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Edelweiss, Candle, and Anson encounter details

I really want to fuzz over this one and make it as brief as possible. This is unlikely to happen, as not only is the encounter quite long, the dice rolls and game decisions, and all the other behind the scenes stuff is kind of complicated.

Some background information on how and where I wrote this:

I’ve mentioned on my blog before that my regular keyboard experienced battery death. This forced me to find another bit of hardware to write with. My Alphasmart had several drawbacks, the final of which kept me from writing for days. Sometimes I just don’t want to use a particular device I own. I blogged about this before, and it’s kind of boring.

The real point is that using the Alphasmart meant that I could keep two files on the same machine and flip between them. One for the encounter, and the other for the dice rolls I had to keep track of.

Things didn’t start to get really complicated until I got up today, finally transferred all of my text to my PC, and got into writing the rest.

First dice roll was for Edelweiss, a Perception 2 + Wits 2 check to anticipate the arm, which I made Difficult because the room was smoky and she wasn’t paying attention. 1 success each on black and white, which comes out to 0.

After she won a Strength check to push him away, combat began. Neither had a ready weapon, so they each had -3 to Initiative, and -2 to their combat dice pools.

With their initiative crippled like that, it was kind of interesting. Edelweiss had 3 dice, and Jimmy only 2 (in fact, he didn’t get his name until rather later), and they kept on tying for initiative. I don’t really like the game’s tie solution, which is stat-based, so I just re-rolled until someone won. It was Edelweis, with 2 successes to the pirate’s 0. The way that PC and NPC stats work, there’s really no way that the solution in the book is fair.

Edelweiss’s combat roll was Swordplay 4 + Dex 2 + Initiative Bonus 2 – Unready 2, for a pool of 6. She gained 3 successes, while Jimmy only rolled 1.

And oh, our Edelweiss is just that kind of girl. With her degree of success 2 + Collapsible Sword 4 + Strength 3, she rolled 6 successes. Jimmy’s health points were wiped out.

But wait! The fight’s not over. Jimmy rolled a Fortitude + Resolve save (Physical 3 + Mental 2 for the NPC pirate) and succeeded. So he remained conscious and the fight would continue.

Candle stuck his nose in and combat widened. I actually finished rolling Edelweiss/Jimmy combat first, because I had all the numbers in front of me, and went back and wrote everything all in order.

No unready penalties for anyone this time around. Candle won initiative while Pirates 1 and 2 tied. They are statistically sameoids, so I just had them go in number order. We see the return of our old friend the Outnumbered penalty, with 3 black dice for Candle. But, he also decided to attack both of the pirates, so he had to halve his dice pool. Not too much to worry about, I thought. He has Firearms and Dexterity each at 4, plus 2 for winning initiative. That gave him a pool of 5 per pirate–but 3 black dice for each roll as well.

Against Pirate 1, he rolled a success each on the black and white dice. I hate those. 0 successes. But against Pirate 2, he rolled 3 successes on white and none on black. Pirate 1 rolled 2 successes, and Pirate 2 rolled 3 successes.

So, Pirate 1 got to hit. Pirate 2 tied with Candle, but because Candle won initiative, he won the round. However, he could roll weapon damage only. Weapon damage for Candle’s Heat Ray (steam) is 10 dice. Cue my grin.

With his Degree of Success 2 + Cutlass 7 + Physical 3, Pirate 1 ended up with a dice pool of 12, and he whomped Candle. 5 points of damage, and it could have been so much worse.

Left with one pip of health, Candle rolled damage for Pirate 2. Here, I kind of just want to cut and past my notes. (Keep in mind, all three pirates–Jimmy, 1, and 2–have 6 health points)

Candle
(Weapon damage only) Heat Ray (steam) 10
7 successes

Pirate 2, we hardly knew ye. Fortitude + Resolve roll, or shine on, you crazy diamond.

2 successes. You live.

Technically, I’m not sure at what part of the turn characters who are into their grey dice should be making saving rolls, but I liked the drama of doing it right then, and he was going to have to make one soon anyway.

Back up to Edelweiss and Jimmy. I knew he didn’t stand a chance, but he’s just so plucky. I wondered if she would really murder him or not. They both chose to slash at each other with swords–his a cutlass, hers the collapsible sword–and rolled initiative.

This time, they had no penalties–except for Jimmy’s -2, thanks to being in his grey dice. However, that does not affect his initiative. And if it does, too bad, because I didn’t roll it that way. Even if I had done, he could hardly have done worse. Edelweiss rolled 3 successes, and Jimmy rolled 0.

For combat, they both rolled their Swordplay skills and Dexterity. Edelweiss had the initiative bonus, and Jimmy had the “Oh I’m dyin’ here” penalty. Even so, it was a close thing. Edelweiss only rolled 1 success, but Jimmy didn’t roll any.

Edelweiss’s damage roll was Degree of Success 1 + Collapsible Sword 4 + Strength 3 = pool 8. I thought that would be it for Jimmy.

But she only rolled 3 successes. A pretty heavy toll to take, but he wasn’t dead yet. And he made his saving roll.

All of this not-dying earned him a graphic.

I was starting to wind down, and it was about time Anson came in, so after the saving rolls were taken care of, I had Anson roll a Difficult Empathy 4 + Presence 2 check. No successes on the black dice, but 2 on the white. No one was impressed, but he did make everyone stop goading the fight.

I did actually make a few healing rolls, but doing it made me realise just how pointless they were at this stage of the encounter. It was technically over, so I just wrapped it up and awarded Candle 2 experience points for being awesome. I think at the end of this round of encounters, I’ll give everyone 1 fate, which I’m sure at least one of them will exchange for experience. We’ve got at least two or three trying to improve their attributes.

Anson didn’t really get to do anything, but maybe I can accept this as a good place to set up whatever happens next.

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PaPW – Good Old Fashioned Pub Rumble

Edelweiss sat in a corner of the Rusty Arms, contemplating a drink. In the most literal sense. She was not the only patron bearing arms. However, judging by the density and reach of the smoke, she was the only one without tobacco.

She reached up and grabbed a fistful. It remained in her hand for nearly a full second before dissipating.

“Well what have we here?”

It was not the first time she had heard some iteration of an opening line. “I am not human. Nor am I inexpensive.”

A heavy arm dropped down as if from the smoke, latching about her shoulders. “Then it’s a good thing I had a string of lucky spreads.”

“Spreads.” It was a question, but only the way that Edelweiss asked it.

“Oh, bless. Must be a new model, not knowing Port of Call.” He squeezed her, which was unpleasant. His breath smelled worse than his body, and the competition was quite fierce.

Edelweiss pushed him away. “It matters not. I am engaged.”

“To what? A steamclock?” The man guffawed at his own ill-informed humour. “Come with me, honey. Old Jimmy’ll pay twice what your john’s shilling out.”

Speaking to this man was only worsening the situation. Edelweiss stood up.

He started to reach for his weapon, but Edelweiss was not about to be taken by surprise. She grabbed at her belt and drew a collapsible sword.

It folded out to deadly form seconds before the accoster had drawn his own sword. His eyes could barely follow the speed with which she struck. The blade sliced through the smoke, carving a deadly trail that ended in the man’s belly.

He stared down at it in dismayed surprise. “That ain’t friendly…” he said, choking on the last word. He dropped to one knee, but did not let go of his cutlass.

A thrill of anticipation and respect whirred through Edelweiss’s gears. Those eyes. A wound like that had all but killed him, but he wanted to go on. She eased into a more flexible stance, half-forgetting where they were. A real fight. This wasn’t sparring, or a desperate feat. This pirate had stopped seeing a whore, and was looking at a hand with a sword. She could feel it in his gaze, that he was looking over her stance now, not her hips.

Gravelly voices raised in protest and appreciation. Some cheered, but they were hushed up as men began to circle round them, like fast-moving clouds. Two men helped the first to his feet, but he pushed them away.

“First time I’ve seen such a lovely in this kind of distress.”

Another man had entered the circle, although this one had come to her side of it. She sized him up. “This is not a show,” she warned him. “Never mind what they are chanting.” She indicated the crowded pub-goers with a jerk of her head.

“It’s never a show.” The man, youthful in appearance, had large eyes only slightly hidden by his wild rust-coloured hair. He held up a device, similar to a steampistol, but slightly more complex, with a lens in the wide muzzle. “By the way, I’m Candle,” he said.

There was something about his smile that invited a mirrored answer. “Edelweiss.”

Old Jimmy’s friends were casting dirty looks their way. “Now that we’re friends,” Candle said, “I think local tradition demands we spill someone else’s blood in celebration.”

It was a stupid joke, but Old Jimmy was already heading back to cross blades. Edelweiss started to calculate how the battle would go against two opponents, when Candle leaped ahead to position himself by Jimmy’s friends.

Chivalry was  such an interesting concept, she thought.

Jimmy was staggering, but he held his cutlass upright. “I prefer a good horizontal dance to battle,” he said, then coughed. “But I wonder who made you capable of both.”

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Candle fire at both of the other men. Two blasts of heated air boiled towards his targets. His first shot went wide, allowing the skinnier pirate to strike at Candle’s leg. But his second shot hit home just before the other pirate could clip his knees. The chubbier pirate screamed and tore at his shirt. The cloth burnt away, revealing the blistered, bubbling skin beneath.

Horrified gasps mixed with the general roar of appreciation.

Old Jimmy didn’t seem to notice or care. He remained fixed on Edelweiss, wearing a determined smile that was marred only slightly by the trail of blood glistening on the corner of his mouth. But he made a game attempt at a swing.

Edelweiss sidestepped it, but she hardly needed to. It was a shame that a man with such gumption did not have the skill to match. She slashed at his front, tearing more clothing than skin.

Although he remained standing, his breathing became ragged, and the blood that had soaked his clothes was beginning to drip. “You just might be… a bit too much for me,” he said with an embarrassed chuckle.

“Now hold on!”

Everyone in the pub turned to see who had shouted.

With her superior vision, Edelweiss could cut through the smoke to see a thin man standing on a chair. He was dressed well, but not too well, and he was holding a black bag in front of him, like a parish priest clutching a bible. Perhaps he was handsome, but he did not seem a capable fighter.

“This quarrel should be allowed to die off without two of its participants doing the same,” the man said, head held high. He cleared his throat, then added, “The most exciting bit is over. Let them seek medical attention.”

The crowd murmured, but began to disperse among the tables. Some of the patrons left altogether. Jimmy laughed, then hunched his shoulders when it became a hacking cough. In a moment, the weedy man was by his side, still clutching the black bag.

“You are an impressive young woman,” he said quietly. “But you might consider learning some restraint.”

“Oh, don’t ruin her,” Jimmy gasped. “I ain’t dead, am I?” He waved his friends away, giving some instruction to have the chubby pirate taken to hospital. “No offence, doc.”

Candle cut short any possible response by hauling himself over. “I’m not picky.”

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More about Candle

One thing I forgot to do in the encounter recap that was actually the reason that I summarised the way that I did. I wrote the entire thing on my tablet, using the Worpress app. It is not a horrible app, but it needs some things. Chiefly, a wordcounter. THERE EXISTS NO (WORTHWHILE) APP WITH A WORDCOUNTER. No, don’t link me to My Writing Spot. If you do, then you clearly have never seen it on a tablet. It’s got phone resolution. On a tablet. And no manual save. Go write in it yourself, I prefer apps that work.

Anyway. Rant aside. Another problem with starting a draft on the wordpress app is that it automatically becomes a “local” draft if you don’t choose to publish it from there. Local is jargon for “crap”. I cannot edit it anywhere else, even with an internet connection. So if I want to work on my local effing draft on a something with a keyboard that doesn’t occasionally hate me, I have to publish the post and then run to my PC to make it a draft again. Hurray.

I decided to try uploading it as a Private post, to avoid the awkward middle period and the one or two people who get updates in one way or another that I don’t directly control. But when I went to open it in Firefox, I got a corrupted WordPress Dashboard. The kitchen sink and its more basic side is (not was, still IS) gone. The text I took three days to write was literally invisible. I thought the post had gotten eaten.

Cue moment of panic.

Clicking anything did nothing. The page just jumped if I tried to edit the status or visibility, the radio buttons did not work, and my text was INVISIBLE. Then, to make it worse, somehow my tablet’s wifi turned itself off, so when I went to try and edit the local draft on the device I used to write it. I didn’t realise this until I thought I was just unable to get to my post in any way.

Then it all kind of slid into place. I realised the wifi was off, found my text. I selected my invisible text to make it visible by accident, and realised that the dashboard was just broken. It works fine in Chrome. So I’m using that until a miracle happens.

That took place. Other stuff about Candle that just… He is so broken. I  made him very poorly. There was also a discrepancy in his character sheet as it was printed, and in the digital file. It shouldn’t matter much, because I’ve not exactly posted any character sheets. Still, he had to undergo significant change.

I removed Intimidate from his skillset so that he could keep Seduction, a skill which I had apparently removed for Craft (Tailoring) because of something he’ll have to do later. Couldn’t exactly let him go on not having a Specialty Skill that I had him use already. My fault not remembering and not having my stuff on hand.

End result: Minor, if significant stat changes. Intimidate is now 0, Seduction is 2, Craft( Tailoring) is 2, and the orphan point went into General Knowledge because it’s an overlooked skill and why not.

I thought of fixing his attributes, then decided against it. He can struggle and save his experience to improve. It may make things more interesting. The fact that he kept drinking because of low resolve, but not getting drunk because of luck really made the boring rolls more fun.

Fun and normal changes to his sheet are the contacts (Belinda and the mysterious blonde man), and the addition of his earnings minus expenses to his starter money.

Hopefully, other encounters will not require this kind of addendum. But at least it was an addendum instead of a 2000 word post.

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Candlewick encounter details

Listening to: Alex Goot

This one I may do a little differently. Most of the dice rolls were the same, and the behind the scenes stuff that’s probably the most interesting are the technical problems and multiple places I had to try and write the bloody thing.

First of all, as I mentioned yesterday, I started it but didn’t work terrifically hard as it was the end of my weekend and I didn’t want to spend it isolating myself and rolling dice. I did write a bit while watching Harry Potter, but mostly because I just do things like that. I also wrote some at the kids’ house, and then a bit more at our house while Thing 2 and I hung out watching Duck Tales.

Because most of the encounters have had combat rolls, this time I wanted to use a system I haven’t used yet–the drinking system. Every time a character drinks, they must make an Easy Fortitude roll. (In Candle’s case, 1 plus the Easy bonus 5) They also get 1-3 black dice according to the strength of the alcohol they are consuming. (At first, Candle was at 1 die for beer, and then 2 for the “stronger stuff”) If they get less than two successes, they move to the next level of drunkenness.

At the first level, Tipsy, which was the only one that Candle reached, he had to make a Resolve (1) roll to resist taking another drink, with black dice equal to his level of drunkenness (1). He never managed any successes on that, which makes me wonder if he should save experience (when he starts earning it) for an additional Resolve point.

It’s very easy to tell how the rolls went, and it honestly started to feel a little tedious after a while. He tended not to roll poorly, and I had already discussed with Dither that the drinking table needed a little extra depth, so he received an extra black die for every other consecutive drink.

I could list each success and failure, but it’s so unremarkable and slow that I’m going to just skip it. It’s obvious when each roll was necessary and what each outcome was from reading the narrative.

One interesting thing from the drunk table is that I set the Woman (random stats NPC, my make) at the second level, Merry. This means that she had to make her own Reserve roll to resist laughing at everything said to her. I kind of like that she failed consistently. However, she did manage to resist taking a drink, so cheers.

Another thing I wanted to use was the Seduction skill. I wanted to do it more in depth, but it was already running long, and I felt awkward going on so much longer for Candle. When he said his smooth line, he rolled Seduction 2 + Presence 1. I decided on Average difficulty because she’s drunk and interested in company, but not easy. Two successes, and she was his for a night.

The original idea was for Candle to get drunk and sleep with someone, get paid for it, and decide that prostitution might be a better way to pay the bills. But when I started writing the beginning, I fell upon some inner turmoil and ended up playing it up to comedic effect, in an idea that I’m pretty sure was either mostly or all my husband’s idea. <3 I think I may have come up with the order of lovers, but it was his idea to just “conquer” both.

My week looks to be a bit lighter than I expected, but I may take a bit of time off from writing this as well. I have half of the party’s intros done, and it may be nice to spend time reading, gaming, or if I do work on PaPW more, then making a separate blog. They’ve stopped me being lazy on this regular blog, but I feel weird mashing several posts when I feel like writing about other things.

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PaPW – Candlewick

Every pub in the world had atmosphere. But the Rusty Arms had nuance. If there hadn’t been so many drunk morons weighing her down, she could have flown away.

Candlewick Reed stood under the sign, contemplating the esoteric symbol beside the name. It fit his own thoughts. The hermaphroditic sign that could not decide one way or another.

It had been named by the original owner, a man keen on robotics. The man had crashed and burned as an inventor, then had apparently gone acceptably crazy and stuck giant robot arms on either side to make a unique-looking pub.

The symbol, a distaff and spear drawn from the same circle, was meant to show that the owner and his wife had equal partnership. The current owner, their oldest son Andrew, was unmarried, but claimed he would carry on the tradition when the time came.

Most pub-goers didn’t know or care. But Candle needed to know. The more trivia living in his mind, the less real thinking he could do.

He shrugged his way inside and headed straight for a lonely spot at the bar.

“The usual.”

Second Son Damon was working the bar. He tended to be more liberal than his siblings. At least in the application of alcohol. He snagged a mug with one finger, twirled it to stop under the tap. Beer hissed up to a line barely contained by surface tension.

Destined to spill immediately, Candle eyed the mug. A dramatic quaff would be fun, but it would leave him sticky and unsociable. He sipped delicately at the brim of the mug until the beer level was low enough to prevent the floor becoming his inadvertent drinking buddy.

Before he’d even set it down, Damon had whipped out a bar rag. “Drowning sorrows?”

“This much beer will drown me first,” Candle said. “My sorrows are taller than me.” Even after draining a second pint, his head was too clear. He tilted the mug to stare at the glistening bottom. “Got anything stronger?”

Without a word, Damon turned around and retrieved a bottle from the shelves behind the bar. He set a shot glass and poured with his usual generosity.

Candle knocked it back without examining–or smelling–it too closely. The taste hit him like an elbow in the nose. He nearly gagged instead of swallowing, but he managed to overcome the reflex. The liquid burned as it travelled down his throat. He made a face to avoid coughing.

“Family recipe,” Damon said, laughing with his eyes.

“Fantastic. Gimme another.”

Damon obliged. The drink’s second attempt to overwhelm Candle was not quite so powerful, but he didn’t mind. His head felt as though it were made of warm, fluffy fabric, and everyone in the bar looked lovely.

Particularly in the corners. Blondes were not his usual style, but some people wore it better than others. Candle leaned over the bar, relying on peripheral vision. Tall, broad, and brooding like a legend. A man like that needed someone who listened.

But not in a place like the Rusty Arms. Candle gave himself an exasperated shake. There was another blonde, one not hiding in a corner. She was flushed and, if her build was any indication, generous. She laughed as her companion, another young woman, spoke animatedly.

Candle felt his gaze wander between the two blondes. He tapped the bar absentmindedly, and Damon re-filled the shotglass. It still burned, but Candle was too distracted to react as strongly as before.

The woman’s companion left her to approach a cluster of men, giggling the whole way. Candle swept in to take her place.

She looked up at him in cheerful confusion. “Are you real?”

“I just might be.”

Her loud laughter startled him, but he noticed that she ignored her drink. She rested her chin in her hands. “Then maybe I shouldn’t be alone with you.”

He flashed her his most charming smile. “Or maybe that’s exactly why you should be.”

Thick black lashes held a screen over her painfully blue eyes as she laughed again. It was a huskier laugh than before. Not as loud or high in pitch. Candle focused on her face, still not quite drunk enough to stop thinking.

Her name was Belinda. Probably not her real name, but everything else about her was real.

Candle woke up slowly, like molasses coming to life. An arm was draped over his chest, so warm that his skin was beginning to feel sticky.

He reached under the blanket to shift the arm, then froze. Belinda’s arm would have been smooth, limber but light. This arm was hairy and muscled to the point of local envy. But the head on the pillow beside his was just as brilliantly blonde.

His groan woke the other man.

Before Candle could say anything, he found himself on the receiving end of a blinding smile and holding a well-worn dollar. He had only just managed to make an offended noise after the man had been gone for five minutes.

A disjointed curse bubbled almost literally out of Candle’s mouth, but he recognised the room he was in. One of the “guest” rooms of the Rusty Arm’s neighbour, the Open Arms. Along with everything he’d had to drink, the room would cost at least ten pennies.

As he handed over his ill-won dollar to the sultry woman in what could only be called the Lobby, she winked at him. “You’re popular for a newbie.” She handed him a white envelope.

Inside were three dollars and a note from Belinda asking to meet again at a specific time. Lipstick marks and all.

Once outside, Candle practically ran home. This required a bit of thought.