Torchbearer AP (Session 21)

Date: May 11, 2023
Players: Harek the Theurg, Thror the Outcast

Sir David Young Cameron

Harek the Theurg and Thror the Outcast signed on with some other adventurers in Veihüs, seeking something from Castle Erohring. They marched with Daan the Fighter and Hall the Magician, arriving at Castle Erohring without issue. Upon arriving on the edge of the complex, they scouted for a safe way in.

Turn One: Scout (ob 2) Success – Thror the Outcast

Thror led the party up a creek bed, finding a stewards access gate hidden amongst the rocks. The gate was locked, and seemed a bit rusted through disuse. Despite this, Harek the Theurg thought that he might be able to gain access.

Turn Two: Criminal (ob 2) Success – Harek the Theurg

The iron gate swung open as Harek put his thieves tools away. Daan and Hall proceeded into the chamber, lighting a torch and handing it to Harek to carry. They arrived in a dusty storeroom, filled with boxes, bags, and dried gourds. A doorframe is hidden behind a stack of crates and refuse. Daan ordered Thror to clear the path.

Turn Three: Laborer (ob 2) Fail – Thror the Outcast

As Thror picked up a stack of old wooden boxes, one of the planks collapsed under his hand, shifting the balance. The stack of crates fell, clattering loudly. From the blocked door, a muffled groan was heard. Then something began testing the door, trying to enter into the chamber. Daan readied his sword and ordered the others to take up offensive positions. A large wererat bust through the door, hissing and bearing snarp teeth. Harek tried to convince Daan that they should talk with the creature instead.

Turn Four: Persuade (vs. test – five dice) Fail – Harek the Theurg

Daan swung at the beast with his sword, but the wererat skittered around the room to avoid the threat. The beast spoke to the adventurers, proclaiming himself to be very hungry and that he had been imprisoned in the storeroom for days. He said he was the old castillian of the castle, but that he had been cursed. Harek gave the rat a bottle of wine, which he chugged immediately. He offered to guide the party through the castle, saying that a large battle had just been fought above. He claimed that he could smell corpses, but hadn’t been able to access the room since he had been locked out. The party followed him, but he led them into a room slide-trap.

Turn Five: Health Tests (ob 3) – Thror Passed, Harek Failed

Harek was made angry by this betrayal. Thror and Harek ended up pulling themselves up onto the ledge beside the trap, but Daan and Hall rolled out of sight into a tunnel below. The wererat, after triggering the trap, escaped through the wooden door and locked the door with a wooden reinforcement on the far side.

Torchbearer AP (Session 20)

Date: May 4th, 2023
Players: Varg the Magician, Lorne the Guide

The blue man had appeared by some magic, providing a portal into a sandy desert abyss. He invited Varg and Lorne to follow him so that they could talk. The players followed the blue man through the desert, they both became hungry and thirsty while navigating the dunes and arid wasteland. After some time, they arrived at a cliff-face which had been carved into a temple entrance. They followed him into this temple, and immediately the heat of the day seemed to diminish. A natural spring seemed to fill a carved fountain, the players drank and filled their waterskins.

The blue man talked with Varg and Lorne, saying that they owed him a favor in exchange for drinking his water. The blue man asked the players to return to the castle and kill a gnoll who had once served the blue man, but had neglected to keep his vows of service. Specifically, they were to take the enchanted tongue from the gnoll, and return it to the blue man. Additionally, Varg traded the spell-book of Magister Blanc to the blue man, in exchange the blue man empowered Varg’s bell to cast the spell “swarm.”

Upon leaving the temple, the players found themselves magically returned to Castle Erohring in the bog. Immediately, they heard a patrol of gnolls in the hallway. They attempted to hide, but Varg failed. Lorne snuck through the hallways behind the gnolls, as they marched captive Varg to meet their leader. In a courtyard below, the gnolls called their leader out of the ruined remains of the castle’s temple. Varg told the gnoll that the blue man had sent him. The gnoll asked Varg if the blue man was his master, and three times Varg affirmed it. Then Varg found himself magically recovered from his prior injury. Varg spoke the keyword of the bell, hoping to kill the gnolls with his magic.

Lorne got the idea, lighting the two black tallow candles from his pack and invoking the blue man to come to their aid. Soon, the candles issued forth a thick smoke that made it impossible for anyone to provide help in combat – being unable to see clearly where a friend or foe stood.

In a heated combat, all five gnolls fell to the predations of Lorne’s jambiya dagger and Varg’s magic. Unfortunately, Varg and Lorne were so injured by the fight that they died besides the beastial men.

