Mansion of the Mad Magi

Half a session!
Last Saturday we had another weird, unfinished session. It was Diego’s birthday, so we meet up early to play Torchbearer and “secure” the tables for the birthday party. We had only a couple of hours to play, but since when had that being a problem?

Nicolás had missed the last session. He told the group that his character, Makarios, spend the last Town phase in Lifdis’ house sending letters to his parents in Kûdz, and marked off his Exhausted condition. Diego gave the last session’s recount and marked off his Afraid or Angry, I’m not sure.

We started by roleplaying some scenes from the last session. Hally was at the town gates, meeting up with Folkvar, a strong (and apparently sexy) pelter, head of the guard at the time. Folkvar told the cleric about three missing prisoners. They had discovered this missings after checking the dungeons and finding discrepancies between the occupied cells and the written registries. The disappearing must had happened during the last tanner’s watch some days ago, and it coincide with the arriving of a strange character: a tall and grim man came from Argast carrying a letter from his master presenting him as Morgo. His reasons for coming to Stone Claw were vague. He stayed for one day and never uttered a single word. While returning to the south it was reported by a farmer nearby that he carried three large bags in his cart, one seemingly moving.

Folkvar said that he needed prove of this prisoner’s whereabouts to present to the king. A part of the reward they were expecting would go to Hally. He didn’t knew how much could they take from the king, but it was going to be silver at least.

Urielagas paid the bard in the Dragonsong Tavern to hear some rumours and found out that another elf, his friend Ristand, had passed by. He said he was hunting orcs in the road to Argast.

The characters changed their Goals from last session. Diego wrote “I will locate the target”, Nicolás “I will find this guys” and Franco “I will meet up with my friend.” I can’t remember Mariana’s.

Before we started Mariana and Nicolás were dissatisfied with their Instincts, so Mariana changed her from “I always check the terrain for traps” to “I always research the esoteric nature of found items and places” and Nicolás from “I always have my weapon at the ready” to “I’ll always check the surroundings for fresh water and edibles.”

The adventurers left Stone Claw taking the south road. At the gates they asked about the road, it was one day and a half of travel on foot to Argast, and a guard warned them that Orc Season had begun.

Right before they leave a dog cuts them off, barking desperately “The dog! I was wondering what the hell that was about!” the players yelled (well, all except Nicolás who had no idea what we were talking about). It was grey and shaggy, and had a rag around its neck. It continued barking and pointing somewhere off road. I described a small hill with a tree on top. Laid down against the tree was a man. The players asked me if it seemed like a good place for an ambush, but I reassured them that they were safe.

They approached the dying man laying in a pool of his own blood. He laughed as the adventurers came, and petted his dog. The situation was grim and they knew they couldn’t heal him. “I’m sorry I am not neatly trimmed for this occasion.” He took a map case from between his bearings “Here, take this before they come.” The loud sound of galloping came from nearby. Hally took the map and they hid between some bushes. Half a dozen riders came before the dying man, one of them clad in a full plate with a knightly bearing.

“You took too long…”
“Where’s is it?!”
“You mean the map you took from me after stabbing me in the back?”
“You know what I mean. Where is it?!”
“I don’t have it, I guess I lost it in the pursue” Said the man, smiling.

The escorting riders dismounted and started to approach the man, club in hand. The dog started growling by his side. “I come up from the bushes!” said Franco. “What?!” the rest of the party. They started arguing about what to do. Diego wanted to trade the map for the man’s life. Franco wanted to interfere, Nicolás and Mariana wanted to stay hidden (maybe adopt the dog if it was possible). Franco plans to have Urielagas cast “Celestial Music” to make the sound of the guards approaching. I remind them that the iron clad man is obviously a knight and I tell Mariana that her character recognizes him as Sir Haldor, the Destroyer.

Franco then plans to summon the sound of an orc raid and rolls Arcanist, fails, twist: “Deal with the elf.” the guards rush to beat Urielagas who had came out of cover. Meanwhile Sir Haldor approaches the man “So this is how Nyall, the Great Thief West of Borea, dies” sunking his lance in the thief’s chest. The dog starts biting the knight’s leg, but is struck down with a sword.

