Actual Play – Elfia’s Tower (7/1/2014)

torchbearer-rpgGM: Sean Nittner
Players: Mark Miller, Alex Miller, and Max Külshammer.
System: Torchbearer
Module: Under the House of the Three Squires

Back in Town. Elfia’s tower even! (Milton’s home town).

This game was a bit rough because Alex was still creating his character (hard to do while town phase is going on) and we had some latency issues. But adventurers are not thwarted so easily. We carried on.

Elfia’s Tower

Originally I was going to have the characters return to Skogenby because it was a named location in Middlemark, but Max really wanted to see his mentor in the Wizard’s Tower, so I thought it a good opportunity to flesh out a bit more of the world.

I went back and forth asking them questions and this is what his home town turned into.

Elfia’s tower is named after the grand wizard that built it, Elfia. She has fostered an entire community of alchemists, enchanters, apothecaries, jewelers, magicians, and other higher trades. There is a school attached and a dungeon beneath it. Because there are few natural resources here, but many amazing creations, considerable merchant traffic comes in and out of the town.

Elfia’s tower has gotten a bad name though, due to some merchants being ensorcled by enchanters, paid with fools gold, or otherwise being robbed by the residents.

When they arrived the town event I rolled was a new sumptuary law and it seemed very fitting to require all wizards must wear conical hats.  Elfia is clearly trying to improve the town’s reputation and hold wizards accountable for their actions!

I also rolled that the Goldsmiths were on watch at the time and so we detailed a few of them. Rastin and Juliet were at the gates. Two journeymen both trying to sound smarter than the other about the ideal temperature for working with gold alloys, and the best unctures to use in polishing gold, alloys to make it stronger and the like. They hardly paid mind to the people entering, except to tell them of the new laws. Neither of them wore hats. Susan the smith is the leader of the Goldsmiths. Maybe she knew Milton’s parents?

Torchbearing in Town on Air

Level up!

Both Milton and Cleg reached level two! Huzza. Milton got a new spell and Cleg gained the Shrewd benefit (able to make Haggler test during the town phase without raising lifestyle).

When it came time (after practicing with his mentor Paul) Milton was taught the spell Eldritch Darts!


Cleg knows his stuff. He succeeded in his haggler check so had two options: Hard Bargain or Thriftiness!


Milton stayed with his Mentor Paul.  Sleeping on his hard floor he still recovered from being exhausted. Cleg stayed in the inn and recovered from his conditions as well! On their way to being Fresh!

Personal Business

What to do with a locked chest when in town? Hit with a hammer and crack it open. Yay, silver!

To Market!

In search of a conical hat, and other rations, Milton and Cleg went to the market. A local vendor sold simple weaved hats offered simple bulap suited for apprentices, but a traveling merchant from the mountains named Pasang was selling leader caps with imprints of their owner’s initials. While haggling with the vendor Milton heard a man bellowing the name “PAUL!” [Resources Ob 2. Fail: Twist]. It turns out Paul had charmed a goldsmith’s wife and he wanted revenge. Mistaking Milton for Paul (because Milton was wearing Paul’s hat) he nearly took Milton’s head. When he realize his mistake Nieman, the goldsmith demanded to know where Paul was so he could go pulverize him. Milton and Cleg lied, claiming that Paul was on a walk about. Getting the better of Nieman (and spending a lifestyle check on personal business to keep him away from Paul) he earned his cap, twin M’s imprinted into it, with lightning bolts for the tines of the M.

Other items purchased with less fanfare were rations, torches, and a satchel.

Paying the Bills

On their way out of town, with the remaining coin in their purses, Milton and Cleg mustered enough to pay their bills and leave Fresh! (A pretty miraculous feat I’d say)

They also met up with Amos, a halfling down on his luck but with the promise of riches. Dragon’s Teeth that are supposed to be just rolling down the hill from the Stone Dragon Mountain!

Thoughts on this game

Google Hangouts (or any video conferencing for that matter) are terrible for trying to have two conversations at once. At a table, some players can talk to each other about one thing while some others talk about another. NOT SO ON HANGOUTS. Every time I tried to have Mark and Max talk about what to do in town while simultaneously doing character creation with Alex, it was a total dud.

Town phase was pretty smooth. We really just handled recover and purchasing goods as nobody wanted to spend lifestyle on anything else. I called all tests (dealing with Nieman or opening the chest) personal business, so it inclined folks to get out of town quick.

The jealous goldsmith was pretty fun to play. I was just waiting for Milton to fail the roll and gain an enemy, but he made it and evaded the grisly fate!


Actual Play – Sour Beer (5/25/2014)

torchbearer-rpgGM: Sean Nittner
Players: June Garcia, Morgan Hua, and Brian Williams
System: Torchbearer
Adventure: Under the House of the Three Squires

Not having anything else on my schedule I ran an impromptu game of Torchbearer. It took us a little while to find a group, and then a little while to find a space, so once we got rolling there was only about two hours to play… but man how much we got done!

To House or not to House

At the last moment I was faced with a conundrum. Run Stone Dragon Mountain, which only exists right now as a series of notes for wandering monsters, a google doc with half the locations, and a pinterest board with art ideas. Or run House under the Three Squires.

Unsure of myself I folded and ran the House. We had little time and I wanted to get the best out of it. In retrospect, I should just be flinging Stone Dragon at anyone that will play it from now on until I have it fully developed and tested.

Character Selection

It’s worth noting that the iconic characters are not all individually prepared for adventure. For example between Taika, Ulrik, and Gerald, none of them have a tinderbox. Hmm. We realized this after the first turn when someone wanted to light a torch. Fun times. Taika had an open slot in her pack so I gave her the option of having a tinderbox in it, but after that they were pretty much on their own.

It seem like a GM with new players serves the game well to tell everyone that they should have a source of light, a source of food, and perhaps a tool or spell component in their pack. For more experienced players though, let them be figure it out.

The players selected Taika, Ulrik, and Gerald. After the adventure introduction each of them chose goals and then gave a little snippet of their character’s description. For Taika and Gerald we go a look at their raiment. Ulrik, we saw a flashback of him giving last rights to a man, then pilfering the coin purse of the dead man’s body.

Adventuring – Turn by Turn

Instinct – After inspecting the wreckage in the house, Taika identified the scales as belonging to kobolds [Ob 2 Hunter. Success]. With this knowledge in hand she strode forward confident she was prepared…

Turn 1 – …but not expecting the first set of stairs she walked down to collapse on her. With the help form Ulrik who was holding the torch behind her, she leapt back to safety [Ob 2 Health. Success]

Turn 2 – Sturdy rope in hand, Gerald quickly started tying knots and loops in it to make a rope ladder. He secured it to a rafter in the building and they safely descended [Ob 3 Weaver. Success].

