The Chaosium Digest

The Chaosium Digest supports the role-playing games produced by Chaosium Inc. and all content is fan submitted. Begun in 1994 by Shannon Appelcline who passed it to myself in 2000 and previously distributed via email, this is the newest incarnation of the Chaosium Digest. Enjoy!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Chaosium Digest Classics: The Adventure of the Red Rose

by Jorge Palinhos
originally presented in The Chaosium Digest v30.05 on Wednesday, February 9, 2000

This is a very short solo adventure. Well, I personally prefer considering it as something between an adventure and a tale. Therefore I provide a short explanation for it. It was designed for a single knight with a Passion for a lady. It can be run once instead of the Romance solo, if you have the time to run it. You may consider it a mix of a Lost in the Woods and a Romance solo.

THE ADVENTURE
Once, while one of the knights is wandering near or in the woods, he will hear a woman singing. If he goes looking for her, he will come across a small hut in a clearance. The hut is made of shining wood, fresh thatch and with a curtain in the place of the door. If the knight calls, a beautiful young woman, about 17/18 years of age with golden hair, green eyes and voluptuous shape will emerge. The player must make a Chaste check. If he fails the knight will desire her madly.

The young woman smiles and says she knows what he wants. She will toss a red silk scarf to the knight. Here make a Lustful check and if it succeeds the character reaches for the silk. If the knight tries to catch the silk scarf, it will escape between his fingers and fly away although there his no wind. In either case, the lady will beg the knight to catch the scarf. The knight may run after it (DEX minus armor, if any, to run after it). If he doesn't he will see the lady and the hut fade in front of his eyes and the adventure will end. If he succeeds he will find an old, dirty rag.

Either way, while he stops feeling lost in the middle of the forest he will hear quiet steps and a red she-wolf with 3 pups will approach him, call him husband and beg him to go save their home. The she-wolf will be impervious to all logic: that they can't possibly be married since he is a man and she is a wolf but instead will put her head between her paws and emit sounds like she was crying and ask the knight if he will save their home or just do like every other knight does and kill her, cut off her head and take her fur. If the knight kills her he will lose 1d6 of his Passion Love (his Lady). If he just goes away, he will lose 1 point of the Passion. If the knight follows the wolf he will find a cave guarded by a small giant. The knight must fight the giant alone. If he wins, the giant's blood will start running into the cave but the she-wolf will be oblivious to this and will push the knight inside and start licking his wounds. Unless a successful Energetic check his made the knight will fall asleep.

In either case, the knight will find himself wandering through the forest with no memories of having awakened or of how he got there. He will hear someone shouting his name. If he heads for the origin of the sound he will see a hut very similar to the previous one but old and dirty with falling thatch, half-rotten wood and a ragged curtain full of holes. At the entrance a very old and ugly woman is sitting calling his name. She is nearly blind. She will recriminate him for leaving her alone and for not caring for her anymore. Nearly crying she will ask him if he still loves her and demand a kiss as proof. If the knight just goes away or kills her he will get a check in Cruel. If he kisses her out of pity he will get a point for the Passion and a check in Merciful and Generous. If the knight kisses her he will realize he is actually kissing a red rose blossoming on the ground. If he tries to pick it up, and if the player doesn't say specifically that he is careful about the thorns, he will prick himself on the thorns and a single drop of blood will flow and run down the rose leaving a trail before falling to the ground. The knight will notice that underneath the rose is written his name and the name of the lady he loves, gaining 2 points of Passion and checks in Lustful and Generous.

THE MEANING
Usually I don't like explaining the meaning of the things I write. I believe that everyone has the right to place his or her own meaning in it. But in this case I will make an exception since this little tale/adventure will be (hopefully) told by other people who probably will find their work easier if they know what were my intentions behind it and may even improve and enrich it considerably.

Someone told me this one was pretty much like a popular fairy tale. I took that as a compliment. The adventure symbolizes the three stages of marriage. In the beginning, the knight falls in love with the lady when she is in the prime of her beauty. Her beauty is symbolized by the red silk scarf that will always fly away. Just like beauty fades with time. The knight may pursue it trying to fool himself into having caught it. But it will always be irrevocably lost.

The she-wolf represents the married woman in her middle age, having to care for her children and home while the knight is away adventuring. The knight must decide what comes first, his own safety or protecting his home and family. The giant, being similar to humans but living savagely, represents the dangers that may attack the knight's home: which may come from humans and/or Nature. The giant's blood running into the cave means that every danger no matter how successfully defeated always leaves its mark in the home of the knight. The wolf licking his wounds symbolizes that family and home are the places of safety and trust, where the knight comes to heal and rest in peace.

The knight who finds himself wandering lost and without remembrance of what has happened since, represents the old age of the knight, trying to discover where all the time of his life was spent.

The old woman outside the decaying hut symbolizes his wife and his home, which suffered the ravages of time. If the knight kisses the old woman, he shows he still loves her and that their love has stood the tests of time, sense of loss and danger. It therefore turns into a red rose.

The rose represents their mutual love and the drop of blood represents the mark they have left on it. The blood also symbolizes that their material selves will die and go to the earth. But the rose (love), which is like every other rose (love) except it is theirs and bears their mark, will live forever.

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