I added in a mechanic to negotiate with a foe (and possibly recruit them) and to sneak past a foe to avoid any confrontation.
#7 Victorious Vanja
Meet Vanja, a farmer trained by a beggar, equipped with old knives and a lot of Luck. She heard a rumor about the Emerald Dagger of Vile Venom, and had to fend off a rabid dog to escape the tavern. Then she geared up and headed out.
At a crumbling aqueduct, she was accosted by a blind bandit. She convinced him to let her pass, but he needed to prove to his boss that he was doing his job, so she let him stab her a little to bloody his knife.
At a holy shrine, she found four diseased sailors praying for healing. She tried to be friendly, but in their sea-madness they attacked her! Vanja called out to the saint of the shrine to help her, and a ghostly sea captain appeared to help her subdue the sickly sailors. She took a well-made cloak from one of them and carried on.
She arrived at the hidden stone door of the Villain’s tower, which was guarded by a black unicorn. Hoping to gain its help, she spoke to it. It agreed to show her the secret door, but only if she gave up her new cloak so it could clean its hooves.
Inside the tower, Vanja found a winged albino lion prowling the cellars. She begged the lion for help, and the winged beast agreed to be her mount! Then Vanja confronted the decrepit lich that ruled the tower and possessed the Emerald Dagger. Her initial ambush failed, and the lich’s plague magic wounded her and destroyed her rations. But with the lion’s help, Vanja called upon the power of an earth elemental to thrash the lich, and then she set a series of traps to snare and impale the lich to death. Victory!
She returned to the city, where she found that the Emerald Dagger was genuine and enchanted. A priceless magical relic! (Vanja is the first adventurer to get this Best Ending.)
Notes: The mechanics to negotiate and recruit foes seem to work well. The fail-state for both is to enter combat. If you want to fight everything, you can. But you also have these alternatives. I also created more options for Plunder (2d6), which seems right for this little game. We’re still at about 15 pages.
#8 Fortunate Fiore
Meet Fiore, a fisher trained by a hunter, good with a spear. He heard a song about the Bronze Spear of Blinding Thunderbolts, knocked out a guard, and set off for adventure with a hired mercenary.
While crossing a foul trash knoll outside the city, Fiore encountered an occultist digging for trinkets. Fiore convinced the occultist to join his expedition as a high level ally [+2]!
As they crossed the burning sand dunes, they met five starving sailors who were wrecked on a nearby shore. Fiore tried to parley with them, but they were desperate for rations and attacked. Fiore defeated them, but lost his hired mercenary in the battle. But he did find a Chaos ring on one of them!
At the dark tower, Fiore and the occultist climbed a rotting bone stair guarded by a living marble statue. The occultist helped Fiore convince the statue to let them go inside, and the statue revealed a secret about the villain’s servants. In the dim passageways of the tower, they found the villain’s thrall, a swift-moving demon sorcerer, but using the statue’s secret information about the thrall’s habits and movements, they avoided a confrontation.
Then Fiore and the occultist confronted the villain, the Ruby-Eyed King armed with a deadly maul. The battle began poorly, costing Fiore several wounds (and a lost camel), but then he summoned the ghost of his grandfather to deal a devastating blow. And with the occultist’s help (and the Chaos ring), he slew the king and found the fabled Spear of Thunderbolts. They returned home and learned that the spear had no power, but was worth a month’s wages. Huzzah!
Notes: This was a great game! Being able to recruit foes as allies, sneaking past confrontations, having dynamic weird battles. Aces! I’m going to get rid of the mounts (bye bye, camels and gilasaurs) and just have allies. But otherwise, I think this game is super close to complete.
Question for you – As someone reading these playtests, is this sounding like a fun game? It’s basically a sword-and-sorcery version of Solitaire. It takes about 30 minutes to play. You probably have a better-than-average chance of winning each game, but the chance to lose (die) is very real. And I find it fun to roll the dice and then imagine how the results would manifest in a written short story (or movie!).