Ran first session lots of questions:

Ran a group of 3 friends through character creation and then into the Dread Crypt of Skogenby… I kept the rules spiel pretty light and let the game sorta unfold as they progressed. But during the game and in after game conversations… some questions did come up.

#1: Do failed tests during a Conflict count for Conditions/Twists?

#2: Do players choose “weapons” in non-martial conflicts? In particular, after the spriit had possessed a party member the party attempted what amounted to a Banish conflict. The Spirt profile listed “weapons” it could use; but it didn’t make much sense… and since my players didn’t know what type of action those mapped to… it didn’t really inform their decisions.

#3: During said “exorcism” the attack action is defined as Theologian (or Ritualist or something). But a human character wanted to use his Nature (Demanding) to order the spirit to leave this place. is that acceptable? Or do the attack skills for a given conflict ALWAYS have to be as listed.

#4: When offering help for an action like above (the Human nature demanding action)… does this mean that only a human (with the Demanding Nature description) can help a human Demand? (since you have to have the same skill… but there’s no skill).

#5: Later in the conflict; another party member decided to throw open the spirits sarcophagi as a means of getting the spirits attention… how should I treat this? It’s an action inside the game… but it’s part of a Manuever action in the conflict? How do I ajudicate this? a Health test (moving aside the big slab… nevermind the surprise awaiting them when they do)? Or is it a Manipulator test… or because it’s Banish… is it Theologist/Ritualist?

#6: When making a map… a failed Cartography test can result in …

  • a completed map; but a condition (you’re Exhausted from staying up all night at camp to get the map finished…"
  • a location-twist? The book talks about this… but does that mean that the map is bad? And the player knows it? Is it a one-time you get lost on your way to the dungeon… but then forever after the map is okay?

#7: a dwarf player had the instinct (he’s kind of a shy/weird guy) “Always hit someone back if they hit me”… during a conflict he took damage from an attack… and wanted to know if he could make an immediate free attack… I told him I was pretty sure that’s not the way Instincts work… and wasn’t sure how to ajudicate it anyway… Not really sure if that instinct was just “bad” or how to properly handle it.

#8: If the players are crippled with Conditions… but still have no checks amonst them… there’s absolutely NO way for them to make camp???

That’s all I can think of right now…

Thanks in advance! Fun time had by all!

  1. No they do not.
  2. Yes they do. Look at the Conflict Sheet for more info on that.
  3. I think that would be okay. Demanding a Spirit to leave works.
  4. If you roll Nature, only a matching Nature descriptor can help.
  5. They can describe that as part of their action yes. Can be a Maneuver or the Feint part of a Feint.
  6. All kinds of things. Conditions, a map that leads them astray, suddenly monsters!, a cave in,
    #7 That is not how an instinct works. It actually is a bad instinct.
    #8 There is NO WAY for them to make camp.
  1. The weapons are just different for different types of conflicts, so you wouldn’t use swords. I think the conflicts chapter itself has some examples, or maybe it was in the back of the book somewhere in the GM section or appendix.

  2. Wises can also be used to help.

  3. Conflicts are kind of a mechanical space, as opposed to a story telling space. You use the conflict as a means of determining an outcome, advancing the story, and interacting with some of the game mechanics more deeply. However, generally when in a conflict the story sits on top of the mechanics, you decide what to do mechanically and then you make up a little story to justify how you are doing that. In a game primarily about Describe to Live that irks me a little bit, but it does work very well with other systems in place, and if you enjoy the little rock, paper, scissors game it can still be quite fun. I wrote some hacks a while ago for conflicts and have used a modified system with my players, but I’m a dirty little game hacker like that, pay me no heed.

  4. Keep in mind that one of the easiest twists for the GM to employ is “you took too long and stuff happens”. It doesn’t have to be a direct consequence of the Cartography, the dungeon is a living place, but as long as the players are on a roll they stay on top of things, as soon as they slip up the ecosystem has a chance to do it’s thing. But yeah, if you employ a “bad map” twist the players might be able to guess that that’s the case. Yes they could avoid the twist… by not going anywhere or doing anything, but presumably they will need to leave camp at some point, you know, when they run out of checks, so don’t worry about their meta knowledge too much.

  5. Instincts only save you a turn or a check, neither of those exist in combat. However, if your party is attacked unprovoked he could choose to use that instinct to initiate a conflict and the conflict itself would not use up a turn. However, as per the rules of instincts, only someone else with the same or similar instinct could participate in that conflict.

  6. You have to go into TB having a firm grasp on the check mechanics and very willing to embrace them, or yeah, the game kinda falls apart. To be honest it’s probably best to play your first session with pregen characters so that you aren’t too attached to them when they get horribly mangled and die due to player negligence.

The characters definitely got horribly manged and died due to player negligence.

re: #2

What I mean to say is… if a player during a banish conflict decides his “weapon” for that particular round is “Convincing the spirit to return to it’s rest”… is that a weapon? How would i determine what kind of bonus that would give and to what kind of action?

Weapons for a banishment conflict would be things like holy water, incense, a spirit’s true name, etc.

For instance:

Ritually prepared space (inscription of protective circles and runes, use of salt, etc.): +1D to disposition
Holy Water: +1D to Defend
Blessed Incense: +1s to Maneuver

You can see a couple more examples of ritual preparations for a banish/abjure conflict in the Dread Crypt of Skogenby adventure.

“Convincing the spirit to return to it’s rest” is just an action, an attack or feint I would presume. Are they employing some special advantage? In that sentence, no. That’s just what they’re doing. If they have holy water on them and append “using holy water” to that description, then the holy water is the weapon because it represents an advantage to what they are trying to do. Now if it gives +1D to defend it won’t help much with “convincing the spirit to return to it’s rest” but it does still count as a weapon, and if they were instead “warding off the evil spirit using holy water” then they would get the +1D.

Back to my question #6: About failed Cartography checks…

A failed roll into a Conditon means the map “works”; whereas a failed roll into a Twist means the map “works” but with a twist introduced at some point.

Does this mean that there is essentially no way to just fail to make a map?

You definitely make a map…but not necessarily an accurate, legible or coherent map.

I could draw you a to-scale map of Prague right now, blindfolded. But I wouldn’t recommend you use it.

A failed Cartographer twist can be “Your map doesn’t work.”

Stay cool :cool:

Failed Cartographer twist options:
You made a mistake that you will soon discover when you break camp and try to go somewhere.
You took too long and a patrol found your camp before you could finish
You took too long and the fire died out, leaving you in darkness, before you could finish, you’ll need to find more wood to camp again
You spilled your remaining ink over the map destroying it and your cartographer tools
You held your map too close to the fire and… bye bye map
You held your map too close to the fire and… forest fire!

Basically a twist can be anything you can think of, the only requirement is that you didn’t really make a map. The usual twist of a bad map shouldn’t really count as a successful map, you’ll need to use cartographer again to fix your map.