Day 2-The Qurrock Race


What the Priestesses Say

In the Godtime, the Butterfly Girl's suitors vied with each other to bring her gifts. When they heard a tale, from the storyteller Skovari, of a beautiful and unique magical fruit that grew in a distant land, they raced to acquire one. The path was long and twisting, and a nearly impassable river had to be crossed to get to the fruit tree. At the end of the race, the winner is expected to present his fruit to the Harvest Queen. The current race is a somewhat degenerate version of the original foot race. The Qurrock-riding Ostragyans have modified it into a mounted race. What exactly the flag represents has been lost.


Incidental Event

A disreputable looking stranger offers a large sum to the Character contestant most likely to win if they will "take a dive" in an event. This encounter may occur again later. Although people normally use saddles to ride Qurrocks, this event is undertaken bareback in deference to ancient custom. Thus, if a rider has to make ride rolls just to get around the course and if he fails his Ride ability badly, he falls off. Any character without the Ride skill may use a default of 8-, if they attempt to move at more than half speed. Should this contest end in a tie, each contestant in the tie must test their Ride skill against other. (As the judges at the finish post declare who has won 'by a nose'.) The winner, second place etc. is determined in the normal fashion from this result. A further tie at this point indicates a finish so close that it is impossible to determine a winner, and equal points will be awarded. Restrictions: Only leather armor may be worn in this event. The use of all spells and other magic is prohibited. If a priest, priestess, or other judge suspects the use of magic, or if a contestant lodges a protest, all contestants are required to swear before the priestesses' 'Verify' spell after the finish of the race. A diagram showing the course of the race is here.


Qurrock Race Segment 1

The Dash

Contestants begin on foot outside Geo's (J) on the Houndsgor Map, and must then sprint to the waiting qurrocks all the way down the street, at the other side of the Armistice Offices (H).

 

Choosing a Mount

Characters may appraise the qurrocks in the order that they arrive and choose the one that seems best - they can use as much extra time as they want, but probably will have no more than a phase before others arrive and make their choice. The ability required is TF:Riding animals, Animal Lore at -1, Ride at -3 or something similar. For each point they make the roll by, add 1 to their d6 to choose a mount. The number in brackets is the number of that quality of mount available - once they are all gone, that result cannot be obtained by other characters.

Mount Quality Table

D6 roll:

1 Skittish (2): -1 to Ride skill

2 Firey (2): -1 to Ride roll, but +3" running

3,4 Average Mount (10): No change to Ride skill

5 Good Mount (2): +1 to Ride skill

6 Excellent Mount (1): +1 to Ride skill and +2" running

 

Qurrock Race Segment 2 Mount and Ride to the Barrier (3 rolls)

Mounting: It takes a half action to mount up. A daring contestant may optionally attempt to heroically mount with a leap. Test Riding at -2 or Acrobatics. If successful, the character may make a full mounted move towards the barrier. A failed roll means the action is wasted (and the character looks foolish). Given the lack of saddles, this leg requires 3 Ride rolls. Consult the Ride! Table below. Use this table to determine the position of the racers

Ride!

Use this table to test the position of the racers

3 or more under skill

Excellent Riding. Coax 3" extra movement from your mount

2 or more under skill

Great Riding. Coax 3" extra movement from your mount

1 or more under skill

Good Riding. Coax 1" extra movement from your mount

Make skill roll exactly

Ride Competently. No change

1 over skill roll

Mount stumbles or baulks before attempting required action. Lose 1" movement

2 over skill roll

Mount stumbles or baulks before attempting required action. Lose 2" movement

3 or more over skill roll

Mount becomes unruly. Lose 3" movement

4 or more over skill roll

Oh No! Rider Thrown! Make a DEX roll at -3 or a Breakfall roll to avoid a 4d6 normal attack with the penetrating advantage. Note: After being thrown, the rider remounts and continues without further tests or penalties (unless incapacitated by injury)

 

Qurrock Race Segment 3 Jumping the Barrier (1 roll)

At the town gate the riders must jump a decorated barrier. Consult the Barrier Jump table.

Barrier Jump

4 or more under skill

Qurrock clears the barrier spectacularly! Coax 3" extra movement from your mount

3 or more under skill

Qurrock clears the barrier well. Coax 2" extra movement from your mount

2 or more under skill

Qurrock clears the barrier with no undue problems. Coax 1" extra movement from your mount

1 or more under skill

Qurrock's claws strike against the barrier as it is crossed. No effect

Make skill roll exactly

Qurrock crashes over the barrier awkwardly. Lose 1" movement

1 over skill roll

Qurrock refuses to Jump. Rider must try again. For this repeat attempt, and for any further attempts, use an action

2 over skill roll

Oh No! Rider Thrown! Make a DEX roll at -3 or a Breakfall roll to avoid a 4d6 normal physical attack with the penetrating advantage. Each additional attempt required in making the jump takes an action

4 or more over skill roll

The crowd lets out a roar of sympathy. That must have been painful! But wait, he's not getting up from the ground! Character takes a 6d6 penetrating (physical) attack - if he is fit to continue, he has to mount up and each additional attempt required in making the jump takes an action

 

Qurrock Race Segment 4 Ride to the Flag (2 rolls)

This is a long riding segment of the race from the town gate to the end of the wall. Roll and consult the Ride! Table twice.

 

Qurrock Race Segment 5 Grab the Flag (1 roll)

At the end of the wall, where the course turns left, the rider must grab a small flag planted in the ground. This is an extremely difficult manoeuvre to do while riding bareback, and the rider must succeed in his Ride ability at an additional -2. An appropriate Agility ability such as Acrobatics may be used as a complementary skill to augment this use of Ride. Any level of success grabbing the flag allows the rider to move on at full speed. The easiest way to grab the flag is to simply dismount and pick it up. (This takes a full phase - half to get on, half to get off, unless a character succeeds with an Acrobatics roll both whilst dismounting and remounting). Such action draws hoots of derision from the crowd, but is certainly the safest method.

Failing to Grab the Flag

1 over skill roll

Rider must try again. For this repeat attempt, and for any further attempts, they lose an action

2 over skill roll

Oh No! Rider Falls! Make a DEX roll at -3 or a Breakfall roll to avoid a 4d6 normal physical attack with the penetrating advantage. The flag can be grabbed before remounting without penalty, though mounting up is a half action

3 over skill roll

The crowd lets out a roar of sympathy. That must have been painful! But wait, he's not getting up from the ground! Character takes a 6d6 penetrating (physical) attack - if he is fit to continue, the flag can be grabbed before remounting without penalty, though mounting up is a half action

 

Qurrock Race Segment 6 Ride to the River (1 roll)

This is a simple riding segment of the race from the wall to the river. Consult the Ride! Table.

 

Qurrock Race Segment 7 The Swim (2 rolls)

Swimming the Little Rock River: At the river the rider must swim his mount across this northern tributary of the White Rock, and plant the flag on the opposite bank. A successful Ride skill at -3 is needed to coax the mount into the water (Qurrocks don't like water, and poor riders may be here a long time.) Once in the river, all the rider has to do is hang on until his mount gets to the other side. Test Ride ride skill twice for each rider. Once in the river, failing a roll means that the rider slips off his mount and must swim across. (Lacking a Swimming ability, the character may use a STR roll at -3 or -4 if armored to cross at 1" per phase). Failure of three Swim tests in a row means that the rider has begun drowning. A competitor who is obviously drowning is rescued from the river by the spectators, but is then disqualified from the race.

Planting the Flag: The rider may easily dismount and plant the flag on the opposite shore, using a half phase for doing so. (A character who succeeds with a Ride roll at -2 or Acrobatics roll both whilst dismounting and remounting loses no time.) Alternatively, the competitor may attempt to plant the flag without dismounting. He may attack the hex as though it were DCV5 if he has WF: Javelin or another related throwing ability, or DCV 8 if not. If the test is successful, the flag is planted and he loses no time. If he fails, he must dismount and plant the flag, losing a phase in the process.

 

Qurrock Race Segment 8 Ride to the Stormapple Tree (3 rolls)

Once across the river, the course runs up the hill to the old stormapple tree. Consult the Ride! Table.

 

Qurrock Race Segment 9 Grab a Stormapple

The magical Stormapple tree bears fruit sacred to local cultists. Such fruit are normally not available to the likes of the competitors. The priests allow them to pick one fruit each in this event. Each competitor has the following choices:

1) Pick a rotten fruit from the ground: Dismount, retrieve a rotten fruit from the ground, and then remount. A character who succeeds with an Acrobatics roll, both whilst dismounting and remounting, loses no time. Rotten stormapples taste awful, but if the eater can make a CON roll (or something similar) to keep it down, his tolerance to alcohol and other toxins and intoxicants is raised, by increasing any CON rolls by +3. This lasts for a few hours. If additional unripe fruit are eaten, the effect is cumulative, by a further +1 for each apple eaten.

2) Remain mounted and pick an unripe fruit: Make a PER roll (takes no time but can only be done once per phase). When successful, test Ride or a DEX roll at -3, to pick an unripe fruit from the lower branches (takes a Half phase). Unripe stormapples are hard and chewy, and have no special qualities.

3) Climb the tree and pick a ripe stormapple: Dismount, then make a climbing roll. Each Climb roll required takes one phase. Finding and plucking a ripe fruit from the upper branches requires a PER roll at -1. Now test Climb again to descend.