The Blighted Corn c. 1821, printed 1830 William Blake 1757-1827 Presented by Herbert Linnell 1924

Torchbearer AP (Session 19)

Date: 4/27/2023
Players: Varg, Lorne, Gerald, Ivy

Varg ran from the black knight, losing his way in the bog for a time before eventually returning to the camp. At the camp, he found Lorne sitting beside Ivy. Varg announced that Gerald was dead, and had been killed by the black rider. Soon thereafter, Gerald appeared beside the men. He had somehow survived the blow, but he seemed a fraction of his former self (Payed the Terrible Price).

Turn Six – Scout (versus roll – 5 dice) – Passed
The party scouted the road to ensure the path was clear, Gerald spotted the black rider but he was distracted by some screaming to the south. The party took advantage of this distraction to head north, wanting to make for Castle Erohring to recover the Spell of the First Daughter.

Turn Seven – Pathfinder (ob 5) – Failed
Lorne tried to guide the party to the castle, but the road was washed out and overgrown. They encountered poisonous snakes and foul monkey-creatures that threw stones. Eventually, they arrived at the outer wall of the castle but they had been made exhausted by their trek.

Set Camp: (Camp event: Wandering Monsters – 4 gnolls) – Pathfinder Test (Versus roll – 8 dice) – Passed
The party set a campfire at the base of the ruined castle wall, and set Lorne to watch. Lorne soon saw four gangly and furry humanoids wearing leather armor clamber through a section of ruined wall. Lorne distracted the gnolls, leading them into the bog and losing them in an encounter with the swamp apes.

Camp Rolls:
: Failed to recover from exhausted – rang his enchanted bell in the process
Ivy: Failed to recover from exhausted
Gerald: Attempted to sneak away from the group, but spotted by Lorne

Turn One – Series Roll of Health (versus roll – 3 dice) – All Passed
Rather than proceeding though the ruined wall, the party circumnavigated the castle until they encountered a deep chasm. A large tree had fallen across the chasm, landing on an upper balcony. A corpse was ensnared in vines below the balcony. The party members climbed the tree up to the balcony, the vines seemed to try to trip them up but they were able to avoid getting ensnared.

Turn Two – Scavenger Test (ob 2) – Failed
From the balcony, the party proceeded into a chamber that had a ruined four-post bed as well as a wooden chest and wardrobe. Ivy searched the wardrobe looking for fresh clothing, but instead found a pristine jewelry box. Bewitched, the opened the box and a otherworldly music started playing. A dry sand wind blew in through the door from the balcony, and when they looked towards that way – instead of seeing the bog they instead saw an infinite desert. The blue man stepped in from the balcony.

The blue man in a black white etching, a haggard old man with leathery skin.

Torchbearer AP (Session 18)

Date: 4/20/2023
Characters: Varg, Gerald

Varg and Gerald sit in a concealed camp, they can see the road across the bog. An injured acolyte in blood-stained robes is limping back to the tower – presumably a survivor of the ogre ambush. Varg and Gerald ambush the acolyte, killing him but both are injured in the conflict.

They strip the acolyte, taking his necklace. His skin is imbued with strange symbols. Varg looks at them and sees that they are a spell. He copies the spell into his spellbook – Wizards Aegis.

They scout around the tower, finding a hidden entrance in some boulders.

They continue around the tower, finding three corpses hanging out over the edge of the tower. Below them is a pit of gore, with bloody drag marks into the bog.

As they near the road, they hear horse hooves but fail to hide themselves. A black knight on a nightmare steed bears down on them with an ax in hand. Gerald tries to throw his spear, but he is injured and cannot land the blow. The nightmare steed tramples him to death.

Torchbearer AP (Session 17)

Date: 4/13/2023
Characters: Lorne, Varg

Varg follows the trail left by Gerald and Lorne, making his way into the cave. Lorne licks a toad, starts hallucinating. Varg also licks the toad.

The six corpses are singing, now they can see both the corpses and also the spirits which appear as they did in life. The spirits lead them down a hallway to where a golden gong rests on a dais. The spirits present the party with a shadow-puppet performance. The story they tell is how they were betrayed by Gorm the Boneless into giving him their magical powers.

They tell the party that to defeat Gorm, they must find the spell which will undo the binding. They tell the party to proceed to Castle Erohring to find the “spell of the first daughter.”

Lorne and Varg leave the cave through a separate exit. Lorne scouts for the lost party members, but takes a misstep and almost loses his leg to a carnivorous mold.

