Chapter three of The Broken Land continues…
A DCC/Mythic solo play (with other emulators as required)
Scarlet Heroes is a village with more than one hidden menace. Last evening our heroes, the rogues Binye Borer and Elyn, survived poisoning by one of their goblin employers. This goblin, Runban the scroll trader, covets their magic scroll. At least in his case, the rogues are not fooled by his illusory bonhomie and are on their guard: but they do not dream that the humble village guard Ralph Redfoot is a were-tiger!
Chaos is 5.
Character lists: rogues as above, two goblin factions (the majority under Bosz, the minority with Runban) two teamsters, Ralph, villager NPCs, hidden evil in the village, bandits in the forest.
Threads open: guard the caravan into the Broken Land, scout Briar Keep, scout the Uruk Lord, get word back to the Templars to fulfil the quest.
Chaos check: scene shift, focus NPC positive, NPC is Ralph, ‘truce goals’.
For a moment it seems as though the were-tiger will plunge into the inn, wreaking havoc: then Ralph slinks away, becoming human in time enough to tidy himself up and present himself to the caravan with some helpful advice on the village merchant and the trail ahead.
The goblins, who are mildly pleased already with profits taken, are delighted to learn that the local merchant, Pantro by name, has been longing to join a caravan with his humble stock, and make some real money. Naturally he can’t be ready in a jiffy! Pantro, a man in his late prime, strikes the rogues as being particularly flamboyant and perhaps manic. In fact somewhat reminiscent of master Wonnram. But reassuringly he is setting about hiring another pack beast to go with his own mule, and has already signed Ralph on as guard. Since Ralph seems to be the only guard able to wield a crossbow, that’s welcome news.
The goblins have already done reasonable trade with Ralmer the innkeeper, and purchase a few of Pantro’s goods they think they can get a good markup on.
Unexpectedly their guards are feeling poorly and make no secret of their deep suspicion of Runban’s hand in the matter. Bosz is unwilling to sunder the enterprise so squelches their bewailing as best she can.
“Merchant take more day. Start night next. Free time! Relax!”
So naturally, with all three feeling weak and sick, they head for the nearest dungeon. Apparently there’s a demon to be slain there.
Behind the scenes:
There are number of complex emulator checks, cascades and interactions here.
- There’s the encounter rolled up with a were-tiger, and I have established that Ralph Redfoot, grandson of old man Redfoot out of Ironbridge, is the were-tiger. [Backstory: Ralph left home to re-create the glories of his grandsire’s day]
- The weretiger lets things slide for now, based on a scene shift from previous, focus NPC positive and the NPC being Ralph, and the meaning being truce goals.
- Runban the scroll-trader has his own faction now among the goblin traders. He is responsible for poisoning the three rogues.
- Moreover, Runban has a secret plans and a connection with the village boss. [For whom, I’m going with the module boss pretty much as written but with a DCC flavour] I’ve established that the boss does not expect a signal from Runban.
With all that established, the interlinked emulator decisions continue. The story seems to require CRGE to push it on to some conclusion(s).
CRGE (to knowledge): Is the caravan trade result net positive? (high is good) 68 Yes, on the whole it is good. Surge 6.
Chaos falls to 4.
CRGE (to conflict): Do the rogues decide to trust the main goblin faction? 17, No, and say so!
Elyn PRS check: good.
Bosz PRS check: marginal but OK (I’m willing to concede a d3 advantage for being employer and in greater number but don’t need it)
LOC for complex descripton: lightly lean, cascading to mistrust the public.
Chaos zips back up to 5.
Setting the scene for the next move of the caravan:
Chaos check: alteration to ‘travel illness’
CRGE: do the goblins hire Ralph? No. Surge 8.
CRGE: are the rogues ill? Yes. Surge 10.
They take -2 STA for the after-effects of the poison.
So, the caravan won’t be moving on. Which means I need to frame the village a bit more. I use LOC then UNE:
LOC: officially tranquil; physically blocked.
UNE: neutral mood, helpful: knowing; and reports: weapons.
I check Grimmsgate for sources of weapons and bring up Pantro, the lone merchant. He is canonically keen on travelling with a caravan to sell his goods and begin his crazy dream of becoming a major merchant.
CRGE (to endings): is Pantro willing to join the caravan? Yes. Surge 12.
CRGE (to endings): is he ready by dawn? No. Surge 14.
CRGE (to endings): is he ready by dawn following? Yes and [I double check here but get a yes] hires Ralph.
At this point a rumour I rolled off the Grimmsgate module comes into play.
“A demon lurks in the Elder Temple to this very day!”
I can just imagine the village boss or Ralph making sure they overhear this – making the mistake of thinking these are heroic types! So it’s really unlikely that the rogues will head off there, right? Especially when they’re sick!
Mythic: Do the rogues decide to follow up on Ralph’s rumour? (Very unlikely) Yes.
Chaos rises to 6.
New thread: the Elder Temple
New character: Village boss, who is the source of the hidden evil (partly replaces ‘hidden evil in the village)