Thursday, 14 February 2019

A Tale Of... Session Report 8


Cast:

Alexander Bucciarati (lvl 2 rogue)
A man with a boat and a mission. He tells everyone about one but not the other.

Arabella Volhollen (lvl 2 fighter)
An archer with societal ambitions. Highly suspicious of and condescending towards pretty much everybody.

Giro Beanna (lvl 2 barbarian)
A huge mischia player made even angrier by the loss of his mother to a magical beast attack. Carries a wooden chest on his back.

Manius (level 2 barbarian, having changed between sessions)
Alexander's crewman, a large former pit fighter with all the wits of one.

Salazar Caltata (lvl 2 rogue)
The scrawny fourth son of a nobleman. Good at hiding in a crowd. A snitch and a sneak.

Player Absence:
Vero Anzano (lvl 2 ranger) - an old hunter with a mysterious past. Swamped under an enormous bear cloak.


This was a session of combat avoidance, resource replenishment and at least one silly voice too many.

The party wanted to split to do their own shopping and RP bits, so I was frantically trying to make sure nobody sat to the side getting too bored.

Instead of telling the other characters what he had overheard, Salazar decided to do his own investigating. The highlights of the characters' following day ran thus:
  • Salazar met with the town governor, ostensibly to discuss politics. Once he brought up the rumours of the governor's love life, or lack of, the conversation turned sour and the rogue found himself thrown out.
  • Alexander and Manius went to stock up on supplies sufficient to reach Drosas two and half weeks' voyage away and, with some decent bargaining on their part and poor mental arithmetic on the shopkeeper's, came away with essentially a 33% discount.
  • Arabella sought medical supplies. She found a disturbingly enthusiastic herbalist who sold her a poultice and a lucky necklace garland.
  • Giro learned how to look after his donkey better.
  • While everyone else made their way to the boat, Salazar tried to investigate the tea seller who had been accused of magical use, but all he could get was a sample of relaxing tea. He returned to the Rolling Stoned and told the others about the shipwreck he'd heard about.
  • Sailing on, our heroes warily passed a boat travelling the other way.
  • They also noticed another boat behind them. Rather than risk an engagement, the party allowed the boat to go past. With a storm brewing overhead, they made camp on the river bank with the intent to set off early enough to catch up with the second boat.

Saturday, 9 February 2019

The Make Up of a Character

In an effort to see how complicated this little homebrew has become, I've thrown together a basic character sheet to get an idea of how these rules might appear to players:

ATTRIBUTES

Task resolution is d20 + Attribute > Target Number.
The target number is usually 15 or above when interacting with the environment. For an action involving another creature (like attacking or defending), the target number is 10 + the creature's level.

Might - for melee, strength and constitution-based tasks
Finesse - for ranged, dexterous and intricate-based tasks
Willpower - for magic and mental toughness-based tasks

These three attributes are determined at Character Creation by rolling 3d6 and taking the lowest value.

Competence - for instinct-based tasks such as combat initiative and avoiding traps, encounter rolls and communication-based tasks, and for general fitness as an adventurer. Competence is treated as an attribute for the purpose of task resolution, but is determined by taking the average of Might, Finesse and Willpower (rounded down).

CHANCE DICE

Chance Dice track consumable resources. Armour breaks, luck runs out and magic exhausts the user.

They follow this die chain: Cd4 < Cd6 < Cd8 < Cd10 < Cd12. When a Chance Die is rolled, if it comes up as 1, 2 or 3, it is downgraded to the dice below it (the next smallest) for future rolls. If a Cd4 is downgraded, the character no longer has access to that chance die until they replenish it (usually at a rest).

Armour Chance Die - determined by what armour is being warn. Can be used to protect against damage by reducing it by the value rolled (to a minimum of 1). Can also be used when rolling on the Injury table. Downgrading ACd4 means armour destroyed.

Luck Chance Die - determined at Character Creation (default LCd6). Can be used to add the value rolled to any attribute roll. Can also be used when rolling on the Injury table.

Magic Chance Die - determined at Character Creation (default LCd6). Can be used to cast spells. Downgrading MCd4 means uncontrolled magic mishap.

OTHER DICE

Damage Die - represents how much damage you inflict in combat. Modified by choice of weapon.

