Unbeohrt’s Story – A simple experiment with secret clocks

Introduction

In this session I will run a simple Sword & Sorcery adventure to test an example of the Secret Clocks that I posted about last time.
This is as much as an example as an experiment. Nothing will be modified. This means that if the protagonist dies before having a chance to trigger the clock, then that’s it.
Setting: pulp low fantasy sword and sorcery.
Game system: Savage Worlds Deluxe Explorer’s Edition
Oracle: Recluse
Tools: Game Master’s Apprentice basic deck
Clock: Independent Secret Clock

Prologue

“The tracks lead inside”. Hulfa lifts his head off the ground like a hound stalking its prey.
“Let’s go then!” Unbeohrt unseathes his two swords and steps inside the dimly lit ruins.
Hulfa stands motionless.
“Chief Tane didn’t pay me to accompany you Unbeohrt. Only to track the kidnappers.” He replies.
“Begone then you filthy curr! I’ll deal with them alone.” Unbeohrt doesn’t stay to see Hulfa leave. Time is of the essence. The Kazami, the tribe of the filthy short apemen who have pestered his people for generations, raided his village and kidnapped chieftain Tane’s daughter, Atrin. Symas, the seer has advised the chieftain that they are to sacrifice her to Mannazuu, their cthonic deity.
Unbeohrt’s drew the shorter stick, and now here he was, stepping upon the cold, ancient stones that comprise the ruins of the temple to Mannazuu.

Protagonist

NameUnbeohrt
ArchetypeFighter, Fencer
RaceHuman
HindrancesHeroic, Loyal, Outsider
EdgesFlorentine, Two Fisted, Ambidextrous
Weapons2 x short sword
ArmorLeather armor

Dungeon

I will be using the Dragon Quest board to run this dungeon romp.
The adventure will begin in the central south main room.
Upon entry of each new room, I will be rolling 1dn to get the number of exits. Where n is the number of possible exits based on the map board, including the entrance of the room.
In addition on each new room I will draw a GMA card and pick whatever of the senses feedback makes more sense.
If any of the GMA cards includes both a 👑 and a 🎯 symbol, it’s going to be the final room, and the sacrifice clock will be revealed. Atrin, the Apeman shaman and the Apeman chieftain will be in the room.
The last possible room will include them if they haven’t triggered until then.
Each room except the final will have 1d6-1d6 number of apemen.
Note: For the first two rooms I had rolled 1d3+1, but then I quickly realized that I need to have a chance for no encounters, and I came up with this new rule.

Opposition

Standard apemen will have the goblin stats.
The apemen guards of the last room will have the orc stats.
The apeman chieftain will have the orc chieftain stats without the armor.
The apeman shaman will have orc stats and d8 in miracles and Stun and Entangle.

Sacrifice Clock

The sacrifice clock will be an Independent Secret Clock.
Each turn I will draw face down a poker card from a blue deck (since Savage Worlds uses standard poker decks for initiative, I will use a separate red deck). Three consecutive clubs ♣️ will mean that the sacrifice clock has triggered and Atrin has been killed. Revelation of the clock will be performed when Unbeohrt enters the room were Atrin is being held.

entrance

Turn 1

Exits: 2
Apemen: 4
sacrifice clock card drawn face down.
Initiative: Unbeohrt (U): Q♥️, Apemen (A): 6♦
U: attacks A1: 5/5: Hit: 8/4: Dead
U: attacks A2: 21/5: Hit+: 7/4: Shaken
A2: Spirit: 1/4: Fail, Shaken
A3: attacks U: 2/8: Miss
A4: attacks U: 3/8: Miss

Turn 2

sacrifice clock card drawn face down.
Initiative: U: 10♥, A: 2♥
U: attacks A3: 8/5: Hit: 9/4: Dead
U: attacks A4: 7/5: Hit: 7/4: Shaken
A2: Spirit: 7/4: Success, will act on next round
A3: Spirit: 1/4: Fail, Shaken

Turn 3

sacrifice clock card drawn face down.
Initiative: U: 7♦, A: K♦
A2: attacks U: 5/8: Miss
A3: Spirit: 4/4: Success, will act on next round
U: attacks A2: 9/5: Hit+: 11/4: Dead
U: attacks A3: 12/6: Hit+: 6/4: Shaken

Turn 4

sacrifice clock card drawn face down.
Initiative: U: Joker, A: 8♦, Deck reshuffled.
U: attacks A3: 13/6: Hit+: 10/4: Dead

The dimly torch lit entrance is damp, but the air isn’t stale. There has been movement. A few steps forward, and Unbeohrt comes face to face with four short apemen, who curse something in their language and lash at him with spiked clubs and makeshift spears. They block his way to both doors that lead deeper into the temple.
With a natural flow of movement, he guts one of them open, while hacking at the second. His dance-like posture evades their raw attacks, and one by one, the rest of the apemen fall under his twin blades.

