The Broken Land Chapter Nine: The trail to redemption

A DCC/Mythic solo play (with other emulators as required)

Characters:

  1. Binye, level 2 Thief
  2. Borer, level 2 Dwarf
  3. Elyn, level 3 Thief

NPCs in play:

  1. The chaplain, innkeeper for the renegade rogues guild in Gold Hill
  2. The goblin traders, seeking to make a buck
  3. The goblin guards, serving their own hidden agenda
  4. The constable, head of the renegade rogues guild
  5. Stedd Hardy, deputy to the constable and Elyn’s ex
  6. The broker, priest playing middleman between Lady Danforth and the constable
  7. Lady Danforth, instigating the uruk lord to attack Joseph’s Inlet
  8. The uruk lord and various deputies and minions

Threads in play:

  1. Finish scouting the location of the uruk lord
  2. Pick up any remaining details clarifying the white urukin’s status
  3. Report back to the Templars of the Holy Father

Chaos is 5

Mild spoilers: I’m mixing two very similar set-pieces from BHS03, the Bone Hilt Sword campaign, and Hamlet in the Gloaming. Reading what follows may affect your enjoyment of playing either.

Episode one: Chaplain quest

A blasted heath, before an ominous graveyard

“I gotta say – I off’n sez ta m’self, why th’ hell do these dumb humans keep on a-burryin’ theer dead? A body knows they jest a-gonna be rizzed up as a zombie or su’thin’… y’all about done that gate thar?”

The chaplain, a striking woman dressed now in martial attire, gestures to Borer for patience as Elyn and Binye exhaust their tricks on the gate.

“It’s ‘raised up'”, she corrects Borer gently. “And in them long-ago days of gold-minin’ profit, this here boot hill was founded on th’ beliefs of th’ Moon Virgin… burning was ehhh… well it weren’t agreed upon.”

“Waal let me ‘spostulate fer jest a minnit,” Borer retorts agreeably, “y’all’s done us a fine favour by ‘greein’ ta ree-store us our um, thingy whut’s bin took off us, but what-all’s th’ rayson y’all cain’t cee-reck that li’l problem afore we git our asses whupped by some more life-drainin’ types?”

“The ceremony ain’t somethin’ a body c’n jest snap her fingers an’ have done,” the chaplain reminds Borer. “‘Leastways, outside of a cathedral. Let’s use th’ time gladly an’ well, then we all know we’s friends an’ friendly like.”

Borer subsides into a mutter. Elyn looks over:

“Ain’t workin’. Trapped t’hell an’ back. Looks like we gotta get us over th’ wall, armour an’ all.”

“Y’all sure they ain’t some broke-down portion?” Borer asks.

“We could walk us some more. Ain’t likely them constables be ’round this way,” Binye offers. Not that he’s a bad climber, but Borer has his heavy armour back and the chaplain is an unknown quantity in the climbing-in-chainmail department.

 

A blasted heath, also round the side of an ominous graveyard

“This’s ’bout as good as we gonna git,” Binye decides, looking dubiously at Borer. Who sighs.

“Lemme shuck sum a’ this here armour, an’ I’ll climb better’n y’all.”

“We use the branch, get onto the roof a’ that shrine, lower a rope, an’ y’all won’t have to,” Elyn suggests.

“I c’n see a heap ‘a problems with that plan,” the chaplain worries. “I reckon climb th’ wall as all four, then deal with what’s beyond as a body.”

Eventually they do it this way: Borer sacrifices his plate armour temporarily, and they use that to prevent the wall-spikes (it is 9′ tall, with shards set atop) from stabbing or snagging them. Binye and the chaplain boost Borer, who is strong enough to haul Elyn up to sit facing him. Then those two shuffle back on the armour and help Binye and the chaplain, until they are all sitting:

“Like sittin’ ducks,” Borer mutters uneasily, rubbing his arms. The interior of the walled graveyard is somehow dim and colder by many degrees than the sweltering exterior. The lack of clear line of sight is bothering him. Not that they have any missile weapons, beyond a number of holy water vials.

Binye leaps down, making virtually no noise in his chainmail, and catches Elyn as she jumps, then they catch the chaplain (no heavier than Elyn) and Borer toses as much of his amour to them as he’s not sitting on, then drops down from a hang-down position bringing the last piece with him.

Luck’s on their side, and the sheltered spot under overgrown trees near the shrine help. A huge overgrown Elm tree provides complete shade. But indeed, inside the graveyard, the air seems thick and dim: no sun seeps through the murk.

Borer re-encases himself, and draws Harken. It glows brightly in the dimness.

“Aw great, a big glowin’ ‘git some hyar’ sign,” Binye complains nervously.

 

Regrets, we had a few

“Pity them goblin’s ain’t about ta sign on fer stoopid undead-huntin'” Borer comments as the thieves steal around the shrine.

