Here's the play record for our recent Torchbearer game last Thursday:
Initially, all but Jason were able to attend the session; a friend of mine, Scotty, was interested in joining us since his regular Thursday Pathfinder-turned-Hackmaster game had been moved to Wednesdays, so I invited him on board ASAP, as I was looking for another player to fill out the common absentees. Plus the more the merrier. It also turns out fortuitous for us as Stephen ended up being unable to attend as well.
Relatively quickly, Scotty made an Elf Ranger named Falgaff Bitterleaf. His reason for wandering Barrik's Keep alone was that he was a part of the original explorer group that was never heard of again. Only recently has he regained conciousness in the pitch dark of the chilly keep. Since Fraser was the only player present from last session and he gave the last Prologue, I recalled what the party had done up to this point.
- 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.
- Scotty ... Falgaff Bitterleaf [Elven Ranger] - A curious, knowledge-loving Elf who's a bit of a loner.
- Camp Phase - The four party members decided to spend the beginning of the session with a much needed camp phase to spend checks on attempting to remove several of the conditions accrued. A rolled camp event gave them a minor inconvenience of +1 Ob to recover from exhaustion due to dust kicked up on site. Rebo cooked some rations to feed the group after convincing Morris that making a edible meal from the spiders' leg he had been carrying would be difficult at best; and thus everyone recovered from Hunger and Thirst. Morris placed the leg in a cool place to preserve it for later. Hrolf attempted to overcome his Afraid condition but to no avail. Morris quelled his Anger upon discovering the rip in his kilt wasn't as bad as he originally thought. Rebo and Joseph together decided to head back to Torlynn to gather some needed supplies (such as more light sources) for this expedition. They headed back once camp was broken.
- Wielding a fresh torch, Morris and Hrolf decided against common sense and continued exploring: They came upon the kitchen connected to the dinning room. Evidently the two ratlings whom they fought were in the middle of butchering a small fawn they had hunted by a small lit cast-iron stove, its warmth pushing back the chill air. Morris was elated at the prospect of free food (even though they just ate). Meanwhile, Falgaff Bitterleaf, whom was a member of the previous ill-fated expedition in the Keep, had recently awakened from some sort of stasis and had been crawling in the pitch black for an immeasurable amount of time desperately trying to escape the Keep. Sighting the torchlight being cast by the two delvers, he crept up to the doorway to the kitchen. Upon seeing the shanks of meat Morris was collecting, Falgaff overcame his caution and treated with the Magician and apparent dwarf for the chance to sate his Hunger and gain safety in numbers. After an exchange of questions, an untrained Morris attempted a Cook Test using the stove to roast the shanks of meat; the resulting failure meant the already dwindling embers had gone out.
- Using his tinderbox, Hroft with the assistance of Falgaff relit the stove with a successful Survivalist Test.
- Morris succeeded this time on his Cook Test and everyone enjoyed roast venison.
- The trio decided to backtrack Falgaff's gropings in the dark to perhaps discover what happened to his companions. Going left at a junction, the group came upon a bare chamber chilled by a breeze wafting in through a large crack in the wall. Thinking only a person of such short stature could squeeze through such an opening, Hrolf attempted to do so with a Dungeoneering Test, using his Short trait to his detriment to gain a check. He failed and was stuck. (After all he wouldn't be able to get stuck in the first place if he was normal height!) He also decided to crawl in before handing off the lit torch to his companions, who now had very little light to see by.
- Hrolf came upon a Good Idea to use a flask of oil he had to lubricate himself, but realized he was both unable to reach into his satchel, and that trying to smear oil on his person whilst holding an open flame might be a bad idea. Hrolf tried to pass the torch back using a Heath Test but succeeded only in moving the lit end closer to his body; he was in serious danger of burning himself/lighting his clothes on fire. Morris quickly snuffed the torch head with the hem of Hrolf's red coat.
