7 – HARPY, Trophy Gold: Roots of Old Kalduhr

7 – HARPY, Trophy Gold: Roots of Old Kalduhr

It had been a while as our summer schedules took their tolls from our gaming time but we got back to it.

Roots of Old Kalduhr title pic

Beams of light streak down on subterranean stone with a climber in front of a faceless statue of a Lost Sister in a cyclopean alcove.
https://trophyrpg.com/

Again, I really love the format of Trophy Gold Incursions and Trophy Loom’s odd little details about the setting. They’re easy to use at the table and I suspect they’ll get even easier once I have the books at hand. Our games are short 2 hour sessions with a break an hour in.

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

For the first hour we puttered around town. Basso spread his gold around a bit, bribing the Governor and paying for some carpenters to build cabins and walls for the Wellslode refugees, who had been in a tent city before that.

Kell made his room more like his Grove home.

The ghost in Basso’s spear noted that the Governor’s Kingsguard had no wood in their weapons (nice detail, Loom!).

Once again, they hired Aksil, who is becoming a part of the group. Basso even offered him a room in their house, which Aksil politely declined.

https://githyankidiaspora.com/2022/04/18/hirelings/
AI generated gold coin

We headed back into the Roots of Old Kalduhr and decided to look into a new entrance. Last time I used the Statue Clearing this time I used the Stone Bridge, leading to the Harpy Fountain, where a rusted grate took them to the aqueduct. I compared the Old Kalduhri aqueduct to the aqueducts they traversed in Wellslode, saying that the Wellslode engineering was clearly a poor copy of the Old Kalduhri work.

AI generated gold coin

A middling Hunt Roll led to the eels in the lake (a tiny detail I didn’t think I’d use) coming together overland in a giant eel-blob after Basso carefully cleaned off the Harpy statue. A Ritual and some Devil’s Bargains later and harpies are now awake in the forest and the stone bridge is broken.

AI generated gold coin

We left with the group looking around a Market Street. Basso, after asking Kell to be more careful, quickly put on a turtle mask which made his shadow that of a turtle with no other effect.

Kell, trying to get a grip on what happened to the people in this city, tracked to get an idea of where they might’ve run to and came to a barricaded door. We’ll start there next time.

Devil's Bargain with a scary black and white stag with a flame above its head between its horns.

Devil’s Bargains from this session:

Harpies are awake in the Forest…

What is a Devil’s Bargain, you ask? From the book:

Treasure-hunters laugh at danger, fueled by the folly of their pride. But failure nips at their heels, waiting
for the perfect moment to strike. When you gather dice to make a Risk Roll, the gm or any other player
can offer you a bonus light die if you accept a Devil’s Bargain from them. Common Devil’s Bargains include:

Causing collateral damage or unintended harm 

Getting lost or separated from your companions

Sacrificing an item or piece of treasure

Betraying a fellow treasure-hunter
Attracting unwanted attention

The Devil’s Bargain occurs regardless of the outcome of the roll. You make the deal, pay the price, and get the bonus die. The Devil’s Bargain is always a free choice. If you don’t like one, just reject it (or suggest how to alter it so you might consider taking it).

Anyone may veto or suggest alterations to a proposed Devil’s Bargain, especially if it would also impact their treasure-hunter. You may only offer and accept Devil’s Bargains when making a Risk Roll.
https://trophyrpg.com/

Bestiary

Harpy? The not-naming monsters thing is difficult.

Bestiary with Trophy Gold and Trophy Dark symbols embossed on the worn leather of an ancient looking tome.
Spears Subject Divider Image 
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1922.26.a

Takeaways:

Ready for Next Week: I’ll read over a few sets on theRoots of Old Kalduhr’s first level.

