I always have to really push myself to run combats – it’s not that I don’t like the combat part, it’s just that combat is always a real challenge to run for me. It requires focus, which I generally don’t have a lot of, and it requires following rules, which I generally fail at. I tend to think of it as a fail state.

That said, I think abstracting the NPCs out with an oracle helped immensely.


Four more garden rooms. Oh, wandering monster.

Rolling 1d6 1 times.
[ 3 (Power) ] 3

[Room] stone, spartan, finished [Purpose] relaxing [Size] medium [Shape] square

[Room Contents] Monster Only

[In the Room] a pile of alchemical cast-off items, a row of cots, an altar

Whoops. Looks like my map didn't save. Will take a little time to fix that.

I'd commented out the save line, should be an easy fix to push through. Okay, back to the game.

I am trying to keep away from too much detailed exposition and narrative for this one.

Let's roll up the monster in SH.

Rolling 3d6 1 times.
[ 5 (Finesse) 5 (Knowledge) 6 (Luck) ] 16

Well, that's a fight! 2d4 hit dice of Minions plus 2 * T hit dice worth of Elites, Mages, or Boss enemies.

Rolling 2d4 1 times.
[ 2 (Style) 2 (Luck) ] 4

Four minions plus 2HD of Elites, Mages, or Boss enemies.

Well, this is beneath a lair of some sort. Is it still occupied by whoever set up the cots?

[fifty-fifty, 98 ≥ 91] Exceptional NO

So this was originally a shrine of some sort, with an altar, someone repurposed it as a sleeping space -- an alchemist and his guards -- and then it was re-repurposed by whatever creature left the bones upstairs.

So the main creature, I'm going to use one from the Yoon-Suin book of 2 HD, the Thaye, and for the minions I'll use the standard minion stats from

No surprise for anybody, I think, though I may take some dramatic license with it.

Fortunately, the warrior had a rope, and it was trivial to drop down into the hole in the lair. The room below was stone, with ornately carved pillars and an altar at the far end. Cots were lined up in neat rows, holding nothing at all now. "Where do you suppose they've gone?" Issa asked, and Fin shrugged.

Is the altar to a dark scary grim god?

[fifty-fifty, 86 ≥ 50] NO

To a good one?

[fifty-fifty, 39 ≤ 50] YES

I asked because "Neutral" or "Trickster" were also options.

[Mythic Complex] Inquire / Anger

The Alfar was inspecting the altar. "Devoted to the goddess of war from the early days of the empire, it appears," he said precisely. He looked to be in his mid-twenties but from the way he talked you'd think he was a sour old sage, Fin thought. He was wondering just how he'd ended up in this mess when he spotted a dark shape skulking along the ceiling.

His swords were in hand as he sprinted forward, intercepting it as it plunged down towards the Alfar's back.

In SH, heroes go first, so Fin gets a round of attacks. He's much better off if he can sneak up on stuff.

Rolling 1d20 1 times.
[ 9 (Style) ] 9

9 plus 6, 15, and the obvious two mods are +5, which makes it dead on, with his primary hand.

Rolling 1d20 1 times.
[ 3 (Power) ] 3

Second hand is a clean miss though.

Rolling 1d6 1 times.
[ 4 (Knowledge) ] 4

Two points of damage, not bad, enough to take it out, anyway.

The creature -- a shadowy thing with tentacles that stank like a sewer -- went down surprisingly easy. Adrenaline surging, he spun as four more crept out of the shadows, swarming towards the three of them.

Fray!

Rolling 1d4 1 times.
[ 4 (Luck) ] 4

There's really too many heroes to fit well with SH's power adjustments; I'm going to abstract the other two heroes as oracle questions, I think.

Will have to think how though!

Top of the order, I'll concentrate on Fin's fight. When I call for a morale check I'll also check the status of the other two.

Rolling 1d20 1 times.
[ 17 (Knowledge) ] 17

Nice, that's a clear hit on his primary hand.

Rolling 1d20 1 times.
[ 15 (Luck) ] 15

And a clear hit on his secondary, too.

Rolling 1d6 1 times.
[ 2 (Outside Influences) ] 2

Only one point of damage, but that's enough to put the already injured one down.

Rolling 1d4 1 times.
[ 1 (Knowledge) ] 1

1 more point, plus Fray next.

Rolling 1d4 1 times.
[ 4 (Skill) ] 4

So two left.

First one, two attacks, +2, and 1d6 damage each,

Rolling 1d20 1 times.
[ 13 (Luck) ] 13

A hit!

Rolling 1d20 1 times.
[ 3 (Knowledge) ] 3

And a miss, thankfully, since they have a bite that takes effect if they hit with both attacks.

Rolling 1d6 1 times.
[ 6 (Finesse) ] 6

Ouch.

Two points of damage.

And the second one's two attacks.

Oh, I should have checked morale.

Rolling 2d6 1 times.
[ 5 (Time Required) 6 (Style) ] 11

They only have a morale of 7, so they break and run!

I guess I'll ask the oracle how my allies did!

