Actual Play – My Grudge Stick! (8/16/2014)

torchbearer-rpgGM: Sean Nittner
Players: Shaun Hayworth, Jason Gunter, William Jordens, Robert Dixon, and Albert Anderson
System: Torchbearer
Module: Stone Dragon Mountain

Okay. Torchbearer at Gen Con. No problem. Did it last year and had lots of fun Under the House. This year, I’m running my own adventure though. Stone Dragon Mountain. One I know is at shortest a two-parter.

Prep work

I think I’ve got Torchbearer prep down to a science.

  • Spiral bound print out of the rulebook, complete with tagged chapters
  • Three player decks composed of a custom grouping of cards
  • A bag of coins to serve as look
  • Red poker chips for Disposition
  • Black poker chips for Checks
  • Fate/Persona coins (originally made for Mouse Guard but they work well here)
  • Seven sets of dice (in different colors)
  • GM Screen
  • A folder with character sheets, table tents, and the adventure

Luckily most of this stuff packs dense!

Climbing up that down mountain

Adventuring Phase

Turn 1 – In base camp Gerald set about showing the locals how to cook, in an attempt to better their mood and impress them. [Cook Ob 2. Fail: Hungry and Thirsty]. He succeeded but in doing so built up quite an appetite himself!

Turn 2 – Outside of the camp Karolina tried to befriend Dermot, but he was insulted by her condolences [Persuader versus test. Fail: Twist]. Enraged by her words Dermot jumped on Karolina when tumbling down the mountain side with her.

Instinct – Always on the watch for Karolina, Beren tackled Dermot and pulled him off, but in the rucks Dermot’s axe gave him an ugly gash across the dwarf’s hip [Fighter versus test. Fail: Injured]

Camp Phase

Disheartened by their early setbacks, the adventurers opted to make camp with the Sharwa

Instinct – Karolina set out to go hunting for game on the mountain [Hunter Ob 5. Fail: Twist] She spent hours trying to hunt a hare when she realized something was trying to hunt her.

Check – Meanwhile back at the camp, Beren would have sought her out, but his wound was killing him. Taika set out to finder her. She found Karolina watching the woods around her very carefully and wary of something around her. Taika spooked the very rabbit that Karolina had been hunting and they both used the distraction to run safely back to camp. [Hunter Ob 2. Success]

Instinct – Without any fresh game to use Gerald used his rations to cook up a hearty meal for all… or mostly him! [Cook Ob 2. Success]

IMG_2965Check – Beren, taunted by Ulrik that the locals used spike boots and that he should make some, set about crafting. He took some of his iron spikes and a hammer and tried to fashion some of his one. That damn nails kept slipping, and there was no good surface to work on, and the bloody cold was numbing his fingers. [Carpentry Ob 2. Fail: Angry] He made the boots alright, just like any dwarf worth his salt, but the wasted time rose up a terrible ire in him. He pulled out his “grudge stick” and wrote a grudge against Ulrik, that he would make the Cleric walk barefoot across a bed of Dragon’s Teeth to appreciate the value of good footwear!

Adventuring Phase

Turn 1 – Up the mountain they went until the path faded away into nothing but loose gravel and rhododendron bushes. Karolina forged ahead an with some help from Beren and Taika’s watchful eye, they found their way up the mountain and bath onto a path! [Pathfinder Ob 3. Success]

Turn 2 – As the path split, leading off east and west around Wing Glacier Canyon, the adventures did what they could to transcribe the sign at the pass. They gathered that it indicated in either direction, only varied in form. Diamond Tooth or Khumba’s pass? Beware greed from the first, a demon on the second. [Scholar Ob 2. Success]

Turn 3 – Oh god I love the nigh impassible walkway. Using a rope and grappling hook to catch the pulley lines, the clever adventurers raised the fallen bridge [Health Ob 4. Success]

Turn 4 – Ignoring Diamond Tooth they continued up the path to the river of bounty where the spotted a mother bear fishing with her cubs. Fishing for golden fish! Karolina was going to get some of those fish. The scared off the mother bear and her cubs but not without Karolina taking savage blow to her head,  claws tearing at her face and ear. [Drive off conflict won with a compromise: Karolina Injured]

Up ahead they saw the great Dragon’s Maw… open and full of promise within!

Thoughts on this game

Teaching new players how to play Torchbearer in a loud room can be a challenge. There are lots of moving parts and the noise is distracting. This game I think went better than the next one because I had Shaun Hayworth in it, who was able to help out with teaching the rules and giving good advice to the other players (especially when we were scripting the drive off conflict).

Oh my god, my favorite thing in this whole game was that damn grudge stick. I love the idea that Beren carves his grudges into a stick and breaks it when they are resolved… if ever. The banter between him and Ulrik was great.

My highest praise for Torchbearer game from Shaun Hayworth: