Friday, September 15, 2017

Trollzine #9


I find myself in the editor's seat with the intention of unleashing old no.9 early in 2018, in the long Aotearoan summer holidays.

I have picked up quite a bit of material from Gaptooth and have already elicited a heady mix of more offerings and promises of goodies from the shining stars of the Trollworld heavens.

I shall not be able to stop myself from lobbing a few T&T hand grenades into the cauldron and there are others in New Zealand marching militantly towards D Day (delivery day).

Your Trollworld needs you! Heed the call to arms, a place where the Muse descends and kisses the brow of writers and artists alike.

You've got it in you, now let it out...

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Bower of Bliss

Charlie and rolled up 2 L1 wizards, Volipiter the Gusty and Saruman, and they have been adventuring in a couple of solos. The second is KStA's Infinite Adventure. We stumbled across a puritan called Kyle on a beach and he's rowing us to a place called the Bower of Bliss after we declined to pay the 1,000 GP fee to just get there effortlessly.

Unfortunately the solo's paragraphs ran out before we got there and before we worked out if Kyle is a friend or not.

We have been plotting and ferreting about, asking the dice key questions and now we know that Kyle is a L11 wizard with what looks like an untamed deluxe magic staff.

The Bower of Bliss is utterly evil but not very dangerous. It is run by one of the Arch-Demon Ashgoleth's lieutenant's, Terju, the lord of a realm of fire and hatred.

The danger will come from rolling a critical fumble and we have to survive 10 life or death challenges.

In determining all this, we both rolled critical fumbles twice in a row. I estimated the odds of this being 10,006 to 1 and it actually is 104,976 to 1 so I scored about 95% for my estimate.

The Bower of Bliss is a 16th century poem by Edmund Spenser.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

More Sightings of Monsters and Delvers in Hawaii

I didn't go looking for trouble and I wasn't seeking adventure but I certainly found it...

Fairies go surfing in Hawaii.

Imps like drying their wings at dusk at Waikiki.

The do tend to stalk the fairies.

But they can't catch them so they try to catch waves instead.

The dice do appear to be loaded.

The skeletons get spooked easily.

Not surprising given how fierce the warriors are.

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Blunderbus Adventure

Here is the recently constructed dome, replete with dwarves mutated into gharg guards, at the neck of the Undead Peninsula where the Blunderbis adventure is taking place:

The game has 7 players and all the pcs are dwarves. 4 of the players are new to T&T. They have taken to it like ducks to water. For me, it has the makings of the Best Group Ever :)

Meanwhile, do some clearing out, I rediscovered these:

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Shrouded Hall of Makadee

This is my contribution to a collaborative L3-6 dungeon being brewed at the Trollbridge...

It's rather AR Holmes, I think, gothic and dangerous!

The door to this room (5’ wide and 15’ high, 3” thick) has a steel, virtually indestructible, clock set into its bronze surface. The hands of the clock are not moving. Magic can be detected from the clock – it has a ‘duration’ spell on it. Skulls are embossed around the edges of the door.

The door can be opened only if the hands of the clock – currently at 6.30 – are moved to 12 o’clock. If this is done, a ‘click’ will be heard which signifies the lock mechanism being sprung. Once started, the clock winds anti-clockwise. An Omnipotent Eye spell will now reveal that anyone not passing through the door will have a Hell Bomb Bursts go off inside their head when the clock completes its cycle back to 12 again. [Note for GM – if the pcs do not use Omnipotent Eye and then Glue You, they will really be racing against time.]
The hands are moving at a speed that will allow them to get back to 12 in 30 minutes. A further OE spell will reveal that the clock can be slowed by a Glue You spell to give double the time.

Beyond the door, the room is 50’ wide by 120’ long, with a ceiling covered with spikes some 20’ above the floor, which is a sheet of heavily oiled steel – very slippery so L1 DEX for physical activities requiring moderate movement, L2 + for more ambitious manoevres. The spikes will only fire downwards if the ceiling is struck hard (eg by the statue in a fight perhaps) – each pc would be hit by 1d6 spikes doing 2d6 damage each directly through armour with the level of a SR made on their choice of LK, DEX or SPD reducing the damge by 2 per level.

The walls are mirrors and the room is filled with musky mist, coming from large braziers burning in each of the 4 corners. Visisbility is no better than a half-moon, cloudy night. The braziers could be overturned with L4 SRs on STR. The mist saps those breathing it in so that SRs become 1 level higher every 5 minutes (L2 INT to notice, GM to get players to roll without telling them what for).

In the centre of the room is a statue of a 6-armed spider-eyed humanoid monster. The statue is 10’ up on a pale blue cube of rock, 10’ for all dimensions. The statue is itself 8’ tall and carries 3 bows and has a large sheaf of arrows on its back, as well as having 2 scimitars on each hip. It is magical and cannot be affected by magic less than L10 while un-animated. Its many eyes are rubies which can fire heat rays when it is active. The rubies are worth 2000 GPs in total.

The statue activates when a mirror is cracked. If this happens, the pc breaking a mirror must make a L7 SR on LK or appear to become instantly unlucky – a black cat tattoo appears on the back of each hand with the number 13 beside it (permanent). In fact, the pc just suffers the next SR being 13 levels higher (APs to boot) unless a critical fumble was rolled in which case the unlucky run is 13 SRs.

When a mirror is broken, the room begins to fill with thick green slurry from the place where the glass broke. The slurry smells very nasty. PCs need to make a L1 SR on CON of fight at 50% combat adds until washed off. If it is consumed, it reduces all physical attributes by 1d6 permanently. The slurry can be used to hide from the animated statue – or be hurled at it (the slurry will make bow shots harder by 1 level and the monster fights at 50% effectiveness if knocked into it – as do the pcs unless they make L3 SRs on the average of STR and DEX).

The monster has MR600 and cannot be harmed by magic or physical assaults until activated. Makadee will fire at the unluckiest 3 pcs each round until forced to join melee combat. It needs only avoid a critical fumble to be on target and does 4d6 damge directly through armour per hit. PCs can reduce the damage taken with successful LK SRS – L1 reduces by 25%, L2 by 50% and so on. The monster resists direct magical attacks if the caster’s WIZ is less than 60. It will attempt to slash ropes thrown about it once animated (its SPD is 20 if this is needed should the pcs attempt to topple it). The mosnter’s eyes can also do damage – it will target the smartest pc and do 2d6 direct damage unless that pc is able to make a L2 SR on either DEX or SPD to evade the attack.

