A solo play experiment, or, how I TPK'd myself

I had been messing around with solo ACKS stuff using the 1e AD&D random dungeon generator, but I decided I wanted to try out some wilderness exploration mechanics.

NOTES: This occurs somewhat vaguely in the Red Tide setting, though I basically just used the maps and the backstory, none of the monsters. Names of places and characters were randomly generated via behindthename and chaoticshiny. Mage/thief and thief actually refer to custom classes I made with several levels of dwarf to bring their saves and thief skills way down and bring them in line with the fighter base XP (approximately). The idea of the camping throw is from louisvillednd. Also, I expanded the ACKS random encounter tables using CDD#4: ENCOUNTERS REFERENCE by Kellri and the Swords and Wizardry monster books (which is why a carrion moth shows up…). Also, maybe I shouldn’t have used first level characters…

Vanya (explorer), Ofir (priest), Tivoli (thief), and Fedlimid (mage/thief) are four young men low on opportunities in the rural town of Tlonit in the Hohnberg Pact. Vanya is a farmer’s son who longs for a more exciting life, and is sick of the Shou raids which threaten his family’s livelihood. Ofir is a local priest, recently ordained, who is consistently passed up for promotions within the church’s ranks because of the out-of-the-way location of his congregation, and the fact that he is something of a surplus priest in the small town, where the very oldest ministers are still preaching regularly. Tivoli is a petty criminal, the last of a long poverty-stricken family line. Fedlimid is the third son in a noble family, and having inherited little but his education, has turned to less becoming pursuits to achieve his desires.

One afternoon, drinking in the Sleepy Ghost Tavern in the center of town, the four discuss the idea of heading into the wilderness beyond the borders of the Pact to make their fortunes. The idea is struck to follow the River Raitre which leads out of town toward the borderlands. With little else to occupy them a charter is drawn up by Fedlimid declaring equal shares of treasure and land for each of the adventurers, and it is decided that after a week’s time, at the beginning of the month of June, they will set off.

JUNE 1st, 300AL - The party is able to move 18 miles per day to start, being on foot and Vanya in particular being especially loaded down by his chain armor and various equipment. They follow the river with Ofir in the lead at first, as he as the least experience wandering beyond the town and therefore will be less of use when the party ventures farther out. The land outside the town is, in the main, cleared of monstrous influence, at least during a clear day like this.

After 3 hours the party is on the edge of the plain outside town, about to enter the thick forests which border the Westmark and prefigure the Shou-controlled mountains. After this their movement will be a bit slower (12 miles a day through woods), though they continue to follow the river. An hour into the forest the watch is switched, with Vanya in the lead. Though the forest is thick, this part of it is relatively safe and the party avoids any encounters.

The party camps in hex 33.05 of section e6. Vanya makes camp for the night, with watches by Tivoli, Fedlimid, Ofir, and finally Vanya again over the course of the evening. Vanya’s camping throw is 18, +4 for his Survival proficiency, for a total of 22! Vanya manages to forage enough food during the evening to save the whole party from digging into their rations for the day. Additionally, they avoid any trouble during the night.

JUNE 2nd, 300AL - The party chooses to spend the day exploring the forest they are in before moving farther along. Tivoli has the first watch of the day. The exploration throw is 18, and the d6 result is 5 (river/road/island). Rolling on the DCC#4 ON THE ROAD chart, the result is 11, which means that the party discovers a dirt road with markers and a wayshrine. Ofir stops and makes a small prayer at the wayshrine, and the party decides to follow the road for a short while. Along the way they encounter a quite haggard looking traveling theater troupe. The group is quite friendly despite their exhausted look, and they explain that they had been lost for several days before finding the road and the river again, after attempting to take a shortcut off a hunter’s trail to the north on the way to the next town. The party takes the troupe leader’s advice to stick to the well-traveled roads with good humor and the two groups diverge.

On the way back from the side road, the party witnesses a bizarre and incredible sight: a massive green dragon, the size of a large house or bigger, swooping down through the trees to pick up a fleeing dragonne and fly off with it in its claws. No one in the party had before heard of a green dragon in the Pact, but the sight was undeniable. They decide to avoid the question of where the dragon might be lairing for now…

Fedlimid has the afternoon watch, but nothing of note occurs. Vanya again makes camp and takes the first watch, with Ofir after him, then Tivoli and Fedlimid. The camp throw is a total of 7, barely eking by on Vanya’s survival skill. Everyone marks off one ration.

