Classic Fantasy Ironsworn - Eilwen's Tale
#21
Thanks Teviko. I'm glad you're enjoying it!
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#22
Episode 13

They set out in the morning.

I’ll use the Delve rules and will use “Pass” for Domain and “Wild” for Feature. This is a Formidable delve to cut through two different Veiled Mountain passes, thereby avoiding the main route occupied by the Wolf Fang clan and arrive at more civilized lands. If their directions are right, they should be able to find a settlement a few valleys over and after a few days of hard travel.

They stared up at Kingsworth mountain. Its peak lay shrouded in cloud. Half-blizzard snow conditions obscured a lot of what they could see. Mountain peaks jutted up on both sides, mingled with unwelcoming craggy cliffs.

Eilwen gripped the hilt of her sword for a moment and then stepped out into the lead.

Up and up they climbed, the cold snow crunching under their snowshoes. The sun reached its zenith and plunged downwards. Towards mid afternoon, the cliffs began to change. They started to notice strange designs, crude symbols and faces painted in a chalky yet faded white paint on slate-gray walls.
I rolled on the Theme and Domain cards under features and got.

6 = 6[d100]
Territorial Markings

The danger:
A discovery undermines or complicates your quest.

I use the MAG:
A saw, night over mountains, shell like creature with tentacles, computer disk, chinese throwing star -- blades, snow flake, heart, broken sword, owl

Got it. Smile

“What is that?” Kyffin asked and pointed at something glinting off to the side, near some craggy rocks that jutted out of the ground. The mountains had seemed to narrow and frown down upon them with each step that they took this morning. They drew near and saw a ruined corpse on a boulder. It’s skin was pocked with strange blackened holes, as if the skin had been burned with a perfect consistency. Each was about an inch in diameter. The heart in the chest cavity was missing as were its entrails. How long ago this occurred, they didn't know as the frozen climate kept any decay at bay.

“There,” Eilwen pointed at scrapes on the cliff wall near the stones. Something big had clawed its way up the side of the mountain, leaving furrows in the stone.

“Humanoid, but not human,” Aron said darkly, prodigy at the corpse it with his spear as if he expected the bones to leap up out of the snow. 

Eilwen knelt the dead humanoid and picked up a strange wooden mask, painted black but faded from the weather. It had intricate artistry with faded gold and silver scrollwork on a. A crack ran down the middle lengthwise. Old red blood covered the mask. It’s skin, preserved in the ice and snow, was gray and wrinkled. The eyes were also missing but had large sockets in a human-like skull. 

“No broken bones either,” Eilwen said.

Was the attack recent?
(50/50 | 3[d10]) No


Is the corpse human?
(Somewhat Likely | 2[d10]) No


Has any in the party seen its like?
(Unlikely | 5[d10]) No

I know what the corpse is but they don’t, so you don’t. Smile 

“What did this?” Kyffin asked. “And what is this strange person called?”

“I don’t know,” Eilwen shook her head to both questions, and studied her surroundings, her hand on her sword hilt. A ruined iron spear, and bow lay shattered, in pieces, about the rocks. Arrows lay scattered about from an ornate looking, but also ruined, leather quiver at its waist. Most of the arrows were lost to time and weather, but surprisingly two were still serviceable. Eilwen took them, adding them to her quiver. A knife blade lay sheathed in its belt. The clothing on the corpse blew in fitful tatters, thrashed by icy winds.

She pulled out the knife and tested it, then nodded and added it to her own weapon’s belt. “Whatever did this to it, could still be about,” she said, standing. “Let’s keep moving, with eyes open.”


But she frowned. She had seen tracks of it in the snow. Recent tracks. Strange tracks. She didn’t tell the others, but they could very well be in this thing’s hunting grounds.


They continued onward.


Delve the Depths + wits


7 = 5[d6]+2


7 = 6[d10]+1[d10]


A strong hit! They get +1 momentum and make progress (1/10 now) and they get to make a move now at +1.


They traveled for the rest of the day. She didn’t see any more of the claw marks on the stones, and the strange markings on the cliff walls. At night they came to a tumbling river in a canyon. The gorge cut through ice and rock. They could hear the coursing water, rapids far below.

Is there a bridge?
(Somewhat Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

They saw a bridge spanning the gorge, made of stone. Some of it was crumbling and some of it was covered with ice, but it had railing and seemed firm enough.

Does the bridge seem to be made for humans?
(50/50 | 5[d10]) No, but...

Do they see carvings on the bridge and scrollwork design?
(Somewhat Likely | 6[d10]) Yes

The bridge had intricate carvings and designs, similar to that by the masked humanoid they saw. They saw large circling birds careening around and under the bridge, hunting for fish far below in the roiling waters. Many of the birds came up to perch on the bridge. \

(That’s the opportunity from before) 

They pulled out their bows weapons, intending to hunt the birds for more food. Eilwen led, moving at a crouch behind a boulder, aiming at a large bird who wasn’t aware of her. It carried two fish in its claws. 

She’ll use her Archer asset to help. So she gets Secure and Advantage move + shadow +1 for her Archer asset, +1 for the previous bonus. That’s +5, the max you can get.

8 = 3[d6]+5

10 = 3[d10]+7[d10]

A strong hit. She’ll take the +1 on a next move.

She lined up shot and let fly as did the others.

Resupply move
8 = 5[d6]+3

15 = 8[d10]+7[d10]

A weak hit. They can get up to +2 supply but -1 momentum for each supply. She’ll do that. 

Their arrows flashed, and they took down one bird, but they spent two more hours hunting another. That night, on the edge of the other side of the bridge, amidst some boulders that had fallen from a cliff above them, they cleaned the birds, cooked the meat and enjoyed a good meal in a good camping spot.

Make Camp
Roll + Supply

7 = 2[d6]+5

16 = 10[d10]+6[d10]

A weak hit. She’ll recuperate and regain +1 Harm.

