Monday, January 7, 2019

Ynn episode 2 - The fall of Alfonso.

Tower amidst the floodwaters
I'm getting the hang of this, and was looking forward to seeing how Alfonso and Serena manage their trip into Ynn.

Reluctant to travel in the dark, the pair of travellers decide to rest in the (assumed) sanctuary of the gazebo. Upon awakening they find themselves still in the depths of a chill night. They decide to consolidate their belongings, as well as making some makeshift torches from the legs of the weatherbeaten furniture in the gazebo. Over a leisurely breakfast they decide that going back so soon would be cowardice. The bugs were not that scary, and they have light now.

PET showing its value again. Both the travellers decided to head deeper, at least until they can find something that will prove they have been somewhere truly otherworldly. They have the wine bottle, a small unmarked vial of liquid, Also three more iron rations that Serena had brought along, some rope, and 4 bottle of lamp oil. Feeling a little underprepared.

The push on through the darkness. The gardens are strangely silent and empty, with old broken seats and overgrown flower beds everywhere. But they are stopped by a drastic change. The ground has become broken - islands of floating paths and hedges. At the edge of the torchlight they see the shape of another gazebo.

  • Dex check to jump across the botomless abyss - No stress yet, so I am assuming a failure means that they cannot bring themselves to cross.. Alfonso goes fine, Serena, not so much
Serena remains waiting on the "shore" while Alfonso goes to examine the Gazebo. Only old furniture and a stoppered vial. Again he takes the time to break apart the furniture for some torches as the very very long night is worrying him. When he gets back he hands over the vial. They decide to take another path and head back to where the Bug-man had been killed.

The ground roiled and groaned. Cracks spread around the travellers. Retreating to the Gazebo they watched in horror as black waters seeped up from the now broken ground. Before long the gardens were knee deep in clammy water.

They walked deeper into the Gardens, and almost felt happy when the water became shallower - but instead it became colder as they came across an ice-rink! Both began to shiver and decided that exploring this area was not in their best interests, and tried to hurry onwards. But their luck changed drastically for the worst.

A Basilisk. Luckily for the travellers it was merely curious - I supposed the intense cold was making it more sleepy than anything.
  • Do they know anything about Basilisks. I reckoned an int check would suffice. Turns out Alfonso had heard about the dangerous gaze. The Player Emulator told me that Alfonso was being inept - allowing emotion to get the better of him. I decided panic would be appropriate.
"Quickly quickly! Before the beast sees us and turns us to stone. Run! Run if you value your soul!" He prodded Serena into a panic-filled rush through the trees and over hedges. They only slowed when the water had again pooled around their knees. Still no sun, but the darker shadow of a tower loomed above, with flickering fire-light showing from the upper windows.
  • At this point they are lost. Running in the dark through gardens that all look too similar is not a recipe for remembering where you went... I honestly have no idea if it is even possible at this stage for their door to be found again. And it has a time limit the characters don't know about.
  • Providence or fate. Again with the flooded locations! This time a tower. I actually messed up here and mis-read the entry. I was rolling randomly for each floor as the pair explored, and didn't realise that the top floor was meant to be significantly different... So I ended up plunking an extra floor on top... But I still feel bad as the encounter only happened because I didn't read properly...
The pair are overjoyed at the sight of a real building (that might be inhabited!). They slowly enter and look around. The bottom floor seems to be an abandoned kitchen, with another strange vial of liquid left in a cupboard. The next floors are full of dilapidated furniture, and then a storeroom filled with preserved foods! Serena nibbled at some (rather delicious) fruitcake. There was enough food here for a lot of people. But the flickering light was now visible coming down the stairs. Alfonso paused to check the powder of his arquebus, then took the lead up the stairs. Serena noticed the trails of wax on the stairs...

CandleGirl by JennyEight

The figure turned to look at the pair coming in the room. A giant animated candle. It paused, trying to work out exactly what it was looking at. It seemed to slowly decide that the arquebus pointed at it was not a friendly sign. Serena meanwhile looked around the room. What looked like a suit of armor stood at one wall, except it was a mass of leaves and vines waiting for someone to step inside. Alongside it was the finest sword she had ever laid eyes on - encased in a scabbard likewise covered in vines (or just a fine work of artistry).

