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Let's Play Fighting Fantasy: The Port of Peril

 
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Darth Rabbitt
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:36 am    Post subject: Let's Play Fighting Fantasy: The Port of Peril Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

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There's the usual FF boilerplate, but I'm going to skip that. No new rules or anything. I rolled SKILL 10, STAMINA 20, and LUCK 11. We get the Livingstone usual of 10 Provisions and 1 potion of either Skill, Strength or Fortune.
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BACKGROUND

Chalice is an affluent town on the north bank of Silver River, a wide, twisting river which flows gently down from the Moonstone Hills to merge with Catfish River on its way to the Western Ocean. It began as nothing more than a merchant's store built at the end of a wooden jetty used by river traders to land their goods. At first, trade was very slow, and the merchant complained he'd been handed a poisoned chalice. Trade slowly improved, but the name stuck, and over time Chalice grew to become a busy river port.

Chalice's inhabitants are mostly human, and it is also home to a number of other races. There are Elves, who always seem to know more about what's going on than anybody else; Striders, who run around town on their spindly long legs doing errands; Man-Orcs, who are usually hired as guards; Gnomes, who spend most of their time slurping down bowls of pea soup; two beefy Ogres, who hire themselves out to do most of the heavy lifting jobs; and an unusually friendly Cyclops, who arrived one day ago with goods to trade and never left. He acquired the nickname of Cy, became a blacksmith, and quickly built a reputation as the best smithy in Chalice. He later turned his skills to crafting the finest swords in Northern Allansia, but never made more than one a month, as he refused to compromise on quality. Cy proudly sells his famous "One Eye" swords for 50 Gold Pieces each. A 'quality price for a quality product,' as he says with gusto to his customers, and he is never short of those.

Commerce is the main reason for Chalice's prosperity. Merchants arrive from all over Allansia to sell their wares in the town, where prices are always at a premium. Vendors pack the market square six days a week selling weapons, armor, potions, lotions, herbs, spices, grain, livestock, semi-precious stones, jewellery, silk, furs, fine textiles and exotic foodstuffs. Money changes hands from dawn till dusk in brisk trading. Although Chalice as its fair share of impoverished folk, it affords nobles, merchants, landlords and innkeepers a fine living. And like any large town with wealthy inhabitants, Chalice also attracts pickpockets and thieves who see the opportunity to relieve some of the more naive townsfolk of their hard-earned silver and gold. Young con artists learn their devious skills in Chalice, spinning yarns and practising their scams on the locals. If they don't get caught, the best of them journey downriver to try their luck on the citizens of Port Blacksand, where they must compete with hardened professional thieves and vagabonds.

YOU are a seasoned adventurer, an experienced sword-for-hire who enjoys slaying monsters and finding treasure above anything else. Despite some memorable adventures, you have learned the hard way that treasure hunting does not always guarantee the reward of glittering gold. More often than not, treasure hunters come back from their expeditions empty-handed. And when things don't go well, adventurers reluctantly have to resort to working for others, usually earning a low wage guarding rich nobles' estates or protecting merchants' caravans on their journeys to market. You recently arrived in Chalice tired and hungry after spending a month scouring the Pagan Plains trying, but failing, to find the buried treasure hoard of Throm, the notorious axe-wielding barbarian who, rumor has it, died in Baron Sukhumvit's infamous Deathtrap Dungeon in Fang trying to win the grand prize of 10,000 Gold Pieces.

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Your days spent in Chalice have been anything but enjoyable. Unable to find work, you are forced to sleep rough in alleyways, scavenging for scraps of food left abandoned by traders in the market square at the end of the day. It is a warm evening on day four of your stay. The sun is slowly sinking in the western sky and the light is beginning to fade. You are standing outside the Fat Frog Inn drooling over the menu nailed to the oak door when two men stagger outside arm in arm. One is middle-aged, bearded and wearing a brown leather tunic over dark green leggings, whilst the younger one is wearing a checked woollen shirt tucked into his baggy brown pants. Both men are giggling like children, very much the worse for the amount of ale they have drunk. They brush past you, oblivious to everything. The younger man is hiccuping and swaying errativally from side to side. He tries to grab hold of the back of a wooden bench to steady himself, but misses it, and falls over, cursing. This causes his friend to laugh even louder. The younger man sits up, squinting in the bright light, his mouth hanging open like a gormless fool.

'Eryk!' the younger man splutters, hiccuping.

'What?'

'Stop laughing at me.'

'Why?'

'Because I'm going to be rich!'

'Shut up,' the older man replies dismissively.

'I am! I'm going to be rich! I bought a treasure map!' he retorts, reaching into his pocket to produce an old piece of parchment as evidence. Too drunk to notice that he's holding it upside down, he stares at it with a befuddled expression on his face. Although you're well within earshot, you pretend not to be listening.

