Saturday, 9 August 2014

Torchbearer AP - Part 6: Chilly Reception

After a few weeks of hiatus, we're back with the latest session of The Quest for the Silver Sword in Torchbearer. As the PCs start nearing the end of their quest, the faecal matter begins to strike the oscillating unit!

Dramatis Personæ:
  • Fraser ... Morris the Mirthful [Human Magician] An anarchistic arcanist with a big mouth and several opinions. 
  • Jason ... Rebo Pepper [Halfling Burgler] A quiet and pleasant little person who seeks loot to feed his love of food. 
  • Riley S ... Hrolf Rosensloff [Human Warrior] - A fighter of such short stature he's often mistaken for a dwarf. (Absent)
  • Scotty ... Falgaff Bitterleaf [Elven Ranger] - A curious, knowledge-loving Elf who's a bit of a loner. 

Fraser performed a prologue of the previous session, cleared away Morris' Hunger/Thirst, and we began where we left off. Also retroactively we had Scotty make an Arcanist Test for his casting of Supernal Vision from last session; his failure resulted in Falgaff becoming Angry at the incessant commentary on magic by the spirit of Barrik dwelling in his head.

Adventure Phase

10. After the harrowing turn of events with the cubical ooze and the proclaimed rat-king, along with the discovery the previous expedition's frozen fate, our group of delvers decided to hunker down, start a fire and attempt to recover. Falgaff's instinct drove him to make a Survivalist Test to try and make a suitable camp site within the frosty alchemical laboratory and the adjoining cell: he failed to find a location both free of chilling drafts and of suitable ventilation for an indoor fire. (Setting up a future Twist.) The group decided to drag a small furnace used for firing a crucible over to the icebound elves and set it up as a potential heat source. (I rolled for Camp Events: A monster was drawn to the commotion of their camp!) 
Whilst his companions were setting up the furnace, Falgaff noticed several slender, pale-looking branches slowly grow out from of a previously unseen passageway near the northern ceiling of the cell. He quickly deduced that they were the legs of the White Widow, the giant arachnid his companions spoke of and the perceived cause of his first party's frozen state! They intended to seal the giant spider off in the cell once they had quickly hauled the rigid prisoners into the laboratory proper with a Labourer Test led by Morris; he who, forgetting to take into account the manacles that bound the ice-encased captive to the wall, heaved the statue-like elf toward the exit only to have the length of chain become taught, causing him to slip upon the frost-covered flagstones and land sprawled upon the floor, pinned underneath the frozen elf! 

11. The White Widow rapidly descended upon them. Rebo and Falgaff drew their weapons and steeled their nerves with the intent to do away with the giant spider for good, whilst Morris attempted to extradite himself. (The sudden disappearance of Hrolf had led our companions to believe that he was overtaken with fear at the appearance of the dreaded arachnid and he had fled.) A Kill Conflict ensued! Despite their still unavailed Hunger/Thirst, Rebo led the charge against the spider, matching his teams' resolve and mettle against the spiders' own formidable might.
Morris successful squirmed out from beneath the frigid elf as the White Widow disarmed Rebo of his bow with a spray of icy stands from its hindquarters. Rebo then boldly charged nearly into the waiting maw of the creature, raining blow after blow from the bone sceptre he wielded as a club upon the 'head' of the spider; the carapace lessened the damage of some of the strikes but did not entirely protect the relatively exposed eyes. In turn the Widow knocked Rebo out of the melee with a quick bite from its poisoned fangs. The elven ranger attempted to trick the spider and jump over it as it struck at him; the monster responded with its own clumsy attempt at trickery and Falgaff dealt a series of wounds to its hindquarters with his dagger. Morris dragged Rebo closer to the warmth of the furnace they had managed to set up and revived the halfling with a series of slaps and strong words of encouragement, whilst the Widow retreated briefly to the ceiling to recover its own ichor-dripping wounds. The revived Rebo deftly knocked an arrow into his bow and loosed it directly into the sternum of the Widow as it ineffectually tried to ambush him, dealing it a grievous wound and cracking its protective chitin. Falgaff landed the final blow against the beast, driving the protruding arrow deeper into the Widow's midsection and into its brain, killing it soundly. 
Victory! The Widow's venom was not quite enough to freeze Rebo to his core, but he was in turn made Exhausted by it. Without missing a beat, the spartan Morris suggested they eat their recent kill.

Camp Phase

Falgaff succeeded this time on his instinctual Survival Test to butcher the giant spider and setting up what remained for camp, but was made Exhausted by doing so. Unfortunately the camp suffered from the chilly air and the heat generated by the alchemical furnace gave off little beyond its internal workings due to its design; thus any rest to recover from Exhaustion was more made difficult. Following his own instinct, Rebo passed a somewhat difficult Cook Test to make the giant spider's remains edible for the group and they all recovered any Hunger/Thirstiness they had by consuming the somewhat exotic fare. 
  • Well fed, all three then took a moment and recovered from their respective Anger; in the end, only Falgaff was unsuccessful dealing with his vexation. 
  • Falgaff then proceeded to attempt to repair his cracked bow with aid from Morris' alchemical skill and 'supplies' scavenged from the White Widow: a successful Armorer Test by the beginner craftsman allowed Falgaff to fix his bow, which now has a few arachnid parts incorporated into it.
  • During this time, Morris, being very wise in the way of incendiaries, worked the forge's heat to slowly and carefully thaw the frozen elven leader by the name of Elladin Silvercrest. With a Healer Test aided by a lent cloak and Falgaff's skill, he successfully revived Elladin from his icy stasis.

Adventure Phase

1. A brief verbal exchange brought the sickly elf up to a rudimentary knowledge of recent affairs, and when asked if he was the owner of a silver blade he replied to his chagrin that he was after quickly checking his person. When the group inquired to the nature of the sword, Elladin told them of its ability to freeze whatever it struck, and that it was a magical family heirloom that had been in the Silvercrest family for generations. When told that the blade lay within the frozen ice throne in yonder room, Elladin quickly stood to make for the throne but collapsed to the floor, too weak to stand.
Artwork copyright Daniel Xildaen Côté
Artwork copyright Daniel Xildaen Côté of Elfwood
The Silver Sword “Keleb” 
This silver-filigree longsword freezes whatever it strikes. An heirloom that has been in the elven Silvercrest family for hundreds of years, handed down to those worthy to wield it. Those considered unworthy finds the weapon constantly slipping from his or her grasp.
Level: 4
Effect: +1D to Attack in Kill/Capture/Drive Off conflicts in addition to normal Sword benefits. Additionally, when sword's name, "Keleb", is spoken aloud by the rightful owner, the sword immediately flies into his/her hand if they are in the vicinity. (This weapon cannot be disarmed from the result of a Maneuver Action or lost via most Twists.) 
Inventory: Hands/carried 1 or belt/weapon 1.
Type: Magical Weapon
With the support of Falgaff, Elladin wearily made his way to the icy throne. The group related that they had tried to free the sword before but were unable to melt or damage the ice. Elladin concurred with them, saying that he sensed a deep spell was at work, but perhaps the magic of his elven forebearers might be stronger than the dweomer wrought. With his outstretched hand, Elladin called for his sword by name: "Keleb". At first, nothing happened; then a faint cracking noise was heard. Fractures began to web out through the ice from the blade as Elladin's eyes flashed with concentration and sweat began to bead on his pale brow. He seemed almost drawn towards the throne by some unseen force and Falgaff had to brace himself against his fellow elf to keep him from collapsing forward. 
Suddenly, with great tumult, the throne burst into icy shards that were dashed across the floor of the laboratory as the sword deftly flew into Elladin's hand. Their cries of celebration were rapidly cut short by the wild look with in Elladin's eyes: the scattered pieces of ice began to flow like water back to the location where the throne once sat and began forming into a new icy shape. Frantically, Elladin related that whilst summoning his sword, he briefly touched minds with an entity within the ice throne, and the removal of the blade had caused it great pain. He rapidly surmised that it was reforming into a more mobile, combative shape to recover the blade by force and they must make haste to flee from it, for he believed the might of it far exceeded their collective ability to slay it! 
But flee to where they madly discussed? The main passageway from the laboratory was wholly blocked off by the gelatinous cube, still busily digesting the corpses of a host of ratlings and their leader Keshute, along with a variety of wooden crates and their contents that once filled the adjacent supply room. The only possible exit seemed via the aperture the White Widow had gained ingress into the cellroom through. As the flowing ice began to slowly take upon a giant humanoid shape, Falgaff quickly drew out his grappling hook and rope, cast a line over the lip of the ledge some eight feet from the floor, and once the hook had found suitable purchase, he rapidly ascended into the two-foot tall passage with a successful Dungeoneering Test
2. The group believed that Elladin, by proxy of his sword, would be the immediate target of the ice creature's wrath, and they surmised that it may ignore the leaders' frozen comrades, thus they'd be safe for recovery another time. With the assistance of his friends below, Falgaff strained his muscles during a Health Test to haul the weak Elladin by rope up into the cramped chamber with him, but whilst doing so, he saw that this icy doom was nearly upon them and he became deeply Afraid...

And thus the session ended on a cliffhanger!

Character Condition Status

  • Falgaff Bitterleaf - Angry, Afraid, and Exhausted.
  • Morris the Mirthful - Exhausted.
  • Rebo Pepper - Exhausted.
  • Hrolf Rosensloff - Hungry/Thirsty, Afraid, and Exhausted. And Missing?

Things I Forgot
I almost forgot to use armour to the monsters' advantage again but I remembered this time! Though we did forget about light sources, and I think my players might've forgotten about their PC's being Exhausted, but you can't win them all. We came back to this game after a few weeks off so we're bound to forget some things.

Until Next Time... ;{١

Thursday, 31 July 2014


So for the past couple weeks my Thursday group and I had been unable to play our regularly scheduled Torchbearer game because of attendance issues, myself included at times. Last Thursday for instance, I went on a last minute jaunt up-island to Tofino with a couple of co-workers (one who's also a player in our TB game). The weather was awesome though the trip was far too short/rushed/unplanned for my tastes.

A panorama I took of beautiful Long Beach
During a stopoff at the Coombs Country Market (the renowned 'Goats on the Roof' locale) we picked up a bunch of cheap slingshots, and a huge used-bookstore had a bunch of RPG material I grabbed for the collection, one of which (not shown) may surprise a certain fellow gamer once I show it to them...

The weeks before I had mentioned I was attending Vanguard Training, though I missed my chance last week to try out my new weapon by going on the trip instead. Alas. 

So at the beginning of this week I was all stoked that we were finally going to be able play Torchbearer this Thursday despite being down a player, and then the old adage decided to kick in and last night at work I began exhibiting symptoms of the common summer cold that's making its rounds locally. Bugger.

Earlier today whilst taking a break from sleeping it off I had to cancel our later TB game to my chagrin. And I shouldn't attend Vanguard either in this unwell state, so that leaves me little choice but sit on my duff and watch stuff of Netflix; just how I wanted to spend my sunny weekend. :\ Hopefully next month we'll get back into the final act of our Torchbearer game.

Hopefully I can shake off most of this cold by tomorrow, as my father and step-mother are visiting tomorrow on their trip to Pender Island, and my Friday evening group is starting up a Fate-powered multi-verse game; I'm playing a stereotypical mash-up of an 80's inspired Conan and Hercules. I look forward to hamming it up and seeing a long-time player of ours GM for the first time. It promises much entertainment.

There's also an X-Wing Miniatures summer tournament Saturday at an FLGS I'd like to attend if fit enough.

Anyway, I need to get back to recovering from this sickness: an Ob 3 Will test (with a +1D for cold supplies; fluids, cough syrup, ginger, lozenges, spicy food, etc.). If this doesn't work I might have to see a doctor for an Ob 4 Healer test, or considering sweating it out...

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Vanguard Training

I've taken my first steps into a larger world. ;)

For the past couple months, on Thursdays opposite of my Torchbearer game, I've been training of sorts: For what you may ask? Every Thursday afternoon a bunch of local Victorians who LARP up island in Duncan at a venue called Medieval Chaos, meet in a nearby park for weapon and fitness training. Medieval Chaos technically considers itself a HARP (Heavy Action Role-Playing) game; it features full-contact combat (strictly non-combatants are also welcome) with magic and spellcasting. I won't go into the full details of MC because I'm just learning the ropes, but I suggest you check out their handbooks on PDF for more in-depth information.

Such a stunning array of arms to choose from!
The group, of over a dozen or so players, are a friendly bunch, if a little exclusive to their hobby. Initially, I did not possess my own foam weapon but several people bring extras and are gracious enough to let newcomers (peasants) borrow them.

Last Thursdays' TB session was called off due to low attendance so I'd been granted the opportunity to attend Vanguard Training, as it has been dubbed, three times in a row this month. And I must say, I'm hooked!

I've been trying to stay physically fit a bit more now that I'm fully healed from my surgeries and the weather's pleasant (if sometimes a bit too hot); I got a pair of runners a few months ago and have been jogging home from work (since I normally walked I figured running would get me home sooner and I get more exercise to boot).

Last Thursday's session was all about shields; primers on types and their usage, and how to fight with/against them. So far I find them a bit too heavy to use; I prefer to stay nimbler in melee.
My buddy Ash is on the left presenting his tower shield.

Vanguard training combines several things that are important to me: exercise, socializing, and imagination. The atmosphere has been non-competitive despite the versus nature of combat, which is also big plus for me. I enjoy it so much I finally went out yesterday and got myself a weapon that I had been eyeing for a few weeks:

The manufacturer calls it The Dentist; others call it a 'problem-solver'. I can't wait to try it out next week.
The nice thing is I can also use it potentially for cosplay, zombie walks, and/or beating annoying gamers over the head.

I'd love to participate in actual MC to get the full experience, but alas my work schedule right now prevents me from making it to their regular Saturday games. Right now I'll just have to be content with taking my lumps at Vanguard.

To the Pain! ;{١

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Torchbearer AP - Part 5: Dratted Conflicts

This last Thursdays session of Torchbearer went by quick with a late start, a few conflicts, and a early end. Fun was had though. Once they knew that spending Fate and Persona points on wises also granted perks, my players were more eager to spend them aiding in leveling up. Our adventure in Barrik's Keep is nearing its end, but I still have a few surprises in store for our characters. >:)

Dramatis Personæ:
  • Fraser ... Morris the Mirthful [Human Magician] An anarchistic arcanist with a big mouth and several opinions. 
  • Jason ... Rebo Pepper [Halfling Burgler] A quiet and pleasant little person who seeks loot to feed his love of food. 
  • Riley S ... Hrolf Rosensloff [Human Warrior] - A fighter of such short stature he's often mistaken for a dwarf.
  • Scotty ... Falgaff Bitterleaf [Elven Ranger] - A curious, knowledge-loving Elf who's a bit of a loner. 

Jason preformed the prologue from last session and cleared away Rebo's Hunger/Thirst.

