City of Thieves module

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PrinceRomeo
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City of Thieves module

Post by PrinceRomeo » Wed Dec 09, 2020 9:54 pm

Greeting. I have been GMing all this year. Its been great. My group is made up of an elf sorcerer, priest of Glantanka and a worrior. My campaign has been through forest of doom, Warlock of Firetop Mountain and caverns of the snow witch. All of these adventures have had modules in one form or another. But now they will do the city of thieves.
Is there any advise on how to run it? I have the TCoT book and the Blacksand supplement and the maps posted on line I dont want to just read them the book and only have those options. One thing I was thinking for them to stay on track was to have the streets that stray from the main path full of city guards. Have any of you some wisdom or advise on how best to run this adventure? Or if any of you have played City of thieves in AFF. How did it go?
Thanks

Nuvole!
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Re: City of Thieves module

Post by Nuvole! » Wed Dec 09, 2020 11:19 pm

I have in mind to write something that will allow to run City of Thieves adventure as a "guided" sandbox using only Blacksand, but I haven't started it yet. Sorry.
However, I don't think that putting plenty of guards on the ways where you don't want the characters to go is a very good idea. I'd just encounters inspired to Blacksand and that make sense in that part of the city at that time of the day: some encounters will be useful (i.e. will give you a useful ite / tattoo, etc.) some other will give you at most something that is a power up but it is not on the critical path to win.
I'm the real Nowhere man, sitting in my Nowhere land, making all my Nowhere plans for Nobody.

HedgeWizard
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Re: City of Thieves module

Post by HedgeWizard » Thu Dec 10, 2020 9:39 am

Out French fellow gamers have an adventure for Blacksand:

https://www.scenariotheque.org/Fichiers ... rbaine.pdf

I remember it being quite good.

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SkinnyOrc
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Re: City of Thieves module

Post by SkinnyOrc » Thu Dec 10, 2020 11:08 am

You can put the pdf through https://www.onlinedoctranslator.com/en/ to get it into mostly understandable English.

Chompy
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Re: City of Thieves module

Post by Chompy » Thu Dec 10, 2020 7:26 pm

Here are some ramblings with no guarantee of being good ideas... wasn't sure if you wanted advice on running an adventure in a city or advice on adapting that specific book. :P

Just some general thoughts:
  • Think of the city like any other terrain. You don't need to describe every tree in a forest, you don't need to detail every building and street in a city.
  • You don't need to ask which street they want to take, you just need an idea of where they want to go and then you can narrate the travel and stop at any landmarks they pass.
  • Consider adding a guide if none of the heroes have been to the city before. Maybe they can be given a map or a contact who knows their way around but not too well. So they have a rough idea of what there is to find.
  • The heroes likely don't know the street names!
  • There's several fun locations and unplanned encounters in the book - you may want to pick these out and make a list you can use for these situations. You don't have to do them in the same order as they appear in book.
  • Maybe jot down the key points of the adventure and make sure the players also have some idea of not only what their next goal is but where it is. It'll hopefully reduce random exploring if they have a better idea of where to go.
If you wanted some more specific examples of how it might work...
Say the players have just passed through the gatehouse and are at what, in the book, would be paragraph 74:

Method A:
Through the main gates you see that the rubbish-filled streets of the port are narrow and cobbled. Old and decrepit buildings line them closely, with their upper stories overhanging menacingly. A few streets lead away from the gate in different directions. The one ahead seems busiest and you can see what looks like it might be a tavern a little way along it. The streets to the side seem less travelled, a wild-haired beggar is sat in the gutter a little way along the one to your left. You can also see what looks like a locksmith down another street - it has a large wooden sign in the shape of a key.
It's up to them to check out the thing they find most interesting. Maybe the locksmith, the beggar, the tavern... and you can move on to those scenes. Each time a situation resolves you can again describe the general area, highlighting the important things, and leave it to them to decide what they're going to check out next. It lets them wander around and explore...

Method B:
Through the main gates you see that the rubbish-filled streets of the port are narrow and cobbled. Old and decrepit buildings line them closely, with their upper stories overhanging menacingly. A few streets lead away from the gate in different directions. Now that you're in the city, where are you heading to?
Here you're asking them for a destination or a goal. Such as, "the market square", "somewhere to get a drink", "a weapon shop", "lord azzur's palace".
Once they decide on a reasonable destination you turn to some rolls: if they have City Lore, have them roll that, otherwise they could test their luck or possibly Awareness. A success they arrive at the desired destination for the next scene, or that they found what they're looking for. A failure means one of two things, and you get to pick, which is fun. Either they got lost and arrived somewhere else, or they have had an unexpected encounter in the streets.

I've been using both methods in my current campaign. Though I would recommend that if it's somewhere they've been to before you just have them arrive without needing any rolls.


There's also plenty of really good advice for running city adventures around on youtube and various blog sites. Most of it will be on Dungeons & Dragons sites or channels, but it still applies as it's not really anything to do with the rules and more about how to keep players on track and deal with there being so much to see and do in a city. A lot depends on your players too, if they want to play City of Thieves because they're really into the idea of exploring Blacksand you're going to have to be ready to let them explore if you agree to run it - forcing them to go only to specific places might work, but your players aren't going to like it if they wanted to explore. :D

Julien
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Re: City of Thieves module

Post by Julien » Thu Dec 10, 2020 8:07 pm

PrinceRomeo wrote:
Wed Dec 09, 2020 9:54 pm
Greeting. I have been GMing all this year. Its been great. My group is made up of an elf sorcerer, priest of Glantanka and a worrior. My campaign has been through forest of doom, Warlock of Firetop Mountain and caverns of the snow witch. All of these adventures have had modules in one form or another. But now they will do the city of thieves.
Is there any advise on how to run it? I have the TCoT book and the Blacksand supplement and the maps posted on line I dont want to just read them the book and only have those options. One thing I was thinking for them to stay on track was to have the streets that stray from the main path full of city guards. Have any of you some wisdom or advise on how best to run this adventure? Or if any of you have played City of thieves in AFF. How did it go?
Thanks
What is the TCoT book?

