Torchbearer AP (Session 10)

Date: 1.26.2023

Players:

Charlie – Lorne
Aaron – Ivy
Joe – Varg
Max – Gerald

Adventure Phase

Rivaux Abbey, Yorkshire 1812 Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851 Presented by A. Acland Allen through the Art Fund 1925 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/A01012

The players began in the baths. They explored the room and saw a small access door in the corner. Opening it, they heard gurgling water in the next room. They proceeded into the room and found a large stone cistern filled with near-boiling volcanic water. A small ladder led to an access hatch above. Ivy went up the ladder, opened the door, and saw a large hall filled with marble columns and ornate classical statues. An owl landed in an alcove across the hall, hooting loudly. Ivy looked towards it and noticed a glimmer coming from the neck of a larger statue in the center of the hall.

Gerald looped Ivy’s rope around the top rung of the ladder, and the group descended into the hall. Varg inspected the nearest statue, trying to read the inscription that seemed to be in a dead language.

Turn One – Scholar (ob 1) – Success

Varg was able to discern that the statues were all of famous healers and doctors from ancient times.

While Varg was reading the plinth, the halflings proceeded towards the statue in the center of the hall where Ivy had seen the glimmer. The statue was about nine feet tall, with a large diamond pendant hanging around her neck. She appeared to depict a goddess.

Lorne and Gerald hatched a plan, Lorne stood on Geralds shoulders and attempted to use his spear to lift the necklace off of the statue. Lorne dropped his backpack onto the ground to make the attempt easier, and Gerald put aside his spear.

Turn Two – Laborer (ob 2) – Fail

Unfortunately, Gerald was unused to this form of work and wavered. The spear contacted the statue, who in response shoved the two thieves down. They tumbled to the ground as the statue woke up from its prolonged sleep. The halflings groveled for mercy, but the statue was deaf to their pleas. She screamed in confusion, rage, and pain – the profound sound echoing throughout the temple. After this shock, the party ran for the door of the hall – leaving behind the pack and spear.

The party escaped out of the temple room, looking back to see the statue struggling to free her feet from the plinth. They quickly discussed their options, and decided to hide from the statue in the magical fog below them. They saw the owl flying nearby again, as it descended into the fog bank.

The statue freed herself, and the party held hands to descend into the fog. Attempting to hide from the statue briefly, intending to go back for their pack and spear.

Turn Three – Will Test (ob 3) – Lorne Passed, Others Failed

After entering the fog, the members each heard alluring calls from different directions. They tried to keep holding hands, but each pulled in a different direction. Soon each adventurer found themselves alone in the fog, not remembering clearly when they had lost the hand of their friends. After a time, each adventurer stumbled into a door in the fog. The door was of blackened burned wood, with a round handle in the center of the door. The frame was of heavy granite stones.

Each adventurer stepped through the door, and after stepping into blackness they had the sensation of being in the branches of a swamp tree. They looked at their bodies, and saw that they had become birds.

Lorne’s Memory

We looked down into the swamp near Fencott and saw young Lorne on the back of his father’s skiff. His father was poling through the fog, complaining about the unfairness of life and how the fishermen’s guild would not allow him to sell fish in town. Young Lorne stared idly off into the distance, but was interrupted from his reverie when the skiff lurched and he heard a heavy splash. He turned to see that a swamp gator had disturbed the boat, and his father had fallen into the water below.

His father briefly cried out for help, but the gator closed its jaws and Lorne saw his father dragged into the depths amidst a cloud of bloody water. Lorne stood shocked for a long time, but his father did not emerge.

Eventually, Lorne had the wherewithal to try to pole back to town.

Turn Four – Sailor Test (ob 2) – Lorne Failed

Young Lorne got lost in the swamp, poling aimlessly until long after sunset. He eventually found a small island with a strong willow tree and an abandoned fox den. He crawled into the shelter of the fox den, sobbing and sodden.

Ivy’s Memory

We took flight, entering a dark swampy fog and emerging on a sunny day above a halfling village nested atop a hillock – Hymoor. We descended and saw Ivy on the day that she became a Bounder of Hymoor. This day of celebration in honor of the new recruits was turned, as Ivy became aware that the mayor of the town was involved in some dirty dealing with the dwarves of the nearby mountain.

Ivy confronted the mayor about his indiscretions, and refused to listen to his reasons or threats. She went about town, spreading news of his deceit and misdeeds. Going to her own parents first, to convince them that the mayor needed to be stopped.

Turn Five – Persuasion Test (ob 3) – Failed

Ivy’s mother scolded her for stirring up trouble where she had no proof of misdeeds. She said that the town needed unity at a time like this, not for rumors of indiscretion. The bird saw Ivy go off, in panic trying to convince others of the mayors crime. We then saw Ivy’s mother slip into the mayor’s tower. She told him of Ivy’s actions, clarifying that the mother is also involved in the smuggling operation, and suggested that Ivy be sent away from town before she could discover that the mayor was actually her father.

