Rugged Winter


Torchbearer – Cursed Lands
Year Two – Session 6

December 15 2019

The party travels back to Tent City as snow begins to fall from the sky. Winter has come to the lands. Winter is harsh and only the extremely brave or extremely foolish venture forth from the safety of Town.

Ladened with loot, the party quickly spends it as they contemplate the previous fall adventure in the Ruins of Crowthorne.

Particularly, what they learned and who they are becoming. 

Roman has becoming a man of compassion, and is filled with warmth and Kindness. Korbuzier’s obsession with persistently searching out for his lost crew mates had paid off with a chance meeting with his former lover, and now adventuring rival, Gherri. Aelfwynn’s with the pressure of adventuring leader is becoming more stoic and no-nonsense.

Roman has learned much and is now wise in the location of the Crowthorne hinterlands.
Korbuzier’s ever vigilant gaze and his attempts at warding off traps has made him wise to the working of traps.
Aelfwynn’s plague carrying in combination of his study of the creatures when he was driving them off has made an expert and very wise to rats.

Roman and Korbuzier managed to pay their bills and start fresh in the next phase of the adventure.


Luke 15:31


Torchbearer – Cursed Lands
Year Two – Session 5

October 20, 2019

Korbuzier and Aelfwynn met up with Roman (who went to  Tent City to try and get connections).

The group’s goals coalesced into a strong aim to find the Bow of the Silver Seal.

Assembling at their camp the party decides to inspect the vault.
Roman peers at the doop looking for traps. It is locked and trapped from the other side. Meaning if they open it without the code the trap will spring. It looks like the proper code is needed to both unlock and to open it.
Aelfwynn leads a search of the basement, thinking that the previous owners left the code somewhere easy. A thorough search reveals wine, bottles, a large desk, and a carpet. And the code.
Aelfwynn opens the vault, and when Korbuzier lifts his lantern to illuminate the roo beyond the see a stack of silver plates, a deed to the town of Crowthorne, a shield, another carpet, and the bow of the Silver Seal.
After some deliberations and moving of goods, the party made their way back to camp with the treasure intact.

After camping and Korbuizer taking some time to calm down the group decides to inspect the only way they haven’t yet they explored, an earthen tunnel that leads to a secret passage beneath My Son Rock.

After digging out a small passage and squeezing through Roman notes that this boulder was once in the forest but is ruined. As well as the rain is stirring up smoke from the ever-burning forest.

One of my players has taken bible history and thus we named the session Luke15:31 in reference to the loot and the fact that we got back to the ‘Son’.

You won’t bereave who we met!



Torchbearer – Cursed Lands
Year Two – Session 4

September 29, 2019

Korbuzier and Aelfwynn check out the shrine safe room and explore the tunnels which lead to the vault beneath the Guildhouse.

They meet a fimilair face (to the players not the characters). Its Korben, older by 10 years. He runs away and they unlock the way to the first floor of the guild hall.

Birds and Bruises


Torchbearer – Cursed Lands
Year Two – Session 3

September 15, 2019


Aelfwynn was not present during the last session, but the remaining Roman and Korbuzier managed to cover some ground. They got their pilfered goods from the basement to camp and managed to map out most of Crowthron. Korbuzier managed to notice a lurking figure and chased him to the gate. Romans followed his track to the edge of Tent City, a city in the shadow of the Black Cathedral.

Aelfwynn although absent from the group, took the opportunity to search through the ruined city trying to find ways through that were less treacherous.

The Characters Beliefs, Instincts and Goals

Belief: The Forest is in ruin and its everyone’s responsibility.
Instinct: Always blaze a new trail.
Goal: Find The Bow in the ruins of Crowthorne.

Belief: Anything worth doing is worth doing in style.
Instinct: Always assess the danger when presented with a treat.
Goal: Find a lead to where one of your shipmates is located.

Belief: Watch over the people and raise against suffering
Instinct: Always search for traps when entering a new area
Goal: Look for clues for The Bow


A mercenary guard stands next to a crude wooden palisade. She leans on the wooden spikes with a sort of bored expression.
“What business do you have here?” the guard causally remarks.
“We are simply travelers passing though,” Aelfwynn answers.
“Its a long way to be traveling.”
“Aye, it is.”
“Keep to yourselves and your blades sheathed and I think there will be no problems.”

Tent City is a collection of tents, lean-tos and hastily constructed Awnings hanging over the mostly hardened population. It stands at the base of the steps of The Black Cathedral.
The Black Cathedral is large with blood red ichor seeping over the glass windows giving it a menacing look.

Town phase
2d6 = 7 peaceful Town. Its a burgeoning religious bastion, with many of the amenities limited. There is only stables ready for lodging at this time. A Market place and Tavern stand ready for use through the crowds there look a little mean. Of course personal business can be sought out here.

Aelfwynn set out to find someone who knows who the man with the bird shield and black robes is. Personal buisness +1 CoL

This is a circles test. Because Aelfwynn’s alignment is chaos he cannot find the man directly, as you are only allowed to search for people within your alignment. So he searches for someone who knows that person instead.
(Also everyone else is chaos as well.)

Circles Test: Rank 4 Circles with 2 helpers.
Obstacle 3

Roll: 1, 3, 2, 6, 4, 2
Spends a fate to explode the sixes.
Fate: 2

2 successes against Ob 3. Failure!

A thin weedy snarky merc, sharpening a thin knife. He wears a monocle which makes his eyes seem abnormally bulgy. He is hunched over a table. This merc knows of a person who fits the description and actions, but wants a job done before he tells them. He is owed money by a fellow merc and wants them to collect, or at least beat the man up.
“I think I know who you are searching for. I will tell you for a price…”
“What sort of price?”
“What are you willing to pay?”
“Money is the obvious choice, but we are an enterprising bunch. We can discuss it.”
“Alright. Yeah… you can do. I will help you find this person if you do beat up a man for me.”