  • Here the Player Emulator showed the way again. Serena is "on point" and the seed that comes up is "destroy" - so I take that to mean she has worked out the weakness of the candle golem (weakness to fire) and knows how to take advantage of it (flasks of oil?)
Serena yells "distract it" and makes a run for the armor. Alfonso fires the arquebus, leaving a gaping hole where the creature's head used to be. But that doesn't seem to impair it as it comes forward swinging.
  • Gah! I need to do something about the AC to-hit tables from B/X D&D. the math feels backwards to me. Roll D20+target's AC. I was referring to the tables on every roll. I guess I just got too used to "roll over enemy AC to hit". It is easy enough to do the math to swap...
Alfonso gets lucky as he runs around trying to avoid being hit by the Candle Golem. As he's running around he digs into his satchel for the lamp oil and is throwing them back at his pursuer. The sudden blasts as the oil ignite leave hot wax splattered around the room.

  • Throwing flasks of oil at a creature with fire already there to ignite... yes it is deadly! 
Meanwhile Serena leans into the Leaf&Vine armor. It moves and embraces her, sending rootlets into her skin. She grabs the sword and draws it from its scabbard - fire streams along the blade as she salutes her enemy.
  • Seriously, this armor and sword were random, but oh so very good!
The candle golem finally manages to corner Alfonso and slam a fist of fire and hot wax through his chest. Serena tries to cut it down, but the shock of seeing her recent companion impaled and burning is too much. The other fist lashes out at Serena and strikes true....

But of its own volition her arm swings the flaming sword and slices the candle golem in twain. To her horror Serena feels the Leaf&Vine armor cooling the burns and knitting together her wounds - it is as if the golem had never struck her... 

And it gets worse... the armor will not come off.

Serena goes to a window and looks out over the gardens of Ynn. She has lost her only companion, and has no idea which direction lies the door back to her home. At least she has shelter and food for the present - but that is only a slower way to die unless she can find a way out.

The Gardens of Ynn are getting better and better for me. I will see about getting a new companion for Serena as this place is frikken lethal! Emmy Allen included a new class, the Stranded Changeling, which looks interesting. 

The lookup tables to work out if the characters (or monsters) manage to land a hit is REALLY annoying. I'm used to d20+mod > target AC. In this version of D&D it behaves more like d20+mod+target AC > thAC0. I really need to do the math and write down the conversion from descending AC to ascending AC. Because that extra check keeps making me doubt the roll and need to double check with the lookup tables in the book...

Although I might get used to it <shrug>

Friday, January 4, 2019

The Gardens of Ynn - A tale of Alfonso and Serena pt1

What is through the door?
I've been experimenting with the Player Emulator with Tags and have found it to be both simple and interesting to use. The basic gist of it is: each character gets an agenda (what kind of PC are they), a few personality tags (how they act) and a couple of focus tags (what they generally try to do). Then throw in a random generator which is modified by the agenda, and out of the random tags a colourful personality emerges.

I have a couple of B/X characters (once again generated by the wonderful Hill Cantons Compendium method) and couple with the PET they have come out shining. Alfonso is a child of criminals, excommunicated by the church, a wannabe criminal who is big, tough, and an aspiring cassanova. While Serena is the daughter of a courtesan, but who was gifted a prophetic vision by god (?) and now travels the world looking for someone to blame.

After talking about travelling between settings, the wonderful people of the OSR discord  pointed me at a module called The Gardens of Ynn by Emmy 'Cavegirl' Allen, which sounds like it will definitely scratch that itch... and so begins the long strange journey of Anfonso and Serena.


