The Ancient's Crypt AP and questions

Last Saturday we got to test the dungeon I made with my group. It was only the second session I mastered and it was hell. Two of the players have never played Torchbearer nor read the game, the other two had played not even a couple of sessions so we where really unprepared, but hey, we weren’t going to waste a Saturday night.

We had created the characters the session before, and laid out some of the elements we wanted in the setting during the week:

Hally (played by Mariana)
Stock: Human
Class: Cleric
Home: Stoneclaw (Busy crossroads)
Parents: orphan
Mentor: Danto (Healer)
Friend: Hugh (Rider)
Enemy: –
Belief: “I wanna know the truth about stories past… and future”
Instinct: “I always check the terrain for traps”
Traits: Touched by the Gods (lvl1) and Quick-Witted (lvl1)

Wise/s: Immortals-wise.

Urielagas (played by Franco)
Stock: Elf
Class: Ranger
Home: Irasend (Elflands)
Parents: orphan
Mentor: Oroth (Scout)
Friend: Ristand (Pathfinder)
Enemy: –
Belief: “As an elf I would not let any barbaric act go unpunished”
Instinct: “When combat is imminent, I hide”
Traits: First Born (lvl1) and Restless (lvl1)

Wise/s: Elven Lore-wise, Road-wise.

Alha March (played by Diego)
Stock: Human
Class: Warrior
Home: Easter Oasis (Religious bastion)
Parents: Marit (Cartographer)
Mentor: Sam (Cook)
Friend: Sofía (Scholar)
Enemy: –
Belief: “Money doesn’t make happiness, it buys it already made”
Instinct: “I never stop checking our rear”
Traits: Heart of Battle (lvl1) and Defender (lvl2)

Wise/s: Barbarians-wise.

Makarios Oreksson (played by Nicolás)
Stock: Dwarf
Class: Adventurer
Home: Kûdz (Remote village)
Parents: Trunni & Orek (Peasants)
Mentor: Bredna (Survivalist)
Friend: Baragor Gornisson (Weaver)
Enemy: Rotgal of the Gullvakten
Belief: “It is a huge world to not explore it whole”
Instinct: “I always have my weapon at the ready”
Traits: Born of Earth and Stone (lvl1) and Fearless (lvl1)

Wise/s: Shrewd Appraisal-wise, Melee Weapons-wise.

I described the situation: the adventurers had agreed with Lifdis to look out for her missing brother and are now walking up the mountain road to the Ancient’s shrine. The scenery is simple, they have the road, at their right the mountain side, at their left a precipice. The road gets wider and they can see a standing stone on the roadside.

This rock is ancient indeed. Its so eroded that if it weren’t for the rectangular cut it would pass as natural formation. At his feet they can see some offerings, flowers, a brooch, a small clay statuette and some scattered coppers. At the side is the dead body of Lungley, Lifdis’ other brother, face down, a knife at his right, his left arm stretching fist clenched fiercely to something. They investigate the body: his belly was cut open by a blade, there are some coppers in his closed hand. The group guess that he had tried to stole some offerings and decide not to touch anything (clever foxes :wink: ), but Alha March takes Lungley’s knife. The warrior searches around, finding clear traces of a fight and a group of creatures dragging something behind the shrine. Between the rock and the mountainside is a crack that opens to a steep tunnel. The sunlight illuminates the cave’s floor at the bottom.

Meanwhile the cleric prepares a funerary pyre for the body, as it is custom in the north as Urielagas watches. After burning the remains, Hally tests her Theologian to remember who are (and which is the best way to pay respects to) the Ancients and learns that they represent the prehistorical humans that settled the lands before the time of the Lord of Lords, first Emperor of humankind. These rocks mark their ancient tombs and travelers tend to leave some offerings to this Immortal host. Then she becomes Afraid :stuck_out_tongue:

Makarios and Alha start tying some ropes, drop a torch and each one test Dungeoneer to get to the cave. The warrior goes first checking for any sign of danger, then the dwarf. Hally and Urielagas follow, the elf loses his tinderbox while climbing down the tunnel, the cleric one vial of holy water.

They have reached the main crypt. In the eroded walls are niches where the bones of the Ancients rest, adorned with rudimentary jewelry made of a mineral not found in present times. The cleric warns them not to disturb the remains, lest they’ll wake the fury of the Immortals, which the warrior responds by quickly grabbing a necklace and dislodging one of the skulls, exploded into dust as it touched the ground.

