The other Friday we got to finally test Torchbearer with Alejo and Franco my “Masters of the Inner Sea” players. We had a great session and the guys already “hate” the game
We started burning adventurers, things went slowly because I had only read the book and Franco was the only one who tested the game in a one shoot during the Back to the Dungeon (an old school rpgs little event we organize with the guys of Sierpes del Sur), so we where pretty green in this Torchbearer thing. After an 45 minutes or so we ended up with Magion the Magician and Droco the Dwarven Adventurer and they were buying the equipment (“This is where all your love for the game ends”-Alejo after seeing the Inventory for the first time) while I tried to read at least the first five rooms of the dungeon.
Their Beliefs were “Revenge is unavoidable” for Magion and “He who fights and runs away lives to loot another day” for Droco. Their Insticts were something like “I always decypher the magic item before using it” and “When Afraid, hide”. Their wises were (roughly translated) “Magic trinket-wise” and “Non-poisonous non-venomous eatable stuff-wise”, which was really funny since Droco doesn’t have the Survivalist skill, so he got the wise simply by eating everything he could find and not dying in the process. We let the Goals for later on and totally forgot about them until the end of the session.
We started chatting, moved from the ice-cream shop where we were creating the characters to a gas station where we could play without dying of hypothermia (it’s still winter here).
Finally we got started. I had’t finished reading, but what the hell. The players decide that Droco would be the leader of this expedition (a title that in my gaming groups tends to be meaningless) and I describe them reaching the House of the Three Squires (“You are friends or know each other enough to trust each other or whatev…” “He’s following me, I LET him follow me!”). I let them know that the tavern is miles away from any other town and that it’s getting dark. The stables surrounding the House are quiet, TOO quiet.
Magion: “I open the door.”
Me: “The whole tavern is ransaked, the only furniture left is shattered to pieces and you can see a blood trail leading to the back of…”
Magion: closes the door
Droco: opens the door, sword in hand
Cautiously they follow the blood trail to the back of the House and reach the wooden stairs leading to the cellar. Droco tries to test Scout to see the source of this trail, but fails: twist the stairs collapses and he has to test Health not to fall succeeds. Now that I think about it, I think that they never tested Scout, since Franco described his dwarf as stepping directly on the stairs. A turn passes. Droco fixes his grappling hook and they start planning how to go down: “I throw the torch.” “Don’t throw it! I stop him.” “He stops you.” “Ok… I throw the torch” die of fate the torch is burning on the cellar floor. I consider it a Good Idea so they don’t have to test to climb down. The dwarf lands on the cellar and I get to describe the room: more broken furniture, two doors, one barricaded from the outside and one clear, a faint noise of a whimpering animal from the locked door, a cold wind comes from the other door.
Droco:“There’s something here, don’t come down.”
Magion:“What?! I’m going down.”
Droco:“Dude! It might be dangerous!”
Magion:“You wuss!” climbs down
Droco and the mage start arguing about which door to take, Magion wants to check the noise in the barricaded room, the dwarf is sure that whatever it is that lies there is locked for a reason (“You wuss!”), finally they go to the second room. Droco checks the door for noises but hears none (I think he tests Scout), Magion kicks the door open, dagger and spell in hand, only to find a gnawed ham hanging form the ceiling. They continue, entering the hole in the far reach of the cold room to hear the screams of a tortured man (I think that Droco tests Dungeoneer to locate the source of the screams) and rush in to the rescue, triggering the trap while entering the guard’s chamber. Franco had already said that his plan was to attract the attention of whatever it is there, so they don’t mind the tripwire. Finally they face the kobolds. We start a Kill conflict while one of the kobolds runs to look for reinforcements. The little beasts make a bomb discharge summing the chamber in chaos and smoke, Droco runs one of the little beasts through his sword. As the smoke dissipates they see the corpses of the kobolds lying around, felled by their own explosives. I think they end up Injured and as the Grind progresses, Hungry and Thirsty.
The rugs where the vermin were gambling catches their eye, and now Magion has a plan. The adventurers carry the rugs to the other tunnel where the kobold ran and douse them in oil. Meanwhile the reinforcement comes running down from the whipping post chamber and we start a Drive Off conflict. I test a poor disposition so I end up with 5 kobolds. We script some Maneuvers, adding and taking dices from both sides. Droco ends up disarmed of his torch (that he wanted to use to ignite the rugs). By the second exchange the scaly beasts attack with their bombs, provoking a huge fire with the rugs and depleting both dispositions to zero in one strike.
We get to negotiate the big compromise. The idea was to gain hold of the Guard’s Chamber, and since both sides fell we agreed in that the whole chamber caved in after the explosive discharge. Also the five kobolds died and that they now were (if I remember well) Exhausted.
Worn out they return to the cellar and barricade the last door just in case the kobolds try to return from the other side of the dungeon. I think that Droco ends up Angry, but I’m not sure. Magion starts another argument about entering the old barricaded room, reasoning that the other survivors might be trapped there, but the dwarf refuses again (“You wuss!!”). They climb the rope to the tavern and set camp in the owner’s bedroom (I deem it a safe camp after all the precautions they had) and they fail all recovery checks. We ended the session there.
As I said, it was difficult because I had only read the book, Franco got to play only one one-shoot and Alejo didn’t know anything. Also I had to read the dungeon room by room because I couldn’t remember the whole adventure. Above all we had a great time and I hope we get to play again.
Saturday night we were with another friend in a fast-food restaurant and convinced him to join Droco and Magion in their adventures. He burnt an Elf Ranger and meanwhile we started rewarding artha for the last session. Droco ended up with 1 Fate and 1 Persona, while Magion has 1 Persona. Also they wrote their Goals for next session, something like “I will leave this place alive” for Droco (“You wuss!!”) and “I will solve this mystery” for Magion.
Stirring up the Dungeon:I’d like to make the dungeon feel “alive” so I’m “programming” new situations to accomodate first session’s events.
[li]The Guard’s chamber has collapsed and it’s inaccessible.
[/li][li]Joerg bleeds to death.
[/li][li]Crooked Tooth orders Ronwald to cook Joerg for her elite guard. Next Wandering Monster might be him looking for some spices to cook and buy some time.
[/li][li]As punishment some male kobolds and Blue Tongue are tasked with finding the intruders and kill them, having to pass through Uttan’s territory. Next Wandering Monster might be them.
[/li][li]Saw Back makes his move during Joerg’s feast and takes some of the prisioners to Uttan’s lair to distract him and escape the cave with some eggs. Elsa sneaks out and can be encountered as a Wandering Monster.
I hope we get to see this things in motion.