- Morris managed to retrieve an oil flask from Hrolf's inventory and liberally applied it to his companion to the best of his ability. Taking the lead and grasping Hrolf's legs, Falgaff managed to pull the well-lubed short man free of the crack with a Dungeoneer Test.
- After a new torch was lit, the trio continued on and discovered the remains of a large ballroom complete with old chandeliers, that was now filled with piles of refuse and garbage. Using an Instinct, Hrolf checked for tracks using a Scout Test; he successfully found trails left by ratlings, along with a meandering wake made by the then blind Halgaff (who also recalled this chamber by the horrid stench it had). The tracks made by both groups had recently been wiped away in spots by an unknown source. Morris decided to attempt a Scavenge Test to find something useful amidst the heaps of rotting garbage; upon plunging his hands into a pile of oozing refuse he immediately regretted his decision; like a terrible-smelling jello salad, Morris realized a pile contained a Gelatinous Cube feasting on the scum! Evidently Morris tasted better than waste because it began to pull him in!
- A Flee Conflict ensued! (Admittedly I didn't want any PC deaths so soon into our game, so I ran the conflict as a Flee instead of the rather merciless special Trapped Conflict that Creeping Oozes have.) The Cube moved to engulf Morris as he tried to back away. Falgaff attempted to pull the Mage free as the Cube began to suck him in. He ended up slipping on the slick floor and completely knocked himself out. Hrolf managed to distract the Cube by Riding a table onto pile of trash and knocking it over onto it. Morris attempted to brace himself and rouse the unconscious Halgaff but the Cube suddenly relent its grip on Morris' numb arms and pulled him inside legs first! Hrolf, by his lonesome, desperately managed to pull a somewhat digested Morris free of the Cube and his companions hastily fled the dinning hall. Most of Morris' gear was consumed by the Cube: his cloak, satchel (which contained rations and his spellbook), his boots, and a ring that aided in casting Wisdom of the Ancients. And on top of all that the Cubes' paralytic jelly made him Exhausted! Falgaff was Angry he didn't help his new-found saviours in the conflict, and poor Hrolf was already too Exhausted and Afraid to suffer much more. Undoubtedly the simple-minded Cube was content enough with the piles of garbage not pursue them further.
- The group fled into what appeared to be a sitting room complete with two chairs, a low table, and a couch. On the table was an old yellowed skull missing its top; a stubby candle sat within the skull making it resemble a jack-o'-lantern. Hrolf stowed the skull-candle in his pack. Falgaff successfully used his Instinct to buttress the furniture against the entrances making a more secure and comfortable Camp. The +1 result added to a roll of 11 on the Camp Event table generated a Lucky Break for the party! They found a prisoner, bound and gagged behind the couch! Hrolf recognised him as Blingo, a villager from Torlynn who was in the process of loading his possessions on a cart to leave town. In a frantic, worried tone he related how he was abducted from his home in the dead of night by a swarm of ratlings, who tied him up and carried him off to the Keep. He got the impression that they stashed him in this room to eat later. Falgaff shared some of his stale rations with Blingo to calm him down whilst he successfully took a deep breath and reminded himself that Elves should be above such base things as Anger. After looking at their situation in retrospect, Hrolf saw that their current survival as heartening and managed to stop being Afraid. Using his own first-hand surveying with sparse, unreliable advice from Falgaff and Blingo, Morris attempted to deduce the layout of the keep to plan a way out. Failure resulted in a poor map and each was unsure which way to go or where exactly they were.
- The group decided to follow Blingo's vague memory of which door he recalled being brought into the room by; Blingo adamantly attempted to stay behind in said room whilst the group scouted a way out of the Keep. A short Argument Conflict (which could've been simplified as a Presuade or Manipulator Test) had Falgaff convince Blingo he was safer with the group, and he became their Torchbearer.