Adventure Phase

  1. Beginning just out of town, our trio of adventurers consisting of Morris, Rebo, and Falgaff, decided to brave the Keep again to find out what happened to their missing companion Hrolf and perhaps once and for all discover the source of the winter curse that has befell the region. Falgaff intended to lead their company, and once his and Morris' fast was broke with a couple draughts of water, he made a Pathfinder Test: Despite being now somewhat familiar with the area being traversed, having travelled it several times recently, his Loner trait caused Falgaff to blaze a trail faster than his companions could follow. He soon found himself alone in the wild whilst he heard the noise of a strident pack of creatures rapidly heading in his direction.

  2. Falgaff quickly made a Scout Test and his Elven nature for Hiding successfully hid him from a small pack of Ratlings, who after pausing and sniffing the air, rapidly headed off in the direction of his companions once they'd caught their scent. Falgaff cautiously followed them whilst remaining hidden.

  3. The pack's crashing through underbrush heralded their approach to Rebo and Morris, who then tried to quickly set up a tripwire using rope via a Hunter Test: Failure meant the pack was upon them before they could completely set it up and hide.

  4. A Drive Off Conflict ensued. Falgaff emerged from hiding and joined the fray, barraging the unsuspecting Ratlings with thrown stones, getting their attention and ire after they disarmed Rebo of his bow; In turn they pounced upon him, knocking him into a snow bank. Morris sprayed them with a flurry of Eldritch Darts, but the clever Ratlings scampered up trees, knocking clumps of snow down from the branches and hindering the Magician's aim. Armed with the dagger Morris had tossed him, Rebo ran over to the Elf and guarded his companion whilst he righted himself. Morris drove off two of the Ratlings. The sole Ratling tried to rally his cronies, but they remained hovering at a distance, unsure which way the battle may turn. This lone Ratling then hurled himself at Morris, who in turn sent it scurrying away from a grievous spray of Eldritch Darts. Victory for our group with only the minor compromise of Morris becoming Angry at the ordeal, but the whole conflict left our adventurers Hungry/Thirsty though.

    After a short trip our trio once again found themselves outside of Barrik's Keep. After some bickering with the spirit of Barrik residing in Falgaff's mind, the group decided to comb the area they were recently for any signs of Hrolf by candle light. With the original intent of bypassing the tower chamber of the lulling ice strands, the party came across Hrolf cowering behind his shield in the corner of the dining hall. To his chagrin, he claimed he had somehow gotten separated from the group, and in the pitch dark with no light his fears had prevented him from doing naught but curling up in the fetal position with his shield pulled over top of him like a child clutching a blanket for security. His rations kept him from starvation whilst he awaited rescue from his friends or death at the hands of giant spiders, ratlings, or worse.

    Reformed again, the party set out with intent to find the laboratory Barrik spoke of. Using the spirit as a guide with Falgaff as proxy, they entered into the familiar study complete with the blind/deaf armour golem. After some discussion they decided it would be best to leave the guardian construct alone for now, as trying to deprive it of the axe it carried or the enchanted plate that it was conjured from could be risky. They continued on through the parlour where they first found Blingo the Carpenter tied up and the enchanted skull of Barrik, and into the ballroom where the old chandeliers faintly reflected their candle light.

  5. Rebo lit one of the torches using the candle flame and it was seen that a pile of detritus seemed to squoosh slowly towards them: the Gelatinous Cube! As Barrik's spirit instructed them to the hallway across the room, a Flee Conflict ensued to avoid the ooze! Manoeuvring around the slow-moving jelly seemed an easy prospect at first, until running on the ballroom floor slick with refuse turned out to be disgustingly hazardous: Hrolf distracted the Cube by tossing garbage at it and successfully lured it toward him, except when he attempted to move out of its oncoming path he slipped and landed face first in a pile of muck. Falgaff saw his companion thrashing about in distress and ran over to help, and ended up being pulled down into the muck by the warrior. The same soon happened to Rebo, and with his friends wallowing about like terrified pigs in a sty, Morris gird his loins and hurled his jar of lye water at the Gelatinous Cube with all force and gusto (finally training himself properly in Scout): unfortunately the jar passed right through the Cube like a bullet through ballistic jelly and shattered against the opposite wall. Our heroes failed in their original mission to cross the room relatively unmolested; instead covered with refuse they fled down the corridor with the Cube squeezing its bulk through the narrow hall in slow, relentless pursuit after them.

  6. Ducking into the nearest doorway and closing the wooden door behind them, the group entered a storage room of some sorts filled from floor to ceiling with rotten wooden boxes, most of which were empty/crushed beneath others. A single door graced the opposite wall. The spirit of Barrik related that this room once stored magical reagents for his experiments. Though the remaining containers were mostly filled with eclectic items (such as a box of withered butterfly wings, or a handful of glass beads), Morris made a Scavenger Test to quickly scrounge for any useful Alchemical materials whilst the Gelatinous slowly dissolved the door they entered by: his roll resulted him in becoming Exhausted by the strenuous and frantic search, but he did find some basic supplies. The group quickly proceeded through the other door which Barrik had informed them was the entrance to his laboratory just as Falgaff lit a new candle with the dying torch embers.

  7. In the dim light of our adventures saw that the chamber was filled with various scientific apparatus, all coated in a shimmering layer of ice. A large throne rested atop a pedestal in the corner of the room, both seemingly carved from a single solid block of ice. A freezing aura of cold wafted from the pedestal, and set within the ice was the slender shape of a silver sword. But the most noticeable thing in the room was the lanky, humanoid figure with the fur and face of a rat that reclined upon the throne. In its hand it held a crude sceptre fashioned from bone, whilst a crown of similar manufacture sat on its head. When it's beady black eyes regarded them, a feeling of revulsion welled up within our comrades.

    Hrolf strode up and as bold as brass demanded it address itself; with a harsh chitter it proclaimed itself as Keshute, Lord of the Keep and soon to be Lord of the region of Torlynn! It explained it came to this land about two years past with its Ratling followers, and that using its own clever skill with the alchemical devices of Barrik's abandoned Keep fashioned the ice throne upon which it sat, using a magical sword from a hapless group of Elven adventurers (Falgaff's original party) as the primary catalyst. This in turn created the accursed winter which has driven the vast majority of the local folk to abandoning Torlynn, leaving it near ripe for conquest by it and its minions (which appeared from hiding behind frozen tables to back up their leader when the adventures challenged its claim). Keshute claimed it would accept the group's surrender now, in return for their lives in eternal servitude. Hrolf proclaimed that a quick, merciful death at his sword was the best they would offer!

    Because the party's tactical intent was to drive the Ratlings and their leader into the storage room and possibly into the awaiting Gelatinous Cube, I ruled this was a Drive Off Conflict**. Keshute boldly led its minions into battle, using the bone sceptre it wielded to create shocking magic against Hrolf; a good shot from Rebo's bow knocked the sceptre from Keshute's grasp. Time was spent with both sides jockeying for the upper-hand against the other, Hrolf expertly defending off the attacking swarm, taking only but a single blow upon his helm until Keshute tactically made a fatal error: it threw its force completely against the "unarmed" magician, who proved the Wererat incorrect when he unleashed a veritable torrent of Eldritch Darts so powerful all the Ratlings were driven to flight down the storage room, right into the transparent Gelatinous Cube! Pinned between these powerful humanoids and the ooze that was engulfing its squealing minions, Keshute opted to take its chances with the Cube: it gathered speed and dove into the cube with the intention of gliding through, but soon lost momentum and began writhing in agony, its body slowly dissolving along with the (magical?) bone crown it wore. A total victory for our adventurers!

    Thus ended the short reign of Keshute...
  8. Having dealt with Keshute and the Ratling minions, the party took to investigating the frozen laboratory and the icy throne. Using the spirit of Barrik and the silken blindfold he had recovered from one of the coffins a few days ago to aid him, Falgaff cast Supernal Vision and began to identify the frozen throne with the sword within via an Arcanist* Test: Success determined the basket-hilted blade was indeed magically generating the ice, along with foul climate in the region. Falgaff also recognized the magical sword was named "Keleb" and it belonged to the leader of the previous expedition he was apart of: Elladin Silvercrest's company. Bellies began to grumble as the post-combat rush cleared away and the first lit candle burnt out.

  9. A quick glance over the bone sceptre Keshute had dropped revealed its nature with a Arcanist* Test: when wielded in certain conflicts the sceptre could unleash a paralysing shock per charge; it had five charges remaining on it. The group determined the sceptre would be useful, but also rightly so no merchant would buy the ugly object from them if they wanted to barter it.

    Bone Sceptre 
    This would resemble a rod of office if it wasn't fashioned out of a yellowed femur capped with tin and infrequently unleashed bursts of sparks.
    Level: 2
    Effect: Paralysing Shock: +2D to a Maneuver action in Kill/Capture/Drive Off conflicts per charge use.
    Functions normally as a club, a basic melee weapon that has no benefits/penalties nor special abilities.
    Charges: 1d6+2. 
    Inventory: Hands/ Carried 1 or Weapon/Belt 1. 
    Type: Magical Weapon.

    A faint magical aura led the group into an adjoining room, which was a cell strewn with the bones of animals and men. Sturdy chains were attached to three metal rings on each wall and were attached on the opposite end to manacles fastened around legs of three elves, whom were frozen solid and appeared dead. Falgaff immediately recognised them as his previous companions; Elladin, Caithana, and Trakas; and quietly began muttering a few words of mourning in Elven. Rebo proclaimed that their state was very similar to that of Morris' and Hrolf's when they were bitten by the White Widow, so there is a chance they might be alive. Studying the ice carefully they surmised that the freezing venom from the giant spider puts its prey into a state of suspended animation, preserving them for fresh consumption for later...

With fresh answers as well as new questions, we ended the session here.

Character Condition Status

  • Falgaff Bitterleaf - Hungry and Thirsty.
  • Morris the Mirthful - Hungry/Thirsty, Angry, and Exhausted.
  • Rebo Pepper - Hungry/Thirsty, and Angry.
  • Hrolf Rosensloff - Hungry/Thirsty, Afraid, and Exhausted

Things I Forgot:
*I should've had Scotty roll for Falgaff casting Supernal Vision to determine the duration of the spell; I probably assumed it was autocast like Eldritch Darts. Also I had him test Arcanist instead of Loremaster to identify magical auras, as I misread the spell entry. Nothing major though, I'll just try to remember to have him test at least an Ob 3 Arcanist for the spell duration next session.

Also in all the excitement of conflicts people would forget dim lighting and condition penalties. This is something I still find tough to track since I like to run games somewhat loose and cinematic.

**Though the final conflict with Keshute could've been run as a Kill conflict (since driving your enemy off of a cliff face does have a more murderous intent than simply driving them away), I decided the players collectively had a Good Idea using the pursuing Gelatinous Cube to their advantage and driving the somewhat dim-witted Ratlings and their master into it would be easier than outright slaying them. :)

Until Next Time... ;{١

Monday, 23 June 2014

Free RPG Day 2014

Last Saturday 'twas that time of year again, the proverbial gift-mas in June: Free RPG Day. I hope you were able to make it two a participating FLGS and grab a few items to try something new or supplement your collection. I, myself managed to hit up two retailers before I had to go to work and got a handful of free products plus one that I'd paid for. Again I had to pick and choose between all the entries that garnered my interest:

Laminations of the Flame Princess - The Doom-Cave of the Crystal-Headed Children

First off we'll start off with the second-time winner in my humble opinion of Free RPG Day (if it was a contest), Laminations of the Flame Princess' brilliant entry: The Doom-Cave of the Crystal-Headed Children. Like their previous year's entry, the excellent production values were funded by a successful crowd-funding project.

Despite clocking in at a smaller page count (36-pages) compared to last years' massive near-100 page entry: Better Than Any Man, this year's entry is just as well-written. Whereas Better Than Any Man was more of a sandbox with an overarching, time-sensitive plot attached to it, Doom-Cave is more of a classic dungeon crawl with an excellent story, making it in my opinion more accessible to new LotFP players or other OSR gamers who'd like to drop Doom-Cave into a pre-existing game or give its parent system a try.

Again no quick-start rules, appropriately because a free no-art version of the LotFP rules is available online. The art might not be as stellar in comparison to Better, but the sketch-art in Doom-Cave is very thematic to the setting. Word of warning again to the squeamish, the content might be considered explicit to those with certain sensitivities.

I've yet to read thoroughly through Doom-Cave, but the a decent mix of good old grid dungeons, random tables, interesting encounters, and a good heaping dose of the weirdness that is LotFP makes me look forward to digesting this entry. Also last year's Better Than Any Man is available on PDF for pay-what-you want here.

Cosmic Patrol - Quick-Start Rules: The Continuance Contingency

Another small sampling of Cosmic Patrol by our friends at Catalyst Game Labs. About half of this 24-page folio is filled with quick-start rules, which I've already covered in my last Free RPG Day entry.

The remainder is filled with a couple pre-gen characters, example enemies, and a several mission briefs.

All in all, a decent, if sparse Free RPG Day 2014 entry.

Castles & Crusades - A Druid's Lament

I was fortunate enough a couple months ago to acquire a few of last years Free RPG Day entries (the advantages of living in a small capital city), namely Castles & Crusades, Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls, and Swords & Wizardry: A Pot of Broken Bones (& Halfling Broth), a preview pack, and Hall of Bones, respectively.

These free leftovers from my FLGS did help round out my collection and fulfil my desire for more 'old school' games during my hunt for material to possibly convert over to my ongoing Torchbearer game.

Personally, I found the T&T entry a little too hack'n'slash for my tastes, and the C&C one somewhat generic but decent. I did actually enjoy the S&W entry Hall of Bones though, I found it had a decent layout and simple but well-done delve.

Back to now, the entry this year, A Druid's Lament by C&C, I think was better than it's predecessor, though it does suffer from some weak writing. (I.e. it was written the Druid directs the party to a great tree, but one can only presume she does do because she knows that's where the forest spirit resumes? Also she's very loath to tell the story of what happened, but eventually does so anyway?)

Since C&C is stripped down version of d20, I'm not really a fan of it system-wise but this entry is a nice little side-trek that can be dropped into about any other fantasy game.

Mage: The Ascension - Introductory Quickstart Rules and Adventure Hooks

One of the entries with a higher page count, I picked up this Mage quickstart because it came to my attention last week I don't own any material by White Wolf (or it's new parent company, Onyx Path Publishing). Not that I really want anything by WW in my collection; (I sold a collection of Werewolf: The Apocalypse books that had come into my possession to a friend) despite playing a few WW games, I just have never felt the desire to own any of them.

Anyway, the main reason I grabbed Mage was because a couple friends who want to game with me a few weeks ago had little experience in RPGs beyond Mage and Pathfinder, so I grabbed it for a lark.

I had heard good things about Mage as far as the WoD line goes, and maybe once I sat down and read this booklet I might like what I see. If not, I'll give to someone who appreciates it more. That all said, the general layout and the art is top notch.

Dungeon Crawl Classics/Maximum Xcrawl - Elzemon and the Blood-Drinking Box/Dungeon Detonation 

23 pages of goodness from Goodman Games. Alas, only roughly four of these pages host a short but interesting mini-delve in DCC, the remainder cover a Maximum Xcrawl scenario.

What is Maximum Xcrawl you ask? Imagine if dungeon crawling was a modern competitive sport/game show akin to American Gladiators, Monday Night Combat, Smash TV, and/or Japanese Game Shows; for Pathfinder.

It's also worth mentioning that MX currently has a kickstarter to make a hardcover edition, so check it out if that's your thing. An amusing and interesting concept, though I don't know if I'd ever play/run it personally. Maybe if the fancy strikes or at a convention.

The Stuff I Didn't Get:

  • Pathfinder "Risen from the Sands Adventure" - I have enough Pathfinder/3.x material I can use right now.
  • Pathfinder Adventure Card Pack - No thanks.
  • ShadowRun/BattleTech Quick-Start Rules - I have little interest in either.
  • Q-Workshop/Chessex Modern Fudge/Commemorative Dice - Either/both would've been a nice little keepsake if they were available.
  • Valiant Universe RPG Quick-Start Rules - Never been a huge 'supers' fan, and I know even less about the Valiant Comics Universe than usual. This quick-start is available online on PDF here.
  • 13th Age "Make Your Own Luck" - This would've been my sixth item, had it not already been swiped at the second locale I visited; I'm curious to see if 13th Age lives up to the praise I've heard.
  • A Chooseomatic book "Time Travel Dinosaur -Mesozoic Mayhem" - It was interesting to see a free choose-your-own-adventure'ish book available. Apparently the creator had a kickstarter to cover the costs. All the power to him.
  • I didn't even get to see the rest of the single examples, either they were already snatched up and/or FLGS employees had first pick.

Lastly, I finally picked up a copy of Dungeon World. I know I might be a little late to the *Worlds systems, but better late than never. At least I've played a few. :)

Plus purchasing something during the event helps retailers know that Free RPG Day can be lucrative and encourage them to order in more games!

Thanks to all the publishers that made Free RPG Day exist! ;{١

Friday, 20 June 2014

Torchbearer AP - Part 4: Almost Left Four Dead

Things went rapidly from good, to bad, to worse in our latest Torchbearer game and we saw how much punishment our delvers can bounce back from. It's hard to tell if I'm being too nice or too cruel to my players... Perhaps Both?

Our last session ended with the eerie rising of four undead creatures, one of which was intelligent enough to utter a raspy command to his decayed companions: "Kill these intruders so I might feast upon their flesh!" We now resume that thrilling cliffhanger!

After a insightful prologue by Fraser, Exhausted was removed from Morris, making the party condition-free for the trials ahead; gods know they needed it.

Dramatis Personæ:
  • Fraser ... Morris the Mirthful [Human Magician] An anarchistic arcanist with a big mouth and several opinions.
  • Jason ... Rebo Pepper [Halfling Burgler] A quiet and pleasant little person who seeks loot to feed his love of food.
  • Riley S ... Hrolf Rosensloff [Human Warrior] - A fighter of such short stature he's often mistaken for a dwarf. Absent.
  • Stephen ... Joseph [Human Cleric] - A jaded ex-felon who found religion in gaol and became a cleric. Absent, soon to become NPC.
  • Scotty ... Falgaff Bitterleaf [Elven Ranger] - A curious, knowledge-loving Elf who's a bit of a loner.

Adventure Phase

7. [resuming from last session] Out of the four pine coffins sitting atop stone biers, clumsily rose three corpse-like creatures, and an unnaturally graceful ghoulish monster which was more fluid in movement than its compatriots. Morris, Rebo, and Flagaff drew their weapons in preparation for a Kill Conflict, when the sound of clanging metal became from behind them. Turning suddenly revealed that Hrolf had completely disappeared and all that remained was his sword, lying on the floor of the passageway. Falgaff led his companions into the fray, jockeying for position whilst the Ghoul directed his zombified underlings to do likewise; Falgaff was able to provide an opening but the gait of the corpse-beings was faster than he anticipated and he was forced to hold them off up close with his bow stave, disarming him of its use. Morris was able to take out two zombies with a blast of Eldritch Darts, before they could gain ground. Keen-eyed shots from Rebo took down the pair on Falgaff. Drawing his dagger, the Elf Ranger then rushed the Ghoul and stabbed at it repeatedly, whilst it slashed its claws at him. Morris greatly succeed on a cast of Eldritch Darts that blew away the Ghoul, winning the Conflict for our heroes! The minor compromise was that Falgaff became Angry that his new bow had been damaged in the fight and was inoperable until he could fix it.
8. The lantern carried by Morris was refilled with oil after it had burnt out. Led by Falgaff, the group made a Scout Test to thoroughly search the room for anything of interest; success noticed each coffin had a false bottom inside of it, but each open-able panel appeared to be connected to a trigger of sorts. Stomachs grumbled as Hunger and Thirst set in.
9. After debating how to open one of the compartments/bypass said trigger, Falgaff elected his Curious Trait was to be a detriment; his desire to trigger any trap and willingness to take any effects head-on for the sake of knowledge was used against his Dungeoneer Test; a hissing noise was heard from the resulting failure, and the whole bottom of the coffin was filled with a thick, noxious purple haze that overflowed the casket and spilled on to the stone floor. Upon touching the bodies of the slain undead creatures, the trio saw to their horror the corpses began reanimate!
10. The group opted a Flee Conflict from the undead, unsure if this necromatic smoke had not only reanimated them but made them stronger in the process! Though the stupid and slow-moving zombies were simple to avoid and outpace, our adventures found the Ghoul incredibly fast: Whilst directing his companions to the corridor beyond the doorway Rebo was maintaining against zombies, the ghoul dove over his short stature and threw the halfling from behind into the mob with such force he bowled over Morris, along with all the zombies, knocking them all out of the conflict. Before Falgaff had time to react to the development, the Ghoul slammed the door hard enough to jam it, and leapt to the other passageway, cutting off any escape route for our adventurers!
11. Backed into a corner and in dire straights, the group decided to fight a way free through a Kill Conflict! Again both sides maneuvered into position, each gaining a small measure of advantage. Morris then mistakenly decided to go on the defensive; although he managed to dodge the blows aimed at him, it gave little reprieve for him or his companions. Falgaff then met the rush of undead armed with not but his dagger; he and Rebo managed to take out three of the zombies before they fell to their blows. Alone, "wielding" Hrolf's sword in one hand and the lamp in the other, Morris opted for a desperate attack: he attempted to hold the one remaining zombie at bay at sword-point, whilst aiming and hurling the lantern at the Ghoul, using his incendiary-wise to full effect. What resulted was two-fold: the lone zombie was inadvertently killed by it skewering itself on the sword held by Morris, whilst the lantern struck home on the Ghoul, dousing it with burning oil and casting dim light throughout the chamber. In a final bout between the two remaining combatants, both had feinted: Morris tried to use the corpse with Hrolf's blade sticking through it as weapon/shield against the enraged and now flaming Ghoul, which managed to rake the mage across his chest with its filthy, paralytic claws. The last thing Morris saw before succumbing to darkness was the Ghoul clutching at the chest wound it had received from the sword...
12. An indeterminate time later, Falgaff and Rebo awoke in total darkness, both Injured with a possible set of broken ribs and a deeply bruised left forearm respectively. The two made a Scavenge Test to grope for materials in the pitch black to make a light source (having no backup); Rebo succeeded in finding material to make a single torch, but doing so caused him to become greatly unnerved at the feeling that something was watching them in the dark, making him deeply Afraid. Our two adventurers were also Exhausted from starvation.
13. The makeshift torch was lit with the tinderbox and the two were able to see the aftermath of the conflict: the bodies of the undead lay strewn about, but the corpse of the Ghoul was nowhere to been seen. The body of Morris almost wasn't spotted, hidden underneath the zombie he had skewered. The pair dragged him to the middle of the chamber where Falgaff attempted a Healer Test upon him; a failure resulted in Falgaff being unable to bring the barely living mage to consciousness.
14. With little time and light left in their makeshift torch, the pair opted to drag Morris back to the dimly lit entrance of the Keep, where they could perhaps make camp and regroup. Before doing so Falgaff retrieved Hrolf's sword from the undead corpse and invested the triggered coffin: to his dismay it contained nothing but a simple white silken blindfold for use in casting Supernal Vision. He then brought all his talents to bare and succeeded on a Pathfinder Test to make their way back to the foyer. Once there, Falgaff risked following his Instinct and made a successful Survivalist Test to ensure a safer camp in an area of potential traffic.

