Thursday, October 1, 2020

Thieves-A Roses & Wyght Story: Chapter 6 - Man's Burdens

(Read the previous chapter here.)

System: Adventurers! 
Tools: CRGE Never Engine Random Tables;
(The above contains affiliate links.)

The setting and map images used in this chapter come from Brenton Haerr’s One Page Dungeon “The House of Lost and Found.” 

[Scene 1, Surge count 4]

Main Thread: Retrieving the artifact
Minor Threads: Leira and Thieves Guild; Tristan’s Wedding; Bhart’s Career; Conspiracy against the King

Whether he is truly convinced or not, Ilhard finally accepts the fact that they are here to complete a mission for the guild, monster or not. He grips his club a little tighter and leads the way up the stairs.

At the top, instead of a door, a drab, grey curtain divides the stairwell from the rest of the attic. Ilhard glances back to make sure Leira and Vyncent are ready. Sucking in a deep breath he pulls back the curtain. Beyond is a dusty, dank attic, cobwebs hanging from the rafters. The entire room isn’t very large, barely as large as the master bedroom they left. All along the walls are boxes, crates and chests, presumably filled with ornate or strange objects. A few of them lay open, their contents partially removed and either set on the floor or on top of a nearby crate. Among the treasures are vases, crystals, clothing, statues, and other trinkets similar to items they’ve seen displayed throughout the house. 

Once all three thieves reach the top of the stairs it is an easy task to find the object of their search. Sitting on a short table in the center of the room is the foot tall salt statue Leira saw in her vision, the barebacked man hunched over and balancing a large sphere, half his size, on his shoulders.

“Rats.” Leira says. 

“Complaining?” Vyncent asks, surprised. “Isn’t this what we came for?”

“That wasn’t a complaint, it was a warning from my vision. Once I grab the relic we will be attacked by very large rats.” 

[At this point I used the Never Engine Weird [Stuff] Generator to fill in the gaps regarding the artifact. The full description will be posted at the end of the chapter.]

Leria begins to walk to the table. As she does, she is very aware of the silence. It is so quiet, in fact, she doesn’t even hear her boots touching the floor until her final step ends in a heavy tap. [Per Spooky Roll: The PCs suddenly realize that their footfalls have been completely silent for several minutes. As soon as they do so, their footsteps can be heard again.]  She keeps her sword hand ready as she reaches out with the other to grab the statue, eyes scanning the room. Leira wraps her fingers around the statuette’s waist and lifts it several inches off the table. Suddenly she hears skittering and screeching and [2d3] three rats run out of the shadows, each about four times the size of a normal rat. Leira drops the artifact back on the table and retreats a step or two to stand side-by-side with her companions.

[Each rat has STR: 1   AGI: 2  MND: 0   ATK: 2  DEF: 2  END: 3  Thick Fur: AR 6

Since the party was anticipating the attack I won’t have them make a surprise saving roll.]

Rounds 1-3: 

All is chaos as the thieves swing wildly at the rats while dodging and rats swerve to avoid being hit while snapping their teeth at the intruders. [Everyone misses the first round] However, it doesn’t take long for the rats to size up their opponents and get the upper hand. The rat Ilhard targeted shoots between his legs then turns and jumps on his back. It is able to take a bite of Ilhard’s shoulder before it is thrown off [Rat Crit defended, giving him two attacks on Ilhard]. Before it is completely out of reach, the animal is able to get one more bite on Ilhard’s hand. [Ilhard takes a total of -2 END, dropping him to 3 END total]

Another rat charges at Leira seeming careless of its own safety. Leira swings her rapier at the easy target and hits squarely, but the rodent’s thick fur is able to absorb some of the blow. [Makes its Armor Roll to reduce damage enough to barely stay alive.] The rat doesn’t flinch but leaps at Leria, hitting her squarely in the chest. Unable to resist its momentum, she pushed back falls, smacking her head against the edge of the crate. She loses consciousness as the rat continues to scratch and bite through her leather.

[This was a total disaster. On the rat’s turn, it wins the roll with a score of 13 vs. 7. (Note, Leira’s roll was 4,1 + 2 DEF) Leira would take -4 END which puts her at -1. But she has some HER points. I can spend a point to either reroll or add 1 point to her total. Thinking it shouldn’t be too hard to roll better than 5 I choose to reroll. Big mistake. She rolls another 4,1. I use another HER point and reroll.  2,1, even worse. I use her final HER point to make one last attempt. For the third time, she rolls a 4,1.  So, there’s no getting around it. Leira is down and at -1 is in danger of dying (pending a roll on my death table). Futhermore, I feel it’s only fair that if she doesn’t get attention her condition could get worse, so I determine that every three rounds she will lose another END point until the battle is over.] 

The only one of the thieves who has any success is Vyncent who is able to lop off an ear of the rodent that is attacking him. [Inflicts 1 END damage]

Round 4:

Feeling the sting of Vyncent’s dagger, the rat turns to retreat but Vyncent doesn’t let him go easily. Reaching out, he makes a grab for its tail and succeeds. The rat screeches as it first pulls hard to get away then turns back to nip at the hand that is holding it. However, before it can get its teeth close Vyncent plunges his blade into its back, killing it instantly. [10 vs. 6 for -3 END]

Meanwhile, Ihlard keeps swinging at his opponent with his bludgeon but the critter is too nimble and easily avoids being hit. At the same time, the rat fails to take a bite out of the thief. This goes on for several seconds until Ilhard feels something hit him from behind. The rat that had just taken Leira down has turned its attention toward Ilhard [RG] and pounced. [Ilhard uses a HER point to avoid damage.]

Rounds 5-9

Ilhard attempts to pull the rat from his back while Vyncent lends a hand and attacks the rat Ilhard was originally targeting. It gets a nip in at Vyncent [-1 END] but the thief retaliates with a flurry of blows [An action in Adventurers! where you can make multiple attacks if your ATK is high enough]. Blood spills from fresh wounds, but the rat refuses to go down. He makes a final lunge, but Vyncent easily steps aside and slices down with his dagger, decapitating the furry fiend.

Meanwhile, his partner is having a difficult time with the rat on his back. Ilhard reaches over his shoulder but is unable to get a hold of the critter. He resorts to blindly flailing at it with his club as it continues to bite and scratch him. Having dispatched his own opponent, Vyncent stands aside looking for an opportunity to help. He fears injuring his friend if he tries to attack while the rat is still on Ilhard’s back. Eventually, Ihard nears Vee and turns so that his back is completely facing the other thief. Vyncent reaches out, grabs the rat by the scruff of the neck, and pulls him off. In a split second, he is driving his dagger into the rat’s side and ending the battle.

[During these rounds Ilhard sustained another 1 END damage and had to spend another HER point. He is down to 2 END and 0 HER.  Leira has dropped to -2 END due to the length of the battle.]

The two stay alert in case more rodents rush from the shadows. After a few moments, they are convinced there will be no more attacks. Ilhard turns his attention to Leira who lies motionless on the floor, her blonde hair stained red from the puddle of blood forming behind it.

“Damn!” he exclaims as he kneels down next to her.

“If she’s dead you’re carrying her out,” Vyncent says flatly.

“Vee! Have you no concern?”

“Beada sent her and you on this task. Not me. You chose me. This was Leira’s initiation and what has she done? We killed the rats. We killed the hand. We killed the spiders. She’s done nothing, but if she returns with the artifact my concern is she’ll get the reward.”

[Does Ilhard reveal what he knows about Beada’s interest in Leira? (To Conflict) 77+4=81 Yes +2 Surge)]

“I know you’re frustrated, Vee,” Ilhard assures his friend. “But the Master Thief has held an interest in this girl since I told her about meeting her in the holding cells. I don’t know what she’s planning. Honest. But I do know she believes the Bar Thief might be the key to succeeding.”

“But Beada didn’t sound happy that you brought her to the meeting.”

“Yes, but that had nothing to do with her interest in the girl. It was more about revealing sensitive guild information before we were sure about Leira.”

I’m sure about her,” Vyncents states. “I’m sure she’s not Order material.”

“But that’s not for you to decide. That’s what Master Thief Beada planned on finding out in this mission. It’s some kind of test, but I don’t know if it’s about ability, willingness, or nerves. I’m sorry I’ve kept you in the dark about this, but you know how secretive the Master Thief can be.”

[Leira’s death roll: 4=Unconscious  This was rolled after the battle was over, however, I took it into account while writing the narrative and decided that she took a good bite and in the process of shaking off the rat fell and hit her head on the corner of a box. Leira is at 1 END when she wakes up.]

Fear rolls: Ilhard gained another fear point (now at 3). Leira made her roll despite my giving her a severe disadvantage due to nearly dying.]


Ilhard turns at the sound of Leira stirring. “Bar Thief! Easy. You’ve taken a nasty strike to the head.”

Leira slowly sits up with Ilhard’s help as he explains how the battle with the rats went down.

“Wasn’t much help, was I?” she said sheepishly.

“You let us know they were coming,” Ilhard reassures her. “That was something.”

Vyncent scoffs, exaggerating his sigh to be sure others can hear.

“Never mind him,” Ilhard whispers in Leira’s ear.

[Adventurers! allows characters to regain 1 END point if they make a successful MND roll. They can do this a number of times equal to their STR+1 per day. Leira restores 2 points and Ilhard 3. Vyncent does nothing.]

Back on her feet, Leira steps over to the statuette and examines it. The stone-carrying figure stands on a circular base that is about two inches thick. Etched around the base are the words, “Man’s Burdens Pass From Generation To Generation.”

Man's Burdens

[AGI roll: 5,4 + 2 AGI = 11 Success!]

She reaches out and tests the spherical portion of the statue. Twisting it a bit, Leria manages to disconnect the boulder from where it is perched on the man’s shoulders. Once she removes her hand from the base and only holds the removed part, her father appears standing before her. 


The other two thieves look at each other, confused. They cannot see the image themselves. 

The image of Traugott Rosemight stands silent, not acknowledging his daughter.

“Is that you, father?” Leira asks, tears filling her eyes. 

“Who are you talking to, Leira?” Ilhard asks.

“My father! He’s standing right there.” She points in the direction of the silent vision.

[Does someone take the sphere away from her? (To Conflict) 78+6 surge = 84  Yes (+2 surge)

MND roll to see who realizes what is going on. I: 4,2+2=8   V:6,4+2=12  Since Vee got higher, he’ll be the one to act.]

Vyncent realizes the sphere must be affecting Leira and reaches out to snatch it away from her. She offers no resistance. As soon as Vyncent pulls it away, he drops it to avoid succumbing to its spell. Leira swoons a bit, then quickly looks around the room. 

“Where’d he go?” she asks. “Dad!”

“It was an illusion,” Ilhard explains, grabbing her by the shoulders. “Your father is not here. It was a trick played on you by the artifact.”

Meanwhile, Vyncent finds a scrap of rag and uses it to pick up the sphere, being careful not to make direct contact with his skin, and returns it to the base by connecting pegs with slots and giving it a twist.

“I’m sure there is more to this than seeing a vision of the dead,” he says. “But that’s not something we are going to figure out now. I’ll just hold on to this until we meet up with Beada.”

“No!” Leira protests, grabbing the reassembled artifact off the table. “I was sent after this. I will hold on to it.”

“As you wish,” Vyncent shrugs, actually relieved to be rid of it. “I’d just as well leave it here, myself.”

[I’ll make another fear roll for the whole statue incident: I: 7   V: 11   L w/disadvantage: 8  All Pass]   

By this time, all three are ready to take leave of the house. They exit the attic and head back to the front door, deciding to leave any unexplored area as is.

[Scene 2, Surge count 8]

Main Thread: Retrieving the artifact
Minor Threads: Leira and Thieves Guild; Tristan’s Wedding; Bhart’s Career; Conspiracy against the King

[Does Vyncent return the crown? (Likely - To Ending)  96+8 surge= 104 Yes, and unexpectedly 1=foreshadowing   or  98+8 surge = 106 Yes, and unexpectedly 2=tying off   Will choose the second roll, as scene is tying off this thread already, however, by the end of the chapter I will have included the foreshadowing as well.  Surge resets.]  

They reach the front door without incident and without stopping to pick up any more “treasure” along the way. Ilhard cracks open the door and scouts the area. Turning back to let the others know the coast is clear he sees Vyncent near the glass display case. He has retrieved the crown from his pack and is working at the latch on the case.

“What are you doing, Vee?” Ilhard asks.

“Returning the crown,” he says matter-of-factly.

“But you were so insistent about grabbing something for yourself,” Ilhard reminds him.

“That was before I fought a living hand, heard teeth scream, and listened to my own voice speak from behind a closed door. The less opportunity I give them to track me down the better.”

“What about the artifact and the books?” Leira asks, pointing out that they were still taking things from the house.

“Unfortunately, the artifact is part of our task,” Vyncent says. “As for the books, they’re not in my pack. With any luck, the Blacksters will only look for the individuals who actually carried the items out the door.”

“Thanks, friend!” Ilhard says thinking of the book of poetry sitting in his own sack. “Let’s get out of here.” He slips through the door and the other two follow.

[Is there a curse placed on the thieves? (To Endings = 22 No  (+2 surge)]

The trio walks several blocks before parting ways. As she makes her way back to the Faint Mule Hostel, Leira does her best to stick to alleyways and darkened streets. Even though there are few people out at this time of night, she wants to make extra certain that no one sees a scratched and bloody woman in leather armor limping down the street away from the House of Lost and Found.

Arriving at her home, she heads around the side of the building before entering. She draws a bucket of water from the rain barrel and grabs a rag that is lying nearby. She attempts to wash the dirt, blood, and sweat from her hands and face and does her best to dunk her hair in the bucket to wash the blood from her blonde curls. Having difficulty, she finally just lifts the whole bucket, leans back and pours the water over the top of her head. Finished with the make-shift bath, Leria enters the hostel through the side door. 

[Is Bhart waiting for her? (To Endings) 6-2 surge = 4 No and . . . he actually left some food out for her.  (Surge resets)]

Cautiously, Leira enters the sitting room hoping no one is up, really not in the mood to explain her disheveled state. She breathes a sigh of relief when she finds the room empty, then smiles when she looks at a small table in the room. On it sits a plate with a slice of bread, a hunk of cheese, and an apple. Tucked under the plate is a small square of parchment with her name written on it in Bhart’s handwriting.

“Thank you, brother,” she whispers as she picks up the apple and takes a bite. Leira savors the sweet juice as it trickles down her throat, then picks up the plate and heads up to her room. 

[Scene 3, Surge count 0]

Main Thread: Wrapping up Retrieving the artifact
Minor Threads: Leira and Thieves Guild; Tristan’s Wedding; Bhart’s Career; Conspiracy against the King

Finishing the snack in her room, Leira peels the leather armor off her body and leaves it in a pile on the floor. Exhausted, she falls onto her bed, but not before retrieving the silver bat-shaped ring from her pouch. She stared at it as she turned it over in her hands. What would she see if she placed it on her finger a second time? Curious as she was, she slips it on. 

Leira’s bedroom fades from view and she finds herself standing in an unfamiliar room.  In front of her stands a member of the Knight’s Guards, their back to her. The only distinguishing feature Leira can see is the guardsman’s short blonde hair. The guard, sword drawn, is standing over a fallen body that is lying facedown. Leira can tell it is a man with dark hair but little else. Is it Harper? Bhart? Someone she hasn’t met yet?

Suddenly, the guard turns toward her and Leria can see that it is a rather husky woman. In fact, she recognizes her from the Sacrament of Fortitude Celebration. It is Sacreelia Fiststeel, the captain of the King’s Guard. 

“Now to take care of you,” Fiststeel says, fury clearly evident in her eyes. She raises her sword and advances upon Leira.

Liera gasps and throws open her eyes, back in her bedroom. She rips the ring from her finger and lays there panting. From her experience earlier this evening, she’s pretty sure this is a vision of something she will experience in the future. But what did she see? Why is the captain of the King’s Guard coming after her? And who was the man on the floor?


[For completing the House adventures I will award Leira 3 EXP. Originally I was only going to award her 2 as her actual contribution to the battles was minor, however, I gave a (d6) die roll the opportunity to be a benevolent GM, with a roll of 5-6 adding an extra EXP point. I rolled a 5.

Below is the full description of the artifact retrieved from the attic. All items in brackets were the results of rolls on the Never Engine Weird [Stuff] generator. Since I’m not expecting this item to play any significant role in the remainder of this campaign I feel it’s okay to share this information at this time without giving away any spoilers:

Artifact to be retrieved from House: This [statuette] comes from [an abandoned shrine] and is made of [salt]. It reproduces or grows via [laying eggs]. It [brings memories to life] and [spreads disease]. It [imprisons] and it [serves].]

Based on those rolls and some other randomly generated tid-bits I came up with this description:

The artifact is a statute that is entitled “Man’s Burdens” which resembles the character of Atlas from our Greek Mythology. The statuette is actually made up of two separate parts, the man and the sphere, that can be detached from each other. The item is actually a mind-control device. When assembled, the statuette does nothing. However, if only the sphere is held and the individual makes direct contact, they (and only they) will see a vision of a personally influential individual who has passed away, most commonly a family member but not necessarily.  The vision will remain still and silent unless someone else holds the man portion of the statue. That person can then “speak” through the vision and command the person under its spell to perform any task. The enchanted person must make a MND saving roll with a (-4) modifier. If they fail they will be compelled to perform whatever task they are given until they complete it. If a person has fallen under the spell once and another attempt is made to control them, the MND needs to be made again, but this time with disadvantage. If a person is aware that the vision is nothing but an illusion, they will make their MND roll with advantage and no modifiers.

I know, a lot of planning for an object that may never be used, but you never know. 

(Read the next chapter here.)


  1. A good ending. It certainly sets up future adventures.

    1. Yes, I actually have a germ of an idea to progress the whole Blackster story. However, considering other campaigns and games I already have planned it will probably be years, if ever, before I get to it.