The block of stone the monster stands on has 2 secret doors, one facing the pcs aas they enter, the other at the rear. They take an Oh There It Is spell or a L3 SR on any of INT, LK or DEX to find (the GM should listen carefully to what the pcs say they are doing rather than give an easy choice). The door at the front is unlocked and teleports pcs out of the room.

The rear door in the stone is also unlocked and contains a slim silver headband with the words, “Don’t Think To Possess Me”. The crown is magical but gives off a zap doing 2d6 damage if anyone attempts to cast magic on it (eg Omnipotent Eye). To possess the power of this artefact, a pc must fail a L1 SR on INT – the gain is to be able to cast the equivalent of Hold That Pose with one’s eyes (need to lock onto the target’s eyes) -  the immobilising effect lasts for 30 seconds and impacts on creatures with MRs up to 10 times the wearer’s INT  (or not greater than the caster’s INT for npc, etc).

All this against the clock! GMs might adjust the time allowed if it seems clear it will be too short but the screws should be turned! Any pc surviving this room should be awarded 600 APs.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Games People Play

The Fun Boy Three and Bananarama once sang that "it ain't what you do, it's the way that you do it."

Fair call.

We just has a skype game with my mum, 4 of us. We played D&D mechanics - there were no fights and it felt just like T&T.

It's just a matter of how much freedom a GM allows the players and if he/share is prepared to skip happily off into the unknown.

Of course, it was T&T really - a rose by any other name.

This Charles II - he is a life domain cleric. Apparently, the party's composition means he should be in the front line fighting but Charlie thinks in Ebony and Ivory - as Paul said to Michael, "I'm a lover, not a fighter." So he's going to stay back with my wizard and do what healing he can, refusing to be a war-gamer.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Appearances Can Be Deceptive

I look here and see no activity - shame on me!

Beyond the surface, if not beyond the pale, several GM campaigns continue and a new one has begun involving a party of dwarves travelling home on the 'Blunderbus' who get sidetracked by a shanty town of vampire dwarves alongside the construction of a dome fortress at the head of the Undead Peninsula.

I have also finished the first section of 'Ocean's Edge', a seafaring solo where players can advance from apprentice to captain, joining the crew of either a merchantman, a naval man of war or a pirate. The first section dealing with the adventures of the apprentices weighs anchor at 405 paragraphs.

I recently made a friend in Joel at a session for TOG players. hee quickly decided T&T and he were a match made by Swan Vesta in heaven and abandonned involvemnt in wargamer mechanics for role-playing frivolity - he has already written a solo which will soon see the light of day!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

New Game On

"Chain Gang" by Sam Cooke came on the car stereo. It inspired a chain gang game.

The motorway sign read 'Walmsley Road' so Walmsley entered Trollworld.

I had in mind a game of attrition. We rolled Walmsley up with 8 rolls of 3d6, the attributes in strict order.

The dice had a clearer plan that I did - triples came up for CON and he emerged as a wizard who is a CON specialist.

With a rating of 24, the automatic doubles rule made L5 SRs easy. He casr no spells and manned up to every brutality the guards and the warden served up. He won money from inmates taking punches from big dudes.

I think an escape is on the cards...but maybe the dice will determine otherwise.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

I Played D&D at the Weekend

I went to a D&D day at Auckland university with Charlie on Saturday - my character got killed and resurrected in all 3 sessions, as did the whole group. It was good to meet new people and I appreciated the friendliness and the effort put in but...

...there was zero role-playing, mechanical dice rolling and it had about as much to do with T&T-style play as Monopoly!

Then I found this on Google:

Not just me then.

I agree very much with the writer in not regarding combat as a separate game and not liking it to be so formulaic and stuck.

It seems to me that 'initiative' is the problem - and what a misnomer :)

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Trollgod has Fallen to Pieces!

Yesterday my new set of miniatures arrived - complete with a Trollgod in four pieces! Time for a Glue You spell.

Darcy has done a great job again as you can see in the photos below...

You can also see the character sheet for my fun-loving dwarf warrior, Meaty Mutt.

There two are Souza Fortescue, dwarf wizard, and House Elf, human wizard. Much written about and featured in the Deluxe T&T rulebook, last seen skiiing...

Random characters from the streets of Auckland.

Man having problems with broken glass.

A submerged countryside my way after a wet summer and a very wet start to autumn.

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Eye of the Kobra

Here's the gist of a T&T game I ran for 7 (mainly D&D) players on Sunday...

The Eye of the Kobra
The Kobratov family’s ancestral estate has lain in ruins for many years. Family members hire the pcs to journey there from Nesstlehaven to search for a diamond they believe has never been removed from their lands which will restore the family to greatness.

The two brothers, Dimitri and Sergei, and their two sisters, Irina and Katerina, buy the pcs tickets on the barge, the Rock Bottom, run by the dwarven captain, Dugmore Graves (L4, +36 adds). Some pcs are hired by one sibling, some by another, all for a handsome fee, trebled for success. The pcs are provided with amethyst amulets which allow communication with the Kobratovs – but it is the Kobratovs who control the amulets and who can see through them.

The journey through the underground canals is some 7000 miles and should take 45 days. The one-way ticket price is 1000 GPs. The contract price per pc varies according to who hired them but is in the range 500-1000 with board thrown in, with the expectation that up to 2 weeks searching of the ruins is part of the agreement.

Graves has mate, Mason Dixie (L2, +12 adds), to help him run the barge. Dixie is a gemcutter and Graves trades in gems as well as carrying passengers (the fare is GPs one way). Dixie is mute. The other crew member is Gnarla Root (L2, +1 adds), an elderly woman who acts as cook and cleaner. She is reputed to know a range of spells but will be very slow to warm to the pcs.

