AmberSworn

005 Benedict's Camp

[At this point, Bolton is caught in an Ironsworn death spiral and the only way out is just to narrate a solution or let the story end here. I’m going to choose to continue the story but have Bolton pay for it by getting PERMANENT CORRUPTION and making him a darker personality]

  • LOADED Game ID Ambersworn.001 on Mon May 27 2019 19:42 *

*I’ve decided to make three changes to the game-play to give me a better chance of continuing the story and exploring the setting. *

1. With the advice of Shawn Tomkin, I’ve added a “Meditate” Move, to help restore Spirit. This is mainly because AmberSworn is using Spirit to power certain custom Moves such as Trump Use and Shadow Walking etc.

MEDITATE

When you find a moment of peace, roll +wits.

On a strong hit, you find focus and your spirit is strengthened. You may clear the shaken debility and take +2 spirit.

On a weak hit, your mediation is clouded by worries or dark thoughts. Choose one.
– Clear the shaken debility and take +1 spirit.
– Clear the shaken debility and take +2 spirit, but suffer -1 momentum.

On a miss, you take no comfort and the situation worsens. Pay the Price.

2. Because I’m using a roll on the Pay the Price tables almost every time I fail, it’s very likely I’ll get into the “Ironsworn Failure Spiral”, so I’m going to allow myself the choice of losing Progress in a current Vow/Quest (of the same level as the current challenge) in place of taking the mechanical penalty. (ie. either 1 Progress in a Formidable challenge or 3 progress in a Troublesome one)

3. When I roll Pay the Price, there will be a 50% chance that any result has only narrative effect (no changes to resources).

THE STORY CONTINUES

Bolton wakes to the feel of thick wool blankets and the smell of wood-smoke. He is in a large canvas tent. The walls are a yellowy-white, filtering strange purple sunlight. A few sheets are draped to give his bed some privacy but he can make out a row of other beds and hear some coughing and groans from the other occupants. From outside come the sounds of men and horses and the activities of a military camp.

“He’s awake!” a startled young soldier sitting on a stool nearby calls to someone out in the dormitory. The young man has only one leg and crutches rest on a tent pole. “My Lord Bolton, don’t be alarmed, you are among friends. Prince Benedict will be here shortly”.

Bolton tries to sit up and his vision swims for a moment.
[To get him re-started, I’ll give him Health 3, Spirit 3, Supply 3 and momentum resets to 1 (he has a Permanent Corruption resulting from his recent experiences)]

The young girl, Padma scampers in. “I thought you were dead! Where have you been? You promised to take me home. Are you really nephew to a Prince?”.
A mixture of relief and guilt struggle within him. He’s no longer sure that the girl’s village will accept her back.
The Jade dagger catches his eye and pieces of a half-remembered dream come to mind. Certainly they won’t want him back!

Anger had sustained him at first. Unreasonable anger really, but it had driven him to retrace his path across the forest and then to ambush the two men who had gone around the border. He fell on them like a mad man, granting no quarter. Despite his wounds and (he later learned) infections from the poisoned forest, he had the Blood of Amber and they had no real chance to defend themselves.

He had been considering a return to the village, planning to wreak his revenge on them all, when Benedict called him through his Trump card. Although he was too sick to focus, he agreed to be pulled through. Without proper focus, the transition was difficult, requiring great effort from Benedict. He remembers the pain and self-loathing overwhelming him, just before he collapsed into Benedict’s arms.

Test Your Bond 2 +1 heart = 3 (2 & 2) STRONG HIT!! MATCH !!
On a strong hit, this test has strengthened your bond. Choose “Take +2 momentum.” (now 3)

He gives Padma a grim smile and says “I was at your mother’s village. It might take a while longer before I can get you home. And yes, Prince Benedict is my uncle.”.

The girl smiles, climbs on the bed and gives him a hug. Taken by surprise he pats her on the head, then remembers what this means to her folk. It makes him laugh, then cough.

Benedict’s voice, stern and authoritative “Get off the bed young lady! Don’t damage my patient until my physician has checked him over”.
He nods to the man behind him, who scurries forward to examine Bolton, opening his mouth, prying open his eyes, checking his pulse, getting him to stand and tapping him on the head with a short iron rod. “Ow!”.

Heal 1 +2 wits +1 Field Hospital = 4 (7 & 2) WEAK HIT
Gain +2 health (now 5), but you must suffer -1 supply or -1 momentum (Momentum now 2).

“No significant loss of vision, normal pain reception. In my opinion, he’ll live, General.”. To Bolton he mutters “Get something to eat and drink plenty of water. An early night and you’re fit for active duty tomorrow.”

Later that day, in Benedict’s tent and under a pale yellow sky with black stars, they are sipping red wine.
Bolton has told the full story, starting from Caine’s unusual Trump call; the Trump Trap (the Serpent poised to strike); his attempt to Shadow-walk to the world with two moons and a sky with a green aurora; the Jade Temple with its two ty’iga (angry ghosts); rescuing and accidentally adopting Padma; the Serpent in the Forest who turned out to be another “possessed” creature – this time placed there deliberately to attack him. He explained how the villagers had been suspicious of him, the duel to the death with Tegan (their leader) and then … He trailed off at that point. “There was some poison in the water of that forest – maybe that infected my wounds, but everything’s vague after that.”

Benedict grunted, took another sip of wine and looked at him appraisingly. “You should not have let them take your sword in the first place. The dagger should have been in your boot or up your sleeve and under your pillow overnight. I can’t believe a farmer nearly gutted you with your own blade!” he shakes his head. “However, it sounds like you did a passable job on the Serpent whatever the fuck that was. Maybe I wasn’t completely wasting my time training you”.

Bolton almost choked on his wine. “Don’t forget I’d been poisoned too…” .Before he could go on, Benedict raised a hand and poured another glass for them both.

“You’re very like him you know. Your father. He’s never liked hearing criticism either. The key thing in this isn’t that your swordsmanship needs more work, but that you get on with finding Caine as soon as possible. This Serpent creature (or the spirit possessing it) said it was attacking the Family. Not just you, not just Caine. You’ll have to keep going with the Shadow-walk. In the morning, if you’re up to it”.

Benedict goes on to explain that he can’t spare the time to accompany him straight away. There are still troubles in the Shadows bordering the Courts. A guerilla war is simmering. A Cult of the Serpent has arisen and the forces of Amber are having a tough time of it. King Random might be forced to withdraw them – Benedict isn’t happy at the prospect. Many of the Chaos Houses seem to welcome their presence here. They have helped bring peace and helped rebuild after the devastation of the Patternfall.

“Your father came here to help me investigate the Cult. It’s very secretive so he went undercover. If they haven’t killed him, they must be trying to get something out of him or use him as bait or for future ransom. They must have a powerful Logrus or Pattern Master working with them to be able to impose their will on the Shadows to drive you into a trap. I want you to find him – don’t engage the enemy. Call me when you arrive and we can bring in some of my elite troops. These cultists will learn what happens when you take on a Prince of Amber.”

Bolton realised he was smiling at that thought. Picturing his unknown enemy with a blade sliding into flesh. Bright blood staining the jade dagger.
“I’ll find him and then they’ll pay”

Benedict looked at him sharply “You’ll find him. Then you’ll call me. THEN they’ll pay.”

“Ok. OK”, Bolton nervously meets his uncle’s eyes. “You don’t have any spare Trumps do you. I had an unfortunate accident and now only have Trumps for you, dad and Corwin”.

Compel 2 +1 heart = 3 (9 & 4) MISS
On a miss, they refuse or make a demand which costs you greatly. Pay the Price.
Pay the Price (D100) = 30 Something of value is lost or destroyed
NARRATIVE PRICE ONLY Any mechanical penalty should be interpreted within the fiction. [I’ve implemented a 50/50 chance that Pay the Price doesn’t impose an actual penalty to resources to reduce the chances of a repeat of the failure spiral].

“Oh no, Bolton. You’re already in my debt for pulling your sorry ass through the Trumps yesterday – not to mention looking after your ‘daughter’ for a week. If you want to call somebody – call me. If I deem it important enough to pass on to Random or Fiona, or any of the others, I’ll pass it on. Now, go get some sleep, I have Orders to write.”

As Bolton is leaving the tent, he calls after him. “If you need any supplies for the journey, call in at my Quartermasters before you set out tomorrow. I’ll make sure he is expecting you.”