Did Issa defeat any enemies attacking her?

[fifty-fifty, 58 ≥ 50] NO

She's still fighting, then?

[fifty-fifty, 1 ≤ 10] Exceptional YES

Is Viandus still fighting as well?

[fifty-fifty, 57 ≥ 50] NO

So he defeated the enemies on him?

[fifty-fifty, 49 ≤ 50] YES

And a hit location for that solid hit on Fin.

[Hit Locs] Head

Fin cut two of them down effortlessly, dodging tentacles. He caught one across the side of his head, enough to stagger him, but the other two creatures fled into the shadows deeper in the complex.

A glance over showed Viandus polishing off the last of one of the creatures, and Issa, swarmed by more.

How many are attacking Issa?

Rolling 1d4 1 times.
[ 1 (Style) ] 1

Fin abruptly realized that the creature she was fending off was not multiple creatures, but one large, multi-jointed one, a veritable hydra.

He's going to use acrobatics to get behind it and use quick death on it.

I'm going to set the DC at 13, which is really hard but not ridiculously so, because it's immense and occupied with attacking Issa.

Rolling 2d8 1 times.
[ 2 (Knowledge) 4 (Outside Influences) ] 6

Rats, a failure. So he's going to be open to an attack, but right next to it for the top of next round.

Rolling 1d20 1 times.
[ 13 (Skill) ] 13

Rolling 1d6 1 times.
[ 3 (Luck) ] 3

[Hit Locs] Left Hand

He sprinted forward, dodging under one tentacle, but the thing was faster than he expected and he misjudged its reach. One of the tentacles snapped out and clipped his hand, almost knocking his sword away.

His turn!

Rolling 1d20 1 times.
[ 14 (Outside Influences) ] 14

Rolling 1d20 1 times.
[ 8 (Power) ] 8

That's a miss, I think he needs a 9 or better.

Rolling 1d6 1 times.
[ 3 (Time Required) ] 3

1 point of damage, and Fray.

Rolling 1d4 1 times.
[ 3 (Time Required) ] 3

Still two points of damage, not bad.

Does Issa land any blows?

[above average vs average, 7 ≤ 13] Exceptional YES

He sliced one of the tentacles that was reaching for his face away, then knocked away a second. To his left, Issa swung her greatsword, burying it firmly in the creature's toothed maw, and it collapsed, twitching a bit.

Fin has to make two saving throws against disease, which will take effect tomorrow and put him at a -4 to Strength, Con, and Dex for the next d6 days if he fails.

Was Issa hit at all?

[unlikely, 24 ≤ 35] YES

Badly enough to require healing?

[unlikely, 54 ≥ 35] NO

Was Viandus hit at all?

[unlikely, 10 ≤ 35] YES

Badly enough to require healing?

[unlikely, 87 ≥ 35] NO

Saving throws for everyone!

[above average vs average, 40 ≤ 65] YES

[above average vs average, 8 ≤ 13] Exceptional YES

So they're both not going to get sick. Yay. Alfar are immune, it appears. I'll jot that down next to "things I know about Alfar".

Which reminds me, I need to make the actor tracker boxes larger.

Oh, wait, saving throw first. The DC is 9 plus the creature's HD, so 2 for the first one and 4 for the second.

Rolling 2d8 1 times.
[ 7 (Luck) 2 (Time Required) ] 9

He's one HD and has no relevant modifiers, so that's a failure. Better hope we get out of the dungeon (or to a safe place with food and water) before tomorrow.

Rolling 2d8 1 times.
[ 7 (Outside Influences) 3 (Skill) ] 10

Failed the second one, too. Great. Fortunately, it's a flat -4, not -4 per day or anything. Still, it will be weeks before he's able to adventure again.

Issa shot him a grin. She looked a bit marked up but nothing serious. The Alfar didn't so much as have a hair out of place.

Taking a few minutes to bind my wounds.

That's 2 HP back.

Fin felt a little dizzy but nothing serious. He'd taken more hits to the head in the past few hours than in his entire life.

Quick look around the room, looking for anything that looks like a wine bottle.

[unlikely, 83 ≥ 35] NO

He scouted out the room, quickly, thoroughly, drifting to a stop near the altar. A sudden wave of dizziness struck him and he half fell against it.

Is it magical at all?

[fifty-fifty, 34 ≤ 50] YES

Does it activate with a special effect?

[fifty-fifty, 21 ≤ 50] YES

Does he get to make a saving throw?

[fifty-fifty, 82 ≥ 50] NO

[What Did It Do?] It reduces your age by two categories. You won't be affected until you next commit an act related to the effect.

Well, that's unfortunate.

I should note, I'm not really in the habit of digging for magical effects to heap on my characters -- I just wanted to try the "what does it do" generator out. I am regretting it now.

He's a young adult; that will put him squarely in "child" territory.

"Commit an act related to the effect" which is aging must be, well, aging.

We all get older every second, which means it's only a matter of time. Does it take effect after one minute?

[fifty-fifty, 97 ≥ 91] Exceptional NO

So much longer. One day?