'How much did you pay for it?'

'Four Copper Pieces.'

'Four Copper Pieces? What a fool you are. There's not a hope that it's genuine. You've been done, Gregor,' the older man says, laughing even louder. 'Stitched up like a kipper. A fool chasing fool's gold, that's what you are. You just don't learn, do you? You can't believe anything anyone says in the Fat Frog Inn.'

'But...But that old man seemed so genuine. He had an honest face, unlike all those other sharks and villains in there giving it large. I wanted to believe him. I did believe him!'

'Are you going to go back in to get your money back?'

'Nah, the poor man needed the money. He sounded desperate. I felt sorry for him. That's why I bought the map really. No hard feelings. I enjoyed listening to his tale about the iron chest filled with golden amulets. He said it was hidden deep inside a cave in Moonstone Hills. And he kept going on about a gold ring in the chest. Said it was more valuable than all the amulets together. What did he call it again? The Ring of...Oh, fiddle! I can't remember now. But it doesn't matter if it isn't true! Or you say it isn't true. Or whatever.'

'Forget about it, Gregor. He made it all up.'

'The Ring of Burning Snakes! That's what he called it. He said it used to belong to an old wizard called Nico or Nico something or other. He said the wizard would pay a pretty penny to get it back.'

'I said forget about it, Gregor. Come on, get up, let's try the Sun Inn next. I'm thirsty!' Eryk says sternly, pulling his friend up off the ground.

'All right, all right. I won't be needing this, then!' Gregor says, crumpling up the parchment into a ball and tossing it over his shoulder before staggering off.

The parchment ball lands just by your feet. Intrigued, you bend down to pick it up. You unfold it to reveal a very detailed hand-drawn map of the land surrounding Chalice.
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The map shows a dotted line heading north from Chalice, then east, some way south of Darkwood Forest, crossing the Eastern Plain to Moonstone Hills, where a large X marks the entrance to a cave in Skull Crag, one of the highest peaks in the range. There is a message in tiny handwriting written in black ink on the back of the map which says, Do NOT enter by the cave entrance. Climb the crag to a ledge twenty metres above. Move the standing branches aside to reveal the secret entrance. Enter here and turn left, right, right at the junctions. An iron chest will be found in the Crystal Cave. Good luck! Murgat Shurr.

Could a treasure chest really lie hidden in a cave inside Skull Crag? Why would an old man sell his secrets for a few Copper Pieces? And who is Murgat Shurr? Nothing makes sense. You are about to toss the map away when you hear the shrill squawk of a bird overhead. You look up to see a crow flying north. Could it be an omen? Could this be your lucky day after all? You decide you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. You fold up the parchment and put it safely away in your pocket. Tomorrow you will set off for Skull Crag. But right now you need to find some food and somewhere to sleep before nightfall.

NOW TURN OVER...

YOUR ADVENTURE AWAITS!

MAY YOUR STAMINA NEVER FAIL!

You fail to find any food, and resign yourself to sleeping on some old flour sacks left outside a baker's shop at the end of an alley. You place your blanket on top of the sacks and lie down as darkness falls, ending the day exhausted and very hungry. You hear a dog sniffing nearby, but eventually fall asleep, dreaming of treasure chests overflowing with Gold Pieces and diamonds.

Reality returns early the following morning when you are rudely woken not long after sunrise by the sound of cockerels crowing loudly. The air is chill, but the skies are clear - at least another fine day is in store. You grab your trusty sword, roll up your blanket and check the few belongings you have in your backpack. They don't amount to much: a ball of twine, a candle, a small brass bell, an oil lantern, a knife, a piece of chalk, a brass owl, a length of rope, a bag of copper nails, an animal-skin water flask and a goblet bearing a unicorn-head motif. You make your way to the town square and fill your flask with water which flows from the spout of a fountain carved in the shape of a dragon's head. After quenching your thirst, you search through a pile of rubbish and find some squashed tomatoes and a chunk of bread left to rot in a wooden crate. The bread is stale but right now a tomato sandwich seems like the breakfast of champions. Add 1 STAMINA point. The sandwich takes the edge off your hunger but you know you could eat more. There is nobody about except for a tall, middle-aged man with curly brown hair who is whistling happily to himself as he sweeps the square with a long broom. A leather shoulder bag is slung over his pack.

If you want to talk to him
If you would rather leave the market square

Also pick a potion and a name. And whether or not we want to go through this with max stats or not because Ian Livingstone books tend to be meat grinders (for most FF authors SK 10 ST 20 L 11 would be a playable character).

(Our STAMINA starts out at full, so I have literally no idea what the 1 STAMINA gain is supposed to represent.)