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Blog of Judd Karlman from Daydreaming about Dragons

This session was played via Zoom on

6 – Time, Trophy Gold: Roots of Old Kalduhr

6 – Time, Trophy Gold: Roots of Old Kalduhr

I didn’t sleep last night, so when we got together to game, my prep wasn’t where I wanted it to be for a return to the Roots of Old Kalduhr. I grabbed Attack of the Phase Spider, definitely the strangest adventure I have written. Reading about the False Hydra, I see that the concepts have something in common, though the False Hydra stuff goes a bit further than I’m comfortable with in blurring in and out of game.

https://trophyrpg.com/

Lots of cool stuff happened but I want to playtest Attack of the Phase Spider and don’t want to spoil it. In the end we discovered that Aaron is not a fan of time travel stories but for a meal he wasn’t wild about, it was a fun game.

As written now I feel like this adventure’s text is a hammer to traumatize one’s friends. It needs a ferocious re-write but there is a good idea in there that I can’t wait to get right.

We had a character hit 6 Ruin (but pulled it back with clever temporal magic problem solving). I love the rules for hitting 6 Ruin as they are written and wish there were more games where we had moments for folks to step up and co-GM a bit. I feel much less nervous about a character dying now. Now I want full rules for players stepping up and running an incursion for when their character becomes a monster and shacks up in a dungeon and starts eating folks.

When this adventure is working, it should use the characters’ backgrounds to create a surreal otherworld, blend character’s histories together in confusing and interesting ways and confront parts of characters’ past while thinking a bit about the future (something the desperately in-debt treasure hunters rarely have time to do). As it is, I think I managed to do that but the text isn’t helpful just yet. Still, a good first step.

Spears Subject Divider Image 
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1922.26.a
Devil's Bargain with a scary black and white stag with a flame above its head between its horns.

Devil’s Bargains from this session:

If Baso goes to 6 Ruin he’ll become a Temporal Monster of some kind…

What is a Devil’s Bargain, you ask? From the book:

Treasure-hunters laugh at danger, fueled by the folly of their pride. But failure nips at their heels, waiting
for the perfect moment to strike. When you gather dice to make a Risk Roll, the gm or any other player
can offer you a bonus light die if you accept a Devil’s Bargain from them. Common Devil’s Bargains include:

Causing collateral damage or unintended harm 

Getting lost or separated from your companions

Sacrificing an item or piece of treasure

Betraying a fellow treasure-hunter
Attracting unwanted attention

The Devil’s Bargain occurs regardless of the outcome of the roll. You make the deal, pay the price, and get the bonus die. The Devil’s Bargain is always a free choice. If you don’t like one, just reject it (or suggest how to alter it so you might consider taking it).

Anyone may veto or suggest alterations to a proposed Devil’s Bargain, especially if it would also impact their treasure-hunter. You may only offer and accept Devil’s Bargains when making a Risk Roll.
https://trophyrpg.com/
Bestiary with Trophy Gold and Trophy Dark symbols embossed on the worn leather of an ancient looking tome.

Bestiary

Phase Spider – shit, I named it in the title.

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

Takeaways: I need to re-write this adventure but there is something good in there.

Tabletop Role-Playing Game Collection
https://shopofjudd.threadless.com/collections/tabletop-role-playing-games

Ready for Next Week: Re-read the Roots of Old Kalduhr and daydream about the delve and Fort Duhrin and the refugees from Wellslode a bit.

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Blog of Judd Karlman from Daydreaming about Dragons

This session was played via Zoom on 7/15/22

5 – Sweet, Trophy Gold: Roots of Old Kalduhr

5 – Sweet, Trophy Gold: Roots of Old Kalduhr

We missed a few weeks but it felt good to get back and see what is going on with these treasure-hunting weirdos.

SPOILERS for A Heart Hums in the Darkness ahead!

A sweet detour into A Heart Hums in the Darkness

As if constructs weren’t odd and creepy enough, the treasure-hunters are being escorted into the mining town of Wellslode by constructs created by bees to understand (and possibly infiltrate?) humans.

Moments
Ancient and worn gold coin with Trophy Gold written above it.

