AP: Three Against Middarmark

Last night, our Torchbearer campaign came to an end.

It’s been quite a run. The original 2-shot was back in September 2017 / January 2018.

When we picked it up again “properly” (i.e. weekly-ish), it was with one of the original characters / players and 2 new characters / players in May 2018.

The campaign was quite a run, and a wonderful experience.

So, my thanks to Rob, Chris and Alex (and Sean in the 2-shot) for playing in the campaign.

  • Tryggr the Paladin
  • Grimwald the Skald
  • Ulla the Wizard

These are names that will ring down the years in our Middarmark, for their deeds, for the stories told of them, and for the seeds they planted aimed to the future.

The Saga of Tryggr (as composed and performed by Grimwald “the Cat”) is an epic that outlasts Middarkmark and will pass on into modern times.

From appropriately humble / scrabbling-scummy adventurer beginnings, they have walked on the World Tree, brought low demons, formed a community and set up a secret society, torn (un)dead tyrants from their rest, faced the remains of the Selee in strange places, defeat a Black Dragon, and finished their last adventure on a mythic-feeling present-filled sleigh in winter overseen by a jovial bearded fellow.

(Timing-wise, being able to end with a “winter episode” was just grand).

And yet, the personal is always there.

Ever since they encountered him during the events of The Shattered Gate, they have viewed Gilemos (sic.) as their enemy.

A number of their adventures have been chasing after / following the trail of Gilemos.

However, right at the end, when they find him on the wagon/sleigh, about to make a deal with a ____ (an immortal of the Second Silence, a servitor(?) of King Death), they do not fight him, but instead they convince him to turn aside from this dark route.

Ulla (as part of the compromise) agrees to pay the price of the ____, and places her hands into the “hands” of the ____, knowing it will kill her.

It is only when Grimwald shoves the ring back on Ulla’s finger that they discover what Ulla’s ring does (Red-Rabbit’s Ring of Regret and Resurrection by @Jared, which brings her back to life as her brother dies in her stead).

And then? Then they take on the ____ (which looks something like one of the Leshy, a very large black robed / cloaked figure with a cow’s skull for a head), which equips “Death Touch” as its weapon.

In a wonderful epic-feeling Kill conflict, they take on this Might 7 immortal (statted like a Red Dragon) and kill in without compromise.

All to save Gilemos.

Where are they now?

  • Tryggr the Paladin of Sigrund Shieldbreaker gets married and settles into his role as lord of his domain, and source of justice for all.

  • Ulla the Wizard works hard to fulfil the work that her brother Uddi was engaged in when her death became his. And then? As per her brother’s request, she lives for both of them.

  • Grimwald the Skald travels the land, offering advice where needed, telling the sagas, and observing the world as a cat.

And Gilemos?

He joins them, assisting them where he can, moving from one to the other as need and mood take them. He is part of Grimwald’s act, he assists Ulla in research and magics, and acts as treasurer for Tryggr.

Throughout, he still performs minor necromancies and enchantments, creating animal servitors to assist them in the work that they do.

And in the futre? Afterwards?

Well, their secret Order of the Silver Spear will continue, and its members will be there when Ragnarok comes.

Tryggr’s shield, engraved with all the foes he defeated waits on the tomb of Sigrund Shieldbreaker, underwater at Mirror Lake.

The Silver Spear itself, they have carefully hidden, leaving a trail of clues through their old adventuring sites, for the time when the need is great, and new heroes will need the tools of old heroes in the coming struggle…

… The Adventures …

Year 1:

  • Down Among the Dead Men (by Daniel O’Donnell)
  • Litany of Scratches (by @Fuseboy)
  • The Shattered Gate (by @Fuseboy)

Year 2:

Year 3:

  • The Unmended Way (by @Fuseboy)
  • Roost of the Condor Queen (by @Lord_Mordeth & Co at Mordite Press)
  • Basilica of the Leper Messiah (by @Fuseboy , inspired by Andy Action)

Year 4:

  • The Beacon of Enon Tor (by Michael Brunton and Graeme Morris)
  • Task of Zeichus (by @Fuseboy)
  • The Pilgrim Route of Sigrund Shieldbreaker
  • The Wagoner’s Table (Winter adventure) (by @Fuseboy)

My thanks again to Rob, Chris and Alex (and Sean) playing in the campaign.