Adventure Sheet
[Name to be determined]
SKILL: 10/10
STAMINA: 20/20
LUCK: 11/11
Equipment: Sword, Leather Armor
Provisions: 10 Meals (+4 STAMINA)
Potions: One of Skill (restores SKILL to full), Strength (restores STAMINA to full), or Fortune (restores LUCK to full+1)
Gold Pieces: 0
Items: Map, Ball of Twine, Candle, Small Brass Bell, Oil Lantern, Knife, Chalk, Brass Owl, Rope, Bag of Copper Nails, Water Flask, Unicorn-Head Goblet
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Queen of Swords
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 5:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Darth Rabbitt wrote:
Items: Map, Ball of Twine, Candle, Small Brass Bell, Oil Lantern, Knife, Chalk, Brass Owl, Rope, Bag of Copper Nails, Water Flask, Unicorn-Head Goblet


We're reduced to dumpster-diving for meals, but we've hung on to a brass owl and a unicorn-head goblet. Glad we've got our priorities straight.

Speak to the man.
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Thaluikhain
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Recommend potion of luck.

Speak to the man.

(Also, not a great intro, hamfisted reference to Deathtrap Dungeon and restoring stamina not yet lost by eating garbage when we have loads of provisions?)
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angelfromanotherpin
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Potion of Luck.
Harry Balzac.
Stick with stats as rolled.

The meaningless stamina gain is just confusing, but I like the Deathtrap Dungeon and City of Thieves (assuming old wizard Nico is Nicodemus) references, because the book looks like it's supposed to be a kind of greatest hits album, revisiting some of the classic FF locations.
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Darth Rabbitt
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

You call out to the street sweeper, but he ignores you, and carries on whistling to himself while he works.
If you want to ask him if he has any food to trade for an item in your backpack
If you would rather leave the town square

(You get the exact same choice to leave right after asking him--same section and all--so due to the lack of penalty and obvious padding here I'm going to ask rather than waiting.)

The man stops whistling and stares at you intently with one eyebrow raised higher than the other. After what seems like an age, he suddenly blurts out in a gruff voice, 'I've got bread and honey. I want copper nails to finish off building my new beehive. You got any?'
If you want to trade your bag of nails for some bread and honey
If you would rather politely refuse the offer and leave the square

Adventure Sheet
Harry Balzac
SKILL: 10/10
STAMINA: 20/20
LUCK: 11/11
Equipment: Sword, Leather Armor
Provisions: 10 Meals (+4 STAMINA)
Potions: Potion of Fortune (restores LUCK to Initial+1)
Gold Pieces: 0
Items: Map, Ball of Twine, Candle, Small Brass Bell, Oil Lantern, Knife, Chalk, Brass Owl, Rope, Bag of Copper Nails, Water Flask, Unicorn-Head Goblet

edit: I should add that my wi-fi's down so I probably won't be able to reply again until Monday afternoon (it's set to be fixed that morning, but I'm working that day.)
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Last edited by Darth Rabbitt on Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:05 pm; edited 1 time in total
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angelfromanotherpin
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I'm pretty sure that as an adventurer, we can find a better use for our bag of nails than to barter for food that we have so much of anyway. I guess it's possible that 'honey' is its own adventure item, but there's no reason to believe we'll get that and not 'provision #11,' so refuse offer and ghost.
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"Now that we've determined that up to π angels can dance on the head of a pin, how do we determine the specific number (or fraction) of angels dancing?"
"What if angels from another pin engage them in melee combat?"
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Queen of Swords
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Agreed. We're used to subsisting on garbage anyway.
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Thaluikhain
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Yeah, no deal.
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SGamerz
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Are there the usual rules that insist our stats can't go higher than the initial values? Some FF books actually do not present this rule, Star Strider (FF 27) being one of them, and that was also where the PC gets to gain STAMINA almost from the beginning. If the rules aren't there then there's no reason we can't take advantage of that.

I also read somewhere that the standard boilerplate rules in the front are actually due to lazy editing and there are reasons to believe that the PC isn't supposed to start with any Provisions.

But given that we're exploiting this lazy editing, yeah, don't trade the nails, since we don't need the extra food.
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SlyJohnny
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Honey sounds useful, nails won't be. Take the trade.
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Darth Rabbitt
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

This book does have the rule that your stats can't exceed your Initial scores unless stated otherwise, but I am entirely open to the idea that the provisions are just copypasta, if that changes anyone's decision (certainly it would make sense that a starving adventurer doesn't have a backpack full of food).
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Darth Rabbitt
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 5:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

OK, so votes still remain in favor of no trade (and presumably yes provisions although I can easily edit that if need be.)

There are three streets by which you could leave the market square. Will you:
Head west down Silver Street?
Head north down Armoury Lane?
Head east down Beggar’s Alley?
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