A Flintloque Scenario by Craig Andrews
Discover the history of the cosmopolitan town of Hope and what exactly drew the Paleodracologists Koop & Mursh there.
Back in Third Age of Valon, when both Humans and Wylde Magicke were still present across the land, a small settlement was founded, named Hope after the human man who founded it. Hope soon became known in the region for something strange, there seemed to be no problems with attacks by creatures or bandits despite the proximity of the forested hills nearby. This was unheard of in the lawless times before the fall; warbands, bandits, monsters and much more roamed the land but seemingly not around Hope. Word of the peace and prosperity spread far and wide and many troubled people of many different races moved there and soon grew in size becoming a a small township. Over the next few years the town built up trade links with other towns in many different nations, it even started trading with the roaming Orcish horse tribes that regularly passed through the region. The people of Hope became proseprous, life in Hope was one of contentment.
Until one day something woke up.
Hope had long remained peacfull as the nearby hills were in fact the home of a fearsome Jabberwock. With the settlement being so close and growing so much in size the great beast's slumber had been interuppted. Normally feeding as chance allowed on passing bandits and monsters it now had a source of food. Enough food so it would no longer need to sleep for years at a time. Driven by both hunger and it's cruel nature, it attacked. The people of Hope did their best and mustered what defences they could but their lifestyles had led them away from the martial path and they were hit hard by the creatures attack. However some people survived the initial onslaught and inspired by the town's very name the feeling of hope, as it has often done in desperate situations, gave the townsfolk a strong foundation on which to build. The creature would attack again and again, however it was claiming fewer lives with each attack as the town learned to defend itself. After each attack the town continued to trade again until the next attack. Slowly the towns defences grew; a militia of the varied races of Hope was formed, warning beacons were set, and eventually they were able to repel the creature with no loss of life. It went back to sleeping for long periods of time during which the town could continue as it had before, often with months of successful trade interspersed with small periods of defence. Not an ideal situation but one they lived and coped with admirably.
When Mordred overthrew his mother from the peacock throne and annulled Wylde Magicke the effects were felt far and wide. One such effect was that magical creatures like Hope's Jabberwock could no longer survive on the surface of Valon. The township of Hope sent search teams from the local militia garrison to investigate the forest and hills. They searched for days and found the caverns the creature had inhabited and whilst they did find it's lair they found no trace of the creature itself.
Slowly as the changes happening in the newly titled continent of Urop happened, so too did the town of Hope change. The humans were slowly forced out, fearful that the newly uniformed, musket armed Orcs from the battle at Dresda would hunt them down. Amongst the other races of Hope, it being so far from the front of the new war of black powder, opinions of each other remained largely unaffected. In fact the need for the new weaponry across all nations involved in the war meant trade, and with it wealth, increased. Many people moved to Hope, wishing to leave the war behind them.
As happened across much of Valon in this newly discovered age of reason, the town grew and a university was built in order further learning. Having students and scholars of all races led to Hope University becoming one of the better places of study on Valon and it, like it's founding town, prospered attracting noted scholars from all over Valon, scholars including Paleodracologists Koop and Mursh.
Both Koop and Mursh were intrigued why the usually forest dwelling Jabberwocky had made it's home in caves so,unbeknownst to each other, they planned expeditions into the caves to find out why...
Find the centre of the Jabberwocky's lair and find out all you can about the extinct creature.
Map & Setup
There is no map for this scenario, the map is randomly generated as you play. I have not attempted to recreate a dungeon generator here as there are many available both commercially and free on the web. Whilst writing and playtesting this scenario I have used Aaron Thorne's excellent dungeon generator for Tunnels & Trolls which can be found here.
For those favouring a commercial solution there are many possibilities including Two Hour Wargames Warrior Heroes: Armies and Adventures and for those wanting a retro feel Games Workshop's Warhammer Quest or Advanced Heroquest would fit the bill.
