The adventures of Noi, part 1 (Runecairn), in which I get all the rules wrong

As a note: I get the rules wrong at first and slowly realize what I was doing wrong throughout. In particular I'm rolling saves to attack, which is incorrect.

The Town

First, let's create a town to start in. I'm going to use my own game, Procedures. A village by the sea, where they fish immense fish that feed them for weeks, and other times subsist on the nuts, seeds and wild grains they can gather in the woods, although a rare spice grows that they trade with the occasional outsider. The ground is too rough for agriculture. A place of feast and famine.

They live in big houses in the trees, because things come out at night. Reedy music can be heard in the wind that accompany tales of heroes. And one single bonfire on a large rock, tended by priestesses through the ages.

The Problem

Ok, let's look at the oracle. First we cast some runes. Delve, Wondrous, Human. And looking at the advanced rules for a delve: Location: Ruins (11 areas). Slay a stone demon formed when your clan defeated an elemental king. First is an obstacle.

We didn't always live here. We had a stone town, once, and then the king of stone, Troels, came one day.

referring to Procedures for my table of difficult spirits: unhelpfully helpful, harms food or livestock

The old lord made a deal with a king of rock to raise up a great and beautiful hall. But the king kept going and turned farmland into stone, and they had to slay the elemental king. The king was killed, but dangerous things still lurk in the halls.

The first obstacle is that the place has been infested with spiders. Giant, hungry spiders. Noi scavenges for something dry and flammable: some dead moss, some pitch from a tree, and attaches it to an arrow. Burn the whole nest from a safe distance.

roll a 13. What goes wrong? Is it an immediate problem or a later problem? Rolling "favour or solo", with "favour" meaning a later problem: get "complication".

So the spiders are gone, but Noi burned themselves in the process (6/9 resilience now!). Flaming arrows sound cool in theory, but are hard in practice. But the spiders are gone.

Dungeon size now 10. I'm going to houserule and put in some options here. Left, right or forward. To the left: conflict. Forward: conflict. Right: mystery.

Entering through the long spidery tunnel, Noi emerges in a courtyard. A hole in the wall to the right leads to a - lush forest? To the left is a building where inside I can hear some ominous loud crashing noises (troll tearing chunks out of the walls). Forward, a Rock Troll dozes next to a corpse in a shallow grave in a large courtyard. Maybe I can dispatch it in its sleep.

backstab, with advantage cause it's asleep: success! A 3. 5 damage. So it's at 1/4 with armor: thoroughly awake now, though.

Noi manages to successfully land an almost fatal blow - but the troll's hide is thick, and it's awake. It takes a swipe with its claws. (Noi now has 5/9 resilience.) Noi stabs again, but the troll's armor is still too thick, and the troll swipes again (Noi now at 4/9). Noi misses, gets hit again (now at 1/9), misses again, dashes away from the troll (1 fatigue), then finally lands a fatal blow. That did not go well! Noi takes a sip of mead (1/2)

Oops I forgot about enemy actions. Dungeon size is now 9.

The sounds in the first building don't sound good, so Noi decides to continue. To the left the building continues with ominous loud crashing noises. To the right is a doorway into a building with an obvious rock trap (d10 damage). Ahead my exact double shrieks and runs away. Ok, that's weird, but at least it's running away. (dungeon size 8).

Around the corner from the building with the loud noises, there's an empty courtyard (fox sniffs at rock and flees) and then a wall. Noi takes a moment to rest (dungeon size 7). There are only really two options to proceed: a large building at the end of the courtyard, and the smaller building with traps. Is there another way into the small building? Yes - favour with complication. (rune: jotunn.) There's a window, but very high. Let's see if I can climb in.

Nope! How badly does it go? Favour with complication. I see something inside but take damage. (7/9 res). What's inside? Mystery - hoof prints seared into stone. But I haven't made progress, so my only option is to go into the building.

A big hall. An old man in a broad hat smoking a pipe greets me. Where did he come from? He seems confused. He speaks in a language like mine, but very old-fashioned. "How goes the war?" he says. "It goes well," Noi says, a bad liar, but against all odds he seems to believe them. "I slew a great troll out in the courtyard," they continue. "Ah yes! he says. With brave warriors like yourself, we will surely defeat Troels."

Dungeon size 6

The door in front is locked, but the halls continue to the left and to the right. At the end of the one hall, you can see 2 figures in robes performing some kind of ritual. At the other end, 4 figures in robes. Well, the choice is obvious. Getting out their bow, Noi tries to sneak towards them and get a good shot. No such luck - the cultists spot Noi, and are rushing towards them. Firing off a volley (1 fatigue) but miss. The cultists circle around and try to feint but Noi sees through it, though still gets hit (4/9 res). Dropping the bow and pulling out hunting knives, Noi takes advantage of their misstep to slip past them and backstab one (1/6). They try to feint again and this time succeed, but miss the hit, and Noi again tries to backstab - missing - and then they miss again - and then Noi backstabs the other (1/6, 1/6). They attack again, catching the seax on Noi's armor, Noi misses, falls for the feint again (1/9 damage), but manages to fell the one. The last one hits and again catches on the armour and Noi manages to dispatch it.

Dungeon size 5.

Time for some more mead I guess, and retrieving the bow. What else is down the hall? A dwarf examining the hallway. Dwarves are strong. Maybe time to clear the other cultists.

Noi sneaks close and throws the fire oil at the 4 cultists (5/6, 0/6, 2/6, 0/6). They then rush them with the seax, but miss, due to being on fire. Noi is also having trouble with the fire thoguh and misses. Furious, they land a solid blow (4/9). They trade attacks, then Noi gets a chance to dodge back, getting the least bad of the blow (fatigue) but badly hurt (1/9). Getting out their bow, they will try a volley (fatigue) and miss. Miraculously, the armour saves them before dropping their bow again, getting out their seax, and killing one of the cultists. The other cultist misses and they dispatch them too.

Dungeon size 4. 1/9 RES. 2 fatigue. No more oil.

Continuing down the cultist side, they see a big troll. Ok, they are in a bad place and probably won't be able to fight either. Can they do anything about the door?

Favour with complication - surrender

The door was stuck before, but looking closely, there are runes of peace. Ok, here goes nothing. They put down their weapons on the ground and lift the door. It works - nothing but rats, and stairs down. But when they go to pick up their weapons, the door closes. (dungeon size 3)

Ok first, let's scout to the base of the stairs. What's there? Stairs leading up - maybe another entrance. And then a path to the left and right. To the left, a dwarf stands guard in front of a door. To the right, a lot of debris. Ok, let's try clearing the debris. It's hard and slow going, and Noi hears footsteps. Retreating, Noi makes it back up the stairs - but now the dwarf is standing at the bottom. Noi picks up their weapons. Ok, one last chance.

Volley (3 fatigue now). Two good hits (4/10 res on the dwarf). The seal on the door shatters (because I forgot about this and had to retcon). If the dwarf were wise, she'd stay downstairs - and she does. Just out of sight. How quiet can Noi be? Very quiet - and get off a backstab with advantage. And that's all that was needed.

Dungeon size 2

Beyond the dwarf is the forest. (Dungeon size 1). Maybe this is it. Oops, Noi is back at the start. (setback +1) But the way is clear. Let's clear the other way.

I'm going to houserule it because as I read it, if you get a setback you're likely to keep getting sebacks and then it's impossible to succeed. Actually I want this to just be where we end. For the final room, I'll pull out some other oracles: I'll try Perplexing Ruins'. Got: decayed, ritual, veiled.

Clearing the debris, Noi finds themselves in front of a large temple, ornate and also crumbling. A thick fog, waist-high, surrounds the place. At the top, enthroned, is a great stone demon. It stands and drags a giant club. Noi shoots a volley of arrows (4 fatigue) and misses as it runs forward and stomps on the ground hard, but it has been some time, and Noi is still some distance away. Another volley hits hard (4/9 RES on it) and then a club swings forward. Noi dashes back (5 fatigue) but takes 3 damage (9/10 STR) and fails the critical damage save - dying and waking up back at the town bonfire. Dead, but with a map.

Try 2

Ok, since this is not time sensitive Noi finds a skald in the village and regains vigour. I'm also going to say that the state of physical objects remains: consumables stay consumed, but physical obstacles cleared stay cleared, otherwise I'll get bored.

Heading out: Noi goes past the now cleared spiders and decides to try sneaking past the sleeping troll. And succeeds! Then, past the other buildings, into the hallway. Open the door, fire an arrow for the dwarf to investigate. But nothing happens. Fires another arrow. And then the dwarf attacks from behind, having snuck around through the tree portal. But only one damage (8/9 RES). Noi knows to drink mead after this, so: attack with lacerate (1 fatigue). Misses. Dwarf hits (6/9 RES). Try lacerate again (2 fatigue), it works: (6/10 RES on the dwarf), 2 bleed damage for 2 turns. It attacks: (2/9 RES, 2 fatigue on Noi, dwarf down to 4/10 damage, 1 turn bleed). Noi attacks: 4 damage. Dwarf is dead. Drink mead, back to full.

Oh I just remembered that you don't roll to attack. So uh from now on it's more correct.

Noi goes back through the trees to bypass the door. Should have just done this to begin with. Then onto the main boss.

First up: volley. Two good hits (fatigue: 1 stone demon: 3/9). It stands up and pounds the ground so that it shakes, but Noi shrugs it off. Volley (fatigue: 2) and finishes off the stone demon. Wow, that was easier with the correct rules. Return with one soul and I'll say some kind of treasure: a sacrificial bundle and an appropriate relic I will invent. Staff of the stone god: Charges: 3. May reshape a 5x5x5 foot cube of stone over the course of 10 minutes. To recharge: hide from the light for a week.

Will update dex to 11 using the soul fragment.


Written April 23 2022