Graves has been warned of trouble on this trip, for he has a particularly valubale diamond he has transporting to the Lord of faraway Portree. For this reason, he has hired two minotaurs as extra secuirty, one named Hornpipe (L3, +30 adds), the other Bullwhip (L3, +30 adds), as well as their controller, a leprechaun called Biddlecombe (L2, +20 adds).

The truth if this voyage is a little different. The Eye of the Kobra contains the spirit of the first Kobratov, Uri, who is quite mad and who can manifest in semi-physical form. The Eye has been in the possession of the family matriarch, Olga, who has hired Graves to take it home to the ancestral estate. She believes once there, Uri will regain sanity and solidity and will join with her in forging a realm to surpass Portree itself.

Her children have learned of her plan. They either wish to take control of the Eye and Uri themsleves or see it destroyed or made safe.

Uri has managed to separate from the Eye – although – he cannot go far from it - but has kept this from Olga. In fact, the Eye can be used to control him. Graves has realised some of this and has driven Uri into the very bottom of his boat but the strain has told. Finally, fearing Uri is becoming too strong, he has given the diamond to Dixie to hide amongst all the others he is working on, thinking it best to prevent Uri from taking possession of the Eye himself.

All this has happened before the Rock Bottom leaves Nesstlehaven.

  1. The mission – being hired in the Crippled Sphynx Tavern by the half-uruk, Gratz Fulmer, receiving the amulets; each pc receives a contract from a particular Kobratov
  2. Meeting the captain and seeing the boat
  3. Attack by goblin archers from a bridge (need 13 to hit from bridge, 3d6 damage)
  4. The captain falls into a coma at the tiller
  5. The pcs find out about the Eye from Biddlecombe (who has limited telepathy) after 2 shivans attack (MR70), climbing onto the boat from the wate
  6. The traps set in the captain's quarters – gas, darts and a ferrethog (MR30) under the bed
  7. Losing control of the boat - the rapids (flat but fast and dotted with dangerous rocks)
  8. The amulets speak
  9. The race for the diamond as Uri stalks the Rock Bottom – WIZ SRs to use Eye to control Uri, CON SRs to survive his touch, INT/CHR SRs to survive his mad wails and hypnotising eyes, LK SRs to strike him while partially solid

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Gm Games on the Go

Not sure I can keep a grip on what is happening all around me...

1 -Over at Castle Orinthos, the Duck Wizard is trying to restore his castle and needs to journey to the Jungles of Phantog with his trusty, reexcavated living statue servant, Ronina. After two big run ins with bands of trolls, they are after the very rare chickenite which is reputed to be good for restoration masonry.

2- Leaving the town of Blaghas, the dwarf Maxwell (a mayo fanatic), the second rate alchemist Omuga and the former-L9 wizard-now-talking-Scooby Doo-dog Pawbone are on the trail of Pawbone's cyclops friend, Jawbone. Once again chickenite is in the mix. They have just left the town of Roundsquare with another former-wizard-now-creature, Slowcoach the Snail - who has been enlarged and whose tardis-like shell they are now travelling in. Despite several almost-moments, they never quite entered the annual bowling contest in Roundsquare, despite taking out mutant skinheads, a clackerman et al...

3 - Qadouche - with Studley now king and Runey prince, things would be looking good but there's always a but... van Persie still can't get it together as the new ponifex and has just destroyed the Staff of Rains and the old pontifex at the small town of Bodrun. They are unpopular in Qadouche because of the ongoing drought and are off to the Pyramid of Kafacaca to find the next pontifex down the time chain - but they find a cult of hermits who have all taken his name. Confusing!

4 - Vulgaria - out of the Palace of the Silver Princess with the precious ruby, My lady's Heart, the group are now faced with a take-ever by Lady Dognes of Gulluvia who has hired an army of mercenary ogres. With the Bear Cult in the background, Colin, Conan, Aldeross, Big Hobbie and Dominia need to find the means of stopping Dognes and her ogres.

5 - Deep Space 9 crossover: Garrick flies through a Higgs-Boson field to escape a Dominion ambush and finds himself stranded without technology in a massive forest before befriending a simple jelleton family.

6 - 50 years into the future, just before First Contact: smuggler running forbidden goods through the US/Mexico forcefield wife gets entangled with Government scientist, trying to leak the news of alien threat to the outside world, a fastfood ordinary joe - and then dicovers his lovely Mexican wife has been transferring 90% of his income to her extended family.

And there are more... but I won't remember them until they just resurface of their own volition :)

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Caves of Nerja - artwork finished

Yay! Addicted to writing solo paragraphs instead of watching YouTube or being on Facebook so I've started the next one - a rollicking pirate adventure (more later).

Here's a recent illo for Caves:

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Games Galore

I've been quiet since I got back from Thailand because I've ust been running too many games! Is this a bad thing? Can't be, can it :)

Here's some artwork doodled recently by a player as the game went along. Pretty cool...

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Monsters at the palace in Bangkok

This guy and his mate prompted an in-depth conversation spun out of a Trollbridge debate on whether a warriors' bonus is excessive at 1d6 per level as against +2 per level. The contention was that at L15 it would be. We saw this guardian with MR200. The L15 warrior we imagined was pitted against two of them. They would have been the victors with the +2 bonus because of spite while on the extra dice basis things were evenly matched. Conclusion: the extra dice per level shouldn't ruin your game at that high level.

We agreed that we had not had any significant palace game as castles had dominated. Then again, I've never seen a palace like this one anywhere else.

This monster seemed pretty quirky but not one to underestimate.

We suspected this guy was wielding a Thai knobwhacker.

Now she seemed ready to charm delvers into a false sense of security.

I didn't know they had leprechauns in Thailand...

Friday, February 10, 2017

End of Day 6 Standings

(Just the front runners.)

1 - Dworphi: 3 clues solved, getting close to mountain #4

2 - Souza: 3 clues solved, on the way to mountain #4

3 - Grawp: 3 clues solved, stuck on the mountain for Day 7 after falling foul of yetis

4 (equal) - Mr. Jenkins and Meaty Mutt, both struggling to solve the third clue

6 - Sir Geoffery: fumbling about trying to find the third clue

Most of the others are on their way to the third mountain. At the back of the field are Cuddles, Rooney and Pencilvania, all failing to crack the second clue, while Chi Chi is having disaster after disaster and hasn't even got their yet. Having established a Chaos Cult shrine on the first mountain, Lepacin is now taking things more seriously.

