In the Trollshaws. Ep06

Battered, the party looks at each other.
“Since we’re here, we might as well take a look inside!” Leowyn says.
They head in, not losing any time scouting the yard or the remaining towers. Dwalin up front, followed by Leowyn, and Camthalion at the rear.

Despite having some meta knowledge, the party is in a bad shape, and an encounter even with the few remaining orcs could be fatal. Nevertheless I decided to take the risk. It’s all or nothing!

Q: Is everything as expected?
A: No, roll 1d8 on TWENE: 1: Increase Simple Element. The keep is in an even worse status of disrepair.

From the main gate to the east side of the keep, the party enters the ground floor of the hexagon shaped keep. Window slits light the room. It must have been a beautiful, elegant hall, but no more, the walls are hung with torn tapestries and ruined paintings. Broken sculpts fill the inscribed stone floor. A set of stairs to the west side lead up, and another leads down.

I decide to reach for the upper levels first. If there’s any reinforcements arriving, we should be able to see them from there.

“We should go up first. The vantage point could be important if we’re going to have any visitors.” Says Camthalion, and the party agrees, taking the upstairs.

Q: Is everything as expected?
A: No, roll 1d8 on TWENE. 6: Decrease major element.

According to the module, there was not much here. I decide that most of the balcony has collapsed, and the quarters are not reachable.

Most of the second floor is totally ruined. There’s no telling what purpose this floor served. Access to the windows of the east side isn’t possible, so the party moves on to the top, third floor of the keep.

Q: Is everything as expected?
A: Yes, but it’s going to be Unlikely in the next scene question.

They reach the top floor. There’s a door to their left, and one to the front, left ajar, leading to the east side of the keep, from where they can stand watch. Weapons drawn, they go inside.

Q: Is everything as expected? (Unlikely)
A: No, roll 1d8 on TWENE. 8: Remove major element. So the orc lookout isn’t here. It’s possible that they weren’t here in the first place (maybe they weren’t as disciplined as they should), or seeing the demise of their friends are hiding elsewhere in the floor. They can’t have fled because they’d have met with the party. Unless they decided to head in the lower levels, which is unlikely.

The party enters a slightly big room with windows overlooking the courtyard and the path leading to the castle.
“I’ll stay here and watch while you search. I’ll warn you if I see anyone approaching.” Says Leowyn, seathing her sword and drawing her bow. She takes position at one of the windows and watches.

Dwalin and Camthalion start searching the floor on a counter clockwise fashion. They go to the door to the north and open it, carefully.

Q: Is everything as expected?
A: Yes, but it’s going to be Unlikely in the next scene.

They come across a room with various texts of experiments and weird apparatuses, all in disarray.

Let’s see if Dwalin finds anything interesting.
Perception: 96+94+23-30=183: Absolute Success!
I can’t believe it. They found the one secret room that even Ar Gular didn’t know existed!

Dwalin notices something odd about the bookshelves. He pushes them a bit, and discovers a tiny hidden chamber behind them! Inside they find texts on weird experiments on altering the size of beasts. Having a nose for valuable things, the Dwarf takes out his backpack and puts the papers carefully inside. He may not have found his relic, but the expedition has already paid off.

They enter the room to the west.

Q: Is everything as expected? (Unlikely)
A: No, and, roll 1d10 on TWENE: 7: Add Major Element.

Hacking RecMUNE even further. I've noticed that Recluse plays with probabilities by using an advantage dice on the respective Black or White die. This weighs results towards an and result. If I added a disadvantage dice on the opposite Black or White die, this would weigh results towards a but result. So I will add a disadvantage hack on the opposite die for a Slightly Likely/Slightly Unlikely probability, thus gaining more granularity.

It’s pretty clear to me that the Major Element is the orc lookout who was removed from the Observatory room. Most likely hiding somewhere inside. If he’s not seen, he’ll try to ambush our party (if he doesn’t act in anyway, then why add this Major Element, makes no sense).
So for hiding, there are no opposed rolls, only a Perception roll modified by the Search bonus of the searcher, and the Hide bonus of the hidden person. Dwalin has a +23, the Orc has a +12, but Dwalin has also a +20 bonus because of his absolute success in the previous roll.

Perception: 05-97-38+23-12+20=-99: Blunder. You may not try again on the same topic (the room in the same day).

The Library’s walls are filled with Floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. Old maps and torn-up books are everywhere on the floor and tables. Everything is covered in dust.
As Dwalin enters the library and starts to search for secret rooms similar to the one he found before, he hears a scream, and an orc jumps out from between the bookshelves, coming at him, with his hatchet.

I need to ask a question first.
Q: Does the orc have a facing advantage?
A: Yes. Since it’s a simple yes, I’ll go with Flank. If it was a Yes, And I’d go with rear attack. This is in addition to the surprised bonus.

So normally Camthalion would go first, but since this combat initiates with the appearance of the orc and it’s attack, I’ll go with this first. I won’t risk it, and commit all of Dwalin’s OB to parrying (+66).
Also the Orc here doesn’t suffer much from daylight. I’ll only give them a -20.

Round 1

Orc: attacks Dwalin (Surprised): 65+63+20+15+5-20-66-30-20=32:-.
Camthalion: moves behind Orc on the other side of the bookshelf corridor.
Dwalin: attacks Orc: 89-30=59: 4 hits.

Round 2

Camthalion: attacks Orc (Rear attack): 61+23+20+15-5: 114: 12B: 40-10=30: Blow to upper leg. +5 hits. If no leg armor: +3 hits & 2 hits/rnd.
Orc: attacks Dwalin: 07+63+5-30-20=25:-.
Dwalin: attacks Orc: 82+66-30=118: 16C: 37: Blow to forearm. +5 hits. If no arm armor, stunned 1 round.

Round 3

Camthalion: attacks Orc (Rear attack, stunned): 73+23+20+20+15-5=146: 18E: 32+20=52: Minor forearm wound. +4 hits. 2 hits per round. Stunned 1 round.
Orc: Stunned.
Dwalin: attacks Orc (Stunned): 86+66+20-30=142: 21E: 48+20=68: Blow breaks bone in leg. +12 hits. -40 to activity. Stunned 2 rounds. Orc is down.

The Orc hacks at the surprised Dwarf, who puts all his effort to deflect his blow, successfully. He manages a weak hit as Camthalion closes in from the otherside of the bookshelf corridor. Now the orc has nowhere to go.
Camthalion jabs with his sword, thrusting it in the upper leg of the orc, causing it to cry out, as black blood starts pouring. The pain is searing and the orc can’t get a hit on Dwalin, who now has turned to face him. The element of surprise is gone, and the orc understands their stupidity.
The realization hits as hard as Dwalin’s heavy mace on the orc’s forearm, stunning him.
Camthalion follows up from behind, slashing at the wounded arm, causing further bleeding. The orc is unable to react, as Dwalin finishes it off with a downwards strike on the leg, breaking it to the bone. It cries and falls down in pain, losing consciousness.

The duo proceeds to check the room to the south.
Q: Is everything as expected?
A: Yes

Going through the door to the south, they pass through what seems to be the the servant’s quarters, and proceed further south.

Q: Is everything as expected?
A: No. Roll 1d8 on TWENE: 5: Increase major element. This is the Lord’s bedroom, there is no important Major Element here, so it’s all grander than usual.

The last room, seems to have been the bedroom of the lord of the castle. What grabs the attention is the exquisite bed and linens. It looks as if it’s still being used. Opening the last door, the party realizes they have come full circle, and having searched the entire floor, they go to find Leowyn.

In the back of my head I still have the appearance of the Orc captain and possibly 0-2 orcs. I’ll only make them have an appearance if the oracle rolls deem so (through an intervention maybe), which are quite common as I keep asking at each and every room.

