Monday, 29 July 2013

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Roy Cram Jr.'s Mistywood was the last Tunnels & Trolls solo in the first bundle of Flying Buffalo editions I acquired. Well, the last in publication order. There were a couple of in there that I have yet to attempt on this blog even though they came out sooner, because they're for characters more advanced than I currently have. And given that I've only beaten two of the nineteen non-advanced level T&T solos I've played on this blog, I can see that it would be futile to try taking lower-level-than-recommended characters into the ones I've skipped for now.

Mistywood was also one of the adventures republished by Corgi, and the volume containing it was among the ones I found in the discount bookshop some months after getting the FB bundle. As I didn't yet have a copy of the solo which accompanied it in the book, I wound up buying it in spite of the duplication, though I paid more attention to the companion adventure, as that was new to me.

I have no memory of how my first attempt at Mistywood ended, but I'm sure it wasn't successful. Not least because I still have no idea exactly what I have to do in order to win. Indeed, there are only two elements of the plot that I remember at all, and I intend to evade one of them if I survive long enough to get the opportunity, as I don't anticipate getting through the combat element of the encounter in question alive.

At the start of the adventure, my character is a fugitive. Turns out that the arrogant fop against whom I had to defend myself with lethal force back in Kasar was the only son of the ruling tyrant, Duke Bronzo, who now wants me dead. Somehow that fight failed to net me any experience points, so my character's a straightforward
Strength: 16
Intelligence: 9
Luck: 12
Constitution: 11
Dexterity: 15
Charisma: 7
Speed: 11
Well, that Charisma score goes some way towards explaining why the young idiot started a fight with me, and the Strength and Dexterity help clarify how I was able to win despite having an inferior weapon (unusually, the background specifies that I was using a poniard, which is one of the more rubbish models of dagger (but also one of the few weapons that just about any character is certain to be able to use)).

Anyway, fatigue forced me to stop at an inn in the semi-abandoned village of Bumley (and no, the locals haven't been departing in order to find a home with a less ridicule-inviting name). During the night, hideous howling noises outside inspired bad dreams about being chased through a forest by a dog-faced monstrosity. Over breakfast, I'm asked by the innkeeper if I slept well, so I mention my bad night, and the first bit of the adventure I actually remember happens: the innkeeper explains that the noise which disturbed me was the Barghest, and after a 'comical' misunderstanding about the apparent rowdy conduct of his bar guests, he clarifies that the Barghest is a hellish hound summoned to torment the locals by a witch they executed on suspicion of being responsible for various mysterious fires and outbreaks of disease.

There's obviously more to the story, but I'm going to have to buy the innkeeper a drink if I want to hear the rest. No actual cost is mentioned (nor, for that matter, do I know what I'm supposed to have paid for the room - perhaps I traded in the experience points from the fight in Kasar), but I can probably get away with paying just a gold piece, what with the poor quality of the inn's fare and the impoverished nature of the village. I do so, and learn that on the night after the witch summoned the Barghest, the man who testified against her had his throat torn out, and something with large paws dug up the witch's grave and removed her remains. And since then, the Barghest has prowled the streets at night, hence the departure of a significant proportion of the population.

Realising that time is getting on, and my pursuers will be getting closer by the minute, I make a hurried departure. On my way to the stable I notice two horses hitched to a post, but my character's not smart enough to deduce anything from this, and just heads on into the stable, where a reception committee is waiting. I'd have a reasonable chance against one of the Duke's men, but together they outclass me just that bit too much, and in a comparatively lengthy battle, the fighters eventually wear me down and kill me. The text encouragingly notes that anyone who fails to survive the fight was 'too weak for this adventure anyway'. So maybe the back should have specified some minimum stats as well as the maximum to be allowed to play, and then I could have put this adventure on hold until I had someone who could handle it, eh?

1 comment:

  1. Has there been a T&T solo yet that didn't have horrendously overpowered enemies?