Monday, July 16, 2012

The View From The Tower

The view from the Tower is spectacular.

You would guess that you are at the Castle's northeast corner.  I will remind the party that there are three levels to the fortification of the Castle: these are laid out below you (see image on this post).  The High Bailey is about 120 feet directly below you; the Middle Bailey is some thirty yards from the base of the Tower & Castle's North Wall, and about 160 feet below you.  The Lower Bailey is at least 240 - 300 feet below you and about 80 yards from the base of the tower.

If we can recall the position of Lower Gate of the Lower Bailey, where the party nearly attempted to take on the guard there, I can extrapolate the scene by defining that direction as 12 o'clock.  It is, as I say, 300 feet below you and perhaps a third of a mile away.  Counter-clockwise, the town of Arnsberg is beyond the Lower Gate, extending outwards from about 12 o'clock to 2 o'clock.  The slope below the castle, along the far side of the baileys, forms a ridge that hides all that is behind it (including the stream the party travelled up a few days ago) runs from about 10 o'clock down to the gate.  The Northwest Tower is at 10 o'clock.  The principle Castle extends from 10 o'clock around to 6 o'clock.  The Arnsbergerwald (forest), containing the Font-en-Breitenbruch and entrance to the secret cave, extends from about 5 o'clock to 2 o'clock.  The slope from the Castle down to the forest would be from 6 to 5 o'clock.

Reversing then, to clockwise, beginning with the castle.

At 6 o'clock there is the South Tower.  A central Keep in the castle sits against the mountain at 7 o'clock, and stands 80 feet (or equal with your own point of view) about 30 yards away.  Between the base of the Tower you're on, and the base of the Keep inside the castle walls, there is a massive courtyard with stables and pens (6:30), fountain (7:30), workshops and storehouses (8:00) and armory (8:30).  If there are kitchens, they must be inside the main keep.  There is almost no activity on the castle grounds themselves.  The windows of the keep are dark.  The West Wall extends from the NW Tower to the West Tower, which is lower, fatter, has a number of seige engines upon it and is clearly being assaulted.  You cannot see any of your Compatriots (as I will refer to the army friendly to the party throughout).

The NW Tower is connected to the NE Tower (where you are) by a 40 foot high, 15 foot wide wall, where you presume the dwarves are now fighting.  This wall is built along the cliff which drops to the High Bailey, the same cliff upon which both NW and NE Towers rest.  The NW Tower also overlooks the ridge that extends down to the Lower Gate; it is fatter than the NE Tower, and has numerous manned arrow slits.  It is under a light amount of attack at the moment; the main body of Compatriots is fighting its way from the Lower Bailey to the Middle, though it's clear the far side of the ridge (where again you can't see) is also assaulting the NW Tower.  This Tower also has a Stinger.

The assault on the Middle Bailey is moving at a run.  Large parts of the Middle Bailey wall have collapsed, making places where Compatriots are scrambling upwards to join the open melee on the Middle Bailey's central fields.  The Middle Bailey extends from 9 o'clock (below the NW Tower) to about 1 o'clock (far below the party).  At least a hundred Compatriots are surrrounded by globes of magic Light - which makes them vulnerable to arrows, but helps hide those rushing up behind.  Everywhere there are pyrotechnics, dancing lights and balls of fire (as the druid spell) ... the castle defenders have cast webs, globes of darkness and everywhere there are puffs of clouds that form, precipitate rain to soak the crumbled surfaces, and blow away again.  There are patterns of hypnotic lights floating in the air, and obscuring clouds everywhere.  Much more rare is the occasional lightning strike, or a flash as a fireball consumes either defenders or Compatriots.  For a moment there is an ice storm.  A green gas forms flows out from a lower arrowslit on the NW Tower, spreads outwards, flowing down along the ground, clearly heavier than the air.  Scores who cannot escape it die what appears to be horrible deaths.

There are, of course, screams and shouts, and clangs, and the general roar of thousands of men flowing up from the valley below.  And while the party watches and listens to this, the Stinger in the Northwest Tower fires, striking the boundary between the Middle and Low Baileys between 12 and 1 o'clock.

The blast lights up a path of ground some 20 feet wide and 60 feet long, as the ground itself rushes into flame; the fire curls into a mushroom some 40 feet high before dissipating; perhaps a hundred men die at once.  And when the fire disappears, the ground glows red for five minutes afterwards.  Men all around back away from the heat, and are forced to find another path onto the Middle Bailey.  The artillerists on the NW Tower begin loading again.

Below the Middle Bailey, covering the arc from 10 to 1 o'clock, the Lower Bailey is a scene of horror.  Though the light is dim, the sight is aided by giant bonfires where the bodies of humans, ghasts and a mix of both are burning in great numbers.  While the original number of ghasts may have been only hundreds, they no doubt transformed more than a thousand to their number in the fighting.  The white bodies beneath the flames are visible even from the Tower.  There are ghasts that yet remain; they populate much of the High Bailey, in the quarter directly below the party ... there are possibly sixty of them.  They are watching and waiting, taking no action, letting the defenders around them throw rocks with mangonels, or fire from the High Bailey walls.

The town of Arnsberg is fully lit.  There are thousands of lights, lanterns and torches, and much magical light.  Between 11 and 12 o'clock, far away, there is the straggle of the army's camp, alive with light, stretched across the valley below Arnsberg.

In the Arnsbergerwald, there's hardly any evident fighting.  There are signs of torches, some moving very fast, as if to suggest mounted riders chasing one another amongst the trees.  At 2 o'clock, on the east edge of the town, there can be seen the left flank of the Compatriot's army, defending the town, ready if any force should try to escape down the valley.  Only the way through the forest is free of armed men - and yet the forest seems darker, more forbidding that normal senses can tell.  Both Janos the ranger and Lukas the mage seem to sense there is something about the forest (for entirely different reasons) that is not quite right.

This, then, is what the party sees.  I'm going to be putting up some modifiers for interacting with the prisoners as soon as I am able.  Be warned that these modifiers will be applied to any attempt to coerce or gain information from the prisoners.  The modifiers will be reasonable; I don't think there will be many objections.

121 comments:

Lukas said...

Lukas surveys the scene and shakes his head, "In over our heads may be an accurate description. Do you see some of those spells going off down there? That's power down there. And there's something wrong with that forest."

Lukas points to the other stinger, "That's our first target, we need to figure this device out now. Next perhaps we could find out if we can deal with those ghasts, then following that maybe breach some walls?" He looks again to see if perhaps that heat faded from the previous stinger shot.

"I'm going to check out the munitions... I think."

Lukas begins climbing up to see whats in the dimensional door thing.

Andrej said...

Lukas, I agree with your assessment. I need to get my bearings better (see below) then perhaps work on the prisoners with Ahmet.

Does 12 o'clock correspond to north? If so, in the below would x be the northwest tower, y the northeast (ours) and z be the keep with the courtyard between and walls connecting as shown?

x------y
| |
| |
z

Prisoners should by now be bound and unarmed. I'll appoint Klaas to keep the crossbow 3/4 cocked and his eye on the ladder leading to the tower interior. Andrej retrieves his footman's mace and makes some show of cleaning the blood from it and his horseman's mace.

"You are the bishop's men, then? Do you know him well?"

Andrej said...

the walls didn't format properly... diagram should have looked more like a box with x and y at opposing corners on the top side and z centered on the bottom side.

Alexis said...

1) You're not sure where north is.

2) The 'z' would be closer to being under the 'y' ... but that's a fair enough assessment.

3) The original image of the castle was intended only to get across the idea of the stream. Don't take it too much to heart; the description above supersedes it.

4) Sorry, haven't had time to draw in the whole battlefield. Don't kno when I will.

Alexis said...

None of the men will answer an ordinary question, Andrej.

Lukas said...

Lukas continues climbing into the floating door.

Andrej said...

Then Andrej will attempt a jest.

Andrej smiles, "Surely it was only your arms and legs I held with magic and not your tongues, friends."

Putting his maces away, "The fighting is over, and you fought well. You have acquitted yourselves with honor and have nothing for which to be shameful. You no longer fire the archbishop's war machine at our comrades, so my friends and I have no quarrel with you. What do you owe the archbishop at this point? Why not make friends with another clergyman and fellow soldiers who have bled with you today? Tell us how to operate and disable the machine."

I forget, can I stack cards? Could I use jest, piety, able-bodied and questor all for this roll?

Andrej said...

Forget Questor, I forgot it was a defense card. But what about piety, able-bodied and jest all together?

Alexis said...

Lukas, I'm not ignoring you. For the moment, I wanted to cover things on the ground; I am first day back from a four-day weekend and I'm in catch-up mode ... sacrificed a lot of today in writing that massive post.

The interior of the door is another fair description, and I haven't quite got the time. Please be patient.

Alexis said...

Yes, you can stack cards.

Please, always remember to roll 2d6 at the end of every conflict interaction you attempt. Saves me time telling you to roll 2d6.

Alexis said...

Darn, I'm forgetting things.

There are only three men who are conscious: Yellowhand, Mr. Yellow and Mr. Red. You must roll 2d6 for each of them ... then give me the results for each.

Andrej said...

I'll play all three cards (piety, able-bodied & jest), then, putting all the eggs in one basket:

Yellowhand 2d6: 10 + 3 = 13
Mr. Yellow 2d6: 10 + 3 = 13
Mr. Red 2d6: 5 + 3 = 8

Lukas said...

Just making sure Alexis. You've mentioned in the past to ensure folks don't get missed.

Alexis said...

Andrej,

Since their resistance is all at +3, it effectively subtracts 3 from your rolls. This would look good for you, as a 10 is what you need to swing either Mr. Yellow or Yellowhand ... however, both have a Bellow card, being guards - and that's an additional +1 resistance. So they are both unaffected by your jest.

Mr. Red is made furious, however, as his response is lowered to a 5. If you wish to further communicate with him, you must expend a fortitude card to pacify him.

Note that your opponents in this cannot use their bellow cards again in this interaction, just as you can't use your jest, able-bodied or piety card.

Alexis said...

Lukas,

Please see this post for a description of the room.

Andrej said...

Andrej spends the necessary fortitude card on Mr. Red. He has 2, so one left.

