Sunday, April 5, 2015
Coming of Age in Wundervale
Spring festival time in Wundervale is when “young people who have recently turned 16” participate in coming-of-age ceremonies. The main event is an obstacles course, shown above. The course has eleven obstacles (or 'stations') that require a participant to engage in some activity – usually requiring a skill or characteristic roll. This allows the characters to display their abilities. It is also the means by which The Adventurer's Handbook teaches its readers how actions or tasks are resolved in terms of game mechanics. Below are the instructions for the course.
1. Down Cliff
Character can choose to climb down or jump down. A successful 'climb' roll means the character spends three turns descending. A failed roll means the character falls and takes 1D3 damage; character spends a total of two turns (one to fall and one to recover). A successful 'jump' roll means the character spends three turns descending. A failed roll means the character falls and takes 1D6 damage; character spends one turn falling and 1D3 turns recovering.
2. Steep Path
Character spends a number of turns running based on Dexterity (DEX 13 or more = 1 turn; DEX 9 - 12 = 2 turns; DEX 8 or less = 3 turns). A fumble result on a percentile roll (00) means the character falls, takes 1D3 damage, and spends an additional turn recovering.
Character can choose to swim across or run downstream and wade across. A successful 'swim' roll means the character spends one turn crossing. A failed roll means the character is swept downstream and spends a total of three turns crossing. A running character spends a total of three turns crossing. Since no penalties are mentioned for fumbles, the swimming option seems to be preferable.
Character must find a carved stick hidden among the brush. Each turn, a 'spot hidden' roll is attempted; if successful, a stick is found.
Dogs are tied upwind from the course. A successful 'move quietly' roll means the does do not detect the character and no not bark. A failed roll means the dogs bark.
6. Listening Post
Character attempts a 'listen' roll to identify a sound made by a hidden person. If the roll is failed, the character either does not hear the sound or misidentifies it.
7. Rock Pile
Character must throw a rock and strike a target at ten meters. Each turn, a 'throw' roll is attempted; if successful the target is hit.
8. Mud Ditch
A successful 'jump' roll means the character jumps over the ditch. A failed roll means the character falls into the ditch and takes a turn to climb out.
Character can choose to shinny or walk across a log that bridges the creek. Percentile dice are rolled. The roll for a shinnying character is successful if the result is less than or equal to 1.5 × 'climb' value. Success means the character spends three turns to reach the other side of the creek. The roll for a walking character is successful if the result is less than or equal to 3 × Dexterity. Success means the character spends one turn to reach the other side of the creek. Failure for either roll means the character falls into the creek and spends two turns returning to the log in order to try again.
10. Uphill Run
Same situation as Steep Path above.
11. Up Cliff
Character can choose to climb the rope or use the trail. A character using the trail spends three turns reaching the end. A successful 'climb' roll means the character spends one turn ascending. A failed roll means the character falls and takes 1D6 damage. A fallen character waits 1D3 turns before attempting to climb again (or choosing to use the trail).
Skills performed successfully during the course have a chance of being improved. When checking for improvement, percentile dice are rolled and if the result exceeds the current skill value, that value increases by five percentiles.
Although the event is a race, “winning is not as important as simply doing it.” However, “members of the guilds will watch the events of festival day.” Apparently, guild representatives are present to recruit apprentices. Mentioned guilds include “the Adventurer's Guild, the Sorcerer's Guild, the Guild of Sages who seek knowledge*, even the Rogues' Guild, the guild of honorable thieves.” One wonders about what apprenticeship in the “Adventurer's Guild” entails. One also wonders about the Rogues' Guild recruitment pitch.
After completing the obstacle course (and checking for skill improvement), the book indicates the “characters can play in a low level Basic Role Playing, RuneQuest, or Worlds of Wonder game.” For an instruction book that otherwise dwells almost pedantically on rudimentary aspects of role-playing games, The Adventurer's Handbook is frustratingly reticent on finalizing character generation. For instance, later in the same chapter, the book uses “the method of Worlds of Wonder: Magic World” to enhance Barostan's abilities; said 'method' being part of Magic World character generation. Even so, The Adventurer's Handbook has Barostan increase his characteristics as a result of training as warrior – something not part of Magic World character generation.
For the other characters, The Adventurer's Handbook adopts another Magic World notion – one month of training provides a skill value increase of five percentiles. The book, seemingly arbitrarily, determines how many months in a five year period a character can train and determines the results of that training. Rokana trains for thirty months; however, without establishing any sort of rule-based methodology, The Adventurer's Handbook provides Rokana with three spells and a minor magic item before her official training begins. Bridla's “work and lifestyle” permits only two months per year for training. As an apprentice of the Thieves' Guild (which, I guess, is the same as the Rouges' Guild), Dernfara gets the benefits of eleven months of training per year (which is a different benefit scheme from what the rouge profession provides in Magic World).
* As opposed to the Guild of Sages that flavor cuisine?