“Shh! Too smart f’r that. Guess we shot with luck meetin’ up agin’ with them,” Elyn retorts, “an’ having us an agreement fer later. Though I gotta say I was sure Binye guessed right, an’ Noregz is a agent of them Templars. Still, he d’nies it.”

Binye turns back, gesturing for quiet, but chips in: “If we’s gonna pine about our luck, throw in th’ goblins – Beareen’s tough fer a quiet wee type. Y’all tried ya best, Elyn. Best we c’n hope fer is Noregz gits his buddies ta send our message thru, an’ ta have chaplain here ree-store us, and mebbe hijack them weapons outta th’ old mine with her along of us. Huh, sister… or mother, or whatcha like.”

“Call me chaplain, like ever’one, an’ we’ll git along fine,” she retorts, “an’ like I says, I’m thinkin’ ’bout th’ deal. Let’s git us some con-see-cration, git you ree-stored, an’ see, shall we?”

 

Obviously the team are doing so much exposition here they should go act on any of the popular American crime shows. Let me break down how the emulators have brought this about.

It comes about as a confluence between two meetings with goblins, the rogues dealing with the chaplain, and what Elyn overhears when spying on the constable-broker meeting.

Goblin meeting 1: As we discovered, the goblin (traders) want to get a piece of the action here.

Broker meeting: Haggling about weapons. A complication later means that the constable delays the deal. Elyn overhears a lot of what the broker says.

Goblin meeting 2: After escaping, the rogues seek the goblins out, even though they don’t have their gear back. This is terribly risky,  but in this case I get NPC action, goblin guards, and find that Noregz has recruited 18 more goblins from the boatmen-tunnels back towards Ignorick’s realm and is neutral to somewhat helpful towards the rogues. He even agrees to carry a message.

In the background of this, I’ve rolled both threads being moved towards (hurray!) and have dealt with the broker’s faction in a little more detail to try to flesh out what’s going on with the weapon deal. Obviously the idea of moving weapons from Dolem’s Spire up into the Broken Land, after an attack on Joseph’s inlet, is far-fetched, to say the least. So digging around with the modules I locate the weapon cache with the remainder of the broker faction, in the abandoned mine that Brad had marked on his map. (It all sounds simple when you put it like that!) And it happens that the goblins know secret ways into that mine.

Finally, of the goblins I ask: If presented with a scheme, would they join in to hijack the weapon shipment, and thereby enjoy all the profits? (Unlikely) Yes.

Will the guards join the hijack? (50-50) No.

But if the rogues present them with the chance, will they join the shipment? (50-50) Yes.

So they’ll act as guides for the rogues’ attack? (Likely) Yes.

I throw in some results from dealing with the chaplain. Yes, she does want to restore them, but there’s a delay. (d12) 6 days. Is the attack on Joetown already happening? No.

Partly because it’s in the BHS03 path and partly because of the chaplain needing a proper shrine to restore them – and her own objectives – the scene becomes the graveyard. As mentioned it’s a composite of both modules and more than one location.

Is the chaplain also here? Yes!

Is this why she got their gear released? Yes.

 

Shrine of the moon maiden

Time to meet the chaplain:

C5, Init+1, ACT1d20, knows 2 L3 spells, 5 L2 spells, and 6L1 spells. In DCC terms her god is Daenthar, but in Vale terms I have decided she is of a variant of Bal-Uarda, almost the antithesis of the Templars.

Attributes: STR10 STA11 AGI15 INT8 PRS13 LCK11: Turns at d20+6, needs to score 20+ to be particularly useful. Hope she packed a holy mace!

Using the cover as best they can, the four creep around to the shrine door. It is chained shut, as though someone really doesn’t want what’s on the inside to get out! Borer holds Harken near and Elyn and Binye work carefully on the lock.

[Encounter check is clear, both rogues get an OK lock pick check]

“They ain’t too much I c’n do fer ya, not bein’ congregants-like,” the chaplain says quietly, “but I’ll git me an enchantment up. An’ anythin’ y’all c’n do, do it.” She concentrates and a pale light plays about her. Elyn draws her whetstone-enhanced sword and recites a cantrip that will make its first cut count [good spell check]. Binye readies Blood Spear and nods, and the two scouts ease the doors open.