Rations remaining: Vanya [13]; Tivoli [13]; Ofir [13]; Feidlimid [6].

During Vanya’s watch, early in the night, he hears with anxiety a low drone building in the distance.

Eventually a flock of 28 stirges enters the clearing in which the adventurers camp at a distance of 80 yards. Vanya quickly wakes up his sleeping companions and is able to lead them to a hiding place under a hollow tree quickly enough that the stirges pass by. After this excitement, the rest of the night passes by without disturbance.

JUNE 3rd, 300AL - The party wakes at sunrise and Vanya takes the first watch. They decide to move deeper into the forest and explore some more. However, by the time Tivoli’s watch rolls around, the party has come to the end of the forest and reached the Shou-controlled mountains. This is where they decide to stop and explore rather than going further. To their amazement the party spots the same green dragon flying above the edge of the wilderness again; luckily it does not care enough about such small folk to bother attacking them. There is, however, some serious discussion from the party about turning south to follow it rather than heading into the mountains, with the idea that even for novice adventurers there should be some reward along the way to a dragon’s lair, even if they are not prepared to conquer the beast itself yet.

For today however they commit to wandering this borderland between forest and mountains, minding their position relative to the river to avoid becoming lost. Borderland as it is, in the midst of Tivoli’s watch the party comes upon a band of rangers patrolling the area. The rangers have no time for a band of petty adventurers, and are committed to tracking the movements of the green dragon through Pact territory and adjacent wilderness. They’re quickly on their way with a rude goodbye.

The exploration throw today is an 11, and nothing else is discovered besides the two random encounters noted earlier. The party decides to camp in hex 30.09. Vanya’s camping throw is a total of 18! Another critical success. Once again he chooses to forage during the making of camp and avoid the use of some rations for today.

Ofir has first watch of the night, then Ofir, Feidlimid, Vanya, and Tivoli. Nothing of note happens during this time.

JUNE 4th, 300AL - The party wakes and decides, indeed, to head south, at least for a little while. Ofir takes the lead for the morning, and the party heads into hex 30.12. Only an hour into the watch the party stumbles onto a nest of pit vipers! Luckily Ofir spots the snakes 30 yards ahead and the party is able to successfully avoid them.

The party decides to spend some time exploring this new area of forest despite the snakes. During Feidlimid’s watch the exploration throw is a 14, and the d6 roll is a 5 (river/road/island). In fact the party finds a very pleasant stream in this section of the forst, and enjoys making camp by its side in the evening.

Vanya’s camping throw today is a total of 21. Once again he is able to gather enough food and water to replenish the supply of rations and avoid having to mark off any for today. The watches tonight are Vanya, Tivoli, Ofir, and Feidlimid.

Late in the night, during Ofir’s watch, he is surprised by the sound of giganting wings beating above him - a carrion moth (24 hp)! The huge insect is already on top of him when he notices it. It must have been attracted by the light of the campfire… The monster touches the priest with one of its tentacles, and his shouting is ceased by the paralyzation it imparts upon him. The others wake up to see the grotesque scene unfolding before them.

The moth digs into Ofir’s flesh with its mandibles, causing 5 points of damage. It continues for another point as the others grab their weapons. Vanya lights a flask of military oil using the campfire and throws it at the beast. He just barely manages to hit it, and the creature catches aflame with a terrible sound! It takes 5 points of damage from burning. Feidlimid fires an arrow at the thing, but misses. Tivoli charges and attacks with his sword and just manages to hit for 7 damage. It’s down to half health! The monster withdraws, flying into the night with a furious buzzing noise. Vanya immediately leaps forward to tend to Ofir’s wounds.

Ofir’s mortality throw is 12 (3+9) and his d6 roll is 1. His heart and lungs were severely damaged in the attack, but he will somehow survive. The rest of the party waits with baited breath for his awakening in the morning.

