In the Aristrax Marches – Ep24

Previously in the Aristrax Marches, a crippling blow was dealt to the Ravens of Gadun. While hunting gnawlings outside of Langecliffe, under the spell of the ratman shaman known as Skrizzik the Apostate, Caldas attacked and killed Omac Gadun, their leader. Despite the loss, the Ravens were victorious. In the end they decided to keep on going with Bolga as their leader. Caldas will try to atone for his actions as part of the warband.

Turn 39

Gamble Craze was rolled in Town Events. The Upkeep was at 1 Gold Mark, and Bolga Recruited a follower successfully.
I rolled between the unused Origins, and I resolved that the new Follower would be a Preen.
We also repaired a damaged helmet, bought a silvertree leaf portion and sold two bastard swords.

The Ravens of Gadun arrived in the bustling town of Langecliffe. As they walked through the streets, they noticed that almost everyone was engrossed in some sort of gambling game, with cards and dice being the most popular. Bolga, the leader of the warband, shook his head disapprovingly. “We didn’t come here to throw our hard-earned coins away on games of chance. We have business to attend to.” The rest of the group nodded in agreement.
As they walked towards the marketplace, they realized that they were one member short. “We need to find someone to cover the missing slot,” said Myrick, the wily rogue of the group. “I heard there’s a Preen warrior in town. We could ask him to join us.” The others nodded in agreement, and they set off to find the Preen.
After some asking around, they finally found Gerk, a burly Preen with sharp talons and a gruff demeanor. “What do you want?” he asked, eyeing the warband warily. Bolga explained their situation, and Gerk seemed intrigued. “I’ll join you, but only if I get a fair share of the loot,” he said, holding out his hand for a handshake. The group agreed, and Gerk joined their ranks.
While Gerk was finalizing his preparations, Temir decided to visit the local blacksmith to get his helmet repaired. “It took a bit of a beating on our last mission,” he explained to the blacksmith, who nodded and got to work. “Should be ready by tomorrow,” he said.
Meanwhile, Myrick and Rina decided to stock up on some healing herbs known as Silvertree Leaf, which were said to be very effective in treating wounds. They also sold two damaged Bastard Swords they no longer needed to a weapons merchant for a fair price.
With their preparations complete, the warband set off towards their next destination, Fey Wall. The journey was mostly uneventful, except for a location of interest they noted along the way. “We could check it out,” suggested Caldas, but Bolga shook his head. “We have a mission to complete. We can’t afford any distractions.”
And with that, they continued on their way, ready for whatever lay ahead.

For adventuring I decide to head back to Fey Wall to bring the supplies and also to be near the ratmen hideout.

As the Ravens of Gadun travel along their route, they notice a small hill in the distance, surrounded by a dense forest of tall trees. The hill stands out from the surrounding landscape with its barren and rocky terrain, and a solitary structure can be seen perched on top of it. From this distance, it’s hard to make out the details of the building, but it appears to be a tower of some kind, with several floors rising high above the treetops. The tower seems to be in a state of disrepair, with cracks and holes visible on its walls. The surrounding forest is dark and foreboding, with twisted branches and vines obscuring the path that leads up to the hill. The whole area feels eerily quiet, with only the sound of rustling leaves and distant bird calls breaking the silence. The Ravens consider investigating the tower but decide against it, not wanting to risk getting sidetracked from their mission to Fey Wall.

No News Events were rolled, and the campaign turn finished.

Turn 40

No Town Events were rolled. Getting the supplies to Fey Wall gave us no Upkeep Costs and an extra 2 Adventure Points.
For Campaign Activities we Meet the Locals and got A Brief Chat and also we repaired a War Spear which cost us 3 Gold Marks.

As the Ravens of Gadun approached Fey Wall, the hamlet came into view, a small cluster of thatched-roof cottages with smoke curling from chimneys. The group made their way to the market square, where they found vendors selling fresh produce, livestock, and various goods.
As they unloaded their supplies, the locals came over to greet them, intrigued by the unfamiliar faces. Bolga, the leader of the warband, stepped forward to introduce themselves, and the villagers eagerly welcomed them, expressing their gratitude for the much-needed supplies.
While some of the warband members tended to their horses and secured the goods, others made their way to the local blacksmith to repair the damaged war spear. Myrick, the wily rogue, struck up a conversation with the blacksmith, swapping stories about their travels and the dangers of the road.
As they finished their business, the group had a brief chat with the locals, learning about the hamlet’s history and the recent threats from nearby bandits. The Ravens of Gadun offered their services, promising to keep the hamlet safe during their travels.
With their tasks completed, the warband left Fey Wall, satisfied with their work and the new friendships they had made.

We’re against the gnawling threat. They’re in the same map area as Fey Wall, so no travel is required. They’re currently hunting the warband, and if we fail, they’ll establish a larger presence. It’s 8 Ascended and their Sergeant.
We’re facing them in a Cave Complex and we have to Fetch Something, as told to us by an interested party. They will pay 1 Gold Mark for a small box with a secret compartment.

As the warband journeyed towards Fey Wall, they were stopped by a hooded figure on the road. The stranger introduced himself as Harlow, a local merchant with an interest in the ratmen’s activities in the area. He offered the Ravens of Gadun a deal: he would pay them one gold mark if they could bring him a small box with a secret compartment that he believed the ratmen possessed. “It’s important that I get that box,” Harlow said cryptically, “and I don’t have the skills to retrieve it myself.”
The warband accepted the offer, and Harlow gave them directions to the cave complex where the gnawlings were hiding. “Be careful,” he warned. “These gnawlings are different from the others. They’re the Ascended, and they’re much more dangerous than your average ratman.”
As they approached the cave, the Ravens of Gadun could hear the screeching of the gnawlings echoing from within. The cave entrance was guarded by two gnawlings armed with rusty spears. The gnawlings had ragged fur and red, beady eyes that glinted with malice.
Inside the cave, the warband could see the gnawlings gathered around a small fire, their weapons gleaming in the dim light. The sergeant, a larger and more imposing gnawling, stood in front of the group, barking orders. The warband could see that their weapons were dipped in a sickly green poison.
As they prepared for the battle, Bolga addressed his companions. “Remember, these gnawlings are not to be underestimated. They’re experimenting with magic to break their curse. Stay sharp and focused.”
With their weapons at the ready, the Ravens of Gadun charged into the fray.


The Combat

We failed to Seize the Initiative.

ROUND 1

The warband carefully moves forward, each member scanning the dimly lit cave for any signs of the enemy. As they approach the center of the complex, they spot the small box with a secret compartment sitting on a flat rock. Bolga nods to Gerk and Caldas, indicating that they should go for it.
Gerk nods, gripping his short sword tightly, and Caldas readies his sling. As they advance, Rina takes up position to provide cover with her bow. Suddenly, one of the gnawlings starts chanting a spell, and Rina fires an arrow in response, but it misses the mark.
The tension in the air is palpable as the two sides inch closer to each other. The warband members exchange glances, silently communicating their readiness for the fight ahead. Bolga gestures to Temir and Myrick, indicating that they should take up positions on either side of the cave, ready to strike.
As Gerk and Caldas approach the rock, they can hear the gnawlings’ whispers growing louder. The ratmen are closing in, weapons drawn and poisoned, their eyes fixed on the warband.

ROUND 1
ROUND 2

The cave echoes with the sounds of battle as the two sides clash. Caldas rushes towards the flat rock, his eyes fixed on the small box with a secret compartment. Suddenly, an energy bolt slams into him, knocking him back several feet. He crashes into a nearby stalagmite, gasping in pain as he clutches his wound.
Gerk charges forward, his short sword gleaming in the dim light. But he’s intercepted by the ratmen leader, who lunges at him with a jagged blade. Gerk raises his sword to block, but the force of the blow sends him stumbling back. He narrowly avoids a second strike, but the third lands solidly on his leather armor.
Rina, perched on a small ledge, takes aim at the approaching ratmen. She fires an arrow, but it misses its mark, thudding harmlessly into the ground. The enemy, meanwhile, takes cover behind the stalagmites, making it difficult for Rina to land a hit.
Temir charges into battle, but is quickly overwhelmed by a gnawling. The enemy slashes at him with a poisoned blade, and Temir staggers back, his strength quickly draining away.
Myrick and Bolga rush to help their comrades, striking out at the ratmen with their weapons. But their blows fail to find their mark, and the gnawlings fight back fiercely, determined to protect their prize.
The battle rages on, with neither side gaining the upper hand. The air is thick with the sounds of clashing blades, grunts of pain, and the occasional curse or battle cry.

ROUND 2
ROUND 3

As Caldas battles the ratmen leader, he swings his fencing sword with quick, precise movements. The leader blocks the first few strikes, but Caldas quickly changes his attack pattern and lands two solid blows on the leader’s torso. The gnawling leader falls to the ground, mortally wounded.
Meanwhile, another ascended gnawling casts an energy bolt at Bolga, who is caught off guard and is sent flying backwards in the cave, injured. The ratmen close in on Caldas and Gerk, but the two warriors are not intimidated. Caldas lunges forward, piercing one of the ratmen’s armor with his sword and wounding him. Gerk, despite being outnumbered, swings his short sword in a flurry of movements, pushing back the two gnawlings that attack him.
Myrick engages in a fierce battle with two gnawlings, wielding his Heart seeker blade with precision. He dodges their attacks and counterattacks, killing one of them with a swift strike. He charges at the other gnawling and with two more well-placed attacks, he slays him.
As the battle rages on, Rina takes aim at the gnawlings around Caldas, but her arrow misses its mark, flying off into the cave walls. Gerk finds an opening and rushes towards the box, determined to retrieve it.
One of the gnawlings, seeing the tide of battle turning against them, decides to flee, followed closely by another ratman. However, one gnawling, furious at the loss of his comrades, charges towards Myrick, determined to take him down.

ROUND 3
ROUND 4

The cave is filled with the sounds of clanging metal and grunting combatants. Myrick and Caldas stand back-to-back, fending off the gnawlings that surround them. Caldas winces in pain from his wound, but his determination fuels his fighting spirit. He deflects the gnawling’s attack with his fencing sword, then counterattacks with a swift strike that misses its mark.
Myrick swings his Heart Seeker blade in a wide arc, cutting down one of the gnawlings that rushes towards him. He dodges the next attack and lands a powerful blow that slices through the enemy’s leather armor.
Bolga and his opponent continue their brutal dance, neither gaining the upper hand. Bolga grunts in frustration as he swings his cleaver, only to be blocked by the gnawling’s rusty shortsword.
Gerk clutches the small box in his hand, a bead of sweat trickling down his forehead. He looks around, taking in the chaos of the fight, then makes his way towards his companions.
Rina sidles behind a stalagmite, trying to get a clear shot at the gnawlings. She notches an arrow and takes aim, but the enemy combatants move too quickly for her to get a clean shot.
The remaining gnawlings snarl and bear their teeth, refusing to back down. They circle their opponents warily, waiting for an opening to strike.

ROUND 4
ROUND 5

Caldas lay on the ground, gasping for air, as the last ratman closed in on him. His fencing sword felt heavy in his hand, and he struggled to keep it steady as he tried to fend off the enemy’s blows. The ratman was relentless, and despite Caldas managing to parry the first strike, the second blow landed hard on his chest, knocking the air out of him.
As Caldas fell to the ground, his vision started to fade, and he heard the sound of battle raging around him. He could hear the clash of swords, the grunts of his comrades as they fought for their lives, and the gnawling’s excited chatter as they closed in on their prey.
Rina had been watching the battle unfold, searching for the right moment to strike. She had positioned herself among the stalagmites, trying to find an opening in the gnawling’s defenses. As the last ratman closed in on Caldas, she saw her chance. With a swift movement, she drew an arrow from her quiver, and with a practiced hand, she aimed at the gnawling’s head.
The arrow flew true, hitting its mark with deadly precision. The ratman fell to the ground, lifeless, as Rina let out a sigh of relief. The battle was over, but the cost had been high. Caldas lay motionless on the ground, and Rina rushed to his side, hoping he was still alive.

ROUND 5

Resolution

We rolled 6 Adventure Points earned for being Victorious against an Enemy Threat. 6 Adventure Points were spent directly on reducing the Gnawling Threat by 1, going down to the last 1.
On the injury rolls, Temir is lightly injured with 2 Turns Recovery. Caleas was only Knocked Out.
Caldas, Bolga, and Myrick earned 2 XP each, while Temir only 1 XP.
Rina earned the Pathwise skill on the Flash of Insight roll, and Gerk earned Scholar. Furthermore I used a Milestone to make Rina a Hero with the use of 6 Adventure Points.
Our Loot roll was a Light Armour and Shield, and the Unusual Find was Evidence of a Plot.
This can begin a new Quest in a Random Area (Hightower) and we’ll have to Decipher Ancient Writing.
Finally, no News Events were rolled.

Caldas groaned as he regained consciousness, rubbing his head where he had been struck. “What happened?” he asked groggily.
“You were knocked out,” Gerk replied. “But it looks like you’ll be okay. Temir got hurt though.”
Temir winced as he flexed his arm. “It’s just a scratch,” he said. “I’ll need some rest, but I’ll be fine.”
As the warband searched through the complex, they found a set of armor and a shield. “This will come in handy,” Bolga said, examining the armor.
Myrick nodded in agreement. “And the shield will offer some extra protection.”
But their attention was drawn to something else they found – a letter, half-buried in the mud. It was difficult to read, but they could make out enough to know that it contained important information.
“This could be the break we need,” Rina said, holding up the letter. “We need to go to Hightower and decipher the ancient writing there.”
“But first, we should return to Fey Wall,” Gerk said. “We need to rest and regroup before we take on the Gnawling horde.”
The others nodded in agreement, and they set out for the Dancing Nymph inn. They knew the road ahead would be dangerous, but they were determined to see their mission through to the end.


Session Summary

I’m so close to eliminating yet another threat, that I want to jump in the hideout combat right away! From then on it’s going to be only the Duskling Threat remaining. I think that Five Leagues from the Borderlands has a curious balance. It maintains a constant risk of danger. A fight maybe a walk in the park, but a misstep may easily cause a casualty. Each casualty has a good chance of a character dying.
There was a moment where I was afraid I’d not achieve the objective, and also when Temir got dropped, I was afraid that the ratmen spellcasting could lead to yet another TPK, but thankfully, we managed to hold the field and achieve the objective in the end.