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

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