On the morrow they pressed on.

Delve the Depths + wits

7 = 5[d6]+2

15 = 8[d10]+7[d10]

Drat. A miss.

For two more days they climbed still higher, and as they wound up switch backs, they came to a wide overlook on their left, and on their right a small overhang. They stared down at the gleaming valley below, sparking in white majesty. For a brief instant, they saw Rockriver settlement, a mere dot in the distance, the water glittering like a black jewel in the sun. Then the fitful clouds, common to the Vieled Mountains, moved in below them and obscured the view.

I rolled on reveal a danger:

82 = 82[d100]

Roll on theme card.

10 = 10[d100]

A denizen strikes without warning.

Is it a young Wyvern?

(50/50 | 8[d10]) Yes

Suddenly they heard a mighty flapping of wings and a large winged beast dove at them with a terrible grace, it’s wings cutting through clouds that trailed after it as mighty claws raked at them in its sudden passing dive. The air whipped around them as it passed.

A normal Wyvern has a rank of Extreme which would be very very tough for our fair party. A young Wyvern, I’ll say has one rank lower than a normal Wyvern -- so Formidable -- and since I have Aron and Kyffin, both skilled warriors, helping on my side, I’ll say it lower its rank once more down to a manageable “Dangerous”.

Enter the Fray move + Wits for being ambushed.

6 = 4[d6]+2

12 = 7[d10]+5[d10]

A weak hit.

They ran for the cover of the small overhang, ducking and rolling on the ground, as they got under it, they felt the air of its passing again as its wings brushed the stone above them. It cawed out in frustration and winged around for another attack. 

Then it began to dive towards Aron who managed to get his shield out but not his axe. Kyffin had his spear out and crouched behind a boulder. Eilwen pulled her bow string taught, the arrow set and let loose.

Strike Move + edge 

6 = 4[d6]+2

8 = 6[d10]+2[d10]


A weak hit. Okay, she gives it two harm that’s 4/10 progress but she loses initiative.

The arrow hits its side as the thing lands and then leaps at Aron, slamming him to the ground. Claws raked at his shield. She felt both awe at this creature's grace and prowess, and a part of her dismayed that she was forced to kill it. 

She fumbled with her arrow and began to aim again.

Secure and Advantage with Archer. 1d6 + 2 (edge) + 1 archer.


4 = 1[d6]+3


9 = 1[d10]+8[d10]


Lucky. a weak hit. She gets plus 1 momentum but she still doesn’t have initiative. (momentum now 4/5).

Kyffin shouted, and leaped at the Wyvern, jabbing his spear into its side. While only a minor hit, the piercing attack distracted the Wyvern enough for Aron to gain his feet and yank out his axe. The Wyvern hissed and snapped at Kyffin who darted back out of reach. Then it beat its wings, buffeting the air, spinning up snow and gravel into their faces. Aron darted forward and scored a glancing blow on a foreleg. It hissed and snapped at his axe.

She waits for a good shot, still aiming.

Secure an Advantage with Archer again. 1d6 + 2 (edge) + 1 archer.

9 = 6[d6]+3

16 = 6[d10]+10[d10]

Another weak hit. + 1 momentum (5/10 now)

The creature swung its tail and smashed into Aron’s shield.

Does it break?
(50/50 | 2[d10]) No

The blow knocked him back a few paces, but Aron roared and slammed his axe into its flank, it snapped at the shield, it’s teeth gaining purchase on the edge of the shield. Kyffin darted in making some minor scores on its hide, but nothing serious.

The beast, flung Aron to the side, where he rolled end over end, until he lay stunned near the edge of the overlook. Aron started to stand, his back to the cliff near the overlook. A gleam of intelligence seemed to flash through the creature's eyes, and then buffeting Kyffin with its wings, it charged at Aron.


I had rolled on 17 on the Combat Action oracle: Provoke a Reckless Response.


“Aron!” Eilwen shouted and shot arrow after arrow, running out from behind her cover. Kyffin did the same, charging the winged lizard before it shoved Aron off the cliff.


Does Aron dodge out of the way.
(50/50 | 10[d10]) Yes, and...


Aron dove out of the way as it charged toward his position. It screamed and launched up into the air. With great beats it clawed the air gaining altitude. The it folded its wings, twisted in the air, opened them again, reversing its direction and coming down once more towards them. It dodged one of Eilwen’s barbs as another bounced off its skull. Then it dove at her, weaving and dodging like an eel in the sky. It’s mouth wide, blasting a fearsome roar in challenge.

She will do a Clash move. Shooting at a foe that rushes at her.
1d6+2 edge


6 = 4[d6]+2


6 = 3[d10]+3[d10]


That, my friends, is a strong hit with a positive twist. Oooo yeah. I have an idea for the twist. 

For the strong hit, I choose “Find an opening inflict +1 harm” so she gives 2 harm for her bow, +1 for this, that’s 3 harm. Two progress, per harm vs a Dangerous creature. That’s 6 here + 4 progress from before, so...10/10 on progress on this fight! Yay.


She’ll End the Fight.
We compare 10 progress against the challenge dice
11 = 1[d10]+10[d10]


It’s a weak hit -- She ends the fight, but there’s a complication.


Time seemed to slow as she saw the creature come at her; she saw its lean muscular frame, the lithe way it whipped and dived and moved. She waited as it came on for the last terrible moment. She heard Aron scream her name. Then she released the string. Her arrow flashed out, quick as an adder, a blackened shaft of doom that drove through the beast’s mouth and into its brain. It’s large mass, skidded and rolled into her, spraying up snow and rocks. She tried to dive out of the way, but it had come in too quickly, and the massive creature slammed into her, smashing her into the rock wall. Her head smacked hard against the unyielding stone, and stars exploded in her vision. For a moment the world spun away into blackness.

She takes 2 harm (3/5 now)

She came too and saw Aron and Kyffin pulling the creature off of her.

