Saturday, November 29, 2014

Scarlet Heroes, a first session

Last night was a night of nights as they say. It was my first time playing a game of Scarlet Heroes and the first time in the longest time, of playing a game with one player (me) and a GM.

I'd glanced at the free Qquickstart, so knew it was an OSR inspired game but not a lot else. At the start of the session  I had to throw a character together, and during this discovered that the rules actually have a section for handing one-on-one games, this was getting more interesting by the minute.

Having rolled the six stats and picked my traits I moved onto starting equipment. I managed to get spear, buckler and chainmail...but in typical OSR fashion there was no mention of clothes, so the session became subtitled...

The Quest for Underwear, and Maybe a Shirt

In the village of Rumbly Belly lived a Wanderer who was an Escaped Slave and ex Miltary Scout, who although well armed had nothing on under his chainmail. He really wanted something on underneath, if only to stop the chainmail plucking his hair and chaffing his bits. Fortunately for him a creepy tower was nearby and rumour had it that it used to be inhabited by a wizard of huge power and massive underpant-hamper. So guess where the wanderer went!!

Through the creepy woods, to the tower, circle around, assault the door. Empty room except for handy glowing mushroom light source.Stairs up, stairs down...which way? Bedrooms, and hampers, probably upstairs. Up we go!

The first level contained a living room, somewhat run down. An attempt to fashion a loin-cloth from the leather cover on the chair failed rather miserably. So the first door was opened. Opened just a crack for a bit of peek inside. Uh oh! It was a  mouldy library but there was a crystal statue guardian which raised its arms and attacked. I tried to close the door but it was ripped open, meaning it was spear-time!

The combat raged backwards and forwards, book shelves were upended, books were thrown but soon I was backing up the stairs just trying to fend off the crystal beast, when a lucky thrust finally put paid to him. After listening at the door and stairs to see if anything else was moving, my hero retired to the musty couch for a rest.

A quick scout around the library revealed no underpants, so I moved to the other door and discovered a bedroom. As we all know underpants accumulate under beds so I flipped the bed to find... no pants. But there was a trap door. Could this be where the pants were kept?  When I eventually prised it open all I found was a locked metal box. I dragged this outside into the sun and broke it open. Unfortunately dying because of the poison needle trap...

... Hey! No,  I didn't die, die. Just died. Which is not as lethal as you might expect under the Scarlet Heroes rules. I'm fuzzy on the rules here, but I rolled a die and survived. Apparently this "die" gets bigger each time you die (from d4 to d6 to d8 etc) and that's bad but I'm not sure why.

I was in a quandry. The box contained 40gp and 400sp but I had no bag/sack. I toted the box over to the wood line and hid it quickly under woodland rubbish. Then back to the tower. Up the stairs again. On the next level was a strange room with maps and drawings on the walls and ceiling. I tore down a map or two to discover they were star maps of some sort, but they didn't hide anything behind.

The stairs led further upwards and a listen check revealed "something sensed rather than heard". Mysterious!  Could it be the warm hum of a hamper full of dirty underpants, the possibility was a lure! Cautiously moving upwards I had sudden visions of far away worlds (Vargr inhabited?) caused by the mysterious drawings on the ceiling, before reaching the top floor.

Here I found a floor covered in drawings of demonology and the "hum" was stronger, and...and what the heck was that huge big eye-thing over there? If my character had any underpants, this is the point at which he would have need to change them. In the absence of a change of clothing, I backed slowly down the stairs all the way to the ground floor.

The stairs down led to an ancient roughly made dungeon. Cautiously moving along the tunnels I found a few odd things. A cave full of bones...a series of empty cells, and a torture chamber! Here I acquired an old rusty knife which was slid into my belt. A knife is always handy.

The next room was used in ancient times for one of, cooking, making witches brews, or rendering down bodies I can't be sure. Whatever it was, the Ghoul that leapt out of a cauldron at me was angry that I was there. The fight was brutal. Cauldrons were knocked over, ladles were used as vicious nasty weapons, there may even have been a little spear action. When finally the Ghoul was down I peaked into its hidey hole and found a sack full of coin. When I grabbed the sack, it set off a trap of some sort and the roof began to cave in. If only I'd thought to don one of the smaller cauldrons as a helmet! I was twice smashed by rocks while running for the surface.

Back at the trees, I upended the sack of coins and cut leg holes in the bottom. Thus fashioning a rather snazzy, if itchy, set of underwear. Joy! Bliss! Warmth!...Itchy.

The final act was to pile the coin into the metal box and head back to town for some clothes shopping.

A really enjoyable game, and the rules seemed to work rather well. I may have to keep an eye on this game and maybe add it to my wish list. The one-on-one session went really well and the rules, especially the not-dying part, made an OSR game survivable for a single PC.
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1 comment:

Sine Nomine said...

It's always a pleasure to read about a successful Scarlet Heroes session. Incidentally, that "don't die" roll is the _Defy Death_ mechanic. Whenever you blow a save to a save-or-die effect or get hopelessly stymied by a situation your PC can't resolve, you can "Defy Death". You roll 1d4 for each of your character levels as a damage die, taking no damage on a 1 and one point on a 2-5, just as normal for Scarlet Heroes. If you live, you overcome the save-or-die or find some way to wriggle out of the hopeless situation. If you're reduced to 0 HP, you're left with 1 HP but suffer the effect or the consequences of the situation.

Each time you Defy Death during an adventure, however, the die size increases one step. Thus, if you keep pushing your luck, you're eventually going to be rolling 1d12/level for your damage dice.