Turn 3 – Below, seeing the rubble stacked in on corner and hearing a whining noise behind hit, Gerald quickly set to uncovering the what ever was under (or in this case behind) the stack of debris. His friends helped but it was tiresome work, made worse by the increasingly loud whining and pawing sounds. [Ob 1 Laborer. Failure. Condition: Exhausted for Gerald, Hungry and Thirsty for the others]

Finding the emaciated Pomeranian in the wine cellar was no threat, they opted to make camp in the larger cellar and try to recover from their weariness.

Camp Phase

Events – Lucky Break! One of the patron of the in had died during the skirmish and his body had been propped against the door as well under the debris. Upon moving them, Ulkrik found the man had a scroll with a Blessing of the Lords of Light and Darkness on it. Wow!

Instinct – Before doing much of anything else Gerald set about making food for his compatriots. He cooked up a lovely meal [Cooing Ob 2 [3 from exhausted] Success, after using a Of Course! with Needs a little Salt-wise] and everyone ate, including the dog.

Check – Taika took some of the wood from the collapsed stairwell and fixtures and scraps off cloth off the dead man to assemble a few more sturdy torches [Survivalist Ob 2. Success]

Check – After a good meal, Gerald found himself a comfy spot in the corner to rub his feed and rest his weary head. [Health Ob 3 to remove Exhausted. Success].

Adventure Phase

Though fed and no longer hostile to the adventures the small dog now had the energy to go find his master. He tried to go through the cellar door but it was closed and the adventures weren’t going going to open it for him.

Turn 1 – Inspecting the wine cellar, Ulrik realized there were four in tact casks of the famed Three Squires Sour Beer. He proposed to haul all four back up to the surface and take them back to Skogenby to sell! Carrying them up the rope ladder though was a challenge (Laborer Ob 2. Fail. Twist). As they toiled they didn’t realize the dog had gotten the attention of a kobold patrol. While they were all in the wine celar, the kobolds snuck in, slammed the door shut and and knocked the pile of furniture and debris back down in front of he door. Snickering to themselves, they were eventually chased off by the loud barking of the dog.

Turn 2– Inside the cellar, Ulrik was not deterred. With a hammer and spikes he started disassembling the door jam so the entire door could come through it. Though unskilled in such matter’s it’s easier to take things appart than it is to put them together, especially when the promise of gold and freedom is on the other side. With aid of his companions Ulrik cleared the path (Carpenter Ob 2. Success)!

Turn 3 – Though the brigands talked of eating the dog, it was all skin and bones. Eventually Taika decided to tame the wild beast by offering it a bit more food and some kindness. The others joined, trying to scratch it and say kind words. It worked, but god was the little dog stubborn, it just wanted it’s master. By the time they called it their own, all of them were reconsidering eating it! (Hunter Ob 2. Fail. Condition: Angry). Taika named the pooch after the inn’s namesake drink: Sour Beer.

Kegs in hand, the set out for Skogenby!

Town Phase

When they arrived in town a dance was being held in the center of Skokenby in celebration of a good harvest. All who joined had their spirits uplifted by the revelry (Remove Angry).

In the Market, Taika traded three of the kegs and bought herself a bow! (Ob 3 Resources Text. Success)

We wrapped there as we were out of time, and didn’t have time to do lifestyle costs, but had they succeeded (they had no conditions to recover or taxed nature) they may very well have walked out of Skogenby Fresh! (Shudder the thought).

Thoughts on this game

By the Hands of the Lords of Entropy this group was lucky! Rolling not only a lucky break on the camp and on the town, but also getting just what they needed at every turn. Some of this was due to me starting them off with 1 Fate and 1 Persona at the start of the game, but their rolls (and my rolls for that matter) were also on fire!

I should have required a Pathfinder check to get back to town as well as doing the Artha award but we were cutting it too close on time (Morgan had to be in another game) so I just thanked them all and send them off to plunder other’s tombs.

Morgan was a good sport in the game, and played Ulrik really well, but the game was too crunchy for him (more details here, scroll to the bottom). I’m still working on putting the fiction first and not saying “okay, two turns have passed, your torch is out” but rather saying “After lighting your way while the rope ladder was made and descending safely, your torch burns down to it’s embers”. I think that will go a long way towards the players not feeling like there is so much crunch to the game.

First time the dog has been named. I loved it! Sour Beer FTW.

Next time I run it’s Stone Dragon Mountain. It’s happening!

Actual Play – Escaping the Three Squires (3/26/2014)

torchbearer-rpgGM: Sean Nittner
Players: Chris Moore, David Gallo, and Max Külshammer.
System: Torchbearer
Module: Under the House of the Three Squires

Back in the House!

Prologue: Milton recouted the events from last session: Death to Crooked Tooth!

While you were gone: Thrallson let us know that after the adrenalin of fighting kobolds, he froze up, in shock from all the carnage and wondering what he was doing.

Beliefs, Instincts, and Goals

Thrallson’s Goal: Changed from “The Kobolds will pay their debt in blood for every life they’ve taken” to “I will loot enough spoils to pay for my parents freedom.”

Torchbearing on Air

Torchbearing by Turn

Turn 27 – Thrallson hollered that the war band was charging in, and they have a fevered, panicked look to them. Milton got to prying away at the locks and lashes holding the cages together.  [Criminal Ob 2 (+1 From Exhaustion, +1 From Darkness). Success!] The people were freed! Miles and Milton grabbed the weapons from the fallen kobolds to arm the prisoners and face the war band.

Magic – Celestial Magic – As the kobolds charged though, Milton could tell they were more terrified than anything else, coming to Crooked tooth for protection… a giant spider was chasing them down. Milton tried to get their attention, something to rally them, but his voice was simply drowned out by their fervor. In desperation he pulled the scroll from his backpack and cast Celestial Music to amplify his voice, and the voice of his companions [Arcanist Ob 4. Success]. The bewitching sound forced the Kobolds to momentarily stop and listen. Both terrified and mesmerized.

Turn 28 – With the magic amplifying his voice and making it ring true to the Kobolds (who could not otherwise understand common) Thrallson stepped up in front of them and told them of great dwarven battles, rallying them to stand by the adventurers side and together, slay the spider that haunted them all!

Conditions Applied

Turn 29 – With a few of the prisoners armed, and a warband of kobolds filled with momentary courage, the adventurers plunged forward into battle with Uttan, intent on slaying the beast! They mobbed the beast and forced it to fight in the open. Together the defeated it, but not without suffering themselves. Two of the prisoners were and Thrallson were badly injured. An abdominal wound, a broken arm, and slash across the throat. [Injured]

Turn 30 – Once the commotion settled down, the heroes decided to reset before heading out of the dungeon. Milton set about securing a camp [Survivalist Ob 1 (+1 From Exhaustion, +1 from Dim Light). Success]. Milton used some cages to form a small blockade, protecting them from intruders. Safe camp!

Camp Phase

Instinct – Miles fashioned a eyes mask filled with lavender and other pleasant smelling herbs to aid in sleeping [Healer Ob 1 (+1 from Exhaustion). Success].

