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Tales of the Burned Stones: Episode Zero

INTRODUCTION


Tales of the Burned Stones is a solo-friendly TTRPG created by Rene-Pier Deshaies of FariRPGs. It was inspired by Diablo, the Witcher, and the Warded Man. You take on the role of a Remnant: poor souls killed by the eruption of Mount Baram and resurrected by the mysterious Sisters of the Eclipse. The rest of the story—our story—is yet to be written.


Tales of the Burned Stones is a prequel to RP and Galen Pejeau's sci-fi game of demon-hunting dwarves in space—Stoneburnerwhich was fully backed on Kickstarter earlier this year. You can find information about Tales of the Burned Stones, Stoneburner, and all of RP’s games on the FariRPGs website or the FariRPGs itch page.


We are going to be doing something different with this adventure. Usually I play a single PC, and occasionally introduce other NPCs that travel with said PC. This time, however, I’m going to be playing a party of three. Before we get to character building, first we need to set the stage.


THE MECHANICS


Tales of the Burned Stones is built on the foundation of RP’s popular Breathless TTRPG, and, specifically on the updates to the Breathless system in Stoneburner. A character has three skills—Strength, Dexterity, and Willpower—which are used to make checks in the narrative. Each of the three skills is assigned a dice (d4, d6, d8) and are reduced to the next lowest dice value when they are used (but will go no lower than a d4).


Characters begin with a single d6 weapon that does not break (but still reduces its dice value when used, down to d4) but may collect other items throughout their adventures. Characters also have Resilience (how much damage they can take) equal to 1d4 + 2. There are other mechanics, but we will address them as they arise in game play.


One mechanic I am going to be porting over from Stoneburner for this adventure is settlement building. In Stoneburner, the treasures you find earn you coins which can be spent on repairing or building structures, which in turn provide the party with bonuses when they venture forth. There will be some minor adjustments to the Stoneburner buildings, but I will aim to keep the spirit of both the original mechanic and the world of Tales of the Burned Stones alive in my adaptation. Once I have fully worked through the tables and rules adaptations, I’ll publish it on my itch.io page.


THE WORLD


The lands that surround Mount Baram is home to many different peoples, cultures, and traditions. The elves and halflings dwell in the forests and valleys at the Mountain’s foot, while the humans, gnomes, and orcs build towns and villages where they ply their trades and sell goods. The dwarves call the depths beneath the Baram and the surrounding mountains home.


But another, more sinister, tribe inhabits the dark shadows and deep pits—deeper even than the sturdy stone-wise dwarves dare delve—of the Mountain. Demons, of varied shape, sizes, and power live in the subterranean pools of lava and plains of obsidian. For long they have bided their time, awaiting the coming of a leader who would guide them to the surface world to victory over the other peoples who banished them to the inferno long, long ago. Perhaps the eruption of the mountain is a signal that the demons’ reign of fire and terror is coming?


The Tales of the Burned Stones rulebook begins with the prompt to “Choose Your Adventure.” This section functions very much like Ironsworn’s World Truths—providing you with a series of options to develop the world prior to jumping into the action. Since each of the six prompts have three possible answers, I opted to roll 1d6 and go with the dice. Let’s see what the world was like before Mt. Baram erupted.


1. “We are souls lost in the cataclysm that struck…mere days ago, the pain of death still fresh in our minds and bodies.” (1d6 = 5)

2. “The Sisters of the Eclipse brought us back, but their promise of life had a cost…we cannot die, losing more of ourselves after every awakening.” (1d6 = 2)

3. “Changed forever, we possess abilities beyond the mortal realm. We can…sense the presence of demons and the touch of their malevolent powers.” (1d6 = 1)

4. “Feared by most, we are…alone, afflicted by this curse.” (1d6 = 2)

5. “The ashes bring sickness and disarray upon most, but we can use it to brew…a potion that expands our perception beyond the veil of reality.” (1d6 = 6)

6. “But with each drink, we relinquish a memory…of a fleeting moment of joy, replaced by a desolate and hollow end.” (1d6 = 6)


The world does not quite know what to do with our Remnants, and fear of the unknown following a deadly cataclysm is to be expected. This resurrection has given them strange and powerful abilities, and they cannot die—but the cost is indeed steep.


THE PLAYER CHARACTERS


We will follow the three Remnants as they come to terms with their new life and the fallout of the cataclysm that claimed their lives prematurely. Here, I will introduce them briefly and provide their session one character sheets.


Iryn Whisperwind


Iryn is a halfling minstrel who has been serving the people of the mining town of Harfall at the base of Mount Baram. Iryn spends most afternoons playing her lute in the tavern, earning her room and board as well as a bit of extra coin.


She is a compact, but muscular halfling with a round, happy face framed by tightly curled brown hair. Iryn, despite being a Minstrel, dresses casually, in browns and greens and grays rather than the gaudy outfits many of her fellow minstrels wear. She is exceptionally creative, often composing new material in her head as she plays old favorites for the tavern’s guests.




Mynval Shadowfoot


Mynval, or Myn for short, is a relatively tall and athletically built (for a gnome) alchemist with short hair dyed a vibrant, bright green. Her fellow gnomes consider her a bit of an eccentric, despite her relative youth.


Her round, freckled face is often stained with oil or soot from her various experiments, and her brown overalls are always stained with substances of various colors and unknown origin. Myn is a bit of a recluse, who doesn’t confide in anyone and only moved to Harfall two winters ago. She is quiet but can be reckless.




Torfyr Silverbloom


Torfyr Silverbloom is a middle-aged human strider who visits Harfall three or four times a season to trade in game, furs, and wild fruits and vegetables. He spends most of his life in the forests and glens of the highlands surrounding Harfall. He is a tall, broad-shouldered man with a rugged appearance and dress. He sports a thick beard with specks of gray, and brown, wavy hair that is never shorter than shoulder-length. His hunting leathers are always stained with earth, or blood. Despite his lone wolf existence, he is viewed highly by the people of Harfall and they would not survive the winter if not for his contribution to the town’s granary.



I will not be updating the image versions of the character sheets for each roll, but I will post up to date sheets at the beginning of each new episode. I will track the changes and mechanics in drop down boxes as always.


THE STORY BEGINS…


In the gray hours of morning, the earth quaked violently, rattling foundations and uprooting ancient trees. Fumes of the blackest black poured forth from the top of Mount Baram, an imposing giant now venting its rage into the sky above the mining village of Harfall. The unsuspecting village, and its inhabitants, take the brunt of the Mountain’s destructive force. Few survive the onslaught of fire and stone and ash…



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