).
Round 6: Oolong hits for 1HD and kills Red Apostle!
Well if this is not +1 experience point, than I do not know what is :)

Oolong binds her wounds, and returns to 5 health points.
After searching Red Apostle's body, big treasure was found. Oolong and Long Jing decided to split it more or less equally. So, Oolong part consisted of 1500gp, 2 pcs. of precious jewelry and 3 pcs. of precious gems. 2 priceless gems were given to Long Jing, but Oolong took Potion of Resistance.

Room 5 was empty. Room 6 contained something stolen by inhabitants of the dungeon that holds unpleasant truth about NPC - Darjeeling the wizard. (RSC: Talking + Pawn) It is porcelain servitor that used to belong to our old acquaintance! Oolong convinced the golem to join the party. It will keep talking through the  rest of the dungeon, but will not say anything of interest, trust me on this.

Room 7 was full of poisonous bugs! Porcelain servitor is immune to them, but both Oolong and Long Jing failed their saves vs. poison. Oolong used her Defy Death ability on 3d8, and lost 3 health points (2 left).Than, Oolong applied Green Powder on Long Jing and saved him from death.

Room 8 was empty. In room 9 Oolong found a book, relic of the local aristocrats. RSC: Monkey + footsteps. It is "Book of Teas volume 2, Monkey picked leafs".... Seams that Librarian left in the hurry, leaving one of it's most prized possessions behind... Well, Oolong has plans to visit him in the Capital anyway....

Rooms 10 and 11 were empty. Oolong directed Long Jing towards the Capital and wished him goodbye. Porcelain servitor was sent to follow hairdresser for now. As she watched them walking away, Oolong said: "See you both soon in the Capital".

Successful action scene, so +2 VP for Oolong. Roll of 8 on d10 keeps pirates in peace, so Oolong takes a lead for the first time 7:5.

But action continues, and Oolong uses second clue to set up explosives. She takes intelligence test to do it right, and succeeds. Then, she needs dexterity test helped by Long distance runner trait to outrun the blast, and it is another success.
Before she can return to the town she needs to pass through the bugs room again. Dexterity test helped with Perfect Balance trait also succeeds, so she emerges from the sewers victorious.

+2VP for Oolong. But now she needs to rest to recover to full strength, and that automatically gives 1VP to pirates. Also, low roll on d10 test gives pirates another VP. Current result is 9:7 for our hero.

To be continued.....

Monday, September 8, 2014

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio.... Oolong the Scarlet Hero Adventure 2 Part 1

After getting out of the dungeon, I just wanted to go to the town, sell the acquired book and let Oolong live happily ever after...
But nooo, I had to try Aladdin Technique once more....

So, after some Rory story cube rolling, I got the following set-up:
Upon returning to her home town of Earl Grey - small border settlement on the coast that serves as a prison colony, Oolong finds that librarian that send her on the quest suddenly moved to the (RSC: crown) Capital. Furthermore, (RSC: Microscope + safe) Oolong is forbidden to leave the town, and wherever she moves she notices some shady figures behind her, so she is aware that she is constantly followed....

Damn you John Fiore for inventing things that are making us play more than we originally planed! :)

OK, so the urban adventures in Scarlet Heroes are played differently. Through series of scenes,  PC and antagonist (that might be unknown at the beginning) collect victory points in different ways. The first to reach 10 points wins the adventure. So, lets start.

Oolong decided to turn tables on her followers. She managed to lose her tail, but when she tried to follow her pursuer to find out his intentions, he, being a seasoned veteran of many campaigns, was waiting for her behind the corner. Fight occurred, and Oolong was victorious, rendering veteran unconscious. She searched her fallen opponent but found nothing interesting. Than, she just waited for veteran to wake up, and simply asked him what is going on.
Successful charisma test later, veteran had nothing against explaining the situation  (RSC: Jolly Roger + Song).
And that's how Oolong learned that famous pirate captain will attack the city of Earl Grey in order to release some of his crew members serving time in the local prison.
Upon receiving this information, all free citizens that could, moved to the Capital (librarian among them). Thus, authorities closed the town forcing people to fight instead of running away. Also, pirates already keep parts of town under control, so all who enter the town are followed until it is proved that they are not pirate spies.
Oolong lets the veteran go, and he assures her that she will no longer be followed.

