Solo Skald |||

Ironsworn Delve - Part 10

Amara is about to fight a Nightspawn in a wolf-bug form blocking her escape from the Crystal Wood. Let’s play to find out how that goes…

Wolf-bug

Both of the combatants clearly see each other and will face off, Enter the Fray => miss, the Nightspawn flies directly at her. She’s in close quarters and can’t use her bow, so she’ll Face Danger => miss and fail to scramble away. This is a Formidable opponent, so when she Endures Harm it’s a full 3 Harm, weak hit and she fights on.

Perhaps now she can Secure an Advantage => weak hit and move to cover, gaining a bit of Momentum. But the Nightspawn will advance on her, so when she looses her volley, that will be Clash => miss with a complication. The buzzing roar from this abyssal abomination shakes her to her core and she must Endure Stress => weak hit. Amara takes a deep breath and aims, intending to Secure an Advantage => miss with complication but the wolf-bug shifts to its insect form, moving much faster now and flying again. As it uses its pincers on her, she must Endure Harm and reach her minimum Momentum (-6). We roll another weak hit and the Battle-Scarred Warden presses on.

At this point, she’s done absolutely nothing to it. She knows she’s outmatched, so she’ll engage in a fighting retreat. Face Danger => weak hit, again the presence of the Nightspawn that formed out of the dark magic causes her to Endure Stress. Because she can’t lose any more Momentum, that means she must Face a Setback and clear a full progress on her vow. Somehow she presses on, knowing that this trip did as much harm as it did good. But rather than succumb to despair, she makes her way out of the once-pristine mystical thicket.

Before moving on, she’ll Make Camp => strong hit so she can Focus (+1 Momentum) and Recuperate (+1 Health). From here, she needs to return to Watchtower and recover. But that involves Undertaking a Journey (Troublesome) and we roll a weak hit using up a point of Supply. Amara finds herself in a forgotten forest deep in the Hinterlands with no hint of human presence.

Amara moves on from here, finding her way forward on her Journey => strong hit, moving at speed so she’ll trade 1 Supply for Momentum. It’s a cold trail as she returns into the Havens region.

Her Journey to the next waypoint results in a weak hit, further depleting her Supply. Finally, she Reaches Her Destination => weak hit and must confront some sort of unforeseen complication. Is it mystic backlash from the demon heart (likely) or troubles with the communities integrating? The demonic influence, which turns out to be the physical torment leaving its mark.” Her veins turn dark and skin goes pale as she fights off the corruption.

At this point, having barely made it back and barely resisting the call of the void, she Takes a Hiatus in the care of her clan elders.

Demonic Menace

While she recovers, trying to find herself again, the horror under the land does not wait. We Advance a Threat as its menace grows. It reveals a new aspect of its nature or abilities”, although we’re not sure at first what that is. That means we must Ask the Oracle which says Explore Secret; the demon begins to torment Amara psychically, bringing forth her darkest memories and thoughts even as her outward appearance cracks. Perhaps it is doing this to other residents in the area as well.

Amara simply doesn’t know what to do at this point, so she confers with the elders about what to do with this demonic organ she recovered in the Crystal Wood. Gather Information => weak hit, they agree that she should take it back to Chandra the Mystic for a consultation.

Having restored all that she can, she will once again Undertake a (Troublesome) Journey => weak hit and use up her supplies trekking through the Havens. She arrives at a mystical steading, perhaps the home of some other witch or seer. She decides to check on the resident and approaches carefully to Gather Information => weak hit, building up a bit of Momentum. What does she learn? The Oracle says Deliver Greed and thus an old seer comes out and screeches for payment. She simply wants to pass through as she’s on a Warden mission. Perhaps he could lend some aid, Compel (+Heart) => strong hit. Yes, child, come in and we will discuss in my hovel.”

A small cavern sits deep in a forest Photo by Sacre Bleu on Unsplash

Perhaps he knows something about this demon? Gather Information => weak hit and the information represents some sort of complication. She must burn the organ (which weirdly still seems alive, weeks after being ripped out of the earth) with sacred yew branches, which will weaken the demon for a bit - meaning she must do so within the cavern. Short-cutting her trip to see Chandra (and all the tricky social interaction that could entail), we’ll mark progress on her vow. Amara spends some time with the seer, Aeddon, to learn the ritual” required, and they’ll Forge a Bond => strong hit building up Momentum.

Towards the Cavern

Amara must return to the Cavern and face this demon. Her path will take her through Rock Ridge, where perhaps she can visit friends and make whatever final preparations will be needed. This will be a Dangerous Journey and starts with a weak hit as she enters contested woods, encountering hunters fighting some beast. Who has advantage right now (50/50)? The beast does, an iron-wracked monstrosity.