At the end of Day 5, Gibby and Bad Boy found themsleves camped out together overnight and composed I rather endless drinking song consisting of verse after verse of all the things they'd like to see f*cked up.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Ski Race Standings

After 3 nights in the mountains, the leaderboard looks like this:

1- Dworphi (grew to immense power in the fabled Goblin Crag dungeon) - 2 clues solved, streaking on to the third mountain without raising sweat thusfar

2- Grawp (human) within striking distance of his old friend (also a Goblin Crag veteran)

3- Souza Fortescue (dwarf wizard, rescued many moons ago from enforced servitude in GC) - camped overnight on the second mountain but ready to race for the next peak on the morrow

4 (equal) - Minster (minotaur of Rainbow Castle fame), Meaty Mutt (mercenary dwarf with a 'take it on' attitude to life), Sir Geoffery de Boyks (animated suit of armour powered up in a Boozer solo), Bad Boy Bernard Michaux (human engineer-warrior, co-founder of Pythagorax and infamous bridge-saboteur) - all these fell foul of yetis after solving the second clue

8 (equal) - Mr. Jenkins (human pyromaniac four-armed servant of the demon Zorgoth) - stuck overnight on the second mountain without having solve the clue yet; Sentinel (centaur) - trying to prove that quadrupeds are fine on skis, also stumped on second clue

10 - Shoppie - businessman/politician not quite at second peak yet after breaking skis on Day One

11 - Lucky (dwarf owner of continent-wide transport business) - finding roads to be easier than snow

12 - Pencilvania (vampire animations artist) - the ban on magic has left him without any aces to play

13 - Donald Neuf-Trump (human wizard with Control ring) - again, the barring of magic is proving a big hurdle to overcome

14 (equal) - Reccardio (elf archer and all round social pariah) - not being able to shoot people leaves little left up his sleeve; Cuddles (human) - being as nice as Reccardio is obnoxious is yet to pay dividends

16 - Kangaroo Jack - bound to pick up sooner or later...

17 - Nux Fractor (ball-breaking human) - done nothing to interest spectators thus far

18 (equal) - Chi Chi (famous for escaping from Khosht and consistently annoying Reccardio) - not finding it easy to make progress in this company and now missing Day Four after falling foul of yetis; Spontanous Combustius (bad-tempered human) - troubled by ski problems on Day One and now set to miss Day Four after failing to deal with yetis (probably best not to ask for autographs at the moment)

20 (equal) - Gibby (co-founder of Pythagorax, divorced by a With-Goddess and using just one ski to go with his axe leg) - failed to solve first clue and entirely indifferent; House Elf - thoroughly distracted by Gibby at the first peak - didn't even find the clue; Lepacin (jelly-blob leprechaun high-priest of the Chaos Cult) - hasn't been able to solve first clue yet after taking more than a day to find it; Rooney (he of the magic socks, now Prince of Qadouche) - couldn't solve first clue and not in a good mood

From Stars to Snow

The Space Olympics turned out to be a triumph for the original Star Trek series - the Klingons got gold fairly comfortably with the Romulans pushing ahead of the pack for second place.

Now back to Tunnels & Trolls and a skiiing in the Mountain Kingdom. The challenge is to ski to 12 different mountains, find and solve a clue there, ward off yeti attacks without harming the yetis and make it back to Dobby's palace. The first one back might not necessarily win if they have not solved all the clues.

We have 23 contestants and the mechanics work like this:

  • there is a set distance to each mountain
  • each contestant can ski a distance equal to the lower of a STR and CON saving roll
  • instead of using full attributes, a modifier is given based on the full attribute with a maximum of +10; 2d6 DARO are rolled and the modifier applied
  • each clue has a level of difficulty set to find it; the SR is on LK with the modifier for LK added
  • each clue has a level of difficulty set to solve it; the SR is on INT
  • on each mountain yetis attack; the yetis get different numbers of dice on different mountains, ranging from 2-4 (no DARO); contestants get 2d6 no DARO and may add in a DEX, CHR or SPD modifier to deal with the threat; losing to yetis means a day lost
  • critical fumbles on STR relate to ski damage; those on on CON relate to health problems - possible skiiing distance is reduced to just 1d6 after a c/f
  • No magic is allowed
The contestants are:

Warrriors: Dworphi, Grawp, Lucky, Mr.Jenkins, Kangaroo Jack, Meaty Mutt, Sir Geoffery de Boyks, Rooney, Bad Boy Bernard Michaux, Minster, Sentinel

Rogues: Chi Chi, Gibby Honeydew

Wizards: House Elf, Souza Fortescue, Donald Neuf-Trump, Cuddles, Nux Fractor, Spontaneous Combustius, Lepacin

Citizens: Shoppy, Pencilvania

Kindreds entered: human, dwarf, elf, hobbit, vampire, minotaur, centaur, kanga-kin, leprechaun

Monday, February 6, 2017

Space Olympics

Made it out of the badlands to Krabi and the English tourists. No mvies on the flight from Chaing Mai so we started a simple game using a dice roller ap to save crawling about on the aircraft floor after misthrown dice.

We choose 10 races - Humans, Klingons, Romulans, Vulcans, Trill, Bejorans, Betazoids, Telaxians, Cardasians and Ferengi - and are working our way through from Troll-wresstling, chess, javelin, persuading miners to abandon their settlement, poker, etc.

We just assign a value to each attribute and then set about appropriate saving rolls, normally over 5 rounds.

After 5 events, the Klingons are looking good with a pure strength contest still to come while the Vulcans and Telaxians are languishing at the bottom of the heap.

C'est la guerre!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Piang Luang Writer's Lunch

Doing it hard...

From Nerja to Ban Piang Luang

Just finished Secton 35 of 45 of the Caves of Nerja as I sit in the small northern Thai town of Ban Piang Luang. My Thai is limited to 'hello' and 'thank you' as it is sooo much harder to learn a language with no anchor points than, say, Italian, which I made a decent stab at last year. Makes you wonder at those amazing delvers who learn goblin or naga or urukish before they set about trashing dungeons.

Visiting a refugee camp on the Burmese border has prompted me to script a refugee GM-run campaign for the near future. I didn't know the Shan people existed. This camp is well-run, friendly and pretty decently supported in Thailand. The monks gladly accept Westerners for a game of football.

Here we are after an English class...

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Escape from Khosht

If you go down to the Trollbridge website, you will see that the author of this solo, Andrew Greene, and I have been part of a thread concerning a solo for a group of pcs (contradiction intended). We had a great Gm game using EFK as the base script and now it is rearing up again for a game I am playing by email with Mad Roy Cram.

Here's the description of the earlier game:

Escape from Khosht

Four of us had a crack at Andrew Greene's Escape from Khosht this weekend. In the first session I GM'd it, staying fairly close to the script. One player chose to take the character of Chi Chi, an NPC in the solo, while the others brought their owner characters. Two - Chi Chi included - escaped via the postern gate (empty handed) but the last lingered to long and failed in his attempt to pretend to be a member of the City Watch. He's in jail, slated for execution tomorrow (he did kill a fair few, mostly gratuitously).

The others made to Noseblow, a village to the north, where they along with a local - a Gnome wizard of delicate frame - were hired by the Cult of the Death Goddess  to follow a map of the sewer system under the city to get into the museum's basement, where the real Eye, was kept securely, with the option of getting into the jail first to add Riccardio to their number. The price for obtaining the Eye for the Cult was 100,000 GPS.

They descended down a well in the abandoned village of Ardvark, outside the western wall of Khosht, discovering that it was abandoned when it became the home of a poltergeist who enjoyed hurling rough tiles.

The dwarf warrior, Romano, was tough but having his head opened up by one of these roof tiles, then being half eaten alive by sewer rats and later taking the full force of a spear thrust through his helm left him doubting the wisdom of taking the novice delver along with him, even if he was the one with the magic arsenal.

They gained a charm from a slain museum guard which Chi Chi used to calm the mega-beast guarding the Eye and they finally overcame themselves stepping out from an enchanted mirror as the finally got hold of the real eye at the end of the second day. In the last gasp, the gnome, Loft, had roll 8 or better to avoid being instant mash neath one of the beast's tentacles and the dwarf had to pray that  1and 2 did not come up when Chi Chi brought her whip down on replica of the the rogue whom he was grappling with.

Lots of NPCs and locat
ions pulled out of the hat, a hastily invented dice pub game - a gripping epic if ever there was one!

And just maybe the elf bowman will get rescued from the cold hands of the law...

For reasons quite unfathomable, Chi Chi decided that - having stolen the Eye of the Beast and got the payoff from the Cult was not enough – she wanted to rescue the only known elf with a talent for being obnoxious. Romano, her dwarf accomplice, had no interest in saving Riccardio’s skinny red neck from the hangman’s noose so they part company, considerably richer… but wiser?

It was now 4 am. Chi Chi decided she should have some help and was prepared to pay (maybe Riccardio would cough up later, she somewhat optimistically thought) and so, being a rogue, she hotfooted it down to the Rogues’ Guild, careful to conceal her death-dealing whip, this being the obvious means of identifying her as one of the gem-thieves. The Guild was open 24/7 and she flashed her token to get past the yawning door guards. When she told the front desk clerk her business she was taken through one of the eleven doors ringing the atrium and she was left to sit in a very comfortable padded armchair to wait. Not for too long, fortunately, given the elf bowman’s execution scheduled for the day just about to dawn.

A middle aged woman with silver hair wearing a deep blue velvet dress entered through the room’s only other door and soon showed she was easy to do business with. Chi Chi’s willingness to pay could have been a telling factor - 600 gold pieces to have the Guild find within, the hour, a wizard, an expert in traps, someone good at sewer fighting and a fourth talented in causing distractions. Chi Chi had given quite some thought as to what she wanted at her disposal. Her luck held and within forty minutes the silver haired woman returned with the four potential recruits. Chi Chi thought better of asking where they had been found or what they were doing in the small hours when decent folk should be a-bed.

The first was an aged yet novice elf wizard, quaintly named Wizzie, who professed some knowledge of traps. He filled two of Chi Chi’s needs in one and was quick to accept her terms – 100 gold pieces if they brought Riccardio out alive, 50 if they brought him back dead and 25 if they failed in that but escaped with their lives. Next was a dwarf by the name of Jim who was a janitor who had frequently to deal with leaky pipes in basements, more often than not ending up knee deep in water. He too took the price and shook hands, triggering the curse the Rogues’ Guild had in place for any deal broken that was initiated under their auspices. Following on from Jim was an interesting specimen: a living statue of dark grey hue who clearly had a formidable constitution and who claimed a knack for distractions. Yamato, too, was hired and Chi Chi’s shopping list appeared to be filled.

The last fellow paraded in front of Chi Chi was a hobbit, a warrior of sorts. More likely out of sorts, since he had not the strength even for a kukri, that standby of so many desperate delvers. This Paddon could offer no talent he chose to name and, unlike the others, quibbled over the price, notwithstanding there being nothing obvious Chi Chi might gain by his employment. The rogue was anxious to get going so the hobbit too was hired.

The Guildswoman made two more offers. Firstly, the sale of a healing potion for a further hundred gold, which the team were pleased to see their leader pay up. Secondly, rather than having to trace their way out of the city and round the walls to the abandoned village of Aardvark, where she and Romano had previously entered the sewer system, the party would be allowed to descend into the bowels of the Guild, there to find quick ingress into the tunnels. Chi Chi gladly accepted this too.

The woman authoritatively summoned another elf, not young in years, but junior enough to Wizzy for him to give a slight bow in deference. This rogue led the party out into the atrium and through another panelled door. This led in its turn to a thickly carpeted corridor, lit with dripping candles, which ended abruptly in a staircase of stone, spiralling downwards.

Events now began to unfold as they would continue. Badly. Stupidly. Wizzy tried blowing a candle out. The elf rogue didn’t like it and told him so sharply before leading them down the stairwell. ‘Don’t’ was all he said . Wizzy then tried to bump his way down the stairs on his backside and tried opening one of the regularly spaced doors they passed by. ‘Stop’ the elf told him, fixing him with a stern stare. He was shot another warning but carried on aggravating the guide. Enough was more than enough. The elf cast Hold that Pose and then sliced Wizzy’s right ear lobe off – 2 points of CON gone for no good reason. The wizard, now chagrined and down to CON 9, pulled himself together and shrugged off the night’s drinking.

By now, both Yamato and Jim had been set a bad example. As the rogue led them down and out into a rough stone cavern with a manhole cover leading to a ladder down into the sewer system, the statue tried opening the last door on the way down. ‘No,’ the elf instructed. Yamato ignored the punishment meted out to Wizzy and pushed the elf out of the way to get to the manhole cover. A final warning didn’t suffice so the rogue cast a spell to show the statue who was boss – he gave him shocking yellow hair as a permanent souvenir of his transgression. Jim scratched his head and wondered if a living statue could cut his hair off.

The elf left them, admonishing Chi Chi to take control of the group and telling her that they would not be able to return via the Guild’s sewer entrance. Wizzy now decided to start earning his fee by checking out the manhole. When he saw there was an iron ladder running three metres down to the sewer, he scuttled down and began testing the depth of the water. ‘One metre, no problem,’ he called up to Chi Chi, who was on her way down, now blocking out most of the light from the cavern above.

Now things went seriously wrong. There was no danger, no reason for Chi Chi and Wizzy to worry. However, something snapped in Yamato’s brain - whatever it was transmitted itself instantly on to Jim. The living statue hurtled past a nonplussed Paddon and leapt down the manhole. Jim flew after Yamato, not far behind. The outcome was clear - injuries accrued to three of the party, two serious. The living statue was extremely heavy. Chi Chi heard him coming, looked up and twisted desperately as she saw him coming straight at her. She twisted in a futile effort to avoid harm but took the full weight of Yamato on her shoulder. Not before she hit the warrior with a Hold That Pose spell though. 

She was smashed savagely against the stone side wall and the crack of breaking bone echoed in the well. Her shoulder was badly broken and she had to make a L1 SR on her current CON (7 down from 29 as she took 5d6 damage). She made the roll thanks to her level and now it was Wizzy was in dire trouble. The rogue crashed down on top of the wizard, with the statue and the dwarf providing the crushing force. The 2d6 damage that Wizzy suffered reduced his CON to zero and he slipped out of consciousness. Jim took 2d6 damage as retribution for his idiocy but, being a dwarf, he scarcely noticed.

The four delvers were now underwater in the sewers and in near total darkness. Chi Chi struggled to her feet and cast Poor Baby on herself, using up all her remaining khremm. The bones rippled under her shirt as they knitted themselves back together and she breathed easier with CON up to 15. Yamato was still held by her spell but it would elapse in a few seconds. Jim got to his feet, up to his broad chest in the foul water but little troubled given his talent. In the gloom, he went to draw his katar with the intention of taking the map of the sewers from Chi Chi which he knew to be in her pocket. The rogue was too quick for the dwarf and brought her whip slashing down on the hilt of the punch dagger. She made the L5 DEX SR required to hit the target. The whip had magically toughened glass shards embedded throughout its length and the force of this lethal weapon was enough to sever Jim’s hand left hand at the wrist. He bellowed, spurting blood in the darkness, falling into the water for a second time.

Meanwhile Yamato had risen and picked up Wizzy’s still unconscious body. He sensed Chi Chi mounting the ladder back to the Guild cavern and threw the elf in what he hoped was the direction of his employer. Jim was now reaching for his lantern with his remaining hand. And what of the hobbit? Paddon had decided he wanted nothing to do with this crew and was struggling to push the manhole cover back in place. His strength of 5 made this a slow process. Wizzy crashed into Chi Chi’s legs but she was strong enough to retain her grip on the iron ladder and she entreated Paddon to let her back up to safety.
The hobbit thought about it and decided she was the only other sane one so soon he and Chi Chi had closed the manhole with its snug-fitting cover. Being thrown some violently by Yamato had finished poor Wizzy off. His corpse sank under the oily water. Jim failed to locate his severed hand, instead fastening his fingers around the blade of the katar, taking another cut. At this, he threw his head back and began singing. Yamato ripped the ladder from the wall in frustration and then leapt away from a wheezing, rasping sound he heard behind him. He stumbled over Wizzy’s body and knocked Jim over. Reaching down for Jim’s lantern, he instead pulled up the dwarf’s hand, which he threw away in disgust.

The breathing was now in Jim’s ear. Yamato got to his feet and surged powerfully off into the pitch black sewer. Jim stopped singing and felt teeth puncture his neck before strong arms encircled him and he was carried off, helpless, into the tunnels.

Chi Chi remained determined to get Riccardio out of prison and to save him from execution scheduled for a few hours time. The fiasco that had been the first attempt did not deter her. This time she sent for Loft, the little gnome who had helped her steal the Eye of the Beast with Romano; Paddon the Hobbit was prepared to stick with the job if he got paid again. The Rogues’ Guild took some responsibility for the buffoons whom they had sent to Chi Chi only hours earlier so they took greater care in supplying more mercenaries eager for a pay off. 

There was an ogre of little brain, depressingly named Shrek, a goatman of only marginal greater cerebral activity named Rougvie, a very capable elven wizard called Nympie and a elven rogue, Cuthbert by name. This group seemed to carry greater chance of success and clearly had more muscle. Chi Chi heeded the chiding from the venerable elf who had got so upset when Jim the dwarf and Yamato the living statue had opened doors and generally goofed about before getting their come-uppance in the sewers below the Guild building during the aborted rescue mission #1.

With terms agreed, the party descended into the sewers without the farce of the first expedition. Loft did not fancy swimming and his height would have given him no other option without help so he requested a ride in Nympie’s backpack. Nympie generously agreed, quite forgetting what he had stored within, which would come back to haunt him. Paddon didn’t fancy being up to his chin so got piggybacked by the goatman who was eager to try out the one spell he knew, Super Butt, which tripled his normal three dice attack. The ogre took the lead and the party set out, following the map Chi Chi clutched securely in one gloved hand. 

