Situations for Graal

What's a "situation"? Graal is too open ended of a game to allow whole "adventures" to be created, in which a whole session or more is planned out. Too much can happen in Graal, namely other people with Narrative Points (or, if you're a player, the GM). More appropriate to Graal are short little set-ups that introduce some kind of problem, and maybe hint at a solution. I call these Situations. You could easily use half a dozen situations to make a decent session, as long as you strung them together well.

I'll be adding new situations as time goes on, but feel free to submit your own as well. This site is about providing support for Graal, including by and for other players. Just e-mail me.

The Dark Forboding Castle

The basics of this situation is that there is a dark and forboading castle, just begging to be investigated, but entering it poses a problem: its walls are high and apparently impenetrable, the gates sealed, and no on in site to ask for entrance.

The Set-Up

Easy enough. Just throw the castle in the way of the questors and describe some some eery weather around the place. Alternately, if you want a more serious hook, drop hints earlier that they're supposed to go to a castle somewhere, maybe to meet someone. A pretty stock idea in the Romances is some knight or Baron inviting the knights to his castle, only for it to be either (a) not there, or (b) enchanted and weird. Generally, it's just curiosity and good manners (for having accepted the invitation) that drives the knights to seek entry.

Exactly what kind of castle you have is up to you. Simplest is just a big black stoney fortress, with high towers, thick walls, and a general lack of decoration or friendliness. Depending on your campaign, something more or less obviously fantastical might be appropriate: like gargoyles with blinking eyes, or stones that seem to shift within the mortar. You can also be very liberal with your definition of "castle," and extend it to rock-hewn citadels, dark forests, or even a line of unmoving stone statues. But the basic castle idea is easy to do.

The Moat

The questors will certainly try to get in through the gates, and may consider scaling the walls. Either way, they'll have to cross the moat, since the gate is up. The moat is one of the main features of the forboding castle, since it's inhabited by some kind of terrible beast. Here's one possibility:

Moat Kraken

The Moat Kraken is a kind of long, fishy, tentacled thing that rises out of the water to lash at whoever gets too close. Its tendrils have stingers on them, which will poison anyone they hit. When the Kraken emerges, it will attack someone close by. A warfare trial is probably apropriate here, unless the knight just wants to retreat, compl. 9, diff. 4. If the knights are initially surprised, a group action probably would be inappropriate for the first trial. You can have several Kraken appear, up to one for each knight, or fewer (depending on how experienced they all are).

The Kraken's victory in a combat trial should probably involve some lashing of tentacles and maybe even picking the knight up and dangling him over the water, if the margin of failure was big enough. Part of the narration could also involve some poisonous barbs finding their way through the knight's armor. Although the poison doesn't have any immediate effect, after the fight, the knight will begin to experience some strange effects, and may have to make survival rolls to stay awake. If an injury comes up, it indicates the poison doing its work.

The Gates

The gates are completely sealed, but enough force might bust them down. For a brute force ramming, we're probably looking at the following:

Trial: complexity 6, difficulty 14 (group option)

Unless you've got some really hulking guys, this probably isn't going to work as is, but some clever construction of a battering ram or heavy lever might lower the complexity by 1 or 2 points, making it far more possible. The construction of a good ram will require a survival based trial though, as well as several hours (which may mean darkness should fall during the work):

Trial: complexity 7, difficulty 2

A adequate roll here will reduce the complexity on the gate by 1, while a really good success should do 2.

The Walls

The questors can also attemp to scale the walls. Just one by one, this isn't easy:

Survival Trial: complexity 8, difficulty 3

If someone can get up, he might be able to throw down a rope or something to help them out. However, I generally don't think knights should be carrying around great spools of rope, so I'd make him look around inside for something. Perhaps a better way of handling the situation is that once one knight is up, allow him to make a Wits roll to help the other knights up. If he's successful, you could either narrate him pulling a role out, or giving them advice about handholds, or something else. You still might want to require a trial for climbing with help thuogh, as it's a long way:

Survival Trial: complexity 7, difficulty 2

Alternately, the knight could use their wits (or perhaps survival) to construct some ladders, and then scale the wall with ease. These are going to have to be really big ladders though:

Trial: complexity ~7, difficulty 12 (group w/leader option)

Once the knights get into the castle (assuming they do), they see something very strange...