The Arioniad – Scenes 19-20

Posted: 17 March 2010 in Arioniad

My goal was to finish this adventure by the end of March, so I’d best be about it. Scene 19 is a travel scene, and I can see that once in a Lost World, the Star tends to stay there. Rolls of 2 and 6 for location and transport mean movement towards another Lost World on foot, so again we stay in the current location. A roll of 1 for encounters means there is one, though; a followup roll of 3 shows we’re being followed, and there will be a stand-up fight before we reach the destination. That’ll be scene 20. Scene 21 will be a Story Advancing Scene.

Working my way through the Setting the Scene section starting on p. 40, I find that the fight is in rough, mountainous terrain, so line of sight is 12″ and movement is halved. Arion’s group consists of himself and Dmitri, both Rep 4, and Coriander, Rep 3; total 11. 1d6 + clues solved (4) + Big Bad’s Rep (6) = 12, so the enemy has a total of 11 Rep as well. Rolling on the King Beast table I get an 8, for 2d6 villagers; there are 10 of them at Rep 3 each, but this is limited to four because that’s the largest number at which they start to exceed the Rep of Arion’s troupe. Time of day? 1d6 vs 3: 1, daytime. There are no innocent bystanders possible. Leaders begin 1d6 + 6″ apart – in this case 11″ – with followers within 12″ of them. Looking up villagers, I see they have no weapons or combat skills worth the mention.

Strolling through the hills, our little troupe emerges into a clearing.

“We’re being followed,” Coriander says. “They’re circling around us to get the drop on us. They’lll come out over there.”

The group disports themselves accordingly, and sure enough, a group of local villagers emerges into the clearing, somewhat surprised to find Arion and friends facing them.

Like much of LTL, this doesn’t seem worth setting up a table for, so I go straight to the dice. No-one has any guns. We now move to the Gain the Upper Hand table, and I adopt a strategy discussed on the THW Yahoo! Group for speeding up tests, namely to decide the outcome based on the first round without discarding failures and rerolling until only one side has successes.

Arion rolls 4d6 vs 3: 3, 4, 4, 6 and passes 1d6. The lead villager rolls 3d6 vs 3: 1, 2, 3 and passes 3d6. The villagers charge into melee, and Arion’s group may not fire. Even if they had guns. We’ll go with one group each. This is a melee where almost everyone will roll 1d6 (the default for unskilled) except Arion, who will roll 2d6.

“Kill the Psions!” yells one of the villagers. They make threatening gestures and edge forwards.

Turn 1: Arion activates, the villagers do not. Arion & Co. fast move into melee, the second the villagers think about charging. Unfortunately Arion rolls 5, 6; passes 0d6; and no additional movement is gained. Dmitri passes 2d6 and moves 16″. Coriander passes 1d6 and moves 9″.

Arion charges, yelling a fierce war cry and waving clawed hands at the villagers. The effect is somewhat spoiled when he trips over a tree root and plants his face in the dirt.

“I meant to do that,” he calls back over his shoulder.

“It’s amazing he’s reached this age without killing himself,” Coriander notes as she walks past Arion, who is now scrambling to his feet.

“You have no idea,” says Dmitri, hurtling past both of them and punching a villager.

And you thought Arion was reckless. Has Dmitri learned nothing from his previous drubbing? He rolls a 4, the villager rolls a 2, wounding him; but because this is unarmed combat, his Rep is not reduced by one (p. 51). Dmitri now takes the Dazed/Wounded Crisis Test on the Law Enforcement table; 2d6 vs Rep (4): 1, 2 so pass 2d6 – recovers when next active.

The villager sways aside with insulting ease and Dmitri goes sprawling, whereupon the villager kicks him in the ribs. Dmitri shakes his head and struggles to stand up.

Turn 2: The villagers activate and Our Heroes do not. Everyone gets one villager, except Arion who gets two (it’s Star magnetism). Dmitri’s opponent wounds him again, but he passes 2d6 on his Crisis Test and will recover when next active. Coriander and her opponent both pass 0d6, but the villager rolls higher so he wounds her; she rolls on the Civilian Crisis Table, passes 1d6 and is Out Of the Fight. Arion’s 2d6 are reduced to 1d6 because he faces an additional enemy. Both villagers pass 1d6 and he passes 0d6; this would give him two wounds, but he has Star Power 2, so rolls 2d6 vs 3: 1, 3 and ignores both.

A confused melee erupts. The villager engaging Dmitri continues to kick him while he’s down; Coriander and a second villager swing inexpertly at each other, and Coriander goes down.

Turn 3: Nobody activates. Turn 4: Arion & Co activate, the villagers do not. Arion is again smacked about but uses Star Power to soak the wound. Dmitri wounds his opponent, who rolls on the Civilian Crisis Table, passes 1d6 and is OOF. I decide that the villagers are not within 2″ of each other so this won’t trigger a crisis test (I can work this out from movement, but actually setting up the table would have been useful after all.)

Dmitri heaves himself erect and kicks his opponent in return, somewhere painful. The villager curls up around himself and loses interest in the proceedings. Arion is bruised and bloodied, but still standing.

Turn 5: Both sides activate. Coriander’s former enemy shifts to attack Arion. Arion passes 1d6, his opponents pass 0d6, 1d6 and 1d6 respectively, so one is wounded; his Crisis Test puts him OOF. Dmitri piles in from behind the villagers, passes 0d6 but doesn’t score higher. However, the three remaining villagers are all fighting Arion hand-to-hand, so must be within 2″ of each other; the OOF triggers a crisis test. One passes 1d6 and ducks back; the other passes 0d6, so would run away if alone, but instead ducks back – they both move directly towards the nearest cover and break line of sight.

The fight continues. Another villager goes down. The remaining two look at each other, back away, and turn to run into the undergrowth.

Turn 6: Arion activates, villagers do not. He moves to his fallen companion with the intent of rendering her Taken Off Stage (p. 54).

“Dmitri!” Arion calls, moving to Coriander and stooping to pick her up. “We! Are! Leaving!”

Turn 7: Neither side activates. Turn 8: Arion activates, villagers do not. How useful it is to have a higher Rep. I’m out of time for the evening, so we’ll call that a night – strictly speaking the villagers should have a chance to follow up and smack them around some more, but I rationalise this as the miscreants not wanting to make things worse – they have their own wounded to tend to.

Arion gathers up Coriander, and jogs purposefully from the field of battle, with Dmitri acting as rearguard.

Lessons learned: This turned out to be a useful session, as I now understand how melee works – there were a couple of things I thought were broken, but in fact are not. Thanks to the Yahoo! Group for explaining the default melee skill. The other thing I didn’t understand was how Melee 0 characters with no weapons could actually hurt one another, but this happens when wounds force a crisis test. Also, I should use the two blokes as a meat shield to screen Coriander so she can use her Magic skill to mess up the opposition.

  1. Kurt says:

    Hi Andy, since you don’t set up the fight on a table top, how do you keep track of the location of the charcters/NPCs in melee? Do you diagram out each character with each enemy on paper?

  2. andyslack says:

    Sometimes, yes – as in this ATZ episode. Equally often, especially when there are only two groups, I assume that members of a group are within 1-2″ of each other, and picture them moving backwards and forwards along an imaginary line. Maybe I should post some pictures of the line next time I try that, to make it clearer.

  3. Kurt says:

    Hi Andy, I started reading some of your articles on your blog. I’d like to get your overall thoughts on LTL. I like LTL a lot. I have some ideas to improve upon the game that I’d like to get your thoughts on. You can email me at

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