Check – Thrallson used the sleeping mask to try and rest and recover [Heath Ob 3. Success]. Thrallson was still injured but no longer exhausted.

Instint – Milton set about fixing is obviously inaccurate map. [Cartography Ob 3 (+1 from Exhaustion). Failure. Twist]. As he worked away, Milton’s ink was knocked off his knee and spilled all over the ground, preventing him from mapping any further!

Check – Miles bitched out his companions for dragging him down. If the wizard could draw a map, and if he dwarf could do any good dwarfing. [Will Ob 2. Success]. After a good bitching (and losing some good will from the prisoners that listened to him berating his companions).

Adventure Phase

The ground had a fierce shake, and everyone wanted to move! Agata (Ronwald’s wife) though wanted to find her husband. She began calling down the corridors for him.

Turn 1 – Milton tried to convince her to come with them, telling her that her husband Ronwald was killed and that she shouldn’t make his death meaningless. [Persuader vs Persuader test. Tie -> Tie Breaker roll Nature vs. Nature. Fail. Twist]. He tried to give her a hug to console her but she shoved him away and told him that she was going to go find her husband’s body to lay it to rest.

Turn 2 – Thrallson had enough of this. He grabbed Agata and threw her over his shoulder [Heath vs. Heath test. Success] Against her will, he carried her off.

Turn 3 – To see their way out Thrallson tried to scavenge together some torches from the wooden cages and the soiled rugs. [Survivalist Ob 2 (+1 from Dim light). Fail. Condition: Angry] He did it but the quality was crap, and having a woman beating on his chest didn’t help (should have been a factor Sean!). He did it, but he was angry about it!

Fast Traveling – The moved back to the Whipping Post and then continued down the only passage they hadn’t explored so far. After setting off an alarm (with no more kobolds let to alert) they made it back to the upper limestone cave and found the the way back to Ronwald’s cellar!

Hooray for the heroes!

Thoughts on the game

I think characters need to have some kind of shtick, or some very non-conventional belief they play up to get the embodiment reward. It just doesn’t come up as much as it does in Burning Wheel or Empires. Most of the time people are focused on dealing with the challenges at hand like a puzzle more than they think about their “character”.

David’s line at 2:05:14 “I’m going to try and tell this woman that her husband’s not dead when I know very well that he is, and she’s not going to believe me because I only have two dice, and I’m going to get angry again.” echoes a horrible fear I have running the game. That the mechanics will drive play (or in this case prevent play) instead of the fiction. It’s this wacky balance of wanting people to act based on what’s happening in the game, not on what they think will be mechanically advantageous, but the the game is constantly creating mechanical penalties for doing otherwise.

This was especially tough because I really wanted to give Miles the opportunity to take some action in the game (all the other adventure phases tests had been done by Thrallson or Milton this session) but he was too conditioned up to make it viable.

We completed The House Under The Squires. Huzzah for the big damn heroes!

Actual Play – Death to Crooked Tooth! (1/15/2014)

torchbearer-rpgGM: Sean Nittner
Players: David Gallo, Colin Madden, Mark Miller, and Max Külshammer.
System: Torchbearer
Module: Under the House of the Three Squires

Colin returns! After five sessions he couldn’t make because of work, Mr. Madden and his soul-weary elf returned to Torchbearer. Huzzah! Unfortunately, Chris and family were sick so we were still down one adventurer. We got something of a slow start waiting to see who would show up, so the session was rather short.


Miles recapped their victory over the kobolds and saving Joreg’s life!

While you were gone

Aranim told us when he had been this whole time, at first he ran off after the dog, but then the party had left and he had been on their heels whole time, now with a war band behind him!

Kill conflict on air!

Turn by Turn

Turn 25 – Entering Crooked tooth’s lair he found her with four guards and two groveling magistrates. The magistrates were trying to warn her of the impending threat but she disregarded them. Milton made up a story of killing Uttan the stone spider to impress and intimidate her [Manipulator vs. Nature. Fail. Twist: Inciting her to battle] but her fear was feigned. The let the adventurers pass but as soon as they had them flanked jumped them from both sides with spear and dagger.

Turn 26 – The heroes fought back…to the death! We got in a brutal Kill conflict, but due to some strategic “Defend” actions in the end, the heroes walked out of it with nothing but flesh wounds (no disposition lost). Aranim ripped the broach from Crooked Tooth’s neck and claimed it as loot.

After that they head a cry from ahead and when they advanced saw prisoners locked in tiny cages! Now they just had toe deal with the war band behind them!

Thoughts on the game

Much as I appreciate a fine trick, or convince, it was pretty clear these guys wanted blood. Crooked Tooth and her guard were tough (Nature 3) but once a guard was taken out and they were down to Order of Might 1, the battle was over.

I thought once I had the advantage about pushing it but scripting Feint, Feint, Feint. It means that the adventures might completely out script the kobolds, but they would never heal the disposition they had suffered. Had I done that, someone would have died in the fight (they were down to major compromise territory) but it did seem a bit unfair to have the Kobolds act so heedless of their own lives in order to go for a kill. In the end it was a bit hard to imagine that all the brutal blows that happened during the battle turned out to be cosmetic, but I was happy for the PCs to get a win.

Still no sign of Uttan. I have an idea for how they could use that to their advantage, but I’m waiting to see what the players do next session.

Actual Play – One Bloody Apron (1/8/2014)

torchbearer-rpgGM: Sean Nittner
Players: Chris Moore, Mark Miller, David Gallo, and Max Külshammer.
System: Torchbearer
Module: Under the House of the Three Squires

After tricking the Kobolds to go past in 15 Kobolds tricked, our intrepid heroes made there way deeper into the Kobold den.


After a month of not gaming, and without the actual play report up, it was a bit of a stretch to remember what happened last time. Thrallson did his best to recall what he could.

Breaking up congress on air!

Turn by Turn

Turn 21 – The adventurers tried to quietly climb out of the chimney without being overheard by the warband in the room to their north. [Scout vs. Nature. Success]. As they crept out they heard shouts from the other room, Kobolds bickering with each other, wondering where they had gone.

Turn 22 – Lizard Funk the Kobold just wanted to get away from them. He was pretty sure that they would kill him at their earliest convenience given what they had done to the other kobolds.  They insisted that he come with and he threatened to scream and call the war band back if they attacked him. [Manipulator vs. Nature. Fail. Twist: Lizard Funk agreed but stole Thrallson’s tinderbox when they traveled together].

Turn 23 – After traveling through the treasure room, eating, and then walking up the steep steps, the adventurers found a host of Kobolds in some mockery of court. Having caught them off guard, and seeing that there was an injured man among them, they charged in to chase them off. Some brutal blows were exchanged between the torturer (who had been whipping a kobold strapped to the table but now turned on Cleg) as well as a nasty wound that Thrallson suffered as a hidden dagger was stuck in his leg. [Drive off Conflict. Won with a major compromise. Thrallson injured]. Lizard Funk ran off during the fight. Afterwards the found the man Joerg, his foot cut off, dying in the corner.

