Friday, June 8, 2012

Iron Reforged pt. 3: The Lady Ruiva's Chambers (Social Interaction)

Wherein I outline the Favor Mechanic used in the Module and the red-haired Widow's Chat.

This specific section of the adventure is a little experimental, but I wanted to sort of reenact one of my favorite scenes in video roleplaying: the Feast scene in Final Fantasy III/VI.  This scene had multiple small interchanges that determined the outcome of the events ahead in a small way, so I wanted to create similar mechanics for small social interactions within the game. 

A simple Favor mechanic is being used, somewhat akin to Affiliation Scores but which I am thinking will be able to rise to somewhere between 50-100 during the Adventure’s story.  This is actually a way to determine the overall ‘rewards’ of the adventure, which will allow each player to receive some benefit from their social roleplaying experiences, feats of daring do, and overall success in challenges during the days leading up to the main events.  I like the idea of building a little bit of roleplaying benefits leading up to a scaled reward.  I hope you like the basic mechanics behind it and if you have any questions feel free to shoot me a comment or email me at



The Arrival to Fiddler’s Crown and Inside the Lady’s Chambers.

Upon arrival, by sea or land, the party has a chance to meet the Lady Ruiva either to help deliver Eric’s message or give testimony on the events of their travels. 

Triggered Event: Lady Ruiva’s Audience and Sir Malmsey’s Poultice

Portrait of Lady Ruiva in her younger days.
By Sea: If Eric survives Beggar’s Bridge with less than 50% of his HP or dies, the party finds, on examination, the wounds are unable to be healed by normal means.  Upon seeing the corpse or the wounded Eric the guards at Root Gate will sound the alarm and ask the party what has happened.  The Guard Captain, armed with House relic Sentenza, a scabbard that allows for Zone of Truth.  If the party attempts to lie and fails, they will be barred access.  If they explain the whole situation the Captain will escort them to the Western Tower. 

If the players travel by sea roll d100.  There is a 60% chance that a group of adventurers were killed in a skirmish with the Guards, leading the Lady Ruiva to hang the Guards involved and imprison Sir Filo.  The party sees the guards hanging before the walls of the Towers, with a crier shouting their crimes and the imprisonment of Sir Filo.

By Land: If the archers accidentally feather the party Sir Filo deeply apologizes, but must report the archers for their impropriety.  Due to this sequence of events Sir Filo requests the party’s presence to prove there was no malicious thought and to protect his own men from prosecution and attack on an invited guest of the Ladies, leading to a quick trial and quicker hanging.  If the players travel by land roll d100.  On a chance of 60%, Brasslegged Eric and a group of travelers is waylaid, the secrets of his missive lost.

Lady’s Ruiva’s Chamber:  The following description is to be read upon introduction to the Lady Ruiva’s chambers: 

The chambers of Lady Ruiva are dominated by three portraits.  To the left is a dour-looking middle-aged man in seaman’s dress.  On the right sits a picture of a younger man, in the garb of a nobleman in red and blue, with set of gauntlets with golden stars on their knuckles.  The center picture looks to be a man that could be the twin of Lady Ruiva; a redhaired knight holding a helm shaped like a bear’s head beneath his arm, an ax upon his hip, and a smile that beams at the viewer.

Lady Prata is either just finishing her punishment of Sir Filo (who pleads for his heart and love of the redhaired widow), or looking over papers while chatting with an elderly man asking for additional coin for the festivities of the Ball of Bravos.  Upon presentation of Sir Filo or Eric Lady Prata acts the following way:

Base Favor in Fiddler’s Crown:  Charisma Score - 10.
  • Eric is Dead (No Body): -4
  • Eric is Dead (Body Presented): -2
  • If Eric is Injured: 0
  • Eric Arrives above 50%: +2.

The Lady asks if the party attempted to assist her bondsmen:

  • Lies about assistance (Bluff vs. Sense Motive DC: 17): -4
  • Heal check Attempted: +1
  • Cure Wounds spell Attempted: +3
  • (Lesser) Restoration Attempted: +5

Eric asks for water. The Lady Prata asks them to make themselves comfortable.  The party is asked about what caused the incident.  She asks questions about the battle, if any struck the killing blow, and any further information she can glean:

  • Member sits without permission granted: -2
  • Member asks to be seated: +1
  • Member gets Eric water: +2 
  • Party IDs Invisible Stalker: +3

The lady makes small talk as her handmaiden treats Eric/serves Sir Filo a meal as he is famished.  After either man is as comfortable as possible the Lady asks each member of the Party wants to earn from the Tournament:

  • Gold: -2
  • Glory/Favor +2
  • Test Skill/Mettle: +4

If the members seek Glory or Favor the Lady chides them softly for their brashness, but still seems to enjoy a person who knows what they want.  After a few moments the Lady asks the party to forgive her manners and offers refreshment:

  • Refusal: -2
  • Spirits: -2
  • Water: 0
  • Wine: +1
  • Ale: +2

If the majority chooses Ale the Lady comments on her first love Baixista’s adoration of ale.  Majority chooses wine she tells a story of the Lord-Commander bringing her a hundred bottles on their wedding day and the bottle being just around the end of the vintage.  If spirits are the majority the Lady comments about her late husband Alric’s love of spirits, and chides the party for spirits weakening the mind.

It is around this time that Lord Malmsey finds his way into the chamber.  If Eric is in the chamber he goes to his side, while if Sir Filo is within he just makes a courtesy announcement and rolls to the side.  The party must make a Will Save (DC: 14) to prevent the shock of Lord Malmsey’s condition from showing on their face.
  • Individual Fail: -2
  • Pass: 0
  • All Fail: -5 
  • All Pass: +2 
If anyone fails Lord Malmsey apologizes about his condition, explaining his illness simply, and the Lady smiles derisively.  If the whole party fails Ruiva comments on the lack of civility in this age for those who are weakened by circumstance, and no further Favor may be gained in this interaction. 

Lord Malmsey begins to work on Eric or remains waiting for Sir Filo. If a Toast is raised Lady Ruiva asked to what they toast

  • To the Lost: +3, and the Lady Ruiva lets a single tear drop to a kerchief.
  • To Glory: +1, and the Lady smirks.
  • (Religious): -2, and the Lady makes a snide comment about gods and fate.
  • (Flattery): 0, and no further favor may be gained.
  • (Random Toast): Judge at the Table.  Ruiva likes a hearty boast or modesty, but a ribald, pious, or outright obscene toast will broke disfavor.
  • Show worry for Eric: +2

Lord Malmsey will ask questions about the creature, and specifics regarding the party’s understanding of the condition.  The Lady listens intently to any discussion, but only interferes if asked a question.  Once Malmsey packs Eric off the Lady thanks the group for their time and offers them an invitation (base on highest Favor of party).

  • -6 or Below: Lady provides no Invitation without prompting.
  • -5 to +5: Lady provides Invitation to Ball of Bravos, thanks for service.
  • +6 to +10: Lady provides Invitation to Ball of Bravos and Dinner before.
  • +11 - +14: Lady provides both invitations and escorts to the Ball
  • 15+: As above, best score attends with Lady Ruiva’s daughter (18+: Supplies outfits for the party).

By Land:
  • Huntsman Injured: -1/-2
  • Huntsman Killed: -4
  • Peace brokered/No Encounter: 0
  • Adventurer Wounded: +2/+5
  • Adventurer Killed: +10
  • Henchman Killed: +5
  • Mount Injured/Killed: +2.

The party is introduced by Sir Filo, and their tale of the journey is told.  If a battle occurs the party is asked to deliver a recounting of the events leading up to the attack from the huntsmen.  After the accounting Sir Filo attempts to argue for his men, and the Lady offers the floor to her “new companions”.

Diplomacy Check (DC: 15) For or Against
  • Pass: +2
  • Fail: -1
  • Roll a 1: -5.

The party is able to save the men if they succeed, but Sir Filo is given a month’s stay in a cell in the barracks.  The party is asked about drinks, and Lord Malmsey enters the room as the players toast.

Sir Filo leaves with an escort, and the Lady begins to chat with Malmsey.  The fact that Eric has yet to show up is addressed, and the Lord and Lady discuss the Ball of Bravos.  Malmsey makes a lame joke about his finest barrel, and the Lady chuckles.  The Lady asks the players of their strange adventures and wants to hear about an entertaining story about their adventures.

Diplomacy, Performance, Knowledge check (DC: 20).
  • Check Fails: -2
  • Amusing Tale: 0/+2 (bonus if female, male with Cha/Str Mod +3 or higher.
  • Tale of Valor: +2
  • Tale of Glory: +3
  • Tale of Prowess: +4
  • Bardic Performance: +2 bonus to the check.
The Lady enjoys the tales but has other business.  She extends an invitation to the Ball of Bravos (see previous Chart).