Last time, we re-introduced ourselves to a half-snake, half-woman magic-user and learned a bit about the lands beyond the Kingdom of Eaglekeep. Today, Jutoomb will finally dirty her boots and march into the perilous wilds.
I rolled six Story Cubes to further inspire whatever Mythic threw at me.
• a rainbow
• a flower
• the world
• a magnifying glass
• a house
• a falling star
In addition, I decided to roll a d6 to see which of Jutoomb’s traits would motivate key decisions. A roll of 1-2 meant she acted out of benevolence, 3-4 meant her gluttony took over, and 5-6 meant her prejudice was too powerful to ignore.
• Jutoomb’s brothers and sisters
• The lampmen
• Explore the creator ruins
Scene One: LFG
You went to bed early last night and today you wake up late. You’ve never traveled as far as you did from home to Sunnivar’s Tear, and fatigue finally caught up to you. As you step down into the main hall of the White Owl, you find that the remaining clientele are just finishing up their first meal of the day. Strips of wild boar and porridge, by the smell of it.
Jutoomb is wary of striking out by herself, so her plan is to use what silver pieces she has left to bulk up her defenses in the form of a human shield. Or dwarf. Elf, even. She doesn’t discriminate.
Okay, she does, but not if they’re useful. — Recruit, rolled 9
Luckily for you, there is someone here who looks like a prime candidate if “human shield” had a job description. At the table near the door sits a giant of a woman with a peasant flail resting beside her. She’s on her fifth or sixth bowl of food, which doesn’t surprise you. It must take a lot of food to fuel those muscles.
Perfect. Jutoomb grabs a bowl of porridge—I assume the cost for the night included both room and board—and takes a seat with the woman. Jutoomb gets right to business, offering her a job and promising her more wild boar she can eat.
The warrior isn’t even finished introducing herself as Lorn when the halfling you didn’t see sitting with her pipes up. “I’m afraid she’s already working for somebody,” he says. “Me. Now move along, baldy.”
Jutoomb was probably surprised by that, but she tries to play it off like she knew he was there all along. — Trait, rolled 5 (prejudice)
Mainly because she doesn’t want to look weak in front of the halfling. She thinks they all eat too much and look like hairy children.
Wow. Really gunning for all the stereotypes.
Yeah, Jutoomb reads a lot, but she doesn’t get out much and maybe she should branch out author-wise. She talks to Lorn, ignoring the halfling’s presence, and says, “Do you see how he doesn’t even talk to you directly? Listen, I’m planning an expedition to the ruins on the other side of Lakehome. Do me the honor of being my bodyguard, and we split all of the loot, right down the middle.”
Is that enough for Lorn? — 50/50 CF 5, rolled 1 (exceptional yes)
Lorn’s eyes light up at the mention of getting such a large share. You get the feeling that the halfling must have been vastly underpaying Lorn. That, or you’re overpaying her. Either way, she spits in her hand and holds it out while the halfling throws his hands up and storms out with a hail of curses.
Sucks to be him. Jutoomb smiles at her new partner and seals the deal.
Follower • Lorn
HP 9, Armor 1, Damage d8, Load 2, Meek, Fighting-Wise, Warrior, Quality 1, Loyalty 1, Cost lucre
Instinct: avoid danger or punishment
Moves: pick it up and chuck it
Gear: rations (5 uses, 1 wt)
+ Lorn’s former halfling employer
Scene Two: Crawling Hexes
It would probably be a good idea to stop by Lakehome instead of gunning straight for the ruins. How far is the halfling city?
If you don’t get lost or waylaid, then it’s a good two days’ journey from the Tear.
Jutoomb thinks between her and her new follower’s gear, they’ve got enough rations for the walk.
Is it a dangerous route? — 50/50 CF 4, rolled 67 (no); Journey, no roll
Not in the least. As chilly as relations are between worshipers of Sunnivar and those of Hilda, a person’s still got to make a living. Regular caravans run back and forth between the two towns, carrying boar oil from the Tear and pottery from Lakehome.
If we run into traders, can Jutoomb introduce herself, pretend to consider buying their goods, but also try to sneak the ruins into conversation? — Likely CF 4, rolled 82 (no)
Straight to business. The traders are, too. Jutoomb tries to be sociable, but no one is on the road—which isn’t even a proper road, mind you, it’s just the path that’s the most worn down—no one is here to make friends. It’s a quiet trek through the mist for the party. Unless…
Does Jutoomb try to get to know Lorn? — Unlikely CF 4, rolled 56 (no)
Nah. Jutoomb doesn’t want to get too invested. Lorn’s just a hireling, and Jutoomb only has 2 HP, so there’s a good chance one of them will be dead by the end of the day. Maybe both of them.