Turn 24 – The kobold’s driven off, Cleg freed the one that was tied to the table, and in an act of incredible generosity, used is pristine apron to make a clean surface for Miles to operate on. Miles bound the wound so the man wouldn’t die. [Healer Ob 3. Success]. Joerg was saved, as he passed out from the pain he uttered a few words “My daughter Elsa… save her.”

Everyone is Hungry and Thirsty. Miles is Exhausted.

Thoughts on this Game

I should have had Lizard Funk say the captives were in a different direction as he wanted to get out of the caves before he was killed. Wasn’t thinking straight.

Having a war band chase you is rough. My rule was that they could spend 2 turns in any area before the war band caught up unless they specifically tried to put some distance between them (which would give them more turns) or stopped (camp would be automatically interrupted, any kind of other long stops would put them one turn closer. I was thinking along the lines of Psi Run’s mechanics for being found and captured. 

We only did four turns in part because of a lot of discussion about which way to go at any given turn. I think I may make Torchbearer too punitive simply because several problems end up taking several rolls (and thus resources) to resolve.  It could also have been because of the aforementioned war band on their heels, but I thought that would prompt them to move faster.

The court scene is such a gorgeous one that I couldn’t help but keep it in “stasis” until the adventurers came upon it. Like, logically speaking, it probably should have happened well before they got there (as they had been in for a LONG time), but I loved it so much I decided to have it happening when they arrived. And much fun was had with that one.

I forgot to give them +1s on all actions (+2 when the numbers got down) due to a difference in Order of Might, but I’ve forgotten penalties to them so many times, I don’t think that was a tragedy.

Since they are pushing towards the end, I’ve been looking for ways to bring Uttan back, but so far haven’t found good twists that would justify her showing up.

Cleg giving up his apron to save a man’s life was a thing of beauty. Huzzah for dwarves!

Actual Play – 15 Kobolds…Tricked! (12/11/2013)

torchbearer-rpgGM: Sean Nittner
Players: Chris Moore, Mark Miller, and Max Külshammer.
System: Torchbearer
Module: Under the House of the Three Squires

Everyone is Here

Last two sessions we didn’t have everyone, but tonight we had a full house.

Prologue – Milton delivered a detailed and inspiring recount of last session. Painfully reminding us of the treasure lost and then frightful flight form Uttan the stone spider. After recounting the story to his friends he was no longer afraid.

Missing – Miles then told us what happened to him during the session he missed. He had captured by the Kobolds, who were now trying to cook him alive. Arguing of course over which bit to put in the fire first.

Corralling Kobolds on Air

Torchbearing by Turns

 Turn 10 – Miles, not wanting to be either cooked alive, or chopped up so he could be cooked in pieces, twisted and turned so that at the last minute, the Kobold went into the boiling water instead. [Fighter versus test. Success]

Turn 11 – Meanwhile, Milton concocted an alchemical bomb from sulfer and spider webs that would explode when thrown into the fire. [Alchemist Ob 2 (3 with exhaustion). Success]

Turn 12 – As the Kobolds surrounded Miles, both amused and irritated by Miles show of bravery. To prevent them from boiling him, Miles stepped into the fire, catching his bonds in fire (and himself along with it). Just then Milton threw his bomb into the fire. [Will Ob 4 (5 with exhaustion). Success!] The Kobolds ran around in a panic. Miles was knocked back by the explosion on fire. Some kobolds ran, some grabbed weapons to fight, and one not so clever one decided that if bombs were going off, more bombs should go off, so he grabbed a bomb.

Everyone was now hungry and thirsty.

Turn 13 – On fire, Miles stopped, dropped, and rolled to put himself out. [Health Ob 2. Fail. Condition: Afraid] Though he was able to stop the flames, Miles was no more immune to this sudden scare than the Kobolds were, and was terrified by all the cacophony.

Turn 14 – One Kobold, in a panic smacked into Thrallson, bouncing off him. He groped for his blade but Thrallson cut him down before he could act [Fighter versus test. Success].

Turn 15 – The others who saw this ran in fear. The leader, wearing a headdress and holding a spear withdrew warily. In Clegs peripheral vision, he caught the one lone kobold carrying a bomb running right at him, with no apparent regard for his own safety.  Cleg threw his axe and the suicidal kobold and planted it right in his head. The Kobold staggered back looking stunned for just a moment and then exploded [Fighter versus test. Success]

Turn 16 – Having routed them, the adventurers ran them down into the kitchen. Capture conflict! Kobold’s tried to feint with a bomb, but it turned out just to be a rock. Cleg ran them down but Milton heard the others shouting “Quick, tell Crooked Tooth” [Minor compromise]. In the room they found the body of Ronwald, killed by Kobolds.

Loot found

  • Sling and ammunition in Lizard Funk’s sock.
  • Headdress that served as a helmet.

Everyone was exhausted, and those that weren’t exhausted were angry!

Thrallson was beside himself, hating all these Kobolds. He put a kobold on butchers block and started chopping them up. His party, instead of holding him back, egged him on. It was a grisly mess.

Saw Back, the leader tried to plead for his life. He offered to trade the prisoner’s lives for his own. Then he offered to give the Crooked Tooth. As Thrallson was about to put him on the block as well, Milton stayed his hand. Saw Back offered to lure out Crooked Tooth so they could rescue their friends.  After some deliberation as to what to do, they heard a human scream and commotion echoing through the corridors. No time. Thrallson removed Saw Back’s head.

Seeing that there was a chimney in this room, they started thinking about ways out… or places to hide.

Turn 17 – Lizard Funk, who spoke human tongue, told them they had better run and hide. Milton tried to convince him to help them hide in the chimney and let Crooked Tooth’s soldiers run by. [Persuader versus test (Factors for being both Angry and Exhausted). Success]. Lizard Funk agreed to help them in exchange for his own life.

 Turn 18 – The war band on their heels, Thrallson cleared the logs out of the fire so they wouldn’t get cooked or smoked to death in the chimney [Survivalist Ob 1 (2 with Exhausted). Success]

Turn 19 – Wasting no time the dwarves shoved the humans up ahead of them and then climbed into form the base support to hold those above. [Dungeoneer Ob 5 (6 with Exhausted). Success]

Turn 20 – “Lizard Funk. WHAT HAPPENED HERE?” Clearly Lizard Funk was a bit out of his league and couldn’t answer, but the adventurers had an edge. Only he spoke human tongue, so they could quietly feed him lines. [A trick conflict via proxy! Total Victory!] The Kobolds charged ahead as the party tumbled down out of the chimney!

Thoughts on the game

Why isn’t “on fire” a condition? Light source for one person. Dim light for one other. After one turn remove this condition and take the injured condition.

It seems a little rough that when Milton scared all of the kobolds I gave every other party member some challenge to deal with (Miles putting out the fire that was burning him, Thrallson and Cleg defending themselves against crazed kobolds). The rolls were pretty easy, but there is a huge opportunity cost in Torchbearer for doing anything, and by making them make all those rolls, I wonder if I did them an injustice.

Things to know about Kobolds…they don’t like being grabbed by their crests!

Things also to know…under their scales kobold have a nasty funk that builds up… they shake on important deals with it.

Still it’s easy to forget about dim light and exhaustion (or really any factors that add to the Ob).

Is climbing up considered “delving”? I ruled no. Greedy dwarves seek to go every down, but don’t necessarily have provisions for getting back up.

This has to have been the best conflict ever. A trick from inside a chimney. I love it any time the players have to figure out bizarre ways of overcoming obstacles. This was the best.


Actual Play – Kobolds in Arms (11/21/2013)

torchbearer-rpgGM: Sean Nittner
Players: Josh Curtis, Lindsay Nix, Dylan Nix, and Jon Edwards
System: Torchbearer
Dungeon: Under the House of the Three Squires

Holidays are the bane to gaming. Cons are the bane to my scheduled games. What that means is that by October, maintaining a campaign game online is nearly impossible. But we did it [Ob 4 Steward roll successful].

Last session they had just won over the male kobolds of the Red Claw clan, yet things were far from safe. The only member of the party who could communicate with them was the Dwarf Allen, who hated kobolds with a passion! The kobolds themselves didn’t want to fight, at least not under these circumstances, but they are far from trusting of the adventurers, even if one of them is their new chief.

Torchbearer on Air


Allen recounted the heroic rescue of Amare from the bottomless crevasse, down the waterfall, into Kobold camp, and a mighty argument that resulted in a new chief: Alexander the Righteous!

Turn by Turn (or in this case Check by Check)

Inside the kobold warren, our adventures sought safety to make a camp. Allen pilfered through the corpse of Saw Back and took both his headdress [Head 1] and the four candles hidden under his scales [Pack 1].

He then threatened the Kobolds to bring them treasure or Chief Chous would kill them. The kobolds raised up their spears to go get treasure. “But first we must map!”

Turn 19 – Allen tried to buy time for the adventures to make camp. He started barking out orders to the Kobolds, preparing them to fight for them! [Steward Ob 5. Result: Success]. Grumbling but complacent, the kobolds set about preparing themselves while the adventurers rested.

Instinct – Amare, ordering the kobolds around secured the camp from danger [Survivalist Ob 2 (increased because of exhausted condition). Result: Success]


Moleslin’s pets (a giant rat) pilfered through Amare’s pack and ate a bundle of her rations, but they were otherwise safe.

Check – Allen wanted to free Ronwald from captivity, so he took the stick from a kobold that was beating Ronwald with it and “accidentally” beat the kobold to death with it [Fighter versus Test: Result: Success]

Check – Amare, angry she had lost her shoes, went about gathering scraps from the camp to bind and protect her feet. Some of these scraps were the skin and scales of Saw Back [Scavenge Ob 3 (increased because of exhausted condition). Result: Fail. Twist: The kobolds all witnessed Amare mutilate their dead for shoes. They all thing she is a psychotic barbarian)

Check – Allen prepared to make food for the party, and talked with Ronwald over the campfire. Ronwald told him some of his terrible story. How he tried to buy time to keep his friends and family alive. Ronwald was appalled by Allen’s callousness, but surrendered that the adventurers could take his belongings if they could get him and the other captives free. [Cook Ob 2. Result: Success]. The party is fed! [All remove Hungry and Thirsty]

Check – Astrafell sad in sagely meditation to reflect on the events that passed and calm herself [Will Ob 2. Success. Angry condition removed] Allen told the kobolds she was summoning a demon… and then got a bit further away from her.

Check – Alexander drank from his wineskin and filled his belly with the Sour Beer, and sharpened his blade ominously [Will Ob 2. Success. Angry condition removed]

Check – Amare drank from her wineskin and sang baudy evlish songs   [Will Ob 2. Success. Angry condition removed, randy condition gained ;)]

Check – Astrafel nodded off and got a good night’s sleep.  She was protected from the kobolds by their fear of an invisible summoned demon. [Health Ob 4 (increased from casting spells). Result: Success, Exhausted condition removed]

Check – Alexander, chief of the Kobolds, declared it was time to rest, and rest well he did [Health Ob 3.Result: Success, Exhausted condition removed]

Check – Amare kicked off her new shoes and asked Allen to massage her feet. Allen gleefully accepted the offer and got to rubbing feet with his dirty, blood-stained hands. [Health Ob 3 (using Seduction-wise). Result: Success, and a hot success it was].

Check – Alexander set about mapping the progress they had made so far. [Cartography Ob 3. Result: Success] They now knew their way all the way back to the inn!

Check – Allen took the pole the  kobolds were going to roast him with and Saw Back’s dagger to forge a spear. [Armorer Ob 1. Result: Fail. Twist: The spear is finely made, but when he set it down, it was sabotaged by Moleskin’s rate, who chewed through the wrappings]

Instinct – Astrafel checked on Ronwald’s injuries and realized they were worse than he had let on. [Healer Ob 3. Result: Fail. Twist: Ronwald’s leg is infected and he’s going to die of this injury, and soon! He needs to get out of her and get real medical attention in a clean bed, or to have his leg amputated]. The question was asked “What’s more important to you guys? This guy’s life or treasure?” Unanimous answer was “Treasure!”

Check – The party agreed that the solution was to amputate his leg, burn the wound, and kill the infection. Allen barked orders a Kobolds to hold him down [Helping with kobold-wise]. Astrafel got to cutting. [Ob 3. Result: Success. Ronwald’s leg amputated at the knee, cauterized and wrapped cleanly]. Ronwald screamed a blood-curdling cry and then passed out.

Check – Allen set about mending Amare’s cloak, by sewing his handkerchief (with his initials) into her cloak. [Nature (Crafting) Ob 2. Result: Success] Amare’s raiment has the sign of their burgeoning love.

Adventure awaits!

One of the kobold sentries ran into the camp in a panic and yelled “She’s coming! Move!” The entire camp was alarmed and looked at Chief Chous with terror!

Thoughts on this Game

Phew, that was a long camp phase, but it worked out well. They had plenty of checks handy and removed all conditions. Probably a good thing considering what’s coming next.

Amputating Ronwald’s leg was awesome. So happy for that twist.

Must remember – Allen’s spear is sabotaged and will backfire on him.

Must remember – The kobolds watched Amare mutilate their old chief and they despise her. They will turn on her any chance they get.

Kobolds of note (that are still alive): Lizard Funk, Broken Egg, and Mole Skin.