Gerald’s Memory

We flew from Hymoor to the neighboring town of Noke, a busy crossroads where Gerald’s friend had just been given a large bag of coins to take to a nearby garrison of rangers. The friend trusted Gerald to help him keep the coins safe, but as soon as he fell asleep Gerald took the coins. Gerald went gambling, proud that he finally had enough coins to go to the high rollers table.

Turn Six – Criminal Versus Test – Failed

He gambled all night, winning enough to keep hope but still gradually losing every coin. In disbelief, he begged for mercy, but the gamblers laughed at him and threw him out of the tavern.

Varg’s Memory

Finally, we followed the river all the way down to the south coast. We saw a young war orphan, Varg, sold to the wizard in the nearby Gymirtårn. The wizard worked him to the bone, cruelly demanding perfection and hours of service. When Varg would disappoint him, he would torment him with cruel spells. We saw the wizard demand Varg’s help in gathering alchemical components.

Turn Seven – Alchemist Test Ob 3 – Failed

Unfortunately, Varg did not remember exactly how to harvest and transport the components. He disappointed the wizard, who sent him cruelly to his room without food. In his room, Varg was tormented by ghostly whispers around him and the occasional loud noise that seemed to come from just behind him. With this torment, sleep eluded him and he suffered in quiet agony.

Camp Phase

The adventurers emerged from this strange trip through their memories, finally free from the temple and it’s enchanted fog. They tried to make an unsafe wilderness camp, but unfortunately some wandering monsters appeared nearby. Gerald and Lorne decided to keep watch, so they were wise to the arrival of these newcomers. A raft of beastmen landed on the island, with two captive prisoners. The beastmen led the prisoners towards the temple, and the party tried to hide from them.

Check One – Sneaky Nature Versus Test – Gerald Passed

Gerald and Lorne were able to hide the party in an alcove as the beastmen marched their captives past. After the beastmen entered the temple, the party made camp.

Lorne’s Instinct – Hunter (ob 3) – Failed

Lorne went down to the water and attempted to capture a small flock of waterfowl. He made too much noise, scaring them off before he could set his snare.

Gerald’s Instinct – Cook (ob 3) – Succeeded

Gerald prepared a preserved ration and shared it with the group.

Check Two – Varg Afraid Recovery Roll – Failed

Varg tried to overcome his fear, but failed.

Torchbearer AP (Session 9)

Date:1.19.2023
Players: Joe – Varg, Charlie – Lorne, Aaron – Ivy

Adventure Phase

Turn 10 – Health Test (ob 1) – Whole Party Succeeds

The party forced scribe Folbert to open the chest of Magister Blanc. The scribe does so, but it triggers an explosive trap which kills him outright. The trap creates enough heat to destroy the documents in the chest. Inside is a large, heavy lump of metals which have fused together into an amalgam of gold and silver.

Turn 11 – Survival Test to Make Camp (ob 3) – Lorne Fails

With two checks and a number of conditions, the party decided to get ready to camp. Unfortunately as Lorne was securing the doors in the wizards dungeon, he overheard the approaching sounds of two dwarfs – Vili and Geror. He gathered that they were bringing food to the wizard.

Turn 12 – Manipulate Test to Make the Dwarfs Leave (vs. Will 4) – Ivy Succeeds

Without opening the door, Ivy used her feminine voice to persuade the dwarfs that the wizard was indisposed at the moment. He told them to return the next day instead. The dwarfs seemed perplexed, but were seemingly accustomed to the wizard acting in ways illogical and imperceptible. They complied by leaving, complaining about it on their way out.

Turn 13 – Scavenger Test to find a Bottle of Wine (ob 2) – Lorne Succeeds

Lorne searched the wizard’s dungeon finding a larder that is nearly bare of all stocks. He managed to find one wine bottle, and used it to refill his wineskin. He shared the remaining ration with Ivy.

Turn 14 – Varg Attempts to Heal Willa (ob 3) – Varg Fails

Before camping, the party decided to check behind the remaining door in the wizard’s chamber. They found an old hallway that seemingly had collapsed long ago. In the rear of the hall, near the rubble of collapse, the found Ivy’s childhood friend Willa chained to the wall. She seemed seriously injured and on the brink of death, unable to talk much and mistaking the party for the Wizard. Varg channeled his energies to heal her, but overexerted himself. He ended up transferring his vital strength to her, but became sick in the process.