After all this, result is 2:1 for pirate antagonists.

The most important person left in the town and the leader of citizen militia seems to be the town alchemist. Oolong goes to him and asks how to help. (RSC: Flower, Dead body) Alchemist sends Oolong to the gallows field, to pick some mandrake roots necessary for the potions.
Played like 4 room dungeon: In cementary garden, Oolong encountered some escaped prisoners trying to enforce some money from the locals. Our hero quickly sends them running. In cementary, she encounters two ghouls and kills them without problem. 4 more ghouls were feasting on recently dead in burial shrine. Oolong had some problems dispatching them (she failed saving throw and was paralyzed, had to use Defying Death to release herself), but finally she managed to clean the shrine from the undead. Finally under the gallows, Oolong meets seven pirates already picking mandrake. She runs into the fight, but they beat her heavily. Oolong is left for dead on the gallows field. Later that day, she wakes up with one health point. There is no Mandrake roots left. Lots of victory points for pirates.
Oolong rested, and than started for the part of town controlled by pirates to steal some mandrake roots. She manages to sneak in and loot the herbs, but on her way back she is surprised by the pirate sentries. Oolong tries to outrun them but fails, and again has to call Defy Death rule for help. Therefore, she manages to get away, and returns to the alchemist with requested plants, but again reduced to one health point. More resting for our girl.

The next task for Oolong was to investigate disappearance of some messengers who vanished from the streets of the Earl Gray. While investigating, she stumbled on a group of 6 pirate soldiers. Short fight later, the treat was eliminated. Finally some victory points for Oolong.

Total result is now 4:3 for pirates.

To be continued.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

When will this dungeon end? - Oolong the Scarlet Hero part 6

Continuing story from here.

Upon descending down the stairs, Oolong noticed a tunnel leading north-east to the next cave. The cave was empty, except for the long extinguished remains of the camp fire in the middle of it. The only exit from the cave was west, into more twisted tunnels. Upon walking through them, Oolong found herself where she started. The tunnel closed into itself.
Knowing from the wizard's story that the dungeon is bigger than this, she decided to look for the secret door. Then she had an idea. She returned to the camp fire and checked the footprints around it. Yes, there were some, but they were going into the tunnels, where they were erased just a minutes ago, when Oolong walked over them. Tough lack, but a least Oolong knew approximate location of that door.

Successful check later, Oolong opened secret passage into the altar room dedicated to the God of Wisdom. Shrine looked long abandoned, judging by dust no service was performed here for some time now.
Dungeon map, level 3
To the west from the altar room was a vestry. There, Oolong found a trapped chest with 500gp. oolong triggered trap while opening the chest, and was hit for 3d6 damage, but lucky roll (1, 1, 4) reduced it to loss of just 1 hp.
To the north-west of altar room was cistern. A Porcelain servitor was guarding the room. Oolong tried to talk with it, but construct took her for temple robber (can't blame it, really) and attacked. Of course, single creature like this was no problem for our hero.
Further north-west was a room that once served as a hospital. When shrine was abandoned, some sick men were left there to face their doom, and without proper burial they turned into Hungry Ghosts (5 of them). The last patient alive probably feasted upon flesh of his dead comrades, so he turned into Ghoul.
This was a difficult fight, even with help of wizard's staff, so Oolong ended it with only 3hp left.
In hospital, Oolong found a healing potion, but unfortunately it's usefulness expired (1 rolled) so drinking it produced no effect.
The remaining 3 rooms on this level were empty natural caves each with a vertical shaft leading down.
Oolong rested to gain full strength, and the she decided to lower herself down one of the shafts. Since in rooms 41 and 46 she could find no place to tie a rope, she pushed one of the hospital beds into room 45, tied a rope to it and slowly descended to the level 4.

