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  • giorgis 5:01 pm on July 31, 2022 Permalink | Reply
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    In the Aristrax Marches – Ep11 

    Previously in the last episode of the actual play report of Five Leagues from the Borderlands in the Aristrax Marches, the Ravens of Gadun suffered a serious defeat while trying to destroy Ugmal once and for all. Despite gaining an initial foothold in Ugmal’s burial site, soon they were overwhelmed by the enemy troops. Lady Liana of Trenne lost her life in that fight.

    Turn 18

    Rolling at Camp Events, since we’re in the Blighted Vale, we get a result of and so the story went, gaining an extra Story Point. Our Upkeep Costs are low this turn so we lose only one Gold Mark. Boots scratches of one Recovery turn, as Bolga tries to Forage for herbs but fails. Since Myrick is the lowest level of our warband, he will Train, earning +1 XP.
    For the Adventuring stage we will just Travel to Newhorn (4). On the Travel roll, we get an Obstacle, which is Marshlands, and as we fail our Scouting roll, it is randomly determined that Omac lost his Throwing knives.
    Finally at News Events we get that someone important needs adventurers, but we won’t follow up on this.

    Turn 18 – Map

    The morale is low as the Ravens try to come to grip with their defeat. The halfling is still injured and can’t join yet in any upcoming battle, and they’re also one member down after Liana’s loss.
    Omac is in no mood to order them around, so the Ravens choose their own tasks. Bolga’s attempt to find any herbs to refill their supply was unsuccesful. Myrick on the other hand focuses on training, he wants to be prepared next time he faces the enemy.

    Once all is said and done, Omac gives the command to gather round and travel to Newhorn, but they take a wrong turn in their path, and have to go through marshlands. None of them is an expert in scouting proper ground, and with a misstep Omac finds himself in the bog. Bolga quickly pulls him out, but as he does so, Omac’s belt with the pair of throwing knives, is caught on something. The buckle gives way, and the knives are lost forever in the bog. The gloom mood yet continues as they finally reach the manor town. A crier at the square calls for adventurers, but they pay no heed, and head directly to the inn.

    Turn 19

    Rolling now at Town Events it’s a Market day, and we get yet another Rare trade item roll, for a total of 3 since this is a Town. Our Upkeep costs are high at 3 Gold Marks so we’ll use one pack of Rations this time.
    Boots scratches of yet another Recovery turn and he’s ready to fight.
    Myrick will train this turn as well, for another XP gain. Since we need to recruit someone, Boots will get on it, spending 1 Gold Mark, and he’s successful, so we get a Follower to cover up Lady Liana’s spot.

    I definitely want a non-human Origin for the Follower because I want to see what is available. I decided to roll on the Follower table first, and then either decide or roll randomly. I get the result that it’s a Stout Yeoman. So from the non-human Origins that I don’t have in my warband, what fits me best is either Fey-blood or Dwarf, with a higher chance for Dwarf. I roll randomly and it’s a Dwarf. His name’s Undin.

    Time to re-arrange some equipment. I’m giving Undin, Myrick’s Fine Standard Weapon & Bolga’s Fine Shield. Myrick gets the 2nd Heart Seeker. Since this is a major event, I’m trying to have a warband more akin to WYSIWYG. As Bolga is without a shield, he gets to retain the same miniature (yes, I had kept the same mini in the past few episodes despite Bolga carrying a shield). Omac will get a new miniature, that of the bearded mercenary captain wearing plate armor and carrying a bastard sword, that is until his staff is repaired or he switches to a different set of equipment. Boots has a pretty generic miniature carrying a torch, therefore no change is needed there. Temir has a longbow and a sword therefore no change is needed there as well. Since Myrick now sports the Heart Seeker as well, I want a miniature that fits the bill, so I’ll be making a change here also (plus I wasn’t a big fan of the current miniature I used, felt out of place). Finally Undin will get a proper shield bearing dwarf miniature.

    Rolling on the Rare items table I won’t make any purchases of the available items (Delver’s kit, Map making kit, or any item at +2 Gold Marks).
    For regular trade I’ll sell the damaged light armor, two light weapons and two standard weapons, and buy a new partial armor for a total cost of 1 Gold Mark, which will be given to Undin.

    Finally, for Adventuring stage we will Battle the enemy threat and our target yet again is the Whispers from Beyond. They’re at the Wilderness (so we need to travel there), they’re just passing through (meaning they’re using the Unknown Enemy rule) and if we fail, they will entrench themselves further. We cannot afford to lose this fight.

    On the Travel roll we Meet someone, the result is a Young runaway, but I decide to take the next available entry because I’ve had a Unique meeting of a Young runaway in the past, and the new result is a Beggar, Sociable who will make us a Contract offer. We’re not interested and reach the enemy at the Settlement outskirts. The enemy rolled is Broken Fanatics, 6 in total with 1 crossbow. They’re lead by a Unique Foe, who is a Mighty Warrior, and an Agent of the Dark. Our objective will be to Hunt the enemy, in this case eliminate the Mighty Warrior.

    Wow all this makes a great story to narrate! The roll results fit very well together. Finally, our set up distance is 18″, and we have failed to Seize Initiative.

    Turn 19 – Map

    Caldas wakes up to the sound of the market bustling through the streets of Newhorn. He slowly gets off his bed at the Weasel’s Cellar. He’s back in fighting shape. His injuries healed. He goes downstairs to the bar and as Mina serves him some oatmeal and ale to start the day, a stout bearded fella sits by him, setting his ale jug on the table with a loud thud.

    “Are you Caldas? also known as Boots? One of the Ravens of Gadun?” The dwarf asks, and without waiting for an answer, he continues. “My name’s Undin. I heard you’re looking for a strong pair of arms to help you fight beasts. Mina will vouch for me.”
    Boots looks at him. He’ll do. “You can’t go monster hunting with a hatchet, my friend. If you’re to be one of us, you need proper arms and armor. Come, follow me. We’ll see what we have, and what doesn’t fit we’ll go to the market, sell it and get you a nice set.”
    Undin’s eyes lighten up as he’s given an axe and a shield, both of fine make. They’ll last for a long time in the fights to come. Unfortunately there’s no armor that fits him, so Boots hands him a pack of weapons and armor that they’ll sell to the market. They find a set of armor that is to the dwarf’s size.
    “Now you’re ready.” Boots says. “Let’s go.”

    As they head back to the inn, they find Myrick training in the courtyard against a wooden training doll. Boots motions for him to come inside. The Ravens gather round the table.

    Omac raises his drink. “To those that stood here before us, and to those that despite adversity have come to stand in their place. Welcome Undin.” They all raise their jugs and drink.
    “The dead must be put to their final rest. We shall hunt them down and their minions, until only the living walk these lands.” He looks to his companions. “You may have heard of Nabaru the Strong. A mighty warrior. Word has reached me that he’s an agent of the dark and he leads a force of broken fanatics to prey on the remote settlements. We’ll hunt him down and end him and his followers. We leave at midday.”

    Their journey is almost uneventful. They meet a beggar who is eager to talk. Seeing how they’re armed and capable, he tells them of a job offering he’s heard of, but the Ravens aren’t interested, and they push onwards.

    At the outskirts of the settlements they see their part of the enemy force. Nabaru towers above the rest of them. None of the Ravens is eager to face him. They nod at each other and move to battle.


    Combat

    ROUND 1

    The two opposing forces come closer. Two fanatics and Nabaru have taken the South flank, to face Omac and Bolga. A crossbowman sets up on the hillside behind them and takes a shot at Bolga missing by a mile.
    Meanwhile Temir, Myrick and Boots come from the North, where an unknown number of enemies approach.

    ROUND 1
    ROUND 2

    Bolga attacks the fanatics and draws first blood, sending one of them to the grave.
    First the other fanatic, and then Nabaru the Strong attack Bolga, but he pushes them back, one by one.
    The crossbowman has no clear line of sight, so he positions himself better on the hill.


    The unknown enemies are revealed as they hit the centre. It’s three more fanatics who head towards Caldas.
    Temir the Ox closes on the fence and shoots an arrow right at a fanatic’s temple, killing him instantly. Myrick shoots as well, but misses. Boots loads his slingshot and wounds one of his enemies angering him further.

    Seeing Bolga alone against the fanatics, Omac casts a shielding spell to protect him from enemy fire.

    ROUND 2
    ROUND 3

    With a clear shot, the fanatic crossbowman shoots a bolt at Bolga. The spell doesn’t protect him from the perfect shot, but his armor stops the bolt from penetrating further.

    Nabaru challenges Bolga to a duel, and they clash. Bolga blocks the first attack, but as he goes for a follow up strike, his enemy counters. The sword strike brings Bolga down at once.
    The fanatic next to Nabaru now has a clear path to the Beard. His attack is foiled, and he’s wounded by Omac’s bastard sword, before stepping back, enraged.
    His enemy wounded, Omac casts a Bleed spell on him, hoping he’ll fall sooner or later due to exsanguination.

    The broken man wounded by the halflilng attacks the short fella with fury. His blade finds Caldas’ body, and the halfing falls.
    Myrick shoots at him as he stands over Caldas’ body. The arrow wounds him further and brings him down. Temir shoots at the last standing fanatic at the centre of the battlefield, which lodges itself at his knee. The fanatic is furious, but wounded.

    ROUND 3
    ROUND 4

    Omac prepares a Fortune spell to bless his fates in the ongoing fight, while Myrick shoots another arrow at the wounded fanatic, clearing the centre, and opening their path South, for Temir and Myrick to assist their leader, supported by Undin.

    The crossbowman shoots at Temir but misses by a long shot. The furious, wounded fanatic attacks Undin, but the Stout Yeoman holds, and they disengage.
    Meanwhile Nabaru and Omac face off. The fight’s a draw and Omac steps back.