- They opened the door and entered a study of some sorts, furnished with a large oak desk with comfy chair, bookshelves, a stained rug, and display rack of a suit of plate armour. On top of the table was a large book, its pages yellowed with age; this caught the attention of both Morris and Falgaff, whom both moved toward the book. Taking not more than two steps, the suit of armour shuddered with a mockery of life, hefted an wicked looking axe, and began to bring it to bare against Morris. A Drive Off Conflict ensued! Morris with Falgaff's help used their arcane knowledge to 'disarm' the dweomer binding the golem's unshakable purpose to the room. The suit lashed out at the nearest target in response, which happened to be Falgaff, knocking him across the room with a blow from the flat side of the axe; the wind severely knocked out of him, Falgaff was unable to continue the fight. Hrolf drove his blade between the amoured plates of the golem, severing a few straps and buckles. Morris attempted to reach inside the suit to further disrupt the magical energies within, but the plates shifted closed and partially crushed his hand. The golem attempted to lure Hrolf into blocking an overhand chop, but Hrolf took advantage of the feint by attacking, but unfortunately striking for little damage. Morris tried to disrupt the constructs' senses by turning its helm around; unfortunately the golem was more flexible than men and was able to deal a mighty blow to Morris from its reverse side. Hrolf, again the last member able to fight, pressed the attack; he managed to 'decapitate' the suit rendering it immobile, but the momentum of the constructs' axe swing sliced Hrolf across his face, blinding him in one eye. The Conflict ended in a Tie; the golem was rendering blind and deaf at the loss of its 'head' but retained a firm grip on its axe, and the impression was gained that it would lash out blindly if molested further. Hrolf gained an Injury from the struggle but took the head of the golem as a helmet.
- After regaining themselves, Morris handed Blingo their last torch to light as the other began to fade, he and Halgaff together examined the tome on the desk, which was a spellbook filled with formulae for Eldritch Darts, Supernal Vision, Thread of Friendship, and Lord of Dreams. Morris took the book and he and Falgaff agreed to compare arcane notes at a later, safer time. Cursory inspection of the bookshelves found no magical books; all were mostly of general interest with no common topic between them all, and the majority were too worm-eaten to be of any worth let alone read anyway. The desk yielded nothing but old scribes' tools. Falgaff elected to search the room for hidden valuables via a Scout Test and discovered a locked trapdoor underneath the rug.
- Hrolf decided to try and smash open the trapdoor's lock using the corner of his kite shield and a brute Health Test. He succeeded in doing so without breaking the fragile contents within the small compartment: 3 bottles of a similar translucent liquid, a bag of silver coins, and a platinum necklace. Morris quickly deduced the necklace was non-magical, and the sharp fruity alcohol (we were drinking apricot beer that session so we figured it tasted like that) in the bottles were Potions of Healing! Hrolf quaffed a draught and smashed the bottle in triumph when his facial wound knit together and sight was restored to his eye, recovering his Injury! Morris groaned that the empty bottle could've been useful.
- The group decided to backtrack to the previous room and try the other door. It opened to the familiar sight of the entrance of the keep, the front door laying open just across the room, daylight spilling in through it! The groups' elation and relief was tempered with well-learned caution; Hrolf's Instinct had him look for fresh tracks: he found two pairs exiting the keep he believed belonged to their companions Rebo and Joseph. A Scout test was called looking for an ambush, but since there was none awaiting them the party rapidly exited Barrik's Keep into the daylight! Our hapless heroes now make for Torlynn, with intent to get some Triple-R (Rest, Recuperation, Resupply) with their new found loot!
Character Condition Status
- Falgaff Bitterleaf - Hungry and Thirsty
- Morris the Mirthful - Hungry and Thirsty, Exhausted
- Rebo Pepper - [Absent]
- Hrolf Rosensloff - Hungry and Thristy, Exhausted
- Joseph - Exhausted [Absent]
Things I forgot: Armour, again! And mistaking how help can only be given if you have training in the same skill; not true, because you use a Suggested Help Skill for a similar skill. Additionally I should be referring to the Procedure pages near the back of the book to make sure we're not missing any rules and for smoothing play. At least I remembered the Mightier Rule, which made the conflicts with the Gelatinous Cube and Armour Golem quite tough.