Saturday, 24 May 2014

Torchbearer AP - Part 2: Unexpected Victims

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.

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.
  • Scotty ... Falgaff Bitterleaf [Elven Ranger] - A curious, knowledge-loving Elf who's a bit of a loner.

Turn Count

  • 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.

  1. 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.
  2. Using his tinderbox, Hroft with the assistance of Falgaff relit the stove with a successful Survivalist Test.
  3. Morris succeeded this time on his Cook Test and everyone enjoyed roast venison.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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
  7. 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!
  8. 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.
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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. 
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Until next time...

Friday, 16 May 2014

Black Goat Games Offerings

I thought for today we'd take a look at some of the recent work Black Goat Games, a local indie RPG material creator, has produced. Officially started last autumn, creator and head goat Steve Saunders of BGG has the shrine filled with many sinister braziers alight with dark thoughts:

Ye Nerterological Abecedarium (aka, Dance of Death Alphabet)

As of this post, there a two alphabetical PDF entries available on BBG's website for free: A is for Arjetkainen, and R is for Regimental Revenant.

Undead Armies

Well written and laid out, both these are excellent sources of inspiration for unique and terrible undead to use in your games. I can't wait to see more entries in Ye Nerterological Abecedarium.

Little Things: The First Offering

The content in Little Things (in fact the majority of all material produced by BGG) is written to be system-neutral, but one would be remiss not to mention that the contents are what the author Mr. Saunders refers to as 'grimdark'; material that fits best with games such as Lamentations of the Flame PrincessWarhammer Fantasy Role Play, or any similar dark/weird fantasy RPG and their ilk.

For the worth of a Twoonie (that's two dollars for the uninitiated) Black Goat Games' first purchasable publication Little Things: The First Offering is now available online through RPGNow and DriveThruRPG.

The question on most gamers' minds will be if this scant offering of nearly 30 pages worth it's weight in digital copper pieces? Well, you're here so I suppose you want to hear my impressions:

This Offering is laid out in 8 'chapters' each a handful of pages in length, covering each a topic. About half of the material laid out in the is already available on the BGG website, the rest is first time seen material.

  • The Urmakabus (a creature) - A loathsome critter motivated by purely by instinct to enslave creatures, and whose blood is a powerful alchemical reagent.
  • Cornerstone Keep (a location) - Some details on an extended cannibalistic, inbred family dwelling in the keep a league north of a local village. A decent adventure seed.
  • The Kofron (a creature) - This is one of my two favourite entries; it lists the Krofron entities and the bizzare possible physiognomies and motivations such ultraterrestrials may have; it just screams use in a science-fantasy game like Numenera or a weird fantasy game like LotFP.
  • Tentacled brain-sucker (creature tables) - Probably the entry I found the least useful. Tentacled brain-suckers are a well known trope in several RPGs from the Mind Flayers of D&D to any number of unnameable things in Call of Cthulhu, but I don't see tables to customize them getting that much use unless a GM wants to put a spin on an old hat. And if they are frequently, that might mean the GM's making such creatures a little to common in their games, which can be a problem of its own.
  • You arrive at a village... (randomized tables) - A few tables aiding in the random creation of a settlement and any insidious secrets it may hold.
  • You have found something... horrible (tables) - Good tables for generating the scene and setting of horrific random encounter.
  • Someplace Something, Rather (a blank location map with a few tables) - My other choice entry; a very well done, full page floorplan of a structure. What is the place, who owns it, what kind of details and encounters may one find in it? Inspirations abound.
  • What's in the box? (random item generation) - The PCs open a box, it contains...

If you'd like a few dark ideas for your fantasy games, I think you might like Little Things. It's got some good ideas, but it feels a little short to me. Since half of the content is available freely online (at the time of this writing), and the other half is mostly just tables, it also feels a little like a grab bag of stuff based around a general grimdark theme. Still for BGG's first foray into published material, it's off to a promising start. I think one should consider Little Things more of a sampler of the dark content that Black Goat Games can and will output in the future.