“Everything okay?” Leowyn asks them. “I think I heard some cries…”
“Nothing we couldn’t handle.” Says Dwalin, tapping gently at his mace.
“Did you find anything?” She asks.
“Some research papers of value, but nothing relevant to our current tasks. We should be on our way. Anything to report here?” Dwalin points to the window.
“Nothing so far.” Leowyn responds.
“Then we head down below.” The Dwarf leads the way back downstairs.

Again, I cannot choose the direction to go first in the Level One of the Underchambers (sounds ominous doesn’t it?). So, I’ll roll 1d3: Left to the Hall of Heroes, Ahead to the Arena, or Right to the Storage Room (it also leads further down, but the group doesn’t want to leave without searching the entire floor).
1: Left to the Hall of Heroes.

Q: Is everything as expected?
A: No. Roll 1d8 on TWENE: 5: Increase major element. The major element here is the 50 gp tucked into the paintings at the end of the hall near the great statue. I’ll make it 75 gp.

The long narrow passage is filled with the family portraits of, what seems to have been the inhabitants of the castle. They appear useless. At the end of the hallway a huge statue stands.

Dwalin: Perception: 38+23=61. Failure.

Nothing seems to grab the attention of the party, and they proceed to the door to their right, leading into an Arena like room.

I was very lucky here. The adventure states that if I tried to take the jewelry (that’s a lot of gold) the stone statue would wake up. It’s essentially a golem, and the strongest enemy in the adventure. But we never found or saw anything to make the party look further.

Q: Is everything as expected?
A: No, and. Roll 1d10 on TWENE. 6. Decrease major element. It’s either the bear, or the gold: the gold. I’ll reduce it to half.

Coins of all sorts of metals litter the entire floor of the room. Dwalin’s eyes glimmer with desire. What awakens him from the trance of gold, is a muffled growl, increasing in intensity and becoming a thundering roar. In the center of the room, rattling it’s chained leg is a huge bear.
“Look at that gold!” Dwalin shouts. “You’re good with the bow! Kill it!”
“I won’t slaughter a chained up beast just for the sake of petty gold. We should move on.” Camthalion counters.

Now, for me this is a great example for party dissent. The dwarf wants the gold. The elf doesn’t want to kill the poor bear. This isn’t a GM decision, but two players, and the odd thing is I’m running both.
So I’ll roll Influence skills for both, and decide what will happen based on the following table.

Dwalin\CamthalionSuccessFailure
SuccessThey fight each other for their beliefsDwalin convinces Camthalion
FailureCamthalion convinces DwalinDwalin will attempt to kill the bear on his own

Dwalin has a Presence penalty of -5, and Camthalion has a Presence bonus of +20

Dwalin: 34-5=29: Failure
Camthalion: 13+20=33: Failure

Dwalin scoffs. He readies mace and shield and goes in front of the bear. “If you don’t want to help, I’ll do it on my own.”

Round 1

Bear: attacks Dwalin: 53+70-30=93: 5A: 19-20=-1: Fairly weak hit. +0 hits. Zip.
Dwalin: attacks Bear: 04+63-30-20=17: 0

Round 2

Bear: attacks Dwalin: 82+70-30=122: 11C: 51: Blow to shield arm. +5 hits. Shield torn away. Dwalin is down.
Camthalion: attempts to drag him away. MM: 87+35=122: 100% success.

The stout dwarf enters the arena. His gaze fixed on the bear. It growls, and brings it’s paws down on the dwarf, falling like rocks on him. The fight wears him out, and despite holding on, he fails to counter. Without pause, the bear doubles back, and a strong sweep tears Dwalin’s shield away. The strike is more than the dwarf can handle and he drops. Without wasting a moment, Camthalion gets in harms way, and swiftly, drags Dwalin out of the bear’s reach.
He looks at the bandaged Leowyn, and the unconscious dwarf. Under the sound of the growls, he tells Leowyn. “We should leave. We can always return later.”

Q: Is the shield reachable?
A: Yes, and, it’s next to them, far from the bear.

“We should. We can camp out of harms way for a day or two, maybe somewhere with a vantage point to make sure noone comes back here without us knowing.” Leowyn adds, as she picks up Dwalin’s shield, and the three of them leave the keep.

So I’ll roll for the quality of the camp site. 73: A good, hidden camp site, with view on the keep and road.


Day 11, Hithui, 4th Watch

The weather (5) stays warm with clear skies and calm winds.
Encounters: 66/16+50=66:-/- (I’m giving the avoidance roll a +50 bonus since the party is actively hiding, and they have a good camp site).

Day 11-12, Hithui, Overnight

The weather (5) stays warm with clear skies but a breeze warns of the impending rain.
The weather (7) becomes cold, overcast, with steady rain, and a breeze.
The weather (7) stays cold, overcast, with steady rain, and the wind becomes a gale.
Right before dawn, the weather (9) becomes cool, overcast, with light rain, and the wind becomes a breeze again.
Encounters: 95/16+50+25=91:-/- (I’m giving an additional +25 bonus to the avoidance roll due to the weather).

Q: Does anyone reach the castle?
A: No, and. The heavy rain have made the road impassable. It’s doubtful anyone can come.

Overnight, the party has recovered 20 hit points. Leowyn is back at full strength. Her bleeding has stopped. Dwalin is at 16 hits.

Camthalion casts a healing spell on Dwalin: Spell: 19: Success: Heals 1 hits. Dwalin is at 17 hits.

The heavy rain makes resting uneasy, but it ensures noone will bother the three. Camthalion and Dwalin barely speak to each other, but as Camthalion casts his healing words on the Dwarf at first light, Dwalin mumbles. “Thank you. For saving my life.”
Camthalion nods, and the party gathers to consider their next steps.


Bookkeeping

NameDays Rations
Camthalion6
Dwalin6
Leowyn8

Arrows: Camthalion is at 18 arrows.

Critical DeliveredOrcBear
Camthalion1050
Dwalin00
Leowyn00
Kill PointsEP
Camthalion0
Dwalin195
Leowyn0
Criticals ReceivedEP
Camthalion0
Dwalin400
Leowyn0
Hits ReceivedEP
Camthalion0
Dwalin21
Leowyn0
SpellcastingEP
Camthalion100
Maneuver PointsEP
Camthalion50
Dwalin0
Leowyn0
Non-Idea EP TotalEP
Camthalion255
Dwalin616
Leowyn0

I’ll give the entire part half the total as idea points. 435 EP total, 145 each.

Summing up, from previous session.

NameExperience Points
Camthalion3488 EP
Dwalin5241 EP
Leowyn2689 EP

Money: The party pool is 9sp, 4bp, 2cp and 3tp.

Hit Points: Dwalin is at 17 hit points, Leowyn is at full hit points, Camthalion is at full hit points.

When I resume on next session, I need to remind myself to draw a card for Leddon’s secret clock.


Session Background

Loved getting into the dungeon, even though I had to get the party out before finishing the delve. I wasn’t entirely sure about how I played the interaction between the party, but I think it played out okay in the end.
Since this and the previous session were dungeon delving, I decided not to use the BOLD connections for intra-party banter. It felt weird not doing the same routine I did in the past sessions, but it was a valid choice, focusing on dungeon crawl instead.
Once more the oracle and random generators provide ample feedback to make an interesting story. I expected to find Ar Gular or Thuk returning to the keep (meta knowledge here, it’s a pre-written module) but the heavy rain (or something else) seems to have stopped them from doing so.
Dwalin is the heavy hitter of the party, and I must consider getting him back to strength before going back in. Maybe forage for some herbs to help in healing. But is waiting, worth the risk?