The air within is as foul as though a hundred devils had smoked a hundred souls for a hundred years. Even Borer has trouble breathing. [STA checks aren’t too bad, not enough to stop anyone] The lead two waver but walk on, deeper into a well-like blackness…

Binye’s reactions save him! [LCK checks from Binye and Elyn prevent surprise] As a grinning, flesh-blackened thing leaps at him out of the choking dark he presents Blood Spear[burns 2LCK], and the fearsome wight impales itself. He still suffers! Impaled or not, the wight slams a grisly claw onto his neck and Binye moans as yet more of his vitality is leeched away. [5dmg from Blood Spear, wight inflicts 2dmg and drains a level – Binye drops to L1]

Careless of any other danger Borer raises Harken high and smashes it down onto the wight’s skull. It caromes off, leaving open bone [7dmg]. The chaplain attempts to extend her own protection onto the rogues, but her voice is thin and cracked in the foul air and nothing happens [weak roll, normal fail].

Elyn has moved around behind, and tries to ram her sword behind a shoulder-blade. It’s not the best of her attacks [although I can’t find anything specific in the rules, I’m assuming you can’t crit an undead] and the shoulder-blade takes the blow [4dmg].

It’s enough to weaken the wight’s grip enough for Binye to tear himself away: he throws himself back behind the chaplain, trying to stab with Blood Spear going backwards, and failing. As the wight lurches forward Borer ducks under its grasp and this time swings Harken up under the wight’s short ribs: the impact throws the wight back, past Elyn’s sword, which now simply bounces off [her blade enchantment is a one-round affair] and onto the edge of a stair: its weakened spine breaks in two! [9dmg from Harken, just fancied-up]

“Take care not to let her touch you,” the chaplain cautions. “See th’ fancy chain she’s wearin’? Give it me hyar an’ I’ll let her rest f’rever.”

A couple of hefty whacks from Harken removes the wight’s hands, and Binye uses Blood Spear to relieve the still-aware wight of its silver chain, decorated with the moon-symbols of her cult.

As the chaplain ends the wight’s time of torment, she explains that, as parish lore has it, this was once the priestess.

“They do say, thar’s a mighty pow’ful weapon hyar, weak’nin’ her power.”

The rogues look about with renewed interest. The shrine is mostly transept, four short wings in shadow. The steep stair rises to a mighty female statue on a mezzanine level.

Binye gestures up, Elyn nods, they walk carefully up using the sides of the steps to reduce noise. The statue has been seriously damaged: a titanic arm lies beside it and there are scratches and cuts on it: but its head is still atop, raised towards the night sky visible through some expensive crystalline panes above. They begin searching…

Meanwhile, the chaplain grabs Borer’s shoulder as he steps past her deeper into the transept area. She points to a shadowed wing:

“Ain’t jest shadders thar… thet’s web, thick web.”

“Fuckin’ spiders! Lost me some good buddies thet way. Whar’ y’all hidin-out, ya sumbitches!”

“Now th’ wight’s down, reckon I c’n perteck y’all from pizen.” So saying, the chaplain again focuses, extending her hands over Borer, and seems satisfied. [Makes a good Neutralise Poison spell check]

Borer walks forward, thoroughly protected but with visor up so as to be ready for the attack! But even so, not one but three huge black widow spiders drop on him, and one stings his exposed face [crit – but minimum dmg]. Perhaps thanks to the chaplain spell Borer fights on, cutting the spider’s thorax deeply [9dmg, and makes DC15 FORT SV].

Above, the two become aware of the danger to Borer. They grab the huge marble arm and stagger over to the balustrade, trying to match where a spider might be below…

Borer wields Harken mightily and is bitten in the face again, by the same huge spider. [nat 20 on FORT SV] This time his return blow severs legs as well as sunders thorax and sends it twitching in its death-throes away! [11dmg]

The remaining two continue to leap at Borer, as though enraged. From above a huge marble arm plummet squarely onto one, squashing it – followed by a squeal of alarm and the toppling Binye, who lands very heavily! [fumbles his check on ‘topple statue arm’, fails refl SV, takes 2d6 fall damage, burns LCK, damage reduced to 6]

The last spider now has two targets: then with a shout of defiance – or terror – Elyn jumps onto it, sword first [surprisingly little damage, doesn’t quite kill the spider]. As her weight bears it down Borer smashes its head in.

The chaplain hurries to Binye…

“He’s alive!”

What else is there to tell of the mighty deeds of the rogues? They make sure the shrine doors are secure then as the chaplain begins her re-consecration, make a detailed search. They find:

Loot

Chain of the goddess, given to chaplain

Mace of undead smiting (normal +1 against others)

Documents dealing with shrine business from back in the day, including a map.

Mythic: Is this the map they need for the location of the uruk lord’s tower? Yes!

Over the next few days ALL LEVELS ARE RESTORED!!

AP: Surprisingly low, because having a L5 cleric tips the odds in the rogues’ favour – but the big quest-related bonus for ridding the wilds of the wight, and finding the map, push them up to +30 above L4.

Chaos falls to 4 for the next scene.

 

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About andrewmclaren26

Weekly Roleplayer, Wargamer when I can
This entry was posted in Solo RPG: The Broken Land and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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