AP: Andvarri's Revenge

Sometimes, everything goes smoothly.

Sometimes, you take on powerful entities, and outscript them like golden gods.

Other times? Well, this was one of those “other times”.

We’ve been tackling this adventure for quite a while now, and it feels like we’re close to concluding it, but then, well…

We are following on from this.

We’re missing Osric’s player on this occasion, but since we’re a quorate, we play on!

(sidebar: setting quorate for RPGs has been a game-changer for the groups I’m in. It’s something that we set at the start of any game. In this game, it’s 4 players and 1 GM, so we play if we have at least 3 players, and do something else otherwise. Crisp, clear, and no blame.)

The plan is to go kill Andvarri (who is in the form of his eel Fylgja), and bring the corpse back to Monwír, as promised. They drove him off last time after he attacked them, but this is revenge time.

They have a net, Andvarri’s (dragon-killing) spear to kill him with (as poetic vengence - it’s the weapon that mortally wounded Monwír), and a boat to go hunt him in.

The party decides to leave a lot of their stuff back at camp by the dragons, so that they are not weighed down by it, nor risk losing it if the boat is overturned.

They initially manage to corner Andvarri, preventing him from easily fleeing, to force a Kill conflict (successful Hunter vs. Andvarri’s Nature).

Unfortunately for them, this is the last piece of success for a while.

The Kill Conflict is brutal, with me managing to outscript them strongly in Round 1, at the end of which, Tösk is down, Oddbjorn’s helmet is broken (but he is unharmed), and Bricks is barely still in the fight. Andvarri, meanwhile, ends up on 5 out of 9 Disposition, having clawed back a single point in their Defend.

In Round 2, I perfectly script a Feint against their Manoeuvre/Defend, and it’s all over.

The party is out of Disposition, whereas Andvarri only suffers a Minor Compromise.

In a Kill Conflict.

This is, in effect, a Total Party Kill (TPK), and the level of compromise (Minor) is too low to save even one of them (Scholar’s, p78).

We sit there for a few moments, deciding where we, as players, want to take this next.

It… sucks. But there are options.

Checking with the players, they all love their characters and, if possible, would like to still play them.

Enter The Terrible Price (LMM p94).

They each agree to Pay the Terrible Price, spending a Persona (in some case’s their last one). Character sheets are adjusted, Traits slapped down, Nature Descriptors removed.

We have definitely got our eye on that “spare” apple they have from the Tree of Yðunn, but that’s not for now.

As for the Minor Compromise from their Kill Conflict, we settle on them having managed to Injure Andvarri, as they are already planning (yet) another run-in with this rapidly-becoming-their-nemesis.

@DaveHiggins has an idea of how to reintroduce his character: Tösk will be waiting in the Dry Lands to greet Monwír and usher him through once the (pre-)Wake and “funeral” are done by the other PCs.

For the other two, though, matters go somewhat differently.

Oddbjorn and Bricks come to, still grasping each other and the boat, out in sunlight.

Radulf (Oddbjorn’s apprentice) is desperately grounding the boat (partially) onto the river bank, and is almost besides himself with fear and worry: his master seems to be dead! As is Bricks! And Osric and Tösk are missing!

As they wake up and take stock, the fact that Tösk is missing sends Bricks spiralling into a tormented place.

The way that they put it, they cannot call on magics, or petition Jotnarr, or do much else, but their one job is to guide people places, and keep their friends safe. And they have failed.

There brief (mad) talk about dashing back in, but with Andvarri there… well, we don’t want to try that (yet), do we?

@EnohIO (Bricks’ player) is absolutely revelling in the emotions and drama of this, to the extent that I check in with all the players OOC, just to be sure that everyone is doing OK.

It’s… beautiful and tragic, and heartfelt. Lovely stuff!

But… now what?

Oddbjorn and Bricks are by the base camp, along with Radulf (who remains Sick and Injured from previous endeavours). Bricks’ backpack and maps are back inside with the dragons, so the party are not “on map”.

Also, Andvarri is still in the river, and, whilst everyone wants a rematch, this is not the time for it, as the sun will set soon, and they need to hold the (pre-)Wake for Monwír.

Additionally, OOC, we’re keen to get @DaveHiggins back in the game.

This presents several problems:

  • They are not on map, so the various challenges (ropes to climb up/down, etc.) will require them to roll, rather than “fast travel”.
  • Even without that, their one route through to the dragons is on a river with Andvarri, so that would have to be dealt with.
  • A bunch of their useful supplies are also with the dragons, so are not available to ease their way forwards.

Some hard strategising ensues.

Eventually, they have a plan.

They convince Radulf to stay behind at the camp, as he is too Injured and Sick, and they do not want to lose him, especially given that they have already lost Tösk.

The pair of them head down the rope that is secured behind the camp, into the stairs to the below.

Then, they head through to the secret room off the crypt. If you will recall, there are peepholes through which you can see the dragon’s hoard.