Camp Phase

Camp Event Roll – a bottle/jug/vial breaks

The only vial that the party had was being held by Lorne. It was the bottle that made rats go berserk, they had taken it from the yellow man. When it broke, the party held their bated breaths – in mere moments they picked up the distant sounds of a rat horde making haste towards them. The party broke camp, carried Willa with them, and charged for the cliff face to climb out of the dungeon. They climbed the rope back up to the dias above, but the rats were on their heels. They ran up the stairs into an unexplored room, which turned out to be a hot bath. Lorne jumped into the water, and this seemed to dissipate the strength of the potion. The rats did not follow. The party camped in the bath instead.

Camp Turn 1 – Ivy Recovers from Angry

Camp Turn 2 – Lorne Recovers from Angry

Torchbearer AP (Sessions 5-8)

Session 5 (11/3/22)
Players: Joe, Charlie, Aaron, Max

Varg and Ivy arrive at the plague armory, scare off the giant centipede, and scavenge for supplies. In armory, they found a spear. In the infirmary, they found a surgeon kit. They find the yellow robed man dancing in the mess hall.

Session 6 (12/8/22)
Players: Joe, Charlie, Aaron, Max

The players chase the yellow robed man, catch him in a hidden stairwell, and get his story from him. They search the hallway and find a hidden door – containing a golden ring and “the blood axe.” They explored the map room, but it was full of rats. The yellow man broke a vial of red powder, which drove the rats into a frenzy. The party escaped the dungeon, running from the rats. They reported back to Svana Goldnose and received some silver.

Session 7 (12/15/22)
Players: Joe, Charlie, Max

  • Visited town – Spring Festival
    • Lorne failed a barter 3 test
    • Varg passed a healer 1 test, making a poultice for Gerald
    • Gerald passed a health 3 test – recovering from exhausted and staying at the inn
    • Lorne and Varg slept on the streets
  • Tollgate
    • Lorne and Varge passed their resources tests
    • Gerald failed his resources 3 test, making a new enemy – the guard
  • On the road
    • Varg used Arcanist instead of cartographer 4 to scry the location of Gorm the Boneless, he failed his roll – succeeding with the injured condition – arcane burns on his arms
    • Lorne made a pathfinder test to get to the tower Svartarn, failed. The party came upon a waylaid ox-cart who’s driver spat in Lorne’s face.
    • Gerald succeeded at convincing the driver to travel with the party to Veihus. – manipulate versus 
  • Camp
    • Lorne caught some rabbits with snares – hunter 2 success
    • Gerald preserved them into rations – cook 3 success
    • Varg rested, but was unable to recover from his injuries – health 4 fail

Session 8 (1/12/2023)
Players: Joe, Charlie, Aaron, Max

Adventure Phase:

  1. Will test – The players investigate three bodies on the shore, roll to resist the pull from the crescent island. Gerald fails.
  2. Scavenger test – Lorne tries to craft a raft but fails, gets angry at his companions for failing to help.
  3. Health test – Lorne, Ivy, and Varg swim to the island to chase Gerald
  4. Scavenger test – Gerald searches in the ruins, looking for loot. He finds a scroll, black candles, and an incense censor.
  5. Scholar test – Varg reads the scroll, learns that a blood ritual has fueled the fog and it will keep them lost in the ruins.
  6. Dungeoneer test – Gerald climbs down a rope to see if there is anything below the dias. He finds a balcony.
  7. Sneak test – Gerald and Lorne try to sneak up on the wizard in the dungeon.
  8. Persuasion test – Lorne fails to convince the wizard that they mean no harm
  9. Fighter test – Ivy kills the wizard with her blood axe.

Torchbearer AP (session 4)

Players:
Charlie – Lorne the Guide
Max D – Gerald the Burglar

Leaving Town Rolls:
Lorne – Resources 1 – Ob 2 – Wealth Spent 3d – Success
Gerald – Resources 0 – Ob 1 – Wealth Spend 2d – Success

Adventure Phase Rolls:
Turn 1 – Gerald – Scout 2 – Ob 3 – Success (Tapped Nature 6)
Turn 2 – Lorne – Sneak Nature 5 – Versus Giant Centipede (Nature 4) – Success
Turn 3 – Gerald – Scavenger 2 – Ob 1 – Success
Turn 4 – Gerald – Scholar (Beginner’s Luck) – Ob 1 – Success
Turn 5 – Lorne – Sneak Nature 5 – Versus Giant Centipede (Nature 4) – Failure
Turn 6 – Lorne – Laborer 2 – Ob 2 – Success

Adventure Recap:

  • Hjordis gave Lorne and Gerald the location of the Abandoned Armory, which she received from Svana Goldnose
  • Lorne and Gerald arrived at the Armory. The larger door was sealed from the outside, with a large iron bar and some paint in the shape of a rune or glyph. Another door swung in the wind, open.
  • Lorne and Gerald lit candles, and proceeded through the open door. They investigated a room that had a fire-pit and three bedrolls. T1 – Scout Test. Gerald successfully found a hidden satchel behind a wooden shelf. It contained a partial map of the dungeon and a leather-bound journal embossed with a blazing sun.
  • Partial Map (From Dyson Logos)
  • Lorne read the last page in the Journal, it said that:
    “…we are doing the good work of the lord, giving these men the burial rights now that they were denied in their day. All is well, except the workers keep insisting that something is watching them while they work. I told them it is just the rats, but they insist it is something else. I must keep vigilant.”
  • Lorne and Gerald explored the next room, it was an abandoned kitchen room with six large rats. The rats scurried out of sight from the candles.
  • They explored the adjoining room, it was a larder with eight human skeleton. Each skeleton was broken down into a pile of bones topped with the skull. Underneath each pile there were some chalk marks. The room also contained a small bag with chalk, incense, and candles.
  • They explored the next room, a long hallway filled with makeshift cots and abandoned skeletons. The dead looked as if they were sick and injured, and died from their wounds.
  • The party explored to the right, on the inside of the large exterior door, they saw 10 skeletons that looked as if they died while trying to get out through the main door. T2-Sneak Test. The party continued down the hall.
  • Further down the hall, the makeshift infirmary cots ended and rows of pews began. At the end of the hall, a bust of an old man oversaw the pews from atop a plinth. Around the bust stood six torchière, one had toppled over.
  • Gerald decided to take a rubbing of the inscription below the bust, as it was difficult to read and filled with soot and cobwebs. First, he needed to scavenge about for some charcoal or soot to blacken his paper. T3 – Scavenger Test
  • Gerald, with scavenged charcoal in hand, made quick work rubbing the inscription into a blank page in the journal he just found. T4- Scholar Test
  • Grind Advance
    The candles went out. Lorne lit his lantern. Both adventurers ate a ration.
  • The adventurers decided to sneak back out of the armory and report back to town with the journal, map, and etching. The made a bit too much noise however, and stumbled upon a giant centipede. T5 – Sneaking Test
  • Lorne and Gerald ran from the beast, busting into a room that they had not yet opened. Lorne looked about for means of barring the door, and saw a heavy wooden chest. He lugged the chest over just in time, hearing the giant centipede busting against the door in protest. T6 – Laborer Test
  • Catching their breathe, the two adventurers heard gibbling whispers behind them, somewhere out of sight. “…lightssss…. noissssse… breathsssss… yessss… ssssssomeone has come to vissssit…”

End of Session

CharacterBeliefGoalInstinctOther
GeraldPersonaTeamworker
LornePersonaMVP

Torchbearer AP (session 3)

Session Three (10/13/22)

Players:
Charlie – Lorne the Halfling Guide
Aaron – Ivy the Halfling Bounder
Max D – Gerald the Halfling Burglar
Joe – Varg the Magician

Plot Summary:

The adventurers began the session in the treasure room of the goblin tower, having just rescued Olrun from the three goblin raiders. They talked to Olrun and she told them that Krakki mentioned being paid to raid her steading, and that the reward was the location of an ancient armory from where the goblins would be able to raid the valley with impunity. She told the party that Krakki must have taken off to meet with whoever hired the goblins.

The party searched the room, finding two bags of copper and a very fine rug. They decided to try to take the rug back out the tower through the main door, instead of out through the collapsed tunnel.

Test One: Ivy – Laborer Ob 2 (beginner’s luck) – Lift the rug up the ladder (grind 4)
Result: Fail

None of the group had the laborer skill, but Ivy took the lead with a beginners luck test assisted by Lorne’s Peasant skill. Unfortunately, with the failed result their efforts took too long and were too loud. The four goblin guards that had been busy with the loosed animals returned to see the halflings stealing their treasure. Gerald decided to try to distract the goblins with a riddle.

Test Two: Gerald – Riddling Nature – versus test (Grind 5)
Result: Fail

The goblins initiated a fight, and the party decided to run for it.

Conflict One: Flee conflict
Conflict Captain: Ivy
Beginning Disposition: Party 7, Goblins 6
Ending Disposition: Party 2, Goblins 0

The party managed to escape the goblins, but lost the fine rug in the process. Varg and Ivy also got exhausted from the effort of dodging the goblins attacks. The party returned to Halla’s Steading, reuniting Olrun with her mother. The party were each paid with a silver pouch.