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That’s amazing! Thank you for sharing!

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I should also share the artwork, courtesy of Luka Rejec (his site here)…

Ulla, Grimwald & Tryggr:

Tryggr, with White Metal Spear and magic shield:

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Holy cats! Literally!

Did they not know what the ring did before they slipped it on her finger?

They knew it had something to do with protection / resistance from death, and the ____ shied away from it.

They were also very conscious of the dangers of the ____, as Grimwald had walked up to it and shaken her hand, causing an Ob 7 Health test, which he passed (making him Sick, rather than, you know, Dead).

Do you have pictures of character sheets you could share? I’d love to see the skills and wises these characters came up with after four years of adventuring.

Will do… bear with.

I need to get scans done when I get home.

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Might you also be able to share the final character sheets?

Grimwald:

Tryggr:

Ulla:

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These are so cool.

Sword-trained magician!

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Did you have a favorite adventure?

How did play feel different in year 4 compared to year 1?

For me as GM? I probably loved Basilica of the Leper Messiah or Tannóch, Rest-of-Kings the most. That had a lot to do with how the players tackled them.

However, I know that there was also a lot of love for…

Actually, I think we had nothing but good ones.

There were adventures I could have run better, and things we could have done differently, but it was a very fun and solid experience.

There were a few things I’d call out of Year 1 vs. Year 4:

  • The players hit more as they became more skilled in the game.

  • They always had to be careful, and think things through. However, by the later years, they had skills, tricks, level abilities or the odd magic item that gave them an edge.

  • They took on a Black Dragon (alongside Maerg, who they had rescued from the Fae) in the last year, which just was not possible in earlier years. Having a Might boost (beyond Destiny of Heroes) was key, there.

  • Callbacks to previous adventures, a more developed world, and choices they had made coming back made for a much richer play experience. For instance, the relationship with Gorm the Boneless, or their actions at Tonnhofn (the village I placed by The Beacon of Enon Tor) evolved and greatly affected what they did, and how.

  • Middarmark is a great setting, and these adventures went in seamlessly. Tying links between adventures, or using something from one place somewhere else was awesome, both when done by me or by the players.

  • A few magic items can be very useful and effective!

Speaking of magic items, it felt that there were, maybe, six or so amongst the players?

Mind you, having just worked it through, that total is higher!

From @Jared’s Lots o’ Loot, we had:

  • Tillius’ 10 Useful Spells (from Beacon)
  • Red-Rabbit’s Ring of Regret and Resurrection (from Zeichus)
  • Stone of Luck
  • Balto’s Coat of Infinite Pockets (which they got some time before Tannóch)
  • Canteen o’ the Cross, which could carry 2 water (during Pilgrim)
  • Ice Sword (back around Roost)

They also:

  • reforged the White Spear from Chains, so that they could use it without becoming injured
  • had Gilemos’ ring of chainmail (from Gate) until they gave it back to him in the last session
  • (re)forged a bracer that acted as an Arcane crossbow
  • had shark-teeth chainmail (from Down)
  • had a shield that engrave itself with their defeated foes (from Litany, I think?)

NB:
Magic items do not need to be powerful to be useful.

  • The waistcoat of many many pocketses was much beloved as a storage tool.

  • The shield granted a simple +1 Disposition in Fight / Drive Off / Kill to its wielder, provided you equiped the shield and had previously defeated that type of foe.

Also? The players once looted a simple extra waterskin and practically high-fived about how great that was.

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