Stamina Die - equivalent to HD.
Stamina - Stamina Die + Competence. Represents how much energy you have to avoid significant damage. Re-roll every hour's rest. Gain Max Stamina after a night's rest
Max Stamina - Maximum value of Stamina Die + Competence.

If an attack takes a character to 0 stamina, roll their ACd and LCd together and subtract any leftover damage. Check the Injury table to see what's left of you.

OTHER ENTRIES

Burden Capacity - the sum of Might, Finesse and Willpower values. Does not change if an attribute drops through illness or injury. Items, spells, injuries and conditions all take up slots.

Experience - one experience box may be filled after completing a challenging quest, spectacularly failing but surviving an impressive ordeal or making the GM collapse with laughter. Each heavily bordered box allows a character advancement after a week's training:

- Add +1 to Might, Finesse or Willpower, and roll a d10 for each of the other two. If the roll is higher than the current value, add +1 to that attribute. Recalculate Competency.
- Upgrade Stamina Die
- Upgrade Luck Chance Die
- Upgrade Magic Chance Die
- Upgrade Damage Die
- Choose a Characteristic

Unless otherwise stated, you may not increase an attribute above 10 or upgrade a die beyond a d10.

Characteristics - bonuses to an aspect of adventuring life (though not just a flat Roll With Advantage). No more than one instance of each Characteristic allowed in an adventuring party.

Background - a character's former (or current) profession, to be taken into account with attempting tasks in which it might be relevant, as well as one choice of hobby. Can be chosen or randomly generated at Character Creation.

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Giving mechanics a fighting chance

TL;DR - the rules I'm thinking of running with are at the end of the post. The guff in between is my convoluted thought process.


Early in my GMing career, the player characters had captured an interrogated an orc warrior. Satisfied that they wouldn't get anything further out of him, one player declared that he would slit the orc's throat. There was an expectant silence - would I ask for an attack roll? An initiative roll? I hesitated, because I knew the orc's HP was way above what the character could cause, even with a critical hit? And there was a risk of him missing a bound, prone target. But, mechanically, was this not combat?

I like combat. I came to RPGs with a tabletop wargaming background, and still enjoy reading and playing out scenarios and battles. I have not, however, really been comfortable with the way that many tabletop RPGs play out in pretty much the way old computer turn-based RPGs used to: walking along normally, everyone together,  until a foe is spotted, whereupon suddenly we are in 'combat mode', and everyone does everything on their turn and then waits for everyone else to do their things on their respective turns.



'Combat Mode' then completely changes how we think about things. Play D&D 5e and you find yourself pondering the most effective use of your actions, bonus actions and reactions, all the while wondering what you might get away with as a free action. I like many aspects of 5e, and combat at lower levels is great! But it can quickly become too similar to the Fallout 1 & 2 fights whereby you change your style to squeeze as much use out of those action points as possible. It works for a single-player computer game, but in a tabletop RPG you've got other players getting bored.

Forget actions, sub-actions and whatnot. I want my homebrew to encourage players on their turn to just do the thing!

I like the combat systems in Knave and The Black Hack: roll a Strength check if you're in melee, roll a Wisdom / Dexterity check if you're making or dodging a ranged attack. The same mechanics as if you were trying to do or respond to something out of combat, the only difference being a turn order.

This also may help rectify another side effect of the 'combat mode' - the 'I make a weapon attack' playstyle. In many games, whatever you narrate yourself as doing with the dagger - be it slitting a throat, slicing a hamstring or stabbing a crotch - the effect is still a roll on the damage die and that's it. Therefore, a player has little incentive to invest more effort into becoming their character since it will all amount to the same mechanical result. If anything, they may disadvantage themselves since they might be asked to make a roll without their attack bonus!

There are some rulesets out there which give combat-orientated characters some options. I like the ones I first saw in the No Class Hack, whereby characters could pick abilities whereby they rolled particularly well on an attack roll they could disarm the opponent or throw them off balance with a feint, but hiding these behind an ability means that otherwise perfectly capable characters in a melee can't disarm or feint.

One way to deal with an invulnerable skeleton jelly

I want players to think creatively, and not be hamstrung by too rigid a system.

