Mad Bros - Converting DnDers to Torchbearer (Three Squires)

Some background before I start. A few years ago, my friends and I were playing a Burning Wheel campaign that we really enjoyed. One night a few people couldn’t show, so we played the Dread Crypt. A little after, real life got in the way and we stopped playing. Then a gaming store opened in the area a year and a half ago and a few of us started playing DnD with some new people once a week. We finished up the Underdark a little bit ago and I couldn’t take another combat simulator. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy DnD but I wanted something a little more character driven. We talked about starting a BW game but wanted to wait for the new Codex to arrive so I thought I would introduce a few new people to the BW mindset and pass a month or two by running a torchbearer adventure. Of course, after 5 sessions we are all now totally hooked on Torchbearer.

When we played years ago, one player was an elf that ended up possessed and covered with the runes. As a starting hook, the players were to meet the elf about some valuable information. After they finished Three Squires, I’d use the elf for a hook for the players to deal with the fallout from that adventure years ago.

Session 1
Since this was to help the players get used to Burning Wheel, we created characters instead of using pre-gens. This took some time but overall I think it was a good way to introduce some of the important rules of the game.

After character creation, the players entered the inn and made their way into the basement where they meet some kobolds. After a brief scuttle, they drove them off but not before one destroyed the staircase with a bomb.

Session 2
The players poked around and found the stash of beer and the hidden treasure. Unfortunately they also triggered the net trap. As they tried to free themselves, the kobolds they drove off earlier returned with help. After some amazingly bad rolls, the players managed to drive the kobolds off again but in the commotion, some giant rats snuck in and stole any backpack containing food. The angry and exhausted party heroically decided that heading back to town to trade some barrels of beer for more supplies is what the owner of the inn would want. Unfortunately they must have drunk some on the way since everyone managed to drop their barrels before making it back to town.

Session 3
The players returned to the inn and descended back into the cellar. After poking around for a bit, they eventually encountered 2 kobold zombies. Their clever plan to sneak around them ended with them fleeing for their lives into another group of kobold zombies who promptly captured them.

Session 4
The players awaken in a cage with 3 other humans. They learned that the kobolds are at war with a giant spider. Initially it was going quite poorly but over the last week, the lead female started turning male kobolds into zombies using a scroll she made from the flesh of the elf they were supposed to meet. They also notice that the male kobolds are not very happy about it. After a little bit, the spider attacked and in the confusion the party sneaks into the hatchery. There they try to convince the male kobolds to join them to overthrow the evil that has possessed their leader. True to form, their speech ends with them running for their lives deeper into the complex. Eventually they escape and find themselves in the kitchen. With an amazing show of competence, they free the cook from his guards.

Session 5
They speak to Ronwald and decided they need to go back and rescue the remaining prisoners. They spend some time coming up with a plan. During the next hour, the brave dwarf heroically fights the kobolds while the remaining party sneak in to rescue the few surviving prisoners and to steal a kobold egg. On the way out, the cunning wizard used some repaired bombs to destroy the tunnel behind them as they fled to safety.

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Sweet! Sounds like everyone had a blast!

Love to see the stats you ran with for the Kobold zombies

Freaking out at the phrase “years ago.” #old

Zombies: I don’t have my notes with me but I didn’t spend much time on them. Mostly just the skeletons but lowered might to 1 and gave them Swarming. I gave the bosses a weapon bonus to defend to simulate reraising the fallen.

Session 6:
Since the players are still new to the system, we started with the PCs wintering in the nearby Wizards Tower so see that aspect of the system. There they learned of other reports of the dead walking near Skogenby. To help settle their debts from the winter, the party agreed to investigate.

The party decided to head to the Keep of Red Larch since it was along the main roads and would be easier to travel. They arrived with the setting sun to see something very wrong. Thick smoke filled the air and screams could be heard. Occasionally a large flying beast would fly towards the keep attacking the walls. The party entered town as quietly as they could avoiding bands of skeletons and zombies. Many houses were on fire or already destroyed.

In one, they rescued two villagers who explained they’ve been under attack for a day now. They also told the party about how most of the men are trying to draw the attacks of the undead to the local temple. These two were trying to get the remaining women and children to the mayors house where a secret tunnel would allow them to enter the keep.

Over the next few hours, our heroes, with the help of some good ideas and amazing luck managed to get most of the townsfolk to safety. Unfortunately, their luck eventually ran out and they were discovered by a robed individual who commanded the legions of dead. In a tense chase, the humans of the party showed the dwarf what it means to run as they barely managed to escape to the tunnel and safety.

Interesting notes: The players were sitting on a pile of artha. Initially they really wanted to horde it but when they realized how easy (and fun) it is to get, they started to go crazy. What else was interesting is that the players all had a new trait but no one wanted to penalize themselves. Every role was them saying, “Man I really need the checks but I don’t want to be the first to fail a check and get us into some crazy twist!” Worked well for awhile until it didn’t. At the end of the night as they were taking stock, everyone agreed next week would be rough…

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