1 – Into the Forest, Trophy Gold: The Roots of Old Kalduhr

We’ve got characters ready to play Trophy Gold. 2 of the 3 were made from the Trophy Gold Character Generator. I had a jamboard ready, some hirelings prepped and had been futzing with a pinterest board all week.

Roots of Old Kalduhr

We began the game in Fort Durhrin, in the midst of the hangover of a festival to celebrate someone brave enough to venture into the Roots of Old Kalduhr. Baso, Jim’s character, had slept with a treasure-hunter named Osto, who had died of a heart-attack, and the Fort’s cryptic laws meant that Baso had to take on the dead treasure-hunter’s debt and go into the forest in their stead. When I asked Jim where Baso was as the game began he told me that Baso was chained up so they wouldn’t run away from their obligation. Kel entered Fort Duhrin to meet up with the recently deceased Osto, to venture into the Roots of Old Kalduhr, the most famous delve in an ancient forest dense with danger and strangeness.

Spears Subject Divider Image
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1922.26.a

Moments in Play

Osto’s ghost was talking to Baso while they were in Fort Duhrin but no one else could see them. Everyone took this in stride; Jim had fun talking to the air.

They hired Aksil the Spear, an elder hireling known for this experience from the Borderlands to the Bone Sea. I made Hireling Cards.

Aksil the Spear

As they crossed the marker that let them know that they were entering the forest, I let them know that there are strange villages along the forest’s border that are used to treasure hunter visitors. Baso said, “I bet if one of us dragged another wounded of us into one of those villages, they’d just eat us. Better to sleep in the forest, I think.” Aksil disagreed, “Sleeping in the forest is dangerous.”

As they crossed into the forest, Osto’s ghost disappeared.

I wasn’t sure what to do to show the forest’s strangeness. I had the Trophy Loom pdf open in a tab, I went to the Deep Kalduhr entries by Paul Baldowski and this jumped out at me:

The Imprisoned Fae entry: A cage of dull green metal displays the
contorted skeleton of a fairy-like creature
wearing an elaborate crown trimmed with
fur. The cage dangles high above the ground
from a vicious-looking barb—abandoned
sticks, hooks, rope, and polearms scatter the
floor beneath.

It got an immediate reaction. Kel was sad at seeing the bones where butterfly wings would have fluttered and Baso put out honey and bread for the God Neighbors. Baso also left a vine crown that fell from the cage, “My first treasure…”

I am not even sure how to describe the series of die rolls that came next that led to the treasure-hunters lost in the forest. It was a blur of Hunt Rolls, Risk Rolls, Devil’s Bargains and cool shit. The cult that imprisons fae caught the group’s scent when Kel used magic to tear the cage apart with his bare hands. Aksil led them to a hill that was actually a hill-sized beast that awoke and Basto speared into the cult’s path.

In the end, they were lost in the forest and made camp under a stone overhang where they found a beast-born skull. Aaron said something about the skull being his character’s skull. Hell yeah.

“How do you know this is your skull, Kel?” Turns out, Kel broke his collar-bone when he was a young Kingsguard sworn to the Caliginous Grove’s monarchs and the skeleton had evidence of the exact same break, wearing the Grove’s livery.

As they sipped tea and dusk fell to night, Aksil said, “This was a good first day in the forest. Perhaps when the sun rises we will find our way.”

Spears Subject Divider Image
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1922.26.a

Added to the Bestiary

Grwllah – beast mistaken for a hill, can be prodded to go in a direction with a spear, head rises first when awakened

Order of the Dead Stag – cult that hunts faeries and beast-born, led by a cursed fey power – Orion?

Snags – sharp toothed little faery folk

Spears Subject Divider Image
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1922.26.a

Takeaways: This game, as the kids say, slaps. The way it marshals everyone’s creativity for every roll in a way that isn’t overly story-gamey is a damned pleasure to play.

Ready for Next Week: I’ll print out and read over the first bits of the Roots of Old Kalduhr and daydream about the entryway.

These designs and more in my Threadless shop – t-shirts of all kinds, mugs, stickers and even shower curtains…

Blog of Judd Karlman from Daydreaming about Dragons

This session was played via Zoom on Friday, April 15th, 2022

5 thoughts on “1 – Into the Forest, Trophy Gold: The Roots of Old Kalduhr

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