First Expedition: The Three Squires

Note: this post may contain spoilers for the House of the Three Squires from the TB book. Stop reading now if you might wind up playing it.

Also, this post is written from the perspective of a player, 'though my GM (Roland) will presumably be reading. Please avoid spoilers of your own when responding! Thanks! :slight_smile:

We’re giving TB a run through its paces, but not necessarily committed to the game long term, yet.

The party:

Durgan (Dwarf Crossbowman “Bard”, Belief: “Repay debts in kind, gold for gold and blood for blood”, Instinct: “Always recount our tales of glory”, Foolhardy) [Pyske]
Ashlan (Human Cleric “Fire Druid”, Belief: “As the wildfire cleanses and refreshes the Forest, so will I channel the Lady of Flame’s grace to cleanse and refresh the world.”, Instinct: “When stopping to rest always make time to reflect and analyze information I have just gathered for insight and understanding of the path forward”, Defender) [Dwight]
Abelard (Halfling, Belief: “Tomorrow will be better than today”, Instinct: “Always look for a way out.”, Calm)
Bo (Elf, Belief: “Come back with a full sack or in it”, Instinct: “Always look around for shiny things”, Fiery)

Arriving at a local waystop, which Durgan claims is the best ale produced by humans anywhere in the area, the party discovers that the doors stand open and the occupants missing, possibly dragged into the cellar. A variety of oaths and vows are immediately discussed among the party.

Durgan: “Take vengeance on those who would lower the local beer quality!”
Ashlan: “Demonstrate to the others the power and the glory of their new ally, flame.”
Abelard: “Rescue any innocents who may be trapped below.”
Bo: “Loot the looters!”

T1: While examining some detritus, the party is attacked from the stairs below by 3 sling-wielding kobolds! (Twist)
T2: The party easily drives off the kobolds, but Bo is injured when charging down the stairs at them. (100% disp, Bo injured by trap, 1 preserved ration looted)
T3: Durgan clears some rubble formed into a barricade to the left exit, intrigued by the sounds from the room and heedless of the danger. (Durgan exhausted, 1 check, lantern lit, Bo dim)
Camp: The party makes camp, 'though the dust stirred up by the excavation causes coughing fits. Durgan passes his check to Ashlam for healing Bo; Ashlam manages to permanently injure Bo (Fighter -1). Instincts trigger: Ashlam leans a bit of info about kobolds, Abelard clears and opens the right doorway (Condition: Hungry, immediately removed by eating, but removes Fresh, 1 check).
T0*: After breaking camp, the party heads to the left room, where Abelard convinces a mangy mutt to follow the party, by feeding it a fresh ration.
I1: Bo’s instinct is triggered to search the new room. He avoids a net trap, but finds a set of ale barrels, which appear quite valuable!
T1: The party immediately sets about building a ramp with which to haul the barrels up the collapsed stairs… and miraculously, succeeds despite the lack of Carpentry skill in the party. (4 barrels moved & cached on 1st floor, worth 2D each)
T2: With the left room cleared, and no other exits, the party moves through the right room and to the entry of an excavated tunnel. They smell the horrible stench of giant rats, which makes Durgan afraid.
T3: The party attempts to drive off the rats, and again win handily. (100% disp, Ashlam has unknown twist from being bitten, 4 checks)

We ended here for the session, awarding PP and FP.

Durgan (1 FP), Ashlam (2 FP + Embodiment PP), Abelard (3 FP + Teamwork PP), Bo (3 FP + MVP PP)
Loot: 1 preserved ration, 4 ale barrels (2D ea)
Expended: 1 fresh ration, 1 preserved ration, 3 & 1/3 oil flasks, 1 spike (recoverable), 1 rope (recoverable)
Conditions: Durgan (Afraid & Exhausted), Ashlam (Fresh), 5 checks

Huh, I don’t think I had realized before just how much Durgan got beat up for 1 FP. :slight_smile: Suppose I’ll have to hope for better results next time, when the vengeance really starts to flow.

Rules questions / issues:

  1. We mistakenly denied actions to creatures when their numbers were reduced. Surprisingly, this had minimal impact since by that time we were thoroughly winning.
  2. Bo was injured by the collapsing stairs, with no test or turn taken, based on his described actions. This seemed like a reasonable judgement call at the time, as we were not scouting. How should obstacles stack up if encountered in the middle of a conflict?
  3. The party chose to camp immediately after T3 to avoid losing the Fresh condition on the remaining 2 members, despite having just cleared the doorway. Mechanics winning over RP here.
  4. Bo was in dim light for his scout test, which we forgot to apply. Probably need a condition card for dim light.
  5. We did forget to count a turn for Abelard’s dog befriending, and were unsure if avoiding the net trap should have taken a turn.
  6. Our party was under-strength (4 members). As far as I know, we didn’t adjust the module. Should we? We noted than an understrength party will have less help, but will advance faster (fewer ways to divide loot & Persona Points), etc.
  7. We realized halfway through that the crossbow is less effective than I had initially assumed. I has assumed any rolls that had successes applied the +1s, but we corrected to any roll which beat the versus obstacle. Is that correct? Should that also apply to independent tests with an Ob? So +1s just increases MoS?

Nice! I have got to play this game!

  1. I’m curious about this myself.

  2. That doesn’t seem like mechanics over RP to me. I see it as the party realizing that they’re starting to get tired and hungry, and deciding to take a break before plunging into the unknown.

  3. If they rolled dice to avoid the net trap, that’s a turn. However, since they all had to roll at the same time in response to the environment, it’s only one turn.

Thanks for your recap. I look forward to hearing more.

I would agree with that 100%, I was going to say the same thing.

  1. Well if there was any way to discourage use of the unknown trap in the conflict I would do that… unless it’s a flee conflict, though if it was a flee conflict and they described running down the stairs as their avenue of flight, then I would probably want to resolve the stairs before entering the flee conflict properly and just have the menacing goblins limit the kinds of things they can reasonably do. Hmm… I guess if I was GMing and a player threw themselves into a trap during a conflict I might replace their action that turn with reacting to the trap and make whatever their enemy was doing independent. Would that make sense… that is a tough one…

  2. Also, with only 4 people you get a higher action to attrition condition ratio. At the end of 4 turns you get 4 conditions (everyone hungry and thirsty) but you took 4 actions. With 5 that would be 5 conditions but still only 4 actions. That’s relatively minor compared to +1D per action for that 5th member and the extra specialization and the extra inventory slots… but hey, it’s something!

  3. Correct, it only helps in resolving ties or with MoS. Great for versus tests (winning ties) and tests with MoS but +1s does nothing for simple pass/fail tests where you just need to get x number of successes.

  1. As your dispo is reduced, you get less help but your team still gets three actions per round (unless other factors are at play).
  2. That’s a tough one! I don’t think I’d injure a character without a test no matter what. In that case, I probably would have given the rats a large bonus weapon for the action or maybe even for the rest of the combat. After the fight you assess your wounds, so any wounds would have been determined by the level of compromise (if any)
  3. Sounds like a smart decision to me.
  4. We’re working on one here, too.
  5. A good idea like feeding the dog doesn’t cost a turn (provided there’s no test involved). Avoiding a trap definitely costs a turn.
  6. You’re not understrength for this scenario.
  7. Only successful tests get the +1s bonus. The crossbow is still a mighty useful weapon.

Just to be clear on why these were hard calls / questions:

There was a test for befriending the dog (Hunter, I think, with the ration treated as supplies).
The trap was triggered by an instinct-based roll (a twist on a failed scout roll, I think?). Avoiding the trap costs a turn regardless of this?

Oh, and in response to Ludanto: only one PC was affected by the trap roll, since he didn’t have any help in the searching (due to using his instinct). I do follow your point about one turn vs multiple, however.

Since you shouldn’t be getting twists or conditions without a test, every trap has a test associated with triggering it. You could walk around blindly ignoring traps, but then you’ll have to face (usually harder) tests to not have the trap get you. If you search for traps you spend a turn, but you have a chance of getting past the trap without setting it off. That’s my understanding of things. I guess if nobody has any trap related instincts then it might almost be worth it just to storm on through and hope for the best, since it’s often a test to find the trap and then another to disable it. Then again, if you aren’t describing your characters poking around a bit, then you won’t stand a chance of finding any hidden treasure or secret doors either…

  1. I wouldn’t call that mechanics over RP. Or rather, it could have very easily been played out as, “If we push ourselves any further we may come to injury. Let’s rest to maintain composure.” Boom, mechanics AND roleplay.

Roland the Level 1 Ref here.

Not sure why I didn’t give the guy charging down the (trapped) stairs a test to avoid injury. My memory is off, I’ll check with the player, maybe I actually did. More likely it’s because the outcomes for tripping the trap were on the next page… :o

We did spend some time headscratching how to manage the trap in the middle of the fight.

There’s a lot of moving parts to this game, but it’s fascinating to learn them. :slight_smile:

Not even if he’s a cheating pointy-eared bastard?

In that case, the test to befriend the dog advances the turn count.
The test to scout the room does not, since it was from an Instinct.
The test to avoid the trap, however, does cost a turn like any other non-Instinct, non-spell casting test.

  1. Bo was in dim light for his scout test, which we forgot to apply. Probably need a condition card for dim light.

This occurred to me on the way home, a set of 4 markers/cards for lighting status is on my ToDo list. I’ll have it for Saturday.

  1. We did forget to count a turn for Abelard’s dog befriending, and were unsure if avoiding the net trap should have taken a turn.

I thought that was T2 and Durgan’s Afraid, which you have down as sort of co-incidental to entering the rat tunnel, came from Helping him (Failure flipped to Success + Condition)? I’m a little fuzzy around that, it’s been 10 days now, but I feel confident we got the SPCA Turn correctly logged.

[b]The one Turn accounting misstep that seems to have happened was the Elf triggering the net trap. I didn’t notice at all, for some reason I don’t recall him even making a roll for that? Not sure how that one slipped by. Probably because we were sort of in Camp mode, still. At least in our minds.

EDIT: If the Instinct had been triggered between Checks (if we’d had more than 1 Check) we’d come out of Camp at Turn #2?

P.S. thumbs up for the write-up. Roland, he’s going to get dibs on the ‘recount last session’ bonus for this, right?

Works for me. :slight_smile:

T2 was a Dungeoneering test (not sure why we picked that) aided by Abelard’s Smell-wise (which shielded him from the Afraid condition).

Well that’s the darn’st thing. It certainly wasn’t an Instinct Test, although it was Belief centered. Hmmm.

Our second session’s log:

(Ashlam’s instinct changes to cartography prior to the session. Bo the Elven Ranger was absent.)

Prologue: Durgan recovers from Afraid.
Camp: Durgan recovers from exhausted. Abelard cooks a fresh ration, turning it into 3 preserved rations (with help). Ashlam attempts a map; it looks good to him, but we know the roll was a failure. Ashlam prepares some alchemical solution, with labor assisted by Durgan (help check). A successful Hunter check allows Abelard to puzzle out that Ashlam is carrying a disease, which has contaminated the rations he helped prepare. He is now the only one who can eat them.
T1: Scouting ahead, Abelard manages to fall into a pit!
T2: Abelard is unable to avoid the pit. (Health fail) He is uninjured, but the noise attracts 6 kobold sentries from the north.
T3: A trick conflict is used to hide and make the kobolds think nothing is there. Compromise: everyone is hungry from the time spent remaining motionless. (Ashlam loses fresh, rations are consumed.)
T4: Durgan resets the pit trap, with the intent of circling around and forcing the northern kobolds into it.
GRIND: Hungry, more rations consumed.
Camp: Abelard cooks a meal, while Ashlam instinctively updates his map. He also attempts to purify himself with alchemy, but fails.*
T1: Over the skepticism of the party, they proceed south to try to loop back north, ignoring the screams coming from the north. After passing through a muddy room, additional scouting + smell-wise reveals a dark passage turning back north, and a well-lighted kitchen, with a human prisoner of 3 kobold elders.
T2: The kobolds are slaughtered nearly instantly. (first action, no compromise) The man proves to be the innkeeper, and Durgan now feels he has avenged the slight against beer drinkers everywhere. After interrogating him (and disposing of the kobolds as fuel for the cooking fire), the party leaves him to “act natural” while they secure a way out.
T3: Backtracking to the previous branch (as the innkeep says the majority of the tribe would be up ahead), they discover a room full of “loot”, yet strangely free of anything valuable other than a completely immovable desk. A thorough search reveals a hidden compartment containing a magical mask and a brass key. (Abelard seems miffed that the dog had to point it out to him. Returning to the innkeep, he says the key unlocks a hidden trove of valuables, which he will give to the party if they rescue himself and his daughter. (He seems to have sensed Durgan’s ambivalence toward her rescue when he learn that she could not brew beer.) Continuing up the naturally formed “ladder” in the back of the cave, the party finds themselves eavesdropping on the sentry room, in which a human and a kobold are being tortured. Seeing that there are nearly 15 foes nearby, they choose to camp and wait to see what develops.
Camp: Aleblard recovers from being angry, while Ashlam manages to make himself angry at his ruined cartography attempt. Durgan instinctively tries to calm him by telling him tales of their glorious adventure so far, allowing him to calm enough to attempt to recover. Ashlam, despite being touched by his fiery gods, recovers his composure, and suddenly finds himself inspired to alchemical greatness, purifying himself with fire from the disease he has been carrying.
T1: Seeing that most of the kobolds have left the room (although many are now gathered near the southern entrance / pit trap), the party charge to the attack, driving the 2 remaining kobolds before them. (No compromise)
T2: These kobolds regroup with their peers before the pit trap, only to have the whole mass of 7 kobolds eventually driven into the trap. (No compromise, 'though a long and drawn-out conflict.)
T3: Durgan then sets about slaughtering kobolds with his crossbow, while his allies keep them confined to the pit. Shooting fish in a barrel is tiring (Health Ob1), but nothing Durgan can’t handle.
Camp: Ashlam manages to un-mangle his map, while Durgan affixes the magical mask to his helmet using his Armorer skills. Ashlam and Abby set about crafting a pair of alchemical fireworks, one of which doesn’t seem to be at all dodgy, no siree.

ARTHA: Abelard 3+1 (BIG MVP), Ashlam (BIG Embody), Durgan (BI G! Team Embody)

  • This resulted in an as-yet unknown twist.

Next session may start with either a trip into town, or an attempt to locate the innkeeper’s daughter.

Questions from the session:

  1. In a versus test, if the opponent fails their roll (0 successes), is an experience check awarded?
  2. Independent defend is Ob3, but gives no benefit if 3 successes are rolled. Can you tiebreaker this result to gain 2 checks?
  3. There was some weirdness with camp and checks. Ash made himself angry with a failed test, so Durgan triggered his instinct to calm him, allowing him a recovery test, which he used a trait against, granting another check to be used in camp. Legal?
  4. We struggled to find uses for all our checks in camp, particularly for the Halfling. Are there any good options? Anyone have clever ideas?
  5. We burned through a good chunk of last session’s Artha. Is that generally expected?
  6. We are still relatively unscathed, partly due to caution and partly due to defending back up to full disposition. Should we be doing something differently to help ratchet up the tension?
  1. Yes since it’s a versus test. Not really Ob0.
  2. Independent Tests are no versus tests and therefore there is no Tie to break. Both tests happen indepent from one anoter
  3. You can’t use a Trait against yourself in Camp. p.22 “Camp, Town and PvP” p.83 Camp Traits
  4. Cooking!, Scavenging!, Scouting the Camp Area, Learning New Skills!, Hunting something to turn it into food, Spending Checks when helping to get a log for advancement, giving the check to people that need it more
  5. Yes it probarbly is
  6. I think you are doing alright. The GM could use meaner twists and take your stuff away…


“A versus test has an obstacle generated by rolling against another player or the GM” (page 63) It isn’t in the same location as not being able to log for an Ob 0 test, so I didn’t find it in the moment, and the text in the Ob 0 not counting as a test rule comes across a bit nebulous (by trying to be helpful) but it seems pretty clear given that line that if the opponent rolls zero successes you are rolling against Ob 0.

  1. Independent Tests are no versus tests and therefore there is no Tie to break. Both tests happen indepent from one anoter

Yeah, this was a mistake I think.

  1. You can’t use a Trait against yourself in Camp. p.22 “Camp, Town and PvP” p.83 Camp Traits

That makes sense, it seemed weird playing it as a perpetual Check generator.

  1. Cooking!, Scavenging!, Scouting the Camp Area, Learning New Skills!, Hunting something to turn it into food, Spending Checks when helping to get a log for advancement, giving the check to people that need it more

We were Cooked out. But that was exactly what we ended up doing, working towards a new Skill.

  1. I think you are doing alright. The GM could use meaner twists and take your stuff away…

Twists could be tougher, or maybe not as delayed, and/or more Conditions handed out. Also, don’t tell him but I think he’s not taking an aggressive enough stance in scripting. It might also be a Kobold thing, urging him to be a little heavy on Maneuver. I think Roland has noticed this though.

Also, we gained no extra loot [yet] from this 2nd session and are running low on supplies so I don’t think we are as in as good shape as Eric assumes.

Thanks for the responses, Praion.

Apart from the magic item! Surely that must be worth something! Speaking of which, there’s nothing the in game about trading in magic items for another day’s food and a bundle of flammable sticks, is there?

Hmm. Wonder how I would run that as a Convince conflict…

It is made of wood. I can make it burn.

P.S. I thought of that as just ‘gear’. Especially now that you don’t need to nail it to your forehead to wear it.

ISTR backpacks being a hindrance in combat, dunno if we accounted for that.