To play the scenario you choose one of the two teams below, either Koop's or Mursh's and play through a dungeon generation session using your chosen ruleset. I used a roll of wall lining paper to drawn my map on as I went (in full 28mm scale!) but you could easily draw a small map and just use scenery for the battles or use any one of the hundreds of commercially available floorplans that are out there.
Now in my mind there are three elements to a successfull dungeon crawl; traps, treasure and monsters !
Traps! - I handled the rules for traps as I came across them. When assigning damage I usually gave one wound if a small amount of damage was mentioned in the rules (e.g small rocks fall, hitting 1-3 characters for one point of damage per rock). More extreme traps led to me rolling 1D4 as taking the result off the unsuspecting characters total Wounds (Molten lead!). Quite often a test of luck was called for, this I took care of using the trusty improbable action roll ! The original 1995 release of Flintloque included this excellent little rule to cover jumps down gaping holes, leaping chasms and anything else not covered by the normal rules of play.
For a character to perform an improbable action they must make a base percentile roll to succeed. If they fail, they would normally suffer one Wound but in the case of dungeoneering just use the alternatives you chosen ruleset suggests (e.g. failed Improbable Action Roll when a solid block of stone drops on party = death).
Raw Character 10%
Average Character 20%
Experienced Character 30%
Veteran Character 40%
Legendary Character 50%
Treasure! - For this I just kept a record and also a rough list of who was carrying what. Even though it has no effect in the scenario it's a good measure of how well you did to compare against future attempts. By keeping a list of who is carrying what lots of fun can be had when an unsuspecting Orc who happens to be carrying all your gold falls into a pit filled with water. Does he let it go? An Improbable Action Roll to decide if his greed outweighs his wish to live? I also used a bit of common sense in who could carry what.
Monsters! - I used a combination of Matthew Hartley's excellent Wilde Things article and the normal racial statistics tables from Flintloque 3rd Edition for the monsters. I estimated what abilities a creature would have and used them to run a normal Flintloque skirmish game. I did improvise a couple of things as I went, such as crippling a beast so it couldn't follow and one very usefull one about running away ! An Improbable Action Roll for the whole groups average experience level, failure meant it chased me back down the corridor. This did lead to one particulary great example where a group of skeletons chased me and I ran back into some previously escaped wolves and a big battle ensued with the wolves wiping out the skeletons loosing almost all of there number in the process.One thing I did enjoy playing within the blurb I wrote above was using humans as a bad guy ! I reasoned that when they fled Hope they took up residence in the tunnels below so I used them instead of 'normal' dungeon creatures (although crazed Trollka and Ogres did still wander in occasionally).
There are several other elements I like in a dungeon crawl but they add extra bookeeping and as such are optional; the light source, provisions and rope !
The Light Source - An optional rule when exploring dungeons not populated by that strange phosphorescent moss prevalent in many games. One character from each party must be responsible for holding a torch/lantern and keeping it lit (make a note before the game begins of who has one). If that person is attacked and hit the lantern is dropped and the usual Flintloque penalties for moving/fighting in the darkness apply. It's your call if the denizen of the lair you're up against suffers any ill effects from gadding about in the darkness. Sometimes my interpretation a trap would put my lantern out, I said that it took an Improbable Action Roll to relight with a +25% modifier as it wasn't really a difficult task. That being said...
You Were Eaten by a Grue! - As an optional extra to the above optional rule I also said that if I failed to relight a lantern on first attempt there was a 10% chance one of my characters simply wouldn't be there when the lantern was lit! An homage to the classic dungeon thieving text adventure Zork.