I like the Gambits mechanic, which I believe I saw in one of the Goblin Laws of Gaming offshoots (* in between writing and reviewing this, I've seen it in Spwack's Die Trying ruleset), whereby a player asks for a bonus on a hit at the risk of an increased penalty if they miss. A character might try to stab an enemy in the leg to slow them down so on a hit, in addition to a damage roll, the opponent's movement might be halved. Miss, however, and the character has left an opening - maybe they get an immediate attack against them, or they are defending the next attack at disadvantage. It's a very simple addition to a standard task roll, gets players thinking creatively and generally takes advantage of the fact that we're not playing a computer game with pretty limited options.

The example above alludes to another design choice: player-facing rolls. I really like the idea of the players doing as much of the rolling as possible, and for this I'm taking much inspiration from The Black Hack. An NPC's Armour Class is derived from their Hit Die, and more specifically the difference between their Hit Die and the Character's level. My version differs slightly in that I want to simplify things so that the NPC's AC and attacks are one and the same: 10 + the NPC's Level (i.e. HD). That's the target number a character needs to beat on an Attribute roll whether they are making an attack or defending against one.

Each Character has a Damage Die, and this is modified depending on their weapon (using the dice chain d4 < d6 < d8 < d10 < d12). So if a Character's expected combat attack involves them rolling an Attribute test and possibly a damage roll.

Rather than get players rolling an enemy's damage inflicted upon their characters (because I ideally want to avoid any situation whereby a player has to subconsciously hope for a low die roll), I want most NPCs to have a flat damage output. The Black Hack has a table basically showing how Damage Die linked to an NPC's HD averages out to HD + 1. So that's my rule.

The characters have a chance to reduce this damage by rolling their Armour Chance Die (ACd), which is another bastardised blend of a mechanic, this time from The Black Hack and Macchiato Monsters. Armour gives a Character an ACd (again using the dice chain) to roll - whatever they roll is damage resisted, and is taken away from the enemy attack which can be reduced to a minimum of 1. If the roll is a 1, 2 or 3, however, the ACd is downgraded one step, and can be destroyed entirely.

This means that a character defending also involves two rolls: an Attribute test and possibly an armour roll.

All of which might suggest that character's might not be getting all that much damage in initial combat. This should be remedied by the relatively limited health characters will be getting, and the fact that a player may want to save their ACd for their Injury roll if reduced to 0 Stamina, rather than risk it being rendered useless beforehand.

Good golly, these rules read like they're getting out of hand. I will have to sit back and reflect, and then streamline at a later date...

-

-

So, some of the combat-related rules I'm considering are as follows (in minimal, probably unclear form):

Attribute Roll: proactive or reactive actions relating to the environment.

d20 + Attribute > Target Difficulty (usually between 15 and 20, any lower and they shouldn't be rolling)

Contested Attribute Roll: proactive or reactive actions relating to NPCs (such as attacking and defending against attacks)

d20 + Attribute > 10 + Opponent's Level

Attribute for melee attack / defence - Might
Attribute for ranged attack / defence - Finesse

Gambit: Negotiate with the GM before an attack or defence roll, suggesting a bonus on a success at the risk of suffering a worse penalty upon failure. Not for inflicting more damage on an enemy.

Critical Success: an unmodified roll of a 20 on a d20. The Player can narrate an extra benefit. An attack causes maximum damage on the Damage Die. If defending in melee, automatically inflict one normal hit upon your attacker.

Critical Failure: an unmodified roll of a 1 on a d20. The Character faces an extra penalty. Receive twice as much damage from an attacker or, if attacking in melee, the defender inflicts one automatic hit upon you.

Inflicting Damage: roll the appropriate Damage Die.

Unarmed - use a d4 for a Damage Die.
Light Melee Weapon - downgrade character's Damage Die. Roll twice and take the higher if armed with one in each hand, but may not use a shield.
One-Handed Melee Weapon - roll character's Damage Die.
Two-Handed Melee Weapon - upgrade character's Damage Die. May not use a shield.
Ranged Weapon - roll character's Damage Die.
Heavy Ranged Weapon - upgrade character's Damage Die. May not move and attack in the same turn.

Receiving Damage: a standard enemy attack inflicts their Level + 1 damage. A Character may try to resist the damage with their Armour Chance Die.

A Tale Of... Session Report 7

Trying out more concise session reports with bullet points - more convenient for personal reference.


Cast:

Alexander Bucciarati (lvl 2 rogue)
A man with a boat and a mission. He tells everyone about one but not the other.

Giro Beanna (lvl 2 barbarian)
A huge mischia player made even angrier by the loss of his mother to a magical beast attack. Carries a wooden chest on his back.

