Actual Play – Burnsies (9/4/2013)

torchbearer-rpgGM: Sean Nittner
Players: Jon Edwards, Tim Sanders, and Soren Ludwig
System: Torchbearer
Module: Temple of Elemental Evil

Another adventure in the Moathouse. The got out! Literally by the skin of their teeth.


Thaspar recounted the tale of their last adventure. They lost Sixtoes and found gnolls!

Goals Changed

Mostly to “get the hell out of this dungeon!” Hah!

Gaming on Air

The play is the thing

The adventurers find Thomer, a human, tied on a spit, being cooked alive by gnolls. Thaspar used his Aegis to knock back the gnolls and Orrin followed up knocking the spit over.

Some flavor – Gnolls are jovial sadists. One of them was playing with a one-armed, one-legged zombie chained to a wall.

Turn 7 – Thaspar tried to subtly drop his dagger to Thomer so he could cut himself free. [Criminal versus test against the Gnoll’s nature. Result: Fail. Condition: Afraid]  Tuft grabbed Thaspar just as he dropped the dagger and lifted him up off the ground to the magicians face up to his maw.

Turn 8 – Trick conflict with the Gnoll leader Tuft. They tricked the gnolls into believing that not only were the bandits above them better eating, but also that for Tuft to show he was strong, he’d have to put those bandits down. [Trick Conflict. Win. Minor compromise: One gnoll is left to supervise them]. The talk took something out of them [Conditions applied: Hungry and Thirsty for Thomer, Exhausted for Thaspar, Angry for Orrin]. Torch burnt out.

Thomer recovers his belongings, and a midst them, find a leather bound tome, which was used by the gnolls as toilet paper. Orrin scavenges up torches out of the campfire, but the one gnoll who is watching him thinks that’s an invite to play burnsies (the game of taking turns burning each other). Orrin hits him with the burning torch and the gnoll gleefully looks to hit him back.

Orrin numbly chewed the rat steak cooked up by Sixtoes!

Turn 9 – Thaspar tries to knock the gnolls torch into and take control of the situation. Thaspar don’t play that game! [Health vs Nature test. Result: Fail. Condition: Angry]. He bounces off the gnoll, who almost attacks him, but then realizes that Thaspar is Tuft’s play-toy so lets him go, which pisses Thaspar off fiercely because nobody fears him at all.

Good idea – Thaspar studied the fecal covered leather bound, which was written in praise of Lloth, and spoke of a Bright Child that would come to the Moathouse and take control, and of the secret passwords and identification he would use. Identified safe passage would come with a cloak with golden eyes and special hand signal.

Turn 10 – They followed in the direction the gnolls went until they came to a fork in the dungeon.  Thomer, adept as tracking, looked for signs of their passage [Scout Ob 2. Result: Success].

The followed the path…to glorious stairs! In the ascent Thomer told his new companions of his childhood, how his old master had raised him to steal for him, and when Thomer had gotten to old, he was kicked out. Now he seeks a new family. The stairs lead to a dead end! In the distance they felt a thud vibrating through for the ground.

Turn 11 – Sure the gnolls went this way, Orrin began searching for a secret door. [Scout Ob 2: Result: Success]. Orrin found, high up, a winch mechanism to lift the door. After the work their torch went out and they spotted a small crack of light that came through above the door, and through that crack they saw a giant deformed monster of a man.

Thomer lit his lantern so Thaspar could read the book, where he identified the guardian as Lubash the Ogre! The way the bright child would identify himself as well. With the cloak of golden eyes, and the hand signal of Lloth.

Turn 12 – To trick the ogre, Thaspar set off to make gold thread, which he could show into a cloak as eyes. [Alchemist Ob 2. Result: Fail. Twist: The gnolls returned. Tuft and Lubash were talking on the other side of the wall]. [Thomer and Orrin gained Hungry and Thirsty and Thaspar, out of food and filled with ever other condition was now Sick]

Spell – To find out what the were talking about, Thaspar cast Wisdom of the Sages out of his spell book. [Arcanist Ob 1. Result: Fail. Twist: Thaspar’s intoning of the spell is overheard by the gnolls and the ogre on the other side]. All went quiet on the other side.

Good Idea – As they heard Lubash come close they walked down the stairs and doused their lantern, hiding out of view.

Turn 13 – As the Ogre Lubash entered the stairwell, but his feet did not fit on the steps and the party took advantage of his awkward balance to trip him down the steps. [Versus test against Ogre’s nature (descriptor: lumbering). Result: Success! Lubash goes tumbling down!] The gnolls, as I described before, were jovial sadists so instead of trying to stop the party, they doubled over laughing.

Mapping Fast Travel – Once they run through the Ogre’s room, they were back into mapped territory. Making use of their map, they moved quickly through the dungeon and up the stairs into the moathouse. Hurray, they made it out of the moathouse!

Turn 14 – Breathing fresh air again, Thaspar led the way back to Homlett! [Pathfinder Ob 3. Result: Twist. Thaspar in his rush didn’t pack the bowl of golden dye carefully, the sack with book of Lloth and the gold dye got jossled and the dye got everywhere, covering the book and ruining the sack].

Artha Awards

I was very happy to give Thomer embodiment this session. Jon did a fantastic job of playing Thomer the Feral as a lost cub, looking for a pack.

Thoughts on this game

Going down the steps to hide, I asked them what they did with their light, and then called it a good idea when they said they hid it. Probably shouldn’t have fed them that one.

Getting past he ogre. I should have handled that as Flee conflict, but I was damn tired and wanted to get through it quickly, so I called it a versus test to trip him.

There was a lot of meta gaming this session. On my part it came from being tired. I just said “You need to make a Pathfinder check to get there” instead of asking what they do an following with a call for a test.  In Tim’s case it was a lot of “what will I have to roll to do this?” to which I should have responded “lead with the fiction.”

Lead with the fiction.