“party found a bloody mary
It’s been a little while since I last shared. We’ve played a few times since then, and my homebrew system has undergone a few revisions. It’s on 2d10 for its core mechanic now, which seemed to work well. The short of it is the party explored some more, ran into another adventuring party on their way back to town, did town stuff, then came back to the dungeon (same one as
Instead of continuing to push into the dungeon where they had been before, the party swam across the pool near the entrance then headed north. They followed a short passage that lead to a larger room with pink crystals on the ceiling, a trog corpse on a slab, a skittish trog (named Old Gregg), and sounds of arguing or yelling in the background.
The party was interested in getting information from the Old Gregg, but he wasn’t willing to parlay. They seemed particularly interested in this, so I created a clock (4-ticks). If they could make a good impression, he’d tell them what they wanted to know about the dungeon. My system has had some clock-ish like thing before, but last session I just ported them over wholesale. It seemed easier.
Tama (the cleric) started off trying to convince him to tell them what they needed to know. The result was a Mixed Success, so she added one tick on the clock, but I also needed a consequence. Given the arguing, I added another clock. If that clock went off, those arguing were going to show up, and it would escalate to violence. Tama had the option of making a Defense Check to resist the consequence but opted to let it ride. (Two clocks: convince at ¹⁄₄ and escalate at ¹⁄₄).
Deirdre (the barbarian) also tried a similar tactic, but she failed. The trogs in the other room were starting to notice that there were mouth-breathers (the PCs had put plugs up their noses to mitigate the trogs’ stench) in the other chamber. That’s bad. The escalation clock is now at ³⁄₄ due the failure. If the party isn’t careful, an angry leader-trog is going to come out and start trouble.
Dingo decided to take steps to delay the possibility of violence. He moved over to the door separating this chamber from the other one and made an attempt to sabotage it. Since he didn’t actually have any tools (whoops), he tried to jam an arrow in the door to try to wedge it. He only got Mixed Success. That would take one tick off the escalation clock, but the consequence of the sabotage would be that the leader was going to call for more help. These aren’t just troublesome outsiders but possibly collaborators with the rebel trogs who had killed their leader (the corpse on the slab, formerly Boss Trog). Dingo opted to resist by being very careful and gained a couple of stress for his trouble. That puts the escalation clock back at ²⁄₄.
Since being nice didn’t work, Deirdre and Tama decided to work together on Old Gregg. This session introduced a group check mechanic. You pick a leader, then everyone participates uses the same method (skill) but can vary their approach. The best roll is used for the result, but every failure reduces it by 2. However, you can gain stress to cancel out failures. Deirdre was using Strength to shake Old Gregg while Tama tried to be the nice guy (using Intellect to persuade). Tama got a Complete Success, but Deirdre failed her roll. That was going to bump the result down to a Mixed Success, so Deirdre took stress and preserved the Complete Success. That added two more ticks to the convince clock, putting it at ³⁄₄.
At this point, the party had learned the trogs were splitting into factions. Two different ones wanted to become leader after Boss Trog had been killed. Old Greg said he supported Bloody Mary, who was the nicer one (of what I called the hippy faction), but the way he seemed to like being dominated by the PCs makes it seem like Slank Piddler (the other trog and leader of what I called the militaristic faction) was the leader he actually needed.
At this point, Dingo thought it would be a good idea to close the deal. That was not a good idea. Whatever Dingo said to Old Gregg just sort of freaked him out. Dingo failed, so Old Gregg bolted. Dingo wasn’t going to let that happened, so he (being a vuple, which is under a meter tall) dashed under Old Gregg’s legs to knock him down (like when a dog hits you right in the back of your legs). That was his resistance to this consequence, so he gained three more stress for his trouble but saved the conflict. Both clocks are now at ³⁄₄.
Seeing him down, Tama moved to render aid to Old Gregg. She’s wanting him to know that the PCs aren’t bad people, so she rolls Influence with Dexterity as her approach (to apply first aid). She gets a Mixed Success and lets it ride. Both
clocks go off. Old Gregg is finally comfortable telling the PCs what they want to know, but first Slank Piddler is ready to beat up some mouth-breathing intruders and hurt Old Gregg for talking to them.
Deirdre moves between them, and Slank Piddler equips his natural weapons. Combat in my homebrew system starts with an equip phase (where you declare what equipment you have in your hands to use during the round). This is also the trigger to transition into combat rounds. The party equipped their weapons, and everyone rolled initiative. Tama rolled well, but Dingo and Deirdre rolled poorly. Combat is wave-based in my system. There is a fast wave, monsters, then a slow wave. If you get the slow wave, you can opt into the fast wave by taking a penalty to your attack roll and giving up the ability to cast spells. Deirdre opted into the fast wave.
After that, the combat went pretty smoothly. To deal with the non-uniform distribution of results on attack rolls, I also adapted degrees of success to combat. If you get a Critical Success, you deal maximum damage. If you get Complete Success, regular. If you get Mixed Success, you deal minimum. Failure means you get nothing. Deirdre and Slank Piddler traded blows. She and Dingo both hurt him a bit, but Slank got three attacks (two claws and a bite), so even though he still did a little bit of damage in spite of getting Mixed Success twice.
Unfortunately for him, the PCs are 6th level while he is only 3rd. His HP is 12. Theirs varies from 29 (for Dingo) to 40 (for Tama) and 46 (for Deirdre). While he did do 6 damage to Deirdre, that wasn’t much (but it did cause her to gain another stress from post-combat healing). On the second round, Tama and Deirdre both made the fast wave (initiative is rolled every round). Deirdre got a Critical Success this time. Poor Slank Piddler got split in two. After that, lots of bad puns ensued from the table.
The rest of the session involved getting Bloody Mary back on their feat and learning more of what the trogs’ plans are. They’re going to leave the caves and find a new place to make their lair. Since the party did them a solid, they became an ally. Basically, someone they can reach out to for help regarding their sphere of influence (basically caves and swamps but also regional stuff as appropriate). The party also found some treasure including 120,000 S. That’s about five slots worth of cash. It’s not all coins. A quantity of money includes mixed coinage, but it’s still a lot to haul around. Fortunately, it came in a protective cube.