    ROUND 4
    Undin moves very slowly, and finally reached the fight. Yet he's not strong enough to fight either of the enemies in front of him, so he'll wait this turn and act in the Quick Phase of the next round.
    ROUND 5

    Temir shoots his last arrow at Nabaru, but it hits the fence covering the enemy warrior.
    Undin attacks the wounded fanatic, but his enemy is berserk. He puts the dwarf in defensive who parries blow after blow with his shield before the melee ends.
    Omac follows up against the berserker, but his enemy gains the upper hand and strikes back. Despite the fortune spell, Omac can’t block the enemy, who strikes yet once more, piercing the armor and bringing the Beard down.

    The crossbowman takes a clean shot at the dwarf but misses, as Undin is attacked by Nabaru, parrying two hits with his shield, before being wounded himself. The berserker also attacks him at the same time, and Undin is stunned, his armor saving him from the two hits that follow. Undin’s eyes burn with vengeance against the enemies who hurt his friends.

    ROUND 5
    Two rerolls due to Fortune, one at the melee to hit roll, and one at the overcome armor, didn't save Omac who fell.
    Also I didn't take under consideration the no-pushback trait of the dwarf, so he ended up at the centre of the table.
    ROUND 6

    Myrick takes a carefully aimed shot with his bow at the berserking fanatic, and wounds him at last, stopping his spree. The crossbowman answers with a shot against the wounded dwarf, but misses yet once more.

    Nabaru now attacks Myrick who’s behind the table. He counter attacks but his strike is too weak, and Nabaru isn’t a warrior to be stunned by such feeble displays. His next attack is blocked by Nabaru who counters himself now and wounds Myrick twice, putting him off the fight.

    Temir now steps on the table and attacks at Nabaru, his enemy is skilled and wounds him, but Temir grits his teeth and fights on. Feigning more pain than he is in, he hacks at Nabaru, the heart seeker cutting armor like butter, and wounding him. With a follow up strike, he kills the mighty warrior.

    ROUND 6
    I even spent a Story Point for Myrick to survive, as I thought having two people with Heart Seekers gave me a better chance to defeat Nabaru, but he fell anyway.
    ROUND 7

    The Ravens turn their attention to the crossbowman on the hill. Undin charges at him, but it’s a draw, and his enemy steps back. The fanatic attacks back, his strike stopped by Undin’s armor, before they disengage in yet another draw. The two warriors are winded by the long fight.

    Temir pulls some bandages from the backpack and closes his wounds.

    ROUND 7
    ROUND 8

    With some distance between them, the fanatic shoots a crossbow bolt at Undin, but the dwarf ducks just in time to avoid the bolt.

    Undin locks himself in a fight with his enemy as Temir closes in, but can’t get a clean strike and steps back.

    ROUND 8
    ROUND 9

    The crosbowman shoots another bolt at Undin which hits, bypassing armor, and wounds the stout dwarf who falls.

    Temir follows up in melee, and finishes the last enemy standing. The Ravens are victorious.

    ROUND 9
    So during play I didn't take care of bookkeeping properly and didn't realize Undin was down. At the initial play Undin (wounded twice) went in melee and finished the crossbowman.
    Therefore during cleanup, when I realized my mistake, I went ahead and played Temir vs Crossbowman in theater of the mind. After being wounded as well, he eliminated the crossbowman (who he wounded too) at Round 12!
    For narrative economy I decided to sum things up here.
    I also had rolled on Undin's Flash of Insight, and this became an Injury roll which had his Fine Standard Weapon damaged to a Standard Weapon.

    At the resolution, I rolled 5 Adventure points for being Victorious against an Enemy Threat and also +2 APs for the Unique Foe slain, +1 AP for the Whispers of Beyond (5 or more enemies), +2 APs for the Dark Agent Motivation of the Unique For and finally +1 AP for the successful Hunt the Enemy objective. After spending 6 APs for an Adventure Milestone to reduce the Whispers from Beyond Enemy Threat, I’m still +5 APs extra.

    For the injuries, I get a Light Injury on Bolga for 3 Turns, a Serious Injury on Boots for 5 Turns, a Dead result for Omac, a Moderate injury for Myrick for 5 Turns and an Item Damaged Fine Standard Weapon for Undin.

    Spent a Story Point and rerolled Omac’s Injury to get a Knocked Out result.

    Every participant earned +1 XP, while Temir being the sole survivor and also defeating Nabaru, earned +2 XP for a total of +3 XP.

    We get one Loot roll, which is a Weapon, Improved Staff, Balanced. Heading right at Omac.

    On the Unusual Finds we roll a Captive and get to add a Villager Friend. Also No Upkeep next turn. Going to https://donjon.bin.sh/ I get Aliol: Male Elf Scholar, Evil. Aliol has an angular face, with straight copper hair and soft amber eyes. He wears modest garments and several pouches hang from his belt. So I’m switching this to Fey-blood instead of Elf and that’s our Friend.

    Finally on the News Events we rolled that an old friend sents you a letter. Our only friend is the villager we just added, but it makes no sense for it to be him, so we’ll add another Adventurer Friend. Again donjon to the rescue. Ales Gylley: Male Halfling Thief, Neutral. Ales is rough in appearance, with matted silver hair and light grey eyes. He wears leather armor and wields a long sword and dagger. Ales compulsively counts things. I’ll narrate this part on the next time they reach a settlement because it makes no sense to receive a letter right now.

    Battered, beaten, but victorious. Nabaru is dead, lying in a pool of blood, with several fanatics around him. Temir, Omac and Undin, having no significant injuries., tend to the battlefield. Undins axe blade was struck hard in the battle during a block but it still holds. Bolga, Boots and Myrick will need time to recover.

    Temir piles the bodies of their foes and builds a pure. He wants to be sure none of them return to pester them.

    Omac contemplates his fate as he’s certain that his opponents blow should have taken his life. But yet, he’s still standing. Walking around the battlefield he finds a finely made staff, carefully balanced. He smiles, certain that it will serve him well.

    Undin tends to his wounded companions before searching the houses. Most of the villagers had left, but he finds a villager bound and gagged in one of the houses. He sets him free, and the fey-blooded man hugs the stout yeoman.

    “Thank you! Thank you! You’ve saved my life. I’m Aliol, the scholar. Forever in your debt. If you ever need a friend. Call me. Here.” He said, pointing to a bag in the corner of his house. “Take this food, it’s the least I can do at a moments notice. It’s fresh though so make sure that you eat it before it spoils.”

    Undin bows. “We’re the Ravens of Gadun, and it’s our task to clean these lands of evil. Your help is welcomed.”

    And with this, the Ravens camp at the outskirts in the care of the villagers.

    Session Summary

    Another intense fight! The scales were turned many times before we won. I got tired in the near end as the last combat drew out much longer than I expected, but it was eventually worth it.

    On another note, I also tried some new trees I made in this battlefield which I held in place using magnets, and it worked well. I’ll slowly upgrade my battlefields further.

    With summer heat burning in Greece, it will be a short while before the next episode.

     
  • giorgis 3:10 pm on July 23, 2022 Permalink | Reply
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    In the Aristrax Marches – Ep10 

    Previously in the Aristrax Marches, the Ravens of Gadun defeated a band of outcasts who were about to ambush them. With the warband in full strength, Omac Gadun, their leader, must decide what to do next.

    Turn 15

    On Town Events I rolled Just drunks and yokels, which means for this campaign turn we can only recruit Followers. This has no impact since I was not intending to recruit anyone anyway.
    The Upkeep costs are rolled at 2 Gold Marks, which I decide to nullify by Helping the Town Guard.
    For the other Campaign Activity I decide that we need to repair Lady Liana’s Helmet and Myrick’s Light Armor. Newhorn is a Manor Town so we can repair 2 items in one turn.
    For Adventuring we decide to Travel to the Blighted Vale (15) so to go to the Quest Finale. Unfortunately on the Travel roll, we got Miserable Weather and subsequently we failed our Travelling Proficiency test, so we must camp.
    Finally on the News travels table we rolled that Someone important needs adventurers, but since we’re way over our heads at the moment I decide to disregard it alltogether.

    The Ravens spend a few nights over at the Weasel’s Cellar. Only drunks and yokels are the customers there this time around, and Omac is quite bored, since there is nothing of interest.
    Once they get their gear repaired, and finish their shifts with the town guard – bashing the heads of the aforementioned drunks when they take it too far – the Beard decides they’re ready. He calls the Ravens together.
    “The time has come my brothers and sisters. We shall head to the Blighted Vale and eliminate this evil forever! Pack your things for we leave first thing in the morning.” He makes his speech, and the Ravens nod.

    One thing they did not take into account though, is that when men make plans, the gods are laughing, and this time it was Sacha, Lady of the Sky who did not take kindly to their task. The clouds gathered while they were on their way, and near the Savage Mountains, a storm poured down on them. Torrents overflowed and blocked their way. They had to stop and camp on high ground, waiting for the storm to pass, and the floods to clear.

    Omac cursed at the events as they unfolded, but steeled himself for what is to come.

    Turn 16

    The Camp Events roll gave the result Time on your own. The random member is Solas who earned +1 XP.
    Our Upkeep costs are high, at 3 Gold Marks, which give me no other choice but to waste a Campaign Activity to Live off the land.
    Omac will go to a Mystic Expedition, which was successful, and he found 1 Congealed Strand.
    For Adventuring we decide to continue Travel to the Blighted Vale (15) so to go to the Quest Finale. Unfortunately on the Travel roll, again we got Miserable Weather and subsequently we failed our Travelling Proficiency test once more, so we must camp again.
    Finally on the News travels table we rolled that The rangers have been scouting the area, and get to add +2 Adventure Points.

    With their path blocked, there is ample time to reflect. Temir, takes the opportunity to train his skills.
    The torrenting rain has ruined some of their supplies, so at least half the warband spends valuable time trying to forage for food. Omac leaves them to their camp as he heads out on a mystical expedition.

    When he returns, the clouds have cleared, and they head out again. It has been only one day on travel over muddy ground when dark clouds gather once more. They quickly make for the hills before tons of water start falling on their heads once more. They wait it out on a makeshift camp near a shallow cave entrance.