JUNE 5th, 300AL - First thing in the morning, Ofir heals himself using Cure Light Wounds for 5 hit points. He insists the party press on despite his condition; in fact they are not slowed down too much, as his new unencumbered walking speed is about the same as Vanya’s encumbered one.

The party heads further south, following the stream they found yesterday. Feidlimid has the first watch of the day; nothing of note happens during his leadership of the party. In hex 30.16 the party decides to stop and explore for a the rest of the day. Vanya has the watch at this point. His exploration throw is a 17, and his d6 roll is a 1 (ruins). Now deep in the West Marches, the party comes upon the ruins of an old human settlement which was destroyed by the Shou.

The ruins are mostly composed of poor quality, but still surprisingly sturdy, marble construction. Though overgrown they are not crumbling despite the years of wear they have endured. Strangely the site appears to be some sort of watchtower, though it is quite strange that one should be built out of marble. Feidlimid remarks that the people of the West Marches often used such ostentatious construction to impress the native Shou, though one can see how far it got them.

TURN 1 - The party decides to explore inside the watchtower itself, since it looks sturdy enough. The marching order will be Vanya, Feidilmid, Ofir, Tivoli, with no need for a light source as the tower has windows. Before they enter, Tivoli decides he wants to check the entrance for traps; the others scoff, but he insists. With a result of 13, he actually finds one! That would be the tripwire low to the ground across the opening doorway. Tivoli attempts to deactivate the wire without triggering the trap, but is unable to.

TURN 2 - He tries again, but this time sets the trap off accidentally! The ground springs up like a monstrous teeter-totter and only Feidilmid and Tivoli are able to leap out of the way; Vanya and Ofir fall 40’ into a pit of spikes! The spikes aren’t numerous however and they manage to avoid them in their fall, but still take damage from the fall itself: 12 for Ofir and 19 for Vanya! The two thieves immediately climb into the pit to tend to their fallen comrades.

Ofir’s Mortality Roll: 1d20-3 = 12; d6 roll = 3; HAND CRUSHED
Vanya’s Mortality Roll: 1d20-2 = -1; d6 roll = 6; DEAD

Unfortunately it’s too late for Vanya; the fall killed him instantly. Ofir on the other hand has had his hand crushed beyond recognition, but survives.

TURN 3 - Ofir waits outside the tower performing funeral rites over the dead Vanya while Fedeilmid watches and Tivoli enters the watchtower to search for treasure. Inside the watchtower, under the stairs on the first level, he finds a small chest. He checks it for traps before opening: he finds one successfully, a simple poison dart trap in the lock. He attempts to disable it: total success. The chest itself is actually unlocked, and inside he finds a bag filled with 2,000sp worth of fine fabrics. This kind of bizarre fortune would be worth it if not for the companions outside, dead and maimed because of his mistake… Oh well.

The party decides to make camp on the courtyard of the watchtower, as good a place as any considering the circumstances. Tivoli makes camp while Ofir tends to his crippled hand. The camping throw is a natural 1! This is a horrible place to camp and the encounter chance is increased by 1 for the night (to 3+).

The watches are Tivoli and then Feidilmid. Ofir will rest the whole night. During Feidilmid’s watch, before dawn, two goblins wielding rusty knives stroll into the clearing, looking hostile. Feidlimidsees them, and they see him. Feidlimid wakes up Tivoli with a kick. He grabs his sword as the goblins approach, demanding the return of the contents of their stash. Tivoli refuses, citing his dead companion as an argument; combat ensues.

Feidlimid begins casting a spell. The goblins win the initiative; the first attacks Tivoli, but misses. The second attacks the crippled Feidlimid, and hits! He is dealt 5 damage, his spell is wasted, and he falls.

Tivoli returns the strike of the goblin that attacked him, and misses! The goblin trades his swing right back, and misses, along with his companion! Tivoli’s second swing also misses, but the goblin lands a solid blow that drops him as well!

Ofir emerges from his tent at this point, staff in one hand. This is his last chance to survive, and he knows it. The goblins approach him, swinging their blades. They both him him, and chop him down.

And that was the end of the adventuring company formed May 31st, 300AL.

Brutal, but interesting. Thanks for sharing it!

The beauty of the writing is matched only by the brutality of the outcome. That was like a mini Game of Thrones right there.