Camp Phase - Minor Inconvenience: Rebo discovered a blow he had taken during one of the conflicts had dented his remaining oil flask and it had slowly leaked to empty.

  • With great patience and care, Falgaff slowly drip fed the last Healing Potion into Morris' mouth and grievous wounds: eventually removing the Injury condition Morris was suffering and awakening him. Morris still had a long recovery ahead of him (having every other condition from being left for dead) but it was a start.
  • The company alleviated their base need for sustenance by eating some rations and food conjured by the magic handbell, thus removing their gnawing Hunger and Thirst.
  • Falgaff spent one of his two checks recovering successfully from his Anger; in hindsight, a damaged bow is of little concern compared against their very lives.
  • Falgaff gave his one other check to Morris, who also removed his own Anger; he considered that he was very lucky to be alive.
  • Perhaps fuelled by his feverish state, Morris and company had an interesting 2nd-hand conversation with the spirit of Barrik residing within Falgaff's head: The magician hypothesized that since one is supposedly unable to make a gelatin dessert containing the fresh tropical fruit known as "pine-apple", one may be able to create a weaponized extract from it to use against the Gelatinous Cube that lay between the group and the unsearched areas of the Keep they wished to explore. When asked where and how they would acquire these "pine-apples", Morris projected that the magic handbell might be able to conjure some up...
  • After this very interesting conversation, the party reluctantly broke camp.

Adventure Phase

  1. Summoning all his will and forethought, Falgaff managed to pull off a successful Pathfinder Test and led the pathetic trio back to the village.

Town Phase - Morris reached 2nd level upon entering town; Rebo spent enough rewards to hit 2nd level but won't level up until their next visit. 

  • The first order of business once they were within the bounds of Torlynn was finding accommodation, and since the group had very little in the way of resources between them, they decided to swallow their collective pride and request (i.e. beg) for assistance from Gustovan the Burgomaster. After a long conversation and berating over the little amount of progress and the snide comments on his administration Morris had made to the public; the Burgomaster, whom claimed he still had the best interests of the townfolk at heart, agreed to set them up at his residence for a short time whilst they recuperated before heading back to the keep to solve the problem once and for all. Gustovan also made it clear that his patience in 'free-loading adventurers' had grown thin, and claimed that the next time he saw the group in his town they best have cleared the curse.
  • Settling into the granted lodging, Rebo, Morris, and Falgaff took full advantage of the free if sparse amenities and recovered their Afraid and Exhausted conditions. 
  • Before attempting to recover their more serious ills, the group sought ways to aid the removal of their afflictions: Morris with the help of Falgaff spent an entire day making a Scavenger Test to recover medicinal herbs for making into healing and sickness poultices respectively. Falgaff was dismayed when he realized that crafting said poultices was probably beyond his skill as a healer to make, so they remained as supplies for future use.
  • The group decided to seek divine aid in the removal of their respective Injuries and Sickness, and they met with Father Relmark of the local chapel of the Immortals. Having no coin for donation, they beesched the cleric for aid in their 'duty' to cleanse the Keep and land of Torlynn of this unnatural winter and managed to convince Relmark with a successful Persuade Test. Proclaiming that since they had no tribute to sacrifice to the Immortals that would be granting this boon, the trio would have to spend the remainder of their days in town fasting, cleansing themselves of sin. (This imposed on each PC a Hungry/Thrist condition that didn't interfere with order of recovery but that couldn't be removed until they left town. Rebo claimed it should be illegal keeping a halfling hungry.) A handsome tithe was also promised to the order upon return to Torlynn. In return, the cleric blessed the each party member with The Breath of the Burning Lord, granting a +1D to respective recovery tests. Miraculously Morris' fever broke, and Rebo's arm was healed to use, but alas the Immortals' gift was of no use to the Elf in healing his ribs; Falgaff was beginning to greatly dislike the proudly unrepentant spirit of Barrik that dwelt within his head, whom Falgaff blamed for the reason why the divine boon did not work on him.
  • With aid of Morris, Falgaff then turned to his own healer arts in a last ditch attempt to cure his Injury before having to resign to being crippled by it: an explosion of fate point-fueled 6s proved that his ribs weren't broken all along, they were just subluxated and he popped them back into place.
  • With a bit of free time and some "borrowed" tools, Morris distilled a lye solution from ashes in the Burgomaster's fireplace into the empty healing potion jar via an Alchemist Test for later use.
  • Morris then stood in the centre of the market place and made an impassioned speech via a Orator Test on the groups' noble cause with the intent to make the merchants more susceptible to the following Haggler Test. Both were successful, but the resulting Haggling Event rolled was disappointingly similar to the last: Hard Bargain or Thriftiness.
  • Rebo again took advantage of the two-for-one deal of Hard Bargain to buy lighting supplies but it turned out the only merchant who was willing to make said deal was the same dealer the group got into a argument with last time. Rebo eventually got a set of Torches with a free set of Candles, but was made Angry by the whole barter process.
  • The group finally decided they best return to Barrik's Keep to find Hrolf and end the cursed winter once and for all, or die trying. Rebo and Falgaff initially managed to pay their dues, but Morris had made one too many favours and was pulled aside by the town watch: they explained that several of the folk had made complaints on his 'parasitic behaviour', and the watch had been requested to bar him from future entry into the village unless he is able to pay his debts. Rebo and Falgaff had their own financial credibility lowered by association with this deadbeat.

Exiting Torlynn into the wilderness was where we concluded this session.

Character Condition Status
  • Falgaff Bitterleaf - Hungry and Thirsty.
  • Morris the Mirthful - Hungry and Thirsty.
  • Rebo Pepper - Hungry and Thirsty, Angry.
  • Hrolf Rosensloff - Angry, Afraid, and Exhausted [Absent]
  • Joseph - Exhausted [Absent]

Things I forgot: I realized after the last session I had been running Tapped Nature totally incorrectly; for some reason I thought you added your flat Nature rating to the result you rolled, but this made it way too easy for any PC to just auto-pass a Test. We now correctly add a number of dice to your pool equal to your current Nature rating.

The other thing I discovered we were forgetting was wise use: Initially I thought wises could be used to augment a Test in any appropriate situation for free, and only the Fate and Persona point rerolls cost anything. I must've totally glossed over the part that using a wise four times differently (in Pass & Failed Tests, in Deeper Understanding, and in Of Course!) granted a perk! This means that one can cycle out wises, or advance related skills; which adds another avenue for character advancement to our collective, pleasant surprise.

Until Next Time... ;{١

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Emergent (Plug &) Play

So, what have I been up to the past couple weeks?
Well if you been following this blog you'll have seen that my recent posts have been Actual Play records of the bi-weekly Torchbearer game I run. I must say I am having a great time with this game, I hope and believe my players are enjoying themselves likewise.