“You...Are you well?” Kyffin asked. 

Endure Harm
4 = 1[d6]+3

5 = 2[d10]+3[d10]

A strong hit! She’ll embrace the pain, keeping the damage, but will take +1 momentum.

Momentum is 6/10 now.

She nodded groggily and winced when her companions pulled her to her feet. She wavered, but Aron was there. “That was crazy sister, even for you! You don’t look well. Come, let’s take a look at you.”

He held her up then helped her hop over to sit on a small boulder. 

She did a self-assessment but didn’t find anything broken but she felt like... like... Well, there was no comparison, she decided. She’d just been run over by a charging wyvern.

“You did it!” Kyffin said, shaking his head at her, awe in his voice. “Lass, that was one fantastic shot! One in a thousand.”

“We need to keep moving,” she said, trying to get up. The world started to spin.

“You’re hurt,” Aron pressed her shoulders and forced her to sit. “You need to rest.”

She shook her head, gritting her teeth, and pushed his arm away. “No...I’m okay. Just...bruised. There may be more of them, and we need to get under cover. This overlook is too exposed. That wyvern... it was just a young one. What if there’s a larger one?

The three of them looked about the vast open expanse around them, nervous at the open exposed nature of the overlook the path they had chosen.
“Come on,” Eilwen said, taking a few steps and stumbled, still dizzy. 

“Sister...” Aron grabbed her.

“Just...let me lean on you for a bit as we walk.”

Aron nodded, and together they gathered their gear and continued their journey, trying quickly to get to some cover. From the agonizing pain in her side, she probably cracked some ribs. But she gritted her teeth and they moved around the bend, away from overlook and up and around a bend where their path went between high cliffs that rose up on either side, into a narrow slot canyon for this leg.

---

After a couple of miles, she spotted a shallow cavity of rock a spear’s throw above the trail. Hoping for a campsite where they could rest, they climbed a jumble of rocks nearby, and pulled themselves inside. Inside, they found a smile pile of bones of devoured humanoids, and wyvern scales littered the small cave. Was this the lair of the beast they had just slain? Or a different lair? Not wanting to stay long, they found a nest with a clutch of eggs. One was the size of a small cask of ale. Small cracks had started to spider-web along its length.

“Are these eggs more of those things?” Kyffin held his spear towards the eggs as if he expected them to explode into full sized tooth and claw monsters.

Aron stood nearby toeing through the bones but looking at the cave entrance every few moments.

She crouched near the egg and listened, tracing a finger along its length. She thought... thought she heard a scratching sound. She pulled out a spare cloak from her pack and put it over the egg.

(Positive twist for the match earlier, I’ll say they find a well-developed wyvern egg. Could be good... Or could be bad.)

“Eilwen, lass...” Kyffin frowned. “What are you doing.”

“Investing in an opportunity,” she said. She wrapped the egg in her cloak and put it in a somewhat protected area of her pack.

“You call that an opportunity?” Aron asked, his mouth open. “You obviously hit your head harder than I thought!”

“It might come in handy.”

“As what?” Aron asked, folding his arms. “You can’t really be considering this. What? Do you think you’ll train it and then ride it over these mountains? It’ll be months before it comes to that, and by then it’ll consider us a tasty morsel.”

She ignored him and finished packing her bag. It had crossed her mind and her head still spun now and then.

“Ah... so lass, what’s going to happen when it’s mother discovers a missing egg?” Kyffin asked, scratching at one ear.

“And what are we going to feed it when it gets hungry? Not my food!” Aron said.

“It’s decided,” she said, tilting up her chin and staring down her brother. But she did feel foolish and a voice in the back of her head kept repeating “stupid idea...stupid idea....” She angrily slammed the door of her mind against that. 

She knew it was...unwise perhaps, but stupid? No. The voice was wrong. It was brilliant. What if she could train one? What an ally it would be! Such grace, beauty, and strength... It might even help her with her quest.

“It’s decided that we’re going to die,” Aron said, throwing his arms up in the air. “Maybe I should just pass around my dagger and speed the inevitable along.”

“To the victor go the spoils,” she said. “It was my shaft that killed it. The prize is mine.”

“Yeah, I’m sure it’s going to want it’s big brother’s murderer as its mother.”

“It won’t know..." she said. "Didn't you see it Aron?” she couldn’t keep the awe out of her voice. “The way it moved and fought! It’s incredible grace...What if--”

“You are hopeless,” he muttered and stormed out of the cave. Kyffin sighed and trailed behind him.

“There’s one for each of you...” she called after them. “...If you want one,” she said, but they couldn't hear her as they clambering out of the cleft down the rocks. 

What if this one didn’t hatch. Maybe she should take another... 

She shook her head and patted the egg in her pack. “They’re just jealous they didn’t get the biggest one,” she said. She pulled out her knife and gave a guilty smile, holding the blade. “By this iron blade and my iron will, a wyvern companion I shall bind,” she vowed.

Swear an Iron Vow Move - Dangerous
7 = 6[d6]+1

8 = 6[d10]+2[d10]

A strong hit! Nice. I take +2 momentum. (8/10)

She has the egg already so it’s really just a matter of getting out of the mountains into a lower-land settlement and finding someone who knows about training wild animals.
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#23
Episode 14
They moved on for another day, pressing onward through narrow canyon walls slick with ice, snow driving in flurries above them. At night she’d snuggle up to the egg, keeping it warm. Aron still hadn’t spoken to her, and Kyffin thought she was just plain daft in the head. Maybe she was.

Delve the Depths + edge

5 = 3[d6]+2

16 = 8[d10]+8[d10]

Miss! Grrr. Oh man, they are not making good progress on this. Too many misses, and this one has a negative twist as well. Bad bad bad.

Okay so I rolled up some things, but will reveal the rolls later. Onward!