Turn 5

Unbeohrt enters the left side room.
Exits: 4
Apemen: 4
GMA Card: clock not revealed.
Sensory Snippet: A scream
Unbeohrt: Notice: 5/4: Success. I roll randomly. The scream sounded from behind him. He must have gone the wrong way.
sacrifice clock card drawn face down.
Initiative: U: ️Joker, A: 8♦, Deck reshuffled.
U: attacks A1: 5/5: Hit: 7/4: Shaken
U: attacks A2: 10/5: Hit+: 20/4: Dead
A3: attacks U: 5/8: Miss
A4: attacks U: 1/8: Miss
Note: Totally forgot to roll for recovering from shaken for A1 in this turn.

Turn 6

sacrifice clock card drawn face down.
Initiative: U: ️4♣, A: 8♥
A1: Spirit: 3/4: Fail, Shaken
A3: attacks U: 2/8: Miss
A4: attacks U: 2/8: Miss
U: attacks A1: 4/5: Miss
U: attacks A3: 5/5: Hit: 5/4: Shaken

Turn 7

sacrifice clock card drawn face down.
Initiative: U: ️5♥, A: 3♣
U: attacks A1: 16/5: Hit+: 15/4: Dead
U: attacks A4: 13/5: Hit+: 12/4: Dead
A1: Spirit: 2/4: Fail, Shaken

Turn 8

sacrifice clock card drawn face down.
Initiative: U: ️Joker, A: K♥, Deck reshuffled.
U: attacks A1: 5/5: Hit: 10/4: Dead

western room

Having opened the path, Unbeohrt enters the door to his left. He has barely managed to open it, and gaze upon four more apemen groveling, when a loud female scream is heard behind him. ‘It must be Atrin!’ he thinks. He’s about to turn back, but he isn’t the only one who heard the scream. The four apemens’ attention has turned to him. They present their weapons and charge at him.
He makes short work of them, without getting even a single scratch in the process. Both his short swords are now covered in blood, and he wipes it off in the fur of one of the dead apemen, as he rushes back to find the origin of the scream.

Turn 9

sacrifice clock card drawn face down.
Unbeohrt returns and enters the right side room which is a passageway.
Exits: 2
Apemen: 0
GMA Card: clock not revealed.
Sensory Snippet: Tread on something gummy

Turn 10

sacrifice clock card drawn face down.
Unbeohrt enters the only other room.
Exits: 3
Apemen: 3
GMA Card: clock not revealed.
Sensory Snippet: The air is hazy
Note: a bit confused with my ntoes here, as the combat begins in the next turn. Maybe Unbeohrt was out of moves.

Turn 11

sacrifice clock card drawn face down.
Initiative: U: ️Q♣, A: 4♦
U: attacks A1: 10/5: Hit+: 10/4: Dead
U: attacks A2: 4/5: Miss
A2: attacks U: 7/8: Miss
A3: attacks U: 1/8: Miss

Turn 12

sacrifice clock card drawn face down.
Initiative: U: ️J♥, A: 8♠
U: attacks A2: Snake Eyes: Benny: 8/5: Hit: 8/4: Dead
U: attacks A3: 14/5: Hit+: 15/4: Dead

Following the general direction of the scream, Unbeohrt enters a narrow passageway. He steps upon a weird gooish substance and continues to the only door on the side. As he enters, he comes across three surprised apemen. They begin muttering something, but Unbeohrt doesn’t waste time in conversation. He slits the throat of one, while his friends charge. He ducks down their swings and with a quick strike, extending both his arms, he stabs them both, spilling their blood to the ground.
Quickly he continues down the ruined temple.

Turn 13

sacrifice clock card drawn face down.
Unbeohrt enters the room continuing east.
Exits: 2
Apemen: 0
GMA Card: clock not revealed.
Sensory Snippet: Soggy crumbling ground
The ground isn’t safe. If Unbeohrt isn’t careful we may fall down in a pit. I’ll see first if he notices it.
Notice: 5/4: Success. He notices it so he doesn’t fall in.
Q: Can he reach the other side to the door without falling?
A: Yes, and it’s quite safe, there is no danger (no need to roll).
Unbeohrt reaches the other side.

Turn 14

sacrifice clock card drawn face down.
Unbeohrt enters the southeastern corner room.
GMA Card: ♕, ☉. The sacrificial clock is triggered!.

revealed cards

She’s alive!

Apemen: 1d6+1 = 4. 2 apemen guards, the apemen chief and the apemen shaman.

As he walks through the rubble, he notices that the supports are barely standing. Unbeohrt walks to the side of the wall where the bricks are still connected to the foundation and reaches the entrance to the other side.
As he walks past the arched entrance, he hears a grunted chanting in an unknown language. Upon an altar is Atrin. She’s still alive! Unbeohrt breathes out a sigh of relief. But the sickled blade in the hand of the robed apeman alerts him of the imminent danger. Three apemen are holding her down. These are big ones, unlike the short variety he met before. And the one in the middle is even bigger, resembling a gorilla.
Unbeohrt grits his teeth. That’s his moment. He swore a vow to chief Tane. Atrin needs his help.
His blade flashing he jumps in the room. “Eat my steel you primitives!” He shouts to attract their attention and charges.

Initiative: U: Q♥, A: 2♦, Shaman (S): Q♦, Chieftain (C): 9♣, Atrin (At): A♥
Atrin is still under the strong hold of the apemen.
U: attacks A1: 10/5: Hit+: 18/4: Dead
U: attacks A2: 10/5: Hit+: 12/4: Dead
S: casts Stun to U: 10/4: Success+. U: Vigor-2: 1: Failure: Shaken.
C: attacks U: 10/8: Hit: 11/6: Wounded. Benny: U: Vigor: 5/4: Not Wounded.

Turn 15

Initiative: U: 8♦,S: A♠, C: 2♠, At: 6♦
S: casts Entangle to U: 9 vs 7: Success
U: Spirit: 25/4: Success+: Not shaken, can act!
U: attacks C: 9/8: Hit: 8/8: Shaken
U: attacks C: 7/8: Miss
Q: Does Atrin attempt to fight?
A: False Presupposition. She runs away, out of the door.
C: Spirit: 8/4: Success+: Not shaken, can act!
C: attacks U: 6/8: Miss

Turn 16

Initiative: U: 10♥,S: 3♥, C: K♣
C: attacks U: 10/8: Hit: 12/6: Wounded. Benny: U: Vigor: 3/4: Failure, Wounded
U: Agility: 5/4: Breaks free of Entangle
U: attacks C: 8/8: Hit: 11/8: Shaken
U: attacks C: 8/8: Hit: 12/8: Wounded
S: attacks U: 2/8: Miss

Turn 17

Initiative: U: 2♥,S: 4♣, C: 10♠
C: Spirit: 9/4: Success+: Not shaken, can act!
C: attacks U: 10/8: Hit: 22/6: Dead

Resolution

With a quick feint and slash, Unbeohrt cuts off the heads of the two apemen guards who turned to face him.
The apeman shaman mutters something in their unknown language, and Unbeohrt suddenly feels a wave of despair filling every fiber of his being. He cannot bring himself to fight back as the gorilla-man brings down a huge two handed battle axe on him, and he barely manages to dodge it in time.
Atrin finds the opportunity in the fight and runs off from the way Unbeohrt came. Neither of the two apemen goes after her as they are preoccupied with the warrior in front of them.
With another spell, dark tentacles sprout from between the gaps in the stone floor, distracting Unbeohrt. They grab his arms, his legs, hindering his movements. He manages to break off the first spell and attack the gorilla man, slashing at him, as he momentarily stops his attack. But he’s too strong to be stopped that easily, he brings down his axe once more wounding Unbeohrt. The warrior gathers his strength and with agility he evades the tentacles, slashing off a couple of them. He pays back the gorilla-man with a wound of his own, spilling the blood of his leg.
The huge apeman growls and with a quick strike, he aims right for Unbeohrt’s torso. The warrior puts both his swords in front of him in a futile attempt to block the strike, but its too strong. The swords are broken in half and the heavy axe blade splits open Unbeohrt’s chest, his leather armor doing nothing to save him.

As he spits blood in his final breath, he can but hope that Atrin reached Hulfa in the outside, and she escaped, so that his death was not all in vain.

Summary

Savage Worlds was an excellent choice for running a one-shot example. I really liked it. Fast, furious, fun indeed! The Wild Card status of Unbeohrt gave him the upper hand, and since it’s the first time I used the Fighter, Fencer archetype, I must say I was pleasently surprised as the two-non-penalty attacks were an excellent boost for the solo game action economy. The dice didn’t favor him in the end against the gorilla chieftain (who was unbalanced against him), and he ended up dying. Maybe if he hadn’t spent that one Benny to kill the apeman in the room before, he would still be alive. Nevertheless he managed to save Atrin (most probably) and took down 13 apemen before he died!

Clock

Now on to the Secret Clock. I must say I really enjoyed it. Even though at first I was like, okay there’s nothing going on, when I started gathering the cards, when the time for revelation came, I was so excited! And the fact that if I had chosen a different suit (spades for example) the clock would be triggered, is an excellent example of how close I came to find the ritual concluded. I am looking forward to trying the rest of the examples I have in mind.