Monday, October 16, 2023

Solo Play ACKs; Session 1. Two Thieves and A Spider.


The bold Silvanus Legate Varro has pronounced that within 1 year, this island, Cosoricalta, will be entirely subdued.  To accomplish this he offers limited pardons and tax exemptions to all persons who prove themselves to be adventurers for the Silvanus Crown.  

Our first bold team, on the 14th of October will set out to begin trying to earn their fortunes and a chance at fame and upward social mobility.  

They are two thieves of boyish tendency and light fingers, unsuited to heavy labor. 

Cyrene the Clever. Age 18.

Starting 70 Gold. -50+6 gp. 

Leather Armor. 20 gp.

Sword 10 gp.

Shortbow 3 gp.

Arrows… 6 gp.

Quiver with 20 arrows. 

Silver headed arrow.

Boots high. 3 gp. 

Cloak 1 gp.

Small Sack. 3 sp.

Rations (Regular) 3 gp.

Rations (Iron) 4 gp.

Water skin. 6 sp.

Water skin. 6 sp.

Tinder box. 8 sp. 

Mirror 5 gp.

Mr. J. R. Suggs.  Age 24. 

Starting 80 Gold.

Sword. 10 gp. 

Short bow 3 gp.

Arrows 6 gp.

Quiver with 20 arrows. 

Silver headed arrow.

Cloak 1 gp.

Large Sack. 8 sp. 

Lantern 10 gp.

6 flasks of oil. 18 sp. 

2 Military flasks of oil. 4 gp. 

Water Skin. 6 sp

Iron rations 2 weeks 8 gp. 

Rope 1 gp. 

Iron Spikes 12 of them. 1gp

Small hammer. 2 gp.

Session. (Conducted on the 14th of October 2023)
The two thieves, having heard of the legate’s arrogant intentions, decided to take advantage of the lack of taxes.  Having thus made up their mind they are planning on setting out toward the most reasonable place from which to receive treasure and that is the famed Blue Beard’s Hoard in the mountains.  Having gathered they their sup[plies they will attempt to figure out if they have enough to go after the pirate’s treasures buried in the land locked mountains.

As lightly encumbered persons of comparatively little wealth their walking speed (I think) works out to 24 miles a day, which has them arriving at the entrance to the Hoard on the their second day of travel, even with the loss of speed from walking through woods and climbing a mountain.  To be sure that they actually arrive well rested, they plan to go up to the mouth of the hoard, camp there for the night and then in the morning go in for their much deserved treasure. 

On leaving town the city slickers immediately became lost in the woods and did not realize it. (Using the hex map the direction they eventually settled on is correct, so I have ruled that they they wander for a full day before they will wander into the next zone, barring death or change of plans.)

When entering the woods they encountered a Giant Black Widow Spider. They potentially see the spider at 22 yards, and with decent rolling neither of them are surprised by the encounter.  The web presumably still shimmers with morning dew and is pretty as the monster resides in it, moving its disgusting mandibles. The thieves look around, but it really looks like there is only one monster spider.  

The thieves, perhaps foolishly attack the spider.  Mr. Suggs as the man with the highest Initiative grabs on of his units of military oil from his flask and throws it at the spider, missing (having since found the range table this is immensely stupid to have done).  Having just watched some gold be lost Cyrene the Clever internally weeps as he shoots at the spider with a bow and arrow (having later figured out AC and range table, it is a hit still 16 became 11). He does 4 damage. Now it is the spider’s turn. 

(At this point I rolled the spider’s hit points as 7, which is very favorable to the thieves.)

Cyrene the Clever is made the target and the Spider rushes him top speed. (At the distance described it shouldn't have arrived in this turn, so that is an error.) Given that it is a 3 HD monster it hits on 7 up.  Somehow we roll a 5! So the lucky and clever thief evades the poison rich mandibles.  

In the next round tables turn.  The cleverness is worn off and the Spider bites hard.   With only 4 damage, Cyrene is down to -1 health and poisoned.

Suggs flicks out his sword and makes an attack.  With a 4, his weaknesses of strength and the monster’s Ac it is a horrible miss, only embarrassing the young fella further. 

I am unsure when exactly Cyrene the Clever was supposed to roll his saving throw, but he failed it when I rolled it and by my current understanding of the rules (dead within 1 turn) he is dying unless Suggs can somehow survive this.  

Suggs does not save it.  Instead, he gets bit (8 damage) and goes down.  Again I am not sure when saves against poison are done, or if they are done when a PC is unconscious…. If it is done now he does make a 14, but that hardly helps as he is bleeding out, at the very edge of the giant spider’s nest. 

And so the two young adventurers, their overconfidence outmatching their good sense and strength of arm are devoured by the spider almost in sight of the walls of Punishment.

Overall Feel, Lore and the Like. 
It took a long time to figure out as much of the rules as I have figured out.  I am very sad that two such promising lads, who never did no wrong to nobody died in such a random act of violence.  The legate (should he ever hear about their deaths) will make sure to warn future youngsters against a life of crime and hunting spiders without at least having a shield. 

I really enjoyed the system, figuring it out and while this is hardly #elitegaming, I fully expect to get there, even if I need to wade through rivers of Level 1 character’s life blood.  But it was fun as a first showing. 

I am building a number of randomized tables to set in this take on the ACKS world, to try to increase the flavor and my own understanding of what is going on. I will try to include these after the actual session reports to not damage narrative flow for those not interested in this part.

I minimized the map from the suggested 30 by 41 to 21 by 11 for manageability and because I have a fairly good idea of how much wandering around I want to do. The goal is largely to see if I can have random adventurers stabilize a small island for future settlers and maybe earn something for themselves along the way.  The legate’s goal are admittedly my own as this idea of subduing an island with waves of low level adventurers seems fascinating. 

I then rolled a number of dice on how many dungeons, ruins and demihuman settlements should be used. Then I rolled for the ones with the highest numbers being the biggest.  Much like the average Stellaris run we will consider the purging of all non-human life ideal, but we may have to be content ourselves with the extermination of only the most inhospitable life. 

To decide the theme of the dungeons (other than the obligatory mega dungeon) I have used the following table (using a 2 D6 roll)

2. A time traveller/dimensional from a very modern world has ended up here at some point and has made a nest for themselves.
3-4. A wizard’s tower. 
5. A cult site.
6. An ancient city that has been punished by the gods.
7. An old burial mound to a pirate. 
8. A lich’s attempted rising site.
9. A target of massive damage from a civil war between a now extinct race. 
10-11. A ruined castle. 
12. A Vance styled ruin. 

(Since doing this I have found the rules for making dungeons in ACKS (pgs. 238)) and while retaining these themes I will attempt to 

If necessary I will roll on this table while exploring zones again, for finding ruins not well known to the denizens of Punishment or the sailing community.


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