Nuvole!
Archmage
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Re: City of Thieves module

Post by Nuvole! » Thu Dec 10, 2020 8:10 pm

I suspect it is the City of Thieves Fighting Fantasy solo gamebook.
I'm the real Nowhere man, sitting in my Nowhere land, making all my Nowhere plans for Nobody.

PrinceRomeo
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2020 5:08 pm

Re: City of Thieves module

Post by PrinceRomeo » Tue Dec 15, 2020 6:17 pm

Great advice! Thanks a lot.
Sooo, anyways, I didn't have time to prep the module properly... But I did read it several times, mapped it, and watched many play throughs on YouTube. The day came (yesterday) and I just had to read from the book, I know, but I gave them the options and if they wanted to do something different, like go back they could. I had to wing it when they did. The entered the city passing the guard and straight up market street. Went into the herbalist shop and bought the healing herbs and troll tobacco. Leaving the half orc very annoyed. Entered the spotted dog tavern and fought 3 trolls, not one. Kept going up market street and were attacked by 6 thieves in black robes, where I rolled several double sixes, and they rolled several double ones. But these guys are almost superheroes having done the forest of doom, warlock of fire top mountain and the caverns of the snow witch quests.
When they entered the magicians house who has the fire imp. I had to wing it a lot. As they wanted to kill the mage. But in the end I put up a force wall to keep them out, and they left his house a bit upset. This was my fault because they wanted to kill this wizard, but I had not prepared him properly and just made him invulnerable behind his invisible barrier. 
After they passed the market and found good old Nicodemus. There he told them that they have to get a magical tattoo (from the heroes' companion) of their own choice, not the unicorn one, because they already wanted to get a magical tattoo, so as long as they got one they were safe from Zambar Bone’s stare. After the usual ingredients (black pearls, hags hair and black lotus) they must shoot him in the heart with a silver arrow or arrows and once they rub the compounds into his eyes he will become vulnerable to attack. I think they should fight him in the end to add some more excitment the the quest.
So, wise masters, can you give me any advice on how to run the rest of the adventure? Like how to best play the Hag, how to run the meeting with the troll guards, especially, what to do if they missed some ingredients. And, what stats could Zambar Bone have? What magical protections should he have? Can you give me any advice on how to make Zambar Bone great in combat?
Thanks.

Julien
Posts: 80
Joined: Sat Jun 13, 2020 4:49 pm

Re: City of Thieves module

Post by Julien » Tue Dec 22, 2020 8:52 pm

PrinceRomeo wrote:
Wed Dec 09, 2020 9:54 pm
Greeting. I have been GMing all this year. Its been great. My group is made up of an elf sorcerer, priest of Glantanka and a worrior. My campaign has been through forest of doom, Warlock of Firetop Mountain and caverns of the snow witch. All of these adventures have had modules in one form or another. But now they will do the city of thieves.
Is there any advise on how to run it? I have the TCoT book and the Blacksand supplement and the maps posted on line I dont want to just read them the book and only have those options. One thing I was thinking for them to stay on track was to have the streets that stray from the main path full of city guards. Have any of you some wisdom or advise on how best to run this adventure? Or if any of you have played City of thieves in AFF. How did it go?
Thanks
I have done something similar to you. My players have completed the Warlock of Firetop Mountain and are now going through Deathtrap Dungeon. Was wondering, how did your player spend their 10,000 GP? They were planning to go to Blacksand because 1 of the Orc player’s brother live there. However I was wondering if Caverns of the snow witch would be a good follow up after Deathtrap Dungeon (if they survive).

Nuvole!
Archmage
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Re: City of Thieves module

Post by Nuvole! » Tue Dec 22, 2020 9:40 pm

In theory, the "ideal" introductory trilogy should be: Caverns of the Snow Witch, Forest of Doom and Temple of Terror (in this order). This is deducted by some hints and intertextual references in the various gamebooks, but life isn't ideal, so you can forget the ideal order, if your circumstances don't allow it.
I'm the real Nowhere man, sitting in my Nowhere land, making all my Nowhere plans for Nobody.

PrinceRomeo
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Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2020 5:08 pm

Re: City of Thieves module

Post by PrinceRomeo » Sun Jan 03, 2021 5:12 pm

They made it through the city and found all the ingredients. Now they are in Zambar Bones tower, the Elf took the shield with the unicorn and the warrior took the tower crest shield and lost a skill point.
 We will probably finish the adventure today. The heroes will have to shoot Zambar with the silver arrows to paralyze him, put the ingredients in Bones´eyes and then fight him. I will give him SKILL 12 STAMINA 18. If he hits he will do damage as a large monster and cause the hero to lose 1 SKILL point. He is a skeleton so edge weapons will do minimum damage to him. I'm worried that the sorcerer will ZAP him to death in no time. If they win Bone will burst in green flames and consume the tower in flames so that they must escape. Thanks for all the advice

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