Resupply 5 +2 wits +1 Quartermaster Stores = 8 (7 & 2) STRONG HIT
On a strong hit, you bolster your resources. Take +2 supply. (now 5)

[This episode has mainly been to get the story back on track, so that Bolton can continue his quest to locate his father. He’s regained the Jade Dagger, but it happened off-camera so he won’t get experience for that.
Although his vow to return Padma to her mother has been forsaken, his bond with the girl remains intact.]

  • STORED Game ID Ambersworn.001 on Mon May 27 2019 21:24 *
View
004 It's always darkest before
Ironsworn Spiral of Doom

Leaving all his supplies behind, Bolton gets onto his horse and rides out of the village.

[Health 0, Supply 0, Spirit 1, Momentum 1 – I’ve lost two of my four trump cards and the jade dagger. I seem to be likely to fail my Vow to reunite Padma with her mother – Ironsworn is at once BRUTAL and FUN!]

With his spirits so low, Bolton decides to do some foraging in preparation for making a camp in the forest eaves.

Resupply 4 +2 wits = 6 (7 & 3) WEAK HIT
On a weak hit, take up to +2 supply, but suffer -1 momentum for each. So adds 1 Supply (now 2) but loses 1 momentum (now 0).

There are meagre pickings this close to the village, so he has to move on for a couple of hours before finding a good spot to camp. He goes far enough into the trees to be sure the superstitions villagers are unlikely to disturb him. Last thing he needs now is another mob with pitchforks chasing him away. He’s starting to know how Frankenstein’s Monster must have felt.

Make Camp 4 +2 supply = 6 (9 & 8) MISS
On a miss, you take no comfort. Pay the Price.
Pay the Price (D100) = 74 It is stressful. Lose 2 Spirit (now zero) and the extra Spirit loss takes me to MINUS 1 momentum
Endure Stress 2 +1 heart = 3 (10 & 6) MISS
On a miss, also suffer -1 momentum. If you are at 0 spirit, you must mark shaken or corrupted (if currently unmarked) or roll on the table. Momentum falls to MINUS TWO
STRESS TABLE (D100) = 39 You give in to a fear or compulsion, and act against your better instincts.

Anger and frustration gnaw at him. He has the Blood of Amber. These mere shadow puppets cannot treat him this way! He gives up on resting and re-mounts the banta to set off in pursuit of the two men who are attempting to carry off his Jade Dagger.

Undertake a Journey (Troublesome) 4 +1 edge = 5 (10 & 3) WEAK HIT
On a weak hit, you reach a waypoint and mark progress (now 3/10), but suffer -1 supply (now 1)

Galloping the banta allows him to let his anger stew a bit. His father never seemed to care too much for shadow people. Caine would be disappointed that his son had let himself get side-tracked from his clear duty to his father by a “mere shadow”.

Undertake a Journey 1 +1 edge = 2 (8 & 6) MISS
On a miss, you are waylaid by a perilous event. Pay the Price.
Pay the Price (D100) = 13 You are separated from something or someone
[What’s he got left! I’ll interpret this as him turning away from his vow to return Padma to her mother]
When you renounce your quest, betray your promise, or the goal is lost to you, clear the vow and Endure Stress. You suffer -spirit equal to the rank of your quest (dangerous=2 but Spirit is already zero so this pushes him to MINUS FOUR Momentum).

He can’t do it! Won’t do it. Padma’s better off away from that damnable village! Decision reached and he feels no better.

Undertake a Journey 1 +2 wits = 3 (10 & 7) MISS
On a miss, you are waylaid by a perilous event. Pay the Price.
Pay the Price (D100) = 76 It is stressful
[Again! That pushes him to -6 Momentum]

He realises he is in a spiral of depression, He’ll have to try raising Benedict on the Trump and trying to get somewhere safe, despite the risk.

Trump Use 5 +0 spirit = 5 (8 & 7) MISS
On a Miss, choose one…
it works but costs 1 spirit, 1 momentum and 1 health.
or Communication fails and Pay the Price.
[Bolton can’t take the -3 momentum that would entail, so will have to Pay the Price instead]
Pay the Price (D100) = 35 The current situation worsens

The banta, pushed to the edge of exhaustion by Bolton’s crazed desire to extract petty revenge, twists its leg on a stone and cannot proceed. After a few minutes of swearing and cursing, he leads it carefully into the forest and tries to make camp. It is then that the rain begins to fall.

Make Camp 6 +1 supply = 7 (1 & 2) STRONG HIT
!!! BOTH THESE DICE ARE CANCELLED BY -4 MOMENTUM SO IT IS ANOTHER MISS !!!

[At this point, Bolton is caught in an Ironsworn death spiral and the only way out is just to narrate a solution or let the story end here. I’m going to choose to continue the story but have Bolton pay for it by getting PERMANENT CORRUPTION and making him a much darker personality]

  • STORED Game ID Ambersworn.001 on Mon May 20 2019 14:01 *
View
003 - A Bad Day in the Village

[That leaves Bolton with more information about the threat, probably enough to take this to Benedict next time. It also leaves him badly mangled – 2 Health, zero Spirit (shaken), zero momentum. Without Spirit, he may not be able to activate his Trumps and even receiving a call costs 1 spirit (he would then take another Momentum loss and go into Negative Momentum) !]

  • LOADED Game ID Ambersworn.001 on Thu May 16 2019 14:44 *

Bolton lies panting on the ground for a long while after the Serpent stops twitching. It’s the first time he’s really faced his own mortality and it has left him shaken and drained his spirit.

He’ll have to try to camp here and relax to regain his composure. Hopefully the fact that this is the lair of a dangerous monster will prevent other predators from wandering in.

Make Camp 3 +4 supply = 7 (2 & 2) STRONG HIT!! MATCH !!
[I’ll take one extra choice from the list for the Match]
Gain one momentum (now 1) and two spirit (now 2).

It is peaceful at the Serpent’s lair, and he manages to sleep for a few hours. He has sworn to get Padma back to her mother, so decides to press on through the forest alone and then contact Benedict when he is in a safer location.

Undertake a Journey 4 +2 wits = 6 (10 & 6) MISS
On a miss, you are waylaid by a perilous event. Pay the Price.
Pay the Price (D100) = 60 It is harmful. -2 health, now 0!

It appears the water he found in the spring near the Serpent’s lair was poisoned and he is wracked by stomach cramps.

Endure Harm 3 +2 iron = 5 (4 & 9) WEAK HIT
On a weak hit, you press on.

The pain and misery seem to increase as he pushes forward. Maybe this isn’t such a good idea… He doesn’t owe the girl anything! He could fulfil his vow later perhaps, AFTER dealing with the more important issue affecting his Amber family.

Test Your Bond 5 +1 heart = 6 (6 & 2) WEAK HIT
On a weak hit, your bond is fragile and you must prove your loyalty. Envision what they ask of you (Ask the Oracle if unsure), and do it (or Swear an Iron Vow). If you decline or fail, clear the bond and Pay the Price.

The memory of Padma’s trusting face and the warmth of her hand in his come back to haunt him. She has already been through an ordeal no child should have to endure – possessed and forced to kill her own father. He swore! So he grits his teeth and urges the banta forwards.

Undertake a Journey 1 +2 wits = 3 (10 & 2) WEAK HIT
On a weak hit, you reach a waypoint and mark progress (now 8/10) , but suffer -1 supply (now 3)

The shadows lengthen, should he press on or camp for the night?
[Press on would be trying Reach Your Destination with his 8 Progress]

Wanting to be on his way as quickly as possible, he spurs the banta into a quicker canter.

Reach Your Destination 8 PROGRESS vs (6 & 2) STRONG HIT
On a strong hit, the situation at your destination favors you. Chooses Take +1 momentum (now 2).

The land on the other side of the forest is very fair. Though it has been long dis-used, the road to Padma’s village is clear. It can only be a few hours further.

It would still be too dangerous to try and pull Padma back through the Trumps – his reserves of energy [momentum and spirit] are too low to cope if the power starts to slip out of control. Perhaps another night’s rest.

Make Camp 5 +3 supply = 8 (10 & 9) MISS
On a miss, you take no comfort. Pay the Price.
Pay the Price (D100) = 87 It wastes resources. -1 Supply, now 2.

During the night, sleeping rough at the forest’s edge, he is disturbed by a troupe of flying monkeys with strange bat-like ears. They descend silently on the camp, only the frightened whinnies of the banta alert him. They grab a few items of food and fly off to perch in the trees, chattering and calling most of the night.

The malevolent presence of the bat-monkeys is unnerving so Bolton rises early and heads along the cracked, weed-grown road, towards the village.

Oracle Settlement Name Generator – Shieldcrag
Oracle Location – Spring
Oracle Location Descriptor – Rich
Oracle Character Descriptor – Brave

A few men tending their fields, come running to the road, gripping their pitchforks with white-knuckled hands.

He must seem an odd sight to them. His clothes are unlike the local cut and his sword and saddle are of fine quality. His hair is dark and matted and there are bloodstains everywhere. Not to mention his horse has very odd markings.

He raises his hands as the monks do and tries “Haramanga?”.

Compel 4 +1 heart +1 ritual greeting = 6 (3 & 6) WEAK HIT
On a weak hit, as above, but they ask something of you in return. Envision what they want (Ask the Oracle if unsure).
Unlikely to want to bind him (01-26) likely to want him to give up his weapons (27-100) (D100) = 37.

They ask him to give up his sword and the jade dagger if he wants to enter the village.

Oracle Ironlander Name – Tegan

Their leader, Tegan tells him they will give the weapons back when he leaves. Bolton is too tired to argue and asks to be shown to the mother of Padma as he has come from the Jade Temple and has some news.

Oracle Ironlander Name – Sibila

They lead him into the village, to a covered market square. A thatched roof over a set of six pillars, open-sided. There are a few benches and tables there and they let him drink from a clear spring near by. He hears Tegan tell a village child “Run and fetch Sibila, tell here there is news from the Temple”.

While they wait, more of the villagers wander in to look at the stranger and his strange beast.

As he’s clearly injured and weary, Tegan stops them asking questions, letting Bolton get his breath back, until a woman runs up, with a baby in her arms and another young boy (maybe 6?) trotting behind.

She eyes him suspiciously. “News from the Temple is it”. Seeing the state of his clothes, hurriedly asks “Has something happened to Padma, or my husband?”

Slowly, Bolton tells them the tale, assuring them that Padma is safe and will be arriving soon. She’s a brave girl, having survived possession by one of the Angry Spirits, and is currently with his uncle where she will be safe. Unfortunately, Padma’s father, the blind monk, is dead.

Compel 3 +1 heart +1 bond with Padma = 5 (7 & 2) WEAK HIT
On a weak hit, as above, but they ask something of you in return. Envision what they want (Ask the Oracle if unsure).
Oracle Settlement Trouble – Conflict with a firstborn
[A tricky one to interpret! There are no “firstborn” species in this setting so I’ll interpret it as trouble for Sibila’s firstborn – Padma]

One of the village elders asks where Padma is now. Another suggests that if the Angry Spirits are free, how do they know she isn’t still possessed?

Bolton is forced to concoct a story to explain the situation and reassure the frightened villagers. His uncle is bringing Padma along the road around the Forest while he rode through and had to fight the Serpent along the way. The fact that he has the Jade dagger seems to support his story.

Compel 6 +3 shadow +1 Jade dagger +1 trickster = 11 (10 & 1) STRONG HIT
On a strong hit, they’ll do what you want or share what they know. Take +1 momentum (now 3). If you use this exchange to Gather Information, make that move now and add +1

They accept the story and agree to him staying in the village (under loose house arrest) a couple of nights, until Padma arrives and can be questioned.

In the cool and calm of his new lodgings, Bolton draws Benedict’s card again. Should he make the call or wait for Benedict to be concerned by the delay? He still feels too weak to risk using Trump Travel to bring Padma home.

Trump Use 5 +2 spirit = 7 (1 & 9) WEAK HIT
On a Weak Hit, communication begins after 1 minute of concentration, lasts up to 10 minutes and costs 1 spirit (now 1)

Benedict’s image forms. He is still at the same camp, under a green sky this time (the Courts of Chaos are famed for the Turnings of the Sky).
“Thought you’d forgotten! Perhaps time flows differently there?” It’s hard to tell if this is friendly banter or if he’s genuinely annoyed.

“I was delayed. Ran into a magical serpent that took a lot of killing. Lucky to get through it alive. I have you to thank for the sword training. I owe you”.

A flicker of a smile on the long face. “You certainly owe me a good story. By the look of you, you could do with a bit more sword practice. Do you want the girl now?”

Bolton held up a hand, the strain of holding the Trump contact open, even for conversation, was beginning to take its toll. “No Uncle. Not yet. I need some time to recover. I can tell you there is a threat to our family. They have my father prisoner and I was on my way to find him when I was ambushed. I’ll tell you everything as soon as I am strong enough.”

Rainbows close with crackling static over Benedict’s reply, but a frown and a raised eyebrow told Bolton that he would need to tell all next time.

Sojourn 2 +1 heart +1 bond with Padma = 4 (7 & 6) MISS
On a miss, you find no help here. Pay the Price.
Pay the Price (D100) = 88 It wastes resources.

The village folk leave him to his own devices. No doubt they are waiting for Padma to arrive and confirm his tale. He eats most of his remaining rations. (-1 Supply, now 1).

He is troubled by bad dreams, wakes sweating at the vision of the Serpent poised above him to strike. He needs decent rest to regain some of his spirit in order to be strong enough to manage the Trump Transport of the girl!

[I’ll allow myself either two Make Camps or a single 2-day Sojourn, but roll for an event 50/50 each day]

That morning, he realises he isn’t under house arrest, just being watched by a few of the men. He tries to speak with Sibila about her daughter and reassure her that Padma is no longer possessed.

Compel 4 +1 heart +1 shared bond with Padma = 6 (6 & 10) MISS
On a miss, they refuse or make a demand which costs you greatly. Pay the Price.
Pay the Price (D100) = 26 Something of value is lost or destroyed
[things of value are… 1-2 the Jade dagger, 3 his sword, 4 his horse, 5 his Trump cards, 6 his remaining supply]
What is lost? (D6) = 2- the Jade dagger

Sibila seems nervous around him. More nervous than he expected, but she has just been told her husband was killed. However, Bolton notices her flinch as he goes over the story and mentions the Jade dagger. When pressed, she reluctantly tells him the villagers had a meeting while he slept and agreed that two of them would take the path around the Forest to return it to the Jade Temple.

If he wasn’t already worn out, he might have leapt on his horse and chased them down to retrieve it, but in his current state, he’ll let them get away with it. He can always travel back to the Temple to get it if it seems worth having.

Event on a 1-3 (D6) = 2
Oracle Theme – Wealth
Oracle Action – Refuse
Oracle Settlement Trouble – Unjust leadership

On the way back to the guest lodgings, Bolton notices that many of the villagers avert their eyes and look “guilty”. The men following him close in behind and Tegan the head man steps up to meet him with another man. Tegan is carrying Bolton’s sword and all the others have daggers.

“While you slept we went through your things and found you have cards with images of the Serpent on them and pictures of demons. You’re in league with the Serpent and you probably released the Angry Spirits (if any of your story is true!). I think we’ll be better off with you dead!” the heavy-set man hefts the blade “Nice sword, think I’ll keep this… and that horse of yours”.

These men are farmers, not trained warriors, but even so, there are five of them and although Bolton is already injured, he is the son of a Prince of Amber. His anger, first at being robbed, now at being attacked, seems to rise up in him.

“I’ll give you one chance to walk away Tegan. More than you deserve. You’ve robbed me of the Jade dagger, searched through my stuff, now you want to steal my sword and my horse. I killed your Serpent. I killed your Angry Spirits. If you raise a hand against me, I swear I’ll kill you too!”

Compel 3 +2 iron +1 unjust leadership = 6 (2 & 6) WEAK HIT
On a weak hit, succeed, but they ask something of you in return. Envision what they want (Ask the Oracle if unsure).
[I’ll choose to Draw the Circle and challenge Tegan]

A few of the men exchange looks that seem to indicate they agree with Bolton’s position, but they still seem to be wavering.

“Tell you what Tegan. Why don’t we settle this, just the two of us. You’ve got the sword.”.

Draw the Circle 6 +1 heart +1 unarmed and heavily wounded already = 8 (1 & 3) STRONG HIT
On a strong hit, take +1 momentum. Also choose three boasts and take +1 momentum for each. (now 7)
Grant first strike: Your foe has initiative.
Hold no iron: Take no benefit of weapons; your harm is 1.
To the death: One way or another, this fight must end with death.

As his cronies seem to agree and Tegan doesn’t want to lose face, he nods reluctantly.