We set our stage in the city of San Gimignano - once a proud trade center, but long ago reduced by the black plague and under the rule of the Medici of Florence. The young traveller Serena overheard the boasting of Alfonso in a local Inn - and now they are meeting in a garden atop the city walls to discuss the hiring of Alfonso as a bodyguard...
  • No real threats, Alfonso goes for his "romance" focus.
  • Serena just wants to prepare Alfonso for what is coming... her prophetic dreams of Ynn
The sunset spreads its golden light over the disheveled garden. Alfonso is entranced by the honey colour spreading across Serena's face. "Only the Madonna can only be as pure as the beauty I see before me"...

Serena brushes him off (obviously gets this a lot in 15c Italy) and tries to prepare Alfonso without spooking him. Pays him some gold to retain his services, then goes on about her prophetic dreams of a Garden... When Alfonso suggests speaking to a priest, Serena gets angry and goes ahead and writes the words on the wall.. The Garden of Ynn by way of San Gimignano. Nothing happens and she is reluctantly begins to walk away - but when she returns to collect her cloak the doorway has appeared.

And Alfonso is flabbergasted!
  • Here we get the wonder of Emmy Allen's Ynn. 
  • 2d20 for the location and stuff in it. Then a d12/d20 for things going on.
They go through into an Overgrown Orchard. The ground is covered in rotten fruit and the air is thick with an alcoholic haze. Alfonso the fighter has no problem with this ..the smell that come after a night of debauchery while Serena is nearly overcome by the fumes and wants to move past as quickly as possible. Alfonso starts wandering, plucking fruit from the trees and gorging himself, while Serena follows along, trying to keep her head from spinning.

They come across someone picking fruit, but when the person comes down they are shocked that it is a animated statue of glass - elegant and flowing like art nouveau. It warily watches the pair approach but doesn't say a word. 
  • Alfonso's focus is wealth, and his 2d6 reaction to this walking work of art was "reward", so he's trying to figure out a way to sell it.
After some back and forth (and some pantomime and pointed question) Alfonso works out that their new Glass acquaintance is collecting food for some mysterious masters further in the garden. With some (very lucky) rolls he convinces it to return with him to San Gimignano where he knows the finest purveyors of victuals.

The few people in the evening streets cross themselves, say a prayer against influences, and rush away from the glass creature clinking along the cobblestones. At the Inn a number of patrons go pale and run (fail morale) at the sight of Glassy.  The Innkeeper Jacobo is made of sterner stuff, and when he sees Alfonso giving orders and the thing obeying, he gets curious. Alfonso makes an offer for this "miracle servant" who works with food. 
  • I normally hate haggling. But these rules make it simple enough. Jacobo turned out to be a hard merchant, driving the price down to 50% of the offer...
Glassy can see the kitchen, and when invited in by Jacobo gladly follows to the Inn's storeroom full of food. Serena drags Alfonso out and berates him for selling something possibly alive into slavery. But he's had his first taste of wealth from beyond the door, and wants to collect a few things before they return. Serena wants something to clear her head and protect her from the fumes.

As they leave they choose to ignore the sound of crashing plates and colourful swearing.

When they meet at the door some half an hour later, Alfonso has brought his (rather ragged) pony and a lot of empty packs ready to be filled. Also armed with an arquebus and sword, and wearing battle harness.  Serena had covered her face with a soaked cloth, carried a mace, and a pack filled with rations, a lantern, and rope.

They quickly passed through the Orchard, only noticing some of the rotting fruit had been cleared away by something. They then entered the gardens beyond - flower beds, trimmed hedges gone wild, statuary and benches. As they walked the sun finally set. They came across a gazebo with lounges and an abandoned setting of crystal glasses, and (mostly empty) bottles of wine. Alfonso finds one still unopened and agonises over keeping it to sell, or trying to woo Serena with it. 
  • PET manages to make lots of nice little character moments like this.
They are interrupted when Serena sees a man staggering out of the gardens towards them. She shrinks back away from the gazebo doorway, lantern shining. The man stumbled forward and yawns - revealing a mouth full of squirming bugs. It's skin writhes as it tries to move like a human. It stops at the threshold, unable to cross and obviously frustrated. Alfonso loads his arquebus. The Bug-man turns it's attention to the horse. It slaps at the horse, leaving it's neck covered in wriggling, biting worms. Alfonso shoots it in the head. The headless body continues to envelop the now screaming horse. Both Serena and Alfonso rush out to try to save the horse. The Bug-man quickly falls apart under their attacks, but the worms franticly eat into the horse-flesh. No matter how they try they cannot save the horse, which collapses and dies screaming.