Aside from the obvious what else have I been doing? I've been sporadically playing in a Cyberpunk 2020 game on Fridays, and as of last Thursday looks like I'll be playing in a bi-weekly 1e Warhammer Fantasy game with a new group of players starting the week following. Looks like I'm trying out some old school stuff from the late 80's/early 90's, we'll see how it holds up to the RPGs of today. I also played in an X-Wing Miniatures tournament a few weeks ago; I didn't place nor did I expect anything beyond having fun.

I've also picked up a pair of running shoes; the plan being to jog/run home from work in the evenings and my days off to get more exercise than how I normally do via walking. Once I have the sufficient funds hopefully I can get my bicycle rebuilt to as the climate in Victoria is just perfect for outdoor activity.

The main reason for this post (apart of breaking the monotony of my TB APs) was that I wanted to plug a youtube series that my buddy +Larry Spiel made over a year ago about Roleplaying Theory called Emergent Play. I was dismayed to discover that this excellent series had already run its course and ended about a year ago before I even knew about it nor had time to actively participate in any of its discussion. Nonetheless, it's still worth watching afterwards for the keen insight Larry and his guests have on our favourite hobby. You can also follow the currently defunct Emergent Play on G+ here.

As far as all that I have no new news of note. Instead of finding something of interest here, go check out Emergent Play!

Cheers! ;{١

Friday, 6 June 2014

Torchbearer AP - Part 3: Town Time in Torlynn

When we last left our adventurers, they had just found their way out of Barrik's Keep and were intent on travelling back to the nearby village of Torlynn. Riley S recapped the previous session during Prologue and removed Hunger and Thirst from Hrolf.

Dramatis Personæ:
  • Fraser ... Morris the Mirthful [Human Magician] An anarchistic arcanist with a big mouth and several opinions.
  • Jason ... Rebo Pepper [Halfling Burgler] A quiet and pleasant little person who seeks loot to feed his love of food.
  • Riley S ... Hrolf Rosensloff [Human Warrior] - A fighter of such short stature he's often mistaken for a dwarf.
  • Stephen ... Joseph [Human Cleric] - A jaded ex-felon who found religion in gaol and became a cleric. Absent.
  • Scotty ... Falgaff Bitterleaf [Elven Ranger] - A curious, knowledge-loving Elf who's a bit of a loner.

Adventure Phase

6. Exiting the Keep our party found that a chill wind had picked up and the snow had started to fall thicker (the result of a Twist last session). The two sets of tracks that led south-westerly, presumably belonging to Joseph and Rebo, were beginning to fade to wind and weather. Twilight was approaching soon and the loss of daylight combined with the snowfall limited visibility. The recently 'rescued' Blingo discarded the burnt out torch he was carrying and Hrolf took point in attempting to lead the party back to Torlynn with a Pathfinder Test; unfortunately despite help from his companions the Exhaustion he was suffering from caused him to lead them astray and they all became lost in the woods.
 7. Traipsing through snowy landscape was weary work, and everyone had to make a Health Test to weather the elements modified by +1 for being lost (and +1 to Morris for having no footwear.). Failure resulted in Hrolf becoming Angry at being cold, wet, and lost whereas Morris became Injured with frostbitten feet.

Camp Phase 

  • With twilight upon the adventures, they decided to make camp in the snowy wilderness and wait out the night and the weather. Instinct drove Falgaff to making a successful Survivalist Test, building a basic shelter from the elements, thus making a Safe Camp. Once inside everyone drank some water to alleviate their Thirst. Morris was the only one with a check, but he gave it to Hrolf, who downed his wineskin and attempted to quell his Anger; unfortunately this just made him drunk and miserable. The remainder of the night was spent shivering till the dawn arrived with a clear sky.

Adventure Phase

  1. Morris tried untrained to get their bearings with a Beginner's Luck Scout Test, to no avail.
  2. Falgaff climbed up a tree and managed to spy the village laying behind yonder hill with a Scout Test. His Remembering Nature enabled him to recall to safe route to the settlement from the lay of the land he had observed overhead.

Torlynn in the throes of a magical winter.

Torlynn (Cursed)

This once-proud alpine town is now dilapidated and decrepit. Many of its homes are vacant, abandoned by their former owners when a foul magic crept upon the region and placed Torlynn under the curse of eternal winter. There are still a few humans living in the town - a group of survivors who are convinced that the town is again destined for greatness.

Torlynn is under a perpetual Minor Inconvenience: Food Shortage that boarders Disaster: Famine for as long as the magical winter continues. The temperature is mild enough during the warmer months to not trigger a Winter Phase, but still cold enough to deter plant growth. It is advised that the GM not roll on the Town Events Table during such curse, but if they wish to do so, a -1 penalty should be applied to the roll to represent the poor state of affairs and any Disaster rolled automatically results in a Famine.

Available Locations

Tavern (the Grinning Goblin), Street, Inn (the Soft Pillow), Homes: (the Burgomaster's [Inn equivalent], Clyde the Merchant's [Flophouse equivalent], Blingo the Carpenter's [Flophouse equivalent], empty buildings [Stables equivalent; squatting has an initial 0 lifestyle cost, but landlords attempt to charge 'rent' if squatters are discovered (An immediate Ob 1 Res Test followed by lifestyle cost of +1) or force them onto the Street. Treat squatting as Hiding Out.]), Temple (Limited Services, Prayers are +1 to the Ob cost), Market (Limited, no food available for purchase), Guild Hall: Guilds Limited to: 
  1. Blacksmiths
  2. Bakers
  3. Butchers
  4. Carpenters
  5. Tanners
  6. Leathercrafters
Locations struckthrough are unavailable during cursed winter.

Alignment: unaffiliated


  • Magicians may not testify before a judge.
  • Purposed: All magicians and elves must wear conical hats. Failure to do so punishable by whipping or a fine (Ob 3 Res Test).

Home Skills: Labourer, Leathercraft, Carpenter
Home Traits: Stubborn, Rough Hands

Additional Notes: 

  • Haggling Obstacle 3
  • A thieves guild, which operated secretly out of warehouse, closed its doors even before the disaster struck. They left some of their items behind, but also left traps to protect these items. Characters making it their business to nose around abandoned buildings may stumble upon this trapped hideout. (Roll once on Loot Table 1 for each trap encountered/bypassed.)