[fifty-fifty, 80 ≥ 50] NO

One week?

[fifty-fifty, 5 ≤ 10] Exceptional YES

So he's now pretty much going to be direly ill for a week, starting within twenty-four hours, and then wake up a ten year old.

Thanks, random generator. I don't even have stats for that.

The Alfar pulled him to his feet. "Don't touch that," he said, a frown on his face. Then glanced at the statue again. "I may have been mistaken-- but no matter."

I guess I should be glad he's not turned into a frog or suffering a cascading magical failure or an inch tall. Let's get an exit.

Dungeon is now ... Fan Cadfan. Current area is Fortress (Garden, Swarming) [3].

[Exits] 5 East or Right, West or Left, South or Down, West or Left, South or Down

Let's go west, then south-west, then south, and so on. From now on I'm going to roll a d20 per room, plus 1 per explored room, and if I get 15+ that's the room with the wine in it.

[Room] expansive [Purpose] killing [Size] double-size [Shape] trapezoidal

[In the Room] a tiled floor, round smooth crystals embedded in the floor

Rolling 1d20 1 times.
[ 14 (Outside Influences) ] 14

I think that's the last garden room, too.

Sw now.

[Area] Lair (Library, Swarming) [4]. Explore 6 rooms, then roll again.

Though the room with the altar was overrun with vines winding down from above, the rest of the floor seemed relatively untouched. Whoever had abandoned the alchemical supplies and altar seemed to have had a love for learning.

[Room] expansive, dim [Purpose] working, stashing [Size] vault [Shape] elongated

[In the Room] a stockpile, torture devices, misspelled graffiti

Rolling 1d20 1 times.
[ 3 (Finesse) ] 3

And south.

[Room] bare [Purpose] storing, protecting [Size] chamber [Shape] square, rectangular

[In the Room] a bowl of fruit

Rolling 1d20 1 times.
[ 17 (Knowledge) ] 17

Fin snagged a few books that looked interesting, stuffing them into one of the satchels, and regretted he hadn't time to look at them more carefully. But he was getting hungry, and he knew it was getting late.

Fortunately, they found his prize in a small store room off the altar room -- a dusty wine bottle he recognized instantly and well enough to realize he'd been geased to retrieve it. He cursed his captors silently and vowed payback.

Issa, for her part, was thrilled -- tucked on one of the shelves was a bowl of what looked like fake fruit. She announced gleefully that each was a semi-precious gem, elegantly carved, before stashing it away in her pack. Fin was starting to feel more and more queasy and really just wanted to get back to civilization and take a hot bath.

Fort Iseu Sublevel 2
If I were more diligent, I'd add the themes in too

I'm not going to slog through the whole exit sequence, I think. I'll do three rolls and apply them to the following categories: monster encounter, npc encounter, safe trip. If any gets a 1 it means it's failed/happens.

Rolling 1d6 1 times.
[ 4 (Style) ] 4

Rolling 1d6 1 times.
[ 3 (Luck) ] 3

Rolling 1d6 1 times.
[ 3 (Power) ] 3

Are they waiting outside for him to return?

[somewhat likely, 76 ≥ 65] NO

So there's a place he's supposed to meet with them. Does the rendezvous go smoothly?

[fifty-fifty, 82 ≥ 50] NO

Interesting.

[CONTEXT] PCs (Start)
[FOCUS] NPC positive
[MEANING] Expose Victory

What's the head of the group like?

[Age - Mature] Early twenties.

[Gender Appearance] male

[Modifier] Is in disguise.

[Visible Quirk] black eye

[Visible Quirk] athletic

[Wheel]
[Driving] aversion
[Focus] duty

[Goals]
[Nearly consuming] to murder [hero's enemy]
[Ignorable] to bully the weak [myself]

The Duke's son?

[fifty-fifty, 72 ≥ 50] NO

The Duke himself?

[fifty-fifty, 8 ≤ 10] Exceptional YES

I'm going to read "in disguise" as "traveling incognito" rather than literally disguised as someone else.

"You found it," the leader of the gang of thugs who'd hustled him off the ship and up into the mines said. He sounded surprised. And pleased.

He was still sporting the black eye from a lucky kick Fin had managed to land as they were dragging him up the mountain side. Fin had instantly disliked him; he was athletic, elegant, and without a drop of remorse. A lot like the nobles he'd encountered in Cadoc. And possibly uncomfortably similar to Fin himself, though he hadn't yet made that comparison.

Does he plan on letting Fin go?

[fifty-fifty, 39 ≤ 50] YES

Well, that's nice. I guess. I wonder who he's planning to murder? Maybe the wine is a rare vintage intended as a gift for someone, once it's poisoned?

"You're free to go, then," the leader drawled, tossing a pouch to him that jangled a bit. Fin caught it reflexively. That went better than expected, he thought. "But don't try to leave the island," the leader called back over his shoulder. "You won't like the consequences."

---

Ok, back to Whitefell, then, with Issa and Viandus. And then time to start asking the oracle some stuff.