Dungeon map, level 4
Oolong was almost at the ground when the old furniture above broke, and the rope followed our hero down (hazard rolled). Skillful rogue landed on her feet, but the way back to level 3 was closed.
Room 48 was just entrance into vault, ending with locked door.
Oolong unlocked it and entered the secure cell. Room 49, resting place for the Book of Teas! Oolong picked it up, and this earned her an experience point.
All doors leading out of secure cell were locked. Oolong failed to open the one to the south (failed check), the lock broke and this door can't be opened any more. But our hero managed to open door to the east, that took her to another empty temple.
In room 53 Oolong met with her old acquaintance, Necromancer. This time, he was prepared to make his last stand. Necromancer was equipped with spells Seven Small Thunders (Magic Arrow) and Walking among the Coved (Terror) and accompanied by two zombies and one skeleton.
Fortunately, 3 high attack rolls in the row prevented necromancer from casting anything. His minion fell as victims of the fray die.
After bandaging wounds, Oolong looted Necromancer's body. Spoils of the war included 600gp and 5 magic potions: Celestial step (levitation! just what I needed!), Invisibility, Furious might (improves combat for 1d6+4 rounds), Bestial form (shape shift into animal) and Lungs of the fish (breath under water).
Other rooms were basically empty, except for the Study, where Oolong found Powder of green purgation (use once, cure curse or disease or similar).
So, Oolong used levitation potion to return to level 3. She could theoretically find way to tie rope somewhere and check rooms 50 and 51 through shaft in room 41, but she decided there is no need for this. So, our hero returned to level 1. There, she used Potion of Might to finally make a short story out of cultist in the garden, and pick up some more loot. Then, she dropped to say goodbye for now to the Wizard, and left the dungeon.
Clearing the dungeon allowed for additional experience point, and that is enough to make her level 3 rogue. Oolong now has 8 hit points, and +2 combat modifier. Traits: Dungeon explorer (4), Resist Red Tide (3), Perfect Balance (2), Scholar (1), Long Distance Runner (1), Resist Poison (1).
Oolong's next adventure will be the urban one, as she will try to sell the Book of Teas.
At the end, some rules notes.
As I knew that this dungeon is mix of natural caves and man made rooms, I rolled together d6 and d20 to determine the kind of room Oolong is entering. On roll 1-3 it was a natural cave, on roll 4-6 it was appropriate built structure.
For every new room, I rolled d4 to determine the number of exits. If the one was rolled, it is dead end. I skipped rolling if the room was obvious dead end like caved in cave or submerged cave.
This got me into trouble twice during the game. Once at the very beginning and second time on level 3. Both times I decided that there is some secret passage around and made checks to find it.
When features were rolled, their nature was resolved using Rory Story cubes.
I used encounter table I made generic for this dungeon, and I recommend you do the same for your games.
Oolong encountered Necromancer 3 times. Each time I rolled for him to have prepared 3 1st level and 2 second level spells. Than I used just these that made sense in combat. For the first two encounters it were spells that allowed Necromancer to run away. For third encounter these were real combat spells, but lucky for Oolong, Necromancer had no chance to use them.
Everything else was more or less by the book.
I hope you enjoyed this adventure.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Necromancer's lair - Oolong the Scarlet Hero 5

Continuation form here.

Here is the map of the second level of the dungeon.
Oolong tried to descend down to the pit as quiet as possible, but it was too hard even for her. Her presence was noticed.
Upon entering room 27 (a place used for the creation of the undead), she met the necromancer again, this time accompanied by 2 zombies and 6 skeletons.
Necromancer casts Assuming the Flesh of Mists (or simple to say invisibility) and runs away, confident that his minions will eliminate our hero.
But here, Oolong learned how to use the wizards stuff acquired earlier. The Sovereign Sign against Evil spell from the staff allows her to stop the battle whenever she gets wounded, bandage her wounds and than continue the fight. Of course, this tactic works only against unnatural creatures such as undead or Red Tide spawn, and can not be used against natural foes like humans or animals, since they are unaffected by the spell (so it is of no use against cultists in the garden, sigh).
But even with the help from the staff, this was difficult fight, and Oolong won it by loosing 2 points of health that can't be recovered until she rests for a day.
Necromancer left nothing to chance, so he left some more minions behind. So, crossroads (28) were home for 2 zombies and one skeleton, in stalactite maze (29) Oolong met additional 3 zombies, and finally, in dining hall (30) 3 zombies and 3 skeletons.
After eliminating all undead, Oolong continued to explore. North from the dining room she stepped into underground river, with strong current. Thanks to her dexterity and Superb Balance trait, she saved from falling into the waters.
South from the dining room were necromancer's quarters, but they were empty. Necromancer was nowhere to be found.
Further south Oolong found stairs down, into the third level of the dungeon. She decided to leave them for later.
Room 35 was a store room connected with the dining room. Some food was available on the shelves, but it smelled so horribly that Oolong decided better not to touch it.
Final room on this level (36) was another caved in cave. And once again, Oolong noticed something behind the rocks. She puled it out, avoiding the falling stones (successful save) and it turned out to be a peace of precious jewelry 500gp worth.

