Second session of TB - two thirds success, yet I could still use some help :-)

After explaining all the mistakes of past session, about failing and use of conditions/twists, about instincts and other stuff, I told them I would’ve given a check per person “as a help for the camp”, rather than annulling the conditions I gave them.

Since one player was absent on this second session, and another was in (absent on first), it was easy to exploit their situation, just out of the cages (area 10, Three Squires Inn), to tell them “Amaya Qu’l Isha, the elf, just went somewhere, you trust him since he’s an experienced elf ranger; in another cage you find Caisa, the Inquisitrix, who missed the set appointment upstairs”.

One of the player gave account of past session, and recovered exhausted, Caisa gave account for her delay (she was busy inquiring some sinner guy) and got a free Fighter check (“I had to convince him with the subtlety of my steeled arguments”), and I told them “since this area is dark and full of apathetic people, you can try to camp but it’s a dangerous underground camp, I’ll give you for free the +1 for finding a good camp”, they rolled 8+1=9 and they used their check (also sharing since Caisa didn’t need hers) to recover some conditions (and to log the passes and the fails).

First turn, they decide to free the prisoners, “but only those not apathetic, the others deserve their imprisonment for having given up the fight”, and suddenly all the prisoners (who heard them) where very active “I’ll fight those damned, just give me a sword” :smile: so, first turn was a Ob2 Criminal test with help from the halfling, they freed all the prisoners, had recounts from Ronwald’s gambit and of the fear for this Uttan monster, and also about Crooked tooth being the boss and Saw back being the underdog.

Second turn, they move to area 9, Crooked tooth and her guards, and had a “capture” conflict, which they won completely untouched.

Many questions here:

  1. Luccio the halfling gave his sword to Seymour, a prisoner lumber with the will to fight, to have him help them in the fight, I only narrated the use of a PNC because I didn’t know how to “use him” mechanically (to give them help?); Luccio’s raiment is a swiss-army-knife which he used as improvised weapon to fight not unarmed. Any suggestion here, on NPC and raiment as improvised weapon?
  2. How do I roll the disposition of Kobolds? It says Capture: 3, Flee: 4, Nature: 2, so should these numbers refer to when the Kobolds are respectively capturing and fleeing? And should I roll these as dice, adding them to their Nature 2 as baseline disposition? Do they get help for being 5 Kobolds?

Third turn, they engaged Crooked tooth in a Convince conflict, the PCs stake was “we get rid of Uttan on your behalf, you leave us and all the prisoners go, you give us all the richness you have (money, jewels)” [the thief already searched thoroughly for precious, and got a free Criminal test to rob poor prisoner Crooked tooth of her jeweled necklace], Crooked tooth stake was “you give me back my necklace, you get rid of Uttan on my behalf, you get no richness, only your safe life, not the prisoners”.
Convince conflict ensues which the players enjoyed sooo much! They loved roleplaying the various intimidation, deception, promises, evidence weapons in the conflict. Caisa the Inquisitrix was playing bad cop, “you know Crooked tooth, I really hope this negotiation goes nowhere, so I can just draw my sword and exterminate all of your tribe” [Intimidation on Maneuver]"; Gionni the thief was playing good cop, “ah Crooked tooth, this necklace I robbed you of is priceless! they’re going to cover me with gold for this, in the bustling metropolis” [Deception on Feint]. Such an amazing mechanic!

My question here is: they won the conflict with minor compromise, Crooked tooth asked “I want my jewel back and I want the eggs safe, and Saw back beaten in front of everyone to reestablish my authority”. They accepted, but they also decided, apart, that later they’re going to withhold her jewel rather than giving it back. My question is, in the compromise I introduced elements which were not there before (the eggs, beating Saw back), is that playing by the rules? And, the players abode to the request with the precise will to break a part of it (the necklace), is that feasible?

Fourth turn, they prepare a guard of honor arming three former prisoners with kobolds’ spears, and the whole group, Crooked tooth with her new guard of honor, the PCs, Anita and Rikard, Seymour, and all the others, they march into the “throne room” where the torture is happening. I describe them the scene, and the players lead the guard of honor towards the males and start beating them with the wood of their weapons, while Crooked tooth yells orders and reestablish fully her authority. Saw back complains loudly, and threatens to flee “to call the other guards, loyal to me”, but the PCs say, with one voice, “we kill him”, so I rule for a single Fighter versus Nature test, and they kill him on the spot.
In the meanwhile, the lashing of the male on the table goes on undisturbed, and Joerg complains loudly “where is my Elsa? I can’t see my Elsa!”