At about midday the weather turned from bad--constant snow--to much worse, a scouring gale of ice-cold air blasted at them, tearing ice off the narrow canyon walls and throwing up snow, ice shards and flakes of stones into their faces.

Eilwen held her cloak over her face which had already suffered two lacerations.

“We need to find shelter!” Aron shouted above the wind. She could barely see him or anything through the furious gale that howled down around them. They moved behind a large boulder, which, for a time, offered a modicum of shelter...until the winds shifted at least. She looked about them, looking for something, anything where they could get out of these winds.

Face Danger + wits (using observation)

7 = 5[d6]+2

15 = 5[d10]+10[d10]

A weak hit! I choose to suffer stress. -1 Spirit. (3/5 now)

Endure Stress Move

4 = 1[d6]+3

2 = 1[d10]+1[d10]

And that was extremely lucky. She’ll Embrace the Darkness and take +1 momentum. (9/10 now)

Through the raging winds and ice and snow, she thought she saw something. She paused to wipe the snow and ice out of her face. She shivered, not quite sure she could believe her eyes. “There’s... there’s a building there, I think...” she shouted above the wind.

Up a winding path, carved into the side of the cliff and pocked with dips from icy winds and covered with crumbling rock, they saw a partially-crumbled tower up on a ledge. Who would build a tower here? Or who had?

(On Features I had rolled a 94:
Something unusual or unexpected and a crumbling tower fits that bill...
I think with all the architecture and such, I should probably add another Domain card “Ruins” to  Wild and Pass as well. I’ll do that.)

Pulling their cloaks over their faces against the ice and snow, they half stumbled and slipped up the icy rock-strewn path, holding onto the icy rocks as they climbed the path. They found the entrance to the tower.

Is it locked?

(Unlikely | 1[d10]) No, and...

The wooden door had rotted away long ago and rusted iron hinges were all that remained. They plunged inside, tripping over each other, falling down on the floor, their breath coming in steaming clouds. Outside, the wind thrashed the tower walls. Had they not found shelter, Eilwen felt they would have eventually frozen to death or been flailed alive by winds sharp enough to strip ice from rock.

“Well done, sister,” Aron said, breathing hard, lying on his back. The wind still bit sharply at them seeping through cracks where mortar had long ago disappeared but if they had to, this would shelter them for the night.

“A tower,” she breathed, kneeling and digging in her pouch. Her egg was safe. She rewrapped it, and pulled out a torch. Though only mid-day, with tall canyon walls and the storm outside, it seemed nearly night. “Who put a tower in this pass?” She felt for an oil-soaked torch from her, weather-proofed sack and with flint and steel and orange light flickered and flared to life. They examined their surroundings.

Stone stairs snaked up, and a rusted iron trapdoor lay in the center of the room.

“Well, my father’s father--may he be preserved from the Night--told me that this pass was used as a way to get down into the lower lands like the other pass guarded by the Wolf Fang clan. Perhaps this was a way station of sorts.” Kyffin said. 

“I wonder what happened to it?” Aron asked, standing and also looking about.

“They say it fell to the wild,” Kyffin shrugged. “And that--”

“Yes...” a voice hissed at them from the darkness. “It fell...to the wild...”

They spun, and saw a figure standing on the steps, torso in shadow. 

They raised weapons. “Who are you?” Aron shouted. “What are you doing here?”

“...in fact, it fell to the chaos that runs amok through the veins of the world,” the figure whispered and took a few more steps down the stairs. It’s cheekbones and chin reflected the light from their torch. Eilwen couldn’t see his eyes, its upper face still in shadow, but she felt, when its gaze passed over her, a dark sorrow. Its eyes and mouth remained hidden behind a protruding brow. She felt a dark foreboding presence. “The humans who built this tower fell, and the Elves who forged a home in these mountains feared and fled back to their cousins’ forests...”

It took another step down, and they saw a horrible visage emerge in the light of Eilwen’s torch. The thing’s flesh had withered down to the bone, paper thin, like parchment. Its dark eyes, pure pools of liquid hate and night and need, seemed to suck in the light. The smoke of her torch drifted towards it and began to twist and spiral up around it’s torso and then into a smoky crown.

“...and wisely so; for in this place, I am master. Master...and yet slave.” It hissed again, and in the light of Eilwin’s torch, they saw that its shriveled hands ended in long claw-like fingernails, dried with old blood. It clenched it’s hands and began to tremble. It stepped out fully into the torch light, and its eye sockets held pure black impassive orbs, large and alien looking--no whites at all. Swaths of black cloth wrapped around each limb. 

The eyes considered them, and a tongue snaked out over ruby-red lips, plump with desire, but turned down in petulance and pain. It stood perhaps twenty paces away and watched them.

Eilwen felt a nameless dread, and as one, the trio began to back toward the door. Yet where could they flee to? Death awaited them in the storm that thrashed and howled about just outside the ruined opening. They could not flee.

“You’re not human. What... what are you?” Eilwen gasped. Aron had moved in front of her, his axe and shield out defensively, and Kyffin stood to her right, his spear trembling in both hands.

“Alone...” it responded, its face twisting in sorrow and anger. “So very alone. They all left me...alone...so very alone. Eilvendria the Shining One! She left me first. Valsheen and Orador, the ‘blades of honor’, left me next. Then all the humans and all the elves. All those I had called dear, fled. They blamed me of course--the fools--but I remained faithful to my quest.”

“What was your quest?” she whispered quietly.

“Power...” and then it smiled the plump red lips spreading wide, like a garish smear of blood. “And I succeeded. Oh, how I succeeded!” A groan of pain and regret tinged with a maddened ecstasy. “Only I know how well I completed my quest. There is...power for the taking under the hills and wild places that mask the iron pillars. The mysteries of shades; the rituals of pain; the doom of despair; the necessary sacrifices of unplanned innocence and life essence! So very necessary but never enough... It is never enough. Always lacking...and yet here...here into my very tower come...friends to share in my...feast.”

“We mean you no ill,” Eilwen stammered, her heart thudding in her chest. “Let us pass in peace and go our way. We only seek to be out of these mountains.” Her bow was in her hands and an arrow fitted. She didn’t remember drawing her weapon. Nor did he seem to care.

The person, or thing, or whatever it was grinned an insane smile, teeth filed to points, the plump lips retracted and twisted into a mocking grimace of welcome as it’s head tilted to the side as if considering. Then it shook side to side ever so slightly. “No... you are my guests. Guests who must stay...I and my friends welcome you...to our feast!”

It spread its arms wide, its frame forming a T, palms facing upward, and cackled a mad gleeful laugh. Eilwen heard the flapping of wings and her torch flared up, half of its fuel consumed in an instant of bright light, revealing the fullness of the strange awful figure. Aron and Kyffin cried out at the flare-up, shielding their eyes. She dropped the torch. It fell into some debris burning in fitful sputters. Then it dimmed.

In the waning light, two winged shapes, each with wingspans as wide as a man’s arms stretched out, perched on the madman’s forearms. They had a lean angular form, with large dagger-shaped wings. They hissed and tongues forked out between elongated jaws with rows of needle-like teeth. 

“They wanted to hunt, but I held them back. But now...feast, my friends! Edris permits it. Feast on blood, bone, and marrow. There is a plentitude of precious ruby drops for all! Feast!”

And the figure gave a dreadful howl of insane glee and pain, and the two winged creatures leaped and darted towards her and her companions in a swift glide, fueled by a single powerful beat of each of their wings.

Okay. So, now, I’ll reveal the rest of what I rolled. 
On Face Danger I had rolled a 95:

“Roll twice on this table, both results occur. If they are the same, make it worse.”

Great...
First Roll was: 16 - “Denizen guided by a greater threat”
Okay.

Second Roll: 99 and we get this again: 
“Roll twice on this table, both results occur. If they are the same, make it worse.”

A little ridiculous to do it again, but lets run with it and see what we get.

First Roll: 21 Weather or Environmental Threat

Second Roll: Denizen Hunts

Combine all that with a negative twist and what do you get? Possibly a TPK.

But that will have to wait until Next Episode!
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#24
Episode 15
The night black leathery-winged creatures with needle teeth and elongated mouths glided, death on wings, towards them when the howl from the figure burst upon them. The shriek of sorrow, pain, and anger was no normal cry.

First, Eilwen has to Face Danger vs Heart to not be frightened or dismayed, though truthfully, I’m feeling dismayed already.

4 = 2[d6]+1[d6]+1

14 = 10[d10]+4[d10]

A miss. I don’t want to burn my hard-earned momentum on this so it stands. She loses 3 spirit from the mental shock.

At the unnatural keen, the hairs on her arms and back of her neck stood up as if they wanted to flee as well. The darkness whispered of her impending doom. The futility of crossing these mountains, the futility of righting a world gone wrong with madness and pain.

Current spirit is now 0/5. Now, the Endure Stress move. I’m rolling + heart since my Spirit is 0.

7 = 6[d6]+1


15 = 6[d10]+9[d10]


Grrr. Well this isn’t good. I rolled as well as I could. I do have 9 momentum and could spend that for a strong hit. Otherwise, I could take it and get a Shaken or Corrupted debility.

The problem is that I can only recover a debility while resting in a settlement and that seems very far away at this point, as we’ve only made 1 progress on our Delve through these mountains.

She’ll take the debility “Shaken”.

Is Aron cowed

(50/50 | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

Kyffin?

(50/50 | 9[d10]) Yes

All seemed hopeless and lost. Time seemed to slow. Eilwen fell to her knees and felt the cold stone floor beneath her knees. She saw broken furniture catch aflame. She dropped her bow. She wanted to howl with the madman, and dance in the freezing winds outside, and at the same time to to curl up in a ball and welcome the coming darkness of certain death.

There was no fighting this thing. Not here. Not now. They had to flee! Had to find a way out, to find a safe place! Maybe go back to Rockriver? They were fools to have come through these cursed mountains! It would have been better to try their hand against the Wolf Fang clan. Her heart failed her, and she cried out.

Aron and Kyffin also cowered nearby. For good reason, do we tremble, she thought. She did not blame them as craven-hearted. She understood why men despaired. She saw the dark underside of hopelessness and saw a chaotic universe threatening to destroy her life, her mind, her very soul.

Aron wept openly, falling to his knees, dropping his axe and holding his head, covering both ears with his fists. Kyffin stood next to Aron standing with his spear forward but accepting what would come. Hopeless but defiant.

The gliding creatures silent and dark, came at them.

“Mother,” she thought. “I’ll never know the truth.” The hollowness of not knowing threatened to consume her. What reason was there to go on?

Then she felt a glimmer of something. Not much, but an iron resolve began to form. Though she trembled in fear and loss, she thought of that little girl, the green dress, the iron box filled with white dust, and thought of the death of the innocent, the thought of an endless nothing awakened a faint glimmer inside her.

She would not give up! She gritted her teeth and snapped her eyes open. Could not... she would go on through fear and fated death with her last breath. But they had to leave now. Her eyes focused on the iron trap door. 

“No!” she shrieked in defiance and stood up, and the mental attack pulled back for just a moment. “Aron! Kyffin! This way! We must flee!”

Her scream jerked Aron and Kyffin to remembrance to the present.

On trembling legs, she ducked, weaved, and stumbled to her knees at the trop door. She yanked at the iron handle on the trap door and pulled with her might. With a wrench it opened in a squeal of rust-stubborn hinges. She caught a glimpse of a natural cavern perhaps twenty feet below and an iron ladder going down. 

Her companions, Aron behind her, trailed by Kyffin, barreled towards possible freedom. 

Is it locked?

