This is the second part of my actual play report with Misha and James.
Where we left off
Last time, our heroes Dunwich the Bard and Cadeus the Fighter had just entered the sewers, trying to get the elven diplomat Vendethiel out of town. Lath, the guy who was trying to blackmail them, is still with them.
And on with the story…
They waded through the sewers for a while, still holding Lath tight so that he wouldn’t try to escape. After a while they stopped. “We can’t take him all the way to Ilathia. What should we do with him?” Cadeus asked. Dunwich pondered this for a moment; “We could tie him up and leave him here?” Lath’s eyes widened. “You can’t leave me down here! There’s all sorts of creatures down here! Huge rats and worse!”
Cadeus disliked the idea, as this would probably just be a death sentence. He grabbed his spear and pressed it against Lath’s throat. “We will let you go, but I promise you; if you tell anyone about this, I will find you, and I will kill you.” Lath looked almost relieved. “Alright, I won’t tell the guards! I just want to get out of here.” They let him go and watched him as he went back to the ladder they all came down from. “Lets carry on. The exit isn’t far from here.” Dunwich said enthusiastically.
They climb out of a sewer pipe and helped Vendethiel down. The slums outside the city walls were a quite different sight than the somewhat orderly streets within. People sat begging everywhere, and gang members were openly bullying whatever random victims they came across. “We should get out of here fast.” Cadeus said. Vendethiel couldn’t agree more.
After walking for a short period of time, they notice they are being tailed. The five thugs weren’t even trying to hide that fact. “Those are Hasrith’s men.” Dunwich said. “They wont be a problem, but I don’t think we should pick a fight with them. What should we do?”. “When we get to that corner over there, we make a run for it.” Cadeus responded. Dunwich just nodded, and all three of them started running down the alleyway. The thugs started to pursue them, but Cadeus blocked their path by knocking over some barrels.
As they escaped the slums, they started travelling towards Ilathia, and after a few hours they reached their destination. Ilathia was surrounded by a dense line of trees that served as a wall around the village, the trees being to tall to scale, and too close together to grant passage. Only a few entries to the village existed, and they were guarded fiercely by elven soldiers.
Now that Vendethiel were safe, she asked the Dunwich and Cadeus to tell what they had learned to Lith’arius, the lord and warrior priest of Ilathia. They went to him and told him everything they have learned of Lord Darius’ plot. Lith’arius were troubled by these news. “What do you propose we do about it?” he asked. “We will not openly engage them in combat. Even if they won’t, we must honor the treaty. We do not have the power nor resources to lay siege on Davenport.” Cadeus and Dunwich were troubled as well.
“What of the ogres that live in this part of Evereth? Could we not lure them into attacking the soldiers?” Dunwich suggested. “Would that not just legitimize their claims that Evereth has become too dangerous and a threat to their city?” Lith’arius agreed; “It would. Maybe we could lure the soldiers away? What if we made sure they were needed elsewhere?”
The discussion went to a halt, when messenger barged into the room. The elf was sweating and panting, he could in fact hardly breath. “We’ve been ambushed in the forest, my Lord! Most of our group were slaughtered in the attack!” he panted. “Find Den’athius! Tell him to bring ten of his most capable warriors!” Lith’arius commanded. The messenger bowed. “Yes my Lord!”
He ran off. Dunwich and Cadeus looked briefly at each other. “Regrettably, that is all the men we can spare at the moment.” Cadeus responded; “We will join your men.” Lith’arius nodded. “I’m pleased to hear that. We need all the help we can get.”
The messenger returns alongside Den’athies, the a commander of the village’s soldier, and the younger brother of a close friend of Cadeus, Din’atus. He greets the assembly. “I have heard the news and collected my men. We will go out and investigate this, my Lord.” Cadeus and Dunwich stepped forth. “We will join you.” Den’athius gave them a nod of approval. Lith’arius wished them good luck, and the soldiers left immediately.
The messenger led the way, and when they were close enough to the place, where the battle took place, they kept low and approached the scene cautiously. Cadeus made a scouting round, and saw that the soldiers were still present. They had dragged the bodies of the elven soldiers away and hid them. Captain Meria shouted orders at her men, and they assumed their hidden positions in the trees yet again. Cadeus saw a couple of weapons on the ground, left behind by the dead warriors. He picked up an elven bows and some arrows, and returned to the others.
Cadeus explained what he saw. “I saw where their commander hid herself. I can run in and try to take her out.” As he had said it, he cocked his arrow and ran towards Meria’s hiding place, even though he new that he’d be an easy target for the other soldiers. When he got behind her cover, he aimed his bow and fired. Her face carried a startled expression, but it contracted in pain as the arrow dug itself firmly into her thigh.
