Whitecliff – Diggy Diggy Hole (Session 3)

Just over three weeks ago, I ran the third session of Whitecliff and I’ve been very lax in writing this report up. So, without further ado, here’s what happened.

The group discussed various ways of getting to the top of the cliff. Straight-forward climbing, rigging up a grappling hook, carving a staircase out of the stone. In the end, Ashmaran (the wilderness survivor) climbed the cliff using some pitons they found in the tool supply in the All-Mother’s temple. At the top he saw rocky, broken, rolling plains as far as the eye could see. Looking back out over the lowlands, he saw marshlands upriver to the west and more mountains beyond that. Farmlands continued out to the south, slowly giving way to hillier regions. Downriver to the east, the river flowed along the forest as far as he could see. Ashmaran climbed back down the cliff without difficulty, and the group decided that the cliff adventure wasn’t as eventful as they’d hoped, so Ashmaran, Artimenes (the master builder), and Eshnud (the court physician) set out to hunt the boar inhabiting the ruined temple to the south.

Whilst they travelled, Wayne (the metalsmith) and Nisid (the potter) headed upriver in the hopes of finding some clay suitable for pottery or brick-making. Aeris (the haymaker) and Sabenne (the bride-to-be) stayed at the All-Mother’s temple to keep up with the day-to-day tasks.

The hunting trio made good time getting to the boars lair, but after a little reconnaissance, decided that tackling a few 150+ Kg beasts was a little more risk than they were entirely comfortable with. Instead they pressed on to the ruined farmhouse they’d spotted when scouting from the hill a week earlier (session 2).

Nawww, who’d be scared of this guy? (source – public domain)

The farmhouse turned out to be two buildings. A main house of sandstone and lumber and an earthworks shed. The house was half-collapsed and in very poor repair. Its roof had caved into the main bedroom and largely rotted away and two of the walls there had collapsed, permitting easy entry to the domicile. The living area beyond that was also damaged beyond use with the door having fallen in and several large gaps in the roof exposing its contents to the elements. Beyond that was a kitchen that was still in moderate repair, its roof largely intact. But it was evident that it had been abandoned for a long time, probably decades or centuries, and perhaps that it had been partially looted at some point. Nonetheless, the trio were able to salvage some basic kitchen supplies that might come in handy later. They broke for lunch whilst discussing the possibility of restoring (in full or partially) the ruined house to serve as a second base and possibly as a place to start some farming.

Wayne and Nisid’s journey upstream was largely uneventful, by this point they still hadn’t found a particularly suitable site for a clay quarry.

The hunting trio turned their attention to the shed. It was a very solid earthen structure, likely constructed using earth magic, and it had a pair of sizable iron doors fastened by a chain loop that had been permanently closed – presumably with some fire magic. They decided it would be easier to dig their way in through the side than to attempt to break the chain. Several hours later they had discovered that the walls were more than a foot thick and that digging through them wasn’t much easier than digging through solid stone – with a shovel. They went back to the chained door and managed to break the chain in short order.

The interior of the shed was pitch black and the sun was positioned wrongly to allow much light in through the now open doorway. Eshnud walked inside for a closer look. Fortuitously for him, Ashmaran noticed the juvenile slagfiend about to pounce on the back of Eshnud’s head. Ashmaran knocked him out of the way and then swung his axe at the jumping fiendling. It impaled it self on the blade, falling to the floor quite dead. The trio quickly pulled the doors shut and tied the chain up, but not before noticing many more slagfiends inside, at least one of which had grown to the size of a large dog. They immediately set back off home, having decided that they were maybe a little premature in thinking about expanding out to a base here. The temple alone will be fine for the moment. At least until the population has grown somewhat more.

Wayne and Nisid had finally found a clay deposit though it was small, it would likely yield enough clay to make a rudimentary oven or furnace which would hopefully allow them to form the basis of their industry. They returned home without incident.

With both exploration parties safely back at the temple, the session came to a close.


The session was somewhat shorter this month and we used a completely new core mechanic (d6 - d6 + Attrib + Skill instead of AttribD8 + SkillD6 + ExpertiseD12) which I think worked better but I still wasn’t ecstatic about.

The loot system seems to be working okay, with the group getting 3 points of basic kitchen equipment from the farmhouse. I was worried it might break immersion, but people seem to take to it fairly well and, if anything, it adds to the immersion as the GM doesn’t need to carefully remember everything useful that could be found. It also speeds play, I mean who cares to get a list of half-a-dozen kitchen utensils that someone then needs to write down.

There were a lot of issues with the system (as expected). Things that aren’t clearly related to a skill (feats of strength for example) had no support and the combat rules were quite meh. I’m going to switch back to a more classic attribute and skill system, but with an expanded role for specialities.

The next session is a little under a week away and I think I’ve got the major issues ironed out. I just need to write it up and do some sanity tests. I’m also going back to a (mostly) pre-defined skill list, so I need to make some choices about that.

Om nom nom, he’d make some sweet boots… (source ForestWander Nature Photography CC BY-SA 3.0)

Storywise, I’m not sure what the group will be doing, but I suspect they’ll either have another, better prepared, go at the boars or head over to the forest and see if they can find some other game. They’re pretty keen to get their hands on some leather for clothing. Once that’s sorted, we’ll give the faster mode of play a spin and see what happens in three or six months time.

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