As we started, I was feeling low energy. On those days, when we’ve missed a few sessions and I’m feeling groggy, I’m happy to have a game with structure. In Trophy Gold’s case, it is the incursion structure, giving me moments – bullet-points I can use right away rather than boxed text that I’m loathe to read. I am not a GM who lives in terror of not knowing what to say next but still, it is nice to have a life-preserver to grab onto when I’m getting back into the swing of a game.

Ancient and worn gold coin

I gave them some time to wander around the set a bit – a park set into a gorge near a waterfall feeding a water wheel. This group picks up consequences quickly and after a few Hunt rolls they had a grip on this place once the Mole-thing dug through the stone behind the waterfall and destroyed the water wheel. Introduced lamplight fungus, the snuff miners use to see better in the dark.

They helped young Orfuss get the bees-think-your-dead pheromone smell off him, coaching him from afar, not touching him. Orfuss, for whatever reason, was kind of a comic relief goofball, mentioning a bard’s story he had heard where a hero smeared himself with mud to avoid an otherworldly hunter’s strange vision. “Get to the carriage!” Too goofy? Maybe.

Ancient and worn gold coin

Kel said that the strange parroting that the bee-construct guards do reminded him of how his fey lords back in the Grove used to toy with kidnapped humans (good fuel that I’ll use later).

After I mentioned the buzzing a few times, Baso grabbed some honey off a corpse’s face, rolled it into a more solid ball and put it in his ears, hoping to block out any buzzing magic to come. He offered earplugs to his comrades but they weren’t sold on it. He found a lyre and had to climb up a goat path out of the gorge and take a long way down to avoid some bees. He held up a walking stick he found with a scrimshaw drawing of a skeleton parade on it, commanding the dead to rise and do his bidding.

Me to Jim, “We agree that this isn’t going to work, right?”

We agreed.

Pela gathered leaves and sticks and used his Enliven to give it life. The effigy, Baso’s high pitched singing and Kel’s quick movement got him away from the oncoming Mole-thing, that began eating corpses instead.

With Aksil cursing their strangeness, they went into the aqueduct from the hole the Mole-thing had carved.

https://githyankidiaspora.com/2022/04/18/hirelings/
Ancient and worn gold coin

Kel climbed up a building and got the lay of the land. There was good in and out of game banter about using or not-using their Hunt tokens to get by this Set but everyone knows the Queen looms in some future Set ahead of them and they don’t want to go into that low on tokens. Smart.

Taking stock, we realized that we had quite a crew gathered – the 3 player characters, Aksil, Orfuss, and the 2 bee-constructs – mirroring player words and gestures in the creepiest ways I could muster. There was some talk about Pela’s still-animated effigy; could he take away its animate magic? We decided it would take a Risk Roll to do so but for now, the 2-3 foot tall stick and mud-thing still waddles around.

How many creepy constructs can one group of treasure-hunters have in their posse?

Ancient and worn gold coin

As the game ended, Kel and Pela went to see what was going on in the warehouse with a mix of buzzing and sobbing coming from it. “Kel, it is the sobbing of someone who is captured and is losing hope of every getting away. You know this sound well…”

Baso struck out on his own, approaching the alchemist’s door. I wanted to hint at the crossbow bolt pressure plate trap and so I mentioned bloodstains on the doorstep. As Baso approached, he took a crossbow to the ribs as he knocked on the door, calling the alchemist’s name. Jim made it very clear that he was more than willing to pay the price of separating from the group.

We’ll start the next game with Kel and Pela trying to figure out how to save the humans being made to chew vegetable matter for the bees, guarded by a bee-shaped construct the size of a pony. Meanwhile, Baso will meet the Alchemist while contending with the new Condition – gutshot.

Bestiary with Trophy Gold and Trophy Dark symbols embossed on the worn leather of an ancient looking tome.

Bestiary

We need to name the Mole-thing and the pony-sized bee constructs.

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

Takeaways: Nice to be back at it. Looking forward to finishing this adventure next week.

