Bloodstone Session #3 Recap – It’s Always More Interesting When a Cuddling Instinct Comes Into Play

Having reached a Duel of Wits compromise, the party found itself in the village of  Fendown for the next three days.  What follows are my raw session notes:

Campaign Day 4 – 1st day of the Duel of Wits Compromise

  • Krooder inspects the palisade, finds a concealed tunnel near the watch tower by the church
  • Menas fails to convince the other dwarfs to dig a moat; Crispin is their leader not Menas, they defer to him.
  • Crispin is at make shift hospital, ill from a horrible night of drinking; He forces the dwarves to stay
  • Menas sponsors a debacherous night of drinking (Ob 3 Resources test) to bring the dwarfs back around.
  • Krooder noticed that the cornerstone of the church had one of the elven words etched on it.
  • Krooder, during the party, keeps watch from the church tower and notices a woman with braids leaving the town via the tunnel
  • Krooder follows, but fails to keep up, and fails to track her, stumbling and twisting his ankle (Light wound); He opts to not push his luck, a returns empty handed.
  • Lady Gwen tended to a man who worked for her father, and knew his secret.  She could perform surgery Ob 3 to save him, but he’d lose his leg or Ob 5 to save him without losing a leg.  She chose Ob 5 and succeeded.  His wife was very thankful.  I may need to have this bite her.
  • Lady Gwen tended to Graybeard Crispin; He had lots of food in his beard and bite marks on his neck.  He was complaining of illness.
  • Holden shares some wine with a one-handed villager at the Inn of Forgotten Dreams.  The villager insinuates that Lady Gilliam and the villagers believed that Lord Thomson and the late Lord Gilliam were perhaps lovers.
  • Remy and Holden, work to get Lady Gilliam drunk, and have a conversation with her regarding her husband but she will have nothing to do with Holden, though she does give him permission to talk with Lord Thomson.  She continues drinking the day away with Remy, and even offers him some of her husbands old clothes.
  • A messenger arrives with a proclamation saying that Holden, Remy, Brandon, Krooder and Menas are all wanted for murder.  The charges are somewhat trumped up, but come from the hated constable Jared of Valls, the proclaimed protector of the ducal thrown of Arcata.
  • Holden talks with Lord Thomson and finds out more, convincing him to allow someone to pay for Lord Thomson’s ransom; Lord Thomson trusts Holden and says he would simply need to pick up the ransom and return it to Lady Gilliam.
  • Lady Gilliam says they are here, but then passes out; Remy, dressed in finery, assumes the role of Lord and persuades the messenger back to the inn for rest.
  • As the messenger returns, Holden his way back to Lady Gilliam is identified by the mounted messenger.  The messenger draws steel, but old man Holden is fast enough to cast Horror and the messenger flees.
  • Outside, digging ditches, Krooder had heard the proclamation (Ob 5 Perception) and took aim and shot the rider, who fell off and died as Menas attempted field dressing.
  • Remy took Lady Gilliam to her room and convinced the butler to allow him to stay in the room to talk to her after she woke up.  He fell asleep in a chair, but Remy’s always cuddle when I sleep instinct kicked in and in the morning she woke up with Remy spooning her.  Remy attempted to smooth things over, but Lady Gilliam would have none of that and kicked him out.

Campaign Day 5

Night Time Raid

  • Menas and Katie position near the church to capture the spy.
  • Krooder, again in the church tower, sees several torches approaching the village and sounds the alarm; There are raiders, and one of the sets of gates are open.
  • Remy and Brandon are cowering in the Inn of Forgotten Dreams.
  • Menas, hearing the alarm, breaks for the front gates, and succeeds in both beating the horsemen to the gate (5D speed vs. 7D speed) and in securing the gate (5D power vs. 6D power).
  • Holden, Dragan, and Lady Gwen head to the jail having seen some movement.  They get to the jail and see a man with a crossbow having just shot the captive Lord Thomsom.
  • The raiders split and begin riding around the village, throwing torches.
  • Menas declared that he was rallying the dwarfs to repel the invaders. I offered him two options: Command Ob 3 would repel the raiders but he’d lose 2 dwarfs or Command Ob 5 and there would be no losses.  Menas went for Ob 5 and succeeded.
  • The assailant at the jail drew steel and engaged Dragan; Those involved made Speed tests to see who acted first.  Lady Gwen muttered a pary and Lord Thomson’s wounds closed (Ob 5 Faith test was successful). Dragan and the assailant went first, clashing swords; Dragan committed all 7 dice to defense and the assailant committed all 7 to offense.  Dragan had 6 successes, but the assailant had 11 successes (holy crap was the Fate potent).  Dragan took a B10 wound and dropped…Oops.  In the Bloody Vs. 2 of those 7 dice were only available for defense.  So we backed things up in the moment, and instead of a deadly B10 wound, Dragan sustained a more managable B7 wound.  Then old man Holden fired off the Horror and the assailant fled; He was then felled by Krooder in the church tower.
  • The spy was going to poison the village well, but Katie was able, with Krooder’s help from the church tower, to disable the poisoners threat.

