Friday, 29 August 2014

Torchbearer AP - Part 7: Of Ice, Bone, and Fur

We're back with another instalment of our recent Torchbearer game! Things become even more dire for our adventurers, and they become faced with making a difficult choice in their near future.

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. 
  • Scotty ... Falgaff Bitterleaf [Elven Ranger] - A curious, knowledge-loving Elf who's a bit of a loner.
  • Riley S ... Hrolf Rosensloff [Human Warrior] - A fighter of such short stature he's often mistaken for a dwarf. (Absent)

Scotty, with the aid of his fellow players, recapped the previous session and removed Falgaff's Anger. We then jumped into where we left off...

Adventure Phase

3. Beginning with a Flee conflict! Our group thought that discretion was the better part of valour, and attempted to take flight from the icy being slowly but relentlessly advancing upon them. Falgaff unleashed a hail of arrows upon the ponderous frozen hulk from his vantage point on high as it approached his allies, successfully harrying it. Rebo attempted to use the distraction to his advantage and began to climb up the affixed rope as the ice creature tried to impede his progress whilst simultaneously taking cover from bow shot behind the frozen elves: Rebo scaled about half way up the wall. Using the voluminous sleeves of his robe, Morris attempted to sweep the various alchemical reagents lining the shelves of the chamber at the monster and possibly into the still-warm crucible; unfortunately even his knowledge of volatile mixtures did not avail him and he was slammed into the wall with a mighty blow from a glacial fist, knocking him out. 
Falgaff began to haul up the suspended halfling but their gelid opponent took hold of the rope and began pulling it with such force the grappling hook it was attached to lost its mooring and swiftly caught the elf from behind, pulling him down into the chamber below with his short companion. Sprawled upon the floor, our delvers watched in a daze as the creature ignored them and began to ascend the wall, it's great hands gaining purchase by freezing fast to the surface. Elladin let out a feeble cry and fled down the passage, the rimy denizen in slow pursuit. Anger washed over the already Exhausted fellowship at their seeming impotence.
4. After catching their breath, Morris pondered upon the nature of their frozen foe with a Lore Master Test; the time and energy spent doing so made him Hungry/Thirsty, which he promptly alleviated with some rations. Originally thinking they had encountered an elemental of some sort, the purposeful construction of said being made Morris determine it was a golem fashioned from ice, and that it drew its frigid power from the sliver blade now in Elladin's possession, which was why it had single-mindedly pursued the elf after soundly defeating them. The group speculated if they could disenchant the sword, perhaps they can undo the magic that bound the golem. The group's single torch sputtered out and the trio became beset with Hunger/Thirst
5. By the light of a freshly lit candle, the group briefly glanced around laboratory looking for any notes or clues to the methods used by the late Keshute in crafting the icy construct; alas only old yellowed papers written by the hand of Barrik were found. The party did notice that the room was warming slightly and the all-pervasive ice was beginning to thaw; they mulled over the implications. The beginnings of a plan were forming that relied upon Rebo making a Scavenger Test for a piece metal of suitable length; he successfully found a coil of heavily rusted chain.
6. With their fetter attained, a series of clever events (Good Idea) were set into motion: the grappling hook was attached to the end of the chain, then several bits of once-living matter were festooned on the hook as a sort of bait. The baited hook was then gently cast into the nearby gelatinous cube, which absorbed the regularly inedible object for its tasty bait, and after a few tries the group managed to retrieve the undigested crown that was once upon Keshute's head from the inside of the quivering mass! 
The party quickly deduced that the item must be magical given that the parts decorated with bone had not been dissolved much by the corrosive ooze in comparison with the rodent-like skeletons of its latest victims. To aid his Lore Master Test in identifying this crude object, Falgaff cast Supernal Vision and dove deep into his knowledge of elven lore to unlock the secrets of the headpiece; although not directly connected with the ice golem as they had hoped, he was able to ascertain the nature of the helm:

Crown of Bone 
This helm of iron is crested with grotesque parts of bone and what appear to be large horns or fangs. A mild sense of invulnerability washes over those who don it and radiates out to close allies.
Level: 2
Effect: +1D to disposition of any Kill conflict in which the wearer is a participant. Additionally the crown grants +1D to Defend actions in Kill/Drive Off conflicts per charge use. The crown ceases granting a disposition bonus once no charges remain.
The crown can also be used as a regular helmet can by reducing an attacking opponent's successful or tied Attack or Feint action by -1s, though doing so damages the crown and destroys any remaining magical dweomer; the crown might be repaired and used again as a normal helmet, but the dweomer inside cannot be restored without complex magic. 
Charges: 1d3+2. 
Inventory: Head/ Worn 1
Type: Magical Armour.