"Friends, you are good Christian men, no doubt, so have heard the tale of Judas. Many call him betrayer and revile his name. Did you know, though, that Judas was in fact carrying out God's will? It is true.

"Was it not God's will that Jesus would pay for the sins of men? If God had willed it could he not have silenced Judas? Sent a hundred armies against him or held him fast as I, only his humble and lowly servant, held you? Why not strike Judas down? No, Judas was moved by the hand of God. Judas was God's instrument, just as you are his instruments today. In this you must put aside your petty, earthly concerns and heed his call, for there is a world beyond this one friends. Tell us how to operate the Stinger so that we may see God's will done."

Persuade (+1)

Yellowhand 2d6: 9 + 1 = 10
Mr. Yellow 2d6: 7 + 1 = 8
Mr. Red 2d6: 5 + 1 = 7

Dang. Now I've pissed off two of them.

Alexis said...

Andrej,

Did you forget that your opponents get a chance to convince you?

Before you can go again, Mr. Yellow would like to have a few words.

Unfortunately, it will have to wait - I will play Mr. Yellow's reply in the morning.

James C. said...

I suppose this day has been coming...

Ahmet said...

Ahmet retrieves Mr. Green's crossbow from 0604 -- if it appears to be still in working order -- and any bolts Mr. Green had. He gives it to Klaas and takes back his own heavy crossbow.

I believe there won't be a potential problem with Klaas having Green's crossbow "fully loaded" -- the 3/4 loading (more accurately, 2/3 loading) is only used when you're walking around, so you don't accidentally shoot yourself in the foot. I think having it fully loaded, as long as he is stationary, won't be an issue.

However, Ahmet 2/3rds load his crossbow, as he does intend to walk around. He sheathes his scimitar and straps on his shield so he can carry the crossbow.

I suggest we station Klaas at 0704 instead of standing right over the ladder at 0705 (where he could be sniped at from below). Or we could put him at 0805, where he could crouch and have some cover with the pillar, but be low enough that he's not exposed to fire from over the wall.

Andrej said...

Works for me Ahmet. Situate Klaas as you see best.

Alexis said...

Ahmet,

There are 9 bolts for Mr. Green's crossbow, which does work. You are correct about stationary crossbows and their use.

I'm not concerned right now about the placement of people on the tower, but your instruction regarding Klaas's position is so noted.

Ahmet said...

One more question -- is Green's heavy or light?

Alexis said...

Regarding the Conflict,

Mr. Yellow will attempt to reason with the party (who can all hear him except for Lukas, who cannot, and in fact does not know there's a conversation going on because he has entered Hammerspace), using his own able-bodied card. "Give it up," he says. "You've done what you came to do - you'll never learn how the machine works, you'll never aim it properly and in fact you haven't got much time before someone realizes it isn't aiding our side. When that happens, someone will come to investigate and you'll all be dead men. There aren't enough of you to take us with you, so you'd better just give it up and run now."

He rolls a 9 for Ahmet, a 7 for Andrej, a 12 for Janos and a 7 for Klaas.

This more or less "deactivates" Janos from the conflict; it doesn't mean Janos turns around and flees, it only means that at this time, Janos remains neutral and cannot advance an argument himself ... he will go along with whatever the final outcome is.

Ahmet, Andrej & Klaas can decide who wants to advance the next argument - only one of you can this turn.

Alexis said...

(GCI: If Janos had cards to raise his resistance by three, he could still be considered active in the conflict ... but he doesn't have those cards at this time. Later, he might get them through adventuring, making it more difficult to overcome his resistance).

Ahmet said...

I'm curious: If we say something along the lines of, "Help us or we'll throw Mr. Yellow over the side," would that negate or off-set the +4 penalty for giving aid that will hurt friends?

After all, your choice is: your friend, right here, will die, unless you help us fire a weapon that may or may not hit someone you know.

Alexis said...

If you will look here, Ahmet, you will note that not far down the list there is a card for "Torturer." If you were to hurl or otherwise maim any of these prisoners, this would give you a +1 modifier to the action of your choice (jest, reason, whatever) ... it would also mean that you had to permanently lose one charisma card, your choice. This is intended to balance your character choices.

It's not likely a course of action a player would take ... unless, of course, they had no charisma cards, and therefore had nothing to lose.

Ahmet said...

If it's a card I acquired, would I then be able to win that card back?

Ahmet said...

(For example, the Able-Bodied Card)

Alexis said...

No, it's gone. You've already proven that you're able-bodied. Proving it again wouldn't make you less of a heartless torturer.

Alexis said...

Just to be clear,

Asking for aid is +4 ... such as asking them to help you load the machine. Asking how to load the machine (or any other information) is only a +3 modifier for the enemy.

Alexis said...

Here's an interesting point, however ... if Klaas throws the person over, for instance, while Andrej uses his persuade ... Andrej gets the +1 benefit of the modifier, but he himself does not lose any charisma (he's the nice kop). On the other hand, Klaas has no charisma cards to lose.

Course, convincing Klaas is another thing entirely.

Andrej said...

I smile at the artillerist, and address all three "You're correct, of course. We wouldn't choose to take you with us and as you won't cooperate your role as a useful contributor wanes to nothing. Do you think we'd be so foolish to assault this tower without a plan? Do you know how many came up through the dungeons and hold them now, to cut down those who would seek to escape? Pity you cannot see the destruction wrought there, perhaps you would not be so brash and reckless with your lives now. I ask you one more time. Show us how the machine works or reap what your ignorance would sew."

