Know, oh thou assembled! In the third reign of the Childlike Empress, but before the sacking of golden Jhadur was an Age undreamed of, when shining kingdoms stretched across the world like bright gems in a cloth of emerald and sapphire, cinnabar and gold. Hither came Zellsa the rogue, of greedy eye and hungry hands, to plunder the wealth of the earth with soft tread of his sandaled feet…
As mentionedelsewhere, I’ll be starting fresh with my Scarlet Heroes solo campaign. And if, gentle readers, you will forgive an occasional lapse into Howardian prose, I will regale you with the (mis)adventures of Zellsa the rogue. Tales of his attempts to deface a tomb and purloin a bow holy to Navra, goddess of Archery.
Belly full of wine and mind full of visions of glory, Zellsa skulked the necropolis. He kept to the shadowy thoroughfares, for in the still heart of great Jhadur, unquiet are the dead. Stealing his way to the wall at the rear of the tomb and pilgrimage site, Zellsa attempted to scale the wall and descend, evading the attention of the mortal guardians.
Trait check (DC9): 17!
Stealthy like the majestic squirrel, Zellsa scaled the wall, dropping down on the other side and eluding the guard. Soft earth pressed underfoot, and the smell of manure and growing things met Zellsa’s senses. He had entered the garden! Now in the “dungeon” proper, Zellsa picked his way along.
Encounter Check: 9— Ghoul!
But does it get surprise? As it’s likely, considering it’s dark and the creature preceded Zellsa, we’ll roll on the oracle, getting…
8: No, but… To determine the but, we’ll roll on the Encounter modifier…
1: Out on an errand of shady business. Oh dear…
Unlucky Zellsa stumbled upon a pale, stinking creature, like a man with too-wide a mouth and too-long fingers, digging in the garden. At Zellsa’s approach, the thing’s head lifted, and for a moment it stared with glazed eyes at Zellsa before fleeing towards the wall. Was that a skeletal forearm it clutched in one hand? Trying not to think too deeply on the subject, Zellsa turned his attention to the tomb-shrine proper. Hard jungle-wood and pale stone comprised the single-storied structure, from certain small windows of which shone the light of torches. Fearing detection, Zellsa opted for a more discreet entry, instead skulking around the building’s side. Lo and behold, there was a door! A locked door! Certainly no great challenge for such a grand thief of Zellsa, he who had scaled the wall, had frightened even a Ghoul! Producing his picks, he set to work while Dan rolled some dice…
7: Zellsa failed. The lock remained locked.
Had he slipped? Had he jarred his touch? Or perhaps this lock was superior to even Zellsa’s skill! Surely not, for he was Zellsa the deft! No lock held under his touch. He would try again!
8: No lock save this one. (I should note here, check DCs are against a DC 9)
Cursing those gods that would care to listen, Zellsa drew back. This was a lock that only a sharp kick could solve. But in Zellsa’s attempts to open the door, had he drawn something’s attention?
10: Yes. Rolling to find out what…
8: 1d4+Threat (a 2) for 4 foes!
Fortunate indeed for Zellsa to so cunningly step away, for the door swung open, and from it shone lantern-light, the lantern held by a great brute wielding a cudgel. Zellsa had awoken the slumbering kitchen-master, and from the young men arming themselves behind him, the entire staff was at arms. It was a battle surely met! But, gentle readers, will Zellsa succeed? Let’s find out!
“Turn aside, fat one!” Zellsa commanded, rather sure of his own renown. “Zellsa the bold has come to render you paupers!”. Zellsa the foolish wasted his initiative.
The first acolyte was unable to attack, the door blocked by his master’s girth.
The kitchen master grunted, stepping out into the night and swinging his cudgel!
Attack Roll: 16 Swing and a miss!
Ducking the swing, Zellsa turned with it, stepping to the side… And into the path of Acolyte 2.
Attack Roll: 28
Damage roll: 6 (two points of damage)
Outraged at Zellsa’s audacity, the second acolyte rushed out of the kitchen, swinging a sturdy chopping knife. Fortune favored the bold, and the blade bit deep, taking a chunk of Zellsa with it, and leaving the rogue bleeding freely. Staggering, Zellsa turned to flee, only to face the third acolyte. This one, mercifully equipped with a handy stool, took a swing of his own.
Attack Roll: 21
Damage Roll: 3 (1 point of damage)
Nigh senseless, Zellsa staggered. Curse the gods and all their worshippers! Turning, he headed for the wall, hoping to clear it and limp to safety. Unfortunately, this passed him within the Kitchen Master’s reach.
Attack Roll: 14
Fortunately, fools also fell under fortune’s favor, and Zellsa ducked a heavy swing of the cudgel. Monks in hot pursuit, he took to the wall, trying to scrabble up in his weakened state.
Trait Check at a -2 penalty: 13
Finding it within himself, Zellsa cleared the wall, doing the squirrels proud. Dropping heavily to the other side, he paused a moment to track the rising cries from beyond the wall before staggering off deeper into the necropolis to nurse his wounds. Battered but not defeated, Zellsa swore vengeance upon the house of Navra and her faithful. The bow would be his.