Provisions - Now in my game I didn't bother with food as it was a quick expedition from the university and they hoped to be back by tea time. If you were playing it as a longer game or even an underground campaign it could easily be represented by number of times you'd rolled the dice, representing the slow exploration of the underworld. You could also use real time, every ten minutes cross off one ration. Time doesn't flow quite right but hey ho, it's a game :) One thing I did keep careful track of (although this too is optional) was who had the light sources and rope. Light sources was important as shown above, if everyone with a spare lantern is gone you really really look after the last one. I also gave each of my students ten foot of rope as everyone knows you should never go into a dungeon without rope, pitfalls aplenty !
Running into the Opposition - As Koop and Mursh are both heading into the lair there is always a chance the two could run into each other. On Aaron's table there's a section (9.5.4) which involves meeting a humaniod, I used that to represent the opposition team. I rolled a few dice to represent their damage taken and losses before the fight began, 50% chance of each being injured if yes then I rolled 1D4 wounds for each allowing them a Improbable Action Roll to avoid damage ! The solotaire rules in Flintloque - War in Catalucia can be used to play out this fight.
Finding the Jabberwock's Lair - I set myself a two hour real world time limit after which if I had not rolled the Jabberwocky (rules at the bottom of the Wilde Things article) then I had found the lair. I'd set myself the rule that if I rolled doubles when rolling for non humanoid creatures encounters, I would then roll D10 and add the current dungeon level, if it came to more than 10 it would be the Jabberwocky in his lair. However in my first play through I did not come across the Jabberwocky so when I hit my two hours I just stopped rolling and encountered the Jabberwocky then. At which point after a short fight it eat all my remaining students but I'd had fun anyways ! I might even have to launch a rescue mission at some point...
The Excavation Teams
Professor Koop [Experienced Ferach Elf Militia]
Standard Musket, Standard Pistol
Professor Koop is the leader of his section.
Dean Swoire [Raw Ferach Elf Civilian]
Swoire is the Dean of the Bozzturn University Geology Department. He has accompanied the expedition as an observer and had no idea that he would be caught in the middle of a fire fight. Because of this he is unmotivated and does not believe that the a dungeon is where he should be. He gets a -1 modifier on any morale check.
Albert O'Soor [Average Bog Orc Civilian]
Standard Carbine), Rock Hammer (+1)
Albert is Koop's graduate student assistant. A staunch supporter of the good Professor as a result he gets +1 in all morale checks.
Ty Ranos [Average Orc Civilian]
Standard Musket, Pick (+2)
Ty is attending University on a Smashball Scholarship. A hulking brute of an Orc who gets a +1 modifier in melee combat and an extra wound due to his physical condition.
Karl Nosoor [Raw Dwarf Civilian]
Dwarf Musket Mk I, Rock Hammer (+1)
Terry Donn [Raw Ferach Elf Civilian]
Standard Pistol, Trowel (+0)
Magical Ability: Winged Feet (Latent)
Don Smiley [Raw Higland Rat Civilian]
Standard Musket, Shovel (+1) 21 Points
Doctor Mursh [Experienced Orc Militia]
East Valonian "Chicken" Rifle, Two Standard Pistols, Rock Hammer (+1)
Doctor Mursh is the leader of his section.
Ryan Camb [Average Orc Civilian]
Ryan is the Doctor's Graduate Student and has seen his fair share of scuffles.
Jerry Asick [Average Orc Militia]
Elf (Ferach) Musket, Pick (+2)
Chris Taeshus [Raw Ferach Elf Civilian]
Standard Carbine, Rock Hammer (+1)
Paul O'Scene [Raw Bog Orc Civilian]
Standard Musket, Shovel (+1)
Ollie Goseen [Raw Dwarf Civilian]
Standard Blunderbuss, Pick (+2)
An Orcs in the Webbe Original! "Hope" was written longer ago than you may think and eventually published on Sunday 6th December 2009 by Orcs in the Webbe as part of their 2009 Advent Calendar.
The characters of Koop and Mursh were created by Mike Baumann and debuted in his excellent scenario Koop & Mursh, originally published on his excellent Filbanto Stew website, where they come to blows over the excavation of the bones of a dragon.