Notice no direct threat, only a series of implications and innuendo. I'm attempting to befuddle these guys and modifying with my beauty. (+2 bonus)

I'll use both my Fortitude and Questor cards to smooth over any hostilities as necessary with Mr. Red and /or Yellow:

Yellowhand: 6+2 = 8
Red: 8+2= 10
Yellow: 10+2 = 12

If that doesn't work and nobody is willing to torture, I suppose we just disable this thing and get out of dodge.

Alexis said...

Hello Andrej,

You need a 13 to have any effect, so you did not succeed there. You'll need one Fortitude card not to lose the chance to infuence Yellowhand.

Also, note that your Questor cards add to your resistance (played to keep yourself from being influenced), and are not used in the same manner as Fortitude cards.

Alexis said...

The opposite side will let Mr. Red speak. He attempts to persuade, gaining +1 on the die: "Just so you know - if you don't know what you're doing when you touch this thing, it will explode and kill us all."

Ahmet: 10+1 = 11
Andrej: 6+1 = 7
Klaas: 6+1 = 7

If Ahmet can produce cards which give him a +2 bonus to resistance, he can stay in this conflict; otherwise, he has to bow out also.

Meanwhile, both Andrej and Klaas believe that Mr. Red is lying.

Ahmet said...

It seems like torture isn't worth it for most of us (except Klaas) -- you will be losing a +1 modifier in exchange for a +1 modifier.

Andrej said...

The last line printed on the card states it can be used as a Fortitude card. Mistake?


http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-A1gDDdXHaCw/TtZLVwOxpMI/AAAAAAAABc0/5UQ-8foZJ_A/s1600/Andrej%2527s+Cards.bmp


Anyway, no immediate concern either way.

I'll leave the prisoners to Ahmet and Janos I suppose and begin inspecting the machine more closely, trying to find some way to disable it while I await Lukas's return from Hammerspace. Maybe the magic user will have some better ideas.

(If Ahmet or Janos can beat an 11 Intelligence I'll watch the prisoners and you can inspect this thing if you prefer.)

Andrej said...

Ahmet has "Once Convicted". Thank goodness for that time in the joint.

Andrej said...

(OOC: By the way, I'm loving the Conflict! system even more now and have decided to start using it, instead of my somewhat simpler but less satisfying version, in my own game. I'll keep you poosted on how that goes, Alexis, and whether or not I find necessary other modifiers to compare notes. Well done.)

Alexis said...

My apologies; I had forgotten about that adendum, Andrej. This is part of the problem of running the whole game from memory. Yes, you're quite right, can be used as a fortitude card.

Yes Ahmet, you're made of stern stuff. You're still in this if you want to take the next action instead of Andrej.

The conflict is in the party's hands. Note there may be things you can ask for which will not give a +3 modifier to your enemy.

Alexis said...

Regarding the machine, it's a question of knowledge, not intelligence; Andrej, being a cleric, is not an engineer ... but Lukas does have some construction experience (class sage ability).

Andrej said...

In that case, Andrej peeks over the side of the tower. I'm looking for signs of where the dwarves might be and will keep an eye out for any possible reaction to the stinger no longer firing.

Alexis said...

(OOC: That's fabulous to hear, Andrej; I'd certainly like to hear. The system definitely works best when it applies between groups of people, such as here, and solves the interrogation problem - how would I run this without the cards? Unsatisfactorily)

Ahmet, remember that even a +1 bonus from your able-bodied card alone allows you a 1 in 18 chance of compelling either Mr. Yellow or Yellowhand to your side (Mr. Red still has a resistance card, Bellow, and needs a 14 to sway) - it's a low chance, true ... but what have you got to lose? Add the persuade and you're doing even better.

Alexis said...

Andrej, you see no signs.

Andrej said...

Thanks

(OOC: In my mind I was treating the Beauty card as an action instead of a Charisma modifier on the first go around. If I was on my toes I would have used all of my possible modifiers on the first roll and maybe done better with Yellow and Yellowhand, whom I missed only by 1 each.)

Alexis said...

(OOC: That is an intrinsic point ... still, you have to either A) reduce all of them to a lack of resistance or B) cause one of them to be a friend, which requires a 13 after modifiers. The latter would require rolling a modified 16 on the dice.

Keep in mind that the party does not all leave when Janos indicates that he's ready to get out of here - even Janos doesn't leave, since he's tied to the rest of you. Andrej and Ahmet's strength keeps Janos from going, just as Mr. Red's strength would keep Yellowhand and Mr. Yellow from spilling their guts.

'Course, you can always separate your opponents)

Andrej said...

(OOC: Yes, that point about separating the opponents makes sense and is consistent somewhat with the real world. Cops interrogate lone suspects for a reason. Food for thought, next time.)

Alexis said...

(OOC: there are so many complex angles to it, however - which makes a conflict system hard to understand. What if Mr. Yellow is the "leader" and rules the other two? Then you only have to win over Mr. Yellow. He then ignores the other two and gives you what you want. What if Mr. Red is the leader?

