Ispitan and his surviving colleagues move back across the border into the Border Kingdoms. This region in the summer has an encounter rating of 5. I roll 2d6 and get 1, 5 – this passes 2d6 so there will be an encounter. A further die roll of 1 shows we have encountered locals. A roll of 2 on 1d6-1 (-1 because we are on the border) dictates that the encounter occurs in Clear terrain, and another 1d6 roll of 3 determines this happens in a village.
I now have to figure Ispitan’s CV to find out how many opponents and what kind. (Rep 3 + AC 2 + Notes 1) * (Hardiness 2 +1) / 6 = 3, and since I’m running the rest of the group as NPCs I’ll count them as CV 1 each. I roll on the Border Kingdoms army list and get 7 (borderer), 9 (retinue infantry), 5, 6 (retinue cavalry), and then I’m up to CV 6 so I stop. The highest Rep (5) is with the retinue cavalry. I now roll 1ds6 on the Big Bad table (p. 10), getting a 2, and determine that the NPC force leader has Hardiness 3 but one Rep less than usual for his type, so he is Rep 4. I have MetaCreator open for other purposes so I use the built-in name generator to assign him a French name: Edon.
Our heroes tramp across frosty meadows back into the Kingdoms. At length, they spy a village in the distance and make for it with the intent of staying overnight; the quarters will be cramped and smelly, but warm, and after long enough in the cold, warm trumps the other factors.
“Ispitan,” says Rufus as they come closer, “Look at that. There’s a group of soldiers at the gate. Stragglers, by the look of them.” He points, and Ispitan makes out four spearmen and a couple of horses. Eyjolf chimes in.
“Where are the villagers? And their animals?”
The two parties move closer, stopping about 20 or 30 yards apart.
Rolling 2d6 on the adventurer encounter table (p. 46) gives a 10, indicating that we must Talk the Talk. Another 1d6 result of 2 shows we have met a hostile group with unknown intentions.
“Wait for me here,” says Ispitan, “Maybe they did this, or maybe they know who did.” He strides forward as one of the spearmen mounts up and trots out to meet him.
Ispitan rolls (Rep) d6 vs 3 and gets 1, 6, 3 = pass 2d6. Edon rolls 4d6 vs 3 and gets 1, 4, 3, 4 = pass 2d6. Checking the Talk the Talk table on p. 47 shows that there is no conflict, and the parties leave each other in peace.
“Greetings,” says the wizard. “I am Ispitan, apprentice to the Sable Mage, travelling on a quest for my master. Who might you be, warrior?”
“Edon, part of Lord Algis’ retinue. My comrades and I are what is left of a raid into goblin territory.”
At this point I use a random die roll to determine whether Algis and Sable are friends or enemies, and get a positive result. This won’t affect the outcome, just how I explain it.
“What happened to the villagers? We were hoping to shelter here.”
“As were we. Judging by the signs, I’d say orcish bandits happened to them. There are no villagers, no animals, but lots of orc arrows and a couple of bodies.”
“Would you like to join us? We’re bound for Acromerinth, and there is safety in numbers.” The cavalryman shakes his head.
“Our duty calls us elsewhere. I must report back to Algis’ keep.”
“The Sun shine on you, then.”
“And on you.” The horseman turns and rides back to his colleagues.
I’ve mentioned before that in campaign mode, THW games often generate no combat. That, too, is part of the story, and while I used to keep going until one of the encounters turned into a fight, now I feel more comfortable following the characters at their own pace through whatever the dice gods throw at them.
As we have survived another encounter, I roll for improvement for Ispitan, trying to roll over his stats. This increases his Rep and Hardiness by one each, but leaves his Social Standing where it was. This pushes his CV up to 4 (I round the Star’s CV down, because he will always meet enemy CV of at least his own, and often more.)
|Retinue Cavalry||Mtd Melee||5||–||Spear||4||12”||Elite||–||SS|