September 17, 2018 0 comments

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Quest against the Darkmaster (PbP)

Ah, okay, I see. The game I’m in has been in the Darklands for days, so I’ve grown used to procedural Camping rolls. No roll necessary. The fellowship camps overnight.

Gyantwaka ponders the true nature of the moss. Alas, the only clue he has comes from fanciful tales from his Kin.

As the group gathers to camp Gyantwaka will talk of this with the others.

"I have heard a story among my folk of forest with such a moss, one that lures animals and then sends them to sleep, to then grow over and feed from them.  The hillocks you saw in the moss are likely the remains of animals being consumed.  I don't know if this is a parasite or plague of some sort.  I know we are on a mission of some urgency but hope you will agree that such a danger can't be ignored.  At a minimum, the elf said to abide in the forest should be found and told of this in case he does not know. My knowledge of the woods does not include such a thing." (assuming it's a he).

[OCC of course this is a conversation among all the PC's I control, so let's not belabor a conversation with myself]

  • Ultran doesn't like a possible menace 'on the doorstep' of his home forest so is in favour, after all "with an elf all is possible".  In the meantime he assesses how long Kekek was "out of it".
  • Leofred is concerned about delay and suggests that at most a day's delay is acceptable in searching out the elf. If they do not find anything, they can send a message back to Southwatch via the hill dwarves - as there is travel on that road, and eventually that may reach the elves. [passive-aggressively Leofred thinks if the Elves don't want to keep in touch with regular channels of communications then what befalls them befalls them, isolationism is its own punishment, given his order is all about keeping communication lines open etc.]
  • Gyantwaka agrees to a day's delay and that is the consensus.

So unless something arises overnight, they camp by a stream.  They enjoy some elven fare, Ultran plays his lute and sings a tale of the elves of old defeating an evil trollking whose spells could summon the dead as his soldiers (heroism and horror).

Tomorrow (14th day of the 3rd Moon of Summer), instead of continuing through wood, they will try to search out the elf said to live here.  Ultran will send out Kekek above the trees to fly around - at a "moss proof height" hopefully- and look for any sign of "two legs".  The others will stay together (to save each other from "moss attacks" if another such found) but search in a widening spiral, with a plan to end no further away from their goal then they were when the day started (e.g., to only lose a most one day).  Gyantwaka will be looking out for trails, signs of hunting, Ultran will be calling out in elvish when not checking to see what Ultran signals, Leofred and Gwenhild will focus on keeping the pony secure and being ready for more mundane threats.

Gyantwaka +1 Drive and +1 XP

The quest for Loedhel will require one PC to make a Hunting roll, but other characters may Help by using Hunting or other Skills relevant to their action, e.g., Kekek (who slowly stirred from slumber shortly after leaving the vicinity of the moss) may use Perception, Ultran may use Charisma.

The roll will be Hard (-20).

[Gyantwaka is at 5 Drive already - this is really the only thing in VsD that bugs me a bit in that there is a motive to spend Drive just because of the 5 limit etc. when really "does the PC know they have x-amount of ability to "go further", it requires being in the "author" mindset as opposed to "immersive" mindset I guess]

Gyantwaka uses his hunting skills, honed by his kin-folk raising and background, testing the air for the scent of an elf, aided by Kekek's hawk perception and Ultran's calls, though not perhaps without some mishap or complication involving hawk and elf. [there's a GM-test of creativity/skill to figure out].

  • d100 = 42 + Skill 65 +10 Strider + Bloodhound +25 (if tracking is at all involved), then -20 Hard, +10 from Kekek's help, +10 from Ultran's (which must mean the elf responds in some way) for a result of at least 117 if not 142, in any event

Kekek's eyes are to help, which they do (partial success)

  • d100 = 64 + Perception (Roguery +20 with +20 kin bonus) -20 Hard, result 84, partial granting Gyantwaka +10 but exposing itself to "some kind of complication, cost, or trouble." (p.122)

Ultran's calls to help, which they do (partial success)

  • d100 = 24 + Charisma 80 -20 = partial success so another +10 but again at complication, cost or trouble

I can suggest that Gyantwaka found signs of the elf's passing and group was following in that direction when Kekek spotted something and Ultran called out heading in that direction but then .... (some complication, cost or trouble).


[Game talk. I’m liable to award +5 for every Helping roll and a Complication only if the main roller garners a Partial Success.]

Following an inner sense more than any actual sign, Gyantwaka, once in awhile attending to Kekek’s signals above, leads the fellowship deep into the forest. The land seems to undulate lower and lower into the hills without any noticeable alteration in the amount of sunlight that is able to filter to the forest floor. The trees grow thicker, the fronds lusher. Pollen hangs close in the air. Squirrels observe the fellowship with what seems sapient awareness. Invisible birds make potentially significant calls. A general sense of danger abates as Ultran reassures the forest with his elven tones. When the fellowship looks behind, its path looks disconcertingly unfamiliar, with no apparent sign of its passage.