Then again, you can bind these three, gag them, use the healing salve to revive one of the ones that are unconscious and start again - none of them have heard your arguments yet, so you can start all over again.

The system works, but it requires people to think outside the box in applying it. I didn't know how to explain that to people in a rulebook, which is why I gave up on it. Not because the system doesn't work ... but because it has to adapt in as complex a manner as actual interaction works)

Andrej said...

Speaking of healing salves, Andrej will apply his to himself. I suspect we haven't struck nor recieved our last blow today:

Using both slaves (4, 3) for 7 hit points and a new total of 15.

Ahmet said...

(OOC: I suppose it's my turn...)

Ahmet uses Persuade (with +1 modifier) and Able-Bodied (another +1 modifier) to attempt to convince Mr. Yellow to come to their side.

"Friend, I have slain many men today and do not wish to slay more, but we must discover how this machine works if we are to disable it. Please tell us how it works so we may all leave in peace."

2D6: 8 + 2 = 10

Rats.

Alexis said...

Ahmet, since both Yellowhand and Mr. Red also heard you, do you not want to also roll to see if you affected them?

Roll 2d6 for everyone who opposes you, who can hear you.

Andrej said...

roll to see if you affected them, roll to see if you affected them,
roll to see if you affected them!

:)

Ahmet said...

Yellowhand: 7+2 = 9
Red: 6+2 = 8

Alexis said...

No, no luck with either of them, either.

(OOC: I have a meeting this afternoon, so that's it for me today; we made some frustrating progress ... this will continue tomorrow as Yellowhand speaks)

Ahmet said...

Dang.

Hope I have better luck convincing Klaas to throw someone over the side...

Ahmet said...

I'm curious given the modifier structure what would happen if we said something like, "Yellow, if you don't tell us what we want to know, we will kill Green."

1) Does the threat of killing a known comrade, immediately and in front of you, outweigh the more abstract thought that firing the Stinger MIGHT kill someone you MIGHT know?

2) Does killing a prisoner count as torture, or does that fall under another category? If so, are there any ramifications to killing prisoners?

3) What is our chance of success if we attempt to convince Klaas to torture a prisoner? To kill a prisoner?

Alexis said...

(OOC: The difficulty is that, once a specific strategy, such as you suggest Ahmet, becomes a RULE, you can count on players to employ it at every opportunity.

Arguably, IF you're the kind of person to make the threat you suggest, Yellow could just as easily think that you're obviously such a horrible person, that's one more reason not to tell you anything. Also, Green is likely to say, "Don't you fucking tell that bastard anything - I'd rather die." People have been using the technique you're suggesting to extract information for a long time, and we can be certain of two things:

1) sometimes it will work, and sometimes it won't - that's for the dice to decide. It depends on your cards to determine how believable you can make the threat sound ... so that when you've been around longer, you have a better chance at making others believe it, and it will work more often.

2) The proposing of such a threat obviously makes you a BAD PERSON. Whether it is "torture" or not, you're clearly deserving of losing charismatic influence in exchange for threatening, terrifying influence - this is what the Torturer card is meant to portray. What you call the card is immaterial; you're equivalent of a torturer, so the card exchange + the new card modifier is the same.

In any case, it shouldn't change the modifiers. The threat gives you a +1 chance of success; that's the "change" to the die roll you're looking for. In effect, I'm saying the threat is as "harmful" as the action; on the other hand, if you don't actually mean it, and you don't take the +1 in exchange for losing a charisma card, then you don't get a bonus because you're not sincere.

Your chance of success is improved by +1 per die if Klaas is willing to actually kill or hurt someone ... but until he actually does it, there's no bonus.

(continued)

Alexis said...

(OOC: Please understand. If I don't rule this way, then we open the floodgates to getting all kinds of modifiers for proposed ideas and imagined effects. In that case, we might as well throw out the system entirely, because we're just arguing going back to the original D&D way of doing things, which is that it is all judged by the seat of the DM's pants.

With the system, you can at least be certain that no one else is getting a benefit you're not getting. You ALSO get the +3 if the situation is reversed and you're being asked to betray Lukas or Andrej. And you wouldn't like it if I suggested that by putting the request a different way, you would be MORE likely to cave.

What MUST be remembered here is that any argument you propose for changing success against NPC's must also apply to success against the PLAYERS ... this is what is constantly ignored in most RPG interactive mechanics - they're all designed to be one-way methods to control or not control NPCs. In fact, to mean anything they also have to be mechanics which can control or not control players!)

Alexis said...

Yellowhand will also try to REASON with the party, though he doesn't have a reason card. In fact, he has no cards at all at this point, and therefore gets no bonus. Nevertheless, he says, "You're playing with things which are beyond your understanding. You could die here. Run and save yourselves!"

He rolls against the party: unfortunately for him, he rolls three 7s in a row, having no effect whatsoever on Ahmet, Andrej or Klaas.

Ahmet said...

(OOC: I love the system, no complaints at all.)

Ahmet glowers at Yellowhand and turns his attention to the Stinger. Can he use his knowledge as a miner, and from what he saw of the machine in action, to determine how it might work?

Lukas said...

