This solo playthrough of Tannic was something I did back in June, before running it for a group of people. The way it went when the group played it was quite different. This was my first time running a game solo before playing it for other people and I enjoyed it, it helped me wrap my head around the adventure better. I'm not sure I'd do it every time though - finding an uninterrputed block of time to play solo is almost as hard as scheduling a game, I find, and I like to play all at once.

Three adventurers.

Biwin, statuesque, ambitious and greedy, a gambler. He won a sword, once, and his fancy foreign-looking clothes. 20 years old.

Ezui, brawny and weathered skin, tolerant and deceitful. A carpenter. They have an axe. 17 years old. 16 years old.

Nain. Cautious and vengeful, curly hair, and despite her strength, looks flabby. A herbalist. She has a longbow and dagger, a helmet and armour. 16 years old.

The three of them are from a neighboring village, they came in for the festival. Ezui and Nain are apprentices but they have the week off. Ezui and Nain are dating, and Biwin is Ezui's cousin.

As they walk down, they talk about things they've heard.

"I heard that there is a skeleton impaled on a tree imploring people politely for aid", says Nain.

"Psh," says Biwin. "They've been saying the forest is haunted for years. That's why people go on the Tannic Trek. But it's all stories."

"Sedib did say there's a mausoleum under the pines", says Ezui. "She said it's now broken open. She tried to look inside to find treasure but got scared."

They arrive at the village of Tannic and see the log buildings freshly painted white for the festival. They head to the market first: Nain wants to have the turkey sandwiches, Ezui wans to have the fish stew, and Biwin wanders off to the inn. Nain buys a little commemorative carved trinket and awkwardly gifts it to Ezui. They stay the night in the inn. Biwin has a bit to drink and gambles a little but is on better behavior cause the younger two are around. He does win a bit of money.

The next day they arrive at the fstival.

Ezui really likes fish and wants to go check out the fish fry. However, they have a cat situation: the cats have mobbed the place and are stealing all the fish. Some people are cheering the cats on, and a local scrimshaw artist, among them, is drawing the cats stealing fish.

Nain runs off to go get catnip and try and distract them. Meanwhile, Ezui wades in and tries to catch the cats. They aren't very agile, but they do manage to grab the ringleader and lead it away. The scrimshaw artists and friends cheer. Nain does come back and manage to lure the rest away with catnim and Ezui gets their meal. Once they're done, the artist presents Ezui with a cartoonish drawing of them holding a cat with a dramatic facial expression.

Later, they wander over to the "mightiest in tannic" banner. It's a contest to see who can chop the most wood. Ezui has an axe with them and is after all a carpenter, they think they can win. Sadly, they do not. A local woodchopper is much better. He tells Ezui a story about hearing a harp in the woods and says with a wink that maybe a forest spirit blessed him.

Meanwhile, Biwin joins some of the guards playing dice. (I didn't roll this one, it fit too well). He's rolling pretty well, and then one of them accuses him of cheating. The conversation gets heated, but then Nain comes running. "There's a fire!" A group of traveling alchemists have started a fire. Biwin strides over and grabs a bucket and starts helping put it out. All is forgotten - kind of.

Towards the evening, an announcement is made by village elder Sigrid. Three youths, Flora, Osric and Astrid, have gone missing. They offer a reward to anyone who might go and find them.

The three of them discuss it this evening over drinks. Why not give it a try? Ezui and Nain want some money for when they set up on their journeyperson travels in a year or two. Biwin just wants money. Also, the guards are still a little unfriendly towards Biwin, it might be good to get out of town for a day or two. They head out the next day.

About 10 other people head out with them, most of them older. Ezui and Nain had done the camping trip a few years ago; it had been about twice as long for Biwin, and the route had changed. While the older people head north of the village, they take a more southerly route from the festival grounds.

The path is being blocked by a lizard person warrior poet. She has a sword and asks, "words or swords"?

"Words," says Nain. "Swords," says Biwin.

"Let's start with words. If you throw a white stone into a red sea, what will happen to it?"

"Uh it will turn red?"

"No! it will get wet. Ok, now swords."

"Uh can I change my mind?" says Biwin.

"No," she says. "But we'll just fight to first blood."

She's a much, much beter fighter than Biwin. She immediately draws blood, and clearly looks disappointed - she'd hoped for better rivals.

Despite all this, they make it to the campground first. Ezui finds a love letter from Osric to Astrid and reads it carefully, memorizing some of the phrases in case they decide to use it later. There are footprints leading east, but the rain has largely washed them away.

"Well, I guess we head east and hope for the best?" says Biwin.

They head east and fog rolls in. They hear ghosts, strumming harps and playing horns. Biwin falls entranced and starts walking as if in a dream. The other two start panicking a little, shaking him, but nothing can rouse him. Not knowing what else to do, they follow him south to a grove where they put on a concert. It is hours before Biwin comes to.

They see some burnt and crumbling huts across a bridge.

"Maybe this happened to them?" says Nain. "They could have gotten here and then gotten lost."

"Yeah, let's search the area," says Biwin.

They walk over to the buildings and see fire damanged structures with an intact furnance in the middle. There's well, and it still has clear fresh water. They all take a drink. Sudddnely, the ghost of Gustav springs up. "Hey kids, what's your business plan here?" he says.

"...what? Uh. We're looking for three kids, Osric, Astrid and Flora."

"And, what, are you making money?"

"Uh yes, there's a reward..."

"Now wouldn't it be more efficient to hire some villages to deal with this and then take the money? You need some business sense! Haha!"

"I think he's harmless," says Biwin. "I'll take a look around."

"Hmm, I'll listen to what he has to say," says Ezui, trying not to laugh.

"Now, do you know how to make some fast money? Collectible spoons! People love spoons..."

Biwin meanwhile tries to light the furnace. (fortune roll) He manages to get a bit of a fire going, and then... 4 bog iron constructs come to life. He hits one with a sword, and the other one hits him and sends him flying (took a scar, walloped. )

They decide to run.

They run until they find an undead skeletal warrior stuck to a tree, impaled by a spear. They stop short. "Told you so," says Nain.

"Uh, excuse me, if I may be so presumptuous as to ask you a favour, I would be deeply in your debt if you could free me from this tree."

"Uh, should we?" says Nain. "So far things have not gone well with haunted beings in these woods."

"Gustav was harmless," says Ezui.

"Well yeah, until those things came to life," ays Biwin.

"How do we know if he's a good guy or not? He sounds polite," says Ezui.

"That doesn't mean anything," says Biwin.

"Let's head back to town and hear what people there say," says Nain.

"Well, I'll still be here," says Sir Sigfried. "And I'll greatly appreciate your assistance whenever you can give it," he says, a bit sadly.

They head back, and pass by the warrior-poet and wave.

They hear that one of the other search parties haven't returned. The mood is more grim.

Biwin rests up. The next day he's in good spirits (gained 6 hp). Meanwhile, the other two talk to Hans and Sigrid.

"Freeing an undead skeleton seems risky," says Hans. "Well, it could just be that he has some unfinished business," says Sigrid. "And he may have seen the youths. I can't ask that you take the risk, but if you are willing to, I would be grateful. Most often the stories tell that travelers through the woods are rewarded for their kindness and generosity."

They head back to the skeleton and free him.

He bows dramatically. "I am forever in your debt. I am Sir Sigfried, Prince Sebastian's heart companion. I died trying to find the Prince after he was betrayed."

"The... who?" says Ezui.

"Prince Sebastian! He was deposed, and cruelly entombed alive. I sadly was not with him, and in coming to try and rescue him, I myself was killed. I am sure he must live on in some form, though, as I too remain after my death, bound to this world by my love for him. I must be destined to be reunited with him. I will set off now and search the woods for him, but let me give you his ring. If you find the prince, heat the ring with fire and I will be there."

"Have you seen three youth, Osric, Flora and Astrid?"

"Oh yes, but they had been entranced by some spirit and did not seem to see me. They headed east, towards the mausoleum, and never returned."

"Where is the mausoleum?"

"Head four hours due east. I will head there soon, but first I will scout out this land to see if there are any of his companions that similarly need rescuing."

And so they do, as Sigfried sets off.

They head to Gustav's Folly but keep a wide berth this time to avoid the rust monsters, heading south. They run into the lizard person poet again, who waves. They suggest that if she wants a hard fight, there are iron constructs to the north. "I only want to fight someone who can hold a sword," she says. "Monsters have no sense of chivalry."

Next off they head thorugh a grove with many flowers, each containing water. They smell amazing.

"I think it's a bad idea to drink the water," says Nain, but Biwin doesn't listen and drinks the water, and is suddenly filled with an alarming boldness.

The bog tomb

They find the mausoleum. There's a crack big enough for just one person at a time. Without even discussing it, Biwin charges in and the rest shrug and follow. Ezui lights a torch and holds an axe in the other hand. Biwin heedlessly spashes through the water and heads into the main chamber.

"We should search methodically," says Nain before Biwin charges off further.

The first side chamber has an open sarcophagus, and is filled with broken shards. (2a)

The next one, which Ezui looks in, has another skeleton, and a suit of armour that Ezui suddenly notices is shaking. They jump back with a muffled scream.

"What's the matter?" says Biwin. "Come on, there's nothing to be afraid of." He strides in and takes the helmet off and sees - Astrid.

"Oh hey, you're an alive person," he says.

"Uh.. I'm Astrid..."

"Oh, we were looking for you! Where are the other two?"

"There was music - they drank the water here and they heard music- they went deeper in - they didn't seem to be able to control themselves..."

"Don't worry, we'll go get them. How about you head outside, there's nothing there, just wait for us to come out."

"If we're more than like a few hours, go back to the village," says Ezui. "Go just straight west, but avoid the forge. And if you meet a lizard lady, the answer to her riddle is 'it gets wet.'"

Biwin casually takes a bejeweled metal bracelet from the skeleton, but it doesn't come to life. In chamber 2D, he hears noises, and flings the sarcophagus open - it's full of snakes. He stands there staring at them as Nain tries to pull him away, but he is big and heavy and gets bit before they can.

"You aren't yourself," says Nain. "Maybe you should wait with Astrid?" He just scoffs.

From the last chamber, he takes the snake dagger.

Next, they leave the chamber and, being consistent and methodical, head to the mortuary. There's a grate in the middle. Biwim lifts it and again, without discussion, heads down. "It's fine! Just a bit tight."

They arrive in the oubliette. Flora and Osric, wearing tattered and ancient clothes and bearing rusty weapons, stand in the water, speaking to Prince Sebastian who is strumming a harp. "Ah, yes, that was a glorious hunt, my lord! Truly that boar must have been posessed by some demon, but young Sir Sigfried..."

"Hey, Flora! Osric! Let's get out of here!" bellows Biwin.

Prince Sebstian says, "What rudeness! My companions here are having a lovely conversation with me. Who do you think you are, bursting in here and ordering people around?"

The two of them suddenly snap out of it as if in a dream, looking terrified. Biwin looks around - they are probably not making it back down the drain tunnel. He strides over to a wall that looks crumbling, and starts bashing away at it - though he is weak and doesn't make much progress.

"Uh, the water is rising, " says Nain. She puts down her bow and starts bashing away at it with a shovel she has and this time it crumples easily.

Meanwhile, the prince starts playing the harp again, and Flora and Osric are again entranced.

"The ring!" says Ezui, and takes it off, and starts heating it with the torch.

Meanwhile, Biwin strides over, grabs Flora and Osric, and tries to drag them out. He continues to not be strong enough though, and they refuse to go. He then strides towards Prince Sebastian and tries to drag the harp from his hands. He manages to stop him playing without being charmed by the harp himself.

Then Ser Sigfried appears. "My prince!" he shouts, and rushes towards him and they embrace. Biwin ends up awkwardly holding the harp, pauses for a moment, then drops it on the ground and stomps on it. He grabs Flora and Osric by the hand and they all rush out. They rush pash a shrine, ignore a door, and go outside to find Astrid.

A short time later, the effect of the flower water wears off, and Biwin returns to normal, a bit sheepish. "It was something in those flowers!" he said. "But it all worked out in the end. It seems like what we needed was bold and decisive -"

" - and foolish - " interjects Nain

"well, ok, foolish action."

They head back to town where they get 600 gold pieces, a rare relic called the Whaler's Lodestone, and spend the rest of the week celebrating. Ezui and Nain decide to save most of the money for the future, and Biwin manages to gamble most of it away in one weekend,

side note: I realized that I should have had them all save against the harp and it's not something that the prince needs to specifically decide to do. If that had happened they would have all been charmed except Biwin who would still have against all odds saved the day. I was using an old version of the pdf that I'd printed out, I see the latest one makes this more clear.

Posted Dec 3 2023. Written up June 4 2023.