The rest of the party is seriously thinking in leaving his foolish companion behind, and start arguing about what to do. Hally even tries to see the map, but knows that it will catch the guards attention. They keep arguing, and Urielagas is now bound and Injured. “Finish with the elf and take him to the dungeons, I want to have fun with it.” Haldor leaves the scene while the riders keep pounding the elf like a piñata. The party is deciding between a Drive Off or a Kill conflict. I tell them that the riders are only dressed in a leather armor and armed with clubs. Also they are Might 2. We start a Conflict.

It went easy, taking less than two exchanges. The party lost less than half their disposition, saving their elf. Off game the party guest started showing up, so we had to break the session.

By the end of the night Franco had lost his voice and Diego was really drunk and tempted to keep on partying with some friends. We were all tired, so we decided to finish the session in the week.

We have to see the fight’s compromises, their loot and the rest of the adventure. The idea is to take the dungeon I’m making (so I was relieved they couldn’t reach it yet).

We enjoyed the session, even after Franco’s habit of “roleplaying” his character at the least appropriate times. I’m not used to introduce this kind of “NPC only” scenes but I think the players liked it. Also this session was rules-light, so we didn’t argued about the rules, and everything felt a little more organic.

I’ll come up with the finished session after Thursday I hope they get to the dungeon :stuck_out_tongue:

Stay cool :cool:

I just saw that I placed the wrong link for the dungeon. Fixed.

Stay cool 8)

Second half!
So last Thursday we finished the session. We had just a couple of hours, so the characters couldn’t get to the dungeon yet but we had a cool session:

We started by stating the conditions of the Kill conflict we had pending. Alha March ended up Injured. I rolled the Loot Table2, each rider had a torch and one of them a steel mirror. Reluctantly the warrior freed Urielagas (with a kick in the ribs, for good measure).

Hally checked the map, it led to a cave deep in the Dragon Mountains. It was old and dated, but mountains don’t tend to change. They were discussing if it was worth checking or if they continued south to Argast (Nicolás backing up his “It is a huge world to not explore it whole” Belief). I pushed them a little into checking the missing prisoners arguing that this lead meant sure payment.

Urieglagas tested to track down his friend Ristand and succeeded. By the afternoon they catch up with the half-elf, stringing his bow at the road side. Ristand was happy of bumping into his best friend there and informed him about a bounty for orcs that could be cashed in Stone Claw and Argast. Authorities were paying silver for every five orc left ears (“You know that if we find even ONE orc with a missing left ear we, the players, WILL kill you, right?”). Urielagas convinced his friend to join the party and they resumed the journey south.

Makarios started searching for a refuge to camp at night and succeeded, then he, Hally and Alha March went hunting while Urielagas and Ristand guarded the camp. We had another friend there with us, and he was creating a Magician as we played. We introduced his character. He approached the camp looking for a safe place to hide from orc raiders. Urielagas, not trusting in this stranger, let him stay as long as he shared his rations with the party (specially the wine).

They spent the night camping, at the horizon they could see the howling orcs running through the countryside. Hally tapped her Nature and recovered from her Exhausted. Alha March from his Injured but Urielagas failed and remained the same.

Next day they past by the farms surrounding Argast and decided to inquire about this strange figure, Morgo. They asked an old, sick farmer about Morgo and his whereabouts and found out that he served a mad magician at the old Eldegard mansion. It is a lugubrious place, and it’s really unusual to see one of it’s inhabitants emerge from the building. Also the mansion is constantly patrolled by a weird breed of vicious dogs. A pack of those creatures once even killed a horse. All the neighbouring farmers try to evade the old mansion, but since the mage pays his taxes the Argast guard haven’t driven him off.

Ristand decided to split there, he was going to cash his bounties in town. Urielagas begged him for his tinderbox and finally got it.

The adventurers reached the mansion’s outskirts. Half a dozen hounds were patrolling, as the farmer had said. If they approached the building openly they could being seen from the rotunda. There was a shack nearby, probably inhabited by the servitude. They started planning. We ended the session there.

We had a good time. It was funny how the characters took long in realizing that Ristand didn’t speak the common tongue. Also it’s funny how Diego and Franco (and Facundo, the guest player) always try to take advantage of a situation, thinking about stealing Ristand’s orc ears to cash in the bounty, or even stealing the old farmer’s sick donkey!

We had a laugh about the specificity of the “orc’s left ear”, since I knew that if I had said “orc’s ears” they would try to pass both ears and double their bounty.

Franco’s character spent the whole session trying to take an item from his Friend, it was so demeaning I finally gave up a tinderbox to replace the one he lost in the Ancient’s Crypt.