Descending from the Tree

3 under Climbing roll

You swing down as if born to the trees, and land straight on your mount: make a free full move

2 under Climbing roll

You scramble easily down into the lower branches and drop onto your mount. Make a half move

1 under Climbing roll

A fast climb. You scramble from the tree to your mount without penalty - but use up your phase

Make Climbing roll exactly

You slip whilst scrambling through the lower branches, and end up on the ground. Mount up next phase

1 over Climbing roll

You slip from the lower branches and land awkwardly, becoming dazed. Use a half phase to stand up, half phase to mount

2 over Climbing roll

You fall whilst still some distance from the ground, and land badly. Make a DEX roll at -3 or a Breakfall roll to avoid a 4d6 normal physical attack with the penetrating advantage. Once recovered, use a half phase to stand up, half phase to mount

3 or more over Climbing roll

You fall from the middle of the tree and land with the grace of a water buffalo that has stumbled over a cliff, but somehow you stagger to your feet and haul yourself onto the qurrock. Character takes a 6d6 penetrating (physical) attack - if he is fit to continue, once recovered, use a half phase to stand up, half phase to mount

Ripe stormapples are highly magical fruit that heighten the eater's awareness and perceptive powers for several hours. Raise all perceptual abilities by +3 per apple eaten. Unfortunately once picked, stormapples only stay fresh for about a week. The brewing of the potent Stormapple Wine which retains this property indefinately is a secret of local cults.

 

Qurrock Race Segment 10 Ride to the Finish (3 rolls)

This is the final riding segment to the finish line, as shown on the map. Test Riding twice and each time consult the Ride! Table. The Harvest Queen, priestesses, and crowd, wait expectantly at the finish line. A gallant contestant might present his stormapple to the Harvest Queen, or to one of the priestesses. The gift of the winner's stormapple is a gracious favor. The presentation of a loser's rotten or unripe stormapple might, on the other hand, be viewed with less enthusiasm - particularly if such fruit were offered to Sorghall or another Samadrian by a bitter or witty Ostragyan contestant.


Contestant Strategies

Carylon - Carylon climbs the stormapple tree, no matter what position he has in the race.

Promidor - He secretly receives a bonus of +3 to his Ride skill while wearing his torque. Since the magic is directly between the mount and its rider it is only noticeable to close scrutiny. Hence, unless a Character accuses Promidor, no one suspects him of using prohibited magic. If confronted, he immediately admits his actions and accepts disqualification with equanimity. At the tree he searches for rotten fruit to show his contempt for the locals.

Vathmar - He also searches for rotten fruit at the tree to show his contempt.

Myrrhyn - Only Myrrhyn will immediately dismount to pick up the flag. The others all attempt to grab their flags from qurrockback. He prefers to get a fresh apple, but this depends on his position in the race. (See Trick below.)

Sir Barharach - He attempts to use a 'Body Slam' spell as he bumps into an opponent's mount, if he thinks he can do this unseen. If he is caught, he claims he didn't know you weren't allowed to use offensive magic. At the tree he grabs a rotten apple and immediately starts eating it (takes one phase), then grabs another and puts it away.

Jarst - He prefers to get a fresh apple, but this depends on his position in the race (see the Gherent's trick below)

Samadrian Trick When Myrrhyn visits the Bartered Beast for a last use of the facilities before the race, he meets with Agrestis and screened by Samadrian agents, he casts 'Disguise' on the Samadrian's fastest despatch rider, Aramus (who has 16- in Riding and is wearing identical clothes to Myrrhyn) - and the two are switched. The real Myrrhyn hides under a mundane disguise amongst a group of off-duty troopers. The false 'Myrrhyn' will return to town swiftly after the race is finished, and the same procedure switches them back. Agrestis would attempt to surreptitiously cast "Hide Thoughts" on Aramis if something was suspected and the priests were to test him with Truth magic. The Samadrians consider this kind of major deception too risky to use more than just in this first race (where the contestants will be in constant motion and far from the judges), in case anyone becomes suspicious.

Gherent's Trick: The Geherent will take a phase to fascinate his mount, calming it and making it easier to handle (this gives him a +1 to his riding roll)


The Qurrock Race Prize:

The winner of this event is awarded 3 Contest points, with 2 points going to second place and 1 point to third place. The winner can also take as prize any one of Sir Davis' qurrocks used in the race. If he succeeds in a Qurrock related or Ride test, he picks the best qurrock; if he fails, he picks a normal qurrock. The exact details of the 'best qurrock' are left up to the GM to decide, but conceivably it might be exceptional enough to be a follower.


Incidental Events

In the celebrations after the event, a drinking companion excuses himself, saying it's his turn to "go and guard the stormapple tree." If the players can dispose of or distract him, the stormapple fruits are free for the taking. (On such a stealth expedition, they may or may not notice Samadrian agents up to the same trick, perhaps even encountering Agrestis attempting to remain hidden in the upper branches). The Gherent sensibly waits until the following night to steal his Stormapple.

At the feast, Vathmar is observed ostentatiously refusing a plate of roasted fowl.

Many of the local lads grumble about the way Sorghall's troops have been muscling in on their girls. "Over-paid, over-sexed, and over-here" sums up the basis of their ill feeling.