7. Our adventurers reached consensus that the best course of action apparent to them was to traverse the passageway Elladin and the ice golem had disappeared down, and try to discover the fate of either. Before the group set off Morris' instinct triggered and he successfully made a Survivalist Test to collect enough potable melt-water from the thawing laboratory to fill each of their skins. 
Back at the chamber, Falgaff spearheaded a Dungeoneer Test for them to ascend the wall and traverse the low passage. He cast his grappling hook (now reattached to the rope) a few times before it gained purchase some distance down the passage. The ranger placed his full weight upon the cord and began to ascend when the rope suddenly snapped mid-line and he tumbled to the floor. Though the fall did not harm the elf in anyway, the loss of climbing gear was a setback for group. 
8. Morris and Rebo together hauled a large item from the laboratory for them to stand upon and pull themselves up the edge of the passage, whilst a wary Falgaff looked on. The resulting Labourer Test made both participants Hungry/Thirsty from the effort, which they then cleared it away drinking a cold draught from their respective skins; they did manage to move a suitably large crate to the foot of the wall and clamber up into the passage just as the lone candle they dimly saw by burned out. The grind relentlessly pressed upon the trio, setting their their stomachs a-grumble with more Hunger/Thirst, which was availed eating their dwindling ration supply by the light a newly lit torch.
9. Upon reaching the opposite end of the squat corridor, by torchlight the group beheld a room which gave the impression that it was once a cloakroom of sorts from the piles of decayed cloth that had fallen to the floor from old racks. A faint scratching noise filled the room, though they were unable to determine the source. A passage exited the room below and to the right of them. Rebo decided to take point and gingerly lowered himself into the room, briefly pausing to retrieve the fallen grappling hook. A Scout Test was made versus whatever was nearby to notice his presence: but the little man seemed to draw no attention to himself and he determined that the scratching noises came intermittently from each of the four piles of debris lining the corners of the chamber. Rebo briefly spied through the portal and saw with a mixture of delight and relief that it opened into the familiar foyer with light pouring from the doorway to the outside. Silently, Rebo made his way back to the base of the wall and signalled for his companions to join him quietly. Morris heeded not the halfling's recommendation and landed loudly upon the stone floor, alerting four giant rats dwelling within their nests of debris.

10. Fuelled by territorial instinct to protect their nests, the giant rats began aggressively posturing. Perhaps driven by a combination of desperation, madness, and/or hunger, Morris, bolstered by the magic with bone crown Falgaff wore, led his companions into a Kill Conflict, with intent to slay these giant rodents and make rations from their flesh. 
Rebo bent his bow and grazed the largest of the pack. Falgaff used his high ground to his advantage, and aided his allies and impeded the rats. Morris, torch in one hand and the other coursing with eldritch power, blasted the swarm driving toward him, gaining a perk for his clever usage of the highly flammable piles of old clothing, roasting one rodent before it viciously scratched his exposed legs. Falgaff attempted to distract the rodents by use of echoes and noise mimicry; he managed to slay one as they came to investigate the noise before the swarm descend upon him, making his bow useless in the resulting scuffle. Rebo jockeyed for position but the enraged swarm overwhelmed him. Trying not to hit his downed companion, Morris littered the area about him with bolts of energy; alas even tapping into his nature did not aid him in hitting a single member of the swarm, who briefly dove into their hovels to regain a bit of strength.
Leaping to the floor below, Falgaff rushed to Rebo's side in an attempt to revive him but the rats pressed their attack on the new target: both sides briefly met a stalemate when Falgaff's skill in combat, (though bolstered by his considerable might, but impeded by his Exhausted state,) equalled the tenacity of the rats. Falgaff used his trait as a loner to draw the pack away from his allies and take harm upon himself. Morris unleashed another torrent of darts at his foes as they quickly turned upon him; just like before an impasse was reached with nether side gaining the upper hand, until Morris killed a single foe following a contest of the magicians' will versus the primal nature of the gigantic rat. The elven ranger continued to harry the two that remain with Rebo's bow, whilst Morris managed to take out another rat before a leap by the other tackled him to the floor. Desperately, Falgaff tried to fool the remaining beast, but his bluff was called as it launched itself into whirlwind of gnashing teeth and whirling claws toward his face...
Defeated at the paws of the lone rat, our battered companions fled as quickly as they could out of the cloakroom, dragging themselves into the foyer. They suffered greatly for their misjudgement: Injuries upon their flesh, as well as a Sickness beginning to set in, both wrought by filthy tooth and claw of the huge rodents. They could not be more Exhausted than they already were, and if any of them weren't already Afraid and Angry at their weakness, they were now. Their throats were parched with Hunger/Thrist; their clothes were rent, soiled, and threadbare from the ordeals they had encountered; any remaining coin kept in pockets was lost, and no doubt their appearance as leprous vagrants would harm their reputation with even the closest members of their respective social circles. The only tiny bit prospect felt was that they had slain the majority of the giant rodents, and Morris had dragged one of their dead behind him when they fled, so they shall not remain hungry for long.
Feebly, Falgaff searched about for some measure of safety that they might cling to and gain respite from the dire threats of the keep: the ice golem was loose, and possibly the ghoul they had encountered days ago. His instinct bade him to make a Survival Test to secure a safe campsite, but the resulting failure meant that to lighten their collective burden for traversing the wild and gain distance from the Keep, each one of them had to drop an item: Falgaff dropped the grappling hook the halfling had returned to him; Morris left his dagger; and Rebo discarded a sack.
Before collapsing from weariness, the group set down in the wilderness.

Camp Phase

Luck was now with our tired party if it wasn't before, a safe camp result was rolled. Instinct kicked in for Rebo and he masterfully made a Cook Test to feed them all on the giant rat carcass, aided by a merry tune he whistled which eased their hearts. After they had supped, they collectively had two checks between each of them, and spent them thusly:
  • All three tried to quell their Anger; Morris succeeded in doing so, but the halfling and elf continued to carry a chips upon their shoulders.
  • The Magician then tried to come to grips with the situation and overcome being Afraid; Morris was able to steel his nerves.
Unable to come to terms with their Anger, Rebo and Falgaff were at a loss for what to do with their remaining free time in camp so they rested lightly though their ire kept them from recovering further; their checks remain currently unspent. Our survivors also reflected upon the resent turn of events: the temperature was significantly warmer outside, a light rain was falling instead of snow, and the once ice-locked land was beginning to rapidly thaw (prudent Morris took the opportunity to refill their waterskins with the runoff).
Had they done it? Had they removed the curse of winter that had plagued the lands of Torlynn for many a season? Their optimism was tempered with wary consul: They had separated the magical freezing sword from the heart of the ice throne, which in turn became a golem seeking the blade with vengeance. This hope might be fleeting, for if the golem recovers the sword, the curse may again fall upon the land.
The party faces a hard decision ahead: do they do the craven thing and head back to town and accept false accolades, perhaps preparing themselves for the final assault on the Keep or perhaps just fleeing the lands of Torlynn altogether; or do they do the noble thing and plunge back into the Keep, and attempt to rescue Elladin and his sword as well as find out what happened to their missing companion Hrolf, from an icy doom that may await them both?

Thus ended the session.

Character Condition Status

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

Things I Forgot
During the Flee Conflict I incorrectly applied the ice golem's Might difference to its successful and tied actions, meaning the PC's should have had a better chance fleeing from such a creature. I'm happy with the result though, I think it made for a more interesting story.

During our Camp Phases I think I might've been misinterpreting the recovery rules; I know that you have to recover conditions in order from lesser to greatest, but I surmised that if you failed to remove a lesser condition your could still attempt to clear away the following condition, as long as you have enough checks to do so. Reading the entry again now seems to say that once you fail a recovery test, you can essentially no longer attempt any further recovery tests until the next time you camp. Correct..? For this reason Rebo and Falgaff have retroactively each been given check back, as they originally spent it trying to recover Afraid after they failed to clear their Anger.

Until Next Time... ;{١

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