Nal Sagath Solo, Take 2

Learning that the actress is still missing, and that a previous pair of adventurers and a townsman have disappeared trying to find her, the heroic Attor and the loyal Veon descend into the tunnels below Nal Sagath.

Well, I couldn’t let it beat me, now, could I?

Options in Play: Jokers Wild; No Power Points.

Turn 1: No Tracking tokens. This is what you get for not having the necessary skill. At least they can’t go negative. The event card leads them to the skeleton of an ancient warrior. Attor rummages through the bones and finding nothing of use save an old dagger.

Turn 2: No tokens. The card shows we have found a maze, and must succeed at a Dramatic Task on Smarts-2 to find our way through; Attor has the higher Smarts so will roll, but Veon may assist as it is a co-operative roll. Alas, we fail and lose 4 Tracking tokens. On the up side, we have no tokens to start with, so it can’t get any worse.

Turn 3: No tokens. The card duplicates an earlier draw and is red, so we get +2 to the next Tracking.

Turn 4: One token, hurrah! The event card takes us to a hall full of strange inscriptions. Attor is able to decipher these and realises they are a map in prose, giving us a permanent +1 to Tracking rolls.

Turn 5: One more token, now we have two. This turn’s event card leads us down a corridor full of strange fungi. Terrifying hallucinations send Veon fleeing, while Attor gains a Major Phobia – I decide this could be fear of whatever he thinks he saw, the dark, fungi, or confined spaces, and roll randomly; fungi. Attor now has an irrational fear of fungi, which will make eating out entertaining if the meal contains mushrooms.

Turn 6: One token, total 3. The card shows we find a crypt. Attor is Heroic, so stays on mission ("Save the cheerleader,") rather than looting it, and Veon is Loyal so stays with him.

Turn 7: No tokens. The card draw unleashes an Indiana Jones-style rolling ball of rock on us, which we manage to escape from unscathed.

Turn 8: One token, new total 4. A Tentacled Thing attacks Veon, and commences grappling him. Fortunately Veon wriggles free, and after a short melee Attor blasts it to pieces with bolts.

Turn 9: One token, new total 5. A rat leaps out of the darkness at Attor, scratching his armour. Attor again stays on mission.

Turn 10: No tokens. We find a treasure chest, but Veon notices the trap, and again our heroes move on, since neither has much hope of disarming it.

Turn 11: No tokens. The card is a duplicate, giving +2 to the next Tracking roll.

Turn 12: One token, new total 6. A secret passage; some successful Notice rolls give us another two tokens thanks to following it; now we have 8.

Turn 13: Two tokens, new total 10. Another duplicate card, this one giving us -2 Tracking.

Turn 14: One token even with the minuses, new total 11. Another duplicate card gives us -2 on the next Tracking roll too.

Turn 15: No tokens. The event card, and a failed Notice roll, result in a 15 yard fall down a pit, into a pile of rotting garbage. Once we’ve recovered from being Shaken, Attor has spent a benny soaking Wounds, and both heroes are down one Wound. Attor uses Heal to clear that from Veon, but since the minuses for being wounded are doubled when trying to Heal himself, he fails on his own Wound.

Turn 16: One token, new total 12, and after over 5 hours in the tunnels we’ve found the Big Bad’s lair. Now we shift into combat rounds.

Round 1: Attor has a new strategy – take the -2 to hit for range and stay away from the nasties as long as he can. Veon stands ready to repel boarders. Shooting the Big Bad first still seems sensible, though, and he finds himself Shaken with two Wounds even after soaking. The six minions charge to 7" from Attor and Veon, so it’s time to change targets.

Round 2: The minions go first, and close to 1" – if they run any more they will be at minuses to hit. Attor unloads three bolts into them, Shaking two and killing one. Veon steps forward to protect his friend, and kills two more in a frightful display of combat efficiency. The Big Bad spends the round recovering from Shaken. (It’s at this point I realise I was using the wrong stats for the minions last time, giving them a much higher Toughness than they deserved. That may explain why they were so hard to beat.)

Round 3: The minions pull a Joker, gaining an extra benny (now the bad guys have 4, having spent one). This also activates the room’s hazard, which grabs one of the minions, since they are closest to it. I dice for which one, and it yanks away the unscathed one – Lady Luck is smiling on us. Things are not going well for the home team, and after both Shaken minions fail to recover, I use two of the bad guys’ bennies to unshake them, leaving them with 2. Attor zaps them into oblivion with more bolts, and Veon charges across the room towards the Big Bad and his hostage. The Big Bad doesn’t like the way this is going; with a successful Smarts save he reasons that if he leaves the girl behind, the heroes will likely not pursue him, and he moves off down another passage.

Round 4: The hazard continues to beat the stuffing out of the surviving minion, while Attor and Veon move up cautiously to the girl, reassure her, and escort her from the premises.

Although the scenario doesn’t specifically say so, I reckon it’s over at this point and rule that the party can escape without further incident. I award them two experience each, following my usual rule: One for surviving, one for succeeding, and one for a performance which impresses or amuses me.

REFLECTIONS

No Power Points seems to shift things in favour of spellcasters, but I’ll keep with it in solo for a while to try it out. I have enough things to track as it is. Had I been running on power points, Attor would have been much more cautious, and used lower powered bolts – the spells he did cast would have needed 27 power, against 15 he has. That is probably a fair trade-off for speeding up the game and encouraging more cinematic play, and of course evil spellcasters can do it too.

When I run this with my players, I must take care to use the right stats. Giving the minions the right Toughness rather than one 4 points higher than it should have been made a real difference.

Although the event deck works well as a dungeon generator, blog posts are better with the occasional photo. Maybe I should stage suitable scenes as eye candy!

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