Actual Play – Welcome to Hommlet, dirty adventurers (9/13/2013)

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

Battered and beaten down (like they should be), my intrepid adventures made their way to Hommlet, to sell some of their treasure and, more importantly, lick their wounds.


Orrin recapped the daring escape from the Moathouse with their new found companion Thomer.

Hommlet on Air

A breakdown of the action

The adventurers had some checks to spend and opted to make camp outside of town. To all of our amazement I rolled a minor boon for them in camp, a small pleasant brook, quite tranquil in contrast to the Moathouse horrors. The rested up some, Orrin recovering from conditions, Thaspar not so much, and headed in to town.  On their way in, Thaspar admitted to his friends that his family name (as Hommlet is is home town and they were sure to hear it) was not Flamebringer, but Redclaw, and that he didn’t get along too well with his family (we talked about this some and decided that his brother the warrior wasn’t his enemy, it was really his father Ignus Redclaw, who saw Thaspar as a constant disappointment).

Town Phase

This was a our first town phase, so I wanted to do it BY THE BOOK. Literally, I was reading each section out of the book.

At the gates

  • Spend remaining checks – They just had a camp phase, so these were all gone.
  • Determine the watch – I rolled the “Cutlers” guild.
  • Entering Town Table – I roll a Minor Inconvenience – Surly Watch. Since Thaspar had talked about nobody liking him (and he is a pretty hard guy to like) I had the Cutler’s spoiling for a fight with Thaspar. Stella, one of the guild members knew full well about the bad blood between Thaspar and his father Ignus, and she didn’t think much of Thaspar either. (Persuader versus test. Result: Fail. Twist: The party is allowed in but a round of drink were going to be put on Thaspar’s bill. Lifestyle cost: 1).
  • Fresh Rations spoiled
  • Orrin and Thaspar both went to level 2!
  • Strategize – They all just wanted to heal up and stock up. Not much to do here.
  • Haggle – No one opted to haggle (didn’t want the lifestyle cost)

In town

To bed! Everyone was beat up and the first thing they wanted to do was recover from conditions.

  • Thaspar went home – Yay, home.
  • Orrin headed to the Inn of the Welcome Wench (Inn)
  • Thomer snuck into the stables to sleep with the animals.

No point in detailing out the recovery, it was good for Orrin and bad for Thaspar. Here’s the interesting bits:

Getting Rough with Rufus

Thomer looked for some work and found some with the cutler’s guild! They were peeved that the adventurers Burne and Rufus were giving work to the carpenters and stonemasons guilds, but none to the cutlers. Everyone needs good sharp knives!  (Circles Ob 3. Result: Success).

Thomer agreed get the adventures negotiating with the Cutlers for a contract and went on his way to talk to Rufus. He found the warrior  (Circles Ob 3, Result: Fail. Condition: Angry), Rufus and let me know that the cutler’s guild wanted work and meant business. (Manipulator versus. Result. Tie. Tiebreaker roll. Result: Fail. Twist: Rufus was incensed at the threat and was going to round up the stonemasons to take the fight to the cutlers directly. Brawl!

Fighting with Family

Thapsar found his father on the road, pushing a wheelbarrow of freshly shaved (unspun) wool.  Ignus was disappointed but not overly surprised to see his son. Thaspar offered to spin the wool, which seemed like a good way to earn his fathers good graces, so I called for a test to spin it, and thereby impress him. (Weaver Ob 2. Result: Fail. Twist: Now Thapar’s presence was causing trouble for his entire family as his mother and father were fighting over him being there).

Man, that’s what family is for! (worht noting Thapsar doesn’t technically have a family, because he’s a loner tough and cool. Ignus (his father) is his enemy.

Thoughts on this game

What do you do when you’re Afraid and try something you’re not skilled in? (Since you can’t use beginners luck)

Some questions:

1. I presented a difficult situation for Thaspar. His room had been converted to a nursery (his mother is pregnant again) and his father doesn’t want him home. Thaspar tried to ear his good graces by doing some of the family work (weaving) but failed the roll to spin the wool, and ended up causing his mother and father to start fighting with each other..

He had this tough situation where I described the family meals as tense and quiet, but he was in such bad shape (tons of conditions) all he waned to do was rest and recover. He had the option of making a persuader roll to try and make peace, but he as just too be up to do it.

My question here is: should I have skipped over all that role-playing bits and just had him make recovery checks? If so, how should I be presenting his enemy/father in a way that creates hardships for the character?

1b. When the entered town I rolled a Minor Inconvenience of “Surly Watch” and had rolled the Cutler’s guild on watch. We also had some dialog of “You’re not wanted here” and they made opposed persuader rolls. The failed the roll and I said the bribe was buying the all drinks at the Inn of the Welcome Wench and told him to mark a Lifestyle Cost +1, that sound legit?

2. Thomen tried to dig up some guild work. It said it offered a bag full of silver, but we had some questions about what the work and reward entailed. 1D cash?

2a. Work. So the cutlers were upset that a new building was being made and the stonemasons and carpenters guilds were getting all the work. Since it was “adventurers” commissioning the new building, they wanted Thomen to convince them to give the cutlers some of that work as well. Surely the new building would need knives!

To do the work I asked Thomen to first circle up the patrons of the building Rufus and Burne, and then persuade them to give the cutlers some work. He failed his circles roll and decided that everyone in Hommlett were money grubbing jerks that couldn’t just point him in the right direction without a bribe (angry condition) and then met Rufus the Warrior. Thomen decided to use some mob tactics and say it would be a shame of some of the stonemasons doing the work got hurt, perhaps he should give the cutlers some work, to keep everyone safe and sound. They made opposed Manipulator checks, tied, and Rufus won the tiebreaker. He was incensed at the the threat and planned to go teach those cutlers a lesson!

Was this too many rolls to call for doing the work (Circles to get the work, circles to find his mark, manipulator to manipulate him)?

2b. Reward. I don’t think he finished the work, in fact he made things worse for the cutllers (the twist). He’s still in town though, so he might find a way to make things better. If he succeeds what is the reward in terms of cash dice? 1D seems like the obvious answer, but why would someone raise their lifestyle by +1 just to have a chance of getting 1D of cash. With the hope to spin wheels for a while building up their resources?

3. Can characters help each other with work in towns? If so do they both pay the lifestyle cost? What if one person wants to help the other haggle, find work, or dig up leads?

4 thoughts on “Actual Play – Welcome to Hommlet, dirty adventurers (9/13/2013)”

  1. Yeah, I felt kind of weird not role-playing in town. Before reading that, I would think Town is the place to role-play.

  2. 1) + 2) This sounds reasonable. Family drama should be kept to one or two rolls: just enough to make sure the character doesn’t want to live at home!

    You have two options with work. Work can be a short job (a couple of rolls) or it can be something that leads to an actual adventure. That’s up to you.

    3) Yup. Work doesn’t pay well, but it can help increase your overall town resources.

  3. *Why should you work* Cash protects your resources from getting taxed. So getting some dice for that test could be worth it – especially if you earn more than +1D.

  4. From Eric H on G+

    PC, Resources 0 (R0), living on the street, Lifestyle 0, completes work for Treasure 1D.
    1) Spend treasure on Lifestyle: 50% chance of R0 -> R1 and Fresh, else condition or twist.
    2) Spend treasure at Market: 50% chance R0, (item + condition) or (twist)
    -OR 25% chance R0 (taxed back down) + item
    -OR 25% chance R1 + item + Fresh

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