Actual Play – Running afraid in the Dark (11/4/2013)

torchbearer-rpgGM: Sean Nittner
Players: Chris Moore, Mark Miller, and Max Külshammer.
System: Torchbearer
Module: Under the House of the Three Squires

Oh my, I felt so evil this game. The twists in this adventure are just so evil.


Thrallson recounted the events from last session, Friends with Berti and Brot. He recalled their heroic deeds as well as Ronwald’s heartfelt confession.

After camp, Ronwald, impatient with the slow progress of the adventurers, snuck off to see what good he could do on his one.


Cleg (Mark wasn’t here last session) told us what he was doing during all of this… cleaning his apron!

Surviving the Horrors Above on Air

Turn by Turn

Turn 1 – Milton wanted to retrieve his fathers signet ring from the Kobold he traded it with. Thrallson lit a torch and they got about trying to pry the desk off the dead kobolds. [Laborer Ob 2. Result: Fail. Twist: someone has been watching them all along]. Hiding in their camp was the dirty figure of Elsa, a little girl who escaped her captors and hates mean old Ronwald because he’s going to cook up her dad. “Let me go you stinky kobold lovers!”

Turn 2– Cleg caught Elsa, but she didn’t trust any of them, as they had been consorting with kobolds and the kobold friend Ronwald. He tried to calm her down and prevent her from running off. [Persuader versus test. Result: Success.] Elsa is pacified… mostly by Cleg’s rations, or “Not poopy Ronwald food.”  Elsa did try to show them on their map where the kobolds were keeping her family [1D supplies for a future Cartography test].

Turn 3 – Worried that the Kobolds above would notice them and come after them, Milton set about staging Berti’s death to make it look like one of Saw Back’s kobold’s killer her. They then quickly left the treasure room and hid in the rubble from the rockfall. The took Elsa with them [Carried 2], begged her to quiet down, doused their torches and hid. Thrallson, born of earth and stone, quickly looked for hiding places for the party. [Scout versus Kobold Nature test. Result: Fail. Twist Another wandering monster…]

The Kobolds entered their passage and after Elsa shouted, noticed them. They pointed with their torches in fear. At first the adventurers thought they were scared of them… then they realized they were looking past them… into the shadows… into the eight red eyes of horror slowly descending from above! Uttan descended down and wrapped Milton in it’s stony clutches.  The kobolds (and their light) fled. Elsa screamed!

Total Darkness – Run away? Run away!

Turn 4 – Cleg was the first to run, so he captained the flee conflict! Which they failed terribly (and terror-fully)! [They lost with a minor compromise so I ruled that they were captured, wrapped in webs, but Milton could still get to his dagger].

Entombed in webs, they were carried through the dungeon, jostled about, ascending and descending many crevasses until finally coming to a rest in Uttan’s lair. Once there, and hung up, the felt strangely alone…in the dark. Everyone was worn out from their travels [Hungry & Thirsty]

Per the players choice (what a nice GM I am), Elsa was not part of the conflict, so she slipped away and was not bundled up by Uttan.

Turn 5 – Milton went about trying to saw his way out of the cramped webbing tomb. [Heath vs Nature (Uttan’s) test. +1 Ob for darkness. Result: Success]. Once free Milton dropped his tinderbox and listened for the drop to gauge the distance. When he didn’t hear a sound he opted to drop down anyway, back into more webs, but these thicker, older, and less sticky.

Turn 6 – Milton searched for his Tinderbox below [Scout Ob 3 (increased due to darkness). Result: Fail. Condition: Afraid]. Milton found his tinderbox, but after he recovered it, his arm brushed by a Cleg’s gruff beard, but he thought it was the spider’s rough carapace and shrieked in fear. From them on, Milton couldn’t get the idea of the spider descending down out of his head.

Turn 7 – Milton used his candle and dagger to free his friends from their wrappings. [Survivalist Ob 4 (for both). Candle and Dagger both used for supplies. Result: Fail. Twist: Cleg makes it out but his backpack doesn’t].

Turn 8 – Opting between sneaking out of her lair, and preparing to fight her off, the party instead opted to loot! [Scout Ob 3. Result: Success] Wrapped in a bundle held by a desiccated corpse were two scrolls. Magical scrolls containing the spells: Celestial Music and Wisdom of the Sages.

After all of this work, everyone was exhausted [Exhausted]. The squeezed out of Uttan’s lair, birthed from a womb of webs.  They found a narrow ledge with water pouring from above down a slick slope to the right. To the left was a deep crevasse which they could barely make out a flat rock outcropping on the other side. Having a moment of peace, they opted to fill their wineskins from water flowing past. They drank their fill!

Spell – Milton employed his arcane arts to conjure a mystic porter that would hold their backpacks, keeping them safe and dry while they descended the wet slope. [Ob 4 (increased due to Exhausted). Result: Fail. Twist] An eerie wind, possibly a baleful spirit summoned by the arcane energies, passed through and blew out their torch. When Cleg pulled a new torch from his sack and lit it. In front of them, a shimmering disk floated before them. It seemed to flicker as they placed their backpacks upon it, seeming to move of it’s own volition.

Turn 9 – Thrallson took gobs of the spider’s webbing, and wrapped then around his hands to make sticky climbing gloves to aid their ascent. [Crafting Ob 3 (increased due to Exhausted). Result: Success. +1D supplies for climbing down]

Turn 10 – Unencumbered by backpacks, aided by Cleg and his new sticky gloves, Thrallson set about to slowly and carefully lead the party down the slippery tunnel [Dungeoneering Ob 5 (increased due to Exhausted). Result: Success (and a glorious one at that)]. So steady was Thrallson’s grip that he could control their descent and move slowly and quietly enough to sneak up on a whole den of kobolds!

Thoughts on this game

Given Ronwald, Elsa, and all the kobold’s presence in the caves, I gave the players 4 turns (which I didn’t tell them till after the game) before Uttan came back from her patrol to devour them. I suppose if they had light and could try and fight her off, they had a chance, but frankly I was feeling bad that the would all be spider food.

I’m really excited to see what happens next session with the Kobold warren. They’ve got the advantage of surprise, and I know that both Max and Chris are plotting some mad scheme. It should be good.

Yay, we had a running in the dark conflict. I have been awaiting one of those and it was just as terrifying as I hoped it would be.

Milton, watch out for baleful spirits you might have awoken when you looted those scrolls. This is an addition I added as response (twist) to the failed Arcanist roll following the scroll recovery and combined it with the eerie wind twist. I have some fun ideas for this.

Oh Elsa and Ronwald, I’m really getting to love these NPCs, though I’m not sure their likelihood of survival.

Quote: Luke, why is “groping for your tinderbox in the darkness” not a skill?

Actual Play – Burning Under The House (10/19/2013)

torchbearer-rpgGM: Sean Nittner
Players: Shane King (Gerald), Hayes Edgeworth (Beren), Brendan Conway (Varg), Mike Sergio (Ulrik), Matt Webber (Taika), and Miguel Zapico (Karolina)
System: Torchbearer
Dungeon: Under the House of the Three Squires

They did it! No town phase (or even a camp phase), but damn, this crew tore up the House. I’m getting ahead of myself, though, more details in the turn by turn synopsis below.