Finally, Oolong returned to level 1 and into wizard's home to rest and return to the full strength. She is now ready to explore level 3.

Continue here.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Cultists and Necromancers - Oolong the Scarlet Hero part 4

Part 3 is here.

As you can see from the map, Oolong entered the more populated part of the dungeon.

After leaving the Wizard, Oolong returned to the bathroom. Taking western doors from there, Oolong found herself within the underground garden. But she had no chance to marvel it's beauty, since she was immediately attacked by 3 twisted cultists with 2HD each. Oolong's first attack missed, with only the fray die doing one HD of damage. Cultists seem to be experience fighters and Oolong was hit for 3 points of damage. She decided to run away from garden, and in the process she was hit again, taking 2 more points of damage and barely keeping alive with 1 health remaining. She run all the way to wizard's lair (luckily no wandering monsters appeared), where she rested for a day and recovered to full strength.
Oolong decided to ask wizard if he can give her some healing potion. Well, he can sell here some, but here in the underground it is hard to find ingredients, so the price will be doubled - 2000 gp. Well, Oollong treasure is around 200 gp,  so no potions for her.
Recovered, our hero returned to the bathroom. No matter what wonders the garden has to offer, she is not going back in there for now. So, she took north west passage and found the cistern. Obviously, water from the cistern was filling baths, and than used water was directed towards plants in the garden. Surroundings of the cistern was populated by 4 dog sized chimeras, but our hero dispatched them easily. In their lair she found 20 gp and one peace of cheap jewelry.
Road east took Oolong to the pit ledge. There, she found 4HD necromancer and 2 zombies "enjoying some privacy" (I do not even want to think about implications of that encounter twist roll).
Combat round 1:
Oolong attacks zombies, to lower the treat. One hit with attack and one with fray die, so one zombie is down. Necromancer and remaining zombie hit our hero for 1 damage each.
Combat round 2:
Necromancer decides to cast a spell. Oolong tries to attack him in order to stop casting but misses. Fray die damages zombie for 1HD. Zombie misses, necromancer casts The River Reed Bridge, spell that allows him to walk over the vertical surfaces.
Combat round 3:
Oolong concentrates attack on the Necromancer, hitting him for 2 HD. Fray die misses. Zombie hits our hero for 1 damage. Necromancer starts running down the pit. He will disappear into the darkness bellow soon...
Combat round 3: Oolong tries to hit necromancer one more time but misses. Fray die kills second zombie, Necromancer runs away.
Oolong bandaged her wounds, and returned to 5 health out of 6 maximum.

Oolong thought for a while if she should immediately follow the necromancer down, but decided not to do it, uncertain what horrors may await for her there. So, she decided to investigate the current level of the dungeon first.
Passage to the east took her to another library, but this too was destroyed by fire. Passage North east led down into the flooded cavern, so another dead end. To the north west, there was a narrow pocket in the wall. Ooloong thought she saw something glitter inside, but once she entered the pocket it turns out that it was just a reflection from her lantern upon the wet wall. But our hero realized that she is stacked between the rocks. She needed to make successful save or be trapped, but since this is dexterity chalange, she managed to pull herself back easily.
With nothing more to explore on this level (except for the garden, but she will not be going there again yet), Oolong returned to wizard's home to recover to full strength before descending into darkness of the deeper underground, on the necromancer's trail... 

Continue here.