I was inspired by a Solo AP done at Lumbering Elephant using Jason Lutes' Freebooters on the Frontier. I also used Perilous Wilds and the Mythic Game Master Emulator for other random generation. It's been awhile since I have played any PbtA games so it's time to make a thief and dive right in. Note: This uses the second edition playtest.
After leaving his home in the north, Paja, Arsi traveled to Gooluna, the "land of the golden road" to seek his fortune.
Let’s back up a minute, why did he leave his home?
Well, Arsi is good, not to mention hopeful and persistent. That’s bound to get him in to trouble. He used his… ahem… particular skills to free his brother, Manu, who was wrongfully imprisoned by a Jarl. Things went pear-shaped after that.
Well, I think that Arsi had this idea that he could set things right if he kept at it. Kind of like the truth would set his brother free. But, that didn’t turn out to be the case. Jarls are like that. Arsi currently has a low Charisma score, stubby fingers, and never smiles, so when he confronted the Jarl after freeing his brother, Arsi was captured. He lost a few tips of those already stubby fingers and was exiled for his insolence.
Wow. Are you sure you want Arsi to be good?
Yeah. He’s definitely a bit jaded now. His plans are more realistic than “taking on the whole ancient power structure of his home region.” Besides, it wasn’t all bad. Since thieves start with double the average coin, I bet Arsi pilfered a nice bag of silver from the Jarl the night he left. You know, just compensation for pain, suffering, the tips of his fingers, that sort of thing. The Jarl probably won’t even notice that the silver is missing.
Sounds great. I am sure that won’t come back to haunt you. Roll Purloin.
Gulp. Ok. I got an 8 plus a DEX of 0. So 8.
You got the silver and got out of your town, no problem. But you know that your pilfering was sloppy, the Jarl’s treasure chest was too well guarded for a proper theft. You took what you could, but you know anyone but a fool would notice the coins were missing after you left. Looking through the bag, and realize that your 34 coins are all stamped with the visage of the Jarl.
Damn. Well if I get far enough south, I want to spend that money as quick as possible. You can’t spend it when you’re dead.
Not a problem. There is a small town 3 days journey from Paja, a small backwater named Torni. The town itself is built around the base of an ancient tower. The tower is gone now, succumbed to time and the town’s need for free building materials. It’s got a few shops that will sell you anything that isn’t rare. The people seem friendly enough. On first glance, there isn’t any indication that anyone here is looking for you.
Great. I want to buy a longbow, arrows, some rations, and, since I am wearing rags, some common clothes. Ug. Not enough cash to upgrade my club or knife. I throw the coins at the shopkeeper, grab the gear, and bolt. I want to get out of town as fast as possible. Gooluna, here I come!
Done. You take the road to the south. The tiny road leads you through large swaths of wet, verdant forest. It is the height of spring, just past the cross-quarter day between the equinox and the solstice. All the plants are leafing out and struggling to capture what light they find. If you were home right now, you would be dancing and feasting in the streets in celebration of the end of planting. But you’re not. You are here among the wet, the green, and the mud. The fresh dew of the morning and maybe a nighttime shower has left everything soaked. You see no one along the route to Gooluna for a few days, until you are walking along the during your fifth morning on the trail and you hear hoofbeats coming up behind you.
I dash into the foliage. I want to remain out of sight while being quiet and still. So I spend my only point of cunning for that.
The two horsemen come into view. It’s as you expected. The two riders, a man and a woman, look like they are from up north; both are wearing furs and helmets. Even though their furs are matted and soaked, you can tell they are the probably from the Jarl. Each carries a spear and a sheathed sword buckled to their belt. The horses slow as they get closer. You are sure they can’t see you, but you have a bad feeling about this.
I keep my shit together. I don’t move. I am a tree.
The man points to the ground, and both dismount. They must be tracking your footprints in the mud. The woman stays on the road, but the man, heads toward your hiding location, following your muddy footprints. You have a few seconds before the warrior gets close enough to find you.
Welp. That’s it. I take my club and swing it at the warriors head at soon as he’s close enough.
The warrior isn’t aware of your presence. Roll Backstab.
3 plus DEX of 0 so 3. I at least get to roll damage first with a Backstab. I rolled a 6.
You used to think that your club was a really nice one and it may have been, but it’s nothing to a steel helmet. You swing with all your might and you clip the poor warrior on the side of the head, just above the cheek. There is a satisfying crack as your club spits down the middle. The warrior falls to the ground, twitching. You vaguely recognize the face of the warrior as he falls, but you don’t have time to search your memories as the warrior on the trail is now very aware of your existence. She throws her spear in your direction. Assuming you want it to miss, a saving throw + DEX.
10! She misses!
The spear thuds into a tree next to your head. If you had been any slower you’d be dead. The she pulls out her sword, and charges in your direction. What do you do?
I need a weapon. How’s the sword on the downed warrior look?
It was never pulled. It’s in a scabbard on the muddy ground. You could get it, but it would probably give the warrior a chance to swing at you.
Not worth it. I pull my knife and try to kill her before she kills me. YEEAAARG!
Ok. Roll Fight!
8 plus STR of 0 is 8. My knife does 1 damage on the warrior.
You slash the warrior right across the stomach, but you can tell the wound isn’t very deep. She stabs with her jagged sword and it easily slides it in to your leg for 3 points of damage. You can see bright red blood flowing from her stomach, but more is coming from your leg. You are getting dizzy and may not survive another blow. The extra foot of length her sword has on your knife isn’t helping.
Fuck… I… um… trapped like a rat. Well, here goes nothing. I know I need to strike hard, so I aim for her neck and lunge. More fighting. Crap. I rolled snake eyes.
You’re just some thief, and she is a trained warrior. She sees your lunge coming a mile away. She dodges out of the way of your strike with a quick side step, and you feel the blade of a sword plunge in to your back for 4 damage. The world fades into darkness. Maybe the gods will save you. Roll Get Lucky.
Not today, then. You find yourself standing before the Black Gates and Death motions your forward...
Well that didn't end well for Arsi. But we still have a traveler left on the road to Gooluna. I wonder what dire straits the death of the warrior's companion has put her in...