Personally I hope to see future purchasable instalments with a more constant theme, like booklet that describes and provides tables for a specific area and inhabitants. GMs can pick and choose the parts they like, or drop the whole thing piecemeal into a game.

Cheers! ;{١

Monday, 12 May 2014

14th Annual Froth Barrel Tourney

Last Saturday it was that time of year again for annual Froth Barrel Tournament! This year for the first time Victoria became the host city for the tourney, as opposed to the thirteen previous times it'd been held up in Nanaimo. It was nice to be able to make a much shorter commute. Apparently this year we had record attendance so we might be seeing Froth in Vic in 2015 as well.

May the best team win!

The prologue:
Detroit 2013: a city where capitalism has boomed, reigned, and come to its logical conclusion, a threat to the few people left in the city has reared its head: an arsonist is loose and wreaking havoc. The Mayor has received a grant of 5 million dollars to the person(s) who bring this serial arsonist to justice before any more citizens are killed. You will be playing as part of one of the 5 distinct teams working to solve these crimes and collect the cash. 
The groups vying for the glory and the prize are: The Detroit Police Department, The Firemen of Detroit, The Action 2 News team, The Neighbourhood Watch and finally a gang known as The Varghoules. Who will be successful or who will even survive the day?

What exactly is 2.3 kids? Pregnant wife in the first trimester?

Though the rotating GM format was similar to last year, this year each player group was one of the aforementioned organizations, giving each team more of an identity than generic survivors; I thought this was nice and it added a bit more light-hearted competitive spirit when the NPC versions of these organizations would hamper a teams progress. (The Action News team really got on our bad side, Jason's PC Eddie kept on getting into fights with them first session!) I got be a member of the Detroit Fire Dept. which I was what I initially was kinda hoping for, perhaps to fulfil a childhood dream of being a fire-fighter!

This year, d20 Modern was the system used for the event; as much as I have my minor gripes about Savage Worlds, I think I prefer it to d20 Modern. As much as I cut my RPG teeth on the d20 system, it began to really show its age at least five or so years ago, especially when I guy like me has tried a whole plethora of systems; many improved, a few not so much.

One thing that bugs me now, is how back in the day WotC tried to make the d20 system generic-ish enough that could be used in a few different settings, but it didn't do it that well. I'm a fan of RPGs where the system is built around the setting, not vice versa. Some aspects of Modern are interesting, but you've still got the bloat of d20 feats and skills slowing the game down. And if they're not slowing the game down, they're taking up space on your character sheet.

Not that I'm really complaining but I don't think I rolled a single die besides the eponymous d20 (I didn't deal damage to anything). At least with Savage Worlds there was more dice variation and greater chances for 'exploding dice' than the 5% critical/fumble. Also I don't think we were ever given Action Points (a spendable resource similar to bennies, or fate points) to use in our games.

Nevertheless, the story is/was the more important part anyway: the investigative bent was loads of fun but frustrating at times. An NPC team members' death so soon after the beginning of our first session motivated our group much more than the prospect of five million dollars did; we really got behind catching this serial arsonist whom we saw as a murderer (turns out we were right, he was also a serial murderer killing an a ritualistic fashion!). Justice/revenge can be a more powerful motivator than greed amongst the right people.

One of our GMs, Jason, was an actual firefighter and present in uniform.
Rightly so he won Best Costume. We also learned what NOT to as a firefighter.

Because our group motivation rapidly became so personal, we went off 'script' for the first session; our GM wasn't prepared to improv much of our tangents. As fun as that kind of freedom is, I feel that it's completely within the GM's rights to put us back on track, especially in a one-shot game.

We'd follow-up on numerous leads only to have them turn out to be dead ends; this was frustrating at times because it whilst we enjoyed pursuing our investigations, it felt that nothing was giving us a hint in which direction to head. So we ended up being all over the place with our ideas and investigations. This impotence combined with the stressful jobs as firefighters being worked to death by the arsons began to make our characters jaded; one ended up going off on a paranoid episode, threatening a priest, and eventually getting himself killed by a local gang boss. My character, Demetrius, tired to keep himself and his crew together by doing his unflinching duty as Deputy Chief. After putting out a fire at Ray's Occult Book Shop and meeting the deranged owner himself, we learned more about the arsonist and the bizarre nature of his crimes. We took Ray under custody and went back to station house 7 for some much needed rest.

At the beginning of the second break Pat the organizer told us to look under our chairs; underneath each was taped an envelope with a gift inside. Mine was a gift certificate for Paul's Restaurant, the eatery connected with the Motor Inn whose room was being used for the event.

Much to my dismay, I had to leave for work during the beginning of the third and final session. I was unable to book the entire day off for Froth so I missed the no doubt climatic ending along with the award ceremonies!

The final session I heard mostly second hand afterwards from fellow team member Kathy playing 'Mike', I had my character 'disappear' during a late night fire at the station house:
"KV and Mike couldn't find Demetrius at the station house. We saw the water pipes were cut and Mike saw the guy and his dog (we'd be trailing the whole time) take off in his car, so we chased him down to a mansion. The symbols were all over the house. We found a piece of paper in a book and Ray translated it and we found a drawing of the old Ford Motor factory. Off we drove to it but before we left Mike (a pyro) torched the mansion. 
We found the guys car at the wire fence around the factory. We went through a hole in the wire that looked like it was cut by lasers; we took Ray with us because we didn't know what his story was still. Inside we saw a pool of lava and out comes a Salamander and he called forth his Hell Hound!!! Dun dun dunn!
KV protected Ray while I used the fire extinguisher on the Hell Hound. Then Ray zapped the Salamander with electricity from his fingers! KV and I continued to assault the Salamander and his hell dog with all the fire hoses we could find. But Ray caused the most damage with his magic! I got speared through the chest and killed for like 50 damage and KV lived. 
KV didn't tell police about Ray's abilities and he was visited by an organization called the Magister's League. They told him that because he saw beyond the veil that they wanted to recruit him and would bring Mike back to life. KV agreed and I was resurrected. (The last bit after I died was all our GM Takeda's input because we were done so quickly."
I am quite sore to miss such an awesome ending, but I'm glad our team succeeded at catching this otherworldly arsonist (and his not-so-little dog too).

Tis' also shame I missed out on the closing ceremonies because the awards and prizes this year looked even more awesome than last year! Until I found out later, I was quite curious whom got what.

Our Victoria team Pat's Pathfinders didn't take the Lord Blackthorne's Tankard of Froth Group Role Playing Champions trophy this year, that distinction went to KloWn PuNXz. We (Pat's Pathfinders) did take second place though.

My friend Susie won the Best Supporting Gamer award her first time at Froth, along with a LotFP PDF coupon and the Flash Point boardgame as door prizes. My other friend Kathy and fellow firefighter won both the Outstanding Female Gamer, and the Luckiest Dice award after a three-way tie between supposedly her, myself, and another gamer a resulted in a roll-off. The set of metal dice I was using that my co-worker gave to me the other week were very temperamental, constantly rolling both crits and fumbles. In fact our whole table had that kinda of "luck". Our friend Angela won Classiest Gamer (probably in part of her Star Wars leggings).

My friend Bonnie took custody of the trophy on my behalf.
I was unable to retain my MVRP title this year, but I was awarded Outstanding Male Gamer. 'Twas nice to know I was voted as such. :) Though I had my eyes on one of the two moustachio'd firefighting rescue hero trophies, the Lego trophy is just as awesome. It and the whole event reminded of me of a song...

Thanks again to everyone who made Froth awesome! ;{١

Monday, 5 May 2014

Torchbearer AP - Parts 0 & 1: The Beginning...

Alright, here's my first Actual Play record of our recent Torchbearer game; I'd done an in-character pseudo-record a few years ago for our Mouse Guard game; funny that with its spiritual successor I should do the same.

A few weeks back is when we had our first session which was mostly speedy character creation and everyone getting a feel for the complex system:

[Note: This post may contain spoilers for current/future players.]

Players and Characters:

  • 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.


During a warm but pleasant early summer, our group of companions entered the Thunder Rift canyon via the eastern pass looking for fortune & glory (mostly fortune). Rebo's childhood friend Clyde Huffler had moved to the canyon years ago to pursue his merchant career; Rebo had convinced his travelling companions that a stopover in the village of Torlynn would rest their weary souls/soles, and his friend Clyde might be able to point them in the direction of "work".

But even before they reached the village of Torlynn they knew something was amiss: the land and climate changed from the warm summer to a cool autumn to a cold and snowy winter in temperament. When they finally arrived at the settlement the vast majority of the buildings seemed abandoned; smoke rose from only a handful of chimneys.

-The players received a sampling of several of the game mechanics whilst they investigated an abandoned inn: Turn actions, Beginner's Luck, the Grind, the importance of proper illumination, twists and conditions, etc.-

An R.O.U.S
Morris ended up being attacked in the dark larder of inn by something when his purloined candle went out, making him immensely afraid. The others arrived with a light source and found a giant rat savagely attacking him and tearing apart his satchel. The other members attempted to Capture the giant rat via a Conflict; it managed to escape; Hrolf became exhausted from chasing after it but not before he managed to chop off its tail.

Soon after they met up with Clyde at his home, and he invited them to stay. Rebo cooked the rat tail into a decent stew to feed everyone. Clyde answered a knock at his door, and returned to inform the party that the burgomaster wished to see them at his place at their convenience.

Visiting Gustovan the burgomaster at his residence, he informed the group of what he believed to be the cause of the cursed eternal winter that had plagued Torlynn for over two years and has driven nearly all of the residents away: strange lights were seen at the lodging of the long gone wizard Barrik, a couple hours northeast of town. The burgomaster had sent a group of adventurers to investigate before, but none ever returned. Gustovan begged the company to seek out and remove this curse, claiming that all that lay in the home of the dead mage be theirs for the taking.

During a boast to impress the burgomaster with his mastery of the arcane, Morris attempted to cast a maximized Dance of the Fireflies spell (Fraser intended to fail, and use Morris's Jaded trait against himself to earn a check). The twist caused Morris to set alight the divan sofa and nearby curtains in magic flames. The group raced frantically to put out the magical fires and Hrolf ended up desperately hauling the divan into the street where it gradually burned down into cinders.

Following that excitement the party rested in Clyde's parlor, removed their conditions, and after breakfast the following morning headed out to investigate (and potentially loot) the Keep of Barrik!

Our recent game table covered in stuff.
Our second session took place a couple weeks following the first. There was a bit of fanangling around to find a day where everyone could attend, and we decided on that Friday at one of the players' venue. At last minute he was called into work and was unavailable to play/host; the venue was changed to my cramped place. Three of us awaited our fourth player to arrive once he was off work; there was concern that he didn't get our texts stating the change in venue. (I later talked to him and it turns out he went home after a super busy day of work and just crashed.)

Eventually we tired of waiting and decided to proceed. Having the concern of that the Keep might be a bit overpowered for just two PCs, we opted to have Fraser control Jospeh and Jason control Hrolf in addition to their own characters:

Turn Count

  1. Once they entered the keep, Hrolf used his Instinct to look for tracks: the passage to the northwest had large rodent tracks, the passage to the northeast had unknown prints, and the corridor heading off east showed no signs of use. The group decided to follow the path least trod, and passed an entrance on their left before they entered a square tower base dimly lit by a arrow slits and a broken ceiling exposed to the elements. The chamber was filled with strands of ice that caused an otherworldly hum as the wind played across them. Everyone made a Will Test; Hrolf failed and became extremely drowsy (Exhausted) from the humming. Morris discarded his half-burnt torch and lighted a fresh one.
  2. Joseph attempted to smash the ice strands via a Fighter Test; he was unable to reach some of the higher ones; the commotion secretly attracted the White Widow, a giant spider that was lurking in the dark corridor ceiling.
  3. Morris who was taking up the rear failed a Scout Test to notice the White Widow sneak up behind him and paralyse him with a bite from its icy fangs and then disappear into the shadowy ceiling.
  4. Rebo, who was next in line, hears Morris collapse to the floor, draw his bow whilst voicing to the rest of the group that Morris had collapsed. Hrolf suspects a magic trap, and makes a Scout Test to find none, but discovers odd circular prints in dust behind where Morris was standing. Rebo lights a fresh torch with the remains of the last one.
  5. Joseph makes a Healer Test to discover the nature of Morris' condition; he determines that Morris is still alive but frozen stiff. He is unable to determine the cause. 
  6. The party tries to make camp [a dangerous proposition considering a giant spider lurked nearby!] I roll for camp events: snake eyes! A disaster! The Widow attacks Joseph whilst he attempts to revive Morris! A Drive Off Conflict ensued. The trio managed to drive off the Widow by dismembering one of its legs with a well placed mace blow, but not before it injects icy venom into Hrolf, paralysing him stiff too.
  7. After eating some food, the two remaining members make a Survival Test to secure a better camp by blocking off the passageway the Widow fled through with debris.
  • Successful Camp Phase: Rebo and Joseph spend checks to revive their companions: Rebo rolls much success on a double-tapped Nature that he brings back Morris no problem; Joseph just manages his Healer Test but Hrolf is Afraid of the spider. Joseph brews a poultice to ease stress (camomile tea) and gives it to Hrolf, who with the aid of it spends their last check trying to shake off his fear. To no avail though.
  1. The party breaks camp and investigate the doorway they had passed on the way to this chamber; a dining room is found, complete with silverware. Joseph, with the aid of Morris, attempts a Scavenge Test to break down the dinning table into usable wood, whilst Rebo loots the silver ware. The table turns out to be sturdy solid oak and much noise is created when attempting to break it down by mace, attracting a pair of sneaky Ratlings from the north corridor.
  2. In the meantime, Rebo comes across an untarnished silver handbell in the shape of a cornucopia. He rings it (since it's already quite noisy) and his favourite meal of roast boar appears before him. He happily eats it whilst Hrolf looks on confused. Hrolf tries the bell to no effect and his quite dejected. Morris used his Wizard Sight with a Lore Master Test to determine the precise properties of this magic item.
  3. Hrolf wields a fresh torch as he watches the shadows wearily for any sign of the arachnid. The Ratlings attempt a sneak attack on Jospeh, whose Health Test allows him to narrowly avoid a flying cleaver blade that ends up in the side of a wooden cabinet!
  4. Our group means business, it's a Kill Conflict! Morris fends off and to tries to drive the scurrying creatures with a sturdy table leg used makeshift club. [A club isn't a listed weapon in TB, but I figured it was the most simplistic weapon; it has no bonus or special abilities but counts as a weapon so one isn't considered fighting unarmed.] The party manages to slay the Ratlings with an epic arrow shot down to the back of a slavering maw by Rebo, and Hrolf cornering the other and running it through with his blade; but not before Joseph is made Exhausted from all the recent exertion and Morris Angry that one tore the ass-end of his kilt! The rush of combat wears off with the growling of stomachs...

We ended the session there and tallied up rewards. All in all, I thought it was a pretty decent session with only two players. I'd still've liked more, and I'm considering bringing in an additional player to keep the party flush if players are unable to make it.

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

Things I Forgot: The Greater the Order, the More You Hurt rule: Each level of difference of Might adds a +1s to the mightier sides successful/tied actions in Kill, Capture, and Drive Off Conflicts. This would've made the Conflict against the White Widow tougher, but the Conflict against the Ratlings easier. Also we (PC and NPCs) forgot to utilize armour to soak opponents successes. No biggie, I'll try to remember it next time.

Until next game...

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