Sunday, June 17, 2018

NGR Play Example: The Dungeon

In this scenario the party is exploring the abandoned sewers under an abandoned city in the moors. It is rumoured to be full of the living dead who guard the fabled gem "The Eye of the Sea".

GM: So you all descend the rickety ladder through the hole to what was surely once the basement of an inn.  Dirt and rubble pile up against a wooden door to the north.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): I am surprised a wooden door is still standing, surely rain pouring in through the hole would have rotted it over the years.

GM:  This brings up my next point actually,  its night outside so there isn't really any light streaming in through the hole above you.  What is everyone carrying for light as it will otherwise be pitch black, a darkness level of 10.

Guy (Sir Vancierge):  Well I'll start by rummaging through my backpack to get a candle and then light it with my flint in steel.

GM: Are you just setting it on the ground or carrying it?

Guy (Sir Vancierge): I'll sheath my sword and carry it for now.

GM: Ok you have a light source, and the room itself only has 9 darkness. Anyone else lighting anything?

Chuck (Abraham): I'll have my lantern in hand, but I won't light it yet.

Kim (Thaugo): I'll dig out my torch and pack my javelin.

GM: The javelin is a pole weapon, you can't cram it in a backpack,

Kim (Thaugo): Right... I'll pack my club I guess. I can still hit people with a torch right?

GM: Yep, it will have the devastating tag because it is on fire though. That will increase the damage die one step and give a -2 penalty to hit.

Kim (Thaugo): Only if I light it though right? otherwise its just a club?

GM: Yep, its a sturdy block of wood with some pine tar and cloth on it. Its not a movie torch.

Kim (Thaugo):  Well I light it with the candle, that will give the room 3 more light at least.

GM: 6 more, you are size 2 and its a torch to your scale.

Kim (Thaugo):  So the room is fairly bright to everyone else then, only 3 darkness.

GM: Right, so that means there are deep shadows and a lot of flickering with a red glow.  You are holding a light source though so you don't suffer those kinds of penalties.

Tom (Jack): I look around the room for anything shiny or valuable.

GM:  Make a Perception attribute check with a -3 penalty for the darkness.

Tom (Jack): I am still calm, so my dX roll is 10. With the -3 darkness penalty I fail as I don't feel like becoming On Edge or Reckless and rolling dice.

Kim (Thaugo): I look around as well.  I do not suffer the -3 penalty because I am actually carrying a light source right?

GM: Correct

Kim (Thaugo): In that case I pass. I am still calm and have a perception of 10 so I pass.

GM: In the muck you see the glint of a glass bottle.

Kim (Thaugo): I pick it up

GM: Ok, so in an explosion you...

Kim (Thaugo): Oh come on

GM: I am just fucking with you, its just a bottle.  It is sealed with lead and appears to contain salt.

Kim (Thaugo): Weird.  I keep it. That means I am also no longer underencumbered.

GM: Oh, and Sir Vancierge was examining the door right?

Guy (Sir Vancierge): Ya, sure

GM: It does appear to be heavily rotted and termite infested.  You figure you could probably break it open pretty easily.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): How difficult?

GM: Oh, easy to do it. But you might end up making a bunch of noise.  You could make a strength check, and if you pass you cause 1 suspicion but if you fail you cause 1d6 suspicion.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): I am still calm, so I succeed in my strength check.

GM: There is a slight snap noise that echoes as you break a few less rotted pieces of wood.  You cause 1 point of suspicion unless someone wants to pay a luck point to reduce it to 0.

Kim (Thaugo): I only have 4 luck so I won't, but someone should.

Tom (Jack): Its just 1 suspicion.

Kim (Thaugo): I am size 2, so it would be 2 suspicion to me.  I only have 6 agility so my oafish bumbling will quickly cause us to trigger a random encounter.

GM: Correct.  In dungeons a build up of suspicion is used to determine when you cause some of the denizens to investigate all the ruckus.  I know you all know this, but I feel compelled to repeat it again.

Julia (Brother Cadmus): I will spend luck to remove the suspicion then. Anyone nearby can spend luck to reduce suspicion if its an area effect like this.  Do I have to spend 2 luck because Thaugo is size 2?

GM: No, the person spending the luck pays it at their rate.  If Thaugo was spending the luck, they would have to pay 2 to reduce all of the suspicion.

Julia (Brother Cadmus): I go through the door to the north.

GM: Cadmus, you have entered the door to the north. You are now by yourself, standing in a dark room. The pungent stench of mildew emanates from the wet dungeon walls.

Tom (Jack): Where are the cheetos?

GM: They are right beside you.

Kim (Thaugo): We have cheetos?

Chuck (Abraham): No, they are doing a stupid bit. Don't encourage them.

Julia (Brother Cadmus): Is that actually the room?

GM: Yes, but light does come in from behind you, half of what was in your room. Rounded down that means 3 light to counteract the 10 darkness.  You can see vague outlines of things. Maybe furniture or something?  Make a perception check with a -7 penalty for the darkness.

