Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Part 1: The Funnel With Advanced Fighting Fantasy 2

With me working extra long hours we haven't played anything in months. It got to the point where I said, "That's it! We're playing something this weekend!" That got the thumbs-up so it was a go. What to do. What to do...

We have a really neat game world under development that we started playing in with Lamentations of the Flame Princess and continued under Dungeon Crawl Classics. At one point we even used Microscope to help us build the game world's mythology. Which, by the way, is a really great way to do it.

With the setting determined I needed a location. Fixing that that was easy. I used the random dungeon generator found in the AFF2 book. Instead of creating a dungeon I created an abandoned great hall where the roof had begun falling in creating obstructions and pathways.

Stuart Lloyd posted a comment to one of my Dungeon Crawl Classics posts about porting the idea of The Funnel to Advanced Fighting Fantasy. It's pretty nifty and quite in the spirit of AFF. It's fast - so fast that during a break, it was used to generate another "0 level" character to fill in the ranks of the fallen. More on that later.

My wife generated 4 characters to start play:

  • Kenrick, a master craftsman who specializes in bows.
  • Audrey, a peasant who is good at tending wounds.
  • Wystan, a peasant who brawn and use of the axe is well known.
  • Cole, a sergeant who is known to be a good leader and handy with a sword.

To jumpstart the story we knit the characters together a bit. Kenrick hired the peasants and the sergeant to explore the abandoned great hall for two reasons. The first was that the master craftsman had his eye on claiming it for himself. And there have been strange happenings in the area and sightings near the hall. Tales of missing villagers and flickering shadows had spread through the villages like wildfire.

Off they went making sure that they could get there by mid morning. None of them wanted to be anywhere near the hall after dark.

Upon arriving the four would be adventurers walked around the outside of the hall noting its state of disrepair. Kenrick tallied reconstruction costs in his head as they went. Turning the corner on the last seen side they discovered the outdoor kitchen adjacent to one of the hall's long sides. Amazingly it looked to be in quite good shape so that's where they began exploring.

Kenrick and Audrey stayed outside while Cole and Wystan went in. Click.

A spring assisted blade swung into the path barely missing the both men. Deciding that their current path may not be the best they backed out into the daylight. Cole leaned on his trap knowledge to suspect that the side entrance was the daily route used by whoever was there. And indeed it proved the easier route.

Even though the sun was approaching its midday height the shadows were deep inside the kitchen. The two men turned a corner and shoved a door hard inward hoping to set off any potential trap. On the other side they found nothing mechanical but instead encountered in the purple darkness an even darker, smaller - no - stunted nearly naked figure hunched over two fistfuls of raw flesh. In anger it spun like a wild animal, hissing and leaping. The sergeant lashed out in shock with his sword and struck the thing to the floor. Another stroke of his blade put the feral display of aggression to an end. Wystan who watched what had just happened began to crack and turned to run away. Cole cooly pulled him aside and explained that in order to work together they had to stick together. All the while the sergeant was trembling inside for he had never seen anything like that. Afterward, Wystan would be seen clutching his holy symbol.

Outside of the kitchen Cole pulled Kenrick aside and explained to him what happened inside asking if he wanted to continue exploring. A nod to the affirmative was all it took for an entry plan to be formulated for the great hall.

The adventurers broke up into two pairs; Kenrick and Audrey, Cole and Wystan.

Wystan kicked the hall's side entrance open and Cole entered first. He looked up to see the glare of the sun poking through the broken roof. Birds flitted through the rafters and the scurry of critters could be heard in the jumbled debris that was a mix of thatch, plank timbers, tables, and benches. The stacked height of the stuff made it impossible to peer across or traverse the hall with ease.

Straight ahead a small clearing was seen so Cole went to investigate with Wystan following close behind. Kenrick and Audrey stayed by the door. The whoosh and thud of an arrow shuddered Cole backward and scrambling for cover. The arrow quavered stuck in an overturned bench. Wystan hunched and too scrambled for cover looking for an egress route out of the hall.

From his position Cole could see the flicker of movement on his left and on his right but he could not determine numbers. Without another moment of pause he snapped to his feet and ran for the exit pulling Wystan along.

As the pair shot through the side entrance and into the high day sun they called for Kenrick and Audrey to follow. Once they found a position that at least felt somewhat safe they stopped and formulated another plan. They would not plunge into the hall again with a head count of only four. But since their group consisted of two bowmen they decided to once again pair up but this time to watch both entrances, the side portal that they just ran from and the hall's main entrance. Kenrick and Wystan watched the main and Cole and Audrey the side.

Hours passed and the resulting fatigue tugged the watchers toward weariness. Each fought wandering a wandering mind and tunnel vision. Suddenly and simultaneously each pair was ambushed from behind!

The attackers leapt from concealment with flashing blades and covered faces. The attacking foes didn't outnumber the group. In fact the ensuing melee was one to one but the surge of surprise shook them. In a few moments Cole drove off his attacker only to see Audrey go down before he could get to her. A slash of the sergeant's sword drove Audrey's ambusher away.

Around the corner Kenrick struggled as he didn't have a melee weapon to fight with. Instead he tried again and again to make distance between his attacker and himself in order to launch desperate shots. One or two were loosed but to no avail. Wystan on the other hand went wild with his axe giving as good as he got until he faced Kenrick's ambusher. Within half a heartbeat they fell upon one another. In full synchronicity both recoiled their weapon arms and struck - simultaneously. And at the same exact moment they both made contact with the earth. One of them got up while the other didn't. A coup de gras was about to fall.

Cole expected to find his companion mortally wounded but instead found her hazy from a blow to the head. Her ambusher's blade apparently turned in the chaos and landed flat on the side of her brow. Helped to her feet the two of them ran as fast as they could to their companions, wondering with each footstep how they were faring. Leaning forward to see around the corner as soon as possible Cole saw straight steel ready to be plunged into Wystan, his comrade. Whoosh.

In what seemed like slow motion, a streak flashed from his periphery and through the sword holder's side who then shuddered, stumbled, and took flight.

Wystan's wounds, while not pretty to look at, did not seem to be immediately life threatening. Kenrick's wounds were terrible and each moment that passed counted toward his demise.

Audrey prepared to work on her two fallen comrades. Doing the best she could, applying preprepared bandages, it looked like Kenrick's bleeding had stopped so she turned her attention to Wystan. Her hands shook from fear and haste as she could not tell how many others could be out there preparing to descend onto the bloodied group.

Wystan mumbled but was shushed as Cole hunched to the height of the overgrown verge along the once pristine road to the hall. His head swiveled looking for the next wave of attackers that he knew must be coming.

The sergeant asked Audrey how soon they could move. Her reply was a somber, "Now" for Kenrick had passed on. The uneasy decision was made to leave him as they carried Wystan away from there.

Even though under normal circumstances it was only an hour's trek to home that destination might as well have been on the moon. It would soon be dark.

Once a bit of distance was put between them and the hall, Audrey used her hunting skills to find a location that provided some sense of safety and cover. There Wystan was made comfortable as the other two kept watch waiting for what felt like the inevitable. But dawn arrived first lifting their spirits some.

Back at their village, as Wystan rested and mended they all debated about what to do next. None of them wanted to go back to the hall but the consensus was that they had to. Each and all wondered the status of their party.

They could find no one, not a single soul who would help retake the hall even though an obvious threat to all was developing in that terrible place. Independently and together each recognized and acknowledged that it was up to them to make the difference. And it was this that cemented their fellowship of three.

Thus ended part 1. And we broke for dinner.

1 comment:

  1. Great report! Glad to see it's going well and I look forward to part 2.