Jay’s kickstarter continues. If superheroes (specifically 80’s/90’s X-men) are your thing, check it out.

Ready for Next Week: I’ll look over Roots of Old Kalduhr again and maybe, just maybe spring my strangest monster ever on the group as a kind of mini-incursion.

I might want to read up on conditions too; I often forget that rule exists.

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Blog of Judd Karlman from Daydreaming about Dragons

This session was played via Zoom on 6/10/22

4 – Buzz, Trophy Gold: Roots of Old Kalduhr

4 – Buzz, Trophy Gold: Roots of Old Kalduhr

I had read an incursion that had themes that fit this group all too well. I decided to pitch it to them in-game to see if they were interested in doing some work for the Governor of Ft. Durhin.

Roots of Old Kalduhr title pic

Beams of light streak down on subterranean stone with a climber in front of a faceless statue of a Lost Sister in a cyclopean alcove.
https://trophyrpg.com/

The group got back from their first foray into the Roots of Old Kalduhr, set up a household and took a side-job.

Spears Subject Divider Image 
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1922.26.a
Moments
Ancient and worn gold coin with Trophy Gold written above it.

Their established household is a tree-house, taken from the Old Kalduhr and planted where an old shack used to stand. Jim’s idea and I dig it, bringing the creepy forest to them.

Ancient and worn gold coin

Aaron described Kel’s ruin as having more to do with his headspace than with wounds, so he sparred with Delinia Alger, the head of the Governor’s Kingsguard to clear his head. She asked if they wanted to do a scouting mission for the Governor, looking into what was driving refugees from Wellslode. They said yes and so the incursion, A Heart Hums in Darkness by Michael Van Vleet began.

Ancient and worn gold coin

The Governor offered them 3 Coin when they returned and would pay for the burden of any extra Hirelings they wanted to take on. They hired reliable Aksil once again, reassuring him that Baso was leaving Tortoise, the Dollem construct from the Orphan Villa, in the household to guard it while they were gone. “They bees follow the Queen of Millions, some kind of queen bee-thing.”

The Governor offered to double the money if they could kill the bees’ queen and 4 Coin total if they could get the bees to agree to move.

Ancient and worn gold coin

Aksil had mentioned that he had heard some adventurer-types had burned down the Humming Woods, leading to the bees invading Wellslode. Baso followed up and asked the governor some questions about it and ended with, “Any idea where we can find those adventurers?” I asked for a Hunt Roll and he got a good ole “encounter something terrible.”

“Yeah, Stefan, was a part of that posse that lit fire to the Humming Wood and he’s been camping by the wells for a while now.” Knowing something terrible was waiting out there for them, Kel and Pela wanted nothing to do with that but Baso grabbed Tortoise and headed over.

Yeah, Stefan was a beeswax construct, taken right out of the Incursion. It seemed the obvious thing. They talked to the Stefan Construct, who parroted shit back to them. Baso wanted to bring the construct with them but no one else was having it. They left with the beeswax construct standing guard outside the door, Tortoise inside, arms folded. Was Tortoise glaring at the beeswax construct? Surely that is your imagination…

Ancient and worn gold coin

At the edge of Wellslode, three constructs in militia livery were outside of a cheese shop. Kel immediately wanted to see if they were constructs and got an “encounter something terrible,” so the three constructs looked exactly like the characters.

Ancient and worn gold coin

Another encounter-something-terrible led to an elderly refugee leaning against the tree, holding his belongings in a blanket, to be crying honey, complaining of hearing the Hum in his head. Kel lost his composure a bit and demanded to know if the beeswax trio had something to do with the old man’s condition. They pleaded ignorance. Did Pela say last rites over the man? I’ll ask next game.

We ended with the constructs agreeing to take the treasure-hunters to the Queen of Millions as long as they left the torches that Baso was making from the cheese shop’s cheese-cloth behind. Baso went into the shop, put the torches in his bag and claimed he left them inside. Off they went…

Devil's Bargain with a scary black and white stag with a flame above its head between its horns.