Serena is shocked, but Alfonso is distraught. He drops the arquebus and lays hands on his long suffering friend. But leaps back when the body shudders and writhes and starts to get to its knees. Serena throws the lantern, the oil and flame covering the body - the bugs popping in the heat until nothing is left but a charred body and puddle of bug-ichor.

Without a lantern neither is overly anxious to walk back through the gardens to the Doorway. Since the creature seemed unwilling to enter the gazebo, they decide to sleep inside. Hoping that they will be able to continue safely when the sun rises.
  • Overall I'm bloody impressed with the Player Emulator. It manages to provide very colourful and unexpected (but believable) reactions for the characters. It also plays very nicely with B/X D&D.
  • The Gardens of Ynn feels fantastic! Cant wait for the chance to play some more!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019


Lost Worlds by Vimark
So there has been an idea rattling around inside my head.

A "setting" which allows for any and all of the modules I have to be used. Or a "meta-flailsnails"setting essentially.

I was inspired by 2 modules - Fever Dreaming Marlinko , and The Gardens of Ynn. The rattling idea is that somewhere, somewhen, somebody made a big mistake. Some kind of mega-portal magic went wrong and shredded the fabric of reality. This allowed worlds to start to mingle.

The more things leaked between worlds, the bigger the holes.

The play-actions that I want to enable is for a character to be able to walk from one setting to another - say from Waterdeep to Ankh-Morpork, and thence to Night City. As well as maybe allowing things like walking 1000 miles in a few minutes by accident. Conversely, it'd also be fun to allow things like Imperial Stormtroopers to fight against a horde of savage Orcs.

Gonzo as F%&#. :D

So how should this feel?

  • In known areas (lots of people in sight, permanent large settlement etc) then there is no difference from normal movement. You can walk around your town, work in the fields while in sight of home, and all that stuff without fear.
  • In recognisable areas (handful of people, regularly worked fields, trade roads) then things start to drift. You get where you want to go, but you are headed NW instead of N, or it took the whole day rather than an hour - or it is still sunrise after you spent the whole day walking...
  • In claimed areas (no locals around, owned lands, animal trails) things get strange. Not only is time and direction off, but things are out of place. Odd buildings, New forests, encounters from the wrong biome
  • Wild Lands (People dont come here, unclaimed, no trails) are downright freaky. Landmarks move when you dont look at them (or are you moving?) Weather freaks out. Loose track of time (months can go by in an afternoon) You find "thin places" and portals. Encounters from different lands or times
  • Lost - all bets are off. Skip huge distances (walk to different continent), travel forwards or backwards in time. Watch the landscape change around you. Impossible borders (Creek leads to deep ocean, Forest next to lava ocean. etc) Portals galore...
There should be a way that strong willed characters (or magic users) can manipulate the effects - either purposely drifting, or staying on track to wherever they are trying to get to.

I keep thinking of the encounter dice - (d6, 1:enc, 2:tracks, 3:weather, 4: hazard, 5:fatigue 6:hidden) - but as you keep drifting the encounter die gets bigger (d8, d10, d12, d20) and the things to encounter get stranger.. (7 time, 8 direction, 9: distance, 10: guests, etc etc)

Any ideas/advice?

Monday, December 24, 2018

Wot's Saga - ep1

Looking for answers...
by Joe Todd Stanton

So last time I made the Knave character of Wot the Angry Wombat. In the meantime I've been hunting around for an OSR-y module I could run through to test out Knave and MGE (Mythic GM Emulator). The lovely folks over at the OSR Discord also pointed me at a couple of nice modules. The winner for me was the Tower of the Stargazer because of the beautiful terse-key.. that and it was dirt cheap at RPGNow.

This leads to Wot going to explore a wizards tower.

Yep, Wot's going to need some companions in stupidity for their little jaunt. Thankfully I found another tool for Knave - a Knavish generator. Thanks to this I have been able to make 3 more knavish vagabonds in a matter of seconds! So let's meet the party!

Hoo, Wot, Ware, and Wen.

Yes, I think reading Wind in the Willows to my daughter is having an effect on me :)


So around here I started to get a few problems. I am not 100% sure where the problem was, but I suspect I was trying to use the MGE in a way not intended for it. Basically the MGE inserts some directed randomness into any narrative you are creating. It acts like a fancy magic-8-ball by answering yes/no questions and every now and again throwing a curve ball into the proceedings.

The play through i started was actually quite fun.

The problem was that it felt like the MGE was "fighting" against the module. I kept getting results of extra scenes and new NPCs appearing. It was a fun, but the quartet of characters actually never got inside the tower! They headed back to town to deal with the fallout of finding a dead master-thief outside the tower (who happened to be a rival of one of the characters!) There was a thieves-guild and a contest in the sewers for the rank of new "master thief".

But, this has nothing to do with the tower of the stargazer. <sigh>

I think that the situation I had wasn't really a player in search of a GM, but rather I was trying to GM a module and needed the characters to be puppeted in some pseudo-random way. The MGE doesn't do that - it tries to take control of the narrative and creates interesting scenes that build on what has happened... So the random entry of the dead thief happening to be the "rival" snowballed into an entirely different direction!

But, I did a little google-fu and asked in a few discord channels for some assistance, and finally got pointed in a new direction of a Player Emulator by Katamoiran RPGs. It is a cute little randomiser that does some of the same things that the MGE does, but it doesn't try to touch the world, but only gives some direction to the "players" behavior. It has a few cute "meta tags" like the player is on the phone and not paying attention, or a player trying to be overly dramatic and making self-sacrificing and self-suffering characters..

But... it might do the job better than the MGE! I guess I might see over the week till new years!

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Knave and MGE - Meet Wot ep-0

Angry Wombat is not impressed by your newfangled ideas
Luka Rejec
So.. with christmas season causing havok with my players - extra work in restaurants, family meet ups and the like - I thought it might be fun to give something a try... trying out a new system. Specifically Knave. I was pointed at Knave & hacks on the OSR discord, while i was spitballing ideas to make 5e a little simpler. Knave looks to be a very light system that has compatibility with "generic" D&D.

But wait, didn't you just say that your players are busy? Why yes I did. Thats what the MGE means in the title. I'm also going to give the Mythic Gamemaster Emulator a whirl at the same time. I mean, so many of the OSR books I have are full of random tables, having one more set of random tables to inject a little crazy doesn't seem like it'll be a problem :)

So where will I start? Well, Luka just made an awesome little pic for me (above) so I need to run this character through his paces... I really liked the simple race options, and since wombats a tough little  nocturnal buggers, I'm going to make him, effectively, a dwarf - so reroll strength or constitution, and darksight 50'.

So... Knave character creation:

Str - 4,4,3 - Bonus +3, Defense 13
Dex - 2,2,2 - Bonus +2, Defense 12
Con - 5,3,2 (5,4,3) - Bonus +3, Defense 13
Int - 5,3,3 - Bonus +3, Defense 13
Wis - 5,3,1 - Bonus +1 Defense 11
Cha - 4,3,2 - Bonus +2, Defense 12

Auto: 2 days rations, Weapon (Spear)
Rolls (6d20)
Armor (7) - Gambeson
Helmet (1) - none
Dungeon Gear (1, 8) Rope 50', Grappling Hook
General Gear (14, 15) Pick, Cooking Gear

Traits (i'll pick these, as I have a strong image of Mr Angry Wombat, with a couple of rolls)
Physique: Stout
Face: Round
Skin/Hair: Bristly
Clothing (fur): Stained
Virtue: Stoic. Vice: Iracible
Speech: Blunt
Background: Herbalist
Misfortune: (5) Cursed
Alignment: (1) Law
Name:  Wot.

...and thats it. Surprisingly quick. Maybe 10 min tops. I like it already!