[Tegan will be either Troublesome 1-4 or Dangerous 5-6. Threat Level (D6) = 3]

Bolton beckons the man forward and smiles grimly. “You chose this Tegan and now I’m going to end you”.

Clash 5 +2 iron = 7 (10 & 9) MISS
On a miss, you are outmatched and must Pay the Price. Your foe has initiative.
Pay the Price (D100) = 94 It forces you to act against your best intentions.

Benedict would not be pleased with this bravado, deliberately provoking an armed man. He would be even less pleased to see his ex-pupil sprawling on the floor to avoid the first thrust!

“Not so cocky now, are you?” Tegan spits between clenched teeth and raised the sword again.

TURN THE TIDE : Once per fight, when you risk it all, you may steal initiative from your foe to make a move (not a progress move). When you do, add +1 and take +1 momentum on a hit. If you fail to score a hit on that move, you must suffer a dire outcome. Pay the Price.

Strike 6 +2 iron +1 turn the tide = 9 (10 & 10) MISS!! MATCH !!
On a miss, your attack fails and you must Pay the Price (twice because of the Turn the Tide). Your foe has initiative.
Pay the Price (D100) = 20 Your action has an unintended effect
Pay the Price (D100) = 05 A person or community you trusted loses faith in you, or acts against you

As the blade comes down, almost slicing off an ear, Bolton rolls to one side. For the second time in a couple of days he realises he is facing mortal danger. He mutters to himself “If he kills me, they’ll never see Padma again!” and then notices with alarm that Sibila was stepping forward to help him stand and overheard what he said. He can tell by her face that she has misunderstood completely as she staggers away with shock and hatred in her eyes.

Clash 5 +2 iron = 7 (2 & 8) WEAK HIT
On a weak hit, inflict your harm, but then Pay the Price. Your foe has initiative. (harm only 1 as unarmed, but that becomes 3/10 against a Troublesome foe)
Pay the Price (D100) = 16 You are separated from something or someone
[Bolton has nothing significant left except the Cards!]

The little box of Trumps falls from his pocket and Tegan angrily stamps on it, cracking it open and spilling the cards. Some of the villagers gasp when they see the serpent pictures.

Tegan swings again, he has no great skill, but is a big man and strong from a lifetime of working the fields.

Clash 5 +2 iron = 7 (3 & 10) WEAK HIT
On a weak hit, inflict your harm, but then Pay the Price. Your foe has initiative. now 6/10 progress.
Pay the Price (D100) = 32 Something of value is lost or destroyed
Cards 1 Benedict, 2 Corwin, 3-4 Flambeaux, 5-6 Vengra (more likely to be Serpent cards) Which Card (D6) = 5

Bolton backs away again. In frustration, Tegan stabs one of the serpent-backed cards on the floor. As he lifts the blade, Bolton sees it is Vengra’s card, ruined now. The image of her dancer’s body torn by the blade.
A tear forms and a gasp – “Vengra…”.

Grinning at this victory, Tegan charges forward.

Clash 2 +2 iron = 4 (9 & 5) MISS [I’ll burn momentum (resets to 1 as I’m still shaken) to turn this into a WEAK HIT]
On a weak hit, inflict your harm, but then Pay the Price. Your foe has initiative. now 9/10 progress.
Pay the Price (D100) = 45 A new danger or foe is revealed.

Perhaps seeing which way the fight is going, one of the village men grabs Bolton’s arm. To their credit, most of the others grunt in disapproval at this interference, but none leap to push him off.

[I’ll give Tegan back 3 of the progress ticks for this assistant 6/10]

Bolton sags, as though resigned to his death, then turns at the least second as Tegan thrusts, to try to get the crony hit instead.

Face Danger 1 +3 shadow = 4 (6 & 4) MISS
On a miss, you fail, or your progress is undermined by a dramatic and costly turn of events. Pay the Price.
Pay the Price (D100) = 00 Roll twice more on this table. Both results occur. If they are the same result, make it worse.
Pay the Price (D100) = 39 The current situation worsens
Pay the Price (D100) = 10 You are separated from something or someone
[Bloody Hell! Can’t a Lord of Amber catch a break! Ironsworn is brutal!]

A second crony moves to help (Progress back to 3/10).
Tegan takes the time to slash at the cards again. [Which Card (D6) = 3] This time it is the other Serpent-backed card – Flambeaux, that gets hacked apart.

“Was that one, that demon, your true master? If he lives in Hell, you’ll be seeing him soon.”

Bolton desperately tries to keep the two men holding his arms between him and the approaching blade, using every trick Benedict taught him.

Clash 3 +2 iron = 5 (1 & 2) STRONG HIT
On a strong hit, inflict your harm , you have the initiative and choose “You find an opening: Inflict +1 harm” now 9/10

Tegan thrusts, but this time Bolton’s last-minute twist brings one of the other men in line. With a gurgle, the man crumples. In that moment of surprise, Bolton elbows the second man in the face and he falls, clutching a bloody nose.
“Just you and me again now Tegan”.

End the Fight 9 PROGRESS vs (2 & 3) STRONG HIT
On a strong hit, this foe is no longer in the fight. They are killed, out of action, flee, or surrender as appropriate to the situation and your intent (Ask the Oracle if unsure).

Slipping under Tegan’s untrained swing, Bolton manages to get behind him, an arm round his neck and the other holding the sword arm. He is too angry to listen to the man’s plea for mercy. It seems to take a long time but the sword falls from a limp hand, the legs kick feebly and finally stop.

Bolton drops the body and stoops to retrieve the sword and his two remaining cards.
The man with the broken nose tries to crawl away but Bolton steps over to him and holds the tip of the blade at his neck.

“Nobody lays hands on me and gets away with it!” The blade goes in easily and Bolton glares at the villagers to make sure they fully understand.

He glares at the villagers.

Compel 5 +2 iron +1 extreme violence = 8 (8 & 10) MISS
On a miss, they refuse or make a demand which costs you greatly. Pay the Price.
Oracle Settlement Trouble – Attack is imminent

The villagers look nervously at each other. Oh Shit! He’s gone too far! They glare back, lifting daggers and pitchforks.

Bolton runs for his horse, the villagers clamouring after him.

Face Danger 5 +1 edge = 6 (2 & 9) WEAK HIT
On a weak hit, you succeed, but face a troublesome cost. Choose one…“You sacrifice resources: Suffer -1 supply.” (now 0).

Leaving all his supplies behind, Bolton gets onto his horse and rides out of the village.

[Health 0, Supply 0, shaken and with momentum 1, I’ve lost two of my four trumps and the jade dagger. I seem to be likely to fail my vow to reunite Padma with her mother – Ironsworn is at once BRUTAL and FUN!]

  • STORED Game ID Ambersworn.001 on Sun May 19 2019 13:29 *
View
002 - Forest of the Serpent

From the ending of the previous session, I had to deal with four different Pay the Price results caused by two consecutive “Roll twice” results!!!
Pay the Price (D100) = 80 A surprising development complicates your quest.
Pay the Price (D100) = 19 Your action has an unintended effect.
Pay the Price (D100) = 44 A new danger or foe is revealed.
Pay the Price (D100) = 51 It causes a delay or puts you at a disadvantage

  • LOADED Game ID Ambersworn.001 on Tue May 14 2019 16:07 *

Bolton watched the young girl weeping over her father’s bloody corpse. It seems she could remember doing it, as she kept looking at her hands and shaking her head.

The other victim, now released from the possession of the ty’iga, was another monk, in the same robes as the girl’s father. After speaking in hushed whispers with the others, and trying to comfort the girl, he came over to Bolton and bowed low.

“Haramanga!”

Having learned something from his earlier interactions, Bolton bowed back.

“It appears my Master believed you to be an Emissary of Greater Powers. Indeed, the creature that possessed me, seemed to recognise some power within you, a blazing Pattern”

The monk shuddered at the memory.

“Please will you escort the girl back to her mother’s village. She is not permitted to remain at the monastery now that her father is gone”.

The girl ran to him and threw her arms around his waist. She looked up at him with wonder and awe in her tear-stained face. SHIT! How could he say no.

The Monk continued, “It is not far. Three days around the Great Forest, or no more than a day if you take the road through the centre. Perhaps a Pattern Lord, such as yourself has no need to fear the Serpent”

Bolton patted the girl awkwardly on her head a few times and offered her a white handkerchief to dry her tears. She looked shocked and didn’t take it at first. She looked to the Monk who looked similarly surprised, but shrugged and nodded. As she held the cloth, and before Bolton had released it, the monk’s hands closed on both of theirs and he bowed his head.

“And so it is done. This day forward and forever in the eyes of the Haramanga!”.

Oracle Ironlander Name – Padma

There was something so ritualistic about this that Bolton knew something significant just happened. It took some delicate questioning to learn that he had just formally adopted the girl, whose name was Padma. The triple touching of the head and giving of a white handkerchief was the ritual. According to the Monk, it is binding and permanent (until Padma comes of age at 16)!

[That just about covers the full set of Pay the Price results …
a surprising development; an action with an unintended effect; a new danger/enemy (The Serpent of the Forest) and a delay!]

That afternoon there was a brief ceremony and a cairn of stones was raised over the blind monk – Padma’s father, and the four other monks killed the previous day by the Ravers.

Oracle Ironlander Name – Abram

The remaining Monk, Abram was to stay and rebuild the shrine.

Bolton asked some questions about the “Serpent in the Forest”.

Gather Information 4 +2 wits = 6 (4 & 5) STRONG HIT
On a strong hit, you discover something helpful and specific. The path you must follow or action you must take to make progress is made clear. Envision what you learn (Ask the Oracle if unsure), and take +2 momentum (now 9).

The Serpent is about twenty feet long and multi-coloured, able to camouflage itself. It seems to know when people pass through the forest and has attacked and killed many times. The people of the Haramanga don’t go into the forest any more (not for about 60 years or so).

When Bolton takes out one of his two Chaos Trumps and shows the back, Abram nods vigorously.

Two jewelled serpents in as many days! It must mean something.

The next morning, with Padma riding before him on the banta, Bolton sets off into the Great Forest (a Dangerous Journey).

Undertake a Journey 3 +2 wits = 5 (5 & 4) WEAK HIT
On a weak hit, you reach a waypoint and mark progress, but suffer -1 supply (now 3). For a Dangerous Journey a waypoint indicates progress 2/10.
Oracle Location – Layer
Oracle Location Descriptor – Remote

The forest consists of a wide valley/plain between two ranges of hills and mountains. The land rises in occasional steps as they travel west.

To coax Padma out of her misery and grief, Bolton talks to her and lets her ride the banta alone.

Forge a Bond 2 +1 heart = 3 (4 & 1) WEAK HIT
On a weak hit, they ask something more of you first. Envision what it is (Ask the Oracle if unsure), do it (or Swear an Iron Vow), and mark the bond. If you decline or fail, Pay the Price.

He is forced to promise that he will return her safely to her mother.
Swear an Iron Vow 3 +1 heart = 4 (3 & 9) WEAK HIT
On a weak hit, you are determined but begin your quest with more questions than answers. Take +1 momentum (now 10), and envision what you do to find a path forward.

Padma seems to have total faith in Bolton’s ability to protect her – perhaps because, while she was possessed, she could see the Pattern burning in his blood and she knows he is a powerful other-worldly creature.

Her courage (and blind faith) despite her grief, endear her to Bolton, who begins to grow concerned that he is leading her into danger. Perhaps there is a way to put her somewhere safer until he has encountered this Serpent and make an approach to Benedict through the Trumps? Caine had called Benedict “dangerous” but has also stressed that he was a family man and had surprising compassion for “shadows”.

[Trump Travel is not without risk, but Bolton has 10 momentum, so should be able to transport Padma safely]

Warning Padma not to become alarmed, Bolton takes out Benedict’s Trump and begins to concentrate…

Trump Use 3 +5 spirit = 8 (8 & 7) WEAK HIT
On a Weak Hit, communication begins after 1 minute of concentration, lasts up to 10 minutes and costs 1 spirit (now 4).

The long, serious face on the card shimmers and becomes three-dimensional. Behind him, Padma gasps. Benedict looks grim (as usual) his hand is loosely on his sword hilt. Beyond him the sky is purple, but apart from that, the scene looks peaceful. A horse grazes at the side of a meadow and a small group of soldiers are visible sitting by a camp fire.

“Bolton! Have you decided to enlist at last?” The thin mouth tightens into what might be the hint of a smile.

“Not just now. Can’t a man call his favourite uncle without having to join his army?”

“I’ve not heard from you for a year or more. I’d be interested to hear what has prompted your call.”

Keeping a neutral expression as he doesn’t want to reveal Caine’s predicament just yet, Bolton will attempt to keep this a casual enquiry.

Compel 6 +3 shadow +1 Trickster Asset = 10 (9 & 8) STRONG HIT
On a strong hit, they’ll do what you want or share what they know. Take +1 momentum (already at max). If you use this exchange to Gather Information, make that move now and add +1.

“I am travelling with a young girl. Taking her to her mother. Her father died yesterday. I’m in a dangerous place, but a place I’m keen to investigate further. Might I send the girl to you, just for a few hours, no more than a day, until I have reached a safer place?”

Benedict seemed to think for a moment. “Our camp is not exactly set up for children, but we are unlikely to see battle in the next few days. Very well, on the understanding that you’ll fill me in on the details when you collect her”.

Trump Travel 5 +4 spirit = 9 (10 & 9) MISS
On a Miss, I would have to use the Trump Travel Mishap Table. I’ll burn momentum and turn it into a Weak Hit so it only costs 1 Spirit and doesn’t injure, warp or otherwise lose Padma.

For a moment I’m clutching rainbows, but then Padma is gone, passed between myself and Benedict and the image fades.

As Bolton is seeking an encounter with the Snake, he presses on deeper into the Forest.

Undertake a Journey 5 +2 wits = 7 (3 & 6) STRONG HIT
On a strong hit, you reach a waypoint. If the waypoint is unknown to you, envision it (Ask the Oracle if unsure). Choosing “You move at speed: Mark progress and take +1 momentum, but suffer -1 supply.” Momentum now 3. Supply now 2. Progress now 4/10.
Oracle Location – Marsh
Oracle Location Descriptor – Blighted

Close to the centre of the Forest, the track leads across a blighted marsh. Dark water bubbles as foul-smelling gas rises. The trees are spindly and warped.

Leading his banta silently through the marsh. Hoping to spot tracks or sneak up on the Serpent…

Secure an Advantage 6 +3 shadow = 9 (1 & 10) WEAK HIT
On a weak hit, your advantage is short-lived. Take +1 momentum (now 4)

As his supplies are running low, Bolton forages for mushrooms and fodder for the banta at the edge of the marsh…

Resupply 4 +2 wits = 6 (4 & 3) STRONG HIT
On a strong hit, you bolster your resources. Take +2 supply (now 4)

The Marsh behind him, he approaches the very heart of the forest…

Undertake a Journey 1 +2 wits = 3 (4 & 9) MISS
On a miss, you are waylaid by a perilous event. Pay the Price
Pay the Price (D100) = 16 You are separated from something or someone.
[D6 – This could mean either losing the Banta (1-4) or missing Padma (5-6) and worrying about her which could cause a loss of 1 Spirit. (D6) = 6]

Strangely he could still feel the girl’s panicked grip on his finger, as he pushed her through the rainbows across the Trump Portal. He smiled, remembering the blind trust she had shown in what must have seemed like either madness or magic. She was stronger than she looked.
Spirit -1, now 3.

He may have lost some time and sense of direction in the marsh as he still hasn’t quite found the centre.

Undertake a Journey 4 +2 wits = 6 (3 & 1) STRONG HIT
On a strong hit, you reach a waypoint. I’ll Mark progress 6/10 and choose for the waypoint to be the Serpent’s Lair.

Attempting to sneak up on the beast…

Secure an Advantage 4 +3 shadow = 7 (1 & 6) STRONG HIT
On a strong hit, you gain advantage. Choose – Prepare to act: Take +2 momentum (now 4).
Oracle Location – Mountain
Oracle Location Descriptor – Inaccessible

A central column of rock stands alongside the path, there are dozens of bones and broken animal skulls strewn around. There is the stink of rotting meat. The banta is nervous but Bolton manages to quiet the beast and leaves it tied to a tree while he stealthily circles the rock. There appears to be no way up, but the Serpent is not aware of him yet.

He attempts a distraction, hurling some branches into a thicket on the far side while hiding in a shadow beneath the rock…

Secure an Advantage 5 +3 shadow = 8 (9 & 8) MISS
On a miss, you fail or your assumptions betray you. Pay the Price.
Pay the Price (D100) = 81 A surprising development complicates your quest.