This being the case, the wall cannot be very thick, so Oddbjorn and Bricks are planning on breaking their way through. In order to do so, they scavenge firewood, old beams, etc. as Bricks prepares to use Alchemy to heat/cool the stone, and wedge open cracks until they can break through.

Now, the other side of this wall are a couple of on-edge dragons, who are coming to terms with the imminent demise of one of their number, after several centuries of being together. This is what we consider to be a fraught situation.

Fortunately, Oddbjorn (successfully!) calls out, and warns them that Bricks is going to attempt to break through the wall, and could the dragons kindly give them some space, and not breathe fire / spit acid on this area, thank you very much.

Bricks also succeeds, and opens up a route through, avoiding the river (and the lurking Andvarri).

With much relief, Oddbjorn and Bricks get to their packs, and they are (finally!) back on map, and with a new handy cut-through.

Now, though, with the sun setting, it is time for Monwír to make his final journey.

There are two parts to this.

Firstly, Oddbjorn performs the final remembrance of Monwír, telling his story, and trying to put a positive spin on things.

Getting a hoarding dragon to let go of their loved one, after 200 years of caring for them is… not easy. In addition to that, the party had promised to kill Andvarri, and bring a token of this victory to Monwír… as closure of those events. However, the party failed to do this.

The question before us is whether, at the last, can Æglæckír overcome her Nature and let Monwír go?

We do this as Oddbjorn’s Orator (the “funeral service”) vs. Æglæckír’s Nature.

Bricks sets off their last firework both to start preceedings, and to get the cultists who live above the air shaft to participate.

As Oddbjorn leads the event, harp in hand, his voice singing out, the cultists provide a chorus.

The party is also desperate for Checks, so Oddbjorn grants Æglæckír 2 dice (I think using his Voice of Thunder Trait against himself?), leading to something like 10 dice for Oddbjorn (with help, Nature, etc.) vs. 14 dice for Æglæckír.

Æglæckír gets something around 8 or 9 successes, but Oddbjorn (using his grey dice for his supernatural singing) gets 10!

She is able to hold her rage, love and possessiveness at bay for the moment, although her grief will be (almost!) all-consuming.

Then, Bricks opens the way to the Dry Lands, using their Pathfinder (an ability acquired many sessions ago from the Queen of the Dead).

Whilst the ceremony has been going on, they have been drawing a map to guide Monwír through to the Dry Lands.

As it finishes, Bricks sets fire to the map, and casts it upwards, the sparks and ashes flying out and creating a portal through to the Land of the Dead.

Waiting on the threshold to greet Monwír, there is Tösk.

As Monwír crosses over, and Tösk remains behind in the Mortal World, Æglæckír cries out in terrible misery.

“Go. NOW.” She orders the group.

They grab their stuff, and rush back through their new route out, heading for the surface.

Æglæckír stays with her grief and mourns her love.

The scenes that then play out between the adventurers are marvellous.

To help contextualise them, it’s worth bearing in mind that Tösk is back from the dead, but remains Angry. Our previous experience(s) with this are that an Angry Tösk is… a real pain to be around, often intolerant, nastier and more snide.

Bricks is barely holding it together, and, with an open heart expresses how devastated they were by Tösk’s loss, of how they failed to guide him or save him. They spoke of how, when they came to, they had realised that, whilst they thought they had seized a tight hold of both of their companions, this was not the case: they had accidentally grabbed hold of Oddbjorn twice… and Tösk not at all.

Tösk’s response?

“I’ve got four limbs, all of which are easily grabbable!”


OOC, we paused for a moment in pure appreciation of the sheer cruelty of that barb.

Unsurprisingly, Bricks’ composure shatters, and they rush off into the forest, in tears and devastated.

They would rather be alone in the woods at night with a potentially murderous troll.

Oddbjorn gets up, nods politely to Tösk and Radulf, and follows after Bricks.

The two of them have a wonderful heartfelt conversation, where Oddbjorn is the perfect Skald, using care, love and humour to comfort Bricks and bring them back into the group.

Such great roleplaying from all three of them.

IRL, it’s been a week (and it’s also “Been A Week”), so I might be missing a few details about the rest of the session.

However, the highlights included

  • Trying (and failing) to convince the dragon cultists to spread out and propagate the story of Monwír, and being chased off by them.
  • Discovering that said cultists had stolen the memoir of Monwír, and sneaking back in to get the book back (nice re-bonding by Tösk and Bricks on that one).
  • Having a Camp Phase, where they cook the last apple to restore them from their Terrible Price.
  • Making a number of powerful fireworks (+1 Might) just… you know… just in case.

We’re playing in a few hours, and I’m looking forwards to seeing where we go next.

I think Andvarri-flavoured Eel is on the menu.

And, as for Æglæckír, and her grief?

Well… we’ll see.


Also, I was reminded last session that the stick the party use for their lantern-on-a-stick was acquired in… Session 1 or 2, from the spear trap in the Dread Crypt of Skongenby, when said spear had stapled Tösk to the floor.

Sometimes, to quote an old TV show, “Nothing is forgotten. Nothing is ever forgotten.”

Bravo, maestro. Bravo bravo!

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