Tuesday, 29 August 2017

There's a Time and There's a Place Where I Can Choose

The second Tunnels & Trolls mini-adventure to appear in Sorcerer's Apprentice and be reprinted in the Compendium is Ken St. Andre's Seven Ayes, which was originally published in issue 2. The introduction indicates that it's part of the same world as the author's Deathtrap Equalizer Dungeon (though the the intro's omission of the second 't' in the title suggests a rather different type of challenge from what might actually be encountered in that adventure) and Naked Doom, and is best suited for a freshly-created Warrior, of any humanoid variety other than Fairy or Giant. There is the option of bringing in a pre-existing character, but as none of the Warriors I've created in the course of this blog are still alive, I shan't be finding out what happens if I try doing that.

Creating a new character requires me to roll a die before I start, and that roll takes me to a section which announces that I'm going to have to generate a Dwarf. A better-than-average Dwarf, in fact, as the text indicates that in addition to the standard bonuses on Strength and Constitution, I get extra Luck and don't appear to be affected by the usual Charisma penalty. That means I end up as:
Strength 30
Intelligence 14
Luck 12
Constitution 24
Dexterity 10
Charisma 6 (even without the penalty, I'm ugly)
Speed 13
I also start out with a pickaxe and a dagger (but no armour) and some money.

The section to which I must turn once I've created my character is the same one to which anyone bringing in a veteran character was directed at the start, so it turns out that there are no surprise penalties for playing with an established adventurer. I apologise to Mr. St. Andre for suspecting him of such skulduggery.

The Seven Ayes is a tavern at the north of the fishing village (and secret pirates' and smugglers' haven) of Frarrg, and has become the favourite meeting place of all the rogues, scoundrels, villains and rapscallions in the region. So naturally it's where I decide to go for a cool drink after a hard day's work down the mine.

It's not the most salubrious of establishments, and the furniture shows signs of past fights and fires. Dogs chew on discarded bones, and a Rock Troll bouncer tells me I'll have to leave my pickaxe by the door. Refusal is likely to be unwise, I'm not aware of the axe having any special significance (sentimental or otherwise), and I can at least retain my dagger, so I put the pickaxe in the rack indicated and proceed to the bar.

The bartender is a large cyclopean Ogre with lice the size of mice. He tells me that they sell bad wine, hot beer, and fermented pig's milk. I think the pig's milk might actually be the least bad option there. It costs less than I have on me, but not much less, so the assorted ne'er-do-wells who take a sudden interest in me when I hand over the money are going to be disappointed if they try robbing me.

The drink is served in a clay-lined human skull, and has things swimming in it. Nevertheless, I chance a swig, and my Constitution is high enough that I might even have a decent chance of keeping the stuff down. And I succeed at the Saving Roll, but only because a double means an extra roll. Still, success is success.

A greenish Elf with a scar, bad teeth and black leather clothes introduces himself as K'Neevle (so I guess he's evil), compliments me on my taste, and invites me to join him and his friends for a friendly low-stakes game of Death Cubes. Perhaps because of the drink, I can accept or rudely decline his offer, but a polite refusal is out of the question. If they're con artists, they won't get much out of me, and if not, I might be in with a chance of winning something, so I accept.

It turns out that K'Neevle's idea of low stakes is still higher than my remaining funds, and the text doesn't really allow for that possibility. That's rather ill-thought-out, given that the Random Treasure Generator which determined how much money I have on me gives very low odds of having enough. Not knowing how much the other drinks cost, I don't know the bare minimum required to have a drink and still be able to afford the stake, but at least one time in four, the Generator won't even provide enough money for the stake, let alone the cost of a drink beforehand. I think I'll have to go for the 'lose all cash without getting a losing streak' option.

K'Neevle and his friends apologise, and then laugh at me to show that they're not really sorry. I can make that fit the actual circumstances. Accusing them of cheating wouldn't really be an appropriate response, but if I wanted trouble, I'm sure I could come up with something equally insulting to say that would make sense in context. I don't want trouble, though, so I just walk away from the table, retrieve my pickaxe, and leave. Something of an anticlimax, but, to paraphrase the pilots' adage, any T&T solo your character can walk away from is a successful adventure.

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