The witch and the mushrooms

A witch with affinities to mushrooms and plant life had set up camp in an abandoned dungeon, atop a dead dragon and its hoard, and allied with a bunch of animate mushrooms. Then adventurers burned it all down. The witch and some mushroom-folk survived. What do they do now, in this cruel world?

Meta

An OSR game, where a witch and some mushrooms, together with some other adventurers, decide what to do and we see how well they succeed.

  • Date and time to be determined. Assume weekend, some time reasonable for Europeans. There are more alternatives on the Christmas week and the week following that.
  • Estimated playing time is at most 4 hours.
  • Four players is good, but more or less works.
  • Rules system is homebrew more-or-less OSR-type rules framework. It is lightweight; you need no previous knowledge, and it does not really help you that much, either. Rules summary in Finnish: https://ropeblogi.wordpress.com/2020/04/15/vanhan-liiton-henkiset-saannot/ .
  • No prior knowledge required.
  • One-shot.
  • Voice via Discord. Voluntary video. A whiteboard application will likely be in use, too, at least if you choose to go dungeoneering.

Situation

The witch and the few surviving mushrooms are in burned ruins. The ground floor of the dungeon, an old watchtower, was burned and collapsed. The entrance to the first dungeon level proper is blocked by stones and such. There is supposed to be more mushrooms there, as well as other entities.

The village of Melford lies close by. The witch estimates the population of the settled area to be several hundreds. The people of Melford attacked them and the mushrooms. There are horses, cows and sheep in the fields. Also some horticulture.

There are goblins and giant spiders in nearby forests.

There are orcs on the nearby hills.

There is an elven city in the forest on the far side of Melford area.

The weather is unnatural: the winter is significantly (some degrees Celsius) warmer than it is supposed to be and there are constant unnatural storms raging over the region. The storms come from much farther away.

Possible characters

The set-up here is special, as the nature of the game depends heavily on the selected characters. The witch and the mushrooms are safe options, so to speak. Anything else will direct play significantly. Please do not make a character who hates another to begin with. Tensions are fine.

For character generation, either convert and use an existing character you have played (ask for details), or roll 3d6 in order (attributes are fitness, instinct, craft, will, charisma and lore) and select an appropriate character from the options below. Choose their background (profession or training before adventuring). Choose one of the three character classes: Expert (come up with a significant special ability), dabbler (come up with a weak special ability and an idiom of magic; we’ll roll you one completely random spell that fits) or mage (come up with an idiom of magic; we’ll roll you three completely random suitable spells). Write down whatever mundane equipment makes sense for the character. Done. You can name them, too, if you’d like.

The witch is a mechanically complicated character, and also a powerful one. Hit dice 2, a bunch of spells and some special abilities. Someone has to play the witch. They recover spells by feeding their fleurian symbionts.

  • This character is already complete, as it has been a non-player character.
  • Likely source of experience: Number of mushrooms at the end of session.
  • Other possible sources of experience: Number of people of Melford killed or 4000 xp if you drive humans away from the region, 2000 xp if you make an allience with the humans, or maybe amount of treasure acquired.

The mushrooms are of undetermined social and intellectual abilities, but they are about a meter tall and have a cap about a meter in diameter.

  • They do not seem to be to very active regarding their surroundings, most of the time, which suggests a low instinct.
  • They have a special ability; by default they can shoot spores that form into d6 new mushrooms, but other abilities are certainly possible.
  • Likely source of experience: Number of mushrooms at the end of session.
  • Other possible sources of experience: Number of people of Melford killed or 4000 xp if you drive humans away from the region, 2000 xp if you make an allience with the humans, or maybe the amount of treasure acquired.

The goblins and the spiders are the dominant force in some nearby forests. These goblins feyish and have blue skin, long ears and nose. Sneaky. Consider spiders as divine, yet do not build temples; respect and fear more than worship. The spiders vary greatly in size and in species of the real-world spiders they resemble. Some spiders allow goblins to ride them. The goblins do not have a great love for the humans of Melford, as blood has been spilt and the humans had a farm where they treated some spiders as cattle.

  • A goblin can have whatever stats. They are smaller than humans regardless.
  • Likely sources of experience: Gold, diplomacy with humans or elves, murder.

The orcs of the Red tusk clan of the Rotting eye tribe sometimes come here. They hold humans in contempt and sometimes rob, raid or even kill them, but the low level of activity has kept the relations relatively calm. They mostly target travellers, not locals. They sometimes take goblins as prisoners. They also have pies they claim are magical.

  • Typically high fitness, lower lore.
  • Experience from: murder, gold, diplomacy with elves or humans (hard!).

A resident of Melford of suitably tolerant, selfish or mercenary outlook might fit. The smith, Irena Yar, knows of a treasure hidden near by and has martial and thief skills. Then there are the farmers and hunters, some of whom might be sympathetic to the witch, if encountered in the right context.

  • Some residents already have stats. Ask if interested.
  • Experience from: Diplomacy probably, though gold is also likely.

An elf from Kyrimi, the elven town from the other side of the Melford settlements, might be appropriate. Some young ones have an eco-terrorist movement brewing. It is not clear how most elves would treat an elven mushroom-witch. The elves have diplomatic relations with the goblins, but no love for the orcs.

  • Typically high stats.
  • Experience from: likely diplomacy, maybe murder, mushrooms or gold

A wanderer, i.e. whichever usual player character, might also work, if they start somewhat sympathetic towards the witch and the mushrooms.

What happens in play

The likely play will consist of two parts: First, the characters decide on a direction of action and a plan, and second, they take action. These both are played. Goals (and sources of experience) are chosen after the direction of play has been chosen. The part where characters first meet and choose to not kill each other at once is not played, but rather assumed.

Note that different characters can have a different quest (source of experience), but everything that is earned is divided by the number of player characters regardless. If you have several sources of experience, you get average earnings.

The witch and the mushrooms

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