Actual Play – In the Drink (8/22/2013)

torchbearer-rpgGM: Sean Nittner
Players: Josh Curtis, Lindsay Nix, Dylan Nix, Joey Richards, and Jon Edwards
System: Torchbearer

My A-Team was back in the House of the Three Squires!

Warning: There will be spoilers in these write ups. If you intent to play Under the House of the Three Squires I recommend not reading the play synopsis.


Allen recounted the story of their last adventure, freeing the Innkeeper’s dog (an adorable pug with a wicked gash above his eye), befriending, enjoying themselves some of the famed Sour Beer and then trudging forward into the darkness below.

Actual Play on Air

Getting Wet!

Turn 7 – Unsure if they should camp now or delve deeper, the party took a middle path and secured the cellar before venturing forth. Boarding up the door and spreading sand over passage to track if anyone has passed through. (Survivalist Ob 2. Result: Success)

After the camp was secured Alexander’s torch burns out. Astrafel lights her torch off his embers.

The party squeezed through the bricks and into the natural cavern behind and found the icy pool at the end.

Following his instinct Allen looked for ambushes and though there were many shadowy alcoves, nothing was lurking in them. He tried the water in the well and found it fresh and peaty.

Turn 8 – Amare dipped into the cold water of the pool and scouted it’s depths (Ob: 2. Result Success). Amare found an underwater tunnel with water moving through it!

Turn 9 – Allen leads the party, tied together by rope, and all of their gear wrapped as tightly as they could in oiled backpacks. They held their breath and gritted their teeth to swim through the dark freezing tunnel. He tapped his dwarven nature of delving  dug forward. (Dungeoneering Ob 7. Result: Success)

Even after Allen’s great perseverance, the experience exhausted them.  [Condition gained: Hungry and Thirsty for most, Exhausted for Astrafel (a turn late because the GM lost track of the turn counter)]. The made it through but were freezing, wet, and in the dark. Taking advantage of the nearby source of clean water, they all drank their full!

After the panting was done, and with great difficulty, Allen lit his lantern and Alwyn lit his torch.

Instinct -Alwyn looked for a traps but found this place untouched by man. Allen searched for ambushes (Scout vs. Utten’s Nature. Result: Fail. Twist: The stone spider leaps down Allen who drops his lantern down the crevasse.)

Turn 10 – Afraid of fighting in the dark, Amare scrambled to light a lantern [Survivalist Ob 2. Result: Success]

Turn 11– Drive off Conflict. Alexander the Righteous dropped his backpack to the ground and charged forward with his might sword to beat back the spider! All the others at his back! The fight was a harry one. Astrafel’s Eldritch Darts cracked it’s stony carapace and finally Alexander’s two handed sword bit deep, sending it scuttling back into the darkness, but not before it’s venomous fangs bit into his flesh. [Result: Compromise. Alexander is Exhausted]

After the adrenalin rush of the fight, Alexander felt the pain of the spider’s poison running through his veins. With the aid of Astrafel’s healing skills, he fought the spider’s worst. [Ob 2 Health. Result: Success]

Turn 12 – The spider driven off, the adventurers turned back to the crevasse and made a plan to cross. Alwyn leaped across it, Astrafel after him and the two of them held a rope for the others to use in crossing. [Dungeoneering Ob 4. Result: Fail. Twist: In the middle of crossing when Amare was in the middle, Alexander lost his grip and Amare fell in the crevace hanging from the rope with one hand, the older holing her lantern!]

Thoughts on this game

Holy shit, they an Ob 7 Dungeoneering test! These guys rock.

Should swimming through the river been more punishing? My feeling is that since the roll succeeded I shouldn’t apply twists or consequences, yet we know their backpacks aren’t water tight, surely their good would be wet. Torches harder to light, clothes soaked and slowing them down?

Too rough a twist to say that a spider knocks you down and you drop your lantern into a crevasse? This made sense to me in the fiction, but almost immediately after seemed very harsh? This twist created two problems: a spider hugry for dwarf meat and a light source destoyed.

That said, I don’t think I should have let Amare roll survivalist to light a lantern before the fight. Possibly someone could have pulled out a torch and lit it of the existing torch, but lighting a lantern is an involved process. I know conflicts are driven by the players actions (not the monsters) but if monster is tackling you in the fiction, and the player takes a turn to do something not related to fighting it off, what should happen? In Apocalypse World, I’d lead with a move “The spider tackles your friend and knocks him to the ground” and then if you ignored that to do something else, I’d snowball it into a hard move “The spider wraps your friend up in webbing and carries him off into the crevasse above.” Here I allowed a roll, but created no negative consequence for a turn passing without anyone fighting off the treat.

Should the roll to fight off the poison be a turn? Should it have happened during the fight (instead of after)? I wasn’t sure but I had him make it after the fight because it happened in the last exchange, but in retrospect I think I should have had him make it in the conflict (and without help) or after and take a turn.

I was a turn behind this whole session and kept applying conditions (and light sources going out) too late. Arg.

My track record for failed rolls and conflict comprises:

Twists: 2
Conditions: 1

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