Julia (Brother Cadmus): I am still calm because we haven't started a conflict. Should I start rolling anyway or just fail guys?

Guy (Sir Vancierge): Save being calm in case we have traps. I come in with my candle.

GM: Ok, its only 6 darkness.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): I look around. Because I have a light source I am just going to look at things.

GM: Moving up close with your candle you see this appears to be an old store room. There are a lot of crates and barrels..

Tom (Jack): So overpriced garbage that suburbanites love?

GM: crates and barrels which appear to still be mostly intact, though some seem to have rot from water dripping from the ceiling. There is a door to the east.

Chuck (Abraham): I gently quietly poke around with a dagger, seeing if there is anything shiny or valuable within them. I am investigating using my "Resale Appraisal" skill.

GM: There is a pair of porcelain plates still intact in the mess. Their probably worth a pretty penny

Julia (Brother Cadmus): They're

GM: Right, They're probably worth a pretty penny

Chuck (Abraham): They are fragile, so I assume they are a dot each?

GM: Right

Chuck (Abraham): I am over encumbered then.

Kim (Thaugo): I could carry them

Julia (Brother Cadmus): Same here

Chuck (Abraham): That's cool, I got it

Julia (Brother Cadmus): Don't be a dingus, I won't keep them. You can have them back when we leave the dungeon, I promise.

Chuck (Abraham): Fine, jeez.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): I open the door to the east

GM:  The light from behind you spills out past you to reveal a long sewer tunnel heading north and south into the darkness.  Your room has a candle and a giant torch, so 7 light.  Half of that spills into a hallway and will cause suspicion.

Kim (Thaugo): I haven't actually entered the store room yet so my giant torch is still in the first room with me.  Remember how you said its 6 darkness with the distant light of my torch and Vancierge's candle?

GM: Ok, then only half of the 4 light spills in, so 2 suspicion.

Chuck (Abraham): I'll pay it this time, but put out that torch before we move into that hall. We can relight it later.

Kim (Thaugo): Fine, I put out the torch.

GM: It gets incredibly dark. The only light you can see is the flickering candle that Sir Vancierge is holding in the next room. You can't see in front of you very well and you may stumble into things. Make an agility check to quietly make it into the next room where there is some light.

Kim (Thaugo): I cast Owl Eyes to see in the dark

GM: Isn't that in your grimoire? You can't read that in the dark

Kim (Thaugo): Can I cast the spell THEN put out the torch?

GM: Sure, but remember that you put out the torch quickly to cut down on light seeping into the hall. Your book is packed in your backpack and may take a while to dig out. How much longer do you want to be beaming torchlight into the hall?

Kim (Thaugo): Ok, first I bless myself. This gives me a +1 universal bonus.  Then I move calmly move into the next room.  My dX roll is 10, I add my 6 agility, my +1 bonus for bless, a +1 bonus to an agility check for having a free hand, and +2 from my stealth

GM: Why would you add your stealth modifier?

Kim (Thaugo): I have parkour and this is literally an attribute check about moving so I get to add my stealth.

GM: Fair enough, you deftly avoid crashing into any of the junk as you navigate towards the faint light.

Kim (Thaugo): Getting near Sir Vancierge's candle NOW I dig out the masters grimoire and cast Owl Eyes. Actually first I put down my torch and club so I am underencumbered and THEN I cast it.  It has a cost of 1 so I pay 1 mana, and its difficulty is 1 per power level. I have 2 occult, I am blessed and being under encumbered I get +1 to casting rolls, so I cast it at power level three.  I am calm so my dX roll is 10, I add +2 for my occult, +1 for bless, and a +1 bonus for being underencumbered but subtract 3 for the difficulty of the spell at power level three.  My target number to beat is 10 so I succeed.

GM: Unless something hiding nearby was trying to counter it, which they are not.

Kim (Thaugo):  So I only suffer half the normal darkness penalties.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): Lead by flickering candlelight I quickly scan north and south for any doors or side exits. I want to minimize time in the tunnels to avoid racking up more suspicion.

GM: There looks like there are two doors to the north, one on each side, and one on the west wall to the south.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): I dart down to the door by the south, I assume everyone is following me?

GM: Is anyone not following him? speak now? Anyone? Bueller, Bueller?  Ok.  You reach the door to the south, the sewer itself is fairly dry, but there is a rot smell and a fair amount of leaves in the center channel. The door is closer, do you want to spend time to try to open it quietly or just force it open? Oh, and you guys take 1 suspicion from the candle going down the hall.

Tom (Jack): Didn't we already take suspicion from bringing light through into the hall?

GM: Yes, but then you delayed a while until Thaugo could catch up, rummage through and find a book in their pack and then cast a spell.