Devil’s Bargains from this session:

I think it was all Hunt rolls this session, no Risk Rolls yet.

What is a Devil’s Bargain, you ask? From the book:

Treasure-hunters laugh at danger, fueled by the folly of their pride. But failure nips at their heels, waiting
for the perfect moment to strike. When you gather dice to make a Risk Roll, the gm or any other player
can offer you a bonus light die if you accept a Devil’s Bargain from them. Common Devil’s Bargains include:

Causing collateral damage or unintended harm 

Getting lost or separated from your companions

Sacrificing an item or piece of treasure

Betraying a fellow treasure-hunter
Attracting unwanted attention

The Devil’s Bargain occurs regardless of the outcome of the roll. You make the deal, pay the price, and get the bonus die. The Devil’s Bargain is always a free choice. If you don’t like one, just reject it (or suggest how to alter it so you might consider taking it).

Anyone may veto or suggest alterations to a proposed Devil’s Bargain, especially if it would also impact their treasure-hunter. You may only offer and accept Devil’s Bargains when making a Risk Roll.
https://trophyrpg.com/
Bestiary with Trophy Gold and Trophy Dark symbols embossed on the worn leather of an ancient looking tome.

Bestiary

We do need to name the Beeswax constructs…

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

Takeaways: Baso is leaning into the folk horror creepiness – having Tortoise do dances while he tells stories to the children about the glory of violence. Pela

Ready for Next Week: I’ve got the rest of this adventure ready but I’ll look it over one more time.

More?

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Blog of Judd Karlman from Daydreaming about Dragons

This session was played via Zoom on 5/6/2022

3 – Out from the Roots, Trophy Gold: Roots of Old Kalduhr

3 – Out from the Roots, Trophy Gold: Roots of Old Kalduhr

I read over Level 1 again and read over a deeper incursion at Jason Cordova’s suggestion because of links it has to the current adventure; the Trophy Discord is a nice community (INVITE LINK).

While I run the game I’ve got 4 tabs: Trophy Gold and Trophy Loom, another for Paid for in Blood and one more for our Jamboard. This session I only used the Jamboard and the Mega-Incursion write-up, first level printed out so I can write notes on it.

Roots of Old Kalduhr title pic

Beams of light streak down on subterranean stone with a climber in front of a faceless statue of a Lost Sister in a cyclopean alcove.
https://trophyrpg.com/

It was Jim and Aaron this game as Jay had some work stuff come up. With Jim’s permission, we decided he had left camp, following a beautiful piper’s tune but had lost it when he heard a bell ring. Jay‘s character and Jim’s (Baso and Pela) switched places somehow because of the constructs with the silver bells’ magic that we don’t understand but makes it easier to explain the rotating cast. The constucts were dubbed Dollems (rhymes with golem) by Jim.

Characters and Hireling:

Spears Subject Divider Image 
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1922.26.a
Moments
Ancient and worn gold coin with Trophy Gold written above it.

Jim got his feet under him fast. Baso looted the silver bell off of the Dollums and Jim suggested that perhaps the animals around the fountain were some kind of astrology. I jumped on that; yes, the 6 animals (lion, griffon, pig, rooster, bull and tortoise) were for children born during various times of year and the 7th, the cthonic beast whose statue was broken, was for children who knew nothing of their births.

“Thanks, Jim. Now you’ve made me help make me sad by making something up with me. Are you happy now?”

The silver bell had no clapper…

Ancient and worn gold coin

In the Common Room was another Dollem, this one with a tortoise head. Baso mimicked its movements, holding the silver bell on his own hand. I asked for a Risk Roll and through dice and Devil’s Bargains, the Tortoise Dollem was bound to Baso, who now had an understanding of the bells – “You feel as if you are 3 rings away from a cliff-face, from being sent to a terrible place that you don’t want to fall into.” On the wall, in Old Kalduhri, Aksi read the inscription in bright but faded letters, “Good children get to sit, bad children get the pit.”

