AP: the Tree of Yðunn - Troll Trouble

It’s been a while, as we have had a Town Phase and (greatly overdue) Respite, as well as missing a week.

However, we’re back, and headed for the golden apples (and associated dragon) of the Tree of Yðunn adventure.

Our party remains:

  • Bricks the Boots (Halfling Guide)

Belief: As a Hendri and a Guide, I will not hesitate to forge the path needed, nor make the lost found.

Creed: Right to Roam: all have a right to walk paths and they must remain open. Paths write our stories and history into the land. To lose them is to lose a part of ourself. To destroy them is to cast away our history. They must be walked to preserve them and they must remain open.

Goal: Find a way to help Osric return his soul.

  • Oddbjorn Bjornson (Bjorning Skald)

Belief: I will get my inheritance from the treasures lurking in the old places of the world.

Creed: Our names will be sung, so our deeds must match in glory and fame.

Goal: Recover Osric’s soul and Bricks’ memory in a way that tells a story.

  • Osric Godtouched (Græling Shaman)

Belief: I will be more than the beast within me.

Creed: Only the Jotunn can give true power, mortal power is a pale, fleeting imitation.

Goal: Redeem myself in the eyes of Holtburg

  • Tösk (Changeling Thief - played by @DaveHiggins, of this parish)

Belief: Ancient Secrets are more important than coin.

Creed: All living beings have an equal right to thrive.

Goal: I will discover more about my kind from the troll.

As you can see, we have 2 party members who could stand to benefit from the benefit of these magical apples.

Firstly, Osric has lost part of his soul, ripped from him quite a while ago, as part of a Banish Compromise on the shores of the Lands of the Dead.

Secondly, Bricks has now drunk ground-water*, and lost some of their memory. Specifically, it wiped their memory of any fallout with their brother Marcus “the Shield” (their Enemy), why they would only drink sky-water (or alcoholic beverages).

(* when Osric ripped yet another hole between the worlds to get them out of the astral sea back out under the bridge from Jotnarsbru (see Bridge of the Damned), they came through… roughly, and Bricks fell overboard, much to the player’s satisfaction, as they have been eager to find out what happens.)

They encountered their brother Marcus during their Respite, and he is properly freaked out about what has happened to his sibling, putting their enmity aside (for now, at least), to seek a way forwards.

There’s a promise to return to their brother Austin, who heads up the Hendri caravan, to try to get to the bottom of this (adventure leads ahoy!).

Enough of that nonsense, on with the adventure!

The party heads up to the Three Squires Wayhouse, where Oddbjorn is from. The brief stop-off is a quick roleplay opportunity, and intended for me to seed what horrors their nemesis the Cavestitcher has got up to with Oddbjorn’s grandmother Ulli.

Beautifully, the player knows that there’s a problem, but chooses for his character to not notice / be oblivious to it. This is so that the party can come back this way later, and a perfect opportunity to play into the drama. Plus, there’s no risk of derailing them from their current objective!

Then, we’re on to cross-country travel with the party’s travelling menagerie. They left their ancient ship behind with Freya the sailor, and bought a wagon to carry them and their stuff.

Their menagerie / stuff includes 3 cats, a pig, a horse, a drake egg, and a chicken who never lays an egg.

Still, they reach the ruined town of Regin, and take in the scene.

Using various well-thought out approaches, they try to determine not only the “cause” of the dragon-related devastation (was the dragon chasing a specific group, or was this “town’s gotta be wiped out” from the dragon’s perspective, etc.). Additionally, they want to work out something of the power / scale of the dragon.

Dice rolls being what they are, they get information AND consequences. Hurray!

They get their first sight (here, at least) of the red dragon, and start to understand some of its capabilities.

With that (and Angry / Afraid in their hearts), they hurry off, and decide to head into the forest (where they know a troll resides), rather than along towards the wayhouse/inn (where they know many orcs are).

The forest is overgrown, except for one path that has been kept clear, and is wide enough for their wagon.

The Dwarven monument / cenotaph they find at the end of it intrigues them, allowing them to discover some of the history of the Dwarven stronghold, and unearthing a couple of intriguing names (“The Red Sun” and “The Blood Rain”).

As they decipher the writings, they meet / are ambushed by the troll.

The troll is “amiable” enough, scooping up and eating Bricks’ chicken, and claiming that the wagon and all onboard is now his (and that horses / pigs are tasty snacks).

The party launches into a Convince Conflict, intending on convincing the troll to let them all go.

However, it goes very poorly (good scripting by the troll), and they only manage a minor compromise: the wagon will stay with the troll, who will “look after it” for them (a bit like a very aggro cloakroom attendant), and their livestock is up for grabs by the troll.

The players have an intense discussion at this point. Can they live with this? What are the consequences, etc.

Given how much precious stuff they have on their wagon, along with their animals, spare supplies, and so on, some of them choose to escalate to a Drive Off conflict: chase the troll away.

Tösk’s player has Tösk sit this one out, as he’s a Changeling / Troll.

The other three go for it and, in a tough Conflict, manage to chase away the troll.

Bad thing: Bricks is Injured, when the troll steps on them.
Good thing: Osric’s Angry Condition becomes Exhausted (as he’s That Sort of Shaman).

And then, this is where it all explodes.

