Our very first session of Torchbearer went swimmingly. Characters created included a human warrior, human magician and human cleric. The warrior is very intent on keeping his inventory nice and orderly, the cleric is obsessed with becoming one of the Immortal Lords, and the magician’s name is Nilrem (Merlin backwards). This is a group of guys who have been playing together for a while, and also give each other a lot of shit. This is going to be a really fun campaign. After creation, we dove into the game.
I ran the Dread Crypt of Skogenby. Well, I tried to. Background on the adventure: the heroes arrive in the town of Skogenby to find that a terrible curse has befallen the town. A few of the children disrupted an old gravesite, and one of the children was carried off into the tomb. Some of the children had run off with a couple of silver bracelets found within the entrance to the tomb. Now, each night, one villager dies, their face frozen in fear. Something is entering the village and killing them.
The heroes ventured up to the crypt, but not before sending a villager off to go get the lord of this village, four days’ ride away, to send an army for backup. After exploring the ruins, reading the dreaded runes which foretold death for anyone who enters the tomb, and seeing the footprints entering and exiting the tomb, the players all agreed:
“We’re not going in there!”
Instead, knowing whatever was in there was coming out every night, they set an ambush. Preparing with holy symbols and crossbows, the cleric stood a stone’s throw from the tomb and waited for the sun to fall. Rain began to pour, causing the torches to nearly fizzle out. They waited. Silent, but for the rain.
Then, a shuffling sound. The small girl, lost in the tomb, came shuffling out, her face also frozen in horror. The spirit spoke through her. She was known as Haathor-Vash, and the crypt was built as part of a ritual to become an Immortal Lord. The ritual failed, and she and her retinue were bound within the crypt.
Rather than attempt to slay the spirit, which would kill the girl, they instead chose to enter into a Convince fight. In Torchbearer, all conflict is handled in the same way a combat would, but with different weapons. In this case, the weapons included promises, lies and kind words.
In the end, they agreed to give back all the bracelets, if she would let go of the girl, and the villagers would honor Haathor-Vash once a year with flowers on the crypt and prayers made to her beseeching the Immortal Lords to make her one of their own.
The players took not a single step into the crypt, yet still managed to free the girl. Pretty impressive for some guys brand new to the system.
Can’t wait to see what they do this Sunday, when they find themselves at the House of the Three Squires.