Having just finished a profitable but unexciting ‘Exterior Jump’ trip outside the city of Ankh-Morpork with a group of fat and boorish merchants, Xander returns to the city via the Hubwards Gate, feeling in need of a drink and a change. He slept badly last night due to a really disturbing dream which he thinks relates to his forgotten childhood – he only remembers brief images of 2 other children and a scary woman who terrified them all but this was enough to make him realise that he won’t find peace until he uncovers the truth about his past.
Xander is so wrapped up in his thoughts he walks a different route than usual towards his lodgings, turning into Treacle Street where he happens upon “The Dragon’s Den” tavern, a relatively new watering hole where, some say, fortunes can be won or lost in an evening. Feeling the urge for a new direction in his life, Xander walks hopefully through the door. Inside the tavern is quiet and quite empty with only a handful of customers. Xander walks up to the bar and sees the barmaid, a beautiful blonde woman who looks a little tired. He orders an ale cheerfully and attempts to start a conversation but she serves him tersely and is clearly not interested in small talk at the moment so Xander takes a seat to think how he might learn more about his past.
The barmaid’s response is a result of the rolls I made when creating her using the Collaborative Gamer NPC tables which provide interesting depth for any NPC. Our barmaid is Rina Forgeron from Quirm, she is working, in an argument, tired, thinking about the past, in transit and dismissive towards Xander. She has a foreign accent, is wearing an unfashionable dress and has hopes for something to do with family.
While Xander is sipping his ale, he notices the barmaid take a drink to one of the booths at the back of the tavern where a sweaty, disfigured man calls out, “C’mere Rina,” grabs her arm and pulls her close to his lecherous face before he says something to her in a hushed voice which she clearly dislikes.
This troublesome drunk is Sebastian Larksong, age 45, a skinny merchant with a missing ear, a loud voice and a cruel face. He blinks a lot and is currently hopeful, specifically to recruit this pretty girl for the house of ill repute he is employed by.
Xander watches as the barmaid pulls her arm away from his grasp and says, “I’ve told you before Larksong, I will never do that! Keep your filthy hands to yourself!” At this point Larksong, who is clearly drunk, stands up and slaps Rina across her face, with the words “You’d better watch yourself girl or you could have a nasty accident!”
Everybody looks around at this point as Larksong has a loud voice. A couple of patrons leave the bar while others quickly lose interest but Xander is furious at such behaviour and cannot let this insult to a lady pass unchallenged. He rises to his feet and walks towards the booth where Larksong is standing unsteadily. “That’s no way to behave to a lady, I suggest you apologise, oaf!” he exclaims angrily.
I roll an NPC reaction roll here for Larksong, he gets -2 as he’s on his home turf and -2 as he’s drunk so his roll of 9 becomes a 5 – a bad reaction – he’s going to fight. His stats are ST 10, DX 10, IQ 9, HT 8. His speed is 4.5 against Xander’s speed of 6 so Xander goes first. Larksong has knife skill at 12.
Larksong decides to attack and, even though he’s drunk, he still realises that Xander looks younger and fitter than him so he grabs his knife from his belt and slashes towards his opponent’s chest. Xander sees him grab the knife and steps back to grab the nearest chair to defend himself just as the merchant lunges at him, blade in hand.
Larksong readies his knife then attacks while Xander grabs the nearest chair. Larksong rolls an 11 for his first slash but due to the +2 modifier for being inebriated, his attack fails by one against his skill of 12.
Xander can see that this drunken fool means business despite his inebriation and he knows better than to mess with a man with a knife so he decides to use the chair to knock Larksong out. As Larksong lunges again with his knife, Xander steps to the side and swings the chair at his opponent’s body.
Xander goes first due to his Speed of 6 and rolls a 10 against his Brawling skill of 14 for a hit. Larksong has a Dodge of 7 and padded cloth armour giving PD of 1 so his total defence is 8. He rolls a 10 so is unable to avoid the incoming furniture which delivers 4 points of damage – 1d of swing damage (2) plus extra 2 points for the heavy chair. Larksong’s HT is now reduced to 4. He slashes at Xander after the chair strikes him and rolls a 6, modified by +2 for being drunk, making an 8 which is a hit. Xander’s Dodge is 5 with +2 for his leather armour for a total defence of 7 and he rolls a… 7 and dodges the blade!
Xander scores a good solid hit to Larksong’s torso which knocks the wind out of his opponent. As they close on each other, Larksong lunges at him with his knife but Xander dodges the blade as it whizzes past, mere inches from his chest.
In the next round, Larksong realises he is not likely to win this fight so he chooses an all out attack while Xander tries again to knock the older man out with his chair. Xander rolls first getting an 8 against his brawling of 14, a good success. Due to his all out attack Larksong cannot dodge and so only has PD of 1 to protect him. He cannot avoid the blow and takes another 4 points of damage which reduces his HT to 0. Larksong rolls a 9 against his HT of 8 for his knockdown roll and so is knocked to the floor, dropping his knife. He rolls 10 against his HT next round and so falls unconscious.
Larksong is clearly enraged by Xander’s attack and so launches himself madly forward just as Xander swings again with the chair, hitting him solidly and knocking him down as the chair breaks into pieces. The knife bounces away under a table as Larksong drops it and so Xander is able to grab the stunned drunk in a chokehold and drag him outside the tavern before dropping him into the gutter where Larksong falls unconscious.
Xander walks back inside where the barmaid, Rina, is standing dumbstruck by what has just happened – nobody has ever helped her so gallantly before. Xander apologises for breaking the chair and offers to pay for it but she refuses his offer and instead asks if he would like another drink. However, just at this moment the innkeeper arrives up the stairs, having heard the commotion while he was fetching another barrel from the cellar. Fearful of a visit from the City Watch (reaction roll of 4) he shouts at Rina “Get out of here and take your boyfriend with you!” Rina is only too glad to go as she has had quite enough of Ankh-Morpork and was thinking of leaving anyway. She impulsively replies, “I quit, you lazy pig!” before leaving with Xander. “Could I trouble you to walk me to my lodgings, sir?” Rina asks a little nervously. “It would be my pleasure, Miss..?” Xander replies. They introduce themselves and chat briefly before Xander delivers her safely home. Rina wonders whether this honourable man might be able to help her retrieve a valuable item she needs and asks him if he would meet her for lunch the following day. Obviously he agrees!
So that’s it for the first session, Xander has met his employer although he doesn’t know the specifics of the mission yet. Maybe this is the adventure he’s been longing for…