Tom (Jack): I pay the 1 luck.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): I try and open the door first

GM: It opens easily

Guy (Sir Vancierge): I duck inside

GM: Everyone not following? Speak now? No? Ok.  So Sir Vancierge ducks into the room and sees the vague outlines of a horrid scene with his lone candle, though Thaugo can see it much clearer. A trio of gaunt humanoid figures with disturbingly long fingers and over-sized yellow eyes are chewing bits of skin and hair off a desiccated human corpse. They hiss angrily at you. Roll for initiative.

Kim (Thaugo): I speak infernal, couldn't I maybe talk to them?

GM: Maybe, but roll for initiative. You don't know what they are going to do.

Kim (Thaugo): 4
Chuck (Abraham): 5
Guy (Sir Vancierge): 1
Julia (Brother Cadmus): 2
Tom (Jack): 6
GM: They are on 3. Sir Vancierge is up first.
Kim (Thaugo): Wait, they are still all clustered around the desiccated corpse right?
GM: Yes?
Kim (Thaugo): Then I interrupt everyone before they can move to cast Flaming Orb on them. They are clustered so I should be able to hit 3 of them with a power level 2 spell. They look like undead so they should take double damage from fire. I can't quite cast it that high though normally. So I'll become reckless and roll a d20. I'll have +4 to the casting roll and -6 from the difficulty with a target to beat of 10. I get a 14 on the d20 for a total result of 12. I cast the spell at power level 2, which lets me hit 3 targets who are clustered together for a repeating d6 of damage each. I add +1 because I am blessed so the first one takes 5 damage, the second one times 6 damage and the third one I roll a 6, which repeats and lets me roll a 4. With a +1 bonus for bless that one takes 11 damage.

GM: They don't have any milestones so they can't make saving throws.  You are correct that they are undead so they do take double damage, all of them are incinerated and they don't even have time to scream.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): Rock on! High five!

GM: One of their corpses is still on fire,

GM Rolls some d6's

GM: As is the desiccated corpse they were clustered around which goes up like tinder.  You also see in the better light the room is full of desiccated corpses.  The flaming explosion itself created 2 light, and the corpses are each proving 1d6 more as the room is catching on fire.  As an inferno it will create, lets say 20 light.

Tom (Jack): But we aren't in a hallway right?

GM: No, but you didn't have time to close the door. Which on the one hand will let you flee back out before taking damage, but on the other hand it lets light slip out into the hallway.  Rolling 2d6 the corpses on fire are creating 5 light, plus the 2 from the explosion, plus the 1 from the candle is 8.  So 4 light spills into the hallway for 4 suspicion.

Julia (Brother Cadmus): I say we just trigger the encounter and ditch out of the this room, we'll try and hide back in the store room since it should take whatever comes looking for us awhile to find us.

GM: Anyone spending luck to avoid suspicion? No?  Ok, you all take 4 except Thaugo who takes 8.

Kim (Thaugo): I have 8 suspicion and 6 agility. I trigger an encounter and reset my suspicion to 0. Everyone else loses up to 6 suspicion, which I think will clear it for everyone.

The GM rolls some dice and notes the random encounter, a vengeful wraith

GM: Since everyone has an action left I assume you are all moving  out the door back into the sewer tunnel?

Guy (Sir Vancierge): Yes, I am also using my second action to close the door behind me to prevent more light from streaming into the tunnel.  Everyone can interrupt me to move past me before hand if initiative matters.

GM: Since Thaugo interrupted everyone it doesn't matter, everyone has actions left to leave before you close the door.

Chuck (Abraham): And we learned a valuable lesson about using fiery explosions to solve problems when attempting stealth.

Julia (Brother Cadmus): Speak for yourself, I aint learned shit.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): Lets head North to the door on the east.

GM: Unless you say otherwise, everyone is following. Take 1 suspicion from light through the tunnel.

Kim (Thaugo): We already got one encounter incoming? Should we pay luck to keep from getting a second?

GM: Some of the results on the encounter table might be null, you don't know for certain something is incoming.

Chuck (Abraham): Lets save our luck for combat at this point.

GM: Fair enough, as you see a dark vaguely humanoid shape approaching from behind. It has gotten very close to you, roll initiative as it enters your area.

Kim (Thaugo): Whats it look like?

GM: Its really dark

Kim (Thaugo): I cast Owl Eyes on myself remember

GM: Hasn't that run out yet?

Kim (Thaugo): No, it lasts like 15 minutes. We ran into one room, immediately exploded it and haven't even made it to a second room yet.

GM: Its a wizened looking human clutching funerary robes close to his, or maybe her, body.

Kim (Thaugo): Is it transparent, or corporeal?

GM: It doesn't seem that solid.

Tom (Jack): Oh great its going to possess us, we've got one flickering candle so we are going to get driven mad in the dark. The 9 darkness is a 9 penalty to our resistance rolls.

Guy (Sir Vancierge): Not me, I got a candle

Kim (Thaugo): I got night vision until my spell conks out

Chuck (Abraham): I have the exorcist power and a lot of luck

Julia (Brother Cadmus): I have 500 piety and am in a state of grace so can't be possessed.

Tom (Jack): Fuck.

Coming soon, I've got a proof in hand.

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