Scene 2 (Interrupted)
When using the Mythic Game Master Emulator to run solo games, a roll is made before every scene to see if something unexpected happens. This can take the form of a modification to the existing scene, or an entirely new one that interrupts what you had planned. So, as I prepare to start exploring the map, I roll a d10 and get a 2. This indicates my first scene has been interrupted by something.
But what has happened? Consulting the event focus table, I get the “introduce a new NPC” result. This could be interesting. A further roll on the contextual charts gets me “adversity” and “business.”
The first thought that comes to mind is of a peacekeeper. An NPC (or group of NPCs) that patrols the borderlands looking for trouble. Perhaps they are in the employ of a local lord, or maybe part of a large regional organisation, this NPC would seek out any problems and attempt to dispense justice, or at the very least warn the local powers of the issue.
I have some name generation tables I’ve collected over the years, so I roll one and voila! Fagrin Dain is born. He is most likely a skilled veteran that travels the borderlands with 1d6 other veteran warriors.
I usually use UNE to flesh out NPCs, but WWN has its own set of tables in the appendices, so rolling on those I get the following results:
Fagrin Dain is unremarkably average. A grey man. Nondescript enough to pass through most places without drawing attention. He has a fondness for dull clothing, drab greens and browns. If he is noticed for anything at all, it would be for his little idiosyncrasies. His willingness to eat almost any type of food, no matter how foul, and the way he tilts his head at an odd angle whenever he talks. At rest he stays unsettlingly still, and in motion his movements are efficient, his gait almost catlike.
I stopped rolling at this point. There are five sections filled with tables and I had only used the first one to generate this. Between WWN and UNE, I don’t think there will be a problem fleshing out NPCs on the fly.
So, after escaping the riverboat my characters take a moment to catch their breath before moving northwards and deeper into the undergrowth. As dawn approaches, they notice the trees thinning out, so they push on, each gaining a point of system strain for a stressful night without sleep. Rolling an opposed Notice/Stealth check, Fagrin Dain and his men manage to approach Lyriel, Gesmund and Ghost without a sound. Ghost cannot be surprised, and so cries out at the last minute, but it is too late. Dain and his five warriors emerge out of the gloom, bows drawn and crossbows loaded.
At this point I make a reaction roll for the NPCs and get double sixes. That is incredibly favourable. Dain notices the characters’ injuries and lowers his crossbow. His followers relax slightly.
“Easy there,” he says, his head tilting slightly. “My companions and I hold you no ill intent.”
Lyriel slowly steps forward, introductions are made, and the tension ebbs from the scene. Dain enquires how they came by their wounds, and the characters are truthful in their replies, seeing no point in subterfuge. It seems Dain and his warriors have been tracking a hunting party of Outsiders for a few days and are eager to continue onwards when they learn their quarry may be close by.
Due to the favourable nature of the reaction roll, Lyriel uses her Authority foci to ask the newcomers for a simple favour -to give them directions to somewhere safe. She passes the Lead check and Fagrin tells the characters they should head to Gadun, a town which is about a day’s march north of here. He also warns them not to stray into the rockier areas of the Adeng Hills and Martok Rise.
As they prepare to move on, one of Dain’s warriors begins to separate out some healing supplies from her kit and asks the characters if any of them have skill in medicine. The characters, clutching their wounds and wincing, reply that they do not.
Taking pity on them, the newcomers are kind enough to apply some first aid to the trio before they set off. A quick ten minutes bandaging wounds, removing barbs, and applying salves. Because of this I decide to roll healing once for each character. Both Lyriel and Ghost gain three Hit Points whilst Gesmund gains four. They each gain another point of System Strain due to the stress of healing. The thief and the mage are now fully healed, but the warrior is still injured.
Continuing with the original scene as planned, the characters push on north east until they exit the woods. Dawn is breaking so it’s time to roll for the weather. It is late summer in the Gyre and I roll a 5, which suggests fairly bad weather. Perhaps an overcast day, windy with some light rain from midday onwards.
Whilst I am at it, I roll a d6 for daytime encounters and get a 1. That means one will trigger, and by rolling a d12 I can see which hour it’ll happen. As fate would have it, I get a 6. The encounter occurs around midday, coinciding with the rain. An ill omen perhaps.
Since Dain has given the characters directions, it is unlikely they will become lost, and an easy survival check confirms this. They keep the distant hills either side of them and head north east. It takes a few hours to cross the hex, and the characters don’t stumble upon anything of note, so eventually they move into the next hex, which is very much the same. The journey across the grasslands is almost pleasant, although the wind begins to whip up and the sky starts to develop dark patches of grey. A slow, brooding formation of cloud that hides the sun and lowers the temperature.