(50/50 | 3[d10]) No

She’s going to Face Danger + edge to escape.
9 = 6[d6]+1[d6]+2

13 = 7[d10]+6[d10]

Booyah! A strong hit. +1 momentum 10/10 now.

About her, wings of death buffeted her, and dark needled jaws mawed for her blood. The cackling of unhinged madness crashed, a dark ocean of insistent incessant pain and hunger, that, given time, would wear away all resistance.

She dropped inside and slid down the ladder, and her two companions followed. The door crashed shut above them. And then Aron and Kyffin slid and stumbled after.

Above her, beyond the door, she heard shrieking.

She's okay. Did the others get out unharmed?

(50/50 | 1[d10]) No, and...

They’re both hurt, but Kyffin, who was in the rear probably got attacked, we’ll roll damage for him. I’m using the damage roller to see how bad... I’ll add a +4 modifier to reflect the danger.

(6 = 2[d20]+4) Negligible: Nick/Scratch/Bruise.

Wow. Well, that was lucky.

“What was that thing?” Aron asked.

“Kyffin!” she stammered, her heart hammering in her chest with a need to run and get as far away from the things above as possible. “Your sp--spear!” She ignored her brother’s question.

“Here,” he croaked, and she felt the rough grain of the spear’s haft. She felt and found the ladder, saw faint light and sounds from up above. She clambered up the ladder and heard the shrieking as the madman above tried to open it. She pulled on the handle, and the door clanged back down. Then she jammed the spear cross-wise through handles on the door’s underside, barring the door. The shrieking grew louder.

She slid back down. “I barred the door. It should hold him for a time! Quickly t--torches!” Her voice still trembled.

They dug through their packs and with quick strikes of flint on their oil-fueled brands, they lit their torches.

“Is everyone well?”

“Physically, well enough,” Aron grunted.

Did Aron remember to pick up his axe?
(Somewhat Unlikely | 7[d10]) Yes, but...

He clung to his axe in a white-knuckled grip, and above him, he heard banging on the iron hatch.

The cavern room was littered with broken crates, boxes, and full of cages. The cages had old bones of animals and humanoids. Their torches cast eerie shadows as they saw skeletons of animals, twisted and and combined together. The skull of a giant cat of some kind mixed with the torso and legs of a humanoid figure. It seemed to stare at them with alien eyes.

“What was that thing?” Aron asked again.

She saw a half-ruined table with yellowed parchments with diagrams showing strange and unnatural alterations, aberrations, and unfathomable creations. She saw one, a drawing of a great creature with a shell... a turtle? But no...it would move more quickly than that. She wasn’t sure. But whatever it was, it had a mass of tentacles sprouting from its maw.

The place felt wrong and dark.

“He was experimenting on animals... and people. I think he can create...monsters. I think something like that killed made that corpse on the rock we saw a few days back full of holes.”

“Nights beneath!” Kyffin swore. “It had sucked it dry of blood and it’s heart was missing!”

She grabbed a pile of papers and an old half-ruined book, eaten through with mold and time. She stuffed them into her pack and they moved on. The cavern ended, leading to a natural passageway that led away from the awful room.

They found it and followed it deeper into dark passages that must have riddled the mountain.

They followed a hewn passageway that ran straight in one direction away from the room. It opened into another cavern with other passageways, some natural, some hewn, branching off.

“Eilwen,” Aron said, breathing hard. He caught her arm as she started to take the right passageway. “We don’t know where we’re going,” Aron said heavily. “Did you find a map?”

(50/50 | 2[d10]) No

She quickly searched among the papers and she shook her head.

Aron swore.

Kyffin wiped his nose on his sleeve.

They could hear the faint sound of water dripping. Thankfully, the underside of the mountain was not as cold as above the mountain.

“We can’t go back the way we came,” she said, staring down the darkened passageways. 

They’ll continue their Delve through the underside of the mountain. I’ll change the Theme and Domain cards to reflect the change in environment. I see this as a Corrupted Ruin that they're in now.

Who knows, maybe they’ll find a way out. At least it won’t be as cold down here.


STATS:
 Edge 2
 Heart 1
 Iron 1 
 Shadow 3
 Wits 2


Health: 3/5
Spirit: 0/5
Supply: 5/5
Momentum: 10/10


Debilities: SHAKEN


Failures: 
11/24 (Optional XP rule)
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#25
RE: Chapter 10

Your interpretation of "locate pride" was either clever, inspired, or both. Loved it and it was just the light-hearted touch this story needed at that moment.
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#26
Smile Thanks Teviko. I enjoyed that part too. Though it did take me a little while to come up with that interpretation. That's sometimes the most challenging part of solo PRGing, interpreting the oracle in a way that doesn't derail the story. I could've just re-rolled, I guess, but actually using that interpretation, did end up adding to Mabon's character and gave some backstory and fleshed out the world some.
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#27
Unfortunately, it ended up not going anywhere.  Sad  But hey, that's also how the dice rolls.
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#28
I know... bummer. I was kind of looking forward to her getting a little tribe behind her quest. Oh well. I'm finding you also have to be very careful what questions you ask the Yes/No oracle. Smile
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#29
Episode 16
Eilwen listened to her intuition and took the right passageway. 


Delve the Depths + wits
6 = 4[d6]+2


18 = 9[d10]+9[d10]


Okay... No more! I’m using my 10 momentum to cancel both those. Two matches in a row both negative is not good, and we must make some progress! Might not be the wisest of choices but...we’ll see. Her momentum resets to 1/10 (usually 2 but only 1 because of her Shaken debility). But progress on the Delve is now 2/10. 


They traveled for what felt like a few hours through rubble-choked halls.


For Find an Opportunity (momentum goes up. It’s now 2/10.)
I rolled a 9.
“The terrain favors you, or you find a hidden path.”


They found a side passageway to the left. It had less rubble in it and had a faint breeze. “This way.”