Next time I'll pull out a simple(ish) OSR module and start a run with the Mythic GM Emulator to help. Any ideas for a module?

Friday, December 7, 2018

Rumination on my Table

What are we playing again?
Gambling Den - Jean Eugene Buland

So.. Every table is different. Each group of players bring their own experiences and expectations to the game. I've been running games for something like 30 years (why did I fall into the role of the eternal-DM?) so I've seen a lot of different combinations.

This is one of my first all-newbie groups.

It started last year when Stranger Things was airing its second season. One of my classmates said hey, one of these days I'd like to try D&D. I of course offered to run a game. A couple of others in the room asked to join in as well. Hey, instant group!

I was nervous. I'd run games for my friends in school and uni. I'd run games for colleagues while working at a computer-games company. But this was an assortment of folk taking part in a culinary school elective class.

Are they geeks like me?

I tried to ask what kind of D&D they wanted to play. The full experience! The pure game! Well, I didn't want to get into the nitty gritty of rule sets or rules variants. So I found the new hotness of the D&D 5e starter set and ran them through "The Lost Mine of Phandelvar". Pre-made characters and all.

It was a hit. Human Noble Fighter, Dwarven Soldier Cleric, Halfling Criminal Rogue, and Human Hero Fighter. Nessa, Hendrik, Arry, May. They rescued Sildar, went to town and gathered folk to rescue cousin Gundren, planned a decisive attack on Cragmoor Castle, and dived into the Lost Mines. Along the way Arry gained revenge against his nemesis, they made arrangements with criminals, and eventually drove off the dragon of Thundertree.

The game paused over the summer as we scattered around to world to work at various restaurants. We came back with winter approaching and a few questions arose - can we play some more?

The things that my players loved most of all was getting into their character's stories. Not in a I want to develop a big backstory, but how would my character react to these events. Often the players chafed at the pre-made backstories. But they also enjoyed how they fit into the adventure. They had hooks into the game world they could pull at when they couldn't imagine anything else to do. So some pre-made hooks for RP are important

My first tentative steps into letting the players make their own characters was a bit of a failure. I showed them the 5e Player's Handbook... Classes, Specialisations, Feats, Spells, Skills, Equipment Lists! Umm... you know we have to work on those days... maybe we can start next month..

So I decided to do a little pruning. Taking inspirations from B/X Essentials I used as many options as I could to streamline choices. Offering a choice when the option isn't understood is a false choice. This leads to dissatisfaction. I only wanted to offer a few, clear and understandable, choices.

As said before in Meet the Characters I used random character generation. This made the basics into a kind of mini-game - lets make a story around the results of these die rolls - which is the perfect kind of fun to have while everyone is full of munchies and wine. And I reduced the class choices, solve problems with Violence, Magic, or Cunning. After reading the DMs guide I transformed skills into keywords of class and background. Since one of my players is excited by exploring magic (possibly finding a magic school) I had to do something about the magic system. I got rid of the horror of 5e spell slots etc by using the magic system from Wonders & Wickedness: much simpler and full of more "magical" magic :)

But... the actual system is still in flux. So far we've only played a couple of session. One of those wasn't even D&D. I'll have to give some more thought in how to run the characters in play... and more importantly, how do they level up?

Any ideas?

Monday, December 3, 2018

Fabled Firebeasts of the Forest

Crowded Temple interior.
(BigMarket by Ben Mauro Design)

A good night's rest, and invigorating brew of tea let the girls consider their choices. But the morning pass through the markets made them depressed. Buying a single wagon and supplies to take back to the village of Highpass would set them back a few hundred gold.

Then they would need to hire a trustworthy driver, and hopefully leave enough gold to do this a few times... And to make it worse, their sacks of furs were not of much interest in the local market. If they got lucky they might make 20 gold.... nowhere near enough.

Vijaya suggested they take up Mogali's offer.

Fish, fruits, and fabrics filled the floating markets in the shade of the Temple of the Hundred Summer Gods. The face of a god was carved into each pillar, and together they support the ancient stone and iron domes. In the gloom beneath teem beggars and bandits, cutthroats and children. All living in the harmony of the Hexad traditions. Mowgali holds court amidst salvaged finery and opium smoke.