    Turn 17

    The Camp Events roll gave the result Poor Hunting Grounds therefore we cannot go to a Hunting Expedition.
    Our Upkeep costs are high again, at 3 Gold Marks, which give me no other choice but to waste a Campaign Activity to Live off the land.
    Bolga will Forage for Herbs and he had Success resulting in Springwind berries.
    On the Travel roll we Meet Someone who is a Pilgrim, Disinterested, so we move on and we reach the Blighted Vale at last!

    Two weeks of constant flooding rain have not only tired out the warband, but have driven away any game. With their supplies mouldy, they have to focus on foraging for food, while Bolga uses his wilderness knowledge to also discern any useful herbs. He finds some springwind berries that they can use.

    As the ground dries out, Omac gives the command to head out again. Their paths cross with a pilgrim, but he doesn’t seem to want to make any friends. He doesn’t even nod back when they greet him. There’s the off chance that he’s on a vow of silence, so the Ravens don’t force a conversation with him.

    A few days of walking later, they’re at their destination. They crouch, draw weapons and sneak in.


    According to the Quest Finale we play out a Site Battle with 6 Enemies + modifier and one of each leader types. The Objective is to either eliminate both the Enemy Captain and Unique Foe or to perform a ritual at the centre of the table.
    Since I got my Hexon table ready I decided to play out the battle on this, and make everything cluttered with terrain to block movement and line of sight.
    Boots makes the first movement and we get a result of Undiscovered depths, adding 3 Exploration Markers.
    Now I can roll on the Enemies table and get that we are up against Grave Walkers and the Unique Foe is a Duskling Champion who is a regular member of the enemy warband. That’s both very dangerous and an interesting combination since Dusklings hate the Undead I can only imagine that the champion is under a curse forcing him to fight for the Grave Walkers.

    Caldas steps in quietly, and soon the Ravens see movement. Groups of skeleton knights patrol the area. It seems that either Ugmal’s remains have strong magic binding them to this place, or the enemy has already arrived, waiting to get their hands on the parchments to reanimate Ugmal.

    What strikes them as odd, is that there is a living, breathing duskling, standing with the grave walkers. What curse could be holding him in place? Bolga knows that this unholiness must be stopped. He will do what he must.

    A group of skeletons has already sighted Boots, and they start moving towards him, while two more groups that patrol, will soon have them in their sights. If they are to destroy Ugmal once and for all, they must destroy the patrols quickly, before the enemy is upon them in full strength.

    The Ravens of Gadun enter from the West.

    The Combat

    ROUND 1

    Boots loads up a lead bullet to his sling, and he swings it so that it’s on full momentum. His aim is perfect, and he hits the duskling right on the chest, a cracking sound confirms a broken rib or two. His enemy is wounded.
    Bolga moves up ahead to support Caldas in case the enemy duskling decides to hurt his friend.
    Temir and Myrick go for the opening to the east, covering it with their bows, while Omac and Liana head to flank the crossroads from the other side.
    The grave walkers move closer.

    ROUND 1
    ROUND 2

    Another bullet from Boots’ sling hits the duskling champion, but his armor deflects it. Bolga points at his enemy with his cleaver, and he takes the challenge.
    Having one of his own brethren at liege with the living dead is something that shakes the very core of Bolga, and he fights with dedication. His opponent can’t parry the hit in time, and the cleaver hacks at the dusklings neck. As the eyes go lifeless, the duskling smiles, thanking Bolga for saving him from his fate.
    Two skeletons charge at the Butcher, and they are felled, one by one, by the duskling as he counterattacks each strike.

    Temir shoots at the grave walkers descending from the eastern hill, but he’s scared of them, and can’t focus properly, missing them. Myrick follows up with another bow shot, but the rusty armor of the dead stops the arrow.

    ROUND 2
    ROUND 3

    Temir with a trembling hand tries, to reach for another arrow, but he fumbles, and drops all arrows from his quiver. Valuable time has been wasted, and he knows he has to switch to melee, drawing the Heart seeker.

    Boots moves to the side and loads his sling, shooting at his target. He aims for a skeleton that has some insignia, must have been a lieutenant in a past life. His opponent ducks at the right moment, the sling shot hitting the wall at his side. The lieutenant strides forward and reaches Boots, who has drawn his rapier. He blocks the first attack, and follows up with another, but his light blade cannot get past his enemy’s plates, and he’s blocked, and steps back.

    A grave walker follows up with an attacks against Caldas. The halfling is flanked, and the hit strikes his leg where the chain shirt doesn’t protect him. Boots is wounded, but blocks the follow up strike and hits back his enemy, crushing a few bones.

    Another skeleton charges at Lady Liana of Trenne. She’s taken aback by the force of the dead, and the strike goes past her armor, blood spewing out from the wound. Stunned from the wound she tries to fight back, but fails, she’s wounded again, and unable to stand by the sheer amount of blood loss, she falls to the ground.

    Myrick takes another shot with his bow at the skeletons, but the arrow flies off deflected by the armor.

    His friend wounded, Omac puts his hands together, fingers touching, and chants in his mystical language. He feels magic slipping away, so he puts his will to the test, and holds everything in place. Caldas, already starts to feel better. The wound at his leg doesn’t hurt him anymore.

    Bolga attacks the skeleton who hit Liana, for ‘vengeance’ he screams. His strike is blocked, but then as the skeleton hits back, he counterattacks, only for his hit to be blocked by the ancient armor, finally he hits once more, but the strike was but a glancing blow, and the skeleton is too tough to be stunned.

    ROUND 3
    ROUND 4

    Temir, closes in on melee against the dead. A couple of strikes are exchanged, without finding their targets, but finally the Heart seeker goes through the armor like butter, destroying a few bones holding together part of the skeleton.

    Bolga fights again the skeleton, but still the fight is undecisive after several blows that aren’t final.

    Now the grave walkers push back. Myrick can’t fend them off, and retreats several steps to avoid being hurt. Boots is locked in combat against them, but he ducks and parries the repeat attacks by his enemies.

    The grave walker lieutenant challenges Bolga. They fight each other, skill against skill, noone wins, and they finally disengage at a short distance.

    Omac lashes out a spell to bring down the skeleton missing several destroyed bones. The spell is succesful, but the skeleton still stands, the magic holding him together remaining strong.

    Boots decides not to get locked in combat and tries to shoot at the enemy lieutenant, but in the chaos of battle and the close quarters, his shot fails.

    Myrick shoots his last arrow at the wounded enemy skeleton, but the arrow gets through the gaps in the bones, missing the target.

    ROUND 4
    ROUND 5

    Bolga attacks once more the enemy skeleton, but his foe fights back fiercely, and he can’t destroy him.

    Omac tries to cast another spell to bring down the damaged skeletons, but he fails to recite the correct incantantion, and the spell fizzles out.

    The skeletons charge. Temir is pushed back, but he blocks the enemy attacks in a draw.

    The lieutenant attacks the surrounded Bolga. But the duskling counterattacks. All dusklings have taken an oath of life, and their hatred burns against the dead. With his strength tapping from the inner core of their origin, he cuts the skeleton in two, destroying him. Only pieces of bones remain where the abomination stood.

    Omac is attacked by the skeleton he pointed his spell at. He blocks the strike, and follows up with an attack from his staff. The oaken staff hits the skull, crushing it to bits and the skeleton drops inanimate.

    The skeleton captain, with a crown on his head now has reached the fight. He orders his minions on the warband. The first skeleton locks himself against Boots, but the halfling is fast and ready. He evades the attack and cuts off his enemy at the knees, destroying the magic that holds it together. He’s flanked by the other skeleton, who hits him with his axe. The strike is strong, and Boots falls under his enemy.

    The line of defense destroyed, the skeleton captain has an open path to Omac, and jumps to the leader of the Ravens. The Beard tries to parry with his staff, but he’s wounded and pushed back. With another strike, the skeleton captain fells the Raven.

    ‘No!’ Myrick cries out as one by one, his companions are down. Furious he charges at the enemy, but the skeletons seem to still remember the skills they had in life. His enemy blocks the attack, and follows up with an attack by his sword. The blade finds flesh, and Myrick falls as well.

    ROUND 5
    ROUND 6

    Only Bolga and Temir remain standing. They look at each other. If they are to succeed, the crowned skeleton must be destroyed.

    Their thoughts are interrupted by the fight ahead of them as a skeleton attacks Temir, who is pushed further back, defending himself.

    The skeleton captain attacks the surrounded Bolga, who counterattacks, but with only a weak glancing blow, before being forced to disengage. That’s enough distraction for a flank attack by the skeleton axeman who brought Boots down. The axe hacks at Bolga’s body, and the duskling falls as well.

    Temir, alone now attacks his opponents, but they stand together, and he can’t manage to score a hit that will break their defenses. He has to step further back.

    ROUND 6
    ROUND 7

    The skeleton swordsman attacks Temir, who is pushed back, as the skeleton axeman follows up with another flanking strike. Temir is wounded.

    Holding his bleeding side, Temir knows he can’t win this battle alone. He looks at the exit, and retreats. The Ravens lost.

    ROUND 7

    Working on the Resolution stage, we earned 3 Adventure Points because we defeated a Unique Foe and a Captain.

    Rolling on the Injuries and Flight in the Dark tables, Caldas got a Light injury for 2 Turns, Omac got a Damaged Staff, Lady Liana Died, Bolga got a Moderate injury for 4 Turns, Myrick was Knocked Out, and Temir had his Fine Longbow Damaged, becoming a regular Longbow. I expended the extra Luck Bolga had during the Quest, so he’s safe, and used a Silvertree Leaf to reroll Lady Liana’s result. Unfortunately she got another Dead result, becoming the first warband member to perish. She will be remembered in our hall of fame, and we earn +1 Story Point. This means that randomly, also her Throwing Knives were Damaged, and her items can be redistributed among the warband. I decide that they won’t be redistributed, except for Heart Seeker.

    The only members who receive experience points, are Temir who survived and gained +1 XP, and Bolga who eliminated the Unique Foe and a Lieutenant, earning him +2 XP. They each gained a level after this, reaching Level 4, with Temir getting an increase in Speed, and Bolga an increase in Toughness.