When the Griffon Dollem showed up, they held it at bay and took the bell off of its right hand. It looked confused for a moment and then went back to searching the Common Room, in cupboards and under tables. At some point Jim proclaimed, “Baso can ring the bell now even though it has no clapper,” and that made perfect sense. The Tortoise, when given a command, gave Baso a condescending pat on the head. Cartwheels seem to be an introduction and also a way of saying, “Thank you,” and “You’re welcome.”

Ancient and worn gold coin

Something so strange happened that I nearly forgot to write about it. Someone was in the midst of a Risk Roll (I think it was Aaron) and Jim’s Devil’s Bargain was about the bell breaking and doing something unexpected. He left that to me to decide, like a fell gift under a watchful and ancient Kalduhri tree.

I decided the bell broke and brought something out of the pit. A blob made of half a dozen children rolled across the Common Room, screaming and crying and singing. When they didn’t engage with it, it rolled into the barracks, as if remembering its old life (lives?). They debated killing it but in the end, left it.

As Baso said, “If we don’t destroy that thing I’m going to find myself thinking of it whenever I try to sleep…”

Ancient and worn gold coin

Kel and Aksi went into the office to look for the money; Baso stayed in the courtyard, dancing and humming, hoping to keep any other Dollems away. When the Rooster Dollem jumped out of the wardrobe, Aksi and Kel tried to destroy it but a bell went off – only 2 more until they were sent to the pit. Aaron did the math and spent 3 Hunt Tokens. Aaron narrated hulking out, Wolf Beast-Bitten Style, and smashing the room to pieces, coming out with the gold over his shoulder. Jim added a nice detail, the gold was in the remnants of one of the Dollem’s silk jackets.

At one point in the midst of this glorious frightening mess, Aaron said something about the events reminding Kel of how his monarchs in the Caliginous Grove were turned to wood and I need to go back and dig a little at that.

Ancient and worn gold coin

I did some describing of the way home, as Jim hadn’t been at the game where they ventured down. Aaron mentioned that they were going to take a careful route to avoid the Cave Hounds that were eating Treasure-Hunter remains on their way in.

I had a Devil’s Bargain about the exit being complicated because of the excess of blood they used in the ritual to enter the Roots. Chatwyn and Sprunt were there, waiting to rob them. Chatwyn had a crossbow. Listed among the weaknesses of the Lost Treasure-Hunters was intimidation, so when Baso approached them with his Tortoise Dollem (yes, it followed him out of the delve) and asked if they wanted to play and the Tortoise reached into its porcelain head and wound up a music box that played an off-key lullaby, they just backed off. Chatwyn even gave up the crossbow when Baso asked for it.

	Among Treasure-Hunters, this duo has a well-earned reputation for being reliable and near-impossible to rattle, even in the midst of the horrors the ancient forest can vomit forth.
	Their views on weakness are harsh. If any of the Treasure Hunters should hit 5 Ruin the duo will seek out (and sometimes even dsicuss) ways to leave them behind or push them more fully to their doom.
	"Doom's edge turns folk desperate and desperate folk is dangerous to those around them."
	Lovers or Comrades? Survivors of a failed revolution or the last servants of a dead noble house? None know. What is known is that for the right price they will venture into the Old Kalduhr with you.
	Some say the only thing that could break them is having to decide what to do if one of them should reach doom's edge.
	Burden 4 because they will never agree to be separated.

Chatwyn
Poisons
Hunting
	Assassin's 
	Blowgun
	12 Iron 
	Spikes

Sprunt
Rituals 
Destruction
	Spiked Morningstar
	Tent (2 person)
Ancient and worn gold coin

They got back to Fort Duhrin without incident and Aksi made them tea and let them know that if they needed help with a future delve, they’d gladly join them as long as the Tortoise Dollem was nowhere near them.

Devil's Bargain with a scary black and white stag with a flame above its head between its horns.

Devil’s Bargains from this session:

I did not write down the Devil’s Bargains this game, which is a bummer. I know that the Dollem being bound to Baso came from one and the broken bell bringing the child-blob out of the pit was from another. They are good shit and one of the secret sauces of keeping everyone involved in every roll and marshalling the creativity at the table in a cool way.

What is a Devil’s Bargain, you ask? From the book:

Treasure-hunters laugh at danger, fueled by the folly of their pride. But failure nips at their heels, waiting
for the perfect moment to strike. When you gather dice to make a Risk Roll, the gm or any other player
can offer you a bonus light die if you accept a Devil’s Bargain from them. Common Devil’s Bargains include:

Causing collateral damage or unintended harm 

Getting lost or separated from your companions

Sacrificing an item or piece of treasure

Betraying a fellow treasure-hunter
Attracting unwanted attention

The Devil’s Bargain occurs regardless of the outcome of the roll. You make the deal, pay the price, and get the bonus die. The Devil’s Bargain is always a free choice. If you don’t like one, just reject it (or suggest how to alter it so you might consider taking it).

Anyone may veto or suggest alterations to a proposed Devil’s Bargain, especially if it would also impact their treasure-hunter. You may only offer and accept Devil’s Bargains when making a Risk Roll.
https://trophyrpg.com/
Bestiary with Trophy Gold and Trophy Dark symbols embossed on the worn leather of an ancient looking tome.

Bestiary

Dollems, a creepy name for creepy monsters…

Lost Treasure Hunters? Vultures…did someone call them that?

Child Blob Things need a name

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

Takeaways: The 3 Hunt Tokens to get the Set Goal is not only a fun way to game the system a bit but it works as a pacing mechanic in a way that I can’t quite describe yet but have seen in both runs of Trophy Gold I’ve GM’ed. Trophy Gold can be pretty deadly and the fantasy horror can be a little unsettling. It is cool to be able to spend the capital from one’s past curiosity and cash out. Speaking of which, I feel like the horror elements came out in this session; I’ll email the group and just check in, give room for folks to contact me and to stop play if something in a future session is not fun-horror-movie-creepy but shitty-trauma-creepy.

Ready for Next Week: I’ll read over the Hearthfire downtime rules this weekend and brush up on the rest of the Roots of Kalduhr mega-incursion; it is a delightfully easy read that is also easy to use at the table.

More?

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 4/29/22

2 – Down, Trophy Gold: Roots of Old Kalduhr

2 – Down, Trophy Gold: Roots of Old Kalduhr

Read over the first level of the Roots of Old Kalduhr – The Climb, the Streets and the first level Sets. Naturally, I decided to jump into the Set I seem to have barely skimmed.

Roots of Old Kalduhr title pic

Beams of light streak down on subterranean stone with a climber in front of a faceless statue of a Lost Sister in a cyclopean alcove.
https://trophyrpg.com/

Last game Kel and Baso and Aksil made camp after getting lost in the forest. This week, Baso’s player was feeling poorly and so Aaron’s character, Kel, and the NPC Hireling, Aksil, had to meet Jay’s character, Pela.

I had read the Climb and the Streets but the Set they eventually arrived at I had only skimmed but the way the Sets are laid out, short sweet descriptions and lots of bullet-points, make them easy to jump into as we go. If I had needed to, I could’ve easily just asked for a minute to read it over but it wasn’t necessary this time.

Spears Subject Divider Image 
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1922.26.a
Moments
Ancient and worn gold coin with Trophy Gold written above it.

We decided that Kel and Pela had known each other back in the day before they had set aside their backgrounds. Aaron described Kel as reaching for a purpose like he had when he was a Kingsguard and Jay described Pela as growing his hair out and trying to move past his days as a priest. When I asked how hard we had to work to figure out where Pela had been or how Kel and Baso had been separated, I was assured the table wasn’t fretting about it all that much. We got to playing and will figure the rest out later.