Town Phase

  • The group arrived at Torlynn just as Rebo was leaving the local gaol and some trouble involving Joseph (best not mentioned). After some discussion they decided to hit the market first with their gains in an attempt to procure supplies. The thankful but forgotten Blingo rapidly made off for his own dwelling.
  • Both Morris and Rebo successfully Haggled with the merchants respectively; the group took stock of their resources and had loot appraised:
- Set of Silverware and Plate: Worth 2D.
- Bag of Silver Coins: Worth 1D cash.
 -Platinum Necklace: Worth 4D+1D for being an Interesting Item.
  • After a bit of explanation on how Resource Tests and Treasure Dice work out of game, Hrolf hit upon the Good Idea to find someone to exchange the costly necklace into dividable wealth and met with the Rebo's friend Clyde the Merchant, who then traded several large bags of copper coin of equivalent value for the necklace.
  • The group decided the best way to spend wealth was to give each member 2D worth of treasure, and they would then attempt to establish buyer credibility by purchasing inexpensive Ob 1 items, eventually building up rep to purchase more expensive things with assistance from each other.
  • Falgaff bought a Large Sack and Morris a new Satchel; Hrolf attempted to buy some Wine but failed, the Twist being with Tavern closed, no wine was for available for sale. 
  • With backing from Morris and Falgaff, Rebo purchased a Lantern and as a part two-for-one deal (Hard Bargain) also a Bow set, which he then gave to Falgaff for use.
  • They then tried to buy a couple Flasks of Oil, but ended up in a shouting match with the shopkeep over the price. In the end the flasks were obtained but the three of them were made Angry by the argument.
  • Morris visited a recommended leathercrafter, who sold him a nice, if slightly oversized pair of boots to fit his swollen feet. Having secure footwear again, Morris finally quaffed a Potion of Healing, to remove his frostbite Injury.
  • After all the treasure was spent, the group began to think about accommodations whilst in town. Morris, Falgaff, and Hrolf considered squatting in an abandoned building if Clyde's hospitality had worn out for them. Rebo visited Clyde and managed to convince his friend to open his common room floor again to the group, and Rebo would in turn keep them all well-fed.
  • Once housing was sorted out, Morris decided to further display his distaste in the mayorship of Torlynn by standing a top the burnt out divan and ranting to any locals willing to listen his rhetoric. The resulting Orator Test was unable to sway the meagre crowd much, but it did relieve Morris of his own Anger.
This explains Morris in a nutshell.
  • Whilst that was going on, Falgaff  paid a visit Gustovan the Burgomaster at his residence with intent to vent his own Anger about a perceived situation: he and his original companions were given no search party following their disappearance in the Keep. Gustovan countered that he had no proof that the group led by Elladin Silvercrest (which Falgaff was apart of) hadn't just taken the Burgomasters modest payment and run off with it; additionally no one from Torlynn was experienced let alone willing enough to explore the Keep. Falgaff then accused Gustovan of living in luxury whilst the villagers near starved, which the Burgomaster presented his near empty larder as proof that his own supply went to the most needy. In the end Gustovan offered the elf room and board to make some amends for unwittingly abandoning Falgaff and his compatriots.
  • Spending time with his friend cleared away Rebo's Anger at the local shopkeep, a bath and the Burgomaster's hospitality wiped away Falgaff's own Anger, and but alas even after downing Rebo's wineskin, Hrolf was still miserable and was beginning to gain a small reputation as an Angry drunkard. Everyone rested for the night at their respective accommodations.
  • Falgaff and Morris spent a bit of time going over the recently acquired spell book; Falgaff managed to learn and scribe Supernal Vision and Eldritch Darts in his own book, whereas Morris only learned Eldritch Darts.
  • When they had finished, Hrolf asked the two magic-users to inspect the odd skull containing a candle he recovered from the Keep. Falgaff recalled similar use of such in rituals to contain or summon ones' spirit after death, the candle wick inside being the trigger. Falgaff was very curious to light it and see what would happen, but they decide to do it outside, with thanks from Clyde.
  • All four were present when Falgaff lit the candle within the skull; at first nothing happened, then suddenly the sky grew dark and the ghostly image of a long bearded, hunched wizard appeared before the characters and pompously announced himself as Barrik, master of the unknown and tamer of shadows! All made a Will Test against this terrifying apparition; and (un)fortunately, only Hrolf was driven Afraid by such sorcery. 
Now imagine that with the voice of Red Mantle from Venture Bros.
  • After a brief dialogue with wherein Barrik declared that he sensed an evil presence in his home, and demanded the adventures seek out and remove the source of which is no doubt tied to the cursed winter that has the land under pall. Being a disembodied spirit, Barrik was unable assist the group physically, but was able to impart knowledge of both his Keep as well as some magical teachings to the one who'd carry his spirit; between the elf and the magician, he arbitrarily chose Falgaff to be his vessel.
  • A burst of flame spewed forth from the eye-sockets of the skull and engulfed Falgaff, making him to scream in pain and collapse to the ground looking dead. The sky returned to normal illumination and inspection of the elf revealed he was alive and unharmed. The somewhat loud and grating voice of Barrik echoed inside his head, occasionally imparting wisdom but mostly making inane comments. (Falgaff gained an automatic Pass advancement for his Will for this trouble).
  • Being somewhat early in the day, the group decided to pack up and head back to the keep. Before leaving it was decided that the group would have to catch game to eat since there was no food to be purchased in town and the magic hand-bell only provided so much; Rebo went and acquired some hunting supplies such as snares and the like from market, during which Falgaff paid a visit to Blingo to retrieve the Potion of Healing he had inadvertently ran home with. 
  • Everyone then settled their financial affairs before leaving town: both Morris and Falgaff were forced to pay all they had remaining to the tax on their resources; Rebo still had some resources after he settled his bills; and Hrolf was frugal enough during his stay to build no lifestyle cost of note, which was good because he had no money to pay it with anyway. The party refilled their skins with water, and were on their way!

Adventure Phase

  1. Some distance out of town, Rebo passed the hunting supplies to Hrolf who set them up along a few game trails with the intent of snaring a small animal. A successful Hunter Test meant that before Hrolf had a chance to set up a third snare, his first had caught something; a small hare.
  2. The hare (worth one fresh portion) was given to Rebo, who turn performed a successfully assisted Cook Test and transformed the fresh carcass into three preserved rations.
  3. Again our adventures became lost in the woods looking for Barrik's Keep with a failed Pathfinder Test.
  4. After some small discussion, a successful Pathfinder Test this time by Falgaff led the group to the Keep. They quenched their freshly acquired Thirst with their water-skins.
  5. Stepping into the dimly lit entry way, the party recalled the entrances they had passed through when they were first in the Keep. Morris recalled something said about odd lights being seen in a tower, and Falgaff inquired to the spirit of Barrik in his head if there was another tower in the building aside from the collapsed one seen outside and visited  inside by second group. Barrik said yes and gave Falgaff general directions, which he then relayed to the rest of the party; Morris bemoaned upon recalling that such directions led into the area the White Widow spider had fled when they had driven it off last time they were here. Morris lit and carried the lantern and they proceeded cautiously down the eastern corridor. As they neared the broken tower Morris faintly heard a humming noise ahead; he recalled that it was a sound created by the wind playing over thin stands and it created a lulling supernatural melody that created lethargic feelings to those that heard it. Morris had a Good Idea of stuffing the tallow from the candle inside Barrik's skull in their ears to block the sound, much to Barrik's dismay; he considering that candle part of what remained of his physical form. There was just enough tallow in the candle to sufficiently block the earways of everyone, and they were able to pass the lulling strands unaffected.
  6. The passageway Barrik told them to proceed down was partially blocked by debris; Morris attempted to remove the rubble silently with an untrained Labourer Test, but failed and generated such a racket that it was easily heard even through their wax-filled ears. The group was unnerved at the prospect that something else might've heard that noise.
  7. Proceeding through the now unblocked passageway, they briefly glanced into two entryways on their left; they opened to the dinning room and kitchen they had visited before respectively. Pushing forward they eventually entered a dark square chamber similar to the collapsed tower that seemed to radiate cold even more so than usual in the chilly keep. In the light of the lantern, four broken pine coffins rested upon stone slabs along the far wall of the room. The hairs on the back of our delvers' necks began to stand on end as four dark shapes began to rise from the caskets! Three of them resembled rotten corpses and had jerky, stilted movements, whilst the other moved with a feral-like grace. It's eyes burned with a malevolent intelligence, and a long wicked tongue licked gleaming fangs! In a raspy voice it croaked, "Kill these intruders so I might feast upon their flesh!"

And the session was ended on that cliffhanger! Next game, a Conflict will ensue!

Character Condition Status
  • Falgaff Bitterleaf - No Condition
  • Morris the Mirthful - Exhausted
  • Rebo Pepper - No Condition
  • Hrolf Rosensloff - Angry, Afraid, and Exhausted
  • Joseph - Exhausted [Absent]

Things I forgot: Not much this time I think, mostly it was just us trying to wrap our heads around the broad, general nature of Resources.

Until next time...