Rambling in Hindsight: You’ll have noticed by now that I was really bad at Scarlet Heroes, especially combat; it takes me ages to learn a new system and when I get rolling on the fiction I forget things. I won’t start doing damage correctly (and somewhat consistently) for like three more campaigns – about the same time I added notes to my tracker on the mechanics.


Being the sixth part of the adventure of Kai Valeyn, a man without a country, adrift seventeen centuries after the fall of his civilization, as he explores the now dangerous and wild lands he once called home.


Ok, new session. Let's do the morning of arrival in Helase.

Kai has been surly and out of sorts since they left the temple a few hours after the ghost attack. He has not had a good rest and thus has not recovered any of his Constitution, plus he's angry at himself for sleeping with Melysse, because he doesn't trust her.

It's only been about eight hours since the ghost attack; four of their guards were slain of of hand. While they took the time to bury them, they did not linger any longer than that.

Let's figure out some things about Helase. First, we know it is ruined.

Was it ruined by the same earthquake fifty years ago that ruined the temple?

[fifty-fifty, 95 ≥ 91] Exceptional NO

So it was destroyed much earlier. Was it destroyed in the fighting with the mutables?

[near sure, 94 ≥ 90] NO

Interesting. So it was destroyed after the mutables won. Let's see if there's a description that might apply.

[Description] "Awkwardly Classy"

My first thought is that, after the mutable internal war, a handful of mutables set up a class system in Helase that destroyed itself in an awkward way. And what's more awkward that poymorph?

Nothing! Hahaha

Also, bumping up ration count since we have a third fewer mouths to feed.

Oh, and morale check for remaining guards.

Rolling 2d8 1 times.
[ 3 5 ] 8

Rolling 1d6 1 times.
[ 3 ] 3

Rolling 1d8 1 times.
[ 6 ] 6

Rolling 1d8 1 times.
[ 8 ] 8

[Options] unsettled, frontier, desolate

[Choice] unsettled

[Settled Level] Unsettled [Seed] 6
[Terrain Type] light forest (1) | heavy forest (2) | hills (3) | mountains (4)
[Settlements] ['Abandoned', 'Abandoned', 'City']
[Beneath] Solid
[Known Ruins] ['temple', 'sewer']

Mental note, usually travel days would be modified by terrain encountered; the two heavy forests would have added a day each. Going to say there was enough of a road to mitigate that.

They crested the ridge and abruptly were staring down into the ruined city of Helase, the once proud city, the jewel of the Dremaeric...

[Options] nobles, mages, kings, merchants

[Choice] kings

[Options] pleasure, business, both

[Choice] both

...kings, where generations of Kai's ancestors had held court, loved, sported, and, eventually warred and died.

In his time, it had been surrounded by lush forest, nestled up against the forbidding mountain behind it where the oracle resided.

[Terrain] heavy forest (2)

Now heavy forest, given seventeen centuries to flourish, cloaked the surroundings and the city itself. From this vantage, atop the road, scarcely any of the city was visible except the broken spire of the castle.

[Description] "Lazily Horrible"

So, the thought is, one of the mutables ended up with a power that transformed people in some way; I'm thinking some sort of were creatures.

[Gender] female

Did she know that it wouldn't stick on her fellow mutables?

[near sure, 81 ≤ 90] YES

So instead she used it to transform a number of the peasant thralls and train them as an elite strike force.

They were able to destroy many of the mutables, or drive them off, but ultimately...

Did they turn on her?

[fifty-fifty, 6 ≤ 10] Exceptional YES

They turned on her, and all mutables, and destroyed her and drove off or killed all the remaining mutables in the city. However, it was not without cost.

Did they lose most of their civilization?

[fifty-fifty, 41 ≤ 50] YES

They've dwindled down to a small community of were--

hmm.

[Options] tigers, wolves, something else

[Choice] tigers

Ok, so, tigers are nocturnal, and solitary. Going to say this means they tend to live and hunt alone, but have a small enclave most go back to on a semi-frequent basis; children are creche-raised here and taught by elders. They're still human, after all, at the base.