Game Description

This is a wild and dangerous land, filled with forbidding forests and savage monsters. Along the lonely roads that bind civilization together can be found wayhouses—fortified inns where travelers may rest behind stout walls and have a hot meal before venturing forth once more into the unknown.

The House of Three Squires is such a wayhouse. Situated on a lonely stretch of the Post Road, it’s an easy day’s travel from the nearest town. Something is amiss at this humble wayhouse. The stockade gate stands open and unattended, occasionally slamming home with a great thud when the wind catches it just right. The house itself is deserted.


I came with a modicum of props in hand

  • Pre-generated Character Sheets (from the latest download version of the game)
  • A set of dice for each character.
  • Table Tents printing on cardstock, with each characters’ picture, name, and traits on it.
  • Custom Fate and Persona tokens made with token tool, printed on label paper, affixed to 1″ washers, and then lacquered for a smooth finish.
  • Weapon Cards (from the Kickstarter preview)
  • Cash Dice coins (though not nearly enough) for Cash Dice.
  • Heavy poker chips for Disposition (red) and Checks (black).
  • Conflict Sheets, Turn Sheets, pencils, sharpies, the adventure and the like.

What I was missing, but was provided by the kindness of others

  • Scripting cards (lent by Luke)
  • Condition cards (lent by Luke)
  • Torch light tokens (lent by Miguel)

The players gobbled up the PCs pretty quickly. Nobody seemed disheartened by their choice and were quickly getting into their characters. I did my normal intro to Torchbearer, describing the game as one of survival and exploration rather than conquest and heroism, which they all seemed to dig (most of them were already familiar with it). We went over the basic dice mechanics (die pools, obstacles, and success/traitors) and then started play.


After the intro, everyone picked a goal.  Unsurprisingly Beren’s was all about looting the place for all it’s worth, but Ulrik really surprised me “I’ll bring back an offering for my gods”.  I liked it, and I liked even more that it happened!

Turn by Turn

(Not including light source creating and ration/water consumption)

Turn 1 – Karolina, as a hunter thought she might have recognized the musk they smelled, and then when Taika found the scales on the ground, the were even more curious to identify them (Hunter Ob 2. Result: Success). Kobolds afoot!

Turn 2 – Wary of Kobold treachery, they checked for traps on the stairs and found the backs had been sawed through! (Scout Ob 2. Result: Success).

The party briefly deliberated two options. One was to walk one person at a time down the stairs. The other was to collapse the stairs with a few whacks of the sword and then have Taika levitate the party down together safely. After some discussion I turned to the Leader who elected for the magical solution. A few whacks of the sword and the stairs collapsed (see thoughts below).

Spell – Taika cast Lightness of Being (Arcanist Ob 3. Result: Success) and safely lowered the party into the cellar below, now filled with TWO piles of detritus.

Turn 3 – Beren and others, hearing the whining noise, pulled the pile apart (Laborer Ob 1. Result: Success] and revealed the door behind. Opening it a feisty Pomeranian burst out and while happy to be free, growled at the interlopers. The dog was thrown some rations to keep it busy, but otherwise ignored.

Turn 4 – Having found the famed Sour Beer, the adventurers looked for any secrets the wine cellar might hold (Scout Ob 3. Result: Fail. Twist: Net trap) And they found them! A cast that rolled out of the way, and a net trapbut trapped Beren, Gerald, and Taika below, blowing out Gerald’s candle and leaving Taika struggling not to burn herself with her own torch (see thoughts below). [Applied Hungry and Thirsty to everyone].

Turn 5 – With the aid of their un-trapped companions Ulrik and Karolina, the net was removed. [Laborer Ob 2. Result: Success]. After removing it they opened the hidden door and found Ronwald’s treasure below.  Many drank from their wine skins

Turn 6 – Sparing no concern about the rightful owner, Ulrik dove right into first checking for traps and then picking the lock on Ronwald’s chest. (Criminal Ob 2. Result: Fail. Condition: Angry for Ulrik (his lock pick got bent) and Hungry and Thirsty for Gerald (is it 2nd breakfast time already?) but the chest was open!) When they found coin inside, bickering over who would “hold” the treasure started up. After some discussion that started Beren saying he would hold at least one share and other arguing that the only way he could do that was to hold them in a sack in one of his hands, Karolina (the leader) decided how the treasure would be split up (see thoughts below).

Turn 7 – Satisfied with their spoils, the adventurers ventured into the larder where the smell of Kobold was strong and wails could be heard further on. They ventured through the larder into the limestone cavern and when the path split, listened to the echoing wails to determine where they can from. [Dungeoneer Ob 3. Result: Success].

Turn 8 – Walking toward the noise, Gerald accidentally tripped the Kobold’s tripwire alarm, setting off a terrible clangor of metal and bone. Not wanting to reveal the entire parties presence, Gerald moved forward on his own. He could speak with the Kobolds, and hoped to convince them that he was alone and not a threat. They had already rallied the reinforcements however, so he was dealing with twelve angry (and hungry) Kobolds. Seeing him alone however, they invited him to sit by their fire… with every intent of roasting him over it. They got to talking about smells (things of interest to Kobolds) and Lizard Funk mentioned that he had a human sock he wore that was the smelliest sock anyone had ever smelled. Gerald parlayed the discussion into a song to distract them [Making Merry versus Kobold Nature. Result: Success].  The Kobolds put away their weapons and started up a round of the Sock Song, where each of them put their foot in the sock and then smelled it. [Applied Hungry and Thirsty to everyone].

Turn 9 – Unconvinced that Gerald could actually make peace with the Kobolds, Karolina instruction Taika to lead the group in surrounding the kobolds to ambush them. Some of them had already gone back to the room to the north (bored of the sock song) and others were very distracted. But even with that it is tough to sneak up on such a large group. [Scout versus Nature. Result: Fail. Twist: A few kobolds noticed and took up arms to fight!]

Turn 10 – Conflict! Seeing the chance to grab kobolds before they all were armed, Karloina led her fellow adventurers in a fight to capture the gaggle of Kobolds! The fight wa as a brutal one, full of shield bashes, stone throwing, and even some impaling. [Result: Win with a Compromise]. Beren was Injured during the fight, and after Varg and Taika were Afraid that more Kobolds to the north had heard them and would descend shorty. During the fight, Varg cast his Wizard’s Aegis spell from his spell book to better defend the group!

Good Idea – Having the Kobolds subdued, they cut up two lengths of rope to make bonds for them and timed them all up. Them marched them north toward the wailing and shouting.

Spell – It was time for some diplomacy! Varg cast Wisdom of the Sages [Arcanist Ob 2. Result: Success] to speak the tongue of Kobolds. Coming around the corner he found the court behing held with Saw Back and Crooked Tooth.