Like an adventurer from the depths of the amazon he returns through the gateway breathing deep of the fresh outdoors air. With confidence he leaps downwards to the stinger then the ground...

Anyhow back to the point, he jumps down and rejoins his companions. Alexis, how do you want me to play this potential self insertion to the conflict?

Alexis said...

Ahmet, you have NO idea, other than what I've described.

Lukas,

Presume that you're being filled in by Klaas ... and that there is time for you to understand the arguments proposed thus far (it would only take a couple of rounds to bring your intelligence up to date), and take part in it.

Ahmet said...

Gentlemen, how do you want to proceed?

1) Attempt to convince Klaas to torture a prisoner
2) Attempt to use the Stinger ourselves as best we can
3) Attempt to disable or destroy the Stinger

Any other thoughts?

Lukas said...

4) Try a level 3 charm person...
5) Try seeing if I can persuade.

Andrej said...

i think we should go as follows:

1) Lukas convinces these guys to help

or, failing that

2) Lukas figures out how to operate this thing

or, failing that

3) Lukas figures out how to disable this thing

or, failing that

4) we try to disable it anyway. Even if we just make it so they can no longer easily aim or load it.

Andrej said...

Ah yes, Charm Person. Make that #1 above.

Lukas said...

Do I need to wait for 'rounds of persuasion' or can I hop in as 'rounds' aren't really rounds of persuasion?

Lukas said...

Furthermore, maybe since figuring out the stinger is something I can know without expending social cards OR spells, maybe that should be at the top. Saving it for later doesn't make succeeding at it more or less likely.

Which means...

Lukas will be over near the stinger, using his more complete knowledge from inside the gateway, trying to assess how the contraption is worked, while Klaas tries to bring him up to speed.

Andrej said...

Actually as Klaas is watching the ladderway with the xbow and Andrej isn't otherwise occupied I'll get Lukas up to speed while he examines the contraption.

Lukas said...

D%: 18

Alexis said...

Rounds of "conflict" are not really combat rounds. Consider them lengths of time from 1 to 3 minutes.

Lukas, does your Field include Engineering; do you have a specialty in the field that does include engineering.

As always, I can't look at the fields table because I haven't got it with me.

Lukas said...

I have Civitas, Civitas has engineering AND ballistics. However, I specialized in architecture.

Alexis said...

I wisely included the tables on this post. The numbers on the table are all doubled (I had to do so about a year ago to make it more useful).

On a % die, I roll a 28. Your chance in Field of knowing something General is 10% per level, or 30%. Specific, it's 18%, and Exacting (like how to make it work) is 8.4%.

(remember, the numbers are doubled).

Here's what Lukas can determine, generally. It is a negatively-charged quasi-interdimensional machine that is part in the Prime Material and part in the Negative planes of existence. It works by introducing a metal ball which is positively charged (thus partly in the Positive plane of existence).

From watching the artillerists, the ball is rolled from the upper doorway - obviously the interdimensional link - down two tracks into the heart of the machine. However, Lukas cannot tell if the machine needs to be reset after firing, how to reset it, or even what resets it. He posits that simply rolling another ball into the machine would probably be a bad idea.

He cannot, as near as he can tell, figure out how to aim it anyway.

Ahmet said...

Lukas, approximately how many balls were in there?

I'm wondering if instead of firing the Stinger, we could simply roll them over the side.

Ahmet said...

Ah, I see from the other post there were about a dozen.

Andrej said...

Maybe we just try to push this thing forward or backward if we can and dump out the ammo.

Ahmet said...

That's my thought... let's disable this thing and get out of here.

If Ahmet slaughters the prisoners -- not as questioning them, just to get rid of them -- is that going to cost him a Charisma card also?

Lukas said...

Let us see....

Lukas turns to his companions, "For this next step we do not need more than one of them, can we divide them please?"

He then will await them to be divided, gagged or whatnot then proceeds to cast Charm Person on the remaining person, whom will be positioned near the stinger. I don't presume to know their HD, but it cannot effect more than 3HD.

Should the spell work, he will instruct the subject to "Quickly tell me the method to reset and aim the stinger pointing out relevant locations with your head."

Alexis said...

YES, that would cost Ahmet a card. Your actions have consequences.

Alexis said...

Who, Lukas? I need a specific person designated before I can roll a saving throw.

Andrej said...

Yellow or Red are tougher and perhaps more resistant but seem to be in the know. Yellowhand seems weaker, but may know less. I'll leave it to you Lukas.

Andrej will grab whomever Lukas chooses and bring that person hither. Ahmet and Janos watch the remaining two and Klaas keeps his eyes and ears on the ladderway. Work for everybody?

Alexis said...

It would occur to Lukas that the person charmed would probably be more convenient if located near the machine - he only has 36 seconds to convey the information after the spell is cast.

Lukas said...

Indeed, I noted they should be placed near the stinger, but it was amongst the many directions.

Let's go with Yellow Hand. I'm going to presume that A: I am not as capable as I would like to be. B: Tougher enemies have better saves. and C: Siege engineers know how the whole thing works at least theoretically.

Alexis said...

So ... ?

Lukas said...

So, I have yellow hand pulled over to the stinger, the other two gagged, cast charm person on yellow hand. Ask him "Quickly tell me the method to reset and aim the stinger pointing out relevant locations with your head." And hope I get an answer.