Before long the disconcerting sound of sewer rats floated over the oily water towards the party. Both Cuthbert and Nympie were familiar with rodent language and speak/squeak a little. Understanding the intentions was extremely heartening. Even though they were not friendly and involved the summoning of a wizard, the delvers were able to stay several steps ahead. They also learnt that the dwarf, Jim, was the subject of keen interest to the rats when they heard them wondering if other humanoids would provide such sport.

Their first encounter was with another former companion of Chi Chi and Paddon: they heard Yamato splashing his way towards them. They had the choice to get on with their mission or to take him out and the overwhelming wish was to give him a good seeing to. Yamato obliged them with battle but was no match for such overwhelming numbers. His constitution was rapidly brought down from 160 to the point that Chi Chi’s whip could decapitate him. Coming away with only spite damage against the ogre, the party were swelling with testosterone. They made short work of finding the entrance to the prison complex (where they had no idea of what they would encounter) but were slowed down by their failure to see that the low tunnel roof presented no problem with reach – put it down to over-excitement.
Loft was keen to find the red moss he remembered from his first visit to the sewers. How long ago? This same night – incredible to think! 

The others were interested to hear of it’s acidic properties. When the manhole cover was eventually raised the ogre was slow to realise that he had encountered the tilting of a fulcrum point. A crash above confirmed what he’d done: upended a heavy statue which shattered on impact with the stone floor, releasing a great number of scorpions. Six promptly dropped on him and he failed to respond until they began stinging him, What good fortune that his metabolic system proved invulnerable to their venom. This made him think of swatting them off him into the water which in turn caused the scorpions to resort to biting their unlovely host. 

The ogre’s constitution of 20 was on the slippery slope downwards.
The gnome cast a Fly Me spell from the safety of the elf’s backpack thus enabling him to join his protector in the scorpion chamber above. Once a Will-o-Wisp had shed some light on the matter, the pair located a giant scorpion lurking in the depths of the cavern. A Level 3 TTYF did no more than knock a chunk of exoskeleton from the arthropod but then Paddon had the notion that alcohol might prove deadly to the monster. As luck saving rolls would have it, three members of the party had spirits with them and were willing to forego them. 

The aerial attack began. Bomber command took off and pursued its target. A small disagreement ensued as to whether the whisky should be poured or thrown, shaken or stirred, but once that was settledt it turned out that the hobbit was right. Greatly weakened by its shower, the huge monster was easy prey for the two wizards. That felt good!
The rest of the party then felt bold enough o enter the cavern. The goatman leapt through the manhole, squishing small scorpions as he landed. Some of the red moss was used to repel the creatures but they were not hard to deal with for an armoured group such as this. 

Two ladders, running up to the ceiling and to further manhole covers 20 metres (65 yards) above were spotted. The two ladders were some 50 metres apart and Loft suggested the party split up. Agreement was reached with surprising rapidity. The gnome stayed with Nympie - Chi Chi and Cuthbert preferred joining their splinter group, leaving Rougvie, Paddon and the ogre to climb the second ladder.

The smaller group immediately hit a problem. Hooves. Rougvie was not designed for climbing ladders. He resorted to hooking his forelimbs over the rungs and used his powerful hind legs to propel his bulky form upwards. There seemed some risk that he might not hang on, putting the hobbit in unwelcome danger beneath him but the goatman managed the climb in inelegant style. There was nothing above these two manhole covers so opening them did not present any difficulty. However, Loft’s desire to separate was evidently futile as the upward thrust heads of Chi Chi and Shrek blinked at each other in the cavern above. Oh well, at least they weren’t being attacked. Yet.

To their left they saw one end of the cavern. It consisted of a pair of doors, surrounded by rock, with a huge portcullis in the centre. The portcullis was down. In front of each door they could see a group of four coloured rods – emerald, vermilion, indigo and lemon, as they soon read. To their right, off towards the unseeable other end of this cavern lit by wall torches, was a huge gong with the striker lying beneath it, positioned close to another ladder leading up to a manhole cover. It seemed safe enough…so one by one Chi Chi’s band of mercenaries emerged into this great cavern.

So far, so good, certainly compared to rescue mission #1. But it was now that the ogre’s computational difficulties exploded into life. He might be a towering mountain of muscle but he was also an intellectual pygmie. Seeing his companions 50 metres off to the left, he bellowed a greeting at the top of his lungs. This brought cries of dismay as his shout reverberated around the cavern. It really did not seem likely that only the party would hear him. He then turned his attention to the big, shiny gong. Why, yes, surely a gong is made to be struck? And with a big, hefty striker like that one lying there, free for the taking…Shrek rushed past Paddon and Rougvie and hit it hard.

Howls of protest met this act of wanton stupidity. Shrek bounded across the cavern to see what his companions wanted. He was instantly intrigued by the coloured rods. Chi Chi and her group were rather more occupied by the portcullis which was now rising, coupled with the sound of heavy footsteps. Wanting to see what wicked thing was coming their way, they paid no heed to Shrek’s delight in the coloured rods. There were holes in front of them, just the right size to fit the rods into…A lightbulb flashed in the ogre’s brain. It happened maybe once a month. The names of the colours were written boldly by each rod. Not that Shrek understood a word like ‘vermilion’. But he did see that the first letter of each word, much larger than those following, could be arranged to make a word he knew – ‘LIVE’. He picked up one rod after the other and slotted them home. Nothing had happened so far as he could tell but he wasn’t about to stop in full flow.

By now, Chi Chi and Nympie had seen what was coming – a Cyclops with a big bunch of keys and two beefy barbarians armed with broadswords. She had a vorpal blade on her own broadsword and stood ready to strike. Loft jumped from the backpack and he and Nympie retreated to where the watching Cuthbert stood. From this vantage point they could observe the ogre’s follow up action. Loft threw a Hold That Pose at the Cyclops but a protective charm froze the caster instead of the target. Just as well he didn’t opt for a TTYF, too bad no one ever thought to take the charm later on. Shrek moved over to the right hand rods. This time it occurred to him he could make a different word from the same letters – ‘EVIL’. ‘What a good idea!’ he thought and immediately slammed the rods home in the necessary order. Still nothing…

Chi Chi brought her blade sweeping down on the first barbarian, cleaving him in two from shoulder to waist. Not bothering to retrieve the sword, she backed off and readied her deadly whip for an assault on the huge Cyclops. Loft ande Nympie were now testing the left hand door, probing it with a Knock Knock spell without success. Nympie was also having to explain the blue dress Loft had found in the backpack but, saving Nympie’s blushes, no one else heard the gnome’s question. Shrek had run back to join the goatman and the hobbit, possibly keen to have another go at the gong. 