She screamed. “To me, men!” she yelled, while she got to her one good leg. Three soldiers where upon Cadeus almost immediately, and the rest were on their way. “Charge!” Den’athius roared, and five of the elves descended upon the soldiers, while five remained behind cover, shooting the soldiers with their bows. Dunwich charged along with them, and stabbed down one of the soldiers surrounding Cadeus.
Dunwich grabbed his fiddle, and sang a song of inspiration, imbuing Cadeus’ spear with magical power. Unluckily, the power reverberated and empowered the weapons of Cadeus’ foes as well. Cadeus swinged his spear in a wide arc, cutting the throat of one of his assailants. The other stepped in close and parried the blow, ready to run Cadeus through. He leaped back, but the soldier still glanced him in the back with his sword.
Dunwich saw Meria was trying to escape, and broke of with the elven soldiers to chase her down. With her injury, she would be easy to catch up to, had it not been for the soldier intercepting him. They exchanged blows, but the soldier smashed the rapier out of Dunwich’s hands and kicked him in the chest, sending Dunwich sprawling. The soldier moved in for the kill, when Cadeus grabbed his spear and threw it at the soldier, lodging it into the soldier’s torso.
The soldier was knocked off Dunwich, went to his knees and dropped his sword in pain. Dunwich took the chance to grab the soldiers short sword, but as the soldier pulled the spear out, Cadeus saw that his friend would not have enough time, so he threw a rock at the soldier, hitting him square in the helmet. Dunwich grabbed the sword, and cut down the solder, then went to dislodge his rapier from the tree it had dug into.
Cadeus soon realized that he had spent too much time aiding Dunwich, as the soldier he fought bore down on him. Cadeus pulled forth his bow and was just about to cock the arrow, when the soldier kicked the bow out of his hands. Cadeus decided to try and stab the soldier with the arrow in his right hand, but when he moved in on the soldier, he was hit on his armguard, and he heard a crack as the bone just below the wrist snapped.
Dunwich caught up with Meria. “Surrender now, and we will let you live!”. Meria turned around, fastened her shield and drew her sword. “Over my dead body!” she yelled. Dunwich charged her and stabbed her as her sword connected with his body, drawing blood but did little more. She went down, pleading for mercy and surrendered. “Stand down men!” she yelled, as loud as she could.
The elves withdrew from combat as the soldiers stopped fighting back. A lot of them had died in the ambush, while only to elves had fallen. They surrendered their weapons, and the elves collected them. “So Meria, old friend, would you care to tell me who sent you here?” Dunwich asked. They knew each other, as they often frequented the same tavern before Meria got promoted to captain of the guard. “Might as well tell you…” she said. “Lord Darius sent us here, to ambush the elves on their patrols. Knowing this will do no good though, he’ll never admit to it, just say we acted on our own. What’ll it take for me to get you to release me, eh?” she looked at Dunwich. “Oh, we will release you and your men. But on one condition; you will tell Lord Darius to seize his attack on Evereth, and stop the deforestation!”
Meria looked at him, then shrugged. “I’ll send one of the boys to tell him, but I won’t go myself. He’ll kill me on sight. Or worse… I don’t think it will do much good though, he won’t stop.” Dunwich looked at her. “We thought as much, but you must tell him anyway.” She nodded and got to her feet, limbing a bit. “Come men, our job here is done!” Her men looked puzzled at each other, but the elves let them go.
As the soldiers left, Cadeus approached Den’athius, who had gotten himself a long cut down the chin. “We should return to Ilathia” Cadeus said. Den’athius nodded. “I agree.” And so they went back to the village, bringing their dead with them.
I revised my fronts made for the three-shot (it keeps escalating, I know…). It seemed that I had a minor misunderstanding of how it worked.
I thought that the grim portents were tied to all the dangers, not that the dangers had their own grim portents. I don’t know how I got that mixed up, but it certainly explains why the book suggests making so few.
I hope we get done today (No Eric and Bastien, I’m not trying to get rid of you), if only because I’ve learned a lot about GMing for Bastien and Eric, and I really want to run more one-shots over hangouts, where I use this newly acquired wisdom. Actual one-shots, not these drawn-out pseudo-campaigns.
I plan to make a post containing all the things I’ve learned from this “campaign”, as soon as it is done. If they don’t stop the cult tonight, I’m very tempted to make a “rock falls” on them. Seriously, I’ve been a big softie so far. Time to show them some real steel.