(Spring, Session 1)
Our winter in Svarttårn saw Tryggr the Paladin get awarded the “Prophet” trait (and the player chose to replace their Aggressive trait), and our party got itself condition free, which is always a great feeling.
Now, having worked on (some of) Abrran’s surly teenager issues, they travel to the village of Tonnhofn (“Tooth Harbour”), with a view to assessing the situation there, and maybe meeting with Peivas the Serpent, the Wizard/Lord of Varðturn (“Beacon Tower” - my approach to the Beacon of Enon Tor, based on this adventure lead).
Tonnhofn is fog-bound, and the situation in the village is rather tense, with Abrran trying for a melodramatic reveal of his return, and lashing out with words.
Fortunately, the party is able to calm things down, and meet with the Gyðja, Ravna Irjandottir, mother of Abrran.
It is clear that the situation remains very tense in Tonnhofn, worsened by the sudden silence from Varðturn, with the lack of light from the beacon and the silencing of the foghorn.
Before heading off, the party make camp in Tonnhofn, and have a very lucky break, when they find a hidden temple to Hyresti, Lord of Mercy, and Miskunna, Lady of Valour.
Whilst none of them are sick or injured, this is an incredible find, and they are determined to map it, to ensure that they can come back here when they need it.
Unfortunately, the dice are against them, and the Twist from their failed Cartography check is that they no longer know where the hidden temple is…
Tryggr Boasts to Tonnhofn that they will restore Varðturn, and the party heads out.
As they approach Varðturn through the fog, they can just make out strange glowing eyes inside the palisade. Fortunately, they manage to identify them as 4 Helgeit just before these beasts charge!
The Kill conflict is intense, but good use of a Trap instinct, and tough scripting and Defends get them safely through it.
They are able to set a quick camp, and hide some of their Heilgeit-related loot.
However, the noise of battle did draw out the orcs who are just inside the tower proper, who manage to injure Ulla (Scout Twist), as the party tries to work out what’s going on.
Another trap later (fire-based, this time), ensures that when the orcs find the camp, the gout of flame turns the tables on them, and the party takes them in a Kill conflict.
There’s a certain irony in that the magic item the party manages to loot from the orcs is a Goatrider’s badge, whcih would have been very handy when facing the Helgeit.
Entering Varðturn proper through the lower entrance, they take the left hand door, and find themselves face to face with a gnoll and his goblin servant.
Tryggr and Grimwald, not wishing another fight (especially when you’re 2 Kill-conflicts deep, and with an injured party member), launch into a story of how they are here to collect taxes on behalf of Gorm the Boneless from the owner of the tower.
A bit of luck, and they convince Ulthrax the Gnoll to say in “his” room, whilst they assay the tower. It helps that Ulthrax knows of Gorm by (dark) reputation, and that the party don’t rise to his comments about demon worship.
The party heads back out to their camp, and try to prepare themselves for the rest of the tower…
This week, the party headed onward, and almost completed the adventure!
This… actually goes a lot smoother than anyone anticipated.
Also, this adventure is a real treasure trove for experienced Torchbearer players. There’s a full pantry with barrels (BARRELS!) of food and drink. There’s a store room with 9 barrels of oil, coils of rope and all the tools that a Torchbearer group would ever need.
The party is seriously thinking about what they do with this place.
I mean, it would make an incredibly useful HQ or bolt-hole.
The supplies here (with the well and nearby village) could make this a great place to see out winter, or any other threat.
So far, the party are keen to return this to Peivas, but it’s a temptation nonetheless, and they might try to set up something permanent here.
With the orcs dealt with, and Ulthrax staying in his room (for now), there are only a few threats left in the tower.
The party is rightly suspicious of the squeaking sounds from the pantry, and, instead of dashing in there, leave a trail of food from the door to outside, where they set up a crude rat-catching trap, involving an upturned cauldron and a wooden spoon.
When they carefully open the door, and then hide, the giant rats follow the trail outside, and the party shuts the door on them.
The trap does nothing more than annoy the rats, given their relative size, but it’s a good effort!
For the undead in the “barracks” area, the party wisely decides not to mess with anything (also being rather worried that this might be vampires), and carefully skirts any dangers.
The bats in the upper reaches of the tower are dealt with by Grimwald casting Dance of the Fireflies (his spell lights look like large flaming beetles) and sticking the lights to the bats’ faces until they fly out of there.
Having fully explored the tower in the upward direction, it is time to head into the cellar.
In the first room, the wizard’s supply room, there are 4 Tomb Guardians, and the party do not hesitate, but simply tear into them in a Kill conflict.
Once these are dealt with, the loot contains something truly wonderful: a book entitled Peivas the Serpent’s 10 Useful Spells (this is Tillius’ 10 Useful Spells from @Jared_A_Sorensen’s Lots of Loot).
They also help themselves to the pouches of gold and silver dust, as well as the pouch of pearls.
Then, Tryggr decides to trap the box this all came out of. I mean, the temptation is strong, as there’s all of these alchemical supplies right at hand.
The resulting roll goes… poorly. The box is crammed full of things that catch light, and things that go BOOM.
Tryggr realises he has over-egged the pudding, and shouts a warning to the others before bracing himself and his shield against the box just before it explodes.
Ulla’s quick-thinking saves her and Grimwald, as she pulls out the sword they have into which they have previously cast Lightness of Being, catapulting them both up the staircase (Good Idea!).
Tryggr (behind his shield!) manages to escape injury (successful Ob 5 Health test), but the noise does bring Ulthrax the Gnoll and Boots, his goblin servant to see what this is all about.
The group is just starting to make “let’s shoo away Ulthrax and do this solo”, when Grimwald shrugs and invites Ulthrax to join them in heading through to the room beyond.
Ulthrax is enthusiastic (where Boots is long-suffering), and takes the remaining door off its hinges and the group rushes in.
This, the inner sanctum of Peivas the Serpent, is defended by 2 Tomb Guardians, whilst Peivas himself lies collapsed over his desk (his mind currently lost, due to a spell backlash).
I end up running this as 2 simultaneous conflicts (not recommended, but we enjoyed the experiment): a Flee/Drive off, as Ulla and Grimwald try to reach Peivas, and a Kill conflict, as Tryggr and Ulthrax deal with the Tomb Guardians more… permanently.
As luck would have it, both end simultaneously with a mostly successful party.
After that, they just manage to convince Ulthrax to head back upstairs, although his “reassurance” that he’ll be waiting for them does make them rather Afraid…
One camp phase later (during which they do their best to help Peivas), they are once again ready to take this adventure to its conclusion!