Bloodstone Session #4

Here follows the raw notes I have concerning the 4th session of Bloodstone.

Leaving the Fendowns

  • Lady Gilliam releases the party from their obligation.
  • Menas pursues orcs fleeing to a neighboring village on rumor that Felix is there. Menas calls off the pursuit as the village has too many hostiles.
  • Lord Tomson is left in the care of the church of Ilmater.
  • Lady Gilliam agrees to part with Lord Tomson’s warhorse — he won’t be using it.
  • Brother Robert gave Lady Gwen a letter to deliver to Abbot Aldric.

Figuring Out How Many Horses They Needed

  • As they are traveling, they opt to avoid Daedmyr — It is home to Lord Tomson
  • They agree that they need more horses for scouting both ahead and behind.
  • Menas begrudingly parts with some of his wealth; Menas wanted to produce a bag of silver for Remy to purchase horses. The test was B3 vs. Ob 2, but due to his greed this became an Ob 3 — Converting his much needed routine test into a difficult test — and no one was willing to risk their resources on a failed roll.
  • After a rather heated argument about who is going into town and with what money, Remy and Holden head into town on one of the horses. They are going to buy another riding horse for scouting.
  • Arriving in Daedmyr, they see another massive warhorse (likely Felix’s warhorse). They approach the inn with caution, but Remy decides to circle up someone from the underground to help him out — Not a single success — sounds like an enmity clause to me.
  • Opening the door to the inn, Boris the Shiv turns and sees Remy and howls “You! You owe me money!” and draws a knife.
  • Remy, saying to Holden “Let’s get outta here” quickly flees.
  • Opposed speed tests (Remy, Holden, and Boris) – Remy is able to get away to their horse, Holden can’t get on the horse in time; Boris throws a knife at Remy, and misses (I gave the Ob 2 Throw test for Boris an additional +2 Ob based on Remy’s 6 Successes vs. 2 successes of Boris).
  • The thrown knife missed and Boris was drawing again — However, Holden was able to cast “Call of Steel” in time and successfully disarmed Boris. In the meantime, Remy was trying in vain to lift the old Holden onto the horse.*
  • Boris drew steel again and was again disarmed. Holden swooned for a brief moment but gained his composure (Forte taxed to 0, but the test raised it back to a taxed B1 Forte)
  • Boris, out of frustration, charged Remy, but Remy was able to position his horse and Boris slipped to the ground. Not wanting to get trampled, Boris crawled away and Holden was able to get on the horse and they fled.

Back at the Wagons

  • Meanwhile, back at the camp they all noticed some movement in the brush. Menas and a 7 of the dwarves advanced.
  • Traveling rather stealthily, they were able to get closer and determine there were about 5 to 15 orcs.
  • Menas had them flank their opponents but gave up their position.
  • Both sides charged each other and carnage ensued.
  • It looked like a potential blood bath – 12 orcs vs. 8 dwarves. Not wanting to bog things down too much, I called for a single Command test saying, each success would result in a mostly uninjured dwarf. Menas, calling up his Greed led the charge saying “This victory will be ours!” — An amazing 11 successes on 10 dice, and all the orcs were dispatched.
  • Using the Mythic table – I checked if any dwarves had sustained even a Light wound – and they had escaped without a scratch.
  • Curious about finding information – Menas scavenged for loot and clues. I gave the player (Aidan) the choice: Ob 1 would be find some wealth, Ob 3 would be to find evidence of Felix and his plans, Ob 4 would be both. He opted for an impossible untrained Ob 4 test. Failure!

But What About Daedmyr

  • In the distance they heard a loud commotion coming from the Daedmyr. There was concern that the village was under attack.
  • Menas rallied all the dwarves, leaving Kruder, Brandon (ally), Remy, Lady Gwen, Dragan (ally), Holden, Garlen (NPC), Garvin (NPC), Katie (ally), Dellan (ally) to guard the wagon train — a mixed bag of mostly lightly armed and armored characters.
  • Menas was going to approach the village to see what was happening. He approached near dusk – and saw a large contingent (50 or so) bandits and orcs being rallied by none other than Felix.
  • While Menas was approaching the village, Kruder would get the wagons closer to the tree line to better conceal them.

