Solo Skald |||

Brother Erlan, a militant priest who fights the undead, is in Oakside investigating a series of attacks by undead. After uncovering the local undertaker named Albinus as a necromancer, he had to rest and investigate where Albinus had fled to. He found a blackened tower on a small island in a nearby lake, then returned to town and recruited several villagers into a makeshift militia to help him assault the tower.

We’re now reaching the climax of this arc. Time to march on the necromancer’s tower!

Scene 1: You Must Gather Your Party Before Venturing Forth

There are nine villagers who’ll be joining Brother Erlan in the assault. I expect this scene to see them get equipped and set up a plan, then perhaps journey to the tower.

The Chaos Factor (continued from last session) is at 4, and Mythic GME then interrupts the scene entirely by injecting a random event! The event focus is a Remote Event:

A Remote Event means that something has happened that your Character wasn’t present for; they’re only learning about it now.”

As Erlan and the villagers are preparing, a messenger arrives from the Sacretta Carnifex (the order to which Brother Erlan belongs within the Church of Saintly Blood). They’ve heard of the progress of his efforts and warn him that the necromancer is gathering allies of his own. He must strike quickly before those allies arrive.

With this in mind, Erlan has little time to prepare his militia. They are only equipped with makeshift weapons (axes, pitchforks, etc.) and no armor. They were always just going to be simple 1 HD villagers with no attack bonus, but now they’ll all be using 1d6 weapons with minimal Shock state (1/AC 13). They’re mostly going to be using the Swarm Attack option from the WWN rules.

(This could potentially serve as a funnel for future characters; we’ll see how it goes.) To keep things simple, they’re all AC 10 based on having no armor and no Dexterity modifier. (This could potentially end up being a funnel for future characters, but we’ll see how this proceeds first.) To keep things simple, they’re all AC 10 based on having no armor and no Dexterity modifier.

He calls them together and informs them they’re leaving immediately before Albinus’s reinforcements can arrive. A murmur goes up among them, and he’ll roll a Charisma/Connect check to keep them calm. (On a failure, they may have a morale check sooner than anticipated.) This fails - though despite their fear, uncertainty, and doubt, they still agree to follow him. He kneels and offers a prayer to St Othric the Avenger, patron saint of crusaders and vampire hunters, for their protection and victory. Then they’re off.

The Chaos Factor increases to 5. I’m not adding any of these villagers to the Characters list for now, but survivors might.

Scene 2: Reaching the Blackened Tower

They set out to the lake. The reeve, Portia, has arranged for a pair of small barges to be waiting for them. This scene should have them simply row across the lake to the tower and reach the tower’s entrance. Mythic alters the scene slightly, and so I’ll tweak it slightly to say that they will deal with an encounter when they arrive.

They set off across the lake on the small wooden barges moored close to the dam that Erlan previously investigated. Are there any weather factors that will affect them (50/50)? Yes. Clouds have gathered and rain has started to fall, reducing visibility as they row across the lake. While they can’t see what awaits them, this hopefully helps conceal their approach.

For this purpose, I’m using the Archon’s Tower map from Dyson Logos:

My colored and scanned version of the map (some of the tan scanned as yellow, don’t love that!)

Upon reaching the island, they hear Albinus taunting them from atop the tower behind the parapet. They can’t fully make out what he’s saying due to the storm, but the swirl of necromantic energy gives them pause. After a moment, the doors to the tower burst open, and a taxidermied lion bursts out, attacking them! (This is due to the Necromancer’s raise greater undead ability.)

Because the creatures raised by this ability slowly lose HP, I need to ask Mythic GME another Fate question: did Albinus already have this creature summoned to support him until his reinforcements arrive (likely)? Yes. I decide the lion has been summoned for d4 = 1 hours, which is a shame since it loses 4 HP per hour.

  • Taxidermied Lion: HD 5 (22 HP), AC 12, Atk +5, Dmg d4 claw / d4 claw / d10 bite, Move 30’, ML 9, Instinct 5, Skill +0, Save 13+

The lion is fast, aggressive, and largely unexpected, and it wins initiative for this first round. Since there are 10 of them, I decide it has a 1-in-10 chance to charge Erlan first, but unfortunately it mauls one of the militia instead. Rather than track their individual HP, I decide any hit is enough to take one down, and all three of the lion’s attacks hit. (That leaves 8 militia members.) In response, Erlan attacks with his pike, but he misses. He’ll use his Veteran’s Luck ability to change that to a hit, dealing 8 damage to the lion (down to 14 HP). The remaining militia make two swarm attacks against the lion, which ultimately looks like two regular attacks at +6 to hit and +3 to damage. The first group hits for 7 damage, and the second group kills it. (Against a full ten attackers, one single creature should have a difficult time, to be fair.)

They’ll now enter the tower, but at the end of this scene, the Chaos Factor increases to 6.

Scene 3: Inside the Blackened Tower

In the tower, there’s an entry foyer (20’ wide by 10’ deep). As Albinus is clearly prepared, Erlan makes his way forward carefully. With his pike, does he notice the pit trap in between? He’ll roll Wisdom/Notice and succeed - there’s a wide pit trap that opens up in front of the interior doors. Having found it, however, they can easily step around it.

Past that, they see a tapestry directly in front and a spiral staircase leading up on the left side of the room. There’s a 4-in-6 chance of enemies here: a Sentient Carcass.

  • Sentient Carcass: HD 5 (12 hp), AC 15, Atk +4 *2, Dmg d8 (slam) shock 2/15, Move 30’, ML 10, Instinct 4, Skill +1, Save 13+

This time, though, Erlan is expecting to find company, and his Heroic Reflexes win out. He’ll try to engage it before it can attack the militia, and he hits for 8 damage. The undead creature attacks him back, and one of its attacks hits for 4 damage (dropping him to 33 HP). The militia swarm again, although I think only one group can get to it in these cramped quarters. Unfortunately they’re unable to damage it, only scoring incidental hits again the foul creature’s rotting flesh. However, Erlan’s able to finish it off quickly in the second round.

From here, they could penetrate further into this ground level of the tower, but since they heard Albinus above, they’ll head up the spiral staircase instead.

The Chaos Factor decreases to 5, as Erlan both discovered the trap and defeated the monster.

Scene 4: Into the Tower

Ascending the stairs, I expect they’ll move quickly and efficiently, watching for any ambushes. Mythic GME alters the scene slightly, so they’ll face another encounter here.

This time it’s a lone zombie (Shambling Corpse with 8 HP) and Erlan wastes no time in defeating it. The rest of this level has a dining area and some defensive embrasures, but there are no more enemies here. This isn’t a treasure hunt, either, so they’ll continue upstairs a few turns to the roof level.

Is Albinus still up here (likely)? Exceptional no! I need to think about what this means. He could have fled down into the dungeon underneath, or there could be some magical shenanigans going on. I decide the former is more likely and ask the Fate Chart: yes, he’s down in the dungeon. The group may not know that, so instead they’ll investigate around here.

There are some dolmens with a summoning circle in the middle, and Erlan inspects cautiously while the militia fans out around him, looking out to the lake and environs. To see whether he can determine anything from this, he’ll roll an Intelligence/Pray check, but fails. Clearly Albinus used this circle for raising undead, but that’s not particularly useful and they’ll have to comb the rest of the tower to find him.

The Chaos Factor increases to 6 before they head back down.

Scene 5: Into the Dungeon

They descend back down to the ground floor. There’s a small statue in the roughly octagonal room where they fought the sentient carcass earlier, and a door beyond it. Erlan has one of the villagers open it for him and he leaps through, expecting to find a confrontation. Mythic doesn’t alter the scene, so I’ll roll normally for an encounter: none occurs.

Instead, they find another dining area and a storage room with a garbage chute. It smells foul, although now that I think about it, the whole place must smell pretty bad given the sorts of creatures Albinus keeps around here. There’s a curtain in the main corridor and Erlan gingerly pushes it aside with his pike, finding only a staircase that leads further down.

They’ll continue down, and the Chaos Factor decreases to 5.