Amara can’t just pass this by and thus will Enter the Fray. Normally, this would be a Formidable opponent, but since Amara is not alone, we’ll mark it down to Dangerous. She starts off with a strong hit and gains 2 Momentum, reaching the maximum (due to her Maimed debility). She aims for a weak point and Strikes, which results in a miss changed to a strong hit by burning Momentum. 3 Harm means 6 progress.

She takes a deep breath and trusts her instincts as she aims, trying to Secure an Advantage => weak hit gaining 3 Momentum while losing the initiative. The beast rears up to tear into one of the hunters and Amara lets off a volley, Clash => weak hit, she deals her damage but one of the hunters is devoured in front of her. As it turns towards Amara (who’s certainly drawn its attention), she tries to deliver a killing blow, Clash => miss. In a flash, the monster is on her next, Endure Harm => miss and she loses both Health and Momentum.

Trying to scramble away to get some range, she’ll Secure an Advantage => miss losing even more Momentum. Despite all the damage they’ve dealt to this creature, it shows no signs of slowing down. With that, she must react to its attack and Face Danger => weak hit taking only a glancing blow. Perhaps she can maneuver for a kill as she Endures Harm => weak hit but can only press on. Again she pulls back to Secure an Advantage => strong hit, which aids her attempt to deliver a killing blow with this Strike => miss with match.

What’s the twist here? We Ask the Oracle which answers Abandon Rival, the other hunters run away. The iron-wracked beast will dedicate its full attention to Amara. That last shot used up some ammo and she will reduce her Supply. As it rushes her, she draws a short blade and Clash up close, trying to stab between the unnatural iron plates that have sprouted on its flesh, but miss. The resulting Endure Harm draws on her Battle-Scarred nature and we roll a weak hit to press on.

Amara tries to swing up into a tree to get range, an angle, or just dodge, and she draws on her Slayer asset to Secure an Advantage => miss. The monster knocks her to the ground and bites at her, which she pushes back against to Endure Harm => weak hit and keeps fighting.

In this melee, the Warden must now dig deep and fight it up close to Clash (+Iron) => miss. The iron-wracked beast tosses her around like a rag doll. Her Momentum is effectively gone and she’ll Face Danger as it lays into her, weak hit and thus she must Endure Stress => weak hit, finding the courage to press on. Every moment is desperation as claws and teeth miss her by the barest fractions. As the two continue to Clash we get a strong hit with a match. Did the hunters return (likely) or does the combat knock down a tree? The hunters have returned with help! At this, she can finally try to End the Fight => weak hit.

She’s hurt worse than we thought and will Endure Harm => miss. This feels narratively important so we roll on the oracle for that move; she is battered but still standing.” Amara tries to see if she can scavenge anything from the beast, Resupply => weak hit, the iron bits are difficult to pry apart and she doesn’t want to give up what little Momentum she still has.

Rock Ridge

The hunters accompany her back to their home village of Rock Ridge. She knows a few folks in the village, of course, and attempts to Sojourn => miss. Why is there no help to be found here? They have a Dangerous Tradition related to a beast on the hunt, all those who could help are out in the field because no one can return until the hunt is over. Was this iron-wracked beast the only one (unlikely)? No. She will try to Heal here even so, but we roll a miss with a match (complication). Her wounds have become infected and she will again Endure Harm => miss, things are tough but she’s still breathing at least.

The remaining inhabitants of Rock Ridge are scared by her tormented appearance, with black veins visible under the surface of her pale skin. Despite her assurances that she herself is uncorrupted, they draw back and she decides simply to move on. Returning to her Journey => strong hit, she moves as quickly as she can and gains Momentum by using her Supply liberally. She does a bit of hunting to Resupply => strong hit and replenishes her stores.

Once again she enters the Hinterlands and will Make Camp => weak hit so she can Recuperate a bit of Health. Getting close to her destination, she’ll Journey => miss and Endure Stress from a Formidable opponent who’s still in her mind. The mental torment and intrusive thoughts lead to another miss and her Momentum drops. Walking along a barren ridge, this land makes her wonder if she can ever prevail.

She has to keep going, though, and will Undertake a Journey => strong hit with match. She’s continued to use up her rations and these Protected Foothills provide plentiful game, allowing her to hunt and thus Resupply => strong hit, gaining food and getting back up to 0 Momentum. At least she’s not off balance anymore. Time to Make Camp => weak hit and Recuperate.

Knowing she’s close, Amara will Undertake a Journey for the last leg of her trip and we roll a weak hit to use up some Supply. At this point, she Reaches Her Destination => weak hit to encounter some other unknown hazard or complication. The oracle says Move Creature, a gaunt is here. Is there any indication of an elf as well (50/50)? Yes, indeed there’s a Firstborn present.

That will end this session and we’ll deal with them next time, although first we mark progress on the vow for having gotten here. And in fact, if possible, we’ll face our final confrontation in that session and maybe conclude the entire arc.

Up next Ironsworn Delve - Part 9 Ironsworn Delve - Part 11
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