Haha thanks guys!

Great story! I would love to hear more.

Greatly amusing! I don’t think I have the patience to play this way alone, but it’s quite a read.

Thanks guys! There’ll be an episode 2 in the near future.

PART TWO: The weird results of randomly generating characters using my d66 ROC chart: A barbarian, a warlock, an orc, and an elf ranger walk into a mountain range…

Ayberk is a human warlock who has grown up on the edge of Shou territory. His hardscrabble life is made easier only by the companionship of Oengus, his half-brother (a fierce barbarian skirmisher) and his raven familiar Naz. The two have traveled widely, with Oengus always keeping a close eye on his physically weaker sibling. Such are the oddities of life on the road that it comes to pass that the pair joins up with another unlikely duo, the human-raised Shou-blooded orc warrior Thorsten and his forbidden love, the elf ranger Esme. Rarely had a stranger group assembled to make their fortunes at the adventurer’s trade, but here they were, prepared to set off along the favored road of adventuring groups, the one which follows River Raitre west into the mountains.

JULY 1st, 300AL - The party sets off from the slums of Tlonit. The watches and marching order follow this pattern:

Esme, Thorsten, Ayberk, Oengus

Esme’s watch is uneventful. The party makes its way into the western forest by late afternoon, and finds a place to camp in a small clearing. They each consume a ration and prepare to sleep. The night guards are Ayberk, Oengus, Esme, and Thorsten, in order. The night is a quiet one, however.

Rations Remaining: [6 Esme] [13 everyone else]

JULY 2nd, 300AL - Ayberk has the first watch today, and the warlock enjoys leading the party; the required attentiveness quiets the rumblings of his mind. There is much to look upon in the forest to hold the attention of a traveler, but nothing of note for the purposes of this record. However by the afternoon the party has come to the edge of the mountains. After some discussion they decide to head south to a more advantageous point to cross them; this will take another day yet. During Oengus’ watch they head south some ways and then make camp in the wilderness. Their choice of location is superlative today and there are abundant berries to gather and animals to catch; no one marks off a ration today.

JULY 3rd, 300AL - Esme’s watch marks the first day the party enters Shou territory in earnest. Esme and Thorsten find the barbarian brothers’ edginess to be annoying, but not even the most brutal of Hohnbergian humans find it easy to walk around in Shou territory, accompanied by one of them or not. Thorsten’s watch leads the party to their intended entry point into the mountains, but it grows late and they decide to camp in the woods at the base before beginning their climb in the morning. Another excellent campsite, their luck seeming almost too good thus far, the party need not consume any rations today either.

At dusk, Oengus notices a wild boar scrambling through the woods at the edge of camp. It seems interested in chasing something other than people tonight, however, and doesn’t notice them.

JULY 4th, 300AL - Ayberk leads the way into the mountains. It’s a rough climb, but despite his lack of strength the warlock has a hardy constitution, and manages just fine. His brother takes the lead for the second half of the day’s journey, but finds it uneventful. They camp under a natural arch they find along the mountain trail.

Rations Remaining: [5 Esme] [12 everyone else]

That evening, as the party prepares the fire, three tengu scouts appear at the edge of their camp, entirely without the party noticing their approach. They have a Shou goblin, bound and gagged, with them. One of the tengu speaks to Esme, saying that they are escorting a captured goblin slave through to their aerie prison, and further that they demand the party’s orc be turned over as well, since Shou presence this close to the aerie is illegal. Esme refuses angrily, and the tengu are shocked to hear that the party’s orc is not only a free individual but Esme’s husband as well. Ayberk steps forward and threatens the tengu with fell consequences if they insult his friends again; their reaction is negative in the extreme however, and they respond to his intimidation with a drawing of swords!

Round 1 - One of the tengu stabs at the warlock with a short sword, and connects. Another attacks the orc, but his attempt is a pathetic miss. The third assaults the ranger but misses as well. Thorsten makes an attack against his tengu but misses; Esme connects with her spear, however, piercing her foe through the chest and killing it instantly. The warlock swings with his quarterstaff but his strike is parried easily but the avian swordsman. Oengus, who stayed out of the conversation until swords were drawn, rushes to defend his brother with both his short swords in hand; he stabs the opponent in the throat and belly.