Torchbearer AP (Session 16)

Date: 4/6/2023
Characters: Gerald, Lorne

The acolytes are attacked by ogres. In the chaos, Lorne and Gerald escape into the bog. They find a stone mound with a cave. They explore outside, find a giant spider. The spider chases them into the cave. They find six corpses, preserved by the bog. They sit around a peat fire, not lit. They camp there.

Torchbearer AP (Session 15)

Date: 3/23/2023
Characters: Gerald, Varg, Ivy

Gerald steals gold from adventurers in Veihus. As the party exits town, the adventurers spot them and pursue. The party seeks to run, but gets caught in a bind between a bramble and cliff. Varg casts Celestial Music, persuading the adventurers to jump to their deaths.

The party takes the pony and horses from the adventurers, and proceeds towards Svartarn. They make camp, then explore the area. Gerald and Ivy get caught by Gorm’s acolytes, and seized.

Torchbearer AP (Session 14) – First Respite

Date: 3/9/2023
Players: Charlie – Lorne, Max – Gerald, Aaron – Ivy, Joe – Varg

New Traits:
Lorne – Zealous
Gerald – Devil May Care
Ivy – Heart of Battle
Varg – Scarred

New Wises:
Lorne – Blood Cult Wise
Gerald – Mark Wise
Ivy – Dwarf Wise
Varg – Devil Summoning Wise

Lorne – “Long Pole Lorne”
Gerald – “Lil Rascal”
Ivy – “The Blood Raven”
Varg – “The Burned”

Lorne – Spread the cult of the Blood Raven
Gerald – Sucker born every minute
Ivy – People of true worth take justice into their own hands
Varg – Gorm the Boneless and his followers must be purged from the lands

Current Enemies:
Lorne – Daan the fighting trainer (from Sunnas)
Gerald – Hanno the Town Guard (from Sunnas)
Gerald – Dvalin the Dwarf Adventurer (from Veihus)
Ivy – Dabne the Riverlands Bounder
Varg – Hall the Magician

Torchbearer AP (Session 13)

Date: 3/2/2023
Players: Joe – Varg, Max – Gerald, Charlie – Lorne

The halflings were rewarded for helping the elf. Gerald received a spear, Ivy a hatchet, and Lorne a leaf that can turn into a boat.

The blue demon was freed after the death of the Archon. Varg witnessed the demon slay all the dwarfs in the armory, seemingly poisoned or diseased – bleeding from their eyes and ears. Varg was given a silver bell and told to leave.

Varg met back up with the halflings. They cut the dwarfish boat free from the moorings and sailed to the edge of the lake. They made camp. Gerald stole some coins from a passing merchant.

Torchbearer AP (Session 12)

Title: Fight at the Dragonblood Tree

Date: 2/23/2023
Charlie – Lorne
Joe – Varg
Max – Gerald
Aaron – Ivy

The characters rendezvoused at the dwarfen complex, after a small party of dwarfs collected Varg, Willa, and Lorne from where they had been hiding out.

Willa confronted Ivy, saying that she had changed – the Halfling joy had gone out of her eyes. Lorne stepped up to defend Ivy, calling her the “Blood Raven” and saying that she had come to save them all. Willa wasn’t sure how to take this news.

The dwarf chieftain Goldor barged into the room, demanding that the time had come for the halflings to lead him to the dragonblood tree. Gerald tried to delay the dwarf by stating that Varg was injured and needed healing. Goldor responded that they should leave Varg behind to be tended to, but that he was unwilling to wait.

Varg Seeks Healing

Varg decided to stay back to tend to his wounds, and the rest of the party ventured forth with Goldor. Varg found himself led by some younger dwarves into an inner sauna. They stripped him of his dirty and blooded attire and then tended to his exhaustion.

Turn One – Exhausted Recovery Test (ob 3) – Varg Passed

Afterwards, the dwarfs discussed whether or not Varg would survive. He was clearly still both injured and sick, and the dwarfs worried that he was beyond their skills to save. One of them whispered something to the other, who responded angrily “we cannot take him to see the master, it is forbidden!” The other one insisted, worried that Varg may die under their care.

Eventually, they took Varg down a hidden set of stairs and into a room with a sick old dwarf on his deathbed. A tall blue-skinned man tended to the dwarf, and appeared angry at the disturbance in the room. He accosted the dwarfs for bringing Varg into the chamber, but then assented that he would look him over. He accosted Varg for being a magician, saying that humans had no right to touch the dark forces that were never justly given. He said that humans had long ago stolen magick from the elves and devils, and that using it would taint the soul.