Manius (level 2 barbarian, having changed between sessions)
Alexander's crewman, a large former pit fighter with all the wits of one.

Salazar Caltata (lvl 2 rogue)
The scrawny fourth son of a nobleman. Good at hiding in a crowd. A snitch and a sneak.

Vero Anzano (lvl 2 ranger)
An old hunter with a mysterious past. Swamped under an enormous bear cloak.

Player Absence:
Arabella Volhollen (lvl 2 fighter) - an archer with societal ambitions. Highly suspicious of and condescending towards pretty much everybody.


Recap:

We find our heroes sailing downriver from Langarica with a battered, unconscious body at the bottom of their boat, with some battered, mostly conscious bodies of their own. With a busy working week and an unwell wife, this was a largely prep-less session, and as such my first proper reliance upon random tables.


Key moments of the session:
  • Our heroes made camp on the river bank to rest and decide what to do with the prisoner.
     
  • The prisoner, struggling through a dislocated jaw, eventually communicated that he'd been hired to collect Zoriane by a dark-haired man with a beard, and was either unwilling or unable to give any more info.
     
  • The party voted to execute him rather than risk him returning to finish his work (Manius and Giro in favour, Alexander against, everyone else abstaining). Alexander turned away in disgust as the two large men approached the large man. Having been left unbound this whole time, the prisoner knocked Manius aside with two quick punches and tried to make a break for it. Giro embedded his axe in the chap's skull.
     
  • Vero returned with a solitary hare and some herbs from his hunting, not wishing to venture too far from camp.
     
  • Salazar looted the corpse's body of its coin purse and, peeking inside, found just ten dried peas. Po-faced, he offered Alexander the entirety of the prisoner's belongings for his own passage on the boat. One critical success later and the boat captain found himself in possession of some peas.
     
  • Giro led Shillelagh onto the boat "because she likes the boat", whereupon he got jumped by a Giant Arowana. He hefted the donkey back onto land and defended himself, before realising there was a shoal of the beasts...
     
  • I have since researched
    what an arowana looks like,
    and it's not like a pejelagarto...
    With several of the more nature-savvy members knowing these massive fish could hurl themselves onto land and power their way back to water, the party tied a rope around the prisoner's corpse and used it as bait to drag one of them over the fire and batter it to death. It proved a more ample supper than the hare, and had another corpse in its belly bearing a signet ring from a noble family south of Langarica and a mace with a head designed that wails as it swings through the air. Alexander pocketed the ring, and Manius the mace.
     
  • The party sailed on for another day to reach Omaika, a small town. In the tavern, just before retiring for the night, Salazar picked up several rumours:
    • the town governor wasn't sleeping with his wife anymore
    • one shopkeeper had been accused of using magic on their customers
    • another shopkeeper had very suddenly hired someone to watch their shop for a week
    • someone's shipment had recently gone missing downriver. Upon further investigation, the person to speak to was a local kidnapper who'd lost a 'shipment'.

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

A Tale Of... Session Report 6

This was a session of rest, merry making and a bit of blood spilling, and filled with players very agreeably fixing themselves to the rather obvious plot hooks dangling before them.




Cast:

Giro Beanna (lvl 2 barbarian)
A huge mischia player made even angrier by the loss of his mother to a magical beast attack. Carries a wooden chest on his back.

Salazar Caltata (lvl 2 rogue)
The scrawny fourth son of a nobleman. Good at hiding in a crowd. A snitch and a sneak.

Vero Anzano (lvl 2 ranger)
An old hunter with a mysterious past. Swamped under an enormous bear cloak.

Player Absence:

Arabella Volhollen (lvl 2 fighter) - an archer with societal ambitions. Highly suspicious of and condescending towards pretty much everybody.


Carousing

After a couple of days' uneventful travel back to Langarica, our battered crew elected to rest, lick their wounds and enjoy their earnings. Vero returned the fallen Ceasar's darts to his family - the only remains recoverable after the black pudding. Ceasar's father, Unai Giovanna, gravely accepted them and welcome the band in for a meal to celebrate the life of his life, as is traditional in this part of the world. Life is cheap, and mischia players tend to spend their share quicker than most.