Alright, but her in-character reason?
Human shields usually don’t provide sparkling conversation. Besides, Jutoomb is too busy thinking about the knowledge that awaits her in the ruins. She spends her time making sure her spellbook is ready and as organized as a Chaotically-aligned person can make it.
I’ll take it. Mark off two uses of rations for yourself and Lorn each.
After two days, you arrive in the town of Lakehome. Halfling buildings are quite different from what you’re used to. While human domiciles stand alone, you find that halflings like to construct these interconnected, sprawling complexes. It looks like what would happen if you built tunnels in open air.
Halflings in this universe are mole people? — Unlikely CF 4, rolled 43 (no)
Well, not entirely mole people. Maybe they just have mole-like features. Like little mammal snouts, tiny whiskers, fur all over their body. And they wear sweaters. With their initials on them.
You want the halflings to be Alvin and the Chipmunks.
There is nothing I want more. — Very unlikely CF 4, rolled 14 (yes)
I can’t believe I’m saying this but I’m starting to come around to the idea. Alright, they don’t have their names on their clothes, and they don’t speak in an annoying high pitch, but I’ll say that if Jutoomb had any knowledge of modern 21st century pop culture, then she would compare them to Alvin and the Chipmunks.
+ Find Simon and Theodore
Scene 3: Eyes on the Prize
You’re starting to figure out why the Tear had so many lamps lit during the day. The mist is heavy here, and although it’s cool on your face, not being able to see more than a few feet in front of you is unnerving. Hooded halflings dart in and out of perception, and many of them give you a wide berth.
Lorn and Jutoomb aren’t here to win Miss Lakehome, anyway.
Do they have boats here? Maybe we can hitch a ride. The ruins are right across the lake, and Jutoomb would rather not risk running into anything going the long way. We’re not too far from the Cursed Hollows. — Likely CF 5, rolled 23 (yes)
You’re just the next adventurer in the long list of idiots who have saddled up to Lakehome and tried to plunder the ruins. Hearsay tells you that no one has ever returned, but that’s never deterred anybody and that includes you. In fact, so many of them have tried to find their fortune there that there’s a regular ferryman–
–a regular ferryhalfling that rows adventurers across the lake.
How long would it take to get there?
If you leave now, you’ll get there in the evening.
So this is why adventures always happen at night. Jutoomb approaches the ferryhalfling, hood up, trying to look as menacing as a magic-user ought to, and asks for the details.
10 silver pieces a head. He will row you across, wait for a day and a half, and if you’re not out by then, he assumes you’re dead and he leaves.
10 silver? That’s robbery.
It includes the return trip. If you die, it’s not like you’ll miss it anyway.
Do you take the offer? — 50/50 CF 5, rolled 74 (no)
No dice. Jutoomb says, “You little rat. I, Jutoomb the Snakefang, do your tiny village the honor of stepping foot in it, and you have the gall to ask me for silver? Do you know how many men I’ve turned into pillars of salt for smaller insults? You will take 3 silver for myself and my rage-prone warrior—easy, friend, not here, there are children here.” She pretends to hold Lorn back, and she’ll also flick her forked tongue out like a snake who’s looking for a meal. — Negotiate, rolled 9
Now you’re definitely not winning Miss Lakehome. The ferryhalfling says his final price is 7 silver in total, muttering about how he’s got children to feed.
Jutoomb hands the gentlehalfling the silver, and gets in the boat.
Is Lorn impressed? — Unlikely CF 5, rolled 6 (exceptional yes)
She actually started to believe some of the words you said.
The ferryhalfling pushes his ferry off the pier, and you float off into the mist.
+ Lakehome’s ferryhalfling
Jutoomb is a boat ride away from the ruins, but what awaits her inside? Hopefully, not her doom, but I’m pretty sure I died on the first floor the first time I played Stone Soup.
Freebooters on the Frontier, available on DriveThruRPG
The Mythic Game Master Emulator, also available on DriveThruRPG
Rory’s Story Cubes
The Inkarnate mapmaking tool (currently in beta)
Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup is a fun roguelike you can play on your PC
Full disclosure: The DriveThruRPG links above are affiliate links.