Abandoning Friends to Their Fate

  • Menas had again managed to approach quietly, and waited for the bandits and orcs to dispatch.
  • Felix commanded them to split into two groups and search for dwarves. Felix then withdrew into the village.
  • The enemies split and went separate ways leaving an open path for Menas to approach the village and ultimately confront Felix.
  • Menas approached the inn where Felix was staying and burst in.
  • Felix was talking with four other men who self identified as members of the Crying Man — likely assassins thought Menas. He rose and challenged Menas to single combat.*

Under a Rain of Javelins

  • Kruder and company tried to hide, but were found by one of the groups. We dropped into range and cover. The bandits split into two groups.
  • Kruder took command and wanted to get everyone on a horse so they could ride off to safety. The bandits, armed with spears and javelins wanted to engage in melee.
  • The first volley saw Kruder successfully hold their position. Everyone had their horses, and they managed to get a few supplies, but the javelins closed.
  • The second volley brought a rain of Javelins. The enemies won the positioning and threw five javelins. Garlin took a Traumatic wound, Kruder absorbed a few hits taking a Light wound, Dragan and Brandon’s armor successfully deflected the worst of it.
  • The third volley brought more javelins as the enemy engaged. Kruder took a Midi but otherwise the others were unscathed. A melee was about to start.

Throwing Down in the Inn

  • Menas accepted and we went into Bloody Vs. — I had thought about using Fight, but this would’ve been the first Fight scripted by Menas’ player, and I was running the Range and Cover concurrently. It would’ve been a bit much.
  • The first exchange resulted in a tie. No one was able to punch through. I’d give them one more Bloody Vs. to see if someone would emerge.

Attempting to Flee

  • Back at the grand melee, I had everyone make opposed speed tests. Each ride would make a speed test, with +3D advantage vs. B6 opposed speed. Kruder, Remy, Brandon, Garlin & Garvin, Katie and Dellan all succeeded. But Holden and Lady Gwen & Dragan’s horse had not escaped.

Death Comes to All

  • The second Bloody Vs. saw Felix land a Light wound against Menas
  • And Menas landed a Mortal Wound to Felix.
  • Menas quickly disarmed the Crying Men. They cooperated.
  • Menas looted Felix’s room, getting documents and a massive chest filled with gold.
  • While opening the chest, Menas felt ill — there was poison on Felix’s blade. Menas took a B9 (a midi).
  • The accompanying dwarves quickly dressed the wound to stop the bleeding.
  • Menas then took Felix’s horse, the other dwarves stole horses and they all left town.

Victory out of the Hands of the bandits

  • Kruder was going to turn around.
  • Holden attempted to cast a spell, but it harmlessly dissipated. He collapsed in complete exhaustion.
  • While the spell was being cast, Lady Gwen beseeched Ilmater to deliver them (Ob 8 Faith test). She rocked it with a Deed point.
  • And into the waning dusk the party retreated.

Confusion

  • Menas returned to where the wagons were, and seeing that it was being looted by bandits he fled into the night.
  • Out in the brush, Menas, feeling worse for the wear, cried out for Lady Gwen and Kruder answers.

And finally, the group was reunited, and Lady Gwen tended to the wounded Menas.

…And Finally, Bloodstone

See my previous session notes concerning our ongoing Bloodstone campaign.

Village of Daedmyr

  • Holden is unconscious from a Forte tax.
  • Menas and a handful of dwarves look for their wagon. It is broken beyond immediate repair.
  • Menas finally pays the dwarves, making an Ob 5 resource test.
  • Kruder is noticing that Katie is throwing herself on Remy.
  • Kruder confronts Katie with the intent of making sure she doesn’t do something foolish during her mourning of Oban.
  • Kruder makes an Ugly Truth with Coarse Persuasion FoRK – the consequence is alienating Katie. Kruder almost succeeds, but can’t muster enough successes.
  • Katie slaps Kruder then storms off and throws herself at Remy.
  • Remy and Katie go for a walk, and Remy is hesitant but eventually he gives in.

Village of Skeld

On the border between Arcata and Bloodstone. The village of Skrech is comprised of a fortified manor, several permanent structures, numerous tents, an overflow of people, bodies being buried, buildings burning, and a standing mercenary troop. (This was generated via my Random War-Time Village Generator – harboring a neighbor village, raided 1 hour before arrival, plenty of supplies, paying for a mercenary troop, plus a few secrets).

  • Crispin, Menas, Holden, and Remy were going into town to purchase supplies, a wagon, and a bow for Lady Gwen.
  • Holden was going to disguise himself as a younger man – And fails his Sorcery
  • Garbled transmission and a restless dead rises from the bushes. Most everyone failed their Steel tests, except Menas.
  • Not missing a beat Menas delivered a B13 wound to the restless dead. In hindsight, should have one of Holden’s dead students from the college rise and seek him out.
  • Holden again tried and succeed G7 Sorcery vs. Ob 3 should be a cinch.
  • Upon arriving at the village, the mercenaries exact a toll – 60 pieces of silver (Ob 3 resources), of which Menas had no problem paying.
  • They made their way to a general store and began negotiating for supplies.
  • Menas tried to eavesdrop on a conversation between two patrons of the shop, but they noticed and left (The player called for a Whispered-Secrets-Wise. The consequence would be that the entity in the village would find out. Menas failed the test).
  • Remy, with soothing platitudes, unsuccessfully haggles with the merchant that also engaged in flowery banter.
  • Menas succeeds at a Resource test (Ob 6) to purchase Carriage Wagon, Hunting Bow, and Supplies.
  • Unbeknownst to Menas, Crispin, Holden, and Remy, they were being followed back (This was the direct result of the failed Whispered Secrets-Wise).
  • Menas, Crispin, Holden, and Remy made it safely back to camp.
  • Kruder, having set up a camouflaged sentry was about to break cover when he noticed a huntsman sneaking through the woods.
  • The huntsman noticed him as well.
  • Menas had a crossbow drawn and pointed, while the huntsman only had an arrow nocked.
  • They stared for a bit, then the huntsman dove as Kruder let fly.
  • I gave the huntsman a Speed test to add to the Ob for the Crossbow shot – I figured Ob 3 for the woods +1 Ob per two successes by the huntsman was reasonable.
  • Kruder’s shot was true and delivered a B11 – he was bleeding.
  • Hearing the twang of a crossbow and a thud, the others quickly came to the scene.
  • Lady Gwen worked to save the huntsman, but her skills failed her.
  • Menas wanted to scavenge up some papers – I couldn’t think of anything interesting on failure, so I gave them a map of the Bloodstone vale, including the bandit camp.
  • Clearly they weren’t going to be going back through town. I called for an Orienteering test Ob 2 to skirt around town without being noticed. They failed.

Range & Cover

  • They stumbled into a clearing, and 8 mercenaries in the fields armed with light crossbows took notice.
  • The guards were under the impression that there was a wagon with about 5 people.
  • We dropped into Range & Cover – Matt quickly explained this to Aidan. They were talking about withdrawing.
  • Menas instead chose to split the group.
  • Menas, Crispin, and the dwarven mercenaries would provide rear guard.
  • Kruder, Katie, Dellen, Holden, Dragan, Remy, Brandon, Garlin, Garvin, and Lady Gwen would flee.
  • The mercenaries scripted Close, Close, Charge – They were hoping to fire some crossbows, then finish off the remainder.
  • Menas scripted Withdraw, Maintain, Charge – He wanted to fall further back into the woods then let the opposition come and finally engage with superior forces.
  • Kruder scripted Withdraw, Withdraw, Withrdaw – He needed to ensure everyone was out of the way.
  • Kruder and company managed to escape while the mercenaries beat Menas in the first exchange and rained arrows, however, Menas in his dwarven mail was unassailable.
  • Menas plan worked, and they inflicted some light damage, but the mercs hesitated.
  • And then the dwarves charged and it was mostly over – I called for a Tactics Ob 2 for clean up of inferior forces. Menas failed and one of the dwarves suffered a Traumatic wound.
  • Lady Gwen immediately rushed to tend to the wounded – but the dwarves had finished them off.

Enroute

  • Holden notes that Crispin has been eating lots of meat.
  • Holden attempts to use Second Sight, but is unable to determine if anything is wrong – Jaron should’ve petitioned for a few FoRKs.
  • Lady Gwen, Remy, and Dragan were conspiring to open the letter from Brother Kevin of the Fendowns, a priest of Ilmater.
  • Menas grabbed the letter from Lady Gwen, and opened it (Opposed Speed tests, Menas succeeded)
  • Kruder threatened Menas then bashed him, grabbing the paper and giving it back to Lady Gwen (Brawling vs. Speed).
  • Lady Gwen proceeded to read the letter aloud.
  • The letter’s contents made mention of sacrilegious texts sent by Abott Aldric of Bloodstone, a boy named Elven who showed signs of true faith. The letter was gracious for the other true religious texts of Ilmater.