Varg begged for healing, but the blue man was worried that Varg would do more harm in the world than good. And warned him that his healing was meant for the pure, which Varg was not. He said that there was a risk that healing would strip Varg’s soul away, and leave him less than he was. Varg assented.

The blue man placed his hands on Varg, and from his forehead a bright light emanated from the center of his forehead – as if a third eye had opened up. The light was scarring, and Varg felt himself captivated and flayed before it’s intensity. He imagined himself in a small alabaster room, held before the blue man like a marionette. Pieces of himself seemed to fall away in the intensity of the light, rendering his soul into something less.

The blue man healed Varg of his conditions: Sickness and Injured, but the process rended away his nature descriptors: running and boasting – leaving him with only one remaining nature descriptor: demanding.

The Expedition to the Dragonblood Tree

Goldor and the party descended from the dwarfen base. They crossed the lake using the tethered vessel, and disembarked on the island with the moon temple. Gerald led the dwarfs through the hidden alcove, to the backdoor to the chamber.

At the door, Goldor asked for the key but Gerald would not give it to him, saying that the agreement was merely that he would open the door. Achron disrupted their conversation by insisting that the door be opened. The party asked Achron what was so special about the tree, and he said that these trees only grow where gods have been slain. The tree’s roots grow down into the divine corpse, and render its divinity into rare materials with unique properties.

The halflings asked what the dwarf intended to use the tree for, and he said that he had sought it for one-hundred years and needed it to craft a masterpiece work. The halflings asked if he needed to cut the tree down, and he said “of course.” They asked if he could not merely craft using a branch of the tree, or some of its cast-off elements. But Achron insisted that he needed the heartwood from the tree.

Gerald opened the door, and the dwarfs entered the chamber. Ivy whistled to the tree, and the golden-warbled appeared on a bough. A dwarf cocked his crossbow, taking aim – but Ivy jumped to action, begging that he lower the weapon.

Turn Two – Persuasion (vs. test) – Ivy Passes

The dwarf reluctantly lowered his weapon, and Ivy stepped forward to call again to the bird. He held out the bloodaxe, an invitation for the bird to alight on the weapon. The bird assented, flew down and grasped the axe. The immense weight of the bird surprise Ivy, and rather than topple over onto the bird, she let go of the axe. Before the party, the bird flew in place for a moment, holding the axe in it’s claws.

Goldor pushed forward, ruining the moment and saying “Enough is enough, it is time we cut down this tree. We must have the heartwood to save Svadil.”

The bird flew with the Bloodaxe into the boughs of the tree, and then emerged again as a tall elf with crimson hair and golden wings. The elf flew down from the boughs, wielding the bloodaxe. He landed at the base of the tree, and declared his intention to defend the tree. He named the dwarfs as intruders, and asked the halflings to rally in defense of the tree in return for a boon.

Achron asked Goldor to withdraw and bring the remainder of the clan down, to fight when they have the numbers. The halflings remained silent during this disagreement, and Goldor decided to disregard the advice of his brother. He ordered the guards forwards with the crossbows and barked that the halflings should join him for their even shares of the treasure and honor.

The halflings decided to join the elf instead of the dwarfs, and the conflict commenced.

Dwarf Disposition: 9
Party Disposition: 8

Conflict Round One – Turn One

GM: Dwarf guard maneuver with Crossbow
Players: Elf attack with the Bloodaxe

The players won this conflict, and the elf killed one of the dwarf guards. (I forgot to use Might rules here.)

Conflict Round One – Turn Two

GM: Goldor attacks with Battleaxe
Players: Ivy attack with Bow

The players won this conflict, I used the versus rule wrong and gave the full disposition hit instead of the margin of success, reducing the dwarf disposition by 5 instead of 3.

Conflict Round One – Turn Three

GM: Dwarf guard attacks with crossbow
Players: Gerald maneuvers with his rusty dagger

The GM won this conflict, dealing 5 points of disposition to the team. Again I used the rules wrong, not using margin of success.

Conflict Round Two – Turn One

GM: Achron the Dwarf Defends with Shield
Players: Elf Feints with Bloodaxe

This ended the conflict, as the Elf did enough disposition damage to end the dwarf threat.

End of Conflict:
Dwarf Disposition: 0 / (9)
Party Disposition: 3 / (8)

Since the party won with a half compromise, the bloodaxe was destroyed in the battle. Its magic could not withstand being used to kill its creator, and it shattered into pieces across the battlefield.