The ruins of Syriholm – S1E03

Hexflower dungeon crawling

As Atiel returns, I will be rolling for alarms for every hex that she passes through.
Alarm roll: 1: She encounters an orc patrol!
Her sneak skill is successful and she passes past undetected.

Atiel reaches the part of Syriholm where the rats killed Erias. Her sharp ear, catches the sound of footsteps. She quickly hides in a dark alleyway as 5 orcs armed to the teeth pass through. They look as if they are searching for something. Maybe they got whiff of the party killing their kind.

Furi hex roll: 4 (doubles): goto 14: alarm
Due to the doubles there is a second pass here, and also the alarm level is decreased by one to 1.
The story clock is at 40/100.
Q: Is it an orc of dwarven alarm?
A: Orc
It’s a simple contraption. A tripwire connected to a weight that is released and rings bells.
I will roll Wit to see if Furi detects the tripwire, and then Agility to get past it (Easy Difficulty if detected).

Furi walks through a tight stone corridor that is forking down the path.
He notices that it is not very much walked. The stone floor seems to have gathered a thick film of dust. This makes Furi worried and then he realizes why. He notices a barely visible tripwire near the floor. With a careful step, he passes over it without triggering it.

Atiel has passed through the tower gate where they defeated the big orc and his archer companions without any encounter. The exit is closer!

Furi hex roll: 5 (alarm level increases by 1): goto 12: TRAP
Story clock: 52
Again, I will roll to see if he detects the trap and then if he avoids it.
He detects it but fails to avoid it. Since I have the ancient Dragon Quest by TSR, I decided to draw a card from the traps deck, and I get a trap of Greek Fire!
I decide it will do 5D damage for 3 rounds. Furi got an Incapacitated wound, but he succeeds his stamina roll and doesn’t fall unconscious.
Also I ask if there is anything of interest in the room. Let’s not forget Furi has his axe destroyed, and fights with a hatchet!
Q: Are there weapons in the room?
A: Yes
Q: Are there axes?
A: No

Furi comes upon what looks like a dwarven armory. It’s in ruins though and has been plundered by the orcs, only a few clubs remain in the weapon racks.
As he looks around, he hears a ‘click’ he has stepped on a tile that moved just slightly but Furi knows dwarven craftsmanship. This is a trap.
He tries to jump away but he fails to do so in time. A flaming liquid bursts from the floor upwards and he catches on fire. He starts rolling on the floor to extinguish it, but in the end he is scathed from the flames. Syriholm has been unforgiving to him as to his ancestors.

Atiel is at the bottom of the chasm. Alarm roll: 1: She encounters another orc patrol!
Her sneak skill is again successful and she passes again undetected.

Atiel moves on, and at the bottom of the chasm she hears shouts. She quickly jumps into a ditch and soon sees orc boots passing in front of her. Another close call, but she is so much closer to the exit now!

Furi doubles back to take the other fork in the path.

Furi: Alarm roll: 3: No encounter

Atiel reaches the entrance with the pillars. Alarm roll: 2: No encounter

Atiel finally reaches the pillared entrance to Syriholm. She’s just a few steps away from leaving the ruins.

Furi: Hex roll: 8: goto 19: BBEG!
Story clock: 71, but doesn’t matter anymore.

Q: Are there orc guards?
A: Yes, and there is also an orc shaman.
Intervention: Entity positive
Q: Is it Furi?
A: No
Q: Is it Gorkil?
A: Yes, the shaman has brought him a cart of gifts.
Q: How many orcs? (1D)
A: 8++!
Q: Can Furi jump down to grab the great axe?
A: No it requires at least one move?
Q: Can Furi jump down on the cart of gifts?
A: Yes, and, it’s so filled up he can climb on its top and get down undetected.

Furi follows the second fork in the path through a dark unused corridor.
As he reaches the end he hears sound of brute merriment. Drums banging and orcish laughter.
Slowly he creeps on, and finds himself in a balcony overlooking the Syriholm throne room.
Sitting on the throne is a black skinned orc with curved tusks. He watches in joy the festivities. This must be Gorkil.
Entering the throne room is an orc with a bag of potions hanging from a net on his belt and various small feathers and bones tied to its garments. ‘An orc shaman’ Furi thinks.
The shaman has brought with him a cart full of potions, mushrooms and trinkets that has been parked right under Furi’s balcony.
To appease Gorkil, the shaman has also brought a pair of goblin dancers. The sound of the drums by a goblin musician give the rhythm and they dance to it in what the orcs must think is a sexual dance, as they seem entranced by it.

Since Furi is so severely outnumbered and wounded, he will climb down to the cart and drink a potion. Again I turn to the dragon quest deck of cards and draw a Dragon’s Blood potion which increases strength. I roll and find that it will increase strength by 3D!
So Furi’s Might is as good as if he wasn’t wounded.
He gets down spends his Fate Point and charges at Gorkil!

Furi slowly climbs down into the shaman’s cart. The orcs are captivated by the goblin dancers and don’t seem to notice Furi descending from the shadows. Once inside he picks up a weird blue vial and gulps down the content. ‘If it’s good for Gorkil it can’t hurt me’ he thinks.
Within seconds he feels an inner fire, a rush, and invigorating strength. He draws his hatchet and with a loud roar that sounded like a dragon awoke, he charges to the throne. The orcs looking at him in disbelief.
A disfigured burned up dwarf, his beard flailing wildly, bloody wounds still evident on his body, letting of an inhuman warcry as he furiously charges towards them.
Gorkil manages to grab the great axe in the time it takes Furi to cover the distance between them. He swings the axe horizontally, but the berserk dwarf jump high and avoids the blow while simultaneously he brings down his hatchet to Gorkil’s head, severing it at the base of the neck.

Considering what just transpired (their chieftain slaughtered in an instant by a mysterious berserk dwarf) I think that the orcs may flee, may attack Furi, or even each other to become the new chieftain (orc animosity rules from warhammer).
So I ask.
Q: Do the orcs fight Furi?
A: No, and they fight each other for the chieftains spot.

With Gorkil dead the orcs pause for a moment, as Furi lifts his grandfathers great axe from the headless body.
Then they start snarling and growling. Within seconds each orc has started attacking the orc next to him.
Furi has heard about how the toughest orcs became guards to chieftains and warbosses waiting for their chance to rise to the spot. Now they fight for the spot. They won’t bother with the dwarf.

There is still the matter of the shaman. Sometimes shamans don’t care about power, so I will ask again.
Q: Does the shaman attack Furi?
A: Yes, and he won’t roll to see if he is intimidated by the bloody display. He is committed.

The shaman does not seem affected by the squabbling of the orc big ones. He turns his attention to Furi. He pulls a curved serrated blade that drips with a red liquid and slashes at him.

So Furi needs to kill the Shaman before the orc big ones kill each other and a new boss emerges who will hunt him down. If Furi is out of the throne room before this then the new orc boss will use its resources to establish rule. Otherwise it will try to eliminate the dwarf who killed the previous boss as a sign of dominance.

Furi hacks the shaman badly who barely scratches him. But it’s enough for the poison to establish and cause him discomfort as it numbs him down. The potion of dragons blood he imbibed earlier seems to counter the effects of the poisoned blade.
In the meantime orcish swords clash. Three orcs our of eight are down dead or mortally wounded.

The fighting continues among all parties without much of a result apart from some scratches.

But in the next few seconds Furi brings down the frenzied shaman as two more orcs are downed by their competition.

I roll for Furi to climb up so that he can return from the way he came. Success.

Not losing a chance, Furi climbs up the cart and back into the balcony as the three remaining orcs spill blood further…

Out in the woods a wounded dwarf can barely keep his footing. Furi stumbles towards a small campfire in the distance. A figure approaches, and as he falls down from wounds and exhaustion he can almost discern the face of Atiel. The elf didn’t abandon him completely.
The next day, a bandaged dwarf and
his elf companion ride out. A relic great axe in possession, an oath fulfilled, and the memories of friends gone forever.

Wow didn’t see that coming. The dwarf managed to get his family heirloom back, against all odds.

I think my endeavor wasn’t completely successful, it was interesting though and I learned a lot from my mistakes.
After 6 hexes, the party was decimated and I thought that the fun was over. Despite that, the story part of the hexflower kicked in. A side passage allowed Furi to reach the throne room after having to pass only alarms and traps! What a turn of fate!

Low fantasy and dungeon crawling don’t mix unless you take it into account. So I didn’t want to have healing potions, clerics casting blessings and wizards casting fireballs. That’s a problem when you go into a dungeon. You need resources. The party strength is drained and needs recovery and healing one wound level at each camping, just ain’t gonna cut it.

MiniSix and OpenD6, StarWarsD6 are not suited for party soloing even when streamlined with the success counts system that I homebrewed. MiniSix especially has a really high dice count. Furi and Cane for example had 7 and 6 dice respectively on their attacks and 8 dice on their damage. Add to that rhe other two part members, the opposed rolls and the enemy attacks, I was drowning in dice rolls. I won’t be using this game system again for dungeon crawls or for large combats.

I don’t know the balance of MiniSix. I found it hard to balance the encounters, and sometimes my party felt either overpowered or nerfed.
I had a feeling of 2D attributes, 3D skills for mooks and about 1D-2D higher for PCs and NPCs. At least that’s how Star Wars D6 is set up. But in MiniSix the numbers are way off in a higher range. I had the feeling many times that the combat was wrong.

Being both story hexcrawl GM and player party at the same time is very taxing. There were just too many things to take into account. Since I was missing the tables that a traditional dungeon generator uses,
I had to tap into my creativity and the Oracle as well as make PC decisions. That was tough. Bookkeeping was a mess (did I point out I’m lazy?), and I’m sure I failed to take into account some wound disadvantage at one time or two.

Things I enjoyed:
I found that the concept was fun and easy to run. I had traps, encounters, a story, and a dungeon not restricted by normal boundaries, while at the same time the randomness allowed for surprises. Patching with doubles allows for some tactics on the player part, and I was lucky to use this mechanic and find the BBEG when all seemed lost!
The alarm clock mechanic seems okay as well as the story resolution clock mechanic. They may need fine tuning in the future.

Overall experience: At times I was bored, at times I was frustrated, and at times I really wanted to see what would happen next. The Fate point mechanic saved the day, as in the Night of the Blood adventure I played. It’s quite strong but it gives a nice cinematic effect, and that’s really what it’s about. If I switch systems I’m going to miss it.

If you think it’s interesting I can upload a second version with all the game system roll mechanics included.