Vero regained consciousness in his hut the next day with a pounding headache, a new pair of boots, a silver dagger with a finely engraved handle (a serpent attacking a bear attacking a hedgehog attacking a sloth attacking a beetle attacking the serpent) and a large painting of a strange, severe-looking noblewoman. Giro woke up to find that he had won a donkey named Shillelagh. 

Avoiding the fun and cheer, Salazar began studying the 'Patrons and Complications' book he had found weeks before.

Swallowing a Plot Hook

He made his way to the Cathouse Tragedy to commune with his informant, Zoriane, passing two men - one large, one not so large - lounging by the main entrance. The woman of ill-repute disclosed that she had located the boy who had fled through the crowd with the magical beast on his trail all those weeks ago, and she presented him with a deal - the boy and his older brother were north along the river, and if Salazar and the party would take Zoriane with them she would disclose the exact location. Pressed for detail, she revealed she was fleeing an individual whose secret she had learned. Something about an inheritance.

Salazar agreed, and they continued their discussion as they left. The two men outside approached an introduced themselves as Alexander Bucciarati and his crewman, Manius - two men in a boat. Salazar left Zoriane with them and rounded up the rest of our sore-headed heroes. 

A Bruising Departure

The trio made their way to the docks, Zoriane feeding the two the line that Salazar was her lover appeasing her with a spontaneous trip on the river. There was a pair of dubious glances in response, but the gents held their thoughts to themselves. As they waited aboard the Rolling Stoned, however, they were approached by four ruffians, the leader being a particular large fellow. Through aggressive politeness he demanded that Zoriane return with them. Alexander and Manius dashingly placed themselves between her and these visitors, words were exchanged and - as one large bruiser tried to push past another large bruiser - blades and clubs were drawn and swung.

At this point the rest of the gang arrived and dashed in to help. Forgoing such crude activities as stabbing at people, Salazar pulled his Jack Sparrow hat down over his forehead and hurled himself upon a nearby crane. It swung round and sent friend and foe alike tumbling to the ground or into the river. The PCs were fastest to react and set about cutting down their assailants. Seeing another suspicious-looking group on the shore approaching quickly, they flung the unconscious brute of a leader into the boat, hefted the donkey in and made a quick departure northwards.

Sunday, 3 February 2019

A Tale Of... Session Report 5

The third session in the Tomb of the Serpent Kings.

Cast

Arabella Volhollen (lvl 2 fighter)
An archer with societal ambitions. Highly suspicious of and condescending towards pretty much everybody.

Salazar Caltata (lvl 2 rogue)
The scrawny fourth son of a nobleman. Good at hiding in a crowd. A snitch and a sneak.


Vero Anzano (lvl 2 ranger)
An old hunter with a mysterious past. Swamped under an enormous bear cloak.

Apologies from players

Ceasar Giovana (deceased)

Giro Beanna (lvl 1 barbarian) - a huge mischia player made even angrier by the loss of his mother to a magical beast attack. Carries a wooden chest on his back.

Session Report

Our party of heroes tentatively stepped into the more naturally-formed cave tunnels, carefully stepping around the copious quantities of mushrooms and plantlife coating the floors and wall. They came across a number of goblins huddled around a messy construction of sticks and mud. The creatures didn't attack but kept a constant glare upon our adventurers. With more goblins visible at the edge of the torchlight, the group decided to withdraw peacefully.

There was a distinct sound of a large chain dragging along the ground echoing around the tunnels up ahead, and our band edged cautiously onwards. They came to a large carvern pitted with fallen and broken statues of human and beast alike. Rotten tables and benches lay crumbled between majestic pillars. While Giro hung back with Cosma, the others crept in. A large, lizard-like creature emerged from the gloom, a chain running back into the darkness, gaze averted from the unfamiliar torchlight. Warily, the vanguard tried making their way across to one of the doorways, but it followed. Arabella and Salazar felt their guts clench as it stared at them, but before they could act upon these signs the creature attacked. Arabella's readied arrow flew wide and the monster's jaws clamped around her arm, shaking her around like a rag doll. Vero inched backwards, peppering their assailant with arrows, but Salazar, wary to avoid the creature's gaze circle around the back and clambered upon its back, striking in futility at the scaly back.