Tösk erupts in anger at his friends: they’d reached a compromise with the troll, and should have kept to their word. They should not have escalated to violence, driving off the troll, and “breaking their word” when they did not get what they wanted, just like humans have driven off Tösk whenever they did not get their way, and never kept their word with him.

For their part, the others (and Osric especially) did not want to have their stuff stolen from them, at the whim of a troll.

It’s… quite a moment at the table. I pause the game to check in with the players, as the characters are getting very heated and irate. Fortunately, the players are all doing good (and are all fine with one another), and they are really enjoying leaning into the situation.

In the roared upshot of all of this, we discover that Osric has a hard line around potential harm to horses, revealing in his anger that this is why he had to flee his home (“Horses… Do! Not! Get! Hurt! Near me!”).

It’s… awesome.

This group is very happy to go head-to-head on these things, even when it’s strategically less optimal. They’re a wonderful group to play with.

After that, they cut a path through the rest of the forest, hustling to get to the mountain itself (Bornstokk).

Once there, they rush over clear ground, and then start searching for a suitable concealed campsite to hide themselves and their wagon from the troll… and the nearby dragon… and possible roving orcs… and anything else they are not aware of yet.

A camp ground found, and their wagon hidden there, they set to exploring the area.

First, they scramble up the rock face to read the inscriptions (gaining a better understanding of the surrounding area)… and finding a secret passage.

Then, two of them (Tösk and Osric) scramble through the collapsed ruins around their hidden camp, seeking other ways through.

In doing so, a Twist sends them crashing through a wall, falling a distance onto a twisting staircase dug into the rock, and then tumbling down somewhat further.


And, of course:

  • it’s Tösk and Osric, who have just had a massive shouting match
  • … and they have the one remaining rope, but it’s at the bottom with them
  • … and they got rid of their grapple as “unnecessary” several sessions ago
  • … and the oil in the lantern the party has burnt out 2 turns early*
  • … and the Grind has ticked over, so they are all Hungry & Thirsty.

(* consequence from a previous session where they failed their Resources test to buy oil - it’s poor quality!)

Bricks and Oddbjorn are topside, with whatever supplies are left. Osric and Tösk are in a mess of limbs and grumps in a hole.

It’s all proper Torchbearer stuff.

They brainstorm, work out their options, and scratch together a plan.

Bricks and Oddbjorn drink to relieve Hungry & Thirsty, and toss down waterskins to the other two, along with a spare torch (as light is getting tight).

Then, Oddbjorn roots through Tösk’s sack of scrolls, to find Aetheric Appendage, deeming the scrolls of Isopod Control, Destiny of Heroes, Flames of the Shroud, etc. not suitable for their needs.

One successful spell-casting later, Bricks and Oddbjorn haul the other two up (Labourer test), and we head to a much-needed camp!

I would note that, for a whole host of sessions now, Tösk has been scribing scrolls, in readiness for hitting Level 6 Thief and being able to cast spells himself. He’s Level 6 now, but the first spell is cast by Oddbjorn the Skald, benefitting from Tösk’s hard work!

The party lucks out on their camp roll, and find Ancient Engravings to decipher!

They then carefully strategise their way ahead.

Bricks throws a party (Merrymaking), to celebrate their successes, and rebond the group together following their arguments (removing Angry / Afraid).

Oddbjorn treats Bricks’ injury, Tösk and Oddbjorn curl up a nap or two, to relieve their Exhausted condition.

Bricks is also able to set up a decent map, and Tösk is able to translate the ancient inscription: it’s Pantheons of Immortals (+1D Theologian gear!).

We wrap the session as camp ends, and they are choosing their next steps.

Tösk gets a Persona for an excellent Crisis of Creed, and we award MVP, Team Worker, etc.

But they are all low on Fate and Persona, and they’ve yet to meet the dragon…

Wtih regards to the dragon, I’ve taken inspiration from Monstrous (from Cloud Curio), and you can bet that this dragon is going to be unique!

It really helped me to get a grasp of how I’m going to play them, and what the challenges will be (beyond the stats in the Scholar’s Guide!).

If someone reminds me, I’ll post up the information on that version, once the players have finished the adventure.


I am extremely excited for the next session. I certainly hope that tunnel collapse didn’t disturb anything (or anyone) living in the ruins…

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We’ll find out tomorrow!

This is because you are no fun.

Fortunately, Bricks is obsessed with fireworks so whatever twists cannot accidentally awaken, we shall blast from its rest!

There are four cats.


Aside: I was reminded by the players of two things from that session.

Firstly, in the ruins of Regin, they the only bones they found were of fylgja, rather than people, where people’s bones should have been. They are wondering what that might mean…

Secondly, given that their Vættr (Lith band “spirit patron”) is Halja, Queen of the Dead, they held a memorial service / funeral for the people of Regin.

Lovely stuff!


Well, let’s just say that wearing my (BWHQ) Barrow Wight t-shirt turned out to be a good choice on my part.

I’ll do a write-up at some point later, but it involved fireworks, gritting teeth for various wounds, and Hreithmarr holding both Tösk and Radulf (Oddbjorn’s apprentice) hostage as he drained their souls…


There was also Osric’s quip to Tösk just after they had fallen.

Looking up at the hole they fell through: “Good thing we were tied together Tösk, or you’d still be up there.”


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