At last the fellowship hears trickling water ahead. The boughs brush away to reveal a narrow valley, a thin stream rippling through it. A fallen tree lies across the stream, forming a natural bridge, though the stream is easily forded.

Beyond the stream, in the midst of a forest garden, constructed of thatch and deadfall, is a hut. Deadfall stacked nearby and upright against a tree trunk seems meant for firewood, though no stream of smoke sifts up from within or without the lodging.

Butterflies bob over the garden. The drone of bees is palpable. Around the valley, the towering crowns of tress give the impression that this valley is bound by mountains. You feel as if you’ve entered here through a secret pass.

Leofred and Gwenhild look about at the natural beauty, the pony forgotten for a moment.

Gyantwaka is awed (his Nature sense would be used to ensure this is not all some illusion-trap).

Ultan calls Kekek to sit atop his staff and himself calls out a greeting, "Loedhel, I Ultan of Elvendale greet you as do these fellow travelers seeking to pass through this forest.  We sought you out to ensure your safety and that of this forest, having encountered a strange predator in this wood."

[Had it been +5 only, it would still be a success even if his tracking bonus doesn't apply, if you want to drop the help bonus to +5 in exchange for no problems as long as principle roll succeeds I'm fine with that though myself as GM I would still be sticking with core rules rubbing my hands in glee (since helpers more likely get only partial success as their skill likely lower etc.) as in (combining them and recognizing the hawk is really an extension of Ultan) "the hawk takes a liking to Loedhel and vice versa and Ultan must make some rolls to convince the hawk to leave with him or convince Loedhel that the hawk is not a gift or something" (as GM I wouldn't muck about with a starting kit asset but something you just bought - even if it has a cute name - oh it's up for loss, in the rules example your dagger breaks for example) - though perhaps in long run its stay with Loedhel improves the hawk some way and Loedhel sends it back in a time of need etc.].

So we've seen the Discord chat and you've summarized your updated understanding.  If you need to have time to ponder or also poke me about any Motivations listed for PC's as "so what is that supposed to mean" please do.  When I've run similar games I've poked Players as "give me at least two examples of scenes you think that might provoke/play into" (as in "don't just create something you expect me to run with if you've no idea how it would work").

BTW, oh once-generous GM, current Drive totals are Gyantwaka 5, Leofred 5, Ultran 0


Gabe Dybing has reacted to this post.
Gabe Dybing

Gyantwaka may roll Nature at Challenging (-10).

And Ultran may roll Charisma at Challenging (-10).

Gyantwaka's survey of what he sees and smells (Wildfolk have a good sense of smell) is likely to determine if this is an illusion or something unnatural (e.g., perhaps smelling that moss well enough would have sensed the 'surface scents' cloaked decomposition odour)

  • Nature outcome Success 161 (roll of 07, well that solves 5 Drive, now 4, reroll 91+10 for Drive point + Skill 60 + Strider 10 assuming this is "in the Wild" - 10 Challenging)

Ultan's calls are well-made in eloquent elvish (which is of course the most eloquent of languages to begin with).

  • Charisma outcome Success of 154 (roll of 84 + Skill 80 -10)

Since you liked the post above, I went back on page 39 added my thoughts on what the current passions could mean in terms of situations PC's would lean into or how they would lead to Drive points.

Also, re your "gold" discord statements, it's not all on the GM, per the sample PC's I don't imagine the GM in that scenario having designed it around passions, the players were told "there's a halfling in trouble of some sort", there's a mystery" and the players write passions indicating "that's my cousin", "I will solve the mystery" etc.  It's the obligation of players to "lean into" what the GM puts out and what other players put out. It's not all the GM being a "dancing monkey for their amusement".


Gyantwaka knows that all of this is real. What's more, something in his soul thrills with a suspicion that he is seeing "old growth" -- forms of life, proto-forms, perhaps, from deep antiquity -- that don't exist now anywhere else in the Lands. Many of the shrubs, leaves, and trees are familiar but slightly estranged, leaves just a little too large or with too many lobes, a nut that is just slightly different from how it should be.

Ultran starts as seemingly right by his shoulder comes a voice, paradoxically as soft as a breeze but resounding like boulders tumbling down a mountain gorge, in Elvish, "What is it, cousin? If it be Loedhel you seek, I am he."

Turning in that direction, Ultran is surprised to find that what he first had mistaken as a young but gnarled tree is in fact a man, an elf, though his flesh is like wood, his unkempt hair like dandelions gone to seed, his beard like living moss, and his garments but woven soft fibers from the fields. He holds a staff that must have been new-plucked, for one twig that remains on its summit bears a few slender, arrow-like leaves and a clump of seeds that might be ash-keys.