The sheer length of the whip meant that Chi Chi had time to strike at the Cyclops before it could reach her or anyone else and the deadly lash brought the monster jailor to his knees, grunting with surprised pain, severely lacerated.

The surviving barbarian confronted the ogre, goatman and hobbit and engaged them in a finely balanced combat, where spite was the governing factor. Cuthbert at last made the decision to act and fired a TTYF at the Cyclops just as Chi Chi lashed the monocular monster for the final, life stealing blow. The four by the portcullis left the other three to their fight with the barbarian and some began exploring the lair of the jailor while Cuthbert beat Loft in a race to the keys. Chi Chi found nothing of note beyond the portcullis but when Nympie opened the left hand door all hell broke loose.

The brighter members of the party might have thought the rods through. The ogre was never going to do that. One set released the force fields securing the ‘normal’ prisoners in the cells beyond the two heavy, locked doors either side of the portcullis. The rods had to be inserted in the holes in the order which would indicate ‘LIVE’ just as the ogre had worked out. The other set could release the really nasty captives, the natural born monsters, and using the order ‘EVIL’ did exactly that. One of Shrek’s companions exacerbated his folly by unlocking the left hand door and within minutes it exploded off its hinges as a minotaur and a particularly ugly demon made their bids for freedom. Next the right hand door disintegrated and a medusa and a dragonman appeared. Everyone made their saving rolls to avoid looking into the gorgon’s eyes and Nympie staggered the bullman with a vicious TTYF. What could make things worse?

Sooner or later the prison guards were going to get reinforcements – bang a gong, get it on. At least twenty came pouring down from above. Paddon took a nasty head cut just as Shrek and Rougvie were getting on top of the barbarian and a spell from Loft brought that battle to an end, with just more spite damage suffered by the ogre and the goatman, while the hobbit was contending with a stream of blood running down his face. Loft then sprinted for the manhole escape down to the scorpion cavern and Paddon and Rougvie decided his thought was a good one. Chi Chi retreated beyond the portcullis with Nympie joining her. As the guards chased after Rougvie and Paddon, the vertically challenged gnome realised his short little legs weren’t going to get him to safety in time and so he swerved back and hurtled towards Chi Chi. 

The rogue leader figured lowering the portcullis was a good bet and Cuthbert ran to join her and Nympie rather than be on the outside looking in.

This was getting confusing for everyone. Loft avoided the eyes of the medusa but reached the portcullis too late. Shut out, he attempted to wriggle his way through the bars. Chi Chi and co had found no way out beyond the Cyclop’s quarters and it began to dawn on them that they had really done the prison guards job and trapped themselves. Duh! Paddon climbed up on to Rougvie’s back and the goatman jumped down the manhole, just as the guards caught up with him, forgetting that there was a 20 metre (60’) drop below him. 

As the grim prospect of a crash landing penetrated his none too sharp mind, he banked on truly being as sure footed as a mountain goat is alleged to be. The guards then saw a wounded minotaur, a demon, a dragonman and a medusa homing in on the most obvious escape route and found they had a very different job on hand – fighting off monsters for their lives rather than recapturing humanoid fugitives.

Guards began to petrify under the medusa’s stony gaze but still more were fighting their way to the portcullis. There was an argument going on now behind the heavy grates – should they stay put or break loose? The stay put argument crumbled and the ogre wound the great portal up again. Now things took on an even more chaotic guise as a banshee made to escape, wailing devastatingly as it came. The delvers were fast enough to react and spent the next few minutes with their fingers in their ears whilst the majority of the guards fell foul of the fateful cry. At least more monsters escaping meant no more prison guards for the party to worry about.

Rougvie took damage from his jump but his goat nature meant it was minimal and Paddon landed unscathed. Hearing the demon coming and smelling its disgusting breath, the two danced over a few more scorpions, crunching them underfoot or hoof, as they sprinted for the exit to the sewers. They dropped into the water and pushed against the walls until all the monsters had made good their getaways. They had no light source and no map but felt confident that they knew their way out. They were wrong and were soon wandering about hopelessly lost in the dark. Before long the rat squeaks returned…

Chi Chi and Loft decided the coast was clear to search the prison cells. They, unlike Paddon and Rouvie down below, were right. They ignored the cries for help from the other prisioners, most too weak to move, and found the elf – the much unloved Riccardio at last. He was in a bad way, no doubt, but Chi Chi cast a Poor Baby which revived him enough to be able to walk independently. He was quickly updated and, characteristically, didn’t seem very grateful towards his rescuers. Perhaps the four fingers missing from his left hand from the second knuckle explained his disgruntled mood. His days as a master archer seemed over.

Paddon and Rougvie heard creatures approaching from both sides now. In total darkness even the goatman’s vision did little to help. He somehow got his Super Butt spell cast despite his low intelligence and took out the first attacker but the pair were quickly overwhelmed, bitten and dragged off to a fate that Jim the Dwarf could probably described accurately to them had he the opportunity.

The mayhem above was resolving itself. Chi Chi had the map and she and the rest of her party salvaged weapons from the fallen before getting out of the caverns at the double. Their route through the sewers was simple and uneventful. They returned to the Rogues’ Guild manhole since they had quite forgotten that they were told it would be sealed and so had to make their way to the perimeter of the sewer system, back to the abandoned village of Aardvark. Nympie contemplated knifing Chi Chi as they climbed up the ladder inside the well but Cuthbert was between the two and, in any case, Nympie realised that Chi Chi would not be carrying the riches she had received as her share of selling the Eye of the Beast to the Death Cult.

So they were out into the poltergeist-infested village at about 9am and there we will leave them with Chi Chi paying wages and Riccardio silent on the subject of reimbursing the rogue who strangely chose to save him twice over.