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.

Torchbearer AP (Session 11)

Date: 2/9/2023
Aaron – Ivy
Max – Gerald

Turn 1 – Scavenger (Ob 1) – Gerald Succeeds

Ivy and Gerald left their companions at the abandoned raft and proceeded back to the temple entrance. Once there, they saw a blood trail leading towards the cliff. They followed the blood trail and found a corpse near the edge of the cliff. They searched the corpse (scavenger test) and found a silver necklace with a crescent moon sigil. The corpse also had a rusty knife. Gerald took both.

Ivy felt compelled by the Bloodaxe when he saw the bleeding body. He touched the blade of the ax to the corpse, and within moments the corpse became desiccated and dry. Seemingly drained entirely of blood.

Turn 2 – Scout (Ob 4) – Ivy Fails

As Gerald and Ivy approached the ruins, they saw that the complex was still engulfed in the heavy ensorcelled fog from earlier. As they approached the fog, the new necklace seemed to encase them in a bubble of protection that kept the fog at bay, They searched (Scout Test) for a new way into the under-level, not wanting to risk a new encounter with the statue from before. They took a long time, getting hungry from their efforts, but eventually found a passage into an underground storage room,

Figures in a Building c.1830-5 Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851 Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856

Turn 3 – Scavenger (Ob 3) – Gerald Succeeds

Entering the storage room, they lit a torch and saw numerous burlap sacks in haphazard stacks, desiccated wooden kegs, and precarious shelving. Despite the age of the room, Gerald was determined to search for something of value (Scavenger Test) and he succeeded at finding some old keys, one in particular was untarnished by time and the bow of the key was shaped like a crescent moon. One of the tarnished keys successfully opened the back door of the storage room.

They emerged into a dark tunnel, difficult to see beyond their torch light. To their right they heard a distant sound like a waterfall, and discussed which way to go. Ultimately, Gerald flipped a coin and fate led them away from the waterfall – to their left instead. They followed the tunnel for a while, eventually emerging into a cavernous chamber with evenly dispersed columns.

Turn 4 – Scout (Ob 3) – Ivy Succeeds

Ivy led the party into the chamber, searching for a path to the dwarfen tunnel. Ivy left copper coins to mark their path. Eventually, they found a forged chain that was hammered into columns with dwarfen nails. The party followed the chain path and eventually found a stairwell leading down deeper. At the bottom of the stairwell, they found an ancient wooden door, the crescent moon key opened the door and they found a large chamber bathed in a reddish light.

In the middle of the chamber, a dragon blood tree grew out of the stone, nestled on a small island between two creeks of steaming volcanic water. The party slowly circumnavigated the room, and had the sensation of being watched by something above. Ivy made a whistle as a bird call, and from up above a large bird flew down to inspect the party more closely. As the bird flew off, one of its feathers came loose and fell to the ground. The feather slowly transformed into solid gold.

The adventurers were all out of food, but managed to get some of the hot water from the springs to refill their skins. They set off deeper into the chamber, which led through another locked door and then to a hidden alcove. A dwarfen barge was tethered to a secret harbor, with. heavy rope leading across the lake into another chamber.

Immediately, the party heard the sounds of approaching dwarfs from the door by the harbor. Gerald calls out a greeting before the dwarfs reach the door. Upon calling out, the dwarfs went silent. Momentarily, they opened the door in a defensive position with spears at the ready. They quickly surrounded the halflings.

Turn 5 – Persuade (vs Nature 4) – Gerald Fails

Gerald and Ivy attempted to persuade the dwarfs that they had nothing to do with the death of the wizard, but the old dwarf was uncertain. He asked if the halflings would be so kind as to accompany the dwarfs back to their stronghold to discuss the situation with their chieftain. The halflings did not resist, and accompanied the dwarfs across the lake and up the volcano.

They arrived at the dwarfen outpost and were escorted to their chambers where they were told to wait until evening, when the dwarfs would hold a council. They had food and beverages in the room. After settling in, Ivy knocked on the door and asked if the dwarves had any balm to help him recover from exhaustion. The dwarfs complied with the request. Gerald and Ivy both recovered from their conditions while awaiting the council.

Camp 1 – Persuade (Ob 1) – Ivy Succeeds

Camp 2 – Angry Recovery – Gerald Succeeds

Camp 3 – Exhausted Recovery – Ivy Succeeds

Dwarfs – Achron (left) & Goldor (right)

In the evening, the dwarf guards came for the halflings and brought them to an audience hall where they beheld a score of dwarf men. They were led to the center of the chamber, and the hubbub settled to quiet. The chieftain of the dwarfs, Goldor, recounted the many long years of business between the dwarfs and Magister Blanc, the slain wizard. Another dwarf interrupted the chieftan when he saw Ivy was carrying the bloodaxe. The dwarf introduced himself as Achron, and said that he was the smith who created the blodoaxe. Achron asked Ivy to hand over the axe, so that he could inspect how his handiwork had fared.

Achron held his hand to the blade, and for a few minutes all the dwarfs were silent. Achron eventually breathed deeply and opened his eyes, he told all present the story of the axe. He named the many who had been slain by the axe when it was originally used in the great war fought between Bjornings and Greylings for dominion of the island. He then told of the axes long rest, and how it had recently felled Magister Blanc.

The dwarfs were surprised that Ivy had managed to kill the powerful magician so easily, but Achron attested that the killing had been done fairly and openly. The magician had been killed from the front, as he prepared his own battle magicks. The dwarfs asked Ivy to tell how they had come upon the magician, and she told the story of the adventure and also mentioned the dragon blood tree – showing the golden feather.

Upon mentioning this, the dwarfs went ashen-faced. They stammered their astonishment, and asked if they had truly found the key to the ancient chamber. Goldor called the room to order and told the halflings that the dwarfs would hold no grudge with them, if in exchange for the lost business opportunity with the magister, the halflings would lead the dwarfs to the dragon blood tree to see it for themselves. The halflings agreed.

Dwarf Family Tree

Torchbearer AP (Session 10)

Date: 1.26.2023


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

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.