Alexis said...

Yellowhand annoyingly rolls a 16 and makes save.

Ahmet said...

Fudge.

Does someone want to try to convince Klaas to torture the prisoners? Or should we move on to Plan B -- sabotaging the Stinger, or at least the ammo?

Andrej said...

Let's bust this thing up and get outta Dodge.

Ahmet said...

Alexis, what is the machine itself made out of -- not the otherworldly stuff, just the actual physical machine? Wood, metal?

There are two guidewires that extend from the door into the heart of the glowing "fire" ...

Are those metaphysical guidewires or actual guidewires?

Lukas said...

Lukas nods to himself and speaks to his companions, "As I suspected." Pretending his spell succeeded.

He then addresses yellow hand and the two gagged men,

"Do you consider yourselves good men? Or at least someone who is doing this for the right reasons? Have you considered what the path you have taken means for your immortal soul?

You have taken part in the wholesale slaughter and enslavement of most of a town. Who were lied to and led into a courtyard to be slaughtered and converted to abominations before god. You may have not personally done these things, but you have allowed them to occur, and now you protect those responsible for bringing them to pass.

Do you know anyone from town? Do you think any of them may have come here? What about friends from a few towns over? A baker, a butcher a smith who forged your weapons?

When you stand for judgement, what will your answer be when the souls of all those people down there, trapped in those rotting fetid monsters are brought to bear on your case?

Now is when you make the choice, will you help us end this insanity? We don't need you to strike your own master, we need you to help us destroy those abominations, we need you to help us capture the man responsible and make him answer for his sins.

Help us use this machine to open the gates and to destroy the abominations."

Persuade +2
Beauty +2
2D6: 8
Total: 12

I think that puts me one short. Oh well, at least I get an epic monologue.

Lukas said...

Oh wait more d6s... I'll reroll them all since the first states no person.

Red: 6 (10)
Yellow Hand: 8 (12)
Yellow: 7 (11)

Alexis said...

Yellowhand is the only one who can respond - and you're right; its a nice speech, but it doesn't win him over.

Ahmet,

You perceive the machine is made of wood and stone - but it is phenomenally heavy. Moreover, Lukas is not certain which parts of the machine are interdimensional (not metaphysical, its all physical) and which are not. He feels the platform is probably all this plane, and the large stone blocks upon which the platform sits. But if the platform falls, Lukas cannot say how this might effect the suspended interdimensional negative-prime material components.

Regarding the "ammo," I'd like to point out the round balls weigh about a ton each. Even if 4 of you CAN get them to the door, and not drop them on the potentially delicate machine (as opposed to rolling them down the metal tracks), you can't know that won't go right through the tower floor - which admittedly, could be interesting, if the whole floor collapsed ...

In any case, Janos doesn't want to help - he's convinced by the conflict resolution that you all have to get the hell out of here.

(sorry Janos, but conflict works a bit like combat, in that sometimes you're unconscious and can't take actions you'd like to take)

Ahmet said...

Using his pick, can Ahmet remove the metal guide rails? If we pulled them up and tossed them over the side, I think that would effectively disable the Stinger.

Lukas said...

Let's just disable the crew (effectively done) then disable the access. If we do that we should be pretty well off yeah? The access 'bridge' and the like was rather unstable right?

János said...

(OOC: It's quite alright, Alexis; a storm actually knocked out the power on my end yesterday, so things have been a bit crazy and I'm sort of glad that Janos isn't feeling participatory at the moment.)

Janos voices his opinion that spending more time trying to destroy this machine outright might not be necessary. The Stinger's crew has already been taken care of, and considering the number of people and the level of knowledge required to operate it, it's unlikely that someone will be showing up to reactivate the thing.

Lukas said...

Besides, let's be honest, at this point any question we want answered would be getting the penalty, so we might as well just do the math on remaining conscious people to ensure they cant use the device, decide what we want to do with them, then get out of here.

Unless we want to start chucking the masonry at folks below I think we're done here.

James C. said...

Alexis, please consider all three prisoners bound, gagged and blindfolded while Ahmet sees what he can do about the rails.

I say once we determine one way or the other, we head down below and decide whether or not we catch up with the dwarves to see what they're doing, head back to the dungeons or something else entirely.

Lukas said...

Problem with the rails is, they may or may not be part of the mechanism for all I know. We might as well be looking at a nuclear bomb for my current self. I understand some of the basics, but I'm not going to touch even the fins if I have anything to say about it.

I say we just decide how brutal we want to be with the minions (I'm thinking if there's three we leave them wounded up top bound) then on the way out take out the shakey platform if we can.

If the door goes into the cleric's bedroom as the dwarf said, we might as well just catch up with our companions and either follow them or leave.

Alexis said...

The rails can be removed; they don't seem to have anything to do with the apparatus.

Can I please interject something? Just a thought.

If the party leaves, and another force of the enemy arrives and finds the stinger only needs men to make it function, what then?

Andrej said...

The options seem to me use this thing or keep others from using it. It would be difficult to hold this tower against a motivated and numerous enemy and I don't think anybody has ideas of that sort anyway. So if we can't use it we should break it. We could kill these poor suckers that know how to use it and that might be just as good as breaking it, but as nobody seems willing to face the repercussions of that I think taking off the rails and chucking them over the side is the next best option.