Also: Diego is totally convinced that the mage is a vampire and Morgo his thrall, so they’re in for a surprise.

Looking forward for the next session.

Stay cool :cool:

Extra long second session
This was the best session we had so far. We got together in my house and after looking for snacks and preparing dinner we started playing, around 10 pm. The players were so engaged and eager to finish the dungeon that we wrapped up the session as the sun came up, around 6 am.

Franco couldn’t make it, so there was only Diego, Mariana, Nicolás and the new player, Facundo.

Mariana gave the prologue so Hally could recover her taxed Nature. The party started planning how to approach the mansion without upsetting the dogs. Alha March wanted to go directly for a Kill, but the rest of party insisted that they didn’t have any proof of the prisoners being there and didn’t want to slaughter some innocent dogs. Plans got crazier as time passed: luring the dogs to a pit, drugging the dogs with a potion and a piece of meat (the warrior tested his Hunter, but then they decided that a rabbit was too little for a dog pack, plus the mage didn’t had the proper spell), casting Lightness of Being on the party to leap across the dog pack, casting Lightness of Being on the dogs to run past them. It was fun, but at the end they decided to sneak their way in while the dogs were patrolling the backside of the house. Scout test: success! They reached the front door.

The lock on the door was old and rusted. Landrian, the magician, rolled his Criminal to unlock it but failed. I saved the twist for a little forward. Finally they entered the dungeon.

I describe the abandoned room. There are empty cases, ruined furniture and broken glass around. The sunlight entering through the boarded windows. As soon as they see the room one of the maidservants enters the room, carrying a food tray. Startled the girl drops the tray and runs screaming to the door leading to the main hall. Hally tries to intercept her but fails the test, the maid gets away. The party deliberates about what to do and they decide to go to the kitchen, take a bite and see what happens.

The kitchen has two doors, one closed, the other half open. They enter the second door, it leads to the cellar. Makarios goes down while the rest of the party guards the room. The cellar is full of fresh rations, wine kegs and some salted meat, so the dwarf restocks his pack and wineskin. Upstairs Alha March hears the maid approaching with a dwarf and three hounds. They rush into the cellar. There is little time so Ladrian casts Lightness of Being to the party, they levitate to the ceiling to hide, ninja-style (and ends up Afraid).

The dwarf enters the room with three dogs, scolding the maid. I have them test Scout: failure. The dwarf berates the maid for bothering him and throws her out with a hit to the face. Annoyed he pours a cup of wine and as he raises his head to empty the drink with one gulp he finds the floating intruders. They drop from the ceiling, steel on hand, and we start a Kill. The conflict was moderate. Diego anticipated my whole first scripting which gave them an edge. In a genius move they spent their helmet and armor in the last exchange to finish the conflict with full Disposition. The adventurers won without compromise. I rolled the Loot, they got candles, a helmet (just to recover the lost one) and some wolfsbane. They decided to Camp there, barring the door with a spear.

Recover went smoothly (I can’t remember who had a condition), and they had a couple of unspent checks so the warrior tried to teach the Ladrian some fighting moves. He failed, ending up Angry at the weak performance of the mage. They group returned cautiously to the kitchen, opening the remaining door and finding the old chef’s bedroom, clearly abandoned. They passed the drawing room and peeked through the glass pane door, seeing the empty grand hall. Inside the hall were two doors, a big velvet curtain and four standing suits of armor. Alha checked the armors and found out they had their halberds welded and a complex mechanism inside them. Hally discovered a service elevator hidden behind one of the suits and that the curtain covered the stairs that led to the first floor. They party KNEW there were automatons, even discussing the probability of such thing existing in the setting I we were (I kind of confirmed that since I reminded them that I had introduced “bizarre” as an element in the brainstorming). The group resolved to look into the other doors: one led to a dirt floored room with a mud square and they could hear loud sound of barking. The other was covered and had a complex dwarven lock (that needed seven keys to open), but was unlocked. They decided for the last one.

They entered the studio, a big room connected to the rotunda, full with bookcases. There were an elevator shaft and two doors, one leading outside and boarded. Alha March and Ladrian started reading the books and maps they had found. Makarios climbed the stairs of the rotunda and Hally ventured into one of the doors.

The magician couldn’t understand any of the books he found, either because there were written in ancient languages or because the text had a technicity beyond his comprehension. The warrior gave up with the books but found a map with a location mysteriously marked as “The Citadel of Steel.” The cleric opened the door to discover a storage room full of cases with jars: inside each jar were body parts and estrange larvae in different states of development… It was sick. I asked for a Health test: success, she covered her mouth and endured the foul stench of alchemy. The dwarf discovered Malfar’s diary at the top of the rotunda: it described something called the aenima and grim sketches detailing how to produce a lice-like creature capable of sucking it out of living victims. It also gave Makarios the impression that the mad magician was dying of old age. The party reasoned that he was seeking some way of immortality. They started hearing the dogs sniffing and scratching the boarded door, it was time to move on.

The adventurers decided to confront the Mad Mage, looking upstairs for his chambers. Up they found two doors, one being Malfar’s bedroom. Inside there was nothing more than a small bed, some food leftovers and an bookcase empty but for a small book. It was another diary, with the mage’s personal notes. It recounted his adventures through the Maze, sneaking past it’s aberrant horrors, his joining with the cults to the Old Gods in the far south and his spiteful thoughts on the backward nordic societies (“Aw, he’s so emo!”).

The other room was full of old furniture. As they searched around the maid returned with an old servant, looking for the intruders. They overheard them talking: the girl hadn’t noticed Malfar about the intruders since its dangerous to interrupt the mage while he’s working. The old man ordered the girl back to the house while he finished searching the bedroom and reported to the mage in the laboratory.

The characters were prepared. When the servant opened the door Alha March and Makarios grabbed him while Ladrian casted Thread of Friendship. Arcanist test: failure. The terrified old man, knowing magicians all too well started to freak out, trying his best to break loose and scream for help, but under a minute of struggle he dropped dead of fright. The fact that Alha March pierced the servant with his spear as he started to scream didn’t help either.

It was obvious that the mage had captured this lowlifes to continue with his experiments. Ladrian and the warrior wanted to forge a letter blaming Malfar for the disappearances but Hally and Makarios thought they needed more proof. They looked for a signature in the house titles they had just found, but there was none, the mage had never purchased the mansion. Neither of the diaries had signatures.

There was only one way and it was down.

They returned to the hidden shaft in the great hall, and found that it was actually custom sized for two persons. The adventurers went down into a corridor. They could hear Malfar ordering Morgo for a scalpel in the next room. The warrior scouted ahead: tying his mirror to the spear he spied around the corner, there was an old man in a dark leather apron working on a body. Behind him was a seven foot tall man.

They started planning their next move. A Kill? A Convince? Capture. They decided Capture. They come running into the laboratory to see Malfar trying to lodge a giant lice into a prisoner’s neck. Without hesitation he threw the lice to the warrior’s face, but Alha March runs it through with his spear.

We start the Capture. It was long, but not too hard, and finally they won over the mage and his minion with not too much compromise (Hally ended up Injured and Alha March had his leather armor broken).

We sorted out the rewards and the players left as the sun came out.

It was a great session. We laughed so much and as I said, the players were really engaged with this dungeon. They felt the elf’s absence since there was a lot of “Scouting” in the game, but also knew that Franco would end up complicating every plan they made :stuck_out_tongue: so there was that. Diego and Mariana were full of Persona and Fate, so that lowered the dungeon’s difficulty a little bit. Alha March and Makarios are about to level up and I think that Hally does too.

We have at least one more session to wrap this dungeon up.

Stay cool :cool:

Third Session
Kind of a boring one. Diego spent his night partying hard so he couldn’t make it for this session, which was a downer since he really spices up the group. Franco did returned but I didn’t find a good timing to reintroduce him in the adventure, so he was more than half session away (which meant that he got REALLY annoying).

Mariana gave the prologue, recovering some Nature. Franco marked a check and advanced his Scout after telling the other players that Urielagas went to Argast with Ristand to narrate some of his experiences (and grief away the fact that he had sold out his parent’s ring).

Goals were: “I will finish this job” for Hally (meaning retrieving proof of the prisoners to Stoneclaw) and “I will learn ancient magic” for Ladriand. Franco and Nicolás forgot to state a Goal for this session.

We started by stating what happened in the last Capture they won against Malfar and Morgo. We decided that they had tied them and that Morgo was unconscious.

Malfar started demanding his freedom and the identity of the adventurers. A strange noise came from the unexplored door and the mage got nervous, warning the intruders against entering the room. I really can’t remember the details, so I’m going to post them like some kind of checklist of the character’s actions.

-Makarios tried to hear through the door and found a strange noise, as if something huge was revolving in water. Speculation ensued. Facundo proposed that there must be the “mother” of the lice, which was actually the case.
-They inquired Malfar about his experiments, to which he replied that he didn’t knew what the aenima did, but that the possibilities were infinite.
-Malfar warned them that if they tried to escape the hounds would rip them to pieces, and they tried to coax him into giving some kind of safe passage, to which the wizard up mage asked them to untie him so he could lead them without the dogs attacking. Wisely the party refused.
-The party started to plan what to make of the captured wizard. One of the plans was to place him in front of the remaining door, in case something came out and attacked.
-They decided to take the living prisoner (one was already soulless, the other, dead), a vial of aenima and two jars with the preserved larvas so they could sicken the dogs.
-Makarios peeked through the door to find the Broodmother, a giant worm inside a weird pool with floating larvae. They decided to escape the mansion.

The adventurers left the mage and his servant in the laboratory and dragged the prisoner to the Grand Hall. Nervously they peeked through the remaining door, clearly hearing the loud barking. They stormed the room to find the dogs safely locked inside their kennels. I described the room, there were three doors, one open and leading outside, a bed with a side table, and a shield hanging from the wall (which, surprisingly, they didn’t cared about) and a cart.

Hally checked one of the doors only to find a hay bed and a little pouch with rocks. Makarios entered the other room to find the old corpse of an elven mage in a ragged tunic. In it’s head was a shiny elven helmet. The dogs outside the mansion were approaching. Planning time: the final scheme was to have the magician casting Lightness of Being on the dogs to give them time to tie the horses that were outside to the cart and scape. They loaded the prisoner in the cart and Ladriand conjured his spell as soon as the dogs stormed the room.

Now the confused beasts were floating against the ceiling. I had Makarios test his Health to prepare the cart before the spell ended (Nicolás even used his trait against to get a check, arguing that his Fearless dwarf was more interested in knotting it with no hurry). Finally they had two starving old horses and a busted cart, the loud noise of the dogs falling to the ground gave them the signal to get away. Ladriand threw one of the jars and the hounds got Sick. We started a Flee/Pursue against the 6 dogs.

It was tight, but the characters lost: one of the horses broke it’s leg, the cart went tumbling and the other horse died. Also the remaining jar broke. The compromise was that they had lost two dogs in the pursue. Time for a Kill conflict.

That went pretty easily. I’m not sure if the dogs got a compromise, but surely they were all dead. They were a couple of yards away from Argast. The night fell and the city seemed closed, outside was Urielagas waiting for them.

In the distance they could see the mysterious fog filtering through the Mace, blurred shadows moving around. Nicolás played his dwarf belief about exploring the world, which was really cool (and earnt him a reward later). They decided to Camp and luckily I rolled a Safe. Ladriand used his Instict (“I always prepare potions to help recovering”) to help Hally heal the elf. Urielagas removed his Injured condition and used his test to find about the elven helmet, it was made to protect its wearer from mind control effects, and even got to keep it (we joked as how much it benefited Franco to miss a session).

In the morning they entered Town phase (and Ladriand got a smile from a cute damsel that was leaving town). They didn’t had much to do there. Makarios cashed in a golden brooch he found in the mansion and they paid the fat stable hand to get some sleep among the horses. Maintaining the prisoner counted as a +1 Lifestyle which Hally decided to pay. By the end of the Town session all characters had raised their Resources by 1 (Ladriand and Makarios to 1, Hally and Urielagas to 2). Also the cleric and the dwarf level up.

One of the guards asked the adventurers to find out who was digging out corpses in the graveyard, but since there was no explicit reward, they ditched the lead (“What’s the guard’s name?” “Ummmmh… G…hall?”).

We sorted Rewards and ended the session.

It wasn’t much fun, but at least the characters got something from it (advanced skills, Resources, and two of them even leveled up).

I’m planning to have the players add Malfar as one of their enemies. The idea is to have in him an antagonist that doesn’t necessarily want them to die, but who will try to “get even” at them by blackmailing the characters into pursuing quest for him since they thwarted his past experiment. Also he’s still dying, and I’m thinking some weird experiments for him to make. Also I’m making the road to Stone Claw a dangerous journey since I promoted so much this “Orc Season” in past sessions.

Stay cool :cool: