House of Three Squires Demo: Working Out the Kinks

So our group will be starting an extended campaign this month, and we broke out Three Squires with sample characters to get our feet wet with the system. I ran it, and we had Karolina the warrior, Gerald the burglar, Varg the magician, and Ulric the cleric (human heavy group!)

T1: They reached the cellar stairs and spotted weird scales amidst the gouge marks and Karolina recognized them as belonging to kobolds (hunter ob 2 success), with help from Gerald, who was wise in the way of kobolds.
T2: The cellar was pitch black, so they lit up two torches before heading down. Gerald crept down the stairs, keeping an eye out for danger. He missed the trap (scout ob 3 fail) and…
T3: the stairs split apart as he, Karolina and Ulric went down them (Varg hung back) (health ob 2, Gerald fail, Karolina and Ulric success). Gerald plunged to the cellar floor amid the debris and scurried to his feet as the silhouettes of three huge rats appeared from the next room.
T4: The torches were burning out (after burning for like, a minute in game time), so Ulric lit another as the three humans looked on at the halfling’s plight from above with no reliable way to get down. Karolina gripped her spear and made ready to throw it, trying to shoo the rats away until they could regroup (Drive-off conflict).
During the conflict (we determined that Varg and Gerald were in dim light throughout), the humans secured a rope and Ulric climbed down (maneuver action), Karolina threw her spear from above (attack action), and Varg cast wizard’s aegis to shield the halfling (defend action). The rats still managed to bite through Gerald’s leather armor and knock him out of the fight, though Ulric bashed one aside with his shield. The protagonists managed to chase off the remaining two rats. Gerald and Ulric were both injured, however (medium compromise). Afterward, the group became hungry and thirsty, so they took food/drink from their supplies (I also forgot about the health test to resist disease).
T1: Karolina and Varg attempted to climb down the rope (I treated the rope as supplies, but otherwise kept the dungeoneering test in tact), Karolina helping Varg. They were vexed by the difficulty of this seemingly simple task, and both reached the ground angry (dungeoneering ob 4, fail).
T2: The torches flickered, and they lit a new one. After looking around the cellar, they discovered a water pump, an open door into the cold storage room, and a door barricaded by debris, emanating a high pitched whining sound. Karolina took to removing the debris with minimal help (beginner’s luck laborer ob 1, success; Ulric says, “I help by using my organizational skills to tell her where best to stack the junk,” I say “Or you could, you know, MOVE stuff yourself”) and they find a ladder there. Everybody says “Ohhhhhh.”
T3: Meanwhile, Gerald pores through the garbage looking for supplies to make torches. He finds enough wood and rags for four torches (scavenger ob 2? success; there’s no good marker for something like this in the book).
T4: New torch. They go inside the wine cellar and find smashed barrels and a starving dog. They try to coax it out (beginner’s luck peasant ob 2, fail), but it runs past them into the cold storage room. After that, they all became hungry and thirsty and decided to drink from the water pump in the other room (I couldn’t think of a reason why they shouldn’t be able to do this?)
T1: They ignore the dog for now. Instead, Karolina searches the wine cellar, looking for any casks of beer that survived the scuffle (found 3) and while checking the racks, she spotted a net trap (beginner’s luck scout ob 3) with help from Ulric and Gerald.
T2: Another new torch. Karolina fishes the net down with her spear and sets it aside in case they have a use for it later. Then she opens the secret door behind the sliding racks to discover a pile of loot. A sword and shield, which she takes, a crossbow, which nobody else can use and she doesn’t want, and a locked chest. Ulric steps up with lockpicks to hand, and with Gerald’s help, they manage to pick the lock open (ob 2 criminal, success).
T3: They divvy up the 2D of silver after a short moral discussion (Ulric says “It’s safer with us than…you know…in a locked chest in a hidden closet. If we find the inkeeper and he’s still alive, we’ll return the 1D of silver we found there.”) They go into the cold storage room and find the two rats they drove off facing down the starving dog, who seems to be protecting an unconscious little girl. They charge in, weapons to hand, and decide to end these pesky rats once and for all.
Kill conflict. Rats have good disposition, but with a nature of 2 and only one helping die available, they don’t last long. The party outscripts them handily (although I’m pretty sure the effects of a few conditions were forgotten), and win the conflict with no compromise.
T4: New torch. They take the girl (and dog) with them back into the cellar and set up camp. Minor inconvenience! The rat that Ulric had bashed earlier got up and was attracted by the noise! Karolina kills it, but is terrified by the experience (I ruled it as a vs. test, but ties kept happening, so she used a trait to break it in the rat’s favor. Should this have been a straight up independent test?)
T1: Anyway, everybody’s hungry and thirsty again before camp is set up proper.
Camp: Eight checks between all party members. Gerald cooks a meal (cook ob 2 with fresh ration, success), Ulric treats Gerald’s injury (Healer ob 3, success), Karolina fails to get over her own anger, but Gerald cheers her up with singing and dancing (Merrymaking nature ob 3? success), and then she recovers from fear with help from some of the sour beer they tapped. Ulric fails to recover from his injury. Varg draws an accurate map of their progress with help from Karolina and Ulric (cartography ob 2, success).

Then we ended it.

How are we doing?

Is it reasonable to have a conflict involving all party members if they are technically in two different areas (i.e. top of stairs, cellar), separated by an obstacle, or should the halfling have faced the rats alone? How about traversing an obstacle mid conflict through the use of a maneuver action?

Having the torches burn out after the halfling failed to find the trap, then fell to the ground (like a minute of in game time) left a bad taste in some mouths, I think. Any advice/thoughts?

Anyway, we had a great time, and are very much looking forward to the extended campaign. I haven’t decided if I’m going to be a dwarf or a human thief.



Regarding torches, that’s just the way the game works. If you were lucky and clever, that same torch could have lasted for hours, or even all day.

Still, I understand your plight. If it helps, consider that scouting for traps should typically take several minutes if you’re doing a thorough job of it. Also, it’s not like you’re buying factory torches at Wal-Mart. The consistency and quality control might be lacking.

I’m curious how one would handle the separated conflict, as well.

Don’t split the party rules?
If you can’t do something in the conflict then you can’t do something.

The players were coming up with interesting descriptions of what they were trying to do from the top of the stairs, like chucking debris to help with maneuvers, or throwing down bits of food from the kitchen to distract the rats. I suppose I should’ve imposed an ob penalty or something considering the circumstance, but it was very interesting to see how things played out. I wonder if it might have worked for one of them to just say “I jump down.” Would that have fit into a maneuver action? I’m not quite sure what would have made the most sense, within the rules and without.

There was a similar issue in a previous thread where the stair-trap happened in the middle of a conflict. I suspect that a Maneuver is the way to go, probably with at least an Evil GM Factor, as the PCs jump/climb down the wall. If a compromise is needed after the fight, maybe one of the jumpers twisted an ankle and is now “injured”.