    Finally the News Travels result is that a monster has been spotted in the fog and we add a Hidden Monster Lair to the region.

    The Ravens, defeated crawl out of the site. They count themselves, beaten, battered, wounded, bleeding. Omac’s oaken staff is broken, Bolga notices that his wound barely missed a vital organ, and it’s only a flesh wound, he’s back in fighting shape, Boots has his leg scathed, he’ll need time to recover, Temir bent his longbow as he fled out, but what grabs their attention is Lady Liana. She’s coughing blood. Omac is over her, holding her in his arms, and removes the silvertree leaf from his pouch. He quickly builds up a poultice and applies it to her wounds. But they’re too deep. The poultice doesn’t stop the bleeding. Liana holds his hand tightly and tries to speak some last words, but her mouth gasps for air, and no sound comes out. She pulls out her sword, and points the handle towards Myrick, and he respectfully takes it. Finally the strong grip of her hand relaxes, and Omac realizes she’s gone for good. The warband stands in silence as Omac closes her eyes.

    They set a burial ground for her. They cleaned her up, and placed a sword and her full assortment of armor, helmet and shield alongside her. The burial of a warrior. Each of them put some dirt and stones until she was completely covered. Finally, they rolled a huge slab of stone on top, so that no animals would desecrate the body. They carved her name into the stone, so that the grave was marked properly.

    At night they all stood around the fire. First Omac raised his flask of wine. “To Lady Liana of Trenne, a warrior so strong that mortal enemies trembled before her! Only the dead who have no fear could face her.” The rest of the Ravens, raised their flasks as well. “To Lady Liana of Trenne!” They said in unison. Then, each and everyone, started reciting tales of her deeds, in remembrance.

    Next morning, they gathered round. “It seems our enemy is still strong. Thankfully, the parchments are still in our posession, so they will need to take them from our cold dead hands before Ugmal is back from the dead. We will return to the Blighted Vale, but not today. For today we need to live, before we come back tomorrow. Until then, we shall fight the dead, we shall fight the rodents, and that plagues the land. We head back to Newhorn next, but for now, we camp.” Noone speaks after this. The loss of one of their own, reminds them of their own mortallity.

    Session Summary

    Wow what a battle! I knew it was going to be tough when the enemy table resulted in Grave Walkers. These dudes have armor, toughness, combat bonus and cannot be stunned. Top it off with max numbers and one of each leader type, I maybe should have walked out the minute we entered the battlefield. We tried to win and since we had eliminated the Unique Foe, we were at 50% completion of the objective. Several skeletons were killed, so I was hoping for Bolga to destroy the enemy captain, and tried to win until the very last minute, even when the scales tipped against me. When it was only Temir standing I knew I had to flee, since he had almost no chance of killing the captain. When even he was wounded it was definite.

    I noticed that I suffer from the CRPGs hoarding potions syndrome, and once more I did not use either Ironshield root, Springwind berries, and I forgot completely about Dragon’s Spite which could possibly have won the battle.

    Unfortunately our first lost battle also had our first dead warband member. Lady Liana was a strong pillar of the warband, and she will be missed. I will need to recruit a new warband member, and I intend to go with an origin that is missing from the group. I’m thinking Dwarf, Feral, Fey-blood or maybe even Preen. I’ll sit on the decision until the next session, where I might roll randomly or choose what I want.

    It might sound odd, but I like the fact that I lost. I consider myself at an advantage, since I know the game mechanics all too well and can choose the best tactics in most of the situations (read above how I failed to use Dragon’s Spite), therefore it’s important to have a challenge. I like that winning a Quest Finale requires the warband to have significant strength, and not just pure luck or tactics in order to win. I only have a second chance to win this, so I won’t be returning any time soon. I need to be certain that we stand a good chance against the Grave Walkers.

     
  • giorgis 12:17 am on July 12, 2022 Permalink | Reply
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    In the Aristrax Marches – Ep09 

    Previously in the Aristrax Marches, the Ravens of Gadun hunted down the threat of the Whispers from Beyond and cleared the field from the Taken, husks remaining from people lured into dark pacts and rituals.

    Continuing my Five Leagues from the Borderlands 3rd Edition gaming, even so at a slower pace than before, as real life kicks in strongly.

    Turn 13

    The warband is still outside of a settlement. I’ll need to move them to a village if I am to have them recover from their wounds. Rolling on the Camp Events, I get a result of Only roots and berries so my Upkeep will be only 1 Gold Mark this turn. That’s a cost I’m willing to pay. As usual, Bolga will Forage for Herbs, and he’s very successful, returning with 2 doses of Ironshield root. Caldas fails in his Hunting Expedition.

    For our adventuring I choose that we will Travel to Langecliffe. Travel is Uneventful, so we get the option to Trade (that’s an exception to the standard process flow as explained in the rulebook). We sell a Damaged Standard Weapon and a Bag of Foreign Coins for 4 Gold Marks total.

    On News Travels we roll that the weather is worsening and our foes are laying low. We reduce our injuries Recovery Time by 1 Turn. Also we get to deliver the letter back to the Innkeep for 1 Gold Mark and 1 Adventure Point.

    Turn 13 Map

    Omac takes a close look to his companions. They’re wounded, tired, dirty, feeding only on roots and berries. He knows they’re tasked, but even the strongest horses will founder if overworked. He stands up in the middle of their camp and turns to them.
    “As soon as Bolga and Caldas return from the woods, we shall travel to Langecliffe. Get some proper rest and healing, and then we’ll get back to our task.” He says, and faint smiles appear on their faces.

    Bolga returns with some more herbs, while Caldas returns empty handed. Nevertheless, they set foot on their road as he promised.

    A few days later they reach Langecliffe, just as a black cloud appears on the horizon. They head straight for the Weary Knave, delivering the innkeep his letter, while Omac goes to the market to liquidate some of their valuables. Their rest is well deserved.

    Turn 14

    In the Town Events we rolled that we Got in a fight! again…rolling randomly, it was Temir and we have to pay an extra 3 Gold Marks and to top it off I’ve rolled an Upkeep of 3 Gold Marks. This limits a lot our options for activities, I’ve decided that we will Help the town guard to offset half the upkeep cost and have Myrick visit the healer, which will allow him to join the fight in the same turn. In the Trade phase we will sell another Bag of Coins (you can only sell one item of Valuables per turn unless in a Town) to get 3 Gold Marks.

    Bolga bursts in the hall of the Weary Knave and runs to the table where the rest of the Ravens are sitting.
    “Boss, we need you at the barracks. It’s Temir.” He says as he tries to catch his breath. Omac rises from his seat immediately. He turns to Boots. “You’re in charge until I return. Sell the valuables and get Myrick to the healer.”

    As Bolga and Omac approach the barracks, two guards block the entrance. “Hold it right there!” they shout.
    Omac steps in front. “I’m sure that whatever it is, is a major misunderstanding.”
    Haethelm, the guard captain shouts right behind his men. “Your boy, bashed the heads of two guards together, knocking them out. How can this be misunderstood?”
    Bolga laughs and puts his hand on his cleaver. “Your guards can’t do much good if a ‘boy’ did this.”
    “We’ll pay for any damages to the good name and fame of the Langecliff guards. I’m sure that 3 Golden Marks will do?” Omac asks.
    Haethelm doesn’t respond.
    “And also, the boy, skilled as he is, will serve in the guard for one week under your command. I’m sure you’ll instill him some discipline.” Omac adds.
    “That will do.” The guard captain replies. The guards stand down. Omac steps forward and gives a pouch of coins to Haethelm. “Come take him in one week’s time.” the captain adds.

    For the Adventuring phase we will battle again the Whispers from Beyond Threat. I rolled that they’re in the same map area as the largest settlement, Newhorn, they’re counting their loot, and their end goal is to undermine our progress. I like the rolls, since they fit with my existing story, and it won’t be hard to integrate them in the narrative.

    On our Travel rolls we Meet a Merchant who is Unfriendly. I roll that he’s a Conspirator. Caldas makes a Wits test, but fails. I’d roll at the Enemy Plans, but I have a Negate Enemy Plans ‘card’ in my sleeve, so we get a free pass.

    Turn 14 Map

    A week later, the guard’s name has been restored, and Temir is back with his friends. Uneasy, Omac gathers round the Ravens.
    “We will hunt down any living dead we find. We cannot risk them growing stronger until we destroy Ugmal. Let’s go. We’re heading out.” He orders them and they pack their gear, heading north and gathering rumours of any dead sightings. Word has it they’ve been sighted near Newhorn.

    They’re about halfway to Newhorn, when they meet up with a trader on his cart.
    “Greetings travelers.” He says as they cross paths.
    “Greetings.” Omac responds.
    “Heading to Newhorn?” He asks.
    “Yes, work needs to be done there.” the Raven replies.
    “Work? ah, are you the famed Ravens of Gadun?” the merchant asks. Caldas eyes him carefully, but nothing sets him off.
    “That we are. And we’re on the hunt for any monsters, but particularly dead rising from their graves and torturing the living.” Omac says.
    Normally, any commoner hearing of such news would be white with fear, but the merchant seems unfazed. “No, I have no such knowledge. Safe travels!” He says as he pushes his cart forward and leaves.
    Then it hits Caldas in the head! The manuscript they had found long ago, it spoke of travelling commoners who work for evil forces. “We should take the long route. I don’t think it will be safe to continue straight ahead.” Caldas whispers to Omac, and he nods. They change their route to make sure their approach isn’t revealed to the enemies due to spies.

    I roll that the Enemy is 7 Outcasts (2 slingers) accompanied by a Sergeant. The Terrain theme is a Ruined tower, and our Objective is to Investigate the area (the ruined tower). Rolling for Outflanking, all the enemies are on the table, so there’s none. Our attempt to Seize Initiative fails, troops are placed, and combat is ready to begin.

    It is not too long, that they reach the ruins of an old tower. As they close in to investigate, they see 8 human figures. “Outcasts.” Temir whispers. “Cannibals that have eaten men and women during the harsh winters. They’re no longer men. Darkness has seeped into their souls.”
    The Ravens of Gadun draw their weapons and take positions to fight.

    The Combat

    ROUND 1

    The two sides close in quickly as they dash forward. A slinger shoots at Caldas, but his chain shirt deflects the bullet.

    ROUND 1
    ROUND 2

    Bolga draws first blood. He charges at the nearest outcast, and without hesitation, cleaves his arm at the shoulder, and dies quickly as the blood spurts away.

    Temir draws his longbow and shoots at the enemies approaching, his arrow wounding one of them. Boots follows up with his sling at the wounded enemy, but the unnatural fog that surrounds them causes him to miss.

    The outcast slinger shoots at Bolga, but his brigandine armor saves his life.
    The outcast leader, accompanied by one of his men climbs the ramp of the tower and charge at Boots. But the halfling has Temir’s support and they push them down.

    Omac Gadun casts a strong spell to embolden him, as he sees four enemies approach from the rear side of the tower, while Myrick scouts inside. He finds nothing of interest, but something grabs his attention in the ruins with the blue tile outside.

    ROUND 2
    ROUND 3

    Bolga rushes to the enemy slinger, and hits hard, but the strike is blocked. The force of the blow is such that the outcast is taken aback, but he quickly recovers and disengages from the duskling.

    The sergeant and the wounded outcast climb the ramp again, but both of them are met with Caldas’ pointed end of the rapier. His skill is excellent, they can’t land a hit, and he counter attacks with a slash and jab that ends them both.

    The group of enemies attacks Omac, one by one. The first one hits him, and wounds him. Omac manages to deflect the following hits and the enemy steps back, only for another to follow. This time Omac is focused. With his staff he blocks the attack, and lands a quick blow to the back of his enemy’s head, finishing him. The slinger at the distance launches a projectile to the Raven, but he misses.

    Omac takes a step back and begins an incantation. Soon, his wound is closed, and he’s fit for battle once more.

    With the south side of the tower clear, Boots and Temir head north to assist Omac. Temir’s arrow wounds an outcast, and Boots follows up with a melee strike. The short and stout halfling is so nimble and agile that the outcast didn’t even see him coming. He just saw his entrails hanging from his belly, as he dropped to the ground.

    Their numbers reduced, two outcasts flee to save their lives. Only the slinger against Bolga still stands.

    ROUND 3
    ROUND 4

    Bolga attacks the outcast, who stands no chance. It is not only the strength of the duskling, it is his skill with the cleaver also, which is the last thing the outcast sees before he dies.

    ROUND 4

    Since we held the field, I get to scout the scenario objective, and I rolled that there is Evidence of the enemy being interestined in a remote location. I should add another Unexplored Location, but instead, to align it with the ongoing story, and keep the number of Unexplored Locations manageable, I decide that it’s the Blighted Vale instead.

    Since we held the field, we gain an extra Gold Mark due to the enemy counting their pillage. Also I rolled another Gold Mark from killing the enemy Outcast Sergeant, and an extra Adventure Point since we killed more than 5 from the Whispers from Beyond, and another 2 Adventure Points rolled at the resolution stage from winning against a threat.

    I’ll spend 6 Adventure Points to perform an Adventure Milestone and reduce the Whispers from Beyond Threat by 1 more point, for a final value of 3.

    After XP gain, Myrick levels up, and gained a Will increase.

    We only gain 1 Loot roll, and it’s a Vital information. We rolled on the Quest Find table, that an ally offers respite. We scratch of 2 Recovery Turns, get 5 Gold Marks and all heroes gain +1 XP. This means that Liana is again combat ready, and Boots reached Level 4, and we rolled a Will increase.

    We also have an Unusual Finds roll, which is a Fine Standard Weapon.

    Finally, on the News Travels table, we get that the Enemy is acting against us. Rolling on the Enemy Plans table, we get that the enemy is beginning a dark ritual – Can’t use Luck until Quest is finished. I absolutely love how this fits with the running quest.

    Myrick reaches the ruins. The outcasts had camped there, counting their loot. Among their gold, he finds a sword of fine make, and a letter pointing them to the Blighted Vale.

    As he describes his findings to Omac, the leader feels a dark fog clouding his thoughts. At first he thought that it might have been the worrisome news, but after he cleared his mind, he knew better.
    Dark magic was at work here. Whatever they’re fighting, is fighting back, and won’t stop until it’s sent back to oblivion.

    As they head back to Newhorn, Mina, the Innkeep at Weasel’s Cellar, passes word to them that the duke’s daughter, Argel wants to meet them.

    They head to the keep, where Argel explains that she’s become aware of the rising dead threat and although she went to her father with the news, he didn’t take her seriously. Her informants told her of the Ravens’ exploits and how they are fighting the dead.
    Her father is not at the keep at the moment, so she took advantage of the opportunity to offer them a place to rest properly, and heal from their wounds, having the services of proper physicians. The keep’s library is also at their disposal, and she also gave them as gold as she could spare to assist them.

    “Cleanse our land Gadun.” She pleads to Omac. “Before all is lost.”


    Session Summary

    With the entire warband back in fighting shape, I am thinking of going to the Quest Finale next. Not sure if they have the appropriate skills to do it, or if I should fight the Threats some more. Decisions, decisions.

    I’ve received the hardcopy of the book by mail this week, so I had the opportunity to play while reading the physical copy. I must say it’s a pleasant change from the constant back and forth of the digital screens. I’ll also need to print some warband rosters to go for the full analog experience.

    Print quality is great, and the art and layout is even more prominent. Love it.

     
  • giorgis 10:30 pm on June 16, 2022 Permalink | Reply
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    In the Aristrax Marches – Ep08 

    Previously in the Aristrax Marches, the Ravens of Gadun managed to get hold of the Parchments of Ugmal, and can finish their quest; however with two wounded warband members, completion might have to be postponed for a short while.

    Turn 12

    Once more camping outside of a settlement, at the Local Events we rolled that it’s Hard going out there, but thankfully we have plenty of Rations so we’ll just eat up one of them an avoid paying Upkeep altogether. Lady Liana of Trenne and Myrick scratch off one Recovery Turn from their wounds, and I decide once more to Forage for herbs and go on a Hunting Expedition. Bolga found one dose of Silvertree Leaf and Boots found some Suspicious Tracks. For the Adventuring Stage I chose to Battle the Enemy Threats and chose the Whispers from Beyond as my target, since they’re also the threat in my Quest Finale.

    Map

    The Ravens are camped in the forest. Temir tending to the wounds of Liana and Myrick. Caldas and Bolga delivering the necessary supplies as the land provides. Thankfully they had enough rations to bide their time, because at times it was too dangerous to go hunting alone, and they had to stick together. Unseen enemies prowl the woods, and Caldas found tracks as if made by human skeletons.
    Omac decides they’ve had enough. They will put an end to Ugmal, but beforehand they have to deal with the threat of the living dead. They shelter their wounded companions, grab their backpack and set off to hunt the dead.


    I’ve rolled that it’s 5 of the Taken with one Lieutenant. They’re in the same map area as we are, and they’ve set an ambush and if they win they will entrench themselves further. Our objective is to Investigate the Area. Okay this feels like a battle I can win with only 4 of my heroes.

    Following the tracks, Omac, Caldas, Bolga and Temir reach a cabin under a hill with a tower overlooking the surrounding area. Caldas whispers to Omac that they should investigate this.
    At the far distance they see six husks of men, driven by a malevolent force, approaching directly at them, their leader grunting louder than the rest. The Raven’s approach has been made. Any chance of surprise has been lost. They unseathe their swords and close in.

    The Combat

    ROUND 1

    Caldas, the fleet footed, reaches the cabin within moments, and searching, doesn’t find anything of interest. Temir moves a bit closer and lets off and arrow at the husk approaching from the woods, but he misses.
    The two sides close in on one another.
    “What are these things?” Temir shouts.
    “The Taken! They’ve been lured into dark pacts and rituals. Nothing remains from their old selves but their physical manifestation!” Omac responds.

    ROUND 1
    ROUND 2

    The Taken all move one after the other towards the Ravens. Bolga is the first to fend off their attacks, while another one attacks Omac. He parries with his staff, and wounds his enemy, breaking some bones. Two more husks attack Caldas, who parries with his rapier and kills the first, and wounds the second.
    Temir reaches for his quiver but he fumbles and all his arrows drop to the ground. Bolga, Caldas and Omac go to the offense, each of them scoring a kill. Only two husks remain, but they’re fearless, unmoved by their casualties.

    ROUND 2
    ROUND 3

    Caldas slashes with his rapier at another of the Taken, and kills him, as Bolga faces of their leader.
    The husk growls loudly, but Bolga is not bothered. His cleaver comes down in a horizontal motion, and the enemy’s head soon lies by their side. The body joins it in a short moment with a loud thud.

    ROUND 3

    On the resolution stage we earned 3 Adventure Points for defeating a threat, plus 1 for eliminating their lieutenant. I decide to attempt an Adventure Milestone and spend 6 Adventure Points to reduce the Whispers from Beyond Threat by 1.

    We had no injuries, so we check for Advancement. Omac and Bolga each reach Level 3. Omac gains the Spell Bleed, while Bolga gains a Speed increase.

    We only had one Loot roll for achieving the objective. Rolling on the tables, we received yet another Heart Seeker. Seems there’s a sister blade to the first one. I’ll give this to Temir.

    Since we hold the field we gain a roll on the Unusual Finds and it’s 1 Gold Mark worth of coins.

    Finally for News Travels we’ve rolled that the Rangers have been scouting the area and get to add 2 Adventure Points.

    Victorious, the Ravens of Gadun scout the battlefield. In the tower, under a loose heavy stone plate on the floor, Caldas uncovers a magnificent blade. It’s exactly the same as the Heart Seeker that Lady Liana wields. The legend of the blacksmith that had forged twins blade has proven true. Omac assigns the fabled sword to Temir, a hero of his own right.
    Bolga searches the husks bodies, and among the remains he finds several coins that will buy them drinks for at least one night at the local inn. He smiles with delight.
    Having scouted everything, Omac gestures the quartet to gather round and return to camp.
    As they reach the camp, they find company with their wounded companions. Rangers scouting the woods stayed with them to keep them safe. Omac offers them hospitality, but they cannot stay, they are on patrol, and soon depart.


    Session Summary

    This was one of the fastest battles I’ve run in Five Leagues from the Borderlands. I’ve had lots of fun, because I like light, fast games, and with all the delves lately, I had started to worry a bit. But my worries were all dissolved. I think I’ll continue hunting down the threats for the time being, but I might have to reach a settlement first. Staying in Camp has started to tire my warband.

    On another note, I’ve gotten word that the hardcopy books have started shipping. Eagerly waiting for my own shipping confirmation! Oh and this means that Five Leagues from the Borderlands 3rd Edition is now available as PDF-only option from DrivethruRPG for those that want it.

     
  • giorgis 11:01 am on June 4, 2022 Permalink | Reply
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    In the Aristrax Marches – Ep07 

    Previously in the Aristrax Marches, the Ravens of Gadun delved in the old ruins of Ghostwood forest to recover the Parchments of Ugmal. Unfortunately after clearing the first floor of the dungeon, the Parchments were nowhere to be found, and they will have to delve deeper.

    Turn 11

    The party camped in the wilderness. For camp events I rolled that we saw a choice animal and get to roll twice in the rewards table if we go on a successful Hunting expedition and keep both results! Of course, hunting is now on the table.

    For Upkeep I have to pay 1 Gold Mark, and I scratch off one turn of Myric’s Recovery (more on that later).

    For Campaign Activities, Bolga Foraged for Herbs, successfuly and got a dose of Ironwood root.
    Boots went on a Hunting Expedition and brought back two packs of Rations and discovered some Suspicious Tracks earning us 1 Adventure Point.

    For the Adventuring stage we choose to continue the Quest and proceed with the 2nd Level of the Delve.

    The Ravens camped outside the old ruins, taking care to guard the entrance to the dungeon. The ruins spread across the forest, so it is possible that other entries were possible, but Omac wanted to ensure that they wouldn’t give the advantage to anyone wanting their chance to the Parchments of Ugmal.
    He assigned Bolga and Caldas to forage and hunt, since they’re what he considers the rangers of the party. They have their way with the land, and boy was he proud of his leader choices when they returned with herbs and supplies. Caldas even shared that he found gnawling tracks heading east. Information like that always proves important.

    Once they were all fed and rested he stood up, packed his gear, and gave a speech.
    “Ravens. We have another chance now to strike evil at it’s source. We’ll go deeper and deeper in the ruins, and get those scripts before anyone else. We have the skill and the strength, and we WILL SUCCEED!.” Their morale high, the warband entered the ruin, with Boots once more leading the way.


    Caldas moved ahead first, and rolled A quiet entrance. I didn’t want to place any enemies at the centre of the table, giving them a higher chance of encountering us, so I decided to go ahead with the enemies.

    I’ve rolled that the Foes are from The Curse of War threat, and it’s 7 Opportunistic Pillagers (2 slingers) with no Leadership.

    With his first move, Boots is within LOS of the pillagers to the North.
    NOTE: At the end of the battle I realized Myrick shouldn't have joined as he was recovering. Nevertheless mistakes happen, so I dealt with it in what I considered a fair manner afterwards. Myrick will not be counting down a Recovery Turn of course.

    The Combat

    ROUND 1

    The halfling moves North quickly in the main passage through the rooms to explore the dungeon, and he comes upon 3 pillagers. Their warband must have entered the dungeon to loot, or -who knows- if they’re aware of the Parchments, to get them for their own. Not wasting a moment he charges at one of the trio, and with his light fencing blade, he carves a ‘C’ on the chest of his enemy, before he slices at his throat. Unfortunately as he does that, he hears footsteps to his left, and two more pillagers appear.
    A slinger swings his sling at the halfling but misses, so his companion charges at Boots. He fends him off, and wounds him with a swift strike before moving out of the way.

    Lady Liana and Omac move north to assist the quick halfling, while Bolga, Temir and Myrick move to the West.

    The hulking duskling is careless and springs of a trap. A huge gong sound echoes through the ruin, and two more pillagers arrive to investigate it.

    ROUND 1
    ROUND 2

    Boots attacks the wounded pillager, and finishes him with a quick stab, but the slinger follows up with another shot while the halfling is pre-occupied in melee, and wounds him.

    Meanwhile Bolga and Temir charge at their opponents. Bolga cleaves a pillager in half, while Temir merely harms his enemy, who still stands. He tries desperately to get back at Temir, who deflects the blow, and follows back with one of his own, eliminating his foe.

    One of the warriors attacks Lady Liana, but she blocks his attacks, and is pushed back in a draw. Omac joins in the fray, but he too is stopped by his enemy, who retreats backwards.
    Myric shoots his bow at his enemies, but the arrow is stopped by their linen armour.

    Seeing their companions fall, two pillagers flee, but the rest seem now even more resolute to defeat the Ravens.

    ROUND 2
    ROUND 3

    Omac continues his melee with his enemy, but once more it’s a draw. A slinger shoots at him, but his plate armour easily deflects the bullet. The pillager doesn’t want to let go and lashes back at the Beard. He feigns a parry and then swings his sword in a quick slash that cuts the pillager along the shoulder, all to the chest, killing him. Another warrior charges at Omac when his attention is elsewhere, but thankfully the plate armour saves him once more. The blow is staggering and Omac is pushed backwards, behind Lady Liana. Now she’s attacked by another pillager, but she doesn’t intercept the blow. It gets through the armor and she’s down.

    With the Beard covering the North, wounded Caldas runs South to head for cover.

    To the other side, the warband still searches for the Parchments, when Myrick hears footsteps behind him. He turns to the enemy approaching from the entrance to the dungeon, but he hasn’t put his strength and he’s merely stunned.

    Temir’s attention is drawn to the far distance where three more pillagers appear to be guarding a stash. He curses between his teeth believing they’re holding the Parchments, but as he’s about to move to them, something catches his attention. Behind a dark coloured brick is a hidden shelf, holding an ancient tome. It’s the Parchments of Ugmal! He tucks them under his cloak and whistles to the rest of the warband that they must retreat. They still will have to clear the enemies blocking their way out.

    ROUND 3
    ROUND 4

    Omac attempts to cast a binding spell to hold his foes in place while he retreats safely, but he messes up the incantation and it fizzles to nothingness. A warrior attacks him, but he uses his staff to parry and manages to hold him off, albeit he’s pushed back in the process.
    Myrick is attacked by the warrior at the entrance. He tries his best, but falls under his enemy’s spear. Temir draws his bow and shoots at him. The arrow is lodged in the arm of the warrior who cries out in pain. Boots moves closer and shoots his sling at him. The bullet hits him in the head, bringing him down. The way out is clear.

    ROUND 4
    ROUND 5

    Omac focuses this time, and the binding spell is successful. Under cover, Boots runs out of the dungeon. The wounded halfling is safe. Temir and Bolga move closer to the exit.

    One of the pillagers breaks out of the binding spell, but his companions block the way. He cries out to let him pass, but they can’t move a muscle. Their feet, are like lead, rooted to the ground.

    Assisted by the spell covering their escape, Omac, Bolga and Temir get out of the dungeon safely, the Parchments of Ugmal in their possession.

    ROUND 5 + ROUND 6

    Rolling on the Resolution stage I got that Liana has a Serious Injury for 6 Turns Recovery Time, while Myrick was only Knocked Out.

    As described above, this is where I realized I made a SERIOUS mistake here. Myrick wasn't supposed to join this battle as he was in recovery. Yet he did, and also was KO. I'm pondering on what I should do to keep things fair.
    I think I should roll a 2nd time and keep this result, and also scratch off the A lucky break option.
    So rerolling on Myrick: Item Damage: Light Armor. Okay. He's gotten a lucky break there, but I'm keeping his 5 Recovery Turns, and not reducing them.

    On the Advancement both Boots and Temir Level Up.
    Boots: rolled Speed or Skill: so I choose the Wits Skill.
    Temir rolled Agility or Toughness Increase and I chose Toughness.

    For Loot, I have Achieved the Objective , but I did not Hold the Field.
    Loot Roll: Valuables: Bag of Foreign Coins: 3 Gold Marks worth.

    Since the Quest Task #2 was Completed I rolled for the Quest Find: You have gained an item of great value during this task. I rolled up an Enchanted Item on the Loot subtables. The item rolled is Shadow Flight.

    Also I get to see if the Quest has another Task or I move to the Quest Finale and it’s the Finale! For story’s sake I decided to roll the Enemy Threat now and it’s Whispers from Beyond.

    Rolling on the News Events table, I’ve gotten that the Enemy is acting against you so I’ll negate my Ignore the First Enemy Plans roll.

    With the Parchments of Ugmal tucked safely, the Ravens of Gadun retreated tactically out of the ruins, carrying their wounded friends.

    Once they reached the safety of their camp they tended to their wounds. Myrick’s old wound had re-opened, from the strike that had ruined his armor. Lady Liana was also seriously wounded, and it would take her a long time to recover.

    As Boots started counting the bag of foreign coins they found, and considering their overall value in Gold Marks, Omac dived deep in the contents of the Parchments.

    What was described within made his hair stand on an end. It was telling the story of Ugmal, a Sorcerer of times old who in his lust for power and immortality delved in the dark arts. In the chronicles of his time he had raised vast armies of the dead, animated to his will, scourging the lands, but what was even more terrifying was the spells written within and the implications of them.

    Ugmal was eventually defeated, but not before placing a contingency plan. With a ritualistic spell he cast, sacrificing entire villages, he is supposed to rise back from the grave and continue his mayhem of destruction. The spell was not finalized, but the components need not be collected again. With the spell still in pause, one has either to complete it, or dispel it, and thankfully the Parchments describe how to do both. That’s why they needed the Parchments, to destroy Ugmal once and for all, and also that’s why they shouldn’t fall in the wrong hands.

    Omac reads the parchments again and again, his attention to all the details, when he glimpses Caldas examining a bow made from Ash.
    “What do you have there?” He asks the halfling.
    “This bow I found in the ruins. Intricate carvings all around. A weird feeling overcomes me when I hold it.” Caldas answers.
    “It can’t be!” Omac exclaims. “But yet!”
    He searches into the Parchments, and starts reciting. “…and Ugmal enchanted a bow for his lieutenant, from the strongest Ash wood, with runes, and named it Shadow Flight, and no tree, fence or stone could protect you from it’s arrows…”
    “This will be helpful.” Caldas smiles. “Where to next, Raven?” He asks.
    “The overgrown ruins of a stone tower in the Blighted Vale. That’s where Ugmal was defeated.” Omac answers, but looks to his wounded Ravens. Can they succeed with only four? He wonders.


    Session Summary

    Busy real life has got in the way and it took me a long while to play and post this report. Also this was the reason for the mistakes I did with the wounded party members.
    I have a chance now to finish my Quest, but I’m very cautious as to going in with only 4 strong. I may have to switch to other adventures first. I carefully described the quest narrative so as to make sense with the game mechanics. It might also be a nice change of scenery doing some overhead battles because for some reason most of the battles I’ve done so far where in dungeons, and it has gotten a bit repetitive.

     
    • Hambut 12:37 pm on June 4, 2022 Permalink | Reply

      What a cool write up. Like the Ugmal back story. Reminds me of Clark Ashton Smith weird fiction. Looking forward to see what comes next.

      Liked by 1 person

      • giorgis 1:40 pm on June 4, 2022 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you! Defining the quest narrative comes with its own challenge but I find that it is well worth it!

        Like

  • giorgis 1:25 pm on May 2, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    In the Aristrax Marches – Ep06 

    Previously in the Aristrax Marches, the Ravens rescued Bertio, the Black Ferret’s nephew from deep inside a ratmen camp. Bolga and Omac were wounded, and had their gear damaged. The Ravens, now under Lady Liana’s leadership headed to the market village Broduncer to rest and recover.

    Turn 7

    Since Broduncer is a Market village, according to the rules, the first time I visit it, I gain 1 Adventure Point, coming to a whooping total of 9 Adventure Points. I really need to see how I’ll spend these.
    Rolling on the Town Events I got Offerings of Food and Shelter which means I won’t have to pay Upkeep this turn.

    1 Recovery Turn is chugged off for Omac and Bolga, and we proceed to the Campaign Activities. Bolga’s Cleaver (Bastard Sword) is off to the Blacksmith for repairs for 2 Gold Marks, and Liana makes a Study attempt, but fails.

    For Trading, we proceed to Sell a Camp Gear set, and Animal Pelts both worth 4 Gold Marks, and we buy a set of Light Armor for Temir and a Fencing Sword for Boots, costing 8 Gold Marks.

    On the Research step, we may take the offer of a contract. Rolling further, the source is an Individual and the task is to Retrieve an Item in an Unexplored Location in the Wilderness. I decide that I won’t follow up, since my warband is at 2/3 strength, and decide on the adventure step that we will Rest Up.

    Closing up the turn, on the News Travels we found out that the Duke’s forces have raided the enemy. I choose that the threat of the Gnawling Horde is reduced to 5.

    Turn 7 – Map

    The Ravens of Gadun enter Broduncer. It is small village that periodically is the central point of sales as people from the region gather to sell their goods.
    Word of the Ravens obliterating the rat-kin outside the village has reached the people already and they cheer for them. An old lady greets them. “You won’t spend your night in the inn. My husband was adamant that we’ll take care of you.” She says as she smiles. Lady Liana of Trenne receives the gift heartfully, and the Butcher and the Beard are taken care of at Mrs. Hame’s home. She’s Bertio’s aunt, so she must be a distant relative of the Black Ferret, but any attempts to glean any information about the elusive man, fall on deaf ears, as she pretends to not listen.
    Lady Liana spends some time in the local church to see if there are any manuscripts worth reading, but finds nothing of importance.
    Caldas takes Bolga’s Cleaver to the blacksmith, who eyes him carefully, considering that the blade is as large as the halfling himself. Caldas enjoys pulling jokes like that. Then he proceeds to go to the market, and starts selling what they don’t need. He’s made quite a good deal for the pelts he skinned and some camping gear they don’t need, so he decided to reward himself with a nice fencing sword. He also bought a set of leather armour for Temir, so that he doesn’t appear completely selfish.

    With two of their strongest out of action, Lady Liana decides that they won’t go adventuring, but rather keep on to their strength. Thankfully, their deeds didn’t go unnoticed at the highest levels of society. Duke Gauwill sent a detachment of troops and hunted down several rat-kin that were hiding in the immediate vicinity. It’s going to be a little bit safer for the people of the Aristrax Marches for now.


    Turn 8

    Staying at Broduncer, the Town Events rolled is Something for the road. We’re grateful for a pack of Rations.

    Upkeep is rolled to be 2 Gold Marks, and 1 more Recovery Turn is removed from Omac and Bolga.

    For Campaign Activities we will Help the Town Guard and Study. Study was a failure one more.

    In the Trade step we sold a bag of Foreign Coins worth 3 Gold Marks.

    In the Research step we had no result.

    For Adventuring I will risk travelling to Newhorn which is the only Town in the region so that I can repair Omac’s Full Armor which is damaged. The Travel roll gave a result of Uneventful Travels and we reach the Manor Town of Newhorn without any issues.

    The News Travels roll resulted in Travelers having seen something odd in the forest and hills, and I’m to add an Unexplored Location to the Wilderness. These are the Barakzir Crags.

    Turn 8 – Travel Map

    Mrs. Hames wants to keep sheltering the Ravens of Gadun, but Lady Liana can’t take that for much longer. She needs a proper hot bath, and is willing to pay the extra silver to the Cracked Cask. Of course she can’t insult Mrs. Hames, so she just says that she insists that they can’t stay in their feet for much longer ‘8 warriors who eat like 15’. Mrs. Hames finally gives in, but only if they agree to take a pack of rations with them. She also warns them to not take Bertio with them and to tell the ‘man’ as she refers to the Black Ferret for the first time, that Bertio will stay with her in Broduncer and help with work that needs doing.

    Staying at the Cracked Cask costs more than Lady Liana anticipated, so she ‘asked’ -not so nicely of Temir and Myrick to help the Broduncer guard with whatever they need, in exchange for some easy coin. She’s one of the few people who are privileged enough to read and write, but again her efforts to find something worth reading in the church, fall to the void. In the meantime Boots goes to the market and fetches a good price for the bag of Rahyrstian coins.

    After a short while, she realizes that they can’t stay in Broduncer for yet another week. She gathers round the group, and announces to them that the next day, they’ll be packing for Newhorn.

    Their trip to Newhorn is uneventful. They reach the seat of the Aristrax Marches, where Duke Gauwill’s winter home is. Noone seems to have heard of them here, and the welcome isn’t near as close as the welcome to Broduncer. As they pass through the main gates, they overhear travelers speaking of the Barakzir Crags, and how dangerous it was to travel through there.

    At least Liana knows that here, they’ll find a blacksmith that can perform repairs to advanced items, such as Omac’s articulated plate armour.


    Turn 9

    First time in Newhorn – I recall that we have a task to take a letter from the Innkeep’s family. We’ll pick this up and deliver it back to Langecliff when we are in the village.

    Town Events resulted that an elder tells us a tale that stands out. We gain 1 Adventure Point.

    Upkeep is 2 Gold Marks and Omac and Bolga will finish up their recovery by the end of this turn.

    The Campaign Activities I choose is to Help the Town Guard (of course, we can’t afford to lose any hard earned Gold) and to go to the Blacksmith and repair Omac’s armour for 3 Gold Marks.

    In Trade we sell the last of our valuables, a Sack of Grain worth 1 Gold Mark.

    For the Adventuring step, it’s time to Travel back to the Chasm and get the information we need to continue the Quest. The Travel roll is again Uneventful Travels which is good considering Omac and Bolga still need this turn to complete recovery.

    So, for the next Quest Step the Quest Location will be at another Unexplored Location in the Wilderness. This is the so-called Forest of Ghostwood. I will need to explore this before progressing with the Quest Task which will be to Locate an artifact.

    To finish this turn, I’ve rolled at News Travels that a friend needs my help. Since we have no friends this means generating a contract, but I choose not to.

    Turn 9 – Travel Map

    The Weasel’s Cellar is the biggest inn Lady Liana has set her eyes on in the Aristrax Marches. It is located in a residential quarter, south of a tree-lined stream. Its neighbors include a large bathhouse and a modest traveler’s shrine. The inn is a two-storey building of timber and brick walls, with a smooth stone floor. Accomodations consist of several small rooms with wooden cots. The innkeeper is an old female halfling named Mina. She was once an adventurer, but claims that she was maimed by a dragon. It is actually an old halfling patron of the inn, who recites the tale for anyone willing to listen.

    The Ravens sit by the fire and listen to the hour long story of how Mina ducked under a rock while the dragon’s breath blasted everything to charcoal above her head, and how her foot was burned by her lead sling bullets melting through the pouch and dripping on her boot.

    After settling themselves in the inn, Boots quickly makes connections with Mina, who hands him over the letter for the Weary Knave. Messages between the inns are quite common as a means of communication in the Aristrax Marches, but hiring adventurers is the least effective way to perform it. On the other hand, hiring a dedicated messenger would cost a lot more.

    Lady Liana assigns tasks for Myrick and Temir to work for the Town Guard, while she goes to the blacksmith to have Omac’s armour repaired. A master armourer is needed, and a heavy pouch of coins worth 3 Golden Marks, half upfront, to get the work done, but in the end it’s as good as new.

    Caldas, having taken the role of the warband haggler, sells a sack of grain to the local baker, to make some coin for warband expenses.

    After having rested for a while, she can tell the time has come. She calls for the Ravens to gather and they head off to travel back to the Black Ferret. The man has some answers to give.