Round 2 - Everyone fails to connect with any of their blows, except Oengus, who bounds from one foe to the next, stabbing but not killing the last remaining tengu.

The last remaining tengu surrenders. Esme demands that he leave the goblin with them and then make sure they are unharried for the rest of their journey through the mountains. He looks terrified but acquiesces. He unbinds the goblin captive before running off into the growing darkness of the night.

The goblin thanks Thorsten in his native tongue. He says his name is Puck and explains that the tengu have been spreading throughout the mountains and declaring previously existing goblin settlements illegal as they go. His village was the most recent and he had been hiding out when he was captured. He further says that he is heading out of the mountains to plead for reinforcements from the forest Shou for help; he is willing to guide the party through the mountains if they share their food with him. After some debate over whether to trust the goblin, they accept. The party moves the tengu corpses out of the way and prepares to sleep for the night.

JULY 5th, 300AL - The party continues through the mountains, with Esme in the lead in the morning. During their march they encounter a band of 7 goblins coming from a connecting trail; upon seeing Puck, they rush toward the party with hoots and hollers of joy, all speaking frantically in goblin. Thorsten explains to the party that it seems as if these goblins are also members of Puck’s tribe. Puck explains to the other goblins that the adventurers freed him from tengu bondage and there is mutual celebration all around, except of course from the wary barbarian brothers. The goblins were headed in the same direction as the party and all agree to combine forces until they reach the forest.

After more smalltalk they continue on, Thorsten in the lead. They eventually encounter another band of 7 orcs who had built a campfire inside a crater just off the trail and were cooking a roasted boar over it as they talked and made camp. The party hails them and explains their mission, and the orcs are quite friendly. They agree to let the adventurers and their goblin companions to make camp with them tonight, however, for there is every greater safety in numbers… Not that Ayberk and Oengus would agree in this particular context. Esme coaxes them into accepting the offer however, and the party sets up inside the crater where the orcs base their camp.

During the night, Esme and a few of the goblins spot something strange at the edge of the crater: a small pack of four ronus, hawk-headed wolves known to prowl the mountain trails here. However, they seem put off by the size of the group, and after examining everyone for a while they simply sprint off into the night.

No one marks off a ration tonight, as the camping situation is excellent and the orcs share some of their boar meat with the party.

JULY 6th, 300AL - Esme leads the party for the first leg of the journey today. and finds a nice Shou-made road through the mountains which Puck explains is a much better route than the one they’d been taking. The party moves more swiftly on this broad mountain road than before. Later, during Thorsten’s watch, the party comes upon a small goblin village where Puck and his band of goblins stop to spread news of the tengu incursions and their journey. The party then moves on. The camping today is poor, however, and the party camps in a particularly precarious spot known to be inhabited by monsters.

During the night, however, Esme (again!) spots four men approaching the camp; her elven sight allows her to notice the religious garb they wear even as they approach the edge of the campfire light. The four explain that they are pilgrims on a journey through the mountains and have been driven from their camp by ronus; they ask if Esme could spare any food or water, or perhaps a place to sleep in the night. Esme thinks to herself that if it was a goblin or orc at watch they might have reacted differently - or even if they had simply noticed those forms beside her, sleeping under their blankets. She offers them a place to sleep but says she cannot spare any rations. In fact the pilgrims run off in terror once Thorsten’s turn for watch comes around.

Rations Remaining: [4 Esme] [11 everyone else]

JULY 7th, 300AL - Following the big road the party makes it out of the mountains by noon. However, as they make their final descent, they spot a manticore circling above them high in the sky - its shape is unmistakable. They decide to run for cover before it swoops to attack, but they are unsuccessful! It closes on them before they can find cover.

The party tries to flee even as the beast chases them… They manage to reach the edge of the woods and successfully hide among the trees, even despite the size of their group. The manticore flies off.

Once they are clear of the manticore the goblins bid them farewell and split off to follow their own ends. The party continues through the forest and actually manages to reach its edge before the end of the day. They decide to stop here and explore more thoroughly for a few days.

The party makes camp close to the edge of the woods, in a small clearing. Their site is fairly decent, but the hunting and gathering here are not so good, so everyone marks off a ration.

Rations Remaining: [3 Esme] [10 everyone else]

JULY 8th, 300AL - The party decides to explore the forest area they are in. Esme starts the day. During this time the party encounters a male human, dressed in rags, who appears to be wandering the forest. He says his name is Modeste. He is quite friendly and does not seem unnerved by the presence of the orc at all, surprisingly; once he learns that the party are adventurers, he offers to lead them to a ruined Shou temple he heard about in the past. He refuses to answer questions about what he is doing in Shou-controlled wilderness.

Nevertheless, the party agrees to follow him. He leads the party north through the forest for some miles, and eventually dusk begins to fall. Annoyed, the party decides to camp. The man explains that he simply forgot how far away the temple was, but certainly the journey will be worth it once its vast treasures are unearthed.

The camping throw tonight is quite poor, and the party chooses a particularly dangerous spot to sleep. At one point, deep into the night, while Thorsten keeps watch, Modeste gets up and leaves suddenly. Suspicious, Thorsten wakes up Esme and has her draw her bow. Soon enough, four ronus lead by a bizarre plant creature in the shape of a wolf charge into the camp, tearing up everything in sight!

Round 1 - The other party members wake up quickly. Esme looses an arrow which misses one of the ronus. Thorsten charges in with his battleaxe and shield, missing the plant creature. It misses him in turn, as does one of the ronus, while two more fail to bite the barbarian, and the warlock holds off another with his staff.

Round 2 - The warlock begins casting a spell. The orc misses with his axe. Esme misses with another arrow. (18 remaining) The barbarian drops one of the ronus with a double strike of his short swords. The other ronus attacking him misses, as does the one attacking the warlock. The beak of the ronus in melee with Thorsten fails to pierce his leather armor. The plant creature savagely bites the orc however, dealing 5 damage and infecting him with lichenthropy! The warlock’s choking grip spell goes off, cutting off the oxygen of the ronus attacking him! It fails to resist his spell and takes 5 damage.

Round 3 - The orc misses the plant creature with his axe. The barbarian attacks the ronus his brother is choking and hits; he kills it! Esme misses the last ronus with an arrow (17 remaining). The warlock throws a dart at the plant creature and, amazingly, hits, dealing 4 damage! The plant creature and a ronus attack Thorsten, with the ronus hitting and dropping him! A ronus attacks the barbarian, but misses!

Round 4 - Esme looses an arrow which hits the plant creature for 3 damage. The warlock throws a dart at it which hits for 3 damage as well! The barbarian attacks the ronus which bothers him, but misses. The other ronus charges Esme, hitting her for 2 damage, and the plant creature attacks the barbarian, hitting for 1 damage.

Round 5 - Esme switches to her spear, but her thrust misses the plant creature. The barbarian strikes a ronus for 4 damage, and the warlock throws a dart at it and again hits against all odds! The plant creature attacks Oengus and deals 3 damage, infecting him with lichenthropy! A ronus bites him as well, dealing 3 damage.

Round 6 - Esme stabs at her attacker, dealing 3 damage. Oengus attacks the plant creature, dealing 5 damage and destroying it! The warlock throws another dart, missing! (2 darts remaining) The last two ronus flee in terror!

Esme, in tears, runs to tend to Thorsten’s wounds. One of his eyes was badly damaged by the creature’s bite! He will die unless healed within a day. The party is not sure what to do; is there a Shou village around here that will heal him?

JULY 9th, 300AL - The party decides to go to the plains to try to find a village. Since Esme is carrying her husband the party is slowed down significantly; matters are made worse when she sprains her ankle while traveling over the plain. It seems that Thorsten’s fate is sealed. The party buries him sorrowfully; Oengus sings a barbarian mourning tune over his makeshit grave.

The party is particularly exhausted and consumes twice as many rations at the end of this day. At least they have Thorsten’s uneaten ones to spread around.

Rations Remaining: [4 Esme] [10 everyone else]

JULY 10th, 300AL - The party decides to rest and recover this entire day. There are no encounters.

Rations Remaining: [3 Esme] [9 everyone else]

JULY 11th, 300AL - The party continues to rest. There are no encounters.

Rations Remaining: [2 Esme] [8 everyone else]

JULY 12th, 300AL - The party continues to rest. Oengus is showing a bizarre, plantlike infection around one of his wounds… The party decides to return to the goblin village after all to try to treat whatever it is.

Rations Remaining: [1 Esme] [7 everyone else]

JULY 13th, 300AL - Esme’s ankle and wounds fully healed, as well as Oengus’, the party sets out three strong into the wilderness again. They make their way into the woods and go south. The camping throw is successful tonight, and Esme eats the last of her own rations. The party then splits the remaining 14 like so:

Rations Remaining: [4 Esme] [5 Oengus] [5 Ayberk]

JULY 14th, 300AL - The party makes it through the forest during Esme’s watch. At one point she thinks she catches sight of a unicorn in the woods, but it’s gone before she can try to communicate with it. During Oengus’s watch they actually make it to the big road. That night, the party is awoken by the sound of massive wings as a huge, multi-headed dragon crosses the skies above them. Even the barbarian cowers in terror. Luckily the beast is simply passing by, off on a journey of its own.

Rations Remaining: [3 Esme] [4 Oengus] [4 Ayberk]

JULY 15th, 300AL - The party reaches the goblin village early in the afternoon on this day. Oengus’s disease is getting worse. A bizarre fungus-like growth has spread all over his body, and he is extremely dizzy and barely coherent in his speech. The goblins, recognizing the party, offer to take him to the local shaman. Esme flinches when one goblin asks if there wasn’t originally a fourth with them…

The shaman cannot magically cure the disease, but he attempts to cure it through mundane means - he is a trained physicker, which the goblins do not differentiate from magic. But he fails; the disease is too far gone. By the evening Oengus is nothing more than a pile of foul-smelling fungus and lichen. The pile is burned rather than buried on a large rock outside the village. Ayberk sings a barbarian mourning song as what might be called the remains of his brother are consumed in what might be called the pyre.

This was heart-breaking.

But in the theater of my mind, Ayberk and Esme find comfort with each other on the cold slopes of the goblin village.

You old romantic, Alex.

This is pretty cool; a nice way to present adventuring/resource rules tied up in a story.

Also, 'lichen’thropy is brilliant.

Great write-up. I like your inclusion of resource management as well. Hopefully, one of your PCs will make it to 2nd level.

lichenthropy was, indeed, brilliant. And hideous and awful and stolen for my next campaign.



Thanks for the kind words fellas!

My patience was rewarded! Thanks for sharing.

You’ve got me wanting to try this myself sometime, well done.

My first thought for overland travel at level one would be to try hiring about 20 light infantry or slingers. The first month’s wages are technically in reach for a starting party, or even a single character with a good wealth roll. I suppose recruitment and supplies pushes it higher. And you’ve got to make the second month’s payroll, so you’d better get a treasure haul or die trying.

Or short of that, hire a few 0-level men at arms at henchman wages right out of the gate.

I can see those kind of gambits are tricky when you’re GMing yourself though. You’ve got to draw the line somewhere, or its fiction rather than gaming.

Oh yeah, the smarter thing to do would be to have tons more henchmen, or just use higher level characters. The few times I did this with just dungeon crawling and a nameless town I actually had characters survive and hire henchmen, but this is mainly to test the wilderness survival mechanics and random content generation stuff I wanted to use and I wanted to keep initial characters few so I could keep everything straight in my head! Plus I was using templates straight out of the book which don’t leave much in the way of ready cash unless you’re a mage or warlock.

(Forgot to add, thanks and please post if you do try yourself! Ha!)

This is pure gold and I’m looking forward to reading more.

The last few months, I’ve been investigating solo and Judge-less play options. I cannot recommend Kevin Crawford’s “Scarlet Heroes” highly enough. His Solo Gaming and random Urban/Wilderness/Dungeon adventure sections are top-notch.

Thanks dude! I absolutely worship Kevin’s stuff. He’s brilliant. I have done a small thing playing a barbarian from ACKS solo with Scarlet Heroes damage rules, it sorta trailed off though so I probably won’t post it. A lot of mushroom-men were slayed though!