How hard would it be to knock these guys out for good measure Alexis?

Ahmet said...

I was hoping, by removing the guide rails, the one-ton balls would be impossible, or at least extremely difficult, to guide into the proper place. We could also throw over the side the iron bars used by the men to lift/guide the balls. There also were guidewires connected to the interdimensional door... if those are physical guidewires, we could try to cut those as well.

Other than that, I'm at a loss as to how to disable this thing.

Assuming we can't convince Klaas to do our dirty work for us, Ahmet is the logical candidate to pick up the Torturer card. I'm sure he's done worse things in prison. I think it's going to come to that -- either torturing these guys for information or killing them.

But can I see the Torturer card? I want to know what I'm getting into. Sight unseen, it seems like it is a net loss -- giving up a card (Able-Bodied) that gives you a +1 bonus under any circumstances for a card (Torturer) that gives you a +1 bonus only under very specific circumstances, i.e. when you're torturing someone.

Alexis said...

Knocking them out is no trouble at all.

The guide-rails do not appear to be anything special - they are simply two metal bars about half an inch in diameter. They could be easily replaced.

Alexis said...

Any experimentation with the iron rods inside the cross-dimensional room will prove that it wasn't Lukas's strength that did not allow them to be lifted - they appear to be rooted to the floor, either by magnetism or some force you don't understand. At any rate, as I said, the bar did not fall down when Lukas let it go, but remained at a 65 degree angle.

So you cannot toss them over the side of the tower wall.

We may assume Klaas will not murder anyone - he's not made of that sort of stuff.

You can see the torturer card here.

Alexis said...

Note that the only change in circumstances for the use of the card is that it can not be used to "influence" but only to "intimidate." It is worded so as to indicate that it makes you a scarier person - it is NOT designed to work only when you're torturing someone.

Alexis said...

The above comment is meant to refer to the men - knocking them unconscious can be easily done.

Andrej said...

Andrej knocks the bound and gagged remnants of the stinger crew unconscious. He then gathers up the three flails and puts them into his pack (I assume they are horseman's flails) and encourages party members to likewise grab some loot. The coins we already split.

Andrej said...

I actually assumed they were footman's flails... sorry.

Ahmet said...

We could try to wake up the unconscious men and try with them. They haven't heard our arguments yet.

I just wish I had a card other than Able-Bodied to surrender. It's such a fitting card for a specimen like Ahmet!

What happens if I give up Persuade -- I can no longer go on offense, as it were, in Conflict?

Alexis said...

They are footman's flails, and thus too heavy and cumbersome to fit three of them into your pack.

Ahmet,

You should still have a Jest card as well as persuade.

You do not need an Action card to take an action. You do need an Action card to pile up modifier cards.

Thus, you can use able-bodied without an action card, but you cannot add a torturer card to an able-bodied card in the same turn.

You can add both able-bodied AND torturer to persuade, because persuade is an action card.

Ahmet said...

I only have a 10 Charisma, and I believe Jest requires a 12.

Alexis said...

Ah, well, in that case, you're kind of screwed.

Ahmet said...

Can we attempt to Persuade Janos that we need to stay here long enough to disable the machine, in order to get him back into the fight?

Ahmet said...

I'm not sure who is the best speaker among us -- certainly not me -- but I'd say he should:

1) Convince Janos that we need to stay here at least long enough to disable the machine.

2) Drag off one of the unconscious men, wake him up, and attempt to interrogate him -- alone, so we don't blow our chances with the others.

3) Failing that, repeat with another unconscious man until we run out of them.

Lukas said...

Or... You could give me your pick, then get out of the 'potential blast radius' and I could just go to town on the stinger.

Then I'll either catch up or be consumed in the resulting accident.

Either way Lukas is going to go back down the ladder and look at the potential ability to destroy the access route.

Andrej said...

I'll carry the flails then.

Ahmet, all of the prisoners are unconscious at this point so while we could wake them up one by one and have Lukas try or have me try with the new ones, we're still going to need to ace the roll and we still have the problem of actually loading the thing. I'm starting to feel a little vulnerable up here and hesitant to let anybody go at that thing with a pick axe.

Whaddya say we go down below, see if something can be done about the stairs leading up and then try to catch up with the dwarves?

Lukas said...

Yeah, we can't load it with our manpower, so unless we get like a 20 to get them to help us.

Therefore, yeah, don't need to interrogate them unless they know a way to irrevocably destroy the stinger.

Alexis said...

It must be ruled that you "won" the conflict, so Janos will relax and accept the party's decision on this.

Janos, if you're out there, you should feel free to run your character normally now.

To "wake up" a prisoner will require a healing salve; All except the three you've already interrogated are at -4 hit points or less.

Alexis said...

"Uh, masters?" will say Klaas, looking over the side of the tower towards the town. "Could you have a look at this please?"

Andrej said...

Oh boy.

I move quickly over to Klaas to see what the lad is on about.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet hurries over as well.

Alexis said...

This is continued on the post I've written today: "The Tarn"

Lukas said...

Lukas meanwhile is down the ladder looking at platform supports, so he's no help.