Archana is deeply suspicious of the smiling crime-boss. He offers to use the furs to swindle some foreigners out of some coin... and the base offer for the girls is 10%... negotiations start in earnest! The local thugs are taking bets, and Mogali brings in a tea-set to make everyone comfortable. In the end they agree to start a relationship with Mogali, trying to smuggle trade goods and "artifacts" into the city. For this arrangement they get 50% of the sale of the furs, but they will do their own sale.

"Remember, you are now children of the Turquoise Waters. We are your brothers and sisters. We will shelter you. But in return you will provide for your family". Mogali embraced and kissed each of the women on their cheeks. "Come, I will introduce you to a most cunning man who knows many secrets!"

The temple hides an entry to the undercity. Ancient neighbourhoods buried in layers under the traffic filled streets . In a workshop, hidden from the prying eyes of the Cats, lives Nagarjuna. He knows many secrets that trespass on the monopoly of the Violet Citadel. Now he practices the arts of kemia for the outcasts and homeless.

After hours mixing root vegetables and toxic sediments, the transformation is complete. A pale red glow coming from the furs lights the room. Of course the glow washes off in water...

That evening, the girls wind their way through the twisting corridors of the undercity. An unremarkable staircase leads to the basement of an opium house in the foreign quarter of the city. There they meet a translator and two men. They look strange. Tight black coats, high collars, heavy boots, gold buttons and twisted ropes hanging from their shoulders. Their pink skin was slick with sweat even in the cool afternoon. The translator carries out much of the negotiation, assisted by the exaggerated mime of Vijaya.

About to be swindled and doesn't know it.
A tale of elemental creatures birthed in distant volcanoes. Herds of sheep blackened by the fiery breath of ember-wolves. Herders chased by mountain ash-elk. The foreigners are entranced by the tales of hunters rushing to preserve hides before they dissolve in the damp snowy nights. Both men are salivating at the sight of the glowing prizes.

Note - this was the part I detested. Trying to work out the outcome of a price negotiation is always hard at the best of times.... I estimated each "sack" held 10 hides. in Yoon-Suin a hide goes for 5 silver... so 15 gold for the lot at base prices. I proposed the "pitch" as a performance w/ advantage: Vijaya rolled a crit. For that I estimated that the foreigners considered the hides as a "common magical item". 100g each hide, So being the cheap bastards they are, they offered 750g for the lot.

Archana knew this would not be enough (the 50% cut),  so tried to push for 5000g. But she failed her roll. With the foreigners getting ready to leave, Vijaya wanted to try one more ruse. Telling the foreigners that the creatures only spawned during eruptions.  With a disadvantaged roll she managed a 19, then added her charisma bonus and charlatan background.

I ruled that the foreigners would be willing to pay their full price on their original estimate... 3000g

When the girls returned to the temple and showed their take to Mogali, he was very impressed. He happily divided the chest of gold, and even generously offered to keep their share for safekeeping against the untrustworthy inhabitants of the city". The girls regretfully declined.

The next day was spent looking through the markets for horses, supplies and wagons. They managed to buy their dream wagon (it even had a canvas cover to protect the driver from rain or sun), tools, and food supplies to send up to Highpass. Matron Rha Ki introduced them to a trustworthy caravan driver. The girls hired him to make the 2 week round trip to deliver the cargo and pick up something to sell back in town. They paid cash up front for a month.

Next, they plan to take a look at the hiring auditions at the Violet Citadel

* * *

That was the end of session 1.

I quite enjoyed how it came out of a couple of random dice rolls, a few scribbled lines in my notebook, and a random encounter. I did notice that i was REALLY stressed about how to value the "improved furs". I should have figured out they would do something like that.

Note - I have to bring back Puukas, their friendly street cat, and Nagarjuna the alchemist. I enjoyed both those characters. Mogali was supposed to be a "friendly uncle", but for some reason all my players consider him to be "the evil mastermind".... Not sure what to do about that.