Arabella's eyes met the creature's and suddenly she felt her limbs locking in place. Suddenly, one of Salazar's stabs pierced the monster's scales. The beast flung Arabella's crumpled body aside, knocking her out cold, and rolled around in an attempt to rid itself of the troublesome human. Salazar was thrown free; he scrambled for the exit. Vero tried to cover his retreat, but the monster fell upon him, crushing him into the ground. Salazar brandished his rapier grimly, ready to go down fighting but, through sheer strength of will, the old hunter dragged himself up and drove his shortsword into the creature's underbelly and vitals, rolling away as the large form collapsed lifeless to the ground.

As Vero checked for signs of life in Arabella, Salazar examined the fallen basilisk, grabbing a key dangling from its collar. Remembering a large locked door earlier, the group carried their unconscious companion back through the corridors. They unlocked the door and came upon a collection of valuables and trinkets. Upon trying on a ring, Salazar turned instantly to stone. Having wrapped himself in an enormous bear pelt, a suddenly braver Vero pulled the ring from the young noble's finger, and life returned to his skin. Among the haul they also found a set of spectacles which gave the wearer the impression that everyone was dressed as a clown, much to Arabella's bemusement, and a pair of identical amulets bearing a design of one figure being stabbed but another dying.

With everyone suffering injuries of varying degrees of severity, the party decided discretion was the better part of valour and carefully retraced their steps out of the tomb. As they emerged into the daylight, Cosma flung her arms around Salazar and planted a kiss upon his lips. He returned, dipping her back with a flourish, but he felt himself weakening slightly. As he leant back, suddenly feeling two years older, Cosma's eyes turned a bright red and she cackled. Wings sprouted from her back and she disappeared into the sky. Arabella berated Salazar for his folly, but he simpy smiled back: "Worth it."

Saturday, 2 February 2019

A Tale Of... Session Report 4

The party continues through the Tomb of the Serpent King.


Cast: 
Ceasar Giovana (lvl 1 monk)
A local mischia player (mischia being a highly bloody and highly popular contact sport).

Giro Beanna (lvl 1 barbarian)
A huge mischia player made even angrier by the loss of his mother to a magical beast attack. Carries a wooden chest on his back.

Salazar Caltata (lvl 1 rogue)
The scrawny fourth son of a nobleman. Good at hiding in a crowd. A snitch and a sneak.

Vero Anzano (lvl 1 ranger)
An old hunter with a mysterious past. Swamped under an enormous bear cloak.

Apologies from absent players:

Arabella Volhollen - lvl 1 fighter - an archer with societal ambitions. Highly suspicious of and condescending towards pretty much everybody.




After a couple of hours' waiting and watching, Ceasar Giovana felt recovered enough to carry on, and our intrepid band entered the tomb once more. Having found the once-concealed passageway down beneath a large half-serpent half-human statue, they made their way down into a larger corridor. They located a hidden doorway behind a statue and armed themselves with some spears, and picked up some trinkets.

They eventually came to a large octagonal room with a pit of water in the centre and doors in each wall. They made their way along the northern doors, finding an animate skeleton and various small valuables, then came across an oozing remnant of a mummification-gone-wrong. Their attacks split it apart but this barely seemed to hamper it. It seeped forwards, forcing our heroes back. Some of it slid into the brackish water in the pit and disappeared. Ceasar and Giro Beanna tried to lever the rest of it in, but alas - Ceasar was not quick enough to avoid an acidic tendril which struck him and pulled him into the rest of the oozing mass. All that remained of the mischia player was a bell and some fishing twine. Enraged, Giro battered that remnant of the slimy being to all corners and ripped up the floor to slide the rest of the thing into the pit.

Shaken by the loss of their companion, the rest of the party advanced forwards down a long stairway into another large room. A large statue in the centre shuddered into life and attacked. Most of the group darted around it and ran for the doorway on the other side, which opened up into a massive chasm. Together Giro and Vero Anzano baited the construct towards the edge and, with Salazar Caltata flinging himself at the creature's back, combined their strength to topple the statue into the gloom. It was a long time before they heard an impact.

Creeping along the ledge, our heroes came across a door with a bar across it. Remembering the hammer from the day before, they skirted around it and looked for another doorway.

Confronted by a skeleton jelly, they retreated back to the chasm and tripped it so that it too fell headlong into the abyss.

They eventually came across Cosma, a totally human and ordinary botanist, and unknowingly released her from her bound prison. She followed them around as they proceeded through the caverns, attaching herself to Salazar.

At this point, a jingly tune sounded briefly and everyone suddenly felt that little bit more able to face the perils ahead. Level up!