Bloodstone

Clearly a village that has seen better days, the village of Bloodstone is run down. The walls are in disrepair, the gates are broken, the villagers are without hope.

  • Katie immediately, throws coins to the innkeeper, and drags Remy to a private room.
  • Lady Gwen and Holden go to the abby and speek with Abbott Aldric.
  • Lady Gwen stretches the truth saying brigands took the letter and opened it.
  • Holden calls her out.
  • Lady Gwen recants, and gives the letter to the Abbott.
  • The Abbott asks if Lady Gwen read the letter.
  • Lady Gwen lied, and was caught by the Abbott.
  • The Abbott insisted Lady Gwen seek penance the Ilmater way – self-flagellation (Lady Gwen has an ongoing +1 Ob until the next day).
  • Dragan is flirting with Lady Gwen.
  • Dragan reveals his holy Illumination of Lady Gwen – created with masterful detail (4 successes).
  • Lady Gwen gives her valiant lover a kerchief – And thus the chivalrous love blossoms.
  • Squire Marlen, a 60 year old man, is grandfather of Garlen and Garvin. He is the squire of Baron Tranth of Bloodstone.
  • Squire Marlen thanked Lady Gwen for her tending to Garlen, and offered any future assistance
  • Menas learns that since the Bloodstone mines were abandoned, there is little contact between the neighboring dwarves.
  • Holden learns of Instructor Jeffry, a member of the college, who was last seen with the dwarves to the north.
  • Lady Gwen and Katie have a conversation about Remy being so wonderful.
  • Garvin is dressed up in finery and invites the characters to dinner with the Baron.

We ended the session with the characters preparing for a formal dinner with Baron Tranth.

End Session Procedures

Artha Awards

We wrapped up by going over the Artha awards – prior to this session I’ve defaulted to giving 2 Fate and 1 Persona without much discussion. I warned the players that this would be the last session where we would have the default awards.

It turns out Aidan has been doing pretty well with Menas, though one belief needs refocusing. Savannah simply needs to refocus her beliefs, and she will knock it out of the park. Matt needs to tweak his beliefs a bit to reflect the current state of the narrative. Jaron and Joe are having the hardest times with their beliefs as they put most of the work on me, a busy GM managing a host of NPCs.

Trait Vote

We did a quick trait vote and handed out character traits to everyone. Menas is impulsive. Kruder is watchful. Remy is honey-tongued. Lady Gwen has a healing touch. Holden is counseling (though Trustworthy may be better).

Changing Beliefs

Lady Gwen changed her belief from a very passive belief to “I will be the religious leader of Bloodstone by telling everyone of Abbott Aldric’s vile books.” I like it a lot. Lady Gwen told a lie, got caught, and is throwing a gigantic tantrum – one that will rock the faith community of Bloodstone. Then again, Abbott Aldric may need a kick in the pants.

I encouraged others to review their beliefs and ask me for some help. I want to hear the wheels humming!

Players, did I miss anything?

Observations

And Time Passes

After my conversation about advancing the timeline, I wanted to make sure that the characters arrived in Bloodstone.

All said, this session spanned 8 days of campaign time; Since the beginning of the campaign 12 days have passed.

Questions

I used a handful of pointed questions to provide a bit of flavor for the trip. By preparing and asking questions, I believe I was able to help the players get into their character’s minds and respond accordingly.

This bit was inspired/borrowed from Robert Bohl’s “Mispent Youth“, and D. Vincent Baker’s “Apocalypse World

Scavenge

I need to read up a bit on Scavenging and spend some time thinking about what to do about it. Any advice from fellow Burners?

Consequences of Failure

Everyone was pounding on this, making sure that a test had the appropriate complication. Matt in particular was asking what the consequences were. While I welcome the request for consequences, I need to push back and ask “What is your intent and how are you achieving it?”

Garbled Transmission

As I was writing the session report, I realized what Holden’s garbled transmission should have been…a sense of forboding followed a few days later by a restless dead finding Holden’s room…the restless dead would be a student that in part blamed Holden for his death.

Range and Cover

I’ve been leaning on Range and Cover, so I need to brush up on the rules of engagement. I’m really enjoying it, and was proud that Aidan stepped up and scripted what turned out to be both a brave and brilliant tactical decision.