An introduction game from the RuneQuest line, to prepare some would-be playtesters…
Rastar the Glib
Annelifk the Free Warrior (Definitely not a bandit)
The Broken Tower, introduction to Runequest. This write-up assumes familiarity.
Available as a free PDF and a book. This was played from the PDF.
Carthalo fumbled his Summon Spirit despite Rastar’s competent dance-work in support, and so the ghost of the greydog was IRATE and there was spirit combat. The Stone Woman’s image did not persuade them to follow her, but they were going there anyhow.
Annelifk fumbled tracking, but was persuasive, so they went off-trail, which was a good time to introduce the rock lizards and the steer. The first combat was very nearly lethal.
Given the small numbers and the lack of serious armour in the group, the GM elected to have the lizards ignore the adventurers unless they were wounded. A lucky shot from an arrow by Anneflik wounded one at a distance, and it immediately did enough damage Rastar in the first melee round that he dropped with a major head wound. Laika healed him after the lizards were driven off, attempted first aid, fumbled, and had to use a Rune Spell to give him more HP in a hurry.
At the tower, Rastar and Laika argued a lot, while Anneflik climbed in over the wall, got lost for a while, and then found his way to the tower. The insane Greydog never found any of them, but did decide to creep up on the Duck and made a very bad error of judgement.
Rather than confront whatever was in the altar room, they decided just to take the cattle. Many, many MANY failed herd rolls later, they managed this. Anneflik had been left on guard, and was caught in a Demoralise spell. The GM allowed him to cast Mist Cloud to help hide him as he got away, but he was pursued. An amazingly ineffectual combat followed, and then his enemy mysteriously died. (The Death Drake following his friend Laika had finally been attacked, allowing him to enter combat without ambushing.) The magic on Anneflik was dismissed, but he could not see how it had happened. (Many, many MANY failed Scan rolls.)
The goddess came out to see what was going on, and demanded half the cattle after being told that the Greydogs had stolen them. Laika negotiated with her, and the final agreement was that she would guard the place against Chaos, and be fed. Finally, people noticed a Duck, who was sitting on a body. He commiserated with Anneflik.
Their return was mostly off-camera. There was a lot of argument and discussion about the Stone Woman, leading to the three being sent off to buy cattle – and stay out of the way.
Starting in media res was good – less time spent messing around and trying to get into character while thinking. Annelifk (or Anneflik, or Annefirk) and Rastar were pretty heavy hitters, while Laika was just heavy. They were a small group and I gave them borrowed armour to keep them alive, and had them secretly tracked by Laika’s Elder Race Lore friend, a Humakti Death-Drake, just in case. That was good too, because they were very much out-gunned when bad-guy #2 took out Anneflik. Rastar, the other competent fighter, was busy with cattle.
The lizard fight was interesting. With one adventurer out instantly, it became pretty desperate, and I was glad I had taken the choice not to have the lizards dog-pile (skink-pile?) the group. It showed how RQ combat could be hard. So did the next fight, where one-on-one, a little bit of preparation helped the opposition quite a lot.
One interesting question asked was, ‘can you trust gods?’. The player was more used to Pendragon and was enjoying the struggle to be more pragmatic, but also found it a lot to take in.
The support given through the module was very good. I enjoyed it, and it had plenty of suggestions. It’s good for a beginning GM, and was also good for me. The layout was not perfect on an old laptop with a PDF reader, but as there is no way of telling exactly which order the encounters will come in, I can’t fault that.
“MURDERERS!” – Carthalo
“Also, we’re not murderers by the way. Let’s get that in there.” – Aneflik
“THE RACOONS ARE TALKING!” – Carthalo fumbles summoning a spirit
glare – Rastar
“Strike rank 5. Not you.” – GM
“How herd can it be?” – GM
“Now that we’re all healthy… Were you injured at all?” – Leika
“No!” – Aneflik
“I have this Rune Magic. Illusory Sight.” – Rastar
“You could make someone look like a Greydog, yes.” – GM
“I was thinking of making them look like the Stone Woman.” – Rastar
“I’m pretty sure he knows we’re here. For some reason.” – Aneflik
“Who of you have any experience in herding cattle?” – Laika
Many, MANY failures at cow herding. Many failures.
“You’re in the mist cloud, being attacked.” – GM
“This is a terrible day.” – Anneflik
“What’s your bargain skill?” – Laika
“Uh… No.” – Anneflik
“Never mind. Thometimes it happens that way.” – D’Val
“Terrible day…” – Anneflik
“So, I… I don’t get a tick on Move Quietly.” – Laika