I was explaining what Hunt rolls did in Trophy Gold and described them as part perception roll, part random encounter roll but they offer a little more than that. On rolls of 1-5 the result is the character encounters something terrible. Lots of wiggle room there. The situation at hand guides what it means and offers space for the GM to find out through play.
Character, who is fae-born, is searching through a sarcophagus in the ancient king’s barrow. They’ve used their skill with spirits to speak to the ghost of the ancient king who is buried there and know that the king’s corpse is under a false bottom. The king was legit and the placement of the treasure is actually in the adventure description.
But still, the character describes searching through the treasure and I ask for a Hunt roll. This isn’t to decide if the treasure is there; we already know it is there. This isn’t to see if the ghoul is hiding there; the ghoul is already slain (probably could’ve tossed in an extra ghoul but that feels off to me). The roll says the player gets a Hunt Token and encounters something terrible. Hm.
I realize something about the king, who had asked that the treasure-hunters leave him his crown so that future folk know that he is a mighty king buried here. The king hunted fae-born and their skulls and masks adorn his coffin. That is the terrible thing encountered, something upsetting and unsettling to the character. I had described the king’s crown as being iron adored with jewels – the iron crown was a symbol of fae-hunters, I now realize.
The character takes the crown and takes the fae-born skulls and masks to bury in the forest. “Leave the body here, crownless, so folk will think this barrow belonging to a commoner.”
This detail about the king is just white-space on the map that I got to fill in through dice results and play.
If the player had rolled a 6, maybe they’d want to use that Hunt token for an extra treasure. “The king was holding out on you and didn’t tell you about the signet ring in his boot.” Maybe not. Either way, I use the Hunt roll to learn new details to put on the bones of the adventure as I know it. The bones don’t change but the details do.
I’m enjoying the Hunt roll as a tool for getting dice to the table whenever a player uses their character to show curiosity. I often ask what that search looks like before rolling and move from there. As the dice say, in Trophy Gold, you’ll offer encounter something terrible – be it a ghoul in a barrow or the skulls of lost ancestors, that is up to the logic of the table.
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Blog of Judd Karlman from Daydreaming about Dragons
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