How would you have ruled the simple “fleeing vs. stabbing” situation? I got inspiration from BW rules book, in the “hog and stakes” section.

Thank you all for your past help, and for any suggestion you’d like to provide!

1 Like

Conflict types are always in relation to the PCs. So, if they’re trying to capture the kobolds, you’d use the listed disposition (3) plus a helping die for each ‘extra’ kobold (more than one). So, in this case it would be 4 extra dice for a total of 7 dispo to be distributed amongst the 5 kobolds.

If the players are attempting something other than the listed conflicts, then you roll Nature + helping dice (2 + 4 here) and add successes to their Nature. This can result in less disposition than monsters! In that case, some of them can’t participate in the conflict (as in, e.g., the conflict example in the book).

1 Like

Ways to handle NPCs
NPCs can provide help if the party has earned the helpers in the adventure, through level benefits, or hired them. So, that all works. For inspiration into the mechanics, look at the Henchmen 5th Level benefit for some guidance there (assigning to a character, distributing disposition, relative skills, etc) or at Hired Help in the Town section (Porters and Guides provide help and have 2 slots of inventory). Or, if you wanted to keep it simple, you could say the swordsman provides +1D help to Luccio’s Fighter tests only.

Improvised Weapons
Players will often find creative ways to improvise weapons in the heat of a conflict. Those are great roleplaying moments if done well and add a lot of fun. Sounds like you have a good understanding of the balance already.

For his clothes as an improvised weapon, do you mean he took off his clothes and ran around naked lassoing monsters with his robe?

If that is the case, it really depends on the situation. If the player’s description makes sense and is not “stretching,” then it could work. If it is far-fetched, you can say, “You do that, but it doesn’t help.” And then move on.

In a Capture conflict, things like a rope, net, or even throwing oil down to make the enemy slip might all be considered improvised weapons given a particular situation.

However, many GMs won’t allow the same description or improvised weapon if they feel the players are being lazy or exploiting a situation unfairly by repeating themselves over and over. For example, throwing more oil down might be allowed because the player is expending a precious resource, so there is some consequence to the action. Likewise, using a rope over and over may be allowed, but that makes it fair game for a compromise after the conflict (as a part of the compromise the rope is frayed and now useless). The guiding principle is your judgement and discretion.

1 Like

Regarding the compromise:

Bringing in unknowns such as the eggs is absolutely what a compromise should include! The compromise should be a chance to write in twists that were unknowns and create narrative about things that both players and GM can honor.

Likewise, if they have made a promise to return a piece of jewelry, I’d rule, “Yes, you honor your promise–we rolled dice over that already, and established that issue.” That’s me. I cannot say that goes down perfectly. Also, I would fully allow some alternate situation occurs that offers a chance to reconsider, such as someone else in the delve that wants that jewelry and convinces the PCs to break their former promise. Otherwise, if the dice have already been rolled and adjudicated, I’d say both GM and players must abide the results of the dice roll.

Asking for the beating of a rival is also a great element brought from the compromise negotiations. They didn’t seem to balk at the request, but if they had been a little open to shift, perhaps Saw Back could have called for a bit of talking it out and convinced the PCs to swap allegiance toward him.

Regarding the beating and killing of the males:
while I would not allow the change of Crooked Tooth’s orders from, “beat him so I gain prestige and authority,” toward, “we’re going to kill him for making a threat to flee and call others,” I can see how that is a simple process to derive from the table chatter of the scene. Instead, I would have looked for an opportunity to escalate from the single test into a Conflict with Saw Back attempting his flee and call, while the players with Crooked Tooth and NPCs could then escalate to kill or only escalate to capture.

I would choose that; because, I could have Crooked Tooth see a window of opportunity to allow the fight to go less well, and perhaps leave these (former) prisoners in very bad shape, which may allow not only a view of authority over Saw Back, but also over the adventuring band. This may allow the compromise to further lean away from the adventurers coming away with as much loot and success in terms of rescuing NPCs.

I would not immediately allow the players to escalate a single test into killing–seems to me the rules indicate killing should primarily remain tied within Kill Conflicts. That is not to say I would never derail from that viewpoint, but in respect to a central NPC–one who could be left-for-dead and return later to attempt nefarious things against the adventuring band–that is something I would place on a higher shelf than, say, killing rats-of-unusual-size.


This topic was automatically closed 90 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.