In this adventure, Harvold is a pirate turned Adventurer. I used the Standard array of attributes and the career path character generation. During each term of service, I played one scene, much like a flashback, to illustrate either how he picked up an injury, the service mishap, or the most important skill gained during that term. He mustered out after four terms, having achieved the rank of Raider.
The setting is a port city with an impressive temple complex that is world-renowned for its fantastic wealth. It is Harvold’s plan to break into the temple and steal something of value, and then take ship out of the city.
In essence, that is the outline of the intended adventure. At this point, I have no idea how it will play out. I have no maps of the temple or the city, and I have done no world-building.
I am starting with a cinematic cut scene-style view. This allows me to just dump a lot of cliches into the game that I want to be there without being constrained by dice rolls and oracles.
I imagine the city as hot and dusty, possibly ancient Greek or Egyptian in style, which suggests a desert or dry and dusty interior beyond the city walls. City buildings are impressive, with walls made from big blocks of sandstone. The streets are dusty, crowded, and loud, with merchants trying to attract attention.
I am sure the city will play a bigger part later, but for now I cut straight to the temple. Harvold is casing the place. I am picturing great halls with tall arched window openings to let air in and heat out. The interior is clean and cool.
It is normal for these fantasy temples to have some kind of animal motif, and it doesn’t feel spidery at the moment, so is the motif a bull?
I roll a yes answer, so there are big bronze statues of bulls standing in the halls and frescos of bulls on the walls.Brigitte Werner
Harvold is interested in security, so are there obviously armed guards in these public halls?
Yes, but… There are guards but I think their weapons and armor are mostly ceremonial rather than military.
Harvold continues to circulate along with the other pilgrims, worshipers, and presumably tourists. Are there valuable items, ideally gold, that could be stolen from these public halls?
Yes, but… There are gold artifacts, but they are mostly decorated with gold leaf rather than solid gold, or too large for one person to make off with.
This is no good, I am going to have to find a way into the inner temple. Either from here or possibly find a different entrance, one that isn’t open to the public.
Harvold continues to stroll around the temple but now looking for an entrance or door that leads away into the more private areas. Does he see one?
This is a yes, but… answer. Can Harvold see any doors into the private areas, yes, but… there are two temple guards standing in front of them, one on either side.
I now know where I need to go, but I have to find a way to either distract the guards or get them to let me past. Now, where did I leave that disguise?
So I clearly need a plan, it was never going to be as easy as walking in, picking something up, and walking out. So, I either try and cause a distraction and draw these two guards away so I can sneak past. Or, I try and hide in the temple until after closing and then try and sneak around or try and spot a way of breaking back in here after closing. The second option seems like the best, at least; I could try and bluff that I sat down to rest and fell asleep if I am discovered too soon.
I am not on a tight timeline, so here is my plan a. I will try and find somewhere where I could stash some gear. If I find somewhere suitable, I could leave a purse with a couple of coins in it there. If the coins are still there the next day, then my hiding place is probably good. If that works, then I will try and hide a weapon and a few tools there that I can collect once I can move about freely. That has to be better than trying to get into the temple with coils of rope or a crowbar.
This a Recon check, and I have recon-1. I roll and fail, and I cannot find a decent hiding place. Damn! Do I want to try this with just what I have in my pockets? Maybe not. Plan b would then be find out where the non-priests live, or whether they leave the temple and live within the city. It is time to go. I need to find lodgings and come back when the temple closes.
I choose to end the scene here. I am not expecting anything else to happen at the temple, and I am heading back into the city to look for lodgings.
Is the next seen derailed? This is a yes-no question, Yes, but… I am expecting a mundane trip into the city and finding lodgings. I decide that as I walk away from the temple a big religious procession is coming from the city up to the temple.
Using the Set the Scene technique, I imagine the entire procession before I start playing. I have already set the bull motif, so the procession is headed up with bulls that have been dressed with gold dust and elaborate collars. Behind them are musicians and then a covered sedan chair carried by priests or lower temple ranks. Following on are throngs of city folk. The air is thick with dust from all the people, the music, and the bellowing of the bulls.
What is the opportunity here? Should I try and join the procession if there are hangers on? Maybe get into a private area of the temple? It is tempting, but Harvold is more cautious. He is one for planning and sticking to the plan. He watches the procession go by, and tries to spot any obviously valuable items being used in the procession.
Question, does the procession mean that a lot more people have arrived in the city and accommodation is going to be harder to find? No. That is good then.
Harvold turns his back on the receding procession and heads into the city. All he wants is a lodging house, and I guess for 2-3 days. If all things go to plan, the heist will be over and done before three days are up, and then he doesn’t want to be anywhere near this place.
I will skip over the drudge of finding accommodation and haggling over prices, I don’t enjoy it, and doubt if it would have added much to the story.
That evening, Harvold is watching the temple as it closes its doors for the night. There has to be a changing of the guard as there were guards on duty when he was visiting as a pilgrim earlier.
Does the main temple gate have a wicket used for pedestrians after the gates are closed? I think this is likely so add a DM of +2.Yes it does.
Harvold takes up a position where, he can see the comings and goings through the temple gates and prepares for a long wait.
I have two questions. The first is do guards that have finished their shifts exit via the wicket gate? I assume that this is the case so add a +2DM to my roll. Yes they do.
The follow up question is, are they still in uniform? I will leave this as a straight roll as I don’t know what would be considered normal. Yes, but… they are in uniform, but they don’t leave individually, but in pairs.
This is going to make the plan of knocking a guard unconscious and stealing their uniform more difficult. Also the idea of buying a mild poison and following one guard home, slipping some poison into their food or drink, and having them off sick the following day, so I could impersonate them etc.
Do people arrive at the wicket to be let in, while I am staking the place out?
This is a straight roll, No, and… while I am watching I must have been spotted and noted for taking too much interest. A pair of temple guards leave the wicket and head directly in my direction, marching purposefully!
Damn! time to get out of here. I treat this as a Stealth skill check to try and give the guards the slip, If I fail it then this will turn into a chase scene.
Skill test, Stealth-1 Roll a 7 + for skill means success! I give the guards the slip.
Nothing is going to happen tonight if they are now alerted to me watching them. Time to come up with plan B.
To be continued.