Eventually, as midday approaches, the characters cross into the third hex, and I roll a 1 on my points of interest roll, which indicates they have stumbled upon something. Normally I would consult Filling in the Blanks for this, but WWN has a quite a few location tables so I will use those instead. I obtain a Wilderness Site result, which turns out to be a “crevasse/rift/broken ground.” The characters have come across a large, jagged canyon.
On a whim I ask the Mythic Fate Chart if this rift is special in any way. It tells me yes, so I roll on the WWN Wilderness Tags and obtain the “Toxic Ruins” and “Cursed Land” results.
Oh. That’s nice.
So, the characters have come across a wretched gash in the world, sides rising like the edges of a puckered wound, its stiches ripped and torn. A noxious purple vapour rises from the depths of this infernal incision, a sulphurous excretion from the bowels of the world. Lovely.
Even before they get close, the characters decide to avoid this pestilent landmark, and so they begin circling to the north west. This is the precise moment when the skies open up and the first droplets of rain fall, and when they meet the random encounter.
Rolling on the encounter table, I get a 7. A human encounter. Rolling a d10, I get another 7. This indicates a group of woodsmen. I ask the Fate Chart if they are from the Surgo Woods area, and it returns an exceptional yes result.
I couldn’t think of what an exceptional yes result would mean in this situation, so I decide to roll on the Mythic charts for some context. I get the “Betray” and “Love” result. My gut reaction is that these men and women are a search party looking for a runaway. Perhaps a young man or woman has fled the settlement after finding their betrothed in the arms of an illicit lover. I flip a coin to see which way round, and it turns out a young woman has fled from the discovery of a cheating fiancé.
The reaction roll for the villagers is a 7. Neither hostile nor friendly but could go either way as common-sense dictates. They would be wary of my characters, especially once they see the weaponry they carry.
Lyriel and Ghost raise their hands and call out a greeting to the search party, who keep their distance and reply that they want no trouble. Gesmund, an easy smile sliding across his face, calls out “my friends, we are weary travellers, brought low by the trials of a long journey. We are seeking a place called Gadun for respite. Are we heading in the right direction?”
Gesmund rolls a Convince check and gets a 9. The villagers are still wary, but they seem to relax. The leader moves forward to speak with the characters.
Katu kept a tight grip on his axe as he moved closer to the newcomers, the first drops of rain touching his bald crown. The rotund one was talking. All easy smiles and pleasant, oiled words, but there seemed to be some truth to his tale. All three were dark-skinned and spoke in heavy Brassian accents. They were obviously northlanders who had travelled far and, judging by their battered look, the journey had not been pleasant.
He looked up at the subdued midday sun, the wind in his beard and rain on his face. Allara had been gone too long and the weather was on the turn. The people of Kleabe were a hardy, practical folk, but there was no point in tempting fate. With her trail lost there was no time to bandy words with these wanderers. He threaded his axe through its belt loop and strode forward.
“Gadun isn’t too far,” he said, watching their postures ease. “Just head northeast until you come upon the Drasig river, then follow it north. You’ll reach Gadun by nightfall.”
The woman stepped forward and thanked him, introducing herself and her two companions. Katu politely did likewise before he and the rest of his group prepared to continue their search. As they began to part ways, he turned and shouted a warning at the travellers. “Stay well away from the Cut,” he said above the rising noise of the wind, gesturing to the inflamed lip of the canyon. “It’s not a good place to be around.”
The two men nodded but the woman paused. “What is it?” she asked.
“It is a cursed befoulment,” Katu replied grimly. “A wound that never clots, an injury that never heals. It’s from the time of Shun, and nothing good will happen to those loitering nearby.”
That seemed to heighten her interest. “What’s down there?”
Katu sighed. “Truly? Nobody knows. But the legends tell of a creature that came to this world and feasted upon the marrow of the people. Shun battled the fiend, but it could not be killed. Instead, the sorcerer-king used all his knowledge and skill to bind it into the earth, weaving its flesh into the very rock beneath us. It lays there still, if stories be believed, dismembered but alive. Sometimes creatures worked from its own torn body will rise up out of the Cut to gather people and livestock to feed to their master.”
A fleeting look of disgust passed over Lyriel’s face. She nodded and began to turn away when a thought occurred to the woodsman. “One last thing, Northlander. Perhaps you’ve seen a woman on your travels today? My height. Slim of build and red of hair?”
Lyriel paused. “I am afraid not. Is she the reason you and your companions are abroad near this foul place?”
“You have the truth of it, lady.”
Lyriel smiled. “Then perhaps we can be of help? I am a good tracker, and eight sets of eyes are better than five.”
Klatu glanced back at his party and grinned. “Well, now. We would be in your debt.”