Spell – After a bit of discussion, Varg ensorceled Saw Back with yet another spell from his spell book, Threads of Friendship. [Arcanist versus Nature test. Result: Success. Margin of Success: 4]. Saw Back saw the cap on Varg’s head, and decided that like the scull headdress that he wore, a cap was a sign of wisdom, and that Varg should be respected and honored.

Turn 11 – During all of this Taika surrendedred her weapon so the Kobolds would let her tend to the wounded (and footless) Joreg. [Healer test Ob 3. Result: Fail] Joreg’s life blood drained out before her eyes, despite every effort she made to save him. In his dying breath he told her of his daughter Elsa, and how she was till lost in the cave.

Turn 12 – Moving things in their favor, Varg and Gerald began negotiating in earnest. The trade of their hostages (9 kobolds) for the hostages that the Kobolds took (all the humans still alive). The Kobold’s resisted, they needed the humans (even though they weren’t 100% what they were going to do with them), but Saw Back’s aid helped Varg win over Crooked Tooth (Persuader versus Nature. Result: Success]. They traded hostages and agreed to come back later to discuss another deal where the adventurers could (for a fee) tackle the Kobold’s other problem!


Thoughts on the game

I should remember that just because a test isn’t listed in the adventure, if someone tries to do something, and it poses a challenge. A test should be made. In the case of collapsing the stairs, I wanted to reward the players for making the scout test and figuring out that they couldn’t walk down the stairs safely (at least not all together), but cutting them apart involved some effort and work. I should have called for a Laborer test (probably Ob 2) to break it apart.

I should be more bold about extinguishing light. Taika had a torch and Gerald a candle when the got trapped. I put out one but not the other. I think, in retrospect trapping them in darkness.

When the net trap fell, I don’t see a Heath test written on my turn tracker to indicate they tried to leap out of the way. I can’t remember if I forgot to give them that option, or if they elected to just let the net fall on them.

I really thing using actual physical coins when giving out cash dice makes a huge difference in how players relate to treasure. I loved it.

The last roll should have been a convince (or convince crowd) conflict instead of a persuader test but we were running out of time. I’m convinced that even it it had, with Saw Back on their side, and a gaggle of hostages, the adventurers would have swept the conflict anyway.

After the game Miguel and I had lunch and talked about it. We riffed a bit on which props served the game best. Not enough and it’s hard to keep track of all the states (light, conditions, turns, weapons wielded), too many and the table is cluttered with them.

Hilariously, when they found the Kobold strapped to a table on trial, Ulrik whispered to Varg “That is my offering” and part of their negotiations involved getting that one as well, who thought he was being freed. Kind of awesome and awful all at once.

Kobold names I’ve been using, that I think I’ll keep: Lizard Funk, Soft Shoe (maybe should be Soft Heel), Broken Egg, and Boiled Egg. Lizard funk, and his game session agnostic smelly socks has caused me much amusement.

I tried a Pomeranian this time and got really ambivalent responses. Nobody wanted to interact with it.  That’s a first. I really do thin the breed has a huge effect on people’s responses, though it hasn’t been as simple as big dog = hunting companion and small dog = creature to protect. More research forthcoming.

Actual Play – Friends with Berti and Brot! (10/15/2013)

torchbearer-rpgGM: Sean Nittner
Players: Chris Moore, David Gallo, and Max Külshammer.
System: Torchbearer
Module: Under the House of the Three Squires

Missing a few players we decided to forge ahead anyway, and glad we did. New bonds were formed (and broken) over the campfire.


Milton recounted the adventurer’s tales right up to the point of finding a room full of Kobolds!

Camping on Air

Camp Phase…continued

Checks ahoy. Stuffs done! While sharing camp space with Kobolds.

Thrallson made himself busy building rope from the piles of clothing (success)

Milton conversed with the Kobolds and persuaded them to tell him what the Kobolds were doing. He learned about the Crooked Tooth and the Saw Back clan, as well as rumors of Uttan (success)

Milton also dug the horrific story of Ronwald from his guilty conscience, that he had promised to cook the other humans “human style” in an effort to buy time. Unfortunately the Kobold had grown impatient and killed his brother already, expecting him to cook him up (success).

Camp disrupted by torchlight on the wall indicating a Kobold patrol nearby.

Adventure phase

Turn 1 – With all of the information gathered from the Kobolds, and not trusting them to not trigger an alarm, Thrallson sprung his trap on Brot and friend, trapping them and then crushing them under the mighty oak desk. [Result: Success]

Turn 2- Berti, seeing the betrayal ran for the steep slope, believing she could scale it before the adventurers caught her and ran off. The adventurers chased her(capture conflict), ran her down, and slit her throat. In the chase, Milton’s sacks were knocked into the fire and lost [Minor compromise].

Turn 3 – After the chase, everyone’s stomachs started rumbling. [Twist from failed cooking roll last session]. Was it the chase? Killing in cold blood? The smell of dead kobolds? Who knows. The human’s stomachs turned and even the notion of eating disgusted them. [Ob 2 Health test. Thrallson succeeded, the humans failed. Twist: You can’t eat until the next camp phase]

Camping… again

Despite the close proximity of Kobolds, the adventurers wanted to be able to eat, and try to recover again. They hunkered back down and made camp. I considered it a Dangerous Camp (a group of Kobolds making camp in the passage above), but the nevertheless rested safely [Rolled a 12 on the camp events table]

Check – With the aid of his previously created poultice and some faith in his gods (har!) Miles meditated and tried to get a good night’s rest. And little good it did him. When he woke he was just as sore and miserable as before [Ob 3 Health Test. Result: Fail]

Check – Milton drank some wine and tried to cool his heels over the whole event. And sure enough the wine did it’s job [Ob 2 Will Test. Result: Success]

Instinct – Milton tried to craft a map based on the description given to him by Berti and Brot. And what a map he made! [Ob 6 Cartography. Result: Fail. Twist. The map will only cause them pain]. Milton made a map that not only showed the location of the Crooked Tooth but also gave the party a way out of the tunnels. Which of course was completely wrong…

Unable to wait for the adventurers to “get ready” impatient Ronwald ran off!

Thoughts on the Game

There was some fantastic role-playing in this session. I think as a result of camping time, and talking with the Kobolds, Ronwald, and each other. I loved seeing Thrallson grind his teeth while Milton negotiated with Kobolds, speaking in their runty yipping tongue.

Must remember to bring that map back into the game sometime.  Also must keep track of what Ronwald is doing!

I borked up the 2nd camp phase. It should have ended after Milton drank the wine (because all the checks were gone and because he had just taken an action). I don’t feel too bad about it though since Milton could have used his instinct first, then had Miles use a check and end using a check himself without changing any of the dice rolls. Just something to watch for next session.

Yay for impatient NPCs causing trouble.