One Year in the Life

My players’ characters just completed their first Winter, and I think they’re finally getting the hang of this life.

Both players and characters started out green as can be, delving into my version of the classic adventure The Sword. They cleared about 2/3s of it, broke open a portal to the Abyss, and ran like hell. They got back to town with only 8d of cash between 4 characters, having left a sizable portion of treasure in the dungeon (unbeknownst to them), and they were absolutely laden with conditions. The magician and the cleric slept on the streets; the cleric got swept up in an unspeakable plot, while the magician had his 2d of cash stolen! That, more than anything else, crushed his spirit (and nearly caused the player to quit the game).

They parted ways with the cleric, and the warrior, the thief and the magician went to investigate some ancient, forgotten temples in the Nightwood. They got horribly lost, were driven off by some giant vampiric bats, got even more lost, then finally found the temple complex. It was almost comical - they ran from some nesting owlbears, frantically drove off more bats, and dropped all their treasure (!!) in a terrified retreat from some towering chimera. They camped, regrouped, scraped together everything they could to recover from as many of their conditions as possible, and went back to slay the chimera. Somehow, they managed it. They left some stuff behind, but took more with them this time; they probably had 12 or so cash dice (but fewer shares to split).

In the fall, they met another cleric, and wound up exploring the ruins of an enchanted castle at the bottom of a lake. This one was tough to get into and out of - lots of water-filled chambers to navigate before reaching the parts of the castle where the magic was still (mostly) functional and thus not flooded. They lost a conflict against a thing of the deep, which drove them off and straight into a conflict with some demons, but they prevailed, rested and regrouped, then went back to kill the monster - and yet again, they managed it, this time with a conflict shutout that left them completely unscathed. (Seriously great scripting on their part for that one.) The rest of the place was a cakewalk, except the wizards’ chambers and workshop at the bottom. After taking an explosive rune trap to the face, they managed to seal a portal to the Abyss and escape with objet and such worth 23 cash dice (partially because by this point they were absolutely out of food and down to their last candle, so they had plenty of room to haul sacks, and the magician cast Mystic Porter). 23 dice!! They were filthy rich.

Then they settled in for the winter. Thor and Luke are no doubt grinning evilly as I say that.

The increased lifestyle obs to everything, even a trip to the Market, meant that resupplying for their next venture and securing accommodations for the winter ate up pretty much every penny. They were going to scribe scrolls, dig up work, find leads, repair some damaged elven plate they found…nope! None of that! Just lodging and buying kit cost them Ob 4 lifestyle test before individual gear purchases. They’re going to set out in the spring as broke as they were a year ago, with hopefully just enough supplies for their next venture.

And yet…something feels different. It’s not just that now they’re level 3 (well, except for the new cleric). They feel proven, battle-tested, forged in the fires of their trials. They’ve learned some tricks of the trade. They feel it in their bones - they’re going to come back with a major haul! They just know it.

This time, they’ll hit the big one.


Love it! Experience as a player makes a huge difference. You’re able to gauge risk more finely and the rhythm of the game starts to become second nature. Things also start to change subtly as you open and advance your Resources ability. Having a baseline of 2 or 3 in Resources and getting help from fellow players allows you to use those cash dice much more efficiently.

They’re not greenhorns anymore. They’re veterans. Now the real work of accumulating wealth and power begins.

We’ve noticed that. Once they got Resources 2, gearing up became a lot easier - drop a cash die here and there just in case of Tax, but otherwise you don’t have to deplete your reserves as much. And it occurs to me (vis-a-vis another recent thread) that they’re not doing a very good job helping each other with Resources. That could be yet another way to become more efficient, right? Go as a group to the market, and pool money (i.e., Help with Resources) in order to purchase basic supplies without cash dice?

Man. Level 3. I hope that level 6-10 stuff comes out in time! :wink:


How many sessions has it taken to get there?

Of course, when you help with Resources, you’re subject to the consequences of failure. Using cash dice can shield you from Tax, but they don’t shield you from other conditions or twists.

Good point, Thor.

We just wrapped up our sixth session.


If the whole party goes to market to help, doesn’t the whole party get the +1 Lifestyle Ob?

edit: scratch that, I’m thinking of some of the other tasks. Market is Ob 0.

What traits did they get in town?

What level benefits did they choose?

Did alignment come into play at all?


PS I LOVE that I don’t have to ask about rewards spent and earned any more.

The warrior talked about all the times the thief got into scrapes but made it out by the thinnest of margins. “Guess it pays to be nimble,” he said. The thief, in turn, said “You don’t have to be nimble when you can take an exploding rune trap to the face and laugh it off. I may be nimble, but you’re the toughest son of a bitch there is.” The magician told a halting, ale-soaked story about how patient the cleric was that wound up being oddly touching, and the cleric said, essentially, “I know the gods are watching over me, because they found a guy this talented with spells and put him watching my back,” and we increased the Wizard’s Sight trait to level 2.

As for level benefits, let’s see. The warrior took Armored and Stubborn, the thief took Sneak Attack and Concealed Pocket, the cleric is still level 1, and of course the magician got 2 spell slots. Funny story - the magician started out with Wisdom of the Sages, the door-locking spell whose name escapes me, and Mystic Porter. He was really disappointed that, in his eyes, he had basically no useful spells. (Secretly, I thought, “are you kidding me? Mystic Porter is hauling loot on easy mode!”) At second level, he trained with his mentor, and made it obvious he wanted to learn an offensive spell. I decided I’d roll on the starting spell table to figure out which spell his mentor would teach him, and what do you suppose I rolled? :stuck_out_tongue: Good job placing Eldritch Darts near the middle of the bell curve!

Alignment never came into play, in the sense that we thought people were acting contrary to their alignment. The warrior is lawful, so he does a good job being a heroic stick in the mud; the wizard is chaotic, and he’s always doing things without consulting the group and basically acting on his whims; the thief is unaligned, and half the time her Goal is “get treasure for me and hide it from these guys,” and the cleric is also lawful and concerned with protecting and helping people. The one time they Circled somebody up, their alignment wasn’t a big deal. The cleric will most likely level up the next time they reach town (I’m pretty sure he has the rewards needed, it’s just a matter of spending them), so we’ll see if prayer alignment starts to become relevant.


You’re the best.

That’s the most excellent trait vote I’ve ever heard.