So, it being morning, there won't be much activity.

The goal here is to move through the ruined city, then take the winding stone path up to the seer's cave. Kai will look for clues as to what happened to him, his allies, or the seer. He hopes that, being a seer, she left him clues.

The city must be quite big, since it was the capital. How many time units to get across it, in days? I'm thinking normally it'd take a day to cross, given that it's heavy forest and they're still a decent ways away.

[How Much?] Scarcely any.

So half a day to get to the base of the mountain; they'll camp there and start up in the morning.

The trees were silent as they passed beneath, and Kai wondered how many had stood last time he passed this way. It was a hunting trip, he suddenly remembered. Less than two weeks ago, and yet a kingdom's lifetime away.

His brother had been furious when Kai was chosen to visit the oracle. He'd just returned from the hunt, dusty and sweaty and tired, when his father called him in to a private audience. He often wished that, given that he was considered so unsuitable for his position, he'd be allowed to go free, yet he found himself being called to bear witness to some trivial matter whenever his father felt like it.

"You'd send a cripple to do a man's job," his brother, the Crown Prince, had railed to the king, pacing furiously across the marble floor, his hands soft and his clothes immaculate, the ermine and purple robes of a ranking mage a sharp contrast to Kai's rough hunting garb.

Kai had stared at him, as he'd done so many times in the past on similar occasions, as blank and pleasant as if they were discussing the weather, and then he hauled off and knocked the smug expression right off his brother's face. Four years of living rough in the field had hardened him, and it was a solid blow.

Maybe it was Ariya who was the last straw, and maybe it was jealousy, but it felt ridiculously good. The return blast of magic knocked him across the room, sending him spinning into a wall, and it was only his father's roar and quick mage shield that saved him from, at the least, agony.

He'd spent the rest of the week in his rooms, under healer's watch, and then he'd left -- as much under guard as with them -- for the oracle's lair. He'd never seen any of them again, and they were long dust now.

He was still glad he'd done it, truthfully.

Ok, let's do the city. Do I have a city generator?

[Shop Found] Butcher

I guess sort of. Let's pull up a city chart for Helase.

They are entering from the northwest. Is it a former gate?

[fifty-fifty, 69 ≥ 50] NO

Ok, so the wall has crumbled and they're going straight into the city.

Which row has the exit to the oracle's steps?

Rolling 1d7 1 times.
[ 4 ] 4

And finally, how many time units does the climb to the oracle take? Expected is one-half.

[How Much?] Less than expected.

So it's a quarter time unit to get up there.

They entered the city through a gap in the wall, emerging on a stretch of broken pavement that Kai hardly recognized as the polished marble cobblestones of his own time, now worn to a brownish hue.

His mouth drew tighter as they moved deeper into the city, the trees closing overhead and only the occasional ruined wall or half-crumbled building showing they were still within the boundaries of the once gleaming mage city.

Seems like a good time to roll for an encounter.

Rolling 1d6 1 times.
[ 2 ] 2

During the day it's on a one, at night, on a two.

[Weighted Weather] The same as yesterday.

So still hot and muggy.

[Shop Found] Illuminator

They skirted the center of town; none of them wished to find out what might dwell in the ruined castle.

It was approaching noon as they neared the base of the Serpentine Steps, the seemingly endless stairs carved from the mountainside that went up to the medusa's lair.

Was there a dedicated building here for pilgrims?

[fifty-fifty, 49 ≤ 50] YES

Is it still intact?

[fifty-fifty, 65 ≥ 50] NO

Does it have a roof and three walls?

[fifty-fifty, 84 ≥ 50] NO

Does it have a roof and two walls?

[fifty-fifty, 2 ≤ 10] Exceptional YES

Huh, not sure how to interpret that. The walls and roof are still sturdy and remarkably intact?

They set up camp in the ruin of the Serpentine Enclave, a small abbey dedicated to dispersing the treasures brought to the medusa. Only the most valuable of prizes went up to her; the rest were given to the poor of the city and used to support the monks, who were never numerous.

It was at the main hall, now little more than a roof with two walls holding it up, that Kai felt reality really hit him. One of the guards was building a fire and tossed a piece of wood on that Kai suddenly recognized as part of an ornate chair, one of several, provided for him and his company to rest on before their ascent.

His knees went weak. What the hell was he doing here, so far outside his own time, so far from his own people, so far from everything that defined him? He sat down, hard, and buried his head in his arms.

A firm but gentle hand on his shoulder made him look up. It was hard to breathe, and the black mist was tinging his vision. Dac gave him a sympathetic look. "I know it's hard," he said. "Must be jarring, to say the least."

Do Dac's words -- and sympathy -- help Kai past this bout of potential Feedback?

[somewhat likely, 63 ≤ 65] YES

Kai closed his eyes and took a deep breath, then took Dac's offered hand and let himself be pulled back to his feet. "I'll be fine," he said. "We'll make the ascent in the morning."

The remaining guards each took two hour shifts; Kai retired early, and was grateful to be able to curl up in his own bedroll for the night.

I'll roll once for just after bed time, once for midnight, and once for early morning.

Rolling 1d6 1 times.
[ 2 ] 2

Well, that was quick. A weretiger comes to investigate?

[somewhat likely, 58 ≤ 65] YES

[Gender] female

[Age - Mature] Mid-twenties.

[Oracle Adjective]Exhaustion

Interesting, she's exhausted. Being hunted by her fellows?

[somewhat likely, 31 ≤ 65] YES

He'd scarcely put head to pillow when a shout went up from the watchman.

Sprinting out. he found an unexpected sight; a woman, tall, wearing almost nothing and unarmed, her skin a deep tan and her eyes a dark and endless green, was staring at his guard haughtily as the man backed away, spear held up defensively.

Attitude: Bold

"I am here to demand refuge," she said boldly. He could see that she was tired, but her stance was unbowed.

"Of course, milady," he said courteously, "Take a seat by the fire and tell us what troubles you." He ignored Dac's double raised eyebrows and Melysse's scowl.


</hr>

Session over; will pick up from here, I think. Another xp point, for finishing the journey; that's five, and a solid level 3.

In the morning, Kai will need to make a Venting roll if he hasn't used a power since the ghost 24 hours ago.

He will also regain his lost HP and possibly his Con if he gets a good night's rest.

Hmmm. Let's alter the venting roll to a much lower number but increasing each day. That will make tracking it much more straightforward (and risky).

Okay, updated Venting rules and added a new chart for minor effects.

So, in camp at the foot of the oracle's mountain, having a late dinner with a barbarian demanding refuge.

[Wronged!] Once your kind and them were allies but a schism divided you forever

[Motive] Generous [4], [Focus] nearby person and secrets [5].

[Motive] Creative & driven [2], [Focus] adventure and sex [3].

Is the focus person Kai?

[somewhat likely, 36 ≤ 65] YES

So she's here for adventure and because of secrets; driven from her tribe for her heretical beliefs.

Will she tell Kai this, and about the Prophecy?

[somewhat likely, 100 ≥ 94] Exceptional NO

She believes he's a great hero of their people, come to save the world from a great disaster looming, but fears if she tells him this she'll somehow warp the prophecy.

Despite Kai's best coaxing, she stubbornly refused to divulge her secrets; he finally laughed, wished them all good night, and went to bed.

Midnight encounter?

Rolling 1d6 1 times.
[ 4 ] 4

And morning.

Rolling 1d6 1 times.
[ 3 ] 3

Great, he finally gets a good night's sleep.

So that's 1d4 Con back, then a Venting roll at DC 7.

Rolling 1d4 1 times.
[ 2 ] 2

Great, back up to full Con, full HP.

Rolling 2d8 1 times.
[ 4 1 ] 5

Made the save; it'll be one point more difficult tomorrow if he doesn't use a power.