Ancient and worn gold coin

In the midst of ancient statues to primordial deities whose names are lost to time, worn away by wind and rain was a Kalduhri glyph and a scroll amidst some leavings. After some Hunt rolls to figure out the details, Pela did the Ritual, spilling some of their own blood and asking Kel to spill theirs in order to open the entrance to the Roots of Old Kalduhr (see cool-ass Devil’s Bargains below).

Ancient and worn gold coin

The entry led to The Climb, which was a huge, hewn pit with stairways corkscrewing downward. Kel found tracks of Treasure-Hunters who had come before them and the Hunt roll asked for something awful – so one of the Treasure-Hunters had been killed by their comrade. They had to fight the Petty Imps, left behind by the Treasure-Hunters’ in-fighting and violence – they took a short-sword off of the corpse.

Ancient and worn gold coin

Aaron asked me about the architecture and I started to stutter a response and so he helped me out, “Judd, I’m going to see what I can learn about Old Kalduhri society from the buildings.” After the Hunt Roll, I described the simple, square villas in this area and how he could tell that the Kalduhri society was highly hierarchical, with these simple hovels giving way to villas and then on to palaces made of stalagmites and stalactites – also, Cave Hounds…

Ancient and worn gold coin

I had described crystal lights flickering on as they passed, but not creating really useful light, just making the shadows creepier. Kel got out a torch when I asked who was dealing with the lack of light and they made their way around a pack of Cave Hounds, gnawing on the flesh and bones of another dead Treasure-Hunter. I asked how they were looking for an area with treasure. Aaron said they were looking for areas where the crystal lights were in good repair – and with that, I picked my Set.

Ancient and worn gold coin

They found a villa that was in unnaturally good repair. There was a fountain in the courtyard with a statue of children leading 6 animals in a circle – one of the animals’ statues was broken. Kel put the broken one together and I said it was a Cthonic creature that was unsettling. Pela was sifting through the algae-thick water when the construct attacked them with a porcelain-lion head and a silver bell in one hand.

The unnamed construct went down after some effort, dealing out Ruin as it went. We ended the game with the construct ringing its silver bell as it perished and other silver bells answering the call throughout the villa.

Devil's Bargain with a scary black and white stag with a flame above its head between its horns.

Devil’s Bargains from this session:

Exit will be complicated by forest creatures, drawn by the blood…

The denizens will look at Pela as a Blood-giver…

What is a blood-giver? We’ll find out in play.

Spear Subject Divider

What is a Devil’s Bargain, you ask? From the book:

Treasure-hunters laugh at danger, fueled by the folly of their pride. But failure nips at their heels, waiting
for the perfect moment to strike. When you gather dice to make a Risk Roll, the gm or any other player
can offer you a bonus light die if you accept a Devil’s Bargain from them. Common Devil’s Bargains include:

Causing collateral damage or unintended harm 

Getting lost or separated from your companions

Sacrificing an item or piece of treasure

Betraying a fellow treasure-hunter
Attracting unwanted attention

The Devil’s Bargain occurs regardless of the outcome of the roll. You make the deal, pay the price, and get the bonus die. The Devil’s Bargain is always a free choice. If you don’t like one, just reject it (or suggest how to alter it so you might consider taking it).

Anyone may veto or suggest alterations to a proposed Devil’s Bargain, especially if it would also impact their treasure-hunter. You may only offer and accept Devil’s Bargains when making a Risk Roll.
https://trophyrpg.com/
Bestiary with Trophy Gold and Trophy Dark symbols embossed on the worn leather of an ancient looking tome.

Petty Imp, ghostly spectres, ENDURANCE: 4
Weakness: holy stuff

Cave Hounds, six eyes, crunch bone, long legged crocodile

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

Takeaways: On one hand, I want to read the rest of the Sets carefully. On the other hand, if I don’t it won’t be the end of the world.

Ready for Next Week: Do they want to run or delve on or spend 3 Treasure Tokens, get the treasure and get the eff outta there?

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

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

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