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Quest against the Darkmaster (PbP)

As Leofred brushes past Gertrun, she looks at him with bleary (as if she has just wakened) and wondering eyes. Beyond her, Leofred sees Olwen, at the far end of the bedchamber, moving a full-length mirror from off the wall. It is swinging away from the wall as if it is a door on hinges, and the darkness of empty space is on its other side! Further cursory impressions, as Leofred moves to Engage with Olwen, are the items of a typical bedchamber. Ambrosius lies, perhaps just waking, in a large bed, the curtains pulled back so that he can easily be tended to by Gertrun, who, judging by scattered bedclothes, was just sleeping on a trundle bed near Ambrosius's own. The room is dimly lit with an oil lamp on a bedside table, and there appears to be a wardrobe, a desk, and perhaps other items of furniture within the room.

[In Abstract Positioning terms, this room will comprise a single Area. Depending on the Length of the weapon used, furniture, etc., may cause some penalties or impediments.]

Gyantwaka's gaze cycles from Olwen's door, to Ambrosius's door, to the stairwell, to even the doors (shut) to Ambrosius's study and the kitchen. Nothing emerges from any of these locations to provide him with a deserving target.

The creature indeed descends another quarter move, into the deepening shadows. Gwenhild's challenge produces no response from her foe.

Creature (I think I have this right now): +126 Hits, Bleed 8, -65 to activity

End of Round

So Gwenhild would have moved back up the stair and towards her comrades last round, perhaps ending around the doorway Gyantwaka is at.

Has Leofred managed to engage with Olwen and attack him this round?  If the room's furnishings have not been moved he was aware of the layout. If they created enough obstacle he couldn't move to Olwen right away (arduous terrain) understood or if he needed make a check of some sort to do that also understood etc.

Also is this the same scene for purpose of Leofred's Drive Points he spent for +20 (from his perspective he spent them to fend off the foul assault on the library and this is certainly the heart of that, the creature was the spear cast, here is the one who cast it!).  I admit to not having a good grasp of 'scene' economy as I'm used to systems where "new scenes" recharge PC abilities (once-a-scene ones recharge, inter-scene breathing points recover temp. hps etc.) so "new scene" is something players want to hear, which is not the same here.

In next round, I'm assuming Olwen's declared action is "open window-door" and the door is still "being opened".

If so PC's declared actions.

The Next Round

If we are into a new round, during Assessment, Leofred cries out 'Fouls magics, everyone to me!'

(This is all a bit dependent on a rules interpretation, his armour makes his Athletics worse than otherwise but in this case he's not trying to jump over something but might as well be "falling into it" as he would be using his weight as much as strength etc., and actually wearing armour/being heavier would appear helpful rather than a hindrance - it's at least not a hindrance then it's Option A for Athletics, if the armour would be hindering his Athletics as normal then its Option S for Sword).

Leofred Option A - Having taken in the scene, he shifts his intents for this round. He declares move across the room and push against the mirror-door to shut it (he's got shield and sword, if he can get to the mirror-door he will use the shield side to push putting his shoulder into it with his weight behind him - if anything/one attacks him he doesn't have the benefit of the shield unless its from the "door side").

  • Perhaps this is a conflicting Athletics with Olwen (Olwen should still have his -40 crit penalty, he's had some hours of rest for hp but unless he's got a special trick that penalty hopefully still applies), likely resolving in the Other Actions phase.
  • If there is room he is trying to push on the end of door further away from its 'hinges' than Olwen, as that gives advantage, if there is not and he has to push at Olwen (still with shield) that's what he does, in any event perhaps "throwing your weight" against a door is easier than "using your weight to pull on it".

Leofred Option S (if armour penalties would hinder his Athletics, pretty much wiping out his advantage from Olwen's wound penalty) - Using his Sword (length Long) he will attack Olwen after all - Olwen has either stopped opening door and turned or is being attacked from the Rear.

Gyantwaka's action is half move to the doorway, and he will move further in to clear doorway for Gwenhild, keeping his bow aimed towards the opening/Olwen.

Gwenhild will also move to the doorway and into the room (if Leofred couldn't do that and engage with Olwen last round, she can't this round, she will aim to get close to Olwen (within reach) she'll do that - trying to be between him/the opening portal and Ambrosius.  If with her "longest" reach spear she could get close enough to take a -20 combined action stab at Olwen, she will do that.

(edited and revised with some thought about it all).

Has Leofred managed to engage with Olwen and attack him this round?  If the room's furnishings have not been moved he was aware of the layout. If they created enough obstacle he couldn't move to Olwen right away (arduous terrain) understood or if he needed make a check of some sort to do that also understood etc.

I think, whenever I use Abstract Positioning from here on out, I'll draw a picture and identify the Areas. When I use meters, I'll provide a key or draw on graph paper. Basically, a character can move to any point in an Area as a Half Move. Moving into an adjacent Area requires a Full Action. An average room will be one Area, and hallways connecting them, likewise, will be one Area. So Leofred moved from the transverse hallway into Ambrosius's room (from one Area to another) for a Full Action. He is Engaged, but cannot attack.

But, New Round (and, yep, we're still in the same Scene!):

I'll indeed say that Leofred's armor will not be a hindrance. So you can roll Athletics without its penalty, but anything short of a full Success will result in something broken (most likely the mirror). However, if you take the armor adjustment and don't succeed, nothing is broken (short of a Critical Failure), but you don't succeed.

Gyantwaka is in the transverse hallway with readied bow, and Gwenhild enters Ambrosius's room.

[Out of curiosity, what kind of games are you playing? Did you tell me before? I remember that you once rolled "defense" here, something another game you play uses. In my own experience, yeah, Conan 2d20 is one of those where a change of Scene means that Vigor and Resolve is restored, but one Momentum is lost and any Scene-based effects are lost, as we see here.]

Thanks,

Leofred's armour does not hinder him (full success needed) as he throws himself across the room bringing his weight to bear against the mirror door to try to close it.

  • d100 = 36 + Skill 50 +Drive 20 = 106, full success (I was literally about 70% likely to get full success and would have rerolled with Drive point and now 80% if that failed so while broken mirror sounds bad I was fairly confident - of course until you tell me there as a difficulty modifier)

[OOC, Fate is the game 2nd last played (Call of Cthulhu last) and it uses an opposed Defend action [Where a good defense leaves foe worse off], before that a bit of Burning Wheel, a lot of Warhammer 3rd Edition and some indie games such as In a Wicked Age, years and years of various D&D edition before that]

[OOC2, I get engaged in responding and forget to add, "Cool developments!" as imaginary players walk away from table GM hears them saying "that was unexpected twist", "yeah going to be interesting to see what was going to happen"]

Waiting on NPC action declarations before anything else, realized perhaps I declared and resolved L's action before NPC's declared and anything they did interfering.

Leofred easily restrains Olwen, dragging him away from the hinged mirror. Olwen sags in Leofred’s arms, sighing and muttering plaintively, as if he had gambled everything on whatever this is, and he now has lost.

Gertrun has stepped back along the interior wall of the bedchamber, keeping well away from the wrestling match at the north wall (which is opposite her, anyway) and keeping the doorway clear for Gwenhild and Gyantwaka. Her eyes are wide, and one hand is protectively at her throat.

Ambrosius has wakened and is peering at Leofred, in the dim light, in surprise and (perhaps) accusation.

We might as well be out of combat rounds, since Olwen isn’t struggling, and he would be the only combatant.

Leofred and Gyantwaka +1 XP.

Leofred says, "What is happening here - what is that portal you were opening?"  He will be clear he regards Olwen as linked to the gnome, and that Olwen emerging to come into Ambrosius' room while the gnome was distracting guards does nothing to favour him in Leofred's mind.

Gyantwaka asks Gertrun, though loudly enough for all in room to hear, "Are you alright?  We just turned back a gnome such as those Olwen's stones deal with from assaulting the library."  If he can perceive anything wrong with her throat he will react appropriately, he is lowering his bow and putting arrow back in quiver.

If Gertrun has been harmed at all, Gyantwaka will see to her as best he can. Once it's clear the situation is in hand, that Gertrun is okay, Gyantwaka will go back to see what is up with the gnome.  He will try to move quietly, tracking the ichor it must be trailing and relying on his darksight (and he will have taken arrow of quiver again).

Gwenhild will remain ready to skewer any source of trouble in the room, focusing mostly on Olwen - she will be 'engaged' with him and Leofred tells her to beware any sign he is working magics, "if he starts fumbling with stones, kill him".

If Master Ambrosius needs reassurance an exasperated Leofred will point out that if he and Gyantwaka were agents of the Enemy, Ambrosius would already be dead and Gertrun would not be here, if Olwen was truly a loyal servant Gertrun would have been here two weeks ago, and in any event he still wants Gertrun to examine this "tincture" Olwen was administering, and finally the library was just assaulted by a gnome such as those summoned using the stones Olwen had - stones which Master Ambrosius was ignorant of his having.

  • Out of curiosity what are the laws about Sorcery in Andorast, I assume they are fairly harsh.

Entire Post is OOC:

Re Gwenhild, doing a bit of ‘world building’ - as she is Weald then a question, is there an Andorast-linked people related Weald-culture?

  • E.g., among Men she has the same general characteristics as the Men of Andorast, speaks same native tongue, but has the Weald Culture.
  • Perhaps there are Andorast-related Weald people living in harsh highland bordering Andorast-territory.
  • Perhaps the Weald Culture is found in a region reached by the road running north-west from Southwatch – a more desolate region (less laid out so far), one for simplicity simply called the Weald (which apparently usually means a wild, forested, upland region).
  • Andorast the city the city of a region called Andor, its people the Andorrim?
  • Andor was founded following the fall of several nations in wars long ago, it became a melting pot of Men due to the fall of other cultures. Its ruling and dominant culture is its original people but it has long been home to several different peoples. This may include other kins.

Gwenhild and her younger brother may have been the only survivors of a Weald band wiped out by marauders and saved by a patrol of the Order’s Knights who de facto ‘adopted’ them.

Depending on how different the cultures, Gwenhild may not be her real name but rather an Andorrim one given her by southerners who find her real name Gvehenadt is difficult to pronounce.

Olwen collapses, sullen and sobbing, at Leofred’s feet. He will not willingly respond to any of Leofred’s questions.

Ambrosius rises from his bed, the clouds of sleep clearing from his eyes. He stands, unshaking. Even in his bedclothes, there now is a sense of the dignity of the High Man about him. He stands beside Leofred and peers down at his apprentice, but his words are for Leofred. “That mirror,” he explains, “is a door to the upper floor of the library.” Then he addresses the gasping Olwen: “Olwen, what goes on here?”

Gertrun removes her hand from her throat. “I am fine, Gyantwaka, just startled. I heard noises in the hallway beyond. I wondered if I should investigate or simply bar the door. I determined that gathering information was the wiser course. When I opened the door”—she glances to the north wall—“Olwen jostled past me and began clawing, so it seemed to me, at that mirror.”

[Honestly, I never considered Gwenhild a member of the Weald Culture. Those were just convenient, and in my opinion more appropriate, stats for a Level 1 Human Warrior. I can see how they can be imperfect and perhaps frustrating. You can build her how you like, if you want. Just make sure she is a Level 1 Man Warrior.]

Reassured by Gertrun's words, Gyantwaka departs on his 'tracking mission'.

Leofred explains, "I am glad to see you steadier master.  A gnome appeared in the library seeking to gain access to this floor - it refused any parley despite the offer to treat peacefully.  To be clear, this was a man-like creature of stone and a formidable foe that but for our numbers and good fortune, in particular the brave spear of this maid-at-arms and the arrows of my leshak comrade, one that would have sore-tested any defender of this place.  This was a gnome such as those summoned using the stones we found your apprentice Olwen to be carrying - something I doubt to be a coincidence."

"While we defended against this intruder, it seems your apprentice - who had locked himself in his room refusing to open his door to any care or food and making no inquiry of your health - came rushing into this room and sought to open that mirror-door.  This is the extent of what I know."

"But, I still believe Gertrun should assess the tincture Olwen has been administering you.  Two weeks of this and you have yet been shaky, a few hours of Gertrun's care and you appear to be steadier."

Gwenhild will add, in an not-entirely-approving tone, "The gnome's life was spared when it retreated." (keeping her spear point close to Olwen)

[OCC re Gwenhild, okay sounds like it is best if not Weald, that's fine, I would ensure the same "best attack" roll since it was - as Leofred notes - important, any preference for culture from worldbuilding view - probably City being a native of Andorast as that's her Order-home is easiest?]

Listening to Leofred’s words, Ambrosius looks sternly down at Olwen. In short, he now is suspicious of Olwen, and his apprentice has much to “answer” for. But, as indicated, Olwen won’t do anything willingly. Ambrosius will hearken to Leofred in anything that is lawful and does not involve torture, of course.

Gyantwaka, taking the oil lamp from its hook at the top of the stairwell, follows a trail of black blood all the way to the base of the stairs, where he finds a pool of it where the steps meet the stone flags of the ground floor. A cursory glance reveals no further blood trail, nor any other sign of passage.

[Yeah, I think City makes sense for Gwenhild, but, again, she can be whatever you decide. I also recognize that I forgot to make a note about sorcery. Is sorcery distinguished from “magic”—is it a form of “black magic?” Is it the type of magic that removes agency from others, that dominates souls? Yeah, that would be bad. Otherwise, I’ve been thinking about magic being fairly common, as with most contemporary fantasy worlds, though VsD seems suitably “low magic,” my preferred milieu. What thoughts do you have?]