The Serpent emerges unexpectedly from the ground near the base of the rock.
[Challenge Rank will be a minimum of Formidable and a maximum of Extreme]
Oracle Challenge Rank – Troublesome, so Formidable.
Enter the Fray (ambushed) 2 +2 wits = 4 (3 & 5) WEAK HIT
On a weak hit, choose one – Take +2 momentum (now 6)

The creature is huge! It’s scales glitter with many colours and the dirt from being buried seems to shake off easily as though the plates were polished metal. It’s eyes are intelligent and glare malevolently at Bolton.

Clash 2 +2 iron = 4 (5 & 4) MISS
On a miss, you are outmatched and must Pay the Price. Your foe has initiative.
Pay the Price (D100) = 96 A friend, companion, or ally is put in harm’s way (or you are, if alone)
[Although the banta isn’t technically a companion, I’ll say it is the target and only give it a STAT of 1]
Companion Endure Harm 6 +1 health = 7 (6 & 6) STRONG HIT!! MATCH !!
On a strong hit, your companion rallies. Give them +1 health.(now 2)

The body of the great serpent erupts from the track, showering Bolton and his tethered steed with dirt. The beast whinnies and pulls free, but to Bolton’s surprise, it bucks and kicks at the monster, showing unusual grit.

Bolton attempts to duck out of sight behind the column of rock…

Face Danger 2 +3 shadow = 5 (10 & 1) WEAK HIT
On a weak hit, you succeed, but face a troublesome cost. Choose “You sacrifice resources: Suffer -1 supply” now 3.

The banta’s saddle bag is torn from the beast and swallowed by the giant snake. Bolton hears it hiss and it sounds like a curse! Maybe this creature can speak.

“I suppose you weren’t set here to catch anyone like me, serpent. I don’t need to kill you, so surrender now and I’ll let you live.”…

Compel 4 +3 shadow -2 it’s a HUGE snake = 5 (3 & 5) WEAK HIT
[outright surrender, even off a Strong Hit, would seem unreasonable, but I’ll have it talk back. I’ll burn momentum to make it a STRONG hit and have it reveal something useful.]

“Not someone LIKE you, son of Caine! I have been stitched into your path, just for you”.

[I’ll say that if I can get a hit on a Face Danger, I can have a Gather Info to trick info out of it, by tricking it into a gloating monologue]

Face Danger 5 +3 shadow = 8 (9 & 6) WEAK HIT
On a weak hit, you succeed, but face a troublesome cost. Choose “You are delayed, lose advantage, or face a new danger: Suffer -1 momentum.” now 1.

Dancing around the rock to keep the fearsome head at bay, Bolton is knocked over and pretends to sprawl helplessly on the ground.

Gather Information 2 +3 shadow = 5 (2 & 10) WEAK HIT
On a weak hit, the information complicates your quest or introduces a new danger. Envision what you discover (Ask the Oracle if unsure), and take +1 momentum (now 2)
Oracle Action – Reduce
Oracle Theme – Family

Hissing with laughter the serpent’s huge head hangs above him. “This body has been here for a hundred years, but I only inhabited it a few days ago and you have fallen into my jaws already. We will reduce your family, one at a time, until the Pattern itself falls. And this time there will be none to re-write it!”

The huge head lunges…

Clash 3 +2 iron = 5 (3 & 8) WEAK HIT
On a weak hit, inflict your harm (2/10), but then Pay the Price. Your foe has initiative.
Pay the Price (D100) = 61 It is harmful.(health now 2)
Endure Harm 1 +4 health = 5 (8 & 10) MISS (also suffer -1 momentum – now 1)

TURN THE TIDE
Once per fight, when you risk it all, you may steal initiative from your foe to make a move (not a progress move). When you do, add +1 and take +1 momentum on a hit.
If you fail to score a hit on that move, you must suffer a dire outcome. Pay the Price.
Strike 2 +2 iron +1 Turn the Tide = 5 (1 & 8) WEAK HIT
On a weak hit, inflict your harm (4/10) and lose initiative.

Rolling to one side at the last second, Bolton drives his blade into the mouth, scoring a decent hit, but is then forced to retreat again by the creature’s sheer bulk.

Clash 5 +2 iron = 7 (8 & 2) WEAK HIT
On a weak hit, inflict your harm (6/10), but then Pay the Price. Your foe has initiative.
Pay the Price (D100) = 77 It is stressful. (spirit now 0)
Endure Stress 2 +1 heart = 3 (3 & 9) MISS
-1 Momentum, now 0 and mark SHAKEN (reducing Max to 9 and Reset to 1)

As it looms over him, mouth gaping wide, scales glittering with magical power, the usually confident Bolton suddenly realises he might not survive this!

Clash 3 +2 iron = 5 (3 & 5) WEAK HIT
On a weak hit, inflict your harm (8/10), but then Pay the Price. Your foe has initiative.
Pay the Price (D100) = 33 The current situation worsens.

The huge body twists and coils around him, pulsating from within as the Serpent laughs with triumph.
[If it does more harm, it will do an additional point]

Clash 6 +2 iron = 8 (4 & 8) WEAK HIT
On a weak hit, inflict your harm (10/10), but then Pay the Price. Your foe has initiative.
Pay the Price (D100) = 18 Your action has an unintended effect
[as the creature mentioned that it was “new” to the body, I’ll say that the Jade Dagger was able to do some additional damage to it and it is now at the end of its progress track, so I’ll try the End the fight]

End the Fight 10 PROGRESS vs (2 & 4) STRONG HIT
On a strong hit, this foe is no longer in the fight. They are killed, out of action, flee, or surrender as appropriate to the situation and your intent (Ask the Oracle if unsure).

As his sword arm was pinned by the coils, Bolton desperately reached for the Jade dagger and stabbed it in the eye. The thing shuddered and spasmed then the coils loosened and dropped him as the life left its body.

[That leaves Bolton with more information about the threat, probably enough to take this to Benedict next time. It also leaves him badly mangled – 2 Health, zero Spirit (shaken), zero momentum. Without Spirit, he may not be able to activate his Trumps and even receiving a call costs 1 spirit (he would then take another Momentum loss and go into Negative Momentum) !]

  • STORED Game ID Ambersworn.001 on Tue May 14 2019 21:45 *
View
001 - Bolton begins his quest

Bolton was riding in the hills near Krell Keep when he felt the stirrings of a Trump Contact.
Not many people held a Trump of him – most likely [1-4 in 6] it would be his Father, Prince Caine of Amber or Flambeaux, the demon-kin painter from the Courts [5-6 in 6].
Who is calling? (D6) = 4 CAINE

FIND…ME…MY…SON…”

A scene appears, tinged with red as though viewed through thick red glass. A room in a stone tower, manacled and bloody hands, a pool of blood on the floor with bolton’s image floating indistinctly. A bloody cough and Caine’s head lifts to look out of a barred window to a white-tipped mountain, revealed in the moonlight of two moons. A door clangs and there are gruff shouts, pain and…. silence.

What could his father have meant, why contact him? Bolton wracked his brain to try to understand what he’d just experienced.

Gather Information 2 +2 wits +1 bond with Caine = 5 (2 & 5) WEAK HIT
On a weak hit, the information complicates your quest or introduces a new danger. Envision what you discover (Ask the Oracle if unsure), and take +1 momentum
Oracle Action – Break
Oracle Theme – Faction

Either his Father had only been able to contact him (Caine hadn’t seemed to be holding a Trump Card, but was staring into a pool of his own blood!) or he couldn’t trust anyone else! Bolton knew that there were many factions and alliances among the Elder Amberites and that often Family members were not to be trusted.

Until he learns more, Bolton will avoid bringing his Father’s brothers and sisters into this. “Snow-capped peaks and two moons” is not a detailed description, but he might be able to Shadow-walk to it.

Bolton has a handful of Trumps of his own, gifts from his Father or from Flambeaux. He lashes his yellow and grey striped horse to a tree and quickly opens the leather case. The cards are face down, showing their brightly-painted backs, three show the Silver Unicorn – these were from Caine’s own pack, painted by Dworkwin. He knew they would show Caine himself, and two of his brothers – Benedict and Corwin. The other two glittered in a kaleidoscope of colours that hid a serpent. One would show the demonic face of Flambeaux, grinning like a true devil, the other showed the dancer, Vengra caught mid leap in a ballet scene, her long red hair streaming behind her. Her small silver horns, peeking through. No! He wouldn’t ask Vengra for help!

For a few moments he studied Caine’s card, concentrating, seeking contact.
Trump Use 3 +5 spirit +1 bond with Caine = 9 (9 & 8) WEAK HIT

It took a minute or two to feel any kind of connection. He felt his spirit draining [-1 Spirit – now 4/5]. Alive, but not conscious. In pain, probably weak from blood loss, but not dying.
“Father! Father, wake up!” But it was no good.
Reluctantly, he passed his hand over the face of the card, breaking the contact. He knew there were others with more advanced mastery of the Trumps who might be able to break through, but who could he trust?

In that moment, he decided to swear a Vow – “I’ll find you dad and either save you or avenge you”.
[!!!!I forgot to Roll the Swear an Iron Vow!!!!!]
Silently, he rode back to the keep to pick-up Supplies for a long journey and to tell the Steward that he might be gone for several days.

The Shadow “Magdalene” is a medieval land with a fairly low population, [Tech-0, Magic-0, Pattern+2]. Ride four days to the west into the Forests and you could find a path into Arden. A few days to the south, past villages of simple peasants and vineyards to a small port city where fishing boats bob at the harbour wall, but sometimes great ships on voyages around the Golden Circle stand off the coast, tended by row boats.

But Bolton knows that his journey will be through Shadow, seeking a place with snow-capped peaks and two moons. The manacles had seemed plain, low-tech things. the room was also just a stone cell, no glass in the barred window. He could try to Hell-ride towards it or take it slow. As he doesn’t know what he’ll find there, perhaps best not to arrive exhausted from a Hell-ride.

[Shadow-walk acts like Undertake a Journey , as he has only had a glimpse of the destination, it will be an Extreme one]. He sets out, riding his yellow “Banta”, one of the zebra-like horses common to Magdalene. He points her towards the distant line of hills, and they begin to climb. Unfortunately, there are no mountains in Magdalene, within several days, but he knows they will not be in Magdalene for long. Slowly and carefully he begins to focus on the few details he remembered from the brief contact.

[Because Bolton does not know the Pattern Axiom of the target Shadow, it is assumed to be the same as where he starts, so no penalty to the roll]

Shadow-walk 4 +2 wits +1 bond with Krell Keep = 7 (8 & 1) WEAK HIT
On a weak hit, you reach a waypoint and mark progress, but suffer -1 supply. (For an Extreme journey, a Waypoint is only a half-tick so 0.5/10)
For Shadow-walking, you also make a roll on the Shadow-walking table.
Shadow-Walk table (D10) = 5
Encounter Obstacle (overcome it to gain +1 Spirit)
Oracle Location – Cliff
Oracle Location Descriptor – Blighted

The land changes quite rapidly through that first day as he is seeking mountainous terrain. His Banta is nervous and needs a lot of reassurance when strange birds screech from nearby pine trees. As they leave the tree line, they have approach an escarpment, rising steeply about a hundred feet. It seems to have no obvious track and Bolton feels his grip on the Shadows beginning to falter. They turn right and make their way along the line, Bolton determines that around the next bend there will be a steep but manageable path, zig-zagging to the top.

[for this obstacle, it makes sense to use another Shadow-walk roll to overcome it, but with no additional waypoint or Supply loss as this was a full 8 hour session of travel. Any hit will allow the path to exist, but on a Weak hit, there will be a roll required to climb it]

Shadow-walk 1 +2 wits = 3 (1 & 6) WEAK HIT

Bolton finds the steep track he was looking for but decides to rest the night before tackling it.

Make Camp 1 + 4 supply = 5 (4 & 9) WEAK HIT
On a weak Hit, choose one (+ 1 momentum)


The next morning, Bolton resumes the Shadow-walk. As he leads his mount up the steep track it allows him to choose what appears over the lip.
Shadow Walk 3 + 4 spirit = 7 (3 & 7) WEAK HIT
On a weak hit, you reach a waypoint and mark progress, but suffer -1 supply. (For an Extreme journey, a Waypoint is only a half-tick so 1/10)
Shadow-Walk table (D10) = 7 (Interesting Location)
Oracle Location – Cairn/Grave
Oracle Location Descriptor – Perilous
Is it abandoned (likely 26-00) or is there a funeral taking place?
(D100) = 99 (Abandoned)
Is it of somebody he knows (likely 26-00) or a stranger?
Oracle (D100) = 58
Is it his Father’s tomb (likely 26-00) or his own?
Oracle (D100) = 70

Perhaps something from his own subconscious fear has led him to Caine’s tomb. According to stories he’s heard from various sources, Caine has faked his own death a few times. Maybe this is from one of those? Maybe this is a true vision, indicating Caine is really dead now.

Is it worth the effort of lifting away all the stones to investigate further – Bolton decides on the “subconscious fear” explanation. However, he will try again to call his father by Trump.

Use Trump 6 +4 spirit = 10 (4 & 6) STRONG HIT

[For the purpose of the Story, I’ve decided he won’t get through, but the Strong Hit deserves something…]

For a moment, it seems as though he’s making contact. Caine’s face is fixed, staring, sweat on his brow, something in the eyes warns him, some glimmer of movement and colour reflected in the brown.

Bolton breaks the contact, but glimpsed the thing that tried to interpose between them. It looked familiar, like the image of the serpent on the back of Flambeaux’s cards except this serpent had a mouthful of silvery tendrils that had reached towards him INTO THE TRUMP!

I guess he won’t be trying that again, but maybe he has learned something. A creature or construct like that would most likely be in a place far from the Pattern and a place full of magic. He could add that to his mental picture.

Gather Information 3 +2 wits = 5 (1 & 4) STRONG HIT
On a strong hit, you discover something helpful and specific. The path you must follow or action you must take to make progress is made clear. Envision what you learn (Ask the Oracle if unsure), and take +2 momentum.

Thinking back over those few moments of contact, he’d also noticed more detail of the stone tower room. Sunlight was streaming in through the bars and it the sky was tinged with green – like some kind of aurora. Two moons and a green aurora, bright enough to see in sunlight – this is a strange place indeed.

[If Bolton risks another contact and makes another Strong Gather Info, I might judge that the Shadow-walk becomes only Formidable]

At least he knows Caine is still alive and it seems that whoever (or whatever) is holding him, is aware of Trumps and has set a trap!

Oracle Location – Ridge
Oracle Location Descriptor – Occupied

After passing Caine’s cairn, the path up the cliff seemed to steepen and despite his efforts, each turn of the track seemed to hardly move the top closer. When he finally approached the ridge about mid-afternoon, he could see it was occupied. A small group of men were starting down the narrow path.

Leader…
Oracle Character Role – Mystic
Oracle Character Descriptor – Passive
Oracle Character Goal – Restore a relationship
3 Men…
Oracle Character Role – Raider
Oracle Character Goal – Find redemption
Oracle Character Descriptor – Kind

Bolton shouted up at them to wait and let him finish his climb. They might be able to get past Bolton himself, but would never make it past the Banta. Fortunately, they seemed willing to wait the five minutes or so it took for Bolton to reach to top.

The three tough-looking men in studded leather armour nodded as he approached “Nice horse”. One of them held the arm of a bald, black robed man with all-white eyes. He seemed very careful to help the blind man, guiding over stones and explaining what Bolton and his “horse” looked like.

Oracle Action – Seize [doesn’t seem to fit with the passive mystic but here goes…]

The Mystic holds up a hand with the fingers splayed and says something that sounds like “Harmanga”.
Bolton stops, letting the Banta catch its breath. “Hi”.
One of the men grabs his arm. “That’s not how you respond to our holy man, are you one of those heretics?”

Bolton’s first instinct is to hack off the man’s hand for his insolence, but then he might have to kill them all and he has little stomach for leaving a blind man to fend for himself at the edge of a cliff. He calmly apologises and explains he is a stranger in these parts and doesn’t know their ways.

Compel 2 +1 heart = 3 (6 & 2) WEAK HIT
On a weak hit, as above, but they ask something of you in return. Envision what they want (Ask the Oracle if unsure).
Oracle Settlement Trouble – Disastrous accident

The blind mystic begins to speak in a sing-song voice…
“The stranger shall come up from below
He shall come on a pale horse
He shall bring peace to the raving”

The man holding Bolton’s arm releases him hurriedly and turns to the old man. “I thought you said that was a metaphor for DEATH?”

“We Haramanga are not gods, not even really priests, we are mortal men and sometimes we might make mistakes. Stranger, would you be willing to aid us ? A few miles back along our path is my monastery, the Haramanga have long guarded a chest that contained two angry spirits. Yesterday the roof of the temple collapsed and broke the box. The two angry ghosts emerged and have entered the bodies of two of my fellow monks. They ran amok, screaming and laughing and killing three of our servants with unnatural ferocity and strength. They would have killed me too had not these fine pilgrims been staying in the Temple and led me to safety. The runes on the outer wall seem to have the creatures still penned within but I fear, without the roof, the walls are not stable. Is it possible you could help us?”

When he was learning about Shadow-walk from Caine, he was told that “everything you meet comes from inside you – some half-remembered dream, some unresolved issue or secret desire. We MAKE the shadows and they show us what we are. To master the Art, you must understand what you are.”

Bolton sighs and says, “I’m on an urgent mission of my own, but I’m going that way anyway and if it’s only a few miles, it wouldn’t hurt to take a look.”

The men still seem dubious and explain that the possessed ravers appear to have supernatural strength and toughness and feel no pain or fear, but the Mystic is very grateful and says “With or without you my friends, I will return with this stranger, to do what must be done”. Sheepishly, they agree.

Bolton lets the mystic ride and leads the Banta. The other men follow a few paces behind. As they approach the little temple building (a long, low pagoda) the screaming of the two ravers is plain to hear.

Gather Information 1 +2 wits = 3 (8 & 9) MISS
On a miss, your investigation unearths a dire threat or reveals an unwelcome truth that undermines your quest. Pay the Price.
Pay the Price (D100) = 74 (It is Stressful)

Bolton recognises some of the words in the ravers’ savage screaming. They are speaking a broken form of Thari used in the Courts of Chaos. These “angry spirits” are actually ty’iga (spirits from the Abyss, usually summoned as assassins by the Lords and Ladies of Chaos).

Ty’iga are usually bodiless but can possess people and grant them great strength and toughness. These two appear to be driven mad by their long imprisonment. The mystic explains that his order has been guarding the box for about 400 years!

Bolton’s options appear to be…

  • walk away
  • try to talk the ty’iga down
  • try to fight them (but they will be Formidable even with some help)
  • try to get some info about them/help from his two Chaos contacts

Before trying to get help from either Flambeaux (a Chaos Trump Artist) or Vengra (a Chaos Dancer), we should investigate who and they are and what their prior relationship with Bolton has been. After that Bolton would need to consider the possibility that if Caine is imprisoned by a Logrus user, either of them might be involved!

Flambeaux is a Trump Artist from the Courts of Chaos. I imagine that Caine must have used Flambeaux before and asked him to produce a Trump of Bolton. As one of the few “empowered” creatures who knew of Bolton’s existence in those early days, Flambeaux must have had Caine’s trust (or Caine must have had some form of control over him) and seems to have exchanged Trumps with Bolton so probably they became friends during the process of painting Bolton’s Trump. They would have met before the Patternfall War so relations between Amber and the Courts has been strained by the War. Currently it is about 5 years after the Patternfall and King Random has only just granted sovereignty back to the Courts in an uneasy truce. There are still Amber troops in the Courts, led by Benedict – probably helping the new Emperor keep control.

I imagined Vangra as being a noble daughter of one of the minor Houses with whom Bolton has had a torrid affair. This would have been called off during the War and neither of them have tried to get in touch since then. Perhaps they have grown apart now, and it certainly isn’t true love. Vangra was a ballet dancer (but this might turn out to be a cover for a school for assassins!).

Flambeaux is most likely to know of ways to control ty’iga, as he uses Trump and Logrus Sorcery. In Bolton’s estimation, Vangra is likely to only know generic info about these creatures as she does not know any Sorcery (and wasn’t yet a Logrus adept at the time of their affair).
Decision D6: Contact Flambeaux 1-2, Contact Vengra 3, contact neither 4-6 Decision (D6) = 4

It’s too risky. Caine is being held by somebody from the Courts!

Decision D6: Contact Benedict 1-2, Contact Corwin 3, contact neither 4-6 Decision (D6) = 6

His father had always told him that Benedict was dangerous and Benedict is currently based in the Courts – it could be him behind Caine’s imprisonment!
Corwin has been out of touch since the Patternfall. He apparently created a NEW PATTERN (The Rose) and disappeared into it – out of Trump range.


So, Bolton is on his own. He’ll attempt to sneak up on the Temple and take a look.
Gather Information 3 +3 shadow = 6 (6 & 10) MISS
On a Miss, Pay the Price (D100) = 08 A person or community you care about is exposed to danger
It’s either my Banta (1-3) or the Monk (4-6) Decision (D6) = 3

Suddenly a monk, screaming with rage, clambers up through the broken roof and hurls a spear at Bolton’s Banta.
The Banta is not a Companion Asset, so I’m only giving it 1 health.
Companion Endure Harm 5 +1 banta health = 6 (8 & 5) WEAK HIT

The beast is injured and scampers away.

Killing the physical hosts of the ty’iga is one thing, but killing the ty’iga themselves can’t be done by physical damage.
Bolton will talk to the blind Mystic about how the spirits were contained.
Secure an Advantage 6 +2 wits = 8 (4 & 3) STRONG HIT
Take +2 Momentum, now 8.

The wooden box was sealed with a jade dagger that held the clasp shut. It is believed this dagger can slay the creatures. But it would take two Face Danger successes (1 Strong or 2 Weak hits) to sneak in there and grab the dagger.
Face Danger 1 +3 shadow = 4 (1 & 3) STRONG HIT

While the creatures are raving on the roof, Bolton sneaks in and locates the jade dagger. The ravers leap down into the ruined temple to attack him. Now he has the dagger, they are only Dangerous Foes.

Enter the Fray 5 +1 heart = 6 (8 & 7) MISS
On a miss, combat begins with you at a disadvantage. Pay the Price. Your foe has initiative
Pay the Price (D100) = 80 A surprising development complicates your quest.

One of the two ravers is a young girl, about 13. Boston knows she is merely possessed and doesn’t want to kill her. This will push the fight back up to Formidable.

Clash 3 +2 iron = 5 (10 & 2) WEAK HIT
On a weak hit, inflict your harm (3/10 – granting +1 for the Jade dagger), but then Pay the Price. Your foe has initiative.
Pay the Price (D100) = 06 A person or community you care about is exposed to danger.

The blind Monk has followed him in and the Raver girl leaps at him, clawing and biting.

Companion Endure Harm 1 +0 iron = 1 (2 & 9) MISS

The Monk gasps, “no, daughter, no, don’t you recognise your own father” then his throat is ripped out!

Clash 3 +2 iron = 5 (1 & 6) WEAK HIT
On a weak hit, inflict your harm (6/10 – granting +1 for the Jade dagger), but then Pay the Price. Your foe has initiative.
Pay the Price (D100) = 81 A surprising development complicates your quest.

The Ravers’ claws seem to extrude as green razors – they will do 4 damage on a hit!

Clash 5 +2 iron = 7 (4 & 6) STRONG HIT
On a strong hit, inflict your harm (9/10) , you have the initiative and choose
Inflict +1 harm (10/10).
I’ll inflict the last point and go for…
End the Fight 10 PROGRESS vs (3 & 8) STRONG HIT

Bolton manages to drive the spirits of the ty’iga out of the bodies and stabs each of them with the Jade dagger. He thinks this MIGHT have released them back to the Abyss, or might have killed them forever. The Jade Dagger is just a normal weapon, except against ty’iga it does +1 and can kill them.
Sadly the Mystic is dead but the other folk are grateful and Bolton can Make Camp with a +1 bonus.
Also he gains +1 Spirit for overcoming the obstacle (now 5)

Make Camp 1 +4 supply +1 grateful villagers = 6 (7 & 6) MISS
On a miss, you take no comfort. Pay the Price
Pay the Price (D100) = 99 Roll twice more on this table. Both results occur. If they are the same result, make it worse.
Pay the Price (D100) = 00 Roll twice more on this table. Both results occur. If they are the same result, make it worse.
Pay the Price (D100) = 80 A surprising development complicates your quest.
Pay the Price (D100) = 19 Your action has an unintended effect.
Pay the Price (D100) = 44 A new danger or foe is revealed.
Pay the Price (D100) = 51 It causes a delay or puts you at a disadvantage.

What a set of bad rolls – I’ll wait until next time to work out what the in-game effects are in Big Trouble at the Little Jade Temple

  • STORED Game ID Ambersworn.001 on Sat May 11 2019 22:37 *
View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.