They agree to help this man in exchange for information. He takes you over to a tent where there a huge 6′ 6″ man stands. The weedy merc yells at him, “Hey you you have to pay up now! You owe me. These guys are going to help me make it even!”
If a deep voice the man says “I don’t think I owe anything to you.”
“Easy now big guy. There is four of us and we recently spend time in the wilds. Do you really want this to come to violence?”
The monocled man starts to say something but is cut short with a punch in the face by the larger man. Laying to the ground he yells “Get him!” to the adventurers


Aelfwynn takes the lead of the conflict to capture the brutish debtee. Disposition roll. Personal buisness +1 CoL

Volley 1

After a little debate they decided that capturing the brute was the best course of action.

Fighter Test: Rank 4 Fighter with 1 helper.

Roll: 4, 6, 4, 4, 2
4 successes added to his Will rank 3, for a Disposition of 8.

Aelwynn: 3/3
Roman: 3/3
Korbuzier: 2/2

The warrior stands ready.
Fighter Test: Rank 5 Fighter.

Roll: 5, 5, 5, 5, 6, 3
4 successes added to his Will rank 3, for a Disposition of 7.
Debtee: 7/7

The Warrior is using a sword and gives himself a +1D to attack.
Korbuzier equips a dagger, Aelfwynn has a dagger equip as well. And so does Roman.

Round 1

Attack Versus Defend.
Warrior Swings his sword is rolling 5 Dice +1D for sword. 6 Dice, rolling 5 success! Wow terrible luck!
Korbuzier is parrying blow and getting directed to where best to stand, getting 1 Helpers and Hunter is 2. 3 Dice, rolling 1 success.
Korbuzier takes 2 and and Roman takes 2

K 0/2, R 1/3, A 3/3
W 7/7

Round 2

Maneuver against Maneuver is independent test.
Awlfwynn is moving of to the side and trying to get distance between himself and Roman, forcing the hulk of a man into the center.
The man is trying to avoid getting pinned and backs up into the street as much he can.
Aelfwynn rolls 0 successes.
Warrior rolls 5 dice and gets 2 success. He chooses +2 D to his next action.

Round 3

The warrior attacks as Roman also attacks.
Warrior attacks with his sword and rolls 8 dice.
Roman cuts his coin purse distracted with not caring about the battle and only for the money. Gaining a check.
Roman rolls only 1 success while the Warrior rolls 3 success.

K0/2 R0/3 A1/3

Volley 2

Round 1

Feint agianst a maneuver is independent!
Warrior is rolling 2 Dice, 0 Successes!
Aelfwyn is rolling 3 Dice, 1 Success!
The warrior trys to sucker punch bunch misses.

Round 2

Attack against Attack is independent as they try and hit each other in the face.
Aelwynn rolls 3 success while the Warrior rolls 1 success managing to reduce the heroes collective disposition to zero.

Major Compromise

Managed to snag a few coins, just enough to convince the merc to reveal his information. The warrior drives off group. They lost but managed to gain a few coins not enough for a whole die worth of resources but just enough to convince the other merc to tell him what he knows, since he is a boastful man.

Away from the fight, the skinny knife-wielding merc tells the group about the gravedigger. A weird man that lives in the forest and has been burying bodies of the fallen. He apparently is know for his strange behavior and only travels to town to loose people following him.

The Adventure Begins

The adventure phase starts.

The dog charges at the group barking furiously. I t seems like it is trying to tell the group something. It barks wildly and circles and trots off before looking back to see if the group follows.

“Quick follow the dog!” says Korbuzier in a low whisper.

The dog leads the group to an old twisted tree. With a bird sitting on it.

In the perfect imitation of Korbuzier’s voice, the bird says, “Go away dog”, as the dog continues to bark up the tree.

The bird proceeds to try and call other birds to mate with him. “Hey birds, come over and look at me! I beautiful! Other birds!” The bird ruffles in annoyance.

“Stop barking do! You are scaring the other birds away!”

Alfwynn suggested that the bird spoke in the voice of Korbuzier and that is why he the bird’s won’t hang out with him. The bird thinking it was a human trick was not convinced. Korbuzier decides that they can offer help and try to persuade the bird to join him so that they may discover the solution to the problem together.

Persuader test

Trying to convince the Bird to follow them so they can discover the solution to the problems together.

Persuader Test: Rank 2 Persuader + Tapping Nature for 5 for a total of seven dice
Against Nature 1 of a sparrow bird

Korbuzeir Roll: 5, 3, 2, 5, 6, 6, 2
Bird Roll: 4

4 successes beats 1 success. Korbuzier convinced the bird!

The bird decided to ride on Korbuziers shoulder and takes flight, but as he nears the bird, a energy builds in the air as a bolt of light escapes the bird and strikes Korbuzier in the throat. His voice is restored, but a little harsh. The bird didn’t escape a fate so easy, as feathers fall to the ground.

The way to Crowthorn is the second test on the Grind.

The group decides to travel back to the ruins of Crowthorne. Aelfwynn the Ranger takes the lead.

Aelfwynn leads the group back to Crowthorn. His pathfinder rank is 2.
Pathfinder Roll: 1, 4
Ob: 1

1 successes beats Ob 1. Aelfwynn successfully traverses the hill lands back to Crowthorne.

Arriving at Crowthorne they set about searching the ruins.

Searching the burnt-out homes south of the well for treasure yields nothing to find but a garbage heap and muck. Perhaps useful for scavenging but certainly no treasure to be found.

They decide to make an effort to move the bodies away from there camp, with the spell. Firstly because they presence could attract wildlife and the gravedigger, and secondly the spell would make the progress easier.

Casting Mystic Porter, a.k.a. magic fork lift. To move the bodies away from camp.

Arcanist Test:

K Roll: 6, 5, 3, 4
Ob 2

To the Northeast of the well is a ruined shrine. After they deposited the bodies a ways away form the ruin, they thought an inspection of the Ruined Shrine was in order. Reading the istription reveals that it is a Shrine to Bywinn the Defender of Men and Hero of Crowthore. A good idea to search for hidden compartments by pushing the craved figures on the shrine.

A small click sound and a door opens up alone the back of the shirne. Its swings inward and its presence was hidden in the carved trim. Inside a hole with wooden rungs hammered into the side leads down into the ground. Its smooth sides makes it easy to traverse the ladder.

At the bottom they find as amounts to a panic room with three pathways leading out. It has been decades since anyone has walked this path and a moldy threadbare blanket lies discarded in the corner.

End of Session rewards

This is it… Don’t get scared now!


Torchbearer – Cursed Lands
Year Two – Session 2

September 8, 2019

-Tone poem and last session summary, by Tyler


Last time the heroes made their way into the midst of a pig-men camp and stealthily took care of them. They made their camp essentially in the same spot, but in an abandoned apartment which had a door. While moving the bodies away they discovered a rats nest in a ruined guildhouse and managed to uncover a trapped chest with some goods in it. They were in the basement of the guildhouse.

Beliefs, Instinct and Goals

Belief: Glory above honor.
Goal: Map the area.
Instinct: Always assess threats.

Belief: The function of the people is to rise against suffering.
Goal: To find the bow.
Instinct: Always search for traps.

The opening scene.

In the basement


Unloading the goods in camp
Went back to camp and Roman emptied his large sack onto the ground. And …

Spotting a man ruing away.

Instinct (Does not trigger the grind)
Korbuzier rolls Scout (Will/2 + 1D from positive use of Wizard’s Sight): 1, 3, 4, 4. The person hiding rolling two dice: 1,1
Korbuzier used his wizard sight to look between the void and the material and saw a life-from behind a wall, listen and then ran after it to get a better look. He gave chase to spot him and saw that he was wearing dark robes and had a shield with a silver bird on it.

Korbuzier trying to think quickly attempt to make bird calls. Not knowing which one decided to forgo the type of bird call and just know all bird call. By being able to speak it. But his extravagant arm motions will running made it harder to cast.
Casting Magic (is not a turn of the grind)
Korbuzier casts Wisdom of the Sages to speak bird: Arcanist 4 – 1D for trait totaling three dice against an Ob of 3. The roll: 2, 4, 5. Failure, but gained a check.
Korbuizer tripped with the attempt to cast and mumbled his words. His voice was reduced to a whisper as he felt it leaving his body.

Went back to the rat and heard a bubble from the well.
Leaning over the stone work to check the well Roman, took a breath of rank air, Ob 1 health test. Rolling: 5, 2. Success!
With a stiffed wretch he notes the colour of the well is a off brown.

Got the goods and went back to camp, and set about to protect there newly acquired goods and to alter them to anybody trying to sneak into their camp and assassinate them, like they did to the pig-men.
Turn ? on the Grind (the Grind from last game)
Roman devised a home alone style trip wire on the stairs. Dungoeneer 3 against an Ob 1 to make an alarm on the stairs. He choose to use iron spike to get +1 D and a Devil May Care trait against himself to get -1D and a check. The roll: 2,2,1. Failure, but not yet as Roman uses Hesit-wise and states that any good trap maker, vault maker or the like, knows to have a backup in case the second one is avoided. So he spread glass on the steps so if a would-be interloper attempts to bypass the trip wire he would step onto the glass and a crunching would be heard above. Roam uses a person point to re-roll all traitors: 3, 2, 5. Success! He uses 2 iron spikes.

Setting camp:
A minor setback occurs with the camp roll. All of Roman’s rations are ruined by bugs. He shouldn’t have left them on the floor! The grind resets and holds to Adventure Phase.

Korbuzier’s Mapping roll: Cartographer Test using extravagant for himself, drawing intricately detailed map is 3 Dice against an Ob 2. The roll: 2, 6,  4. Success!

Roman attempts to push further and find water – I ask how far and he says as far as the trail the pig-men would’ve used, so I allow the test with increased risk. There are no really nearby sources of water, and so with great risk, there is a great reward. If he failed he would’ve become lost or even ambushed ending camp phase immediately. Beginner’s luck Test for Survivalist (Health/2) against Ob 1. The roll: 1, 6. Success!

Korbuizer decided that making a forged document that said they were a part of a nobleman’s secret police was the way to go. He titled the document Agents of the Whispering Confluence. Criminal 3 +1D from help from the thief Roman, +1D from a Persona point yields a five dice test against Ob 5. The roll: 4, 3, 6, 4, 5. Failure if not for the luck! Spending a Fate point to reroll the sixes: 5. Success!

Adventure Phase

Roman upon starting the Day a new decided to track the man with the shield’s trail.
Scout 3 +1D from Korbuzier’s hunter, +1D from Devil May Care. He has done this sort of thing before, and knows that to look for places that the individual takes breaks. Five dice against 2 dice.
Roman’s roll: 6, 2 6, 5, 3
The mysterious man’s roll: 1, 5
2 success for Roman, Success! He the man’s trail to Tent City, at the foot of the Black Cathedral. It looks to be bustling with mercenaries and former trades men of Crowthorn. The tradesmen openly wore the symbol of the Black Cathedral, a Red Cup.


Roman: Only worked towards his goal. He thought maybe the man would know where the bow lies, so one Fate.

Korbuzeir: Get’s one Fate for accessing the the threat of a potential interloper form his instinct. He also successfully made a map and so is awarded a Persona point.

Group Rewards

Group rewards are 1 persona a piece.

MVP: Korbuzeir for spotting the man through the wall on, and for getting an Ob 5 criminal test to make a potentially useful item.

Teamworker: Roman for all his help and idea to protect the camp with Traps.

RP: Korbuzier lost his voice and so proceeded to speak for a while in a whisper. That was amusing.

The naming of the session:

This is it… don’t get scared now.

Pig Camp Rat Basement


Torchbearer – Cursed Lands
Year Two – Session 1

September 2, 2019

Ten years ago today a band of adventurers met their demise in the bowls of the first tree. They had cleared the badlands of bandits and Crowthron started to thrive once again. However, this was short-lived. They agitated the Cult of Loathing and raiders began hassling the Crowthron. Additionally fires sprung up in the old forest, for the Raiders were intent on seeking revenge on the Adventurers. That was season one.

Now years later a new group decided to take up their quest, this time to unlock the Silver Seal. The gate that isolates and imprisons the elves in their citadel, Aelfhiem. An elvish bow that the had been sold by the previous adventurers turned out to be the fabled key to the Silver Gate. An old elf heard the tale and eager to free the those looked in Aelfhiem and save the forest, sent forth his pupil to retrieve the bow from a vault beneath a guild house in the ruins of Crowthorn.

Aelfwynn is a lithe elf, with a silver belt buckle of his order. The Rangers of the Silver Seal. He was tasked to retrieve an elven bow by his mentor.
Roman is a young man with a dark cloak and an orange sash tied at his waist. Seeking the means to escape poverty for him and his mother, he went with Alfwynn because of his unique ability to unlock doors might make the vault a piece of cake.
Korbuzier is a scrappy whaling wizard’s apprentice. He still wears his sailor’s hat fondly. He was caught in a lie of deeds he has yet to do. Embarrassed, he seeks glory above honour.

Beliefs, Instinct and Goals

Belief: A forest is in ruin, and it is everyone’s responsibility.
Goal: Find the bow in the ruins of Crowthorn.
Instinct: Always blaze a new trail.

Belief: Glory above honour.
Goal: Find my crewmates.
Instinct: Always assess threats.

Belief: The function of the people is to rise against suffering.
Goal: To make it to Crowthorn.
Instinct: Retreat to camp when things look rough.

The opening scene.

The party makes there way south through the badlands towards the Crowthorn ruins. Its windy pathways, filled with cliffs and shrubs. The path turns, and the cliffs open up to skies. The skies are dark and blackened to the west, and the east is filled with smoke billowing out from the forest. In front of the raining darkened sky lies a Castle in a state of disrepair ringed by a moat and defences. Over far to the east stands a great foreboding Cathedral.

The Plan

The leader Aelfwynn wants to maintain the groups Fresh rating and so laid out the plan for them to follow. It was his instinct to scout ahead so he would trigger it and gain a check, planning to fail, getting them into trouble. Another person had assessed trouble instinct. While the last adventurer had retreated to camp instinct. They would get in trouble, access it and retreat.

The Follow-through

The gate of Crowthorn stands erect, a short march away. An effigy of a crow adorns the gate. The pillars beside the gate are the only stonework on the southern half of the wall. The southern wall and town reduced to ash. The party decides to look around and peaks out left and right. On the left, they see a broken and desecrated shrine. On the left, they see a man.

The man spots them and begins to hobble away. When the group gives chase, he falls to his knees. He is an old battered peasant, and he begins to plead for his life, but upon clearing the muck, begs to leave so he could continue running. The group questions him about a bow, which he had no idea about. His name is Arhcant. After wishing a safe journey, Arhcant warns of pig-men that hounds people of this region, including himself. The pig-men ambush and trick people that seek refuge in ruins.

Korbuzier stops to recall lore about the pig-men. He is searching for any fairy-tales or folklore about such creatures.

Turn 1 of the Grind
Ob 2 Loremaster test Korbuzier manages to gather 4 dice to his pool. He had an exponent of 3 in the skill, and he is Fresh for an extra +1 D. The roll is a 4, 6, 6, 3. The roll manages to get 3 successes (4, 5 or 6 is counts as a success).

He successfully manages to recall several stories. Some say it’s a vile curse, a twisting of the spirit made manifest that made the pig-men. Others say that it must be a will participate in the vile ceremony. While others claim both. All the stories say that the great hulking pig-men like to brutally trick their victims, preferring to strike from an ambush.

After the meeting with Arhcant, the adventurers peak through the center of the gate and see a marketplace. In the center of which stands, a well and a gibbet with another man slumped against the cage.

Foreseeing an imminent ambush, the ranger Aelfwynn asks the group about a plan to sneak in. But ever the rambunctious Wizard, Korbuzier simply climbs the gate to see if he could spot any pig-men hiding, from atop his vantage point.

Turn 2 of the Grind
A beginners luck Scout test for Korbuzier. His pool is 3 because of his Will of 5 and one from fresh,  divided by 2 because that’s how beginners luck works. The hidden pig-men were rolling 4 dice. I roll first and get 3 successes: 6, 5, 1 and 6. Korbuzeir rolled 2nd and gets a 4, 6, 6, and  3. Tied, if not for Korbuzeir’s Fate (that he inherited from a previous character). For some reason, he rolls only one die and gets a 6. We tell him to roll another, and he gets a 4. The six on the Fate roll means he can keep rolling: 6, 6, 6, and finally a 1. A total of 8 successes against the pig-men’s 3. He was indeed lucky. The players cheered and are blown away. He really can do magic.

He spots one clear as day, as he moved from one side of a window to another one the second floor of a two-storied stone building. Additionally, Korbuzier hears a gruff voice pretending to be in distress.

Aelfwynn abandoning his conservative plan, since Korbuzier didn’t get any checks, leads the party around outside the gates and makes they way to the building from behind. He intends to sneak up behind them to get a good look at where they are and how many. Sneaking around was a good idea, and he spotted 3 tents around a fire behind the guild house. There is a set of outside wooden stairs that lead up to a motel-like a walkway. The upper floors hold what looks like apartments and the lower floors hold storehouses, shops and workspaces. This was the guild house.

Turn 3 of the Grind
Aelfwynn’s intent is to sneak through the camp and up into the second floor. He gathers his dice. He only rolls 1 Dice, he uses calm against himself. Too calm when he should be careful [forgot his fresh]. He was rolling against 4 dice, 4 from nature. Aelfwynn: 4, for a total of 1 success. GM: 2, 5, 1, 4, for a total of 3 successes. Aelfwynn fails but gained a check. Useful to camp. 

He makes it to the stairs, and one of the pig-men opens a flap of the tent. The pig-men stretches and starts poking at the fire. Aelfwynn is pinned down with the party on the stairs. Either carry on into the 2nd floor or sneak past back through the camp. In haste, he decides to continue sneaking, up the stairs to the nearest door, carefully staying low. It was a good idea since for the most part with the pig-men making noise from camp masks the sound above, and the ambushers periodically detract themselves with trying to lure someone to help the man in the gibbet. Making it to the 1st door is a good idea. It’s locked, so the thief was up.

Turn 4 of the Grind
Open the door!
Roman rolled 2, 2, 4, 3, and 3 against an Ob 1 criminal test, barely making the test.

The Grind
Removes everyone’s fresh and gives everyone hungry and thirsty.

In an empty apartment now, they spot an ornate desk that was too big to be carried out in the exodus. The decide on waiting out the pig-men and to try and ambush during them during midday, or shift change. They have a drink of wine from Roman’s jug. They finish a jug between the three of them. The pig-men tending the camp yells for his sleepy-headed ally to wake up. Another one exited and helps tend the fire. That’s when the cook demands meat from the others. Both the pig-men, that were lying in wait to on the second-floor, left to go to the basement. Two is too many to ambush, so Aelfywnn waits some more. One of the pig-men goes to cut the arm off the man in the gibbet, (he was past out) and starts screaming. He is very near dying. The pig-men cook and begin eating it at there bonfire.

During high sun the pig-men go to sleep (they seem to be nocturnal).

Aelfwynn decides that the best course of action is to sneak in to murder them in their sleep.

Turn 5 of the Grind
They were like sneaky assassins!
Aelfwynn leads the scout test to sneak into the camp while the pig-men slept.
Dice pool for Scout is made up of the base stat 2, +1D Help with Roman being stealthy with scout sneaking into a different tent, +1D Help from Korbuzier since he knows how to stalk prey from his hunter training, +1D from fresh and +1D from trait calm. He knew that once in the tent, a calm hand and foot was needed to swiftly slit the pig-man’s throats. 6 dice against the pig-men’s 6, Nature 4 with two helpers, they were going after the only two tents that held three of the pig-men. That is 5, 6, 5, 1, 2, 1 versus 3, 2, 4, 6, and 1; or a total of 3 successes for Aeflwynn and the rouges versus 2 successes for the poor torturous pig-men.

Successful sneak and then a good idea for the murder, narrated by the party. The party finished their business quickly and effectively against 3 of the vicious pig-men.

I borrowed Let it ride from another game, arguing that without the snoring of his friends the final one falls into a deeper sleep. So no roll to sneak up to the last pig-men. They decide to capture him, and I begin questioning if it was easy with three against one while he sleeps. I decide to lean into Good Idea’s, so I awarded it to them. Following my decision to do so before the game.

After tying up their remaining pig-men they get ready to question him. They ask him for information. Persuader test to convince the last pig-man to tell them where the bow is. Well, actually it is to convince the pig-men to believe the ranger that they will let him go since he doesn’t believe him.

Turn 6 of the Grind
Aelfwynn beginners luck test. 3, 5 against 4, 2. The pig-men didn’t have a relevant nature descriptor so rolled half dice as well.
A Tied persuader test.

Aelfwynn calls upon his firstborn trait and states that elves are notable destroyers of unnatural beasts for thousands of years, the pig-man has no reason to trust him. And so failing the test, and seeing no reason to let him go, they finish off the last pig-men. The guild house was clear. They decide that they should camp in the Guild-house apartments throughout the day, and make their way come morning.

Turn 7 of the Grind
A successful establishing camp test.
It was a typical danger level now that the pig-men were taken care of. And since they made camp in the apartments, I gave them shelter for free. Ob 1. Aelfywnn survivalist: 2, 6. So he makes the roll.

Camp Phase

Camp event 2d6+1 rolls a 9, a safe camp. The grind resets to 1 and holds until the group spends all earned checks and exits the Camp Phase.

Good Idea to make rain trap with gear and environment for the next time it rains.
1st Check: Alchemist Test to purify a bucket of well water they extract. 2, 4 against Ob 1.  With success, they can fill their jug.
2nd Check: Healer test to make an ammonia-based smelling salt rub, that will help awaken any tired adventurer. 2, 4 against Ob 1. Success, they have barely enough room so the Wizard holds it in his hand.
3rd Check: Cartographer Test to map the camp. 6, 1 against Ob 2, spend fate and got a 3. Hands covered in blood from restaining the pig-man ruins the map. He has to let both his hands and map dry before scrapping it off and recovering the parchment.

Back to the Adventure Phase

They decide to roll the body as a team around the corner of the guildhouse. Its good idea to move a body a very short way. While they moving it the group spots some sort of animal in the ruins of a sister guildhouse across the market.

Instinct triggers
Korbuzier assesses danger. Scout test to identify what kind of animal. 5, 6, 4, 2 three dice from beginners luck and a persona point for one more, versus test 4, 1.

It’s a giant rat and they decide that it equals a new way to dispose of the bodies. Its devours and swarms things. Hauling the body across the market place is too far to be considered a good idea.

In hindsight, I gave the wrong test, even though fictionally they were trying to get a good look at it they wanted nature information and the kind of animal to assess its risk, so it should have been a good idea to move closer to look and hunter test to figure that out. I gave the information anyway and realized my mistake mid-test. I informed them of this after play.

Turn 1 of the Grind
Aelfwynn decides to lug body across the market place. Beginner’s Luck Labourer test: 4, 5 versus Ob 2. Success!

Dumping the body they see a few rats go for the body and begin devouring it. They start their exploration of the much more ruined guildhouse: the apartments are not emptied like the other guildhouse in good condition but the stuff is in ruin from the fire, and the main floor is half-collapsed. As they traverse the main floor to inspect the items on this floor it collapses. Everyone rolls a health test to avoid falling into the basement.

Turn 2 of the Grind
Health tests for all! Ob 2.
Health test to avoid the collapsing floor.
Aelfwynn: 2, 5, 1, 5, two successes!
Roman 5,3,4, two successes!
Korbuzier 4, 3, 2, one success…

Korbunzier’s fall through the floor. Mid-sentence he falls through the floor with a crack. He is in a basement, it is lit from above from the holes in the floor but parts of it remain in darkness. Exploring the basement reveals 3 Giant Rats eating the body of the pig-man, a large unfinished armoire, and the dark basement they can’t see into. Further investigations of the armoire reveal its locked.

Turn 3 of the Grind
Criminal to unlock a simple armoire lock, Ob 1.
Roman 4, 4, 3, 2, 4. One help from Korbuzier who kicks the armoire effectively making the lock pick a bump key and it opens easily as it loosens the lock.

Success and goods. In the armoire, there is a wheel of cheese, a small sack and a simple wooden chest. Almost at once Roman declares its a trap without even looking at it. And Korbunzeir takes the lead. There is a breakdown of me asking questions from the player who plays Korbuzier. I think he is trying to have a good idea and me, not understanding, what he is even saying is having a hard time justifying how it would defeat the lock continue to ask questions to get a better idea. The player becomes frustrated. Korbuzier just tries to force the latch.

Turn 4 of the Grind
Poison shoots out
Ob 2 Health test to avoid a poison needle. Korbuzier rolls 4, 3, 5. With a total of 2 successes, he meets the Ob.

Success and the goods, again. A Scroll and a pile of copper coins.

In hindsight, I should have said it was a good idea and let him narrate it. If it is a question or sounds like it might bypass my trap, I should’ve let is be a good idea and let him describe and just narrate how his action bypasses it.

The Grind
Everyone is hungry and thirsty again.

They take a quick drink of water sipping from the jug again, and as the adventurers are trying to figure out how to carry any of the good, the credits roll.


Aelfwynn: gets Fate for defeating the pig-men. They are partially to blame in the ruination of the forest so to defeat them is in line with his belief; searched for the bow so gets Fate for working towards his goal; didn’t make a roll for blazing a new trail so no Fate for that.

Roman: his belief was awarded because he tried to ease the suffering of the gibbet man; I awarded him Fate for his goal, I should’ve said we are starting at Crowthorn so he had no opportunity to make a more relevant one (in my opinion the GM fault shouldn’t hurt the players. I should have caught that at the beginning and said that we are starting at Crowthorn); his instinct to retreat camp when in danger didn’t come up since they handily defeated the danger.

Korbuzeir: glory above honour, did not have action towards the belief; he made no move to find his crew so no reward for the goal; awarded a Fate for triggering the instinct to assess the danger

Group Rewards

Group rewards are 1 persona a piece.

MVP: Korbuzeir was eventually nominated for MVP for that monster of a beginner’s luck roll that spotted

Teamworker: Roman, helped with most tests h could.

RP: Aelfwynn was awarded for his many Good Ideas that followed from the fiction.

The naming of the session:

Pig Camp Rat Basement

New Characters

Torchbearer – Cursed Lands
Year Two – Session 0

August 25, 2019

I went over expectations, I followed my check-in list. I like to do this following a TPK. The party thought the current state of difficulty is right.  They want fewer conflicts and smaller persuader and manipulator rolls, saving the conflicts for only for narratively crucial moments. I will take this into consideration. Additionally, I promised to have more foreshadowing moments as twists, lessening the difficulty and providing clues to challenges ahead. There wasn’t really a need for safety mechanisms as the level of trust in our group is one where we each know each other’s limits. That being said, I laid the groundwork for potential safety mechanisms if we as a group ever step over that line.

The party is made up of a Human Thief, a Human Magician and an Elf Ranger. I plan to spotlight each player’s abilities in the upcoming adventure. Places to sneak into, sentries to avoid, traps and hidden treasure for my thief to deal with. The wizard will fit in a little differently. He will likely share the spotlight with the elf, but hopefully, they figure out that wizards can make firework bombs and poisons in the Camp Phase since the Elf will likely have a wilderness bent to him. Dealing with weather, setting up camp, pathfinding and the like. Lastly I met with my friend who missed session 0. He made a Human cleric who grew up in the dwarven hall of Darkholme.


Human thief’s backstory is slums boy raised by a struggling single mother grew up into a thief, who views money as the means to escape poverty and start a better life.

Human Mage’s backstory is he was once a boastful whaling wizard but was caught in a lie. So to prove himself to his friends, he seeks adventure and glory.

Elf Ranger’s backstory is that he went out ranging and the citadel of Alfheim sealed their gates to the woes of man and the spread of corruption. The Rangers of the Silver seal vowed to stop the spread of corruption, and its leader went to the First Tree and met his end. Locking themselves behind the silver gate of midst. The key to which is the First Ranger’s bow, the Bow of the Silver Seal.

I know very little of the backstory of the cleric.

The Characters


Stock: Human
Class: Thief
Age: 15
Home: Busy Metropolis (Alderport)
Raiment: An orange sash tied to your waist
Parents:  Rene (mother)
Mentor: Rene the Thief
Friend: Bicrid the [occupation]
Enemy: None
Level: 1
Alignment: Chaos
Belief: The function of the people is to rise against suffering
Goal: To make it to Crowthron.
Instinct: Always retreat to camp when in danger.
Raw Abilities: Will 4, Health 3, Nature 4, Circles 4, Resources 0
Nature Descriptors: Boasting, Demanding, Running
Skills: Criminal 4, Manipulator 4, Dungeoneer 3, Fighter 2, Haggler 3,  Scout 3
Wise: Heist-wise
Traits: Devil May Care 1, Jaded 1
Neck: garlic wreath
Hands Carried: Large sack
Torso Worn: cloak
            Worn: backpack
            Worn: (backpack)
Belt Pouch: tinderbox
Weapon: Dagger
Skin: wine (full)
Feet: shoes
Backpack: hammer, thieves tools, Jug, (Jug), (Jug)
Answers Quietly prepare, listen to the wisdom of the elder ones, do not fear those who prey on civilization
Answers Has friends (Njall the Weaver), has parent (Rene, mother), has mentor (his mother is his mentor)


Stock: Human
Class: Magician
Age: 35
Home: Busy Metropolis (Alderport)
Raiment: Sailor Hat
Parents:  N/A (orphaned)
Mentor: Heames the Whaling Wizard
Friend: Whriite the Sailor
Enemy: Ghriri the Hunter and former lover
Level: 1
Alignment: Chaos
Belief: Glory above Honour
Goal: Find my crew!
Instinct: Always assess the danger when presented with a  threat.
Raw Abilities: Will 5, Health 3, Nature 5, Circles 4, Resources 0
Nature Descriptors: Boasting, Demanding, Running
Skills: Arcanist 4, Criminal 3, Lore Master 3, Alchemist 2, Cartographer 2, Hunter 2, Persuader 2, Scholar 1, Sailor
Wise: Strange Happenings-wise
Traits: Wizard’s Sight 1, Extravagant 1
Head: Standard Sailor Hat
Neck: garlic wreath
Hands Carried: Lantern
             Carried: Cloak
             Worn: Family Crest Ring (1D)
             Worn: Spell materials (Ring, Ageis)
Torso Worn: cloak
            Worn: backpack
            Worn: (backpack)
Belt Pouch: tinderbox
Weapon: Dagger
Skin: wine (full)
Feet: shoes
Backpack: Rations (Preserved), Rations (Preserved), Flask of Oil (2/2), Iron Spikes (6), Spellbook, (Spellbook)
Answers Boast of deeds, demand to be heard as an equal, do not fear those who prey on civilization
Answers Has friends (Njall the Weaver, orphaned (1D Family Ring), has mentor (Heames the Whaling Wizard), has enemy (Gheiri the Hunter and Scorned Lover)

Aelfwynn Altheas

Stock: Elf
Class: Ranger
Age: 144
Home: Elf Home (Aelfheim)
Raiment: Silver seal belt buckle
Parents:  Pel and Aelston Altheas
Mentor: Aedred Kenmund the Ranger (Healer)
Friend: Torsden Kenmund the Ranger
Enemy: None
Level: 1
Alignment: Choas
Belief:  The forest is in ruin and it’s everyone’s responsibility.
Goal: Find the bow in the ruins of Crowthorn.
Instinct: Always blaze a new trail.
Raw Abilities: Will 4, Health 4, Nature 4, Circles 4, Resources 0
Nature Descriptors: singing, hiding, remembering
Skills: Arcanist 3, Fighter 3, Loremaster 3, Healer 2, Loremaster 3, Manipulator 2, Pathfinder 2, Scholar 2, Scout 2, Survivalist 2
Wise: Silver Seal-wise
Traits: Fist Born, Calm
Neck: garlic wreath
Hands Carried:
Torso Worn: cloak
            Worn: backpack
            Worn: (backpack)
Belt Pouch: tinderbox
Weapon: Dagger
Skin: wine (full)
Feet: shoes
Backpack: Spellbook, (Spellbook), Rope, (Rope), Rations (Preserved), Rations (Preserved)
Answers Listen to the ancient trees’ songs, Confront evil, Prepared to live a life of struggle and grief
Answers Has friends (Torsden Kenmund), has parents (Pel and Aelston Altheas), has mentor (Aedred Kenmund the Healer)


Stock: Human
Class: Cleric
Age: 14
Home: Dwarven Halls (Darkholme)
Raiment: A purple headband
Parents:  Jamie (Religious Bastion)
Mentor: Godfrey the Missionary of Darkholme
Friend: Barattheon a Labourer of Crossroads Keep
Enemy: None
Level: 1
Raw Abilities: Will 5, Health 3, Nature 4, Circles 4, Resources 0
Nature Descriptors: Boasting, Demanding, Running
Skills:  Ritualist 4, Survivalist 4, Thologian 3, Manipulator 2, Fighter 2, Healer 2, Scholar 2, Laborer 2
Wise: Trail-wise
Traits: Touched by the Gods 1, Foolhardy 1
Head: Helmet
Neck: Holy symbol
Hands Carried: Cloak
Carried: Sling
Torso Worn: Leather
            Worn: backpack
            Worn: (backpack)
Belt Pouch: tinderbox
Weapon: Quiver [stones]
Skin: wine (full)
Feet: shoes
Backpack: Jug, (Jug), (Jug), Rations (Preserved), Rations (Preserved) Torches x4
Answers Has friends (Barattheon the Laborer), has parent (Jamie), has mentor (Godfrey)


Starting fresh (Safety and Expectations)

I will be starting a new chapter in the Cursed Lands campaign. This is a result of a tragic TPK. This was a result of a Twist that the players wanted to be more severe.

This is the perfect time to remind me of safety tools and introduce some safety tools for my game.

Some essential reading on safety tools and their uses is the prescribed start of this post. I recommend Leaving Mundania’s A Primer on Safety in Roleplaying Games and Big Bad Con’s Safety and Calibration tools.

Safety tools are here to make you feel safe, comfortable and enjoy the game. They are not an attempt to make the game one where everyone wins, and the heroes are not challenged and where challenging issues are never addressed. Just the opposite. They provide a safety mechanism to establish what is and isn’t included in the game.

Safety Tools

The primary default safety tool is Consent and Trust. For Consent and Trust to work, you have to have communication. There can’t be consent if there is no communication, constant check-ins have to occur. Trust is the feeling you have towards the other players to not do anything uncomfortable or harmful. If you haven’t yet established what behaviours you consider harmful or uncomfortable, then Trust should be there to make yourself feel safe when you voice your concerns. You have to trust that the other players enough to back-off, stop being a jerk on purpose, change their behaviour, etc., whatever the problem is and not challenge you for it. You don’t get awarded trust, it is earned through continual safe play. Don’t forget to apologize when you check-in with them afterwards.

The X-Card is a card laid on the table that when someone touches it, we as a group immediately rewind and back off, and try to continue to navigate or even skip entirely and issue that prompted the X-Card. It allows everyone to be an editor of the story.

Lines/Veils is perhaps my favourite safety tool. It establishes lines that you should cross and allows for things that might make use uncomfortable to RP to be still in the game by drawing a veil on it.

Cut/Brake is a variation on Lines and Veils. This allows you to stop action much like the X-Card and also lets you change course.

The Door is Open lets you take a break at any point for any reason. Once after your break, you will join in the game and resume play. This is a no judgement policy. If you are skipping the rest of the session, please let the facilitator know, GM, DM, MC, ref, etc…

Script Change functions like a combination. Letting you ‘rewind’ a scene to revise the action or content, ‘fast forward’ through parts, and ‘pausing’ lets you cool down before continuing.

I will be going over Lines/Veils, Script change, and what Consent and Trust look like. While informing them of the Open Door Policy.

My Check-in list.

Checking in with the expectations:

  • About the difficulty: Negotiating tougher challenges, what challenges they want out of the game, what I think the game provides and wants you to do, whether meta-gaming is encouraged etc…
  • Expectations I have for the Adventure and if they match what the players have: themed dungeons, environs, living world, challenges that can outright kill you if approached wrong, some problems are not supposed to be approached at all, classic troupes but with darker twists thrown in.
  • Expectations of Themes: society’s ruin, seemingly impossible odds, strange curses
    Leading into possible Lines/Veils talk and Safety Talk.
  • Safety and whose responsible for your emotional security.


Secrets of the Ooze

Torchbearer – Cursed Lands
Episode 26

July 28, 2019

Jack spent time clearing his vision. The thick black inky water got in his eyes and made it so he could only see in black and white, while a headache pounded in his skull. While he was busy doing that the rest of the group climbed up the embankment and beheld the alter.

At the water’s edge and curving upwards towards the center of the room was a ramp. In the darkness, Samson lite a torch. A massive stone rough-hewn plinth was at the center of the room. It had two candlesticks with black wax now burned down to the ground and a bowl filled with bubbling inky black water. A few small skeletons in various states of decay lay nearby.

Aldormo goes over to inspect the site, and as they do so, a bubbling noise can behind them sounds out.

Samson attempts to driving a mindless ooze as others brandish weapons and make noises. No effect, when Samson swings his fire, a pseudopod extends forth and grips it sticking to it. The group is trying to free him from being trapped, and in so too are risking themselves.

A desperate pull, a leap to the other side of the room, action rings out in the hollow cave beneath the tree.

Samson’s mouth is filled with the oozing slime as he chokes on it. Aldormo gets caught and lets out a scream as they sink in with one hand extended terminator style. Lastly, Jack silently succumbs to the ooze. Jack makes an unrecognizable symbol with his hand as he says, “peace out” and expires.
End of session

Murky Mysteries

Torchbearer – Cursed Lands
Episode 25

June 21, 2019

Billy makes a brief visit to drop the map down the shaft leading to the rotten hole. He ran away shortly after.

The party underneath deep underground, hungry, thirsty and sick decided to travel out to rest. They quickly climbed out and made their way to the Pool of Sorrows. Samson takes a quick look about to treasure of the edge of the waters and spots a spirit wanting to lead him to his doom. He managed to escape the spectres lure and warned the others.
Aldormo’s pouch breaks open as he is setting camp. Everyone takes a break. Jack stalks off into the woods a short ways away. Samson uses his pack as a sort of blanket and Aldormo has a nap, to calm his anger.

Travel back down after a quick discussion. The party inspects the dark water trying to decern its safety. Looking about for other clues, Jack spots the dead giant rat caught in a slow process of reanimating. Collect suspected cursed inky waters they travel to the edge to the grisly fey ring.

When Aldormo tries to cross the ring, the water in his pouch slows down and becomes difficult to move. It feels as if it pulling through molasses. After a hard tug, it releases energy, as several skulls fall of the spears that line the ring; the spot where this happens the grass dies and no living thing remains in the dirt. After thinking about what to do, they decided to take the soil to see Merigold the shapeshifter and woods witch.

They greet Marigold and pour dirt onto the ground, and argued if she should help or if they should leave out of rudeness. After some convincing, she agrees to help, but they have to do chores for her. They agree and head back armed with the knowledge that the water is most likely cursed and would prevent them from leaving the ring of protection lining the First Tree.

Travel montage back to under the tree: Crossing the threshold into the ring and climbing down into the depth of decay.

After each member taking a swig of holy water, Mad Jack leads the swim through an underground tunnel. At the other side, he opens his eyes, and inky water gets into them and burns as a fever begins to take hold, his eye stained black.