Camp at Olrun’s Steading

Check One: Recovery Roll – Ivy – Exhausted ob 3 – Fail
Check Two: Recovery Roll – Varg – Exhausted ob 3 – Fail
Instinct One: Hunting Roll – Lorne – ob 2 – succeed (caught a coney)
Instinct Two: Scavenger Roll – Gerald – ob 1 – succeed (gathered some barley grain)
Instinct Three: Cartographer Roll – Varg – ob 2 – succeed (Map the goblin tower)

Town Phase: Arrive at Sunnås

The random town event for Sunnås was a public execution, the execution was for Krakki and two of his goblin lieutenants. The high priestess Hjordis and Svana Goldnose were on the dais, Hjordis spoke of the evil acts the goblins had committed on the road, and praised Svana for bringing them to justice. Just before the gallows dropped them to their death, Krakki shouted “you betrayed us!”

The party followed Hjordis and Svana back to the temple of Freydis, where Varg confronted Svana and accused her of hiring the goblins to raid Halla’s Steading.

Test: Varg’s Demanding Nature vs. Svana Goldnose Manipulate 5
Result: Success

Svana rolled all wyrms, so Varg’s accusations caught her flat footed. She stumbled and didn’t know what to say. Halla and Olrun came into the temple, further accusing Svana of her malfeasance and Olrun claimed that Krakki said he was in league with Svana. Hjordis had Svana arrested on suspicious of treason. Hjordis thanked Varg and the party, giving them a free place to stay and telling them to come see her in the morning after she had a chance to question Svana.

Town Rolls

Recovery – Ivy automatically recovered from exhaustion from staying in Hjordis’ guest rooms

Ask Around – Circles ob 3 – Varg tried to identify the symbols on his bracelet, the last thing he had from being an orphan. At the temple, he asked a priest who told him that the symbols were from Gorm the Boneless, wizard of Svartårn. He said that was an unholy place and that Varg should get rid of the bracelet.

Find Someone – Circles ob 3 – Lorne looked for a fighting trainer, finding a fighter in the tavern. He trained with the fighter.

Something Else – Cooking ob 3 – Gerald cooked up a paella feast with the barley and fresh rabbit, preserving four fresh rations.

Tell Tales – Merrymaking ob 5 – Ivy tried to tell the story of home, finding the mayor dallying with the sherif, but she was laughed out of the room.

End of Session

CharacterBeliefGoalInstinctOther
VargFatePersonaFateMVP
GeraldFatePersonaTeamworker
LornePersonaFate
IvyPersonaFate

Torchbearer AP (sessions 1 & 2)

Session One (9/29/22)

Players:
Charlie – Lorne the Halfling Guide
Aaron – Ivy the Halfling Bounder
Max D – Gerald the Halfling Burglar

I began the group with pre-gens, and after two of the players texted me with interest in halfling characters we decided it would be fun to play an all halfling session. I assumed that this was a session zero, and we would roll new characters at the end of it, but everyone loved the pre-gens enough to keep playing their character. We are using the Middarmark setting so there are lots of norse words to maneuver around and misspell viciously.

Plot Summary:

We began the campaign at a huldufolk (halfling) moot, celebrating the disablot (spring solstice). Three huldufolk villages had gathered for the occasion, since each of the three characters had a different hometown. Each town selected a representative to carry an offering to the neighboring city of Sunnås, in tribute to Freydis, so that the lady of sowing and reaping would bless the fields for a bountiful planting season.

Lorne loaded the party onto a small halfling skiff, and began the onerous task of poling his way up a tributary of the Dreik River. Before long, they saw an abandoned skiff – filled with barrels and tied up to the side of the river. As they neared the vessel, they heard screaming in the woods and saw a merchant and his two guards running from assailants. Five goatmen chased the humans out of the wood, with vicious spears and snarling teeth.

The party considered setting off with the skiff, but quickly changed course and helped the merchant flee the goatmen. A flee conflict ensued, with Lorne making the skiff ready to set off, and the others haranguing the goatmen with loosed arrows and sling bullets. The party rolled well, and won the conglict with a minor compromise – some of the skiff cargo was lost in the haste. The merchant rewarded the party for their efforts – 1d silver each.

Next, the party looked for a safe place to camp. Lorne failed in this, the soggy character found a narrow sodden beach where it was impossible to start a fire.

End of Session:
MVP – Gerald the Burglar
Workhorse – Lorne the Guide

Session Two (10/6/22)

Players:
Charlie – Lorne the Halfling Guide
Aaron – Ivy the Halfling Bounder
Max D – Gerald the Halfling Burglar
Joe – Varg the Magician

We had one more player join, I asked him if he was willing to play a magic user and gave him a list of options: Theurg, Magician, Sorcerer, or Shaman. Despite the joy of having an all-halfling party, I decided against giving him a Halfling option (although I recently re-watched Willow so I seriously considered allowing Halflings to be sorcerers). He chose the Magician.

Camp Phase:
During camp, Gerald scavenged around the camp for bait and Lorne used his check to go fishing.

Town Phase:
The group made their way up river with no further complications, arriving in the busy crossroads of Noke. Lorne asked a dock worker to keep his skiff safe for him, and Ivy asked around after her missing friend who was last seen with a group of dwarves. On trying to leave town, both character failed their resources rolls – Lorne was told that the docks couldn’t guarantee the safety of the skiff since he couldn’t afford the price of the warehouse and Ivy’s circles was reduced by one, since she couldn’t pay her bar tab after listening for rumors.

Rumors:

  • The town of Skogenby is full of stuck-up puritans, but the barrows are full of gold and will make a man rich enough to live comfortable.
  • On the road south of Sunnas, there was a rockslide that could’ve been the work of dwarves trying to excavate something.

Adventure Phase:
The party met Varg at the north exit of town, he offered his humble assistance as a magician for the road to Sunnås. The huldufolk accepted his company, warily. After a half-day journey, the party saw a signal fire shoot up from a steading beside the road. They discussed whether or not to help, and approach cautiously. From cover, they saw two helgeit depart from the steading – one with a kidnapped woman. They also saw two more helgeit in the livestock pen, leading a herd of animals roped together chaotically.

The party was too late to stop the assault, but approached the steading after hearing a woman’s cries of lament. They found a teenager slain (Bjorr), a father badly bludgeoned (Valbjorn), and a mother in morning (Halla). Ivy demanded Halla tell them what happened, and in the exchange Halla speculated that she believed the raiders came from the tower up the road, and further that the tax collected had been haranguing them for months. Halla swore she had coin buried and available to them, if the adventurers would only rescue her daughter (Olrun).

The party took off for the tower, seeking to rescue the girl. As they approached the tower stealthily, they saw Krakki and his retinue ride off from the tower. The party investigated the situation, seeing two guards in the ramparts and two guards in the animal pen. The magician used Aetheric Appendage to open the gate to the pen, and the animals seized upon the opportunity to flee. The guards followed, trying to herd them up – shouting for help from the ramparts.

The ramparts and guards chased the fleeing animals into the woods, terrified of Krakki’s wrath should they fail to recapture the stock. In the chaos, the party entered the tower and took stock of their surroundings. They heard the voices of three guards down below, and attempted to manipulate them into coming up the ladder to help recapture the animals. Unfortuntely, halflings can’t do a good job emulating the voice of a goblin – and the attempt raised the goblin’s suspicion. The goblins below grabbed Olrun and barricaded themselves in the treasure room.

Gerald and Ivy followed them with weapons drawn, barging in after the goblins and heartily slaying the three guards.

End of Session:
MVP – Gerald the Burglar
Workhorse – Ivy the Bounder

Area Map:

map of the area

To Think of the Life of a Man – One Page Prep

Pyle_Round_Table_30To Think of the Life of a Man (1967)
In a time that breaks
in cutting pieces all around,
when men, voiceless
against thing-ridden men,
set themselves on fire, it seems
too difficult and rare
to think of the life of a man
grown whole in the world,
at peace and in place.
But having thought of it
I am beyond the time
I might have sold my hands
or sold my voice and mind
to the arguments of power
that go blind against
what they would destroy.
I leave all that behind.

Poem by Wendell Berry
Illustration by Howard Pyle


FaeFarmFarmstead on the edge of the Fae
Every eave and beam is honed with craft and skill
– The larder is full of jams, honeys, and dried goods

Blood-Red Barn
Fresh paint spread evenly across well-sanded lumber
– A dappled roan whinnies, oiled plow-harness nearby 

The Timeless Oak
An idyllic post oak stands alone beside a cleared field
– The tree demands your worship and adoration
– The tree soothes your fears and dulls your mind

Fields of Gold and Barley
The smell of freshly cut hay wafts from shapely bales
– Farmer offers you shelter and food for your labors
– Fields are sown with bones and watered in sweat

Fairy Time:
Time passes more slowly in this realm, every day here is a mortal season.

Forget the World:
Every time a character eats, sleeps, or labors they risk forgetting their:

  1. Dreams
  2. Loves
  3. Friends
  4. Fears
  5. Foes
  6. Family
  7. Home
  8. Self

 

Adventure Prep PDF: Here
Hex Kit Map
For
Forest Hymn

Shoalmont_26_Fae_Farmstead

Session Nine: Delve in Oldson Mine

Session 9 was held on 8/29/19

The Rogue Marklech, Spider Cultist
The Wizard Falur Ryerson, Ordained Arcanist

Oldson Mine copyOctober 11th, First Watch

Marklech and Falur approached Arpad outside of the mine, the prospector offered the group 50sp per room to map the quicksilver mine. They accepted the offer, and requested the service of some of Apad’s guards. They negotiated briefly, and Arpad offered three men at the day rate of 10sp per man. Falur and Marklech agreed, each paying 15sp to hire the three guards for the day. Bronek, Marek, and Jurek each carried a shortsword, bundle of torches, and wore leather armor. Arpad had the storekeeper give each member of the expedition one ration.

The first room (1) was a long narrow chamber that descended towards a wide natural cavern mouth, there were two masoned doorways on either side of the room, leading to excavated and reinforced corridors.

The group entered the first doorway to their right. The corridor led to a natural room (3) where one wall featured a 25-foot climb up to a rocky balcony. The characters climbed up to the balcony (4) to find a rocky shelf broken-through by the heavy solid roots of an ancient tree. From within the center of the root ball, a glistening crystal shape reflected light. The characters peered into the crystal to see the skeleton of a Winter Elf with hands raised protectively above its head as if to ward off a blow. Marklech touched the crystal, a vague sensation of fire and combat washed over him but he resisted the pull of the experience and yanked his hand away. Jurek came up to the platform with them, but he did not seem to see the crystal. Marklech and Falur decided not to map the balcony, hoping to keep the discovery of the winter-elf-crystal a secret from Arpad until they could further investigate it privately.

After climbing down from the balcony, they proceeded down the corridor to find a locked door (5). After picking the lock, they saw that the room was lined with shelves of old mining equipment and some old supply crates. Amongst other artifacts, there were usable mining picks, leather aprons, gloves, boots, lanterns, and helmets. After some searching, Marklech found 13 small mirrors in a leather pouch. Marklech discovered that his new lantern could be converted into a hooded lantern using the mirror and some leather pieces. After some time, a cold breeze blew in and each person sensed miner-ghosts lurking in their peripheral vision. They took this as a sign to leave the room, the henchmen guards required some persuasion to keep them from fleeing towards the entrance.

Dark ghostly figure
Rafal Bujnowski – Curtain (2007)

October 11th, Second Watch

The next doorway led to a four-way intersection. Ingress to the intersection was partially obstructed by four masoned pillars. The pillars supported an unsteady-looking shale slab ceiling.

The group proceeded through the first doorway on their right, finding a large room with a seemingly-bottomless pit (7). Marklech and Falur thought they heard something calling for help in the depths of the pit. Falur seemed convinced that he needed to descend the pit to provide assistance, but he came to his senses before going over the edge.

They continued to the next room (8), finding three grain silos dug into the floor and a dry ditch that ran along the cave wall towards a deep ravine. A swollen door at the top of a small ascent sealed off the room. At the party’s direction, Bronek and Marek kicked the door in. A thick mildew smell of rot filled the room and a viscous black fluid began to seep down towards the ravine.

The group proceeded up the ascent into the next room to find a large dark pool of black sluice. As they tried to walk by the pool on a narrow stone walkway, a grey ooze attacked them from out of the black sluice. Falur was nearly slain when the ooze bludgeoned him with an acidic slap.

Dark void of browns and blacks - Abstract Art
Victor Hugo – Dark Planet

October 11th, Third Watch

After they mapped the room with the grain silos (8), the frozen apparitions appeared in the doorway. As the characters approached the doorway, an intense cold emanated from the apparitions. When the party tried to pass through the apparitions to leave, the apparitions sapped the air from their lungs as if plunged into an icy bath. They pushed through the airless zone, gasping for breathe on the far side.

Marklech and Falur returned to Arpad and each received 17gp 5sp in payment for mapping 7 rooms.

October 11th, Fourth Watch – Rest


GM Notes

Experience:
We have transitioned to using an XP system where 1xp is gained for each 1sp that is spent on repaying their bond-debt, paying taxes, buying goods, or hiring services. I believe that this has encouraged the players to drive the sandbox a bit more forcefully. The players have started emailing before the session to identify what the characters intend to do during the session, this has helped me to focus my prep. 

Bond-debt:
Each character starts the campaign with 3,000 gold of bond-debt to Lady Osis, this is why the characters are adventuring. A 100gp payment is due at the end of each calendar month (in-game time). The characters have enchanted tattoos which reflect the amount of their debt and the identity of the creditor. There are collection agents in any sufficiently large town to whom they can make early payments along the way, if they wish. While they have bond-debt, they cannot purchase property, and any assets they acquire can be seized if they default on their monthly payment. We talked for a while about how central debt is to the society, I am interested to see where that takes us.

Exploration:
For this session, I prepped by developing a few random tables so that we could generate the mine as we explored. I have about 12 set-piece rooms prepared, when the characters entered a room there was a chance of generating a set-piece room. I believe random tables are useful for some chaos and inspiration, but the GM should always feel free to place rooms by fiat if it would be more fun, thematic, or appropriate. Likewise, to determine room contents I would roll a d6, roughly using the following results: 1-3. Empty, 4. Monster, 5. Special, 6. Trap. We ended up with a good number of empty rooms, to the relief of the characters. 

Tracking Time:
I tracked the time using a print-out each session. The handout represents one week of time, with 24 hour segments per day, organized into four sections of six blocks. Each of these sections is referred to as a “watch.” To map a room, I would mark down 1 hr. I did not require any rolling for success here, I did roll to determine a random event each hour. Random events would occur on a roll of 1. Luck was with the party, no random events took place. At a few other points, the players would spend a decent amount of time deciding how to approach an obstacle. If they had taken too long without deciding, I would let them know that another hour had passed in game. The characters also knew that they needed to consume one ration per day, and that if they went four watches without resting then they would gain a level of exhaustion. 

Magic:
This was the first session with the wizard Falur since he found the enemy wizard’s spellbook in May. I explained the character’s absence from the last session that he had been working to decipher the spellbook. I made some house rules for spellbooks, wizards can prepare their daily spells out of any spellbook they are carrying, but each spellbook takes up one Stone of inventory. Also, a spell within spellbook can be used like a scroll, but this will remove the spell from the book. Spells can be copied from one spellbook to another, using 10gp worth of special ink and 1 hour of time. I am considering limiting the number of spells that can be written in one spellbook, either by limiting the sum total of spell levels, or just limiting the spell count.

Ice Floes of Stygia – One Page Prep

Map of the Harbor town of Izotz

The Keep of Izotz
Five frost-rimed towers pierce the lightning-filled sky
– Battle plans and quality salvage from the great war

The Gates of Memory
An icy bridge crosses the memory-killing River Styx
– Vigilant guards monitor infamous river of the dead

The Mausoleum of the Damned
Lost souls emerge soaked, regretting forgotten sins
– Ghoulish shambling husks, fodder for the great war

The Ice Harbor
Ice-breakers crewed by brine devils & drowned souls
– Unloading leviathan oil, giant squid, and shark fins

The Balefire Lighthouse
Blue flames circles the highest floor, a baleful glare
– Flames guide lost ships and lost souls to harbor

The Lord’s Monolith
Carved from black ice, a blinking blue eye at its peak
– Frozen Lord telepathically monitors his realm

The Obelisk of Doors
Obsidian stone, each side a portal to a distant plane
– Devils never let a soul depart intact and unsworn

The Memorial of Forgotten Lives
Etchings from travelers, damned souls, and the lost
– Names and deeds that have been forgotten by all

Threats in the Stygian Harbor of Izotz:
– Salt-frozen winds flay frostbitten skin and chill the bone
– Gangs of damned souls and frigid planars control streets
– Thick skinned neanderthal fishmongers filet sea monsters
– Baatezu monitor the portals, demand heavy toll to enter
– Barbed devils patrol imperiously as corrupt guards
– Frost giant mercenaries and shamans barter with devils
– Brutal white abishi and erudite blue abishi marshall forces
– Frozen Lord rules from his iceberg tomb beneath waves

By Max VanderheydenHex Kit Map – Play with Portal Rats


Download this Adventure Prep PDF

 

 

The Arctic Trail – One Page Prep

The Keep
Summer hunting fortress of a distant prideful lord.

  • Iron-barred gates, deep claw gouges in the wood
  • Rear wall was partially collapsed by a rock slide
  • Pristine trophies decorate the inner chambers
  • Hunting tapestries depict all manner of beasts

Prospector Camp
Spruce-pole longhouse near a mountain stream.

  • Frozen sluice box glimmers with bits of gold dust
  • Scattered remains of prospectors long decayed
  • Buried stashes, a dwarf might smell out the gold
  • Gold is haunted, unless burial rites are performed

The Tower
Biting winds howl through the broken battlements.

  • Diabolist dwells here to study the ancient portal
  • Eternal fires burn in volcanic hearths on each floor
  • Bound blue imp deters visitors, loathes
    Diabolist
  • Dozens of journals describe the Stygian realm

The Stones
Obsidian slabs stark against a snowy embankment.

  • Ancient hell portal rimed with icy Stygian runes
  • Frigid wind carries whispers from the fifth hell
  • Hoarfrost blights the hillock around the stones
  • Remnants of a recent blood ritual on an icy table

Dangers along the trail:
Yeti Stalker – lurking in the snow, looking to prey on the weak
Woolly Rhinoceros – digging for roughage below the snow
Icy Demon – trap those in cold, promise safety for a pittance
Blizzard – frozen sleet and hail batter those without shelter
Avalanche – pummel and suffocate everything in the path

Adventure Prep PDF: The Arctic Trail
Map made with: Hex Kit

Shoalmont_24_Arctic_Trail