They passed a large rectangular room with pillars that bore statues of stone, showing forgotten gods or heroes. In a couple of places the ceiling had fallen in and they could hear the gale blowing above. Snow fell and swirled down in those holes onto boulders that they had to clamber over in some places.


They found a staircase that wound up and then a wide passage that moved in a straight direction, like some major thoroughfare.


“From these passageways,” Kyffin said. “I think a large keep or city used to be here. But not made by humans. That madman mentioned Elves. I’ve not seen one myself. Have either of you?”


“I wonder if they made this place,” Kyffin mused, holding his torch about him. “Before...he...it caused them to flee.”


“They were wise to flee,” Eilwen said darkly.


Aron nodded. “Do you think he caused this destruction?” Aron said, noting a large collapsed room off to their right.


“He and his kind cause only cause destruction,” she responded.


They continued on in silence.


Delve the Depths again + 2 wits again +1 for the strong hit before.


9 = 6[d6]+3


6 = 2[d10]+4[d10]


Another strong hit! Progress on the Delve is now 3/10.
Find an Opportunity. Momentum is now 3/10.
I rolled a 33. “An aspect of the history or nature of this place is revealed.”


Did the Elves build this place? I’ll say likely because the figure they faced (Edrin)... hinted at such a thing.


(Likely | 6[d10]) Yes


More hours passed and they passed a ruined mural on an arch above the thoroughfare. The arch had fallen in and the stones lay scattered around them. They saw fine scroll work and artistry of and twisting vines and fine runes were carved into the stone of the remaining archway. They could not understand it, but it was similar in design to the artistry they had found on the corpse’s wooden mask they had seen a few days back.


“Eilwen we need to rest,” Aron said. “This seems as good a place as any.”


She nodded and sagged down onto a stone, setting her pack down. There wasn’t any wood, so they ate cooked meat and hard bread and let their torches burn out, and then settled in to sleep. “Wake me when it’s my watch,” Eilwen said.


---


(I’ll post some rolls directly after to keep the tension)


Eilwen struggled to stay awake in the pitch black that surrounded her. She also couldn’t tell how much time had passed. Kyffin had awakened her some time ago, hadn’t he? Had it been one hour or four? How could you tell when the bowels of the earth permitted no light, no stars, no promise of dawn?


Her jaws creaked, and she gave a massive yawn. She sat with her back to a boulder, hugging her knees with her arms and thought about the previous day’s events. She felt in the dark for her nearby pack, and pulled out the wrapped wyvern egg. She thought she had heard a tapping sound. She ran her hands over the smooth surface but she couldn’t feel any flaking shell. She heard the tapping again and put the egg to her ear.


But no... that wasn’t coming from the egg....Her hand went to her weapons belt where she wore her sword and daggers. Was something out there? Her mind projected imagined monsters moving in the dark. Maybe it was nothing more than a rat. She rested her hand on the pommel of her sword as she crawled over to Aron. She knelt and shook him awake. 


He started, tensed, and his hand jerked for his belt knife.


“Easy!” she whispered into his ear. “It’s me, Eilwen.”


He calmed and sat up. “What time is it...?" 


“No way to tell. But it’s your watch...” she hesitated and listened to the darkness. She could sense her eyes stretching, as if her pupils could pull in light from nowhere.


“What is it?” he asked, sensing her unease and grabbing her arm.


“Light a torch. I’ll wake Kyffin, I think something might be out there. It might be nothing, but...”


He quickly pulled over his pack and began rummaging through it and she started to crawl over to Kyffin.


Halfway to where she thought he might be, there came a sudden scratching sound, and a crack of stone on stone to her right. It sounded close...


“Aron!” she shouted, the hairs on her arms standing and she spun in the direction of the noise in a crouch as the noise grew louder as if something large were shoving rocks aside or climbing over them. 


“Kyffin! Awake!” she shouted, and had her knife out. “Aron! The torch!”


A flicker of sparks flared in the night-black of the subterranean network, and she saw it...


Make Camp roll + supply of 5 + 1 bonus from Delve the Depths strong hit before.


7 = 1[d6]+6


18 = 9[d10]+9[d10]


Miss! The double nines... It comes... The beast in the night. It’s here!


Does it come during her watch


(50/50 | 6[d10]) Yes, but...


Yes but as she’s finishing and awakening Aron.


Can they hear sounds from the storm outside?


(Somewhat Unlikely | 2[d10]) No


Does Aron get the torch lit before the thing attacks?


(50/50 | 5[d10]) No, but...


No, but he’s close, and it barely starts lighting as it attacks.


Sparks flickered and then went out. In that brief flare-up, she caught a glimpse of a horrific monstrosity. She didn’t get a good look: a black shell, massive bug-like legs, and tentacles.


Her heart hammered, like it was pounding out an iron blade all on its own. “Heralds Beneath,” she whispered the curse and sucked in an involuntary breath at the flickered vision from the Night’s Beneath!


Face Danger + 1 (heart) 


7 = 6[d6]+1


5 = 1[d10]+4[d10]


Strong hit! + 1 momentum (now 4/10)


Then darkness reigned and she heard movement. She turned and ran to where she had last seen her sword and bow.


“The torch!” she screamed as she stumbled over a rock and skidded into her equipment. She quickly grabbed her bow and quiver, feeling in the dark.


“Almost there!” Aron shouted, and more flickering sparks flared.


Kyffin had his spear in his hands and he shouted in surprise and horror.


“Now Aron!” she shouted again.


The torch finally flared to life. Sometimes darkness is preferable...


“The gods help us,” Aron gasped.


Atop the fallen stones above them, the massive creature stood. It had a massive head, the size of that alone exceeded a horse’s bulk. A dark maw filled with razor sharp teeth, opened wide. Large eyes constricted in the sudden torch light, and she saw her face reflected in those eyes. A strand of dark saliva oozed from its teeth.


Her mind reeled. They were in no condition to fight this! They need to flee again!


The tentacles weaved in the air as if sensing them, then in a sudden scuttle over many legs that caused large rocks to shift and collide into each other, the aberration charged at them.


“Here it comes!” Aron said. He had his shield out. “We can’t fight this!” 


“Agreed! We have to flee! Kyffin! Gather your supplies and run in the direction we’ve been going! We’ll be behind you!”


Face Danger + edge to use quickness to dodge in, get their stuff and run


Kyffin nodded, only too happy to get away from this thing. He gathered his supplies and then ran into the darkness.


5 = 4[d6]+1


18 = 9[d10]+9[d10]


Miss... And double-nines for a match. Dang... This is likely not going to be good.


The thing sensed Kyffin dart away, and like a cat chasing a doomed mouse, it darted past Eilwen, with a speed that belied its size and chased after Kyffin.


(The twist from the matching 9s)


 It’s massive chitinous brushed her and Aron. Aron swung at it, connecting, but his axe only scored the surface of the hard shell.


“Kyffin!” Aron shouted, following after the man.


Eilwen darted and scooped up her own pack and Aron’s and caught up to Aron. 


“Kyffin!” Aron shouted again. “Behind you!”


She passed her pack to Aron and he tossed it over his shoulders and they chased after the creature that scuttled after Kyffin.


It bore down onto Kyffin. Kyffin screamed, turned and bravely crouched trying to plant his spear, much as you would at a charging horse. But this was no mere hoofed animal. The massive thing ran over him, slamming him to the ground, and then the bulk moved over him, snapping his spear. He covered his head. For a moment, he was lost in a churning sea of sharp legs.


I rolled on Kyffin’s damage using rpg solo's damage roller. I gave it a +5 modifier just for fun. And of course with a roll of a 19 not good.


(19 = 14[d20]+5) Critical Injury: Requires immediate attention; clearly life-threatening if not immediately deadly.


She saw one of the monster’s legs pierce Kyffin’s thigh, like a spear. He screamed, gripping at the wound as blood spurted from a gouged leg.


Poor Kyffin... I fear he’s not long for this world. But we shall see...


Eilwen’s heart sank. “No,” she breathed and she knew that Kyffin wasn’t going anywhere... not with that wound. Not without help. And without help he would soon bleed out. She hoped he lived that.


Aron looked at her and they both saw the truth of the situation. If they left now, the thing would probably finish off Kyffin, giving them a fighting chance to get out alive. But if they stayed, it very well might mean their end.


Was this Eilwen’s fate? For her journey to end here in these dark caves, fated to die in these depths, her quests undone before they had even begun?


The creature spun around, legs clattering and tapping on the stones. It’s twin eyes regarded Kyffin, the tentacles weaving about him.


A part of her told her to run. No one would blame her. Aron would praise her for thinking like a monarch.


“Just go!” Kyffin shouted. “Leave me!” With one hand he tried to staunch the flow of blood in vain, while his other, yanked out a gleaming knife.


Aron held his axe and torch. Eilwen held her bow.


But Aron stepped in front of her.


“Eilwen...” Aron said, shaking his head.


“Out of my way,” she muttered.


“You’ll die!”


“And if I didn’t try, I’d forever wish I had,” she whispered. “Now move aside! We have to try.”


He looked at her sadly.


“I’ll distract it, bring it towards me. You then go for Kyffin and help him, I’ll lead it away! Then we can...meet up...and...”


“No...”


I think this requires a compel move from Eilwen. Aron firmly believes they should not do this.


Compel + heart 


1d6+1 (heart) +1 (bond)


5 = 3[d6]+2


16 = 9[d10]+7[d10]
A clear miss... she must pay the price.


“Eilwen...” Aron said. “He’s a dead man already.”


The thing circled around Kyffin and the upper half of its body rose up, dark as death.


“Do as I say!” she commanded, frantic.


He frowned and shook his head. 


“Fine! I’ll do it myself!” shouldering her bow and reaching for her sword.


She moved past him, started to move towards Kyffin and began to draw her blade.


She heard Aron sigh and then she felt strong arms, quick as a snake, pin her in a quick warrior’s move.


“Aron, what--? Let me go!” She struggled.


“I’m sorry,” he whispered into her ear as he yanked her backwards. “It’s for your own good...It’s for our own good. It’s for the good of the Ironlands!”


He had dropped his torch when he had grabbed her. It sputtered on the ground as she flailed against his strong grip. He continued to pull her away into the dark, walking backward.


They heard clicking on stone and they saw the massive bulk shiver above Kyffin. The torch light gradually receded as he continued to pull her back.


She grunted, trying to wrest free.


“Aron...What are you--Let me go! I must--”


“I’m sorry,” he groaned, and she felt wetness on her cheek, where his face pressed against hers, where she felt his warm breath on her cheek. “You are my sister... And I can’t lose you! Please don’t fight me, Eilwen! I need you!”


In the flickering torch, they saw a dozen tentacles dart down and pierce Kyffin’s body. Kyffin gave a ragged gurgling scream. Eilwen stiffened at the horrific attack.


“I’m sorry...” he said again. 


When Kyffin’s cries were no more, and all they heard was an awful distant slurping sound, she sagged in Aron’s arms and wept as a child, and she let him carry her away.


---


And THAT, my fair readers is how quickly things can turn in Ironsworn. I think the end of this scene underscores her emotional state of 0/5 spirit. You get the sense that she is on the edge and about the crumble... 


Much like a good Call of Cthulhu game, I believe there are some horrors you should probably just...run from. Too bad they weren’t all able to get away. Sigh... now we need another red shirt to throw to the wolves... j/k. They’ll miss Kyffin. 


We’ll see how her relationship evolves with Aron after this... assuming they survive the ordeal of these mountains.
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#30
Well, we've been here before. Things going to crap. No apparent way to survive. But you've pulled your characters out of it in the past. Maybe you'll do it again.



Or this will be the first actual play I have read where everyone dies.
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