Scene 6: The Altar Room

From here, while I don’t expect to find Albinus in a given room, any Mythic GME scene alterations or interrupts will likely have to do with that. But not in this scene, apparently.

As they reach the foot of the stairs, there’s a long room with six alcoves (three on either side), and ahead they can see a few more steps descending to an altar room with several pedestals and a couple of statues. The militia are getting nervous, but so far they’re holding steady. Erlan says a quick prayer to St Othric, then checks for traps or monsters.

He does find a ravenous husk that leaps out, but strikes it down before it can do any harm to them. (This is the sort of thing that simultaneously terrifies and emboldens the militia: horrifying undead, but their leader defeats them easily.) He inspects the altar area further, finding blood and strange writing that he doesn’t recognize.

One of the villagers notices that the middle right alcove actually conceals a passageway further back - not a secret door, exactly, but you have to look from the correct angle to notice it.

I’ll ask Mythic GME if Albinus is in the next room (unlikely): No, it’s a series of statues and tapestries. The statues depict tall, gaunt figures with long fingers and sharp teeth, with chalice motifs engraved on their bases. The tapestries display heraldic symbols that Erlan recognizes as vaguely Lamashtuan, though with modifications that suggest more is going on here. At the far end of this hall is a foreboding stone door with a chalice carved into it.

This concludes their exploration of the tower itself, and Erlan is concerned that he’s leading these poor but brave souls into an underworld that might doom them all. The Chaos Factor increases to 6 - why hasn’t he found Albinus yet?

Scene 7: Beneath the Tower

From here, I’m using Dyson Logos’s follow-up map, helpfully titled Beneath the Archon’s Tower. There’s a sloping corridor leading down to a lengthy hallway. Albinus is not present here, but there is some rubble on the left, a few pillars in the center, and several doors on the right.

However, there are five animated skeletons here, waiting for Erlan’s force.

  • Animated Skeleton: HD 1 (3, 5, 5, 5, 7 HP), AC 13, Atk +1, Dmg d6 (slam), Move 30’, ML 12, Instinct 4, Skill +0, Save 15+

Erlan lays about with his pike, taking down two of them immediately. The militia attack in two swarms again, smashing down a third. The remaining two skeletons attack militia members, killing one (down to 7 militia). They’ll make a Morale check now, and they succeed. Despite their losses, they know that their homes and families wait for them to defeat this threat.

Erlan doesn’t notice the secret door at the end of the hall, so instead he’ll take the first door on the right.

Due to the lost militia member, the Chaos Factor increases to 7.

Scene 8: Necromancer Confrontation

This leads down to a smaller room of inscrutable purpose; perhaps once it was used for rituals by its original constructors, but it’s impossible to say now. Mythic GME alters the scene slightly, and so this is where they’ll finally find Albinus.

He sneers at them, taunting several of the villagers by name for their supposed weaknesses and indiscretions. His time as the village bully gave him plenty of ammunition. I roll another morale check for them, and they succeed easily. Their confidence has grown and that tactic no longer works on them.

Erlan informs him that, in the name of the Church of Saintly Blood, the Sacretta Carnifexa, and all the saints, he has come to end this unholiness. Albinus raises a hand again, muttering an incantation of death, and half a dozen animated skeletons (1, 5, 5, 6, 6, 7 HP) clatter out of cubbyholes in the walls.

  • Necromancer: HD 7 (32 HP), AC 11, Atk +7, Dmg d6 (dagger), Move 30’, ML 9, Instinct 3, Skill +2, Save 7+

At that, Erlan charges the necromancer with a shout. He does 1 damage via Shock only (Albinus is down to 31 HP). In turn, Albinus speaks another word of power, but this time death energy washes over the priest. St Othric is with him today, though, and he is unharmed (made his saving throw against finger of death). The militia get into melee with the skeletons, defeating one of them but losing a villager in the process (down to 6 militia).

Erlan allows himself a tight grin; he knows the necromancer’s magic energies for the day is waning. He strikes again, this time dealing 10 damage (Albinus is down to 21 HP). In the fray, he also is able to defeat one of the skeletons. The necromancer snarls and cuts Erlan for 4 points with his dagger, bringing the priest down to 29 HP. The militia realize that they are gaining the upper hand and press their attack, defeating two more skeletons, leaving only two of the undead still fighting.

The warrior-priest has found his rhythm and deals 10 more damage to Albinus (down to 11 HP), plus destroying one of the skeletons with his incidental blows in the fray. The necromancer screams in desperation, unable to get past his opponent’s weapon with a short dagger. With a lusty cry, some of the villagers bring down the final skeleton, and a few more go after Albinus, dealing 3 damage to him (down to 8 HP).

Albinus is nearly dead, but he’s fast enough to nearly dodge Erlan’s final blow - nearly. The priest’s Veteran Luck helps him find the opening he needs (turning a miss into a hit), dealing 6 damage. At this, the villagers unleash their anger and pain upon the necromancer who had terrorized them for so long, and they bring him down. Erlan has to intercede to prevent them from defiling the corpse, in fact.

They gather their own dead, as well as Albinus’s, and return to Oakside. While the village mourns the loss of several of their own, this time they are interred properly with the knowledge that they will be undisturbed in their rest.

However, Erlan still wonders what may happen with those reinforcements he was warned about. Could they relate to the dragon rumors he heard, or perhaps the Lamashtuan symbols he saw in the dungeon?

That will wait for another time, though.

Conclusion

I enjoyed playing in Krevborna again, and I think I’ll keep the setting going a bit longer. However, I think I’m going to switch to those surviving villagers, treating Erlan instead as a quest-giving patron.

The WWN Heroic Character rules are a good update to the old Scarlet Heroes damage overlay as I don’t have to remember to convert the rolls to hit points. The updates also allow for retainers and followers to be effective participants in the combat. However, WWNs use of foci (effectively feats) leaves me a little cold, and I have mixed feelings about the Shock damage mechanic. In general, I just feel like the game drives me towards the character sheet more often than I’d like. The rest of the tools in WWN are amazing and I intend to keep using tags, one-roll tables, and more.

Instead, I’m going to use some form of OD&D (whether Swords & Wizardry Complete Revised again, or White Box FMAG, or FMC) for this militia and continue playing with them. Naturally, based on previous OD&D play, I have some additional rulings (house rules) to implement. I have also written some updates to dungeon preparation and stocking for solo play that I want to try out.

Further, while the Fate Chart and Chaos Factor from Mythic GME work fine, I really don’t like rolling on the Meaning Tables (open-ended question oracles) to make abstract connections. Either I’m going to find more random tables to use with concrete application, or I may need to drop Mythic GME entirely for the moment. This is not a criticism of Mythic GME, but rather reflects my learning about what I prefer at the moment.

Session 4 should go up soon!

Up next Undead Without Number - Session 2 Sacretta Carnifexa - Part 1
Latest posts Dyson’s Delve - Session 3 Dyson’s Delve: Session 2 Dyson’s Delve: Session 1 Return to Ker Nethalas Thousand Year Old Vampire: Heathcliff Ker Nethalas - Exploring the Starting Domain Thoughts on Ker Nethalas Sacretta Carnifexa - Part 3 Sacretta Carnifexa - Part 2 Sacretta Carnifexa - Part 1 Undead Without Number - Session 3 Undead Without Number - Session 2 Undead Without Number - Session 1 The Cryptorum - Session 5 The Cryptorum - Session 4 The Cryptorum - Session 3 The Cryptorum - Session 2 The Cryptorum - Session 1 Cinderheim - Session 4 Cinderheim - Session 3 Cinderheim - Session 2 5 Parsecs From Home - Campaign Turn 20 5 Parsecs From Home - Campaign Turn 19 5 Parsecs From Home - Campaign Turn 18 5 Parsecs From Home - Campaign Turn 17 5 Parsecs from Home - Campaign Turn 16 Cinderheim - Session 1 RPGs vs Wargames 5 Parsecs From Home - Campaign Turn 15 5 Parsecs From Home - Campaign Turn 14 5 Parsecs From Home - Campaign Turn 13