Hally tries to investigate the necklaces with her Theologian, but fails again. Wandering Monster! They hear the heavy steps of the Barrow Wight (Urielagas’ Instinct kicks in, but he fails the test). The undead figure is dressed in an old chainmail, fur cloak and iron helmet, flaming sword in hand, they can see he was an adventurer in life. “Leave!” The adventurers flee the crypt, test, fail: Afraid.

They decide to Camp. Makarios tests Survival and finds a mountain creek. Typpical Wilderness: Minor Inconvenience; they feel unsafe, the creepy feeling that the undeads might climb outside at any moment and slash them like they did with Lungley. The players start planning while making poor checks for Recovery. Nicolás comes with a plan to earn some checks and re-enter fully restored. Hally finds out that they can use the old neklaces as holy symbols against the Wight. They end Camp Phase. Alha March goes alone into the crypt and loots some necklaces (I think they had already mapped the room and didn’t have to test Dungeoneer again). The warrior decides to explore a little more: finds two chambers, one of them have to be accessed by a crack in the wall. The north side of the main crypt is an open archway leading to a level below, he can hear the faint whispers of the Ancients coming from the darkness and a man’s desperate sobbing. In the lower level, at the border of a great chasm is Latham, laid down and shaking.

He goes back up, and they start testing to find some supplies for Hally to make some beverages that help them recover from their conditions, while looking for checks to start another Camp. Again, Minor Inconvenience: they lose the way back to the crypt. Makarios and Alha March get some good recoveries, Urielagas and Hally not so much. They test Pathfinder to find the shrine again and go back into the crypt.

Their plan is for the warrior to go down the lower level, tie down Latham and pull it back up. He rushes forward, “They whisper in my head” the mad Latham starts to say. Alha gets a glimpse of some treasure in a ledge far down the chasm, but ignores it. Behind him raise the corpses of the Barrow Wight and his three Tomb Guardians. Alha takes one of the holy symbols they made with the mineral remains and we engage in a Convince conflict. The Wight states that Lathan was disturbing the offerings and now he is to become one of them, guardians of the Ancient’s tomb. The warrior argues that they will leave the tomb never to return, but not without Latham. We script. In one roll I deplete all his disposition. “He is one of us now” the Wight says, and cuts the rope. I think we started a Flee conflict, or maybe a Drive Off, but with the same fate. Alha March is captured next to Latham.

Makarios, Hally and Urielagas climb down. The cleric summons the Fury of the Lords of Life and Death, driving one of the skeletons into the chasm. We start another Flee conflict. After a long fight, they fall again, but get a Major Compromise. The trio escape via side tunnel (to one of the side chambers) but lose Alha March and Latham in the process. Alha, out of mercy, kills the demented Latham with his brothers knife and saves him from his fate. We end the session there.

As I said, it was nightmare. I was frustrated because they dind’t made the right choices, they were frustrated because I hadn’t explained the full system. Mariana wasn’t engaged, Franco hated the conditions system and Nicolás was left trying to piece all the mechanics together. Diego on the other hand enjoyed the full session, even though he ended up in a serious cliffhanger. Too bad he’s used to play intrepid characters that rush forward into danger. He surely will get the Foolhardy trait if we ever get to Winter Phase. Overall we laugth, but by the end of the session we were all exhausted and bickering and/or distracted. The last Flee conflict was intense.

We sorted the rewards. All got at least one Fate for their Goals. Instincts never came to play, or weren’t important at the moment. I think Diego got the MVP and Nicolás the Teamworker. Also Hally got the Persona point for completing her Goal.

We talked about the experience and tried to sort things out. Next session I guess we will be much more prepared.

We will continue testing this awesome game, I hope they get to like it as much as I do.

Stay cool :cool:

I just saw that I never posted the questions I had, but didn’t remember them either. I guess I found them in the book or in this forum.

Second and “Third” session:
We had a complicated second session, Nicolás had to go early so we were left with a couple of hours of play. Fortunately a friend from out gaming club lend us his house, so we ended up having dinner with him a closing up the Crypt.

During the week I sent Diego (Alha March’s player) what he had learned during his “stay” with the guardians. Besides trying to tempt him with the fallen diadem in the ledge that I had mentioned before and describing how he was suffering from the voices that came from the depths the Wight started narrating his story to the fallen warrior: they were an adventurer’s party just like them, searching for ancient gold. Delving in the crypt they were enthralled by the Ancients. Slavishly they threw all their treasure in the chasm, their minds becoming one with the Ancients.

I think they had changed their Goals, but I can’t remember.

Makarios, Hally and Urielagas light the next torch. In the tunnel they find the destroyed body of one of the guardians, probably struck down by Latham when he was being dragged to the chasm. They looted 6 iron spikes from the skeleton and pressed upward. They reached the side chamber (Hally’s Instinct should have sprung into action, but she was Afraid and couldn’t roll a Beginner’s Luck Scout test) and a stalagmite fell above the dwarf: successful Health test. No harm done.

Meanwhile Alha March tried to move, knowing he was being watched by the slumbering guardians. He took all the looted treasure they had (the holy symbols they had made from the ancient remains) and threw them all into the chasm, carefully striking the golden diadem so that it could fall off the ledge.

The adventurers entered the main chamber and explored the remaining chamber. They had to pass trough a crack in the stone wall and found it a safe place, but felt that camping outside was much safer.

The Barrow Wight woke. “You are one of us now. Let us find the others.” Both guardians and Alha March marched to confront the adventurers.

Makarios tested his Dungeoneer to secure the remaining party members outside but failed. The guardians had catch up. The Barrow Wight was about to kill them but the warrior stopped him, the warrior was going to have the honor of slaying his former companions. Menacingly he walked toward the group, lance in hand, and with a wink he turned against the guardians. The group, now complete started a Drive Off conflict.

It was rough but the party prevailed. Mariana rolled a specially high Attack which earned her character a MVP at the end of the session. One of the skeletons were destroyed and the Wight flew from the main chamber. Together and not a penny richer they left the Ancient’s Crypt. We finished the session there, mainly because Nicolás had to go.

Without him we sorted the rewards and started a “new” session, the idea was to give Makarios the his rewards before they become dated during play.

The remaining players wrote new Goals. Franco came up with “I’ll try to heal my friends”, Diego with “I will find a new job” and Mariana “I will recover from this bad run.”

The adventurers approached Lifdis with the news about his missing brother. Alha March started a not so faithful recounting of the events, claiming that they had given Latham a proper burial. He tested his Boasting Nature, and a broken Lifdis ended up hosting the adventurers and rewarding them a pouch of coppers each.

Alha planned to counterfeit a rusted copper pouch they had looted from the last skeleton they destroyed, but the elf (who was carrying the coins), following his alignment, argued against to no avail.

With a free (flophouse equivalent) accommodation they entered the Town nearby, Stone Claw. I rolled up the table: Minor break, Ritual Blessing. The temple of the Celestial Court were hosting an annual procession, and all townsfolk were attending. Hally meets up with her friend Hugh, that gives her a warm greeting, but leaves right away to return to the stables. Urielagas, knowing that some Recovery was in order, tried to Sing but failed, brother Bobo and brother Torgo confronted him, letting him know that elven magic had no place during religious processions. The elf, trying to make up for it tried to give away the rusted coppers so no one (meaning Alha) could pass them as coin, but was denigrated by the priests and townsfolk passing by.

Urielagas paid a bard for some rumours and learnt that another elf named Ristand had passed by a couple of days ago, hunting orcs on the road to Argast. Hally drunk some ale in the Tavern and then looked up for work in the guilds: the pelters, on guard at the time, asked her to look for three missing prisoners that they think were captured and taken to Argast. Alha March tried his luck and rolled in the shrine table, ending up with a Blessing from the Lady in Iron.

Finally they hit the road again. Hally and Urielagas sold their parents keepsakes to pay up the bills, but at least they all passed the Lifestyle test and ended up with a Resources 1 ability.

The group left Town to be surprised by a dog, barking desperately.

We ended the session. This one ran smoother that the first, but the group keeps confronting the rules. Our first Town phase was really raw, no interpretation and almost no descriptions (I only described the shrine to the Lady in Iron, if I remember well).

It was a fine session, we all laughed while Diego teased the rest of the group about joining the undead party, and I was relieved that they had left the Crypt alive. Last Saturday we started a new adventure following the last events, and actually roleplayed some scenes of the past Town phase. Things are looking up, and I’m sure that the next dungeon will be more fun.

Stay cool :cool: