Dunscaith Session 1

image from ArtBreeder

filed under actual play on 20 Nov 2016
tagged dunscaith, scarlet heroes, and finian

This is about as non-narrative as I get. I tried not to “direct” things as much as I could, letting the story just unfold. It was hard. I don’t think I succeeded very well.

I think perhaps mixing those goals with “test out the ‘what did it do’ magical effect generator” might have been a bit much, too.

The adventure begins...

This isn't really an adventure; it's more a proof of concept on using Pythia to generate megadungeon content.

I've made a hero, well, so to speak; Finian, who is very much part of the Dunscaith world. He's just been kidnapped from the mainland, spent a wretched two weeks aboard a ship, geased, and dumped at the bottom of a mine with instructions to return with something if he wants a pardon.

Problem is, he hasn't done anything he knows of to need one.

So let's see, where did they dump him?

Dungeon is now ... Fan Cadfan.

[Area] Fortress (Respite, Abandoned) [1]. Explore 6 rooms, then roll again.

They dumped him at the old guards' outpost at the bottom of the newest mine shaft, near where it's breached level 6.

What's he going down after?

[In the Room] wine casks

A rare bottle of wine. Got it.

It was the work of a moment to free his hands; he quickly took stock of the area his captors had left him in.

They'd said he was to return with a cask of wine or not to return at all; he was of a mind to find another way out instead. They'd best hope he wasn't still feeling spiteful about being kidnapped and dragged across the sea by the time he found their prize.

The area he was in seemed to be an abandoned guard outpost, perhaps for the mines. A wooden barricade partitioned the empty space off, and a carved wooden arch led deeper into the mountain.

The only supplies he'd have on him directly are his clothes.

Does he have his weapons?

[fifty-fifty, 20 ≤ 50] YES

Any other supplies?

[fifty-fifty, 74 ≥ 50] NO

He cursed under his breath. The thugs had left him his swords but nothing else. Which meant he'd need to find food and water as well, if he was down here long. Not that he intended to be. And perhaps that meant the bottle was close at hand.

The fort's name is Fort Iseu; it's an old empire fort repurposed by the miners of Whitefell and now abandoned. I need to explore 8 rooms before the theme changes -- respite is good, though, I'll interpret things that way.

Make that six rooms, I misread.

So, using let it ride rules, I'll roll now for stealth and won't roll again unless circumstances change significantly.

Rolling 2d8 1 times.
[ 5 4 ] 9

So he has a 14 for his on-going stealth. Pretty darn good.

What's through the arch?

[Room] unmarred, new-looking [Purpose] protecting [Size] average [Shape] trapezoidal

[In the Room] a pile of rusty metal, a vat of liquid, a row of jars

The room past the arch proved to be a fallback position. It was dusty but unmarred by the passage of time. And it looked like someone -- the miners, perhaps -- had built a still here. A wooden vat of murky liquid sat next to a rusted and twisted pile of metal, and a row of jars holding clear liquid sat lined up against one wall.

He takes a moment to search the metal. Does he find anything interesting?

[fifty-fifty, 45 ≤ 50] YES

[In the Room] a hole in the ceiling

Searching the metal revealed a hole with a ladder that led down deeper into the fortress.

I think I'll explore this level some more; five rooms to go.

[Direction] East or Right. If this direction won't work, use up or down.

He made a mental note of it but decided to search further into the complex, through the door to the east.

[Room] bare, brick [Purpose] sleeping, eating [Size] brief [Shape] oval, trapezoidal

By the way, I'm not rolling for monsters in here because it's a respite themed area. I'll do a wandering monster check next room.

[In the Room] articulate scrawling, scratch marks on wall, a hammock

The scrawling seems interesting, as do the scratch marks -- those are definitely a foreshadowing of something in here.

Unsurprisingly, a barracks. Something had scratched the wall up and someone had left surprisingly articulate scrawling on the walls.

Is it meaningful?

[fifty-fifty, 87 ≥ 50] NO

It seemed to be random gibberish, though, so Finian looked around for an exit.

[Direction] South or Down. If this direction won't work, use up or down.

South it is.

So this next room is room #4 (entrance, fallback, barracks).

Oh, this room was also used as a mess. Any food?

[fifty-fifty, 68 ≥ 50] NO

[Room] mild, sticky [Purpose] rending [Size] large [Shape] trapezoidal

[In the Room] an immediately detectable overt magical effect, a row of manacles, someone who is occupied

Hah, things are getting interesting. A rending room, an overtly magical effect, manacles, and someone occupied.

Let's see if the person notices him.

Rolling 2d8 1 times.
[ 6 4 ] 10

Is the person occupied with a prisoner in the manacles?

[fifty-fifty, 62 ≥ 50] NO

Is the occupied person the prisoner?

[fifty-fifty, 17 ≤ 50] YES

Interesting; maybe the person is staring off into space, occupied by a magical effect that keeps prisoners docile. And possibly well-fed, since they've been down here since the guard post was abandoned (or have they?)

What's the person like?

[Age - Any] Old.

[Gender Appearance] male

[Modifier] Is more in some way than they appear.

[Visible Quirk] distant stare

[Visible Quirk] undersized for gender

[Great] rage, [slight] desire
[Focus] power [primary], wrong [secondary]

A little old man, with a lot of rage for the person in power -- who put him here -- and rage towards a great wrong. Plus a desire for power himself.

Fin kept to the shadows; the room was a holding cell, with manacles on the walls. The hair on the back of his neck prickled. There was magic here, no doubt to keep the prisoners calm. Only one set of manacles was occupied, by a frail-looking old man who was staring off into space.

Do the manacles look like they might be pickable?

[fifty-fifty, 39 ≤ 50] YES

Did Fin keep his lockpicks?

[fifty-fifty, 36 ≤ 50] YES

Rolling 2d8 1 times.
[ 8 2 ] 10

It was trivial to pick the manacles; they'd obviously relied on the enchantment too much.

Does unlocking the manacles end the effect?

[fifty-fifty, 53 ≥ 50] NO

The old man was still lost in whatever daze he'd been in. No doubt the spell lingered long enough for the guards to transport prisoners.

Fin moved back into the main room, casting about for another exit.

Is there one?

[fifty-fifty, 13 ≤ 50] YES

[Direction] North or Up. If this direction won't work, use up or down.

Quick break to fix something on the map, and then...

[Room Contents] Empty

[Room] metal, unmarred, dry [Purpose] exercise [Size] average [Shape] square, elongated

It's a gymnasium or workout room, makes sense.

[In the Room] a chest

Hmm. A chest.

The last room was a gymnasium of sorts, likely used by the soldiers posted here for exercise and entertainment. Fin's sharp eyes spotted a chest tucked in the shadows.

He's not a thief type thief; lockpicking yes, trap disarming, probably not.

He inspected it for traps.

Rolling 2d8 1 times.
[ 4 2 ] 6

DC, by the way, is threat -- his level plus 9, so 10. So he succeeds. Let's see if there was one!

[Is There a Trick or Trap?] No.

By the way, that last result was set when I hit the Monster, Treasure, Trap button -- I could also have used a trigger but this way it keeps to a d20 distribution (since I have it set to Gygax).

Didn't find any.

Is it locked?

[fifty-fifty, 5 ≤ 10] Exceptional YES

Unfortunately, it was also locked. And exceedingly well, likely why it was still here and unopened.

So I'm going to count that as the next level of DC up, so 13. "The talented might get lucky".

Rolling 2d8 1 times.
[ 4 2 ] 6

Would have made it regularly but not on this. Can I try again?

[fifty-fifty, 36 ≤ 50] YES

First roll for wandering monster.

Rolling 1d6 1 times.
[ 4 ] 4

Rolling 2d8 1 times.
[ 6 7 ] 13

Nice, got it!

The lock was stubborn and old-fashioned and durable, and he'd not picked one in a while; it took him longer than he liked before it fell open.

Is there treasure in there?

[fifty-fifty, 57 ≥ 50] NO


[fifty-fifty, 42 ≤ 50] YES

A sword?

[fifty-fifty, 51 ≥ 50] NO

[Mythic Complex] Attract / Emotions

The chest was empty, save for a dagger, plain and unadorned yet strikingly well-made. He scooped it up and slipped it through his belt -- one could never have too many options.

Attract emotions... gives a bonus to Charisma?

[fifty-fifty, 79 ≥ 50] NO

The wielder attracts emotions?

[fifty-fifty, 30 ≤ 50] YES

[Reaction] Satisfaction [slight]

Fair enough; people who perceive the owner of the dagger tend to be satisfied or pleased with him and thus a bit more agreeable towards him.

I'll just note that down as a 1 point temporary trait on his sheet.

Any other exits?

[fifty-fifty, 32 ≤ 50] YES

[Direction] Southeast. If this direction won't work, use up or down.

[Room] spartan, new-looking [Purpose] bathing, eating [Size] brief [Shape] oval

[In the Room] broken statues, an adventuring party

Ha. It's a bathroom. With an adventuring party in it.

I should reset me stealth roll.

Rolling 2d8 1 times.
[ 2 6 ] 8

13, so "Hard. Only a hero with substantial expertise in this field can expect to succeed, though the less talented might get lucky."

what's the adventuring party doing?

[Mythic Complex] Excitement / The Physical


How many people are in this adventuring party?

[More or Less] A bit more than four.

So five. Three are bathing, while two have snuck off behind the broken statues together.

Fin was a bit startled to find the baths in use; three adventurers were soaking in the largest pool, their gear discarded alongside as they casually -- and loudly -- bantered.

He faded back into the gymnasium unnoticed. Nothing for it but to climb down the ladder.


That's six rooms, so we're off to the next area. Which is directly down a hole in the moonshine room.

Fort Iseu
this is technically on level 6 of the megadungeon