    A couple days later, they’re face to face with the Black Ferret.
    “Word has reached me. You’ve saved Bertio.” He sais. “I’m grateful. You might be the ones who can save us from this evil.”
    “Stop speaking with riddles. What is this about?” Lady Liana’s patience is nearing its end.
    “I know not where it ends. But I know this. The Parchments of Ugmal have resurfaced. They were thought burned, but word in not-so-valorous circles is that they are to be found in Ghostwood Forest. The ruins there are their last known location. And if Froinain never destroyed them, as legends say, then if they fall in the wrong hands, the Marches are in peril.” The Black Fereret explains.
    “What do these parchments contain?” Liana asks.
    “Noone knows exactly, because the keepers of this knowledge never shared it. But they’re thought to hold the key to power that could unravel the very fabric of balance. Needless to say, you must recover them, and judge for yourself if they must be destroyed or used to stop something worse.” He responds.
    Lady Liana nods. She turns to the Ravens. “We camp. We leave at first light.”


    Turn 10

    The Camp Events result is that This life is wearing on you.

    Upkeep is 2 Gold Marks again.

    For Campaign Activities I choose to Live off the Land so that Upkeep is negated, and Bolga will Forage for Herbs, resulting in a successful finding of Springwind berries (1).

    For Adventuring we go to the Unexplored Location for the Quest which is an Old Ruin. I resolve a Traveler Encounter. It’s a Priest, Sociable with Profound life advice which gives us 1 Story Point. To progress further we’ll need to clear at least 1 level of the Old Ruin delve so that we can continue with the Quest Task to Locate the artifact.

    Turn 10 – Travel Map

    Another day, another sleep in a bed roll on the countryside. Omac’s back is really hurting. He’s getting older and older. Sometimes he just turns his thoughts back to his old life. His cozy bed and linen sheets. But that’s all in the past now. He steels through, and gets back to the task.

    “Ravens!” He yells. His strength all back together. He’s recovered.
    “We leave at once for Ghostwood Forest. You ain’t scared of ghost stories are you?” He asks jokingly. “There won’t be any time for lingering around. We hunt and forage on the go. While travelling.”

    The warband is glad he’s back on his feet, even though that means some extra work for them. Under Lady Liana’s leadership, things were… different.

    A good two days later, they happen upon a priest doing his pilgrimage.

    “Greetings friends.” The bald man says. “Nellaser may guide your steps.” He sents a blessing of the Lady of Wanderers.
    “Well received, friend.” Omac responds.
    “Never forget, when you don’t know where you are going, you’re not truly lost. Because any road, will take you, where you want to be.” The man sends his advice and keeps on his way, while Omac, stands there pondering his words.

    By the end of a day, they make out some overgrown ruins. A huge, damp, rotten gate creaks loudly as Bolga pushes it open. Without speaking another word, they enter the darkness. Caldas, leads the way, his senses heightened to pick up the sound of any danger.


    Caldas the halfling, as always, scouts ahead first. The first move dictates that there’s A passage through, so I get to add yet another Unexplored Location to the same Map Area.

    The old ruin in the forest of Ghostwood
    on hindsight I should have used a battlemat underneath the dungeon tiles, as it would have made them stand out a lot better.

    Rolling for the enemies in the Lurking Foes table, my first result is Giant Rats (which I don’t have), so I re-rolled this time (instead of going down the entries as I did previously) and the result was Delve Crawlers, which immediately made me reconsider my options. I need to buy some Giant Rats miniatures.
    They are 8 in number and thankfully have no Leadership. For the Delve Crawlers I used my Vanguard miniatures not-Genestealers.

    Infestation with Delve Crawlers. Who knows who lived there before.

    There isn’t the sound of a single critter as Boots walks silently forward. This place hasn’t been inhabbited by it’s original owners in a long time now. Huge drapes of sticky webbing cover the walls and furniture. Caldas puts his hand on his sword. He can’t forget the last time he saw webs in a dungeon. Giant spiders were onto them within minutes. Who knows what creature has called this place its home.

    As he walks further in, he sees a passage leading outside. From the scattered sun rays, and the little openings he can make out a murder of crows circling above. He makes a mental note that there might be something of interest there, and continues inside.


    The Combat

    ROUND 1

    Boots moves deeper in the ruins, and as he explores, he sees a big pile of loot. But what catches his attention is the trio of huge insect-like monsters that turn and see him as soon as he steps inside the room. One of them jumps at him, but the quick footed halfling steps aside, and strikes back. The chitinous carapace is pierced, but Caldas only manages to scratch the creature.

    ROUND 1
    From the start it seems that the first explored marker to the north gave a result of a Guarded Stash. This means that there's a 3! Loot rolls worth of treasure there, but there's also 3 more Delve Crawlers, which brings their total number up to 11...
    ROUND 2

    The sound of battle and screeches of the creature, raises the alarm, and they all crawl towards the main room.
    The Beard makes an incantation to hold a trio of creatures approaching from the west corridor as both Temir and Caldas shoot at their enemies. But neither missile pierces the thick chitinous carapace.
    The crawler next to Caldas jumps back again on him. Caldas fends it off, but a scratch on his arm is more than it looks. The halfling feels a poison running through his veins, and quickly drops.
    Another crawler charges at Omac arriving from the east corridor, but the Beard pushes it back.
    Bolga steps on top of the big table and cleaves a crawler in two, while at the same time Myrick shoots an arrow at another crawler from the north corridor, wounding it.

    ROUND 2
    Omac's spell didn't activate any additional Lurking Foes. They're too many already, and I'm glad (there's a rule for Lurking Foes when you're casting a spell).
    ROUND 3

    Myrick shoots again at the wounded crawler and finishes it off.
    Bolga attacks another of the creatures, but he fails. The creature snaps back, and his dripping poison mandibles hit Bolga’s armour. Bolga hits it back, stunning it momentarily.
    Lady Liana holds the northern attack. The heart seeker slashes at a crawler and cuts it like butter.
    Temir aims his arrows at another of the creatures, and the arrow goes through and through, dropping the creature.
    Omac’s spell keeps the trio of crawlers bound at the west corridor.

    The crawlers jump at Lady Liana and Bolga. They both fend them off, but Lady Liana can’t shake the feeling that fate intervened on her behalf.

    ROUND 3
    I had to spend a Story Point to save Lady Liana's life.
    I also timed Omac's spell carefully. Decided to use Anticipate so that he can act in the Quick Phase next round, for another Bind spell.
    ROUND 4

    Omac begins his spellcasting to keep yet again the crawlers bound under his spell, but he fails his concentration.
    Bolga holds the eastern line on his own, but doesn’t succeed in causing any casualties to the crawlers.

    From the north, Liana is charged upon yet again. The pincers pierce her armour, and she falls.
    Free from the spell, one of the crawlers attacks Temir. The Ox blocks the attacks and hits back, stunning the creature for a fraction of a second, which is enough for him to follow with another attack which wounds it. It staggers back and Temir holds his bow and attacks with an arrow, which is deflected from the creatures carapace. Myrick shoots at the same crawler. His arrow finds a weak spot in the carapace, and the crea(there’s a rule for Lurking Foes when you’re casting a spell)>ture dies.

    ROUND 4
    It seems my Story Point to save Liana was wasted. I should have used Liana's Will point to have her act in the Quick Phase. Maybe it would have been a different outcome, but I totally forgot about it.
    ROUND 5

    Omac concentrates again to cast a Bind spell on two of the crawlers, and puts all his willpower to it to succeed.
    Bolga holds off the eastern corridor, without killing any of the creatures.
    Temir shoots at a crawler. The arrow hits the head and kills it.

    The crawlers try to get past Bolga, but he blocks and wounds the creature, pushing it back.
    Myrick shoots at the wounded creature, but his last arrow hits the stone bricks.

    ROUND 5
    Had to spent a Will point to get the spell cast successfully. Thankfully it didn't activate any additional enemies.
    ROUND 6

    Bolga kills the wounded crawler with a strong hit.
    The last of the crawlers from the east jumps on top of their friend’s remains and attacks Bolga. He’s hit but his armor stops the strike, pushing him back, and the crawler hits again, but merely scratches Bolga, and finally Bolga stops him with a block.
    One of the two spell bound crawlers breaks free and attacks Temir, but each of the two combatants dodges the other’s strikes. Temir builds some distance and goes to shoot his bow, but he has dropped all of his arrows from his quiver during the melee.

    Omac decides to join in the melee. He brings his bastard sword down on a crawler, stunning it, and once more wounding it, before the creature has a chance to react and push him back. The wounded creature turns and flees.
    Myrick drops his bow and attacks in close combat a crawler nearby, but the creature snaps back and its pincers pierce Myrick’s armor, bringing him down.

    ROUND 6
    ROUND 7

    Bolga fights with the crawler in front of him, but it jumps back and hisses at a defensive position and he stops. The crawler pushes back at Bolga, who blocks the attack, but it delivers a spit of venom. Bolga falls under the influence of the poisonous substance.

    Temir on the other side slashes and wounds a crawler, but it blocks his next attack. The two combatants clash once more with no clear winner, but as Temir steps back he feels poison running through his veins. The venom entered through a slight scratch that got through his armour. But Temir isn’t known as “The Ox” for no reason. He grits his teeth and fights on. The crawler attacks back at him but Temir blocks and slashes with his sword, killing the crawler in one strike. Another one jumps at him and meets Temirs blade as well.

    Omac attacks the last crawler and wounds it. Stunned the crawler stumbles back and Omac finishes it off with his bastard sword.

    ROUND 7
    Spent my last Story Point to save Temir's life here, but unfortunately lost Bolga right afterwards. At least Temir paid off the cost by eliminating two of the last three crawlers.

    With danger lurking around every corner, the Beard and the Ox tread carefully to the northside. There they find a good stash of items and put it in their backpack.

    ROUND 8
    I could have rolled the 3 loot rolls here and now, but I rolled it in the end along with the rest, mostly in order to get the combat section complete, since it's getting late.

    The duo continues west to another room of the old ruin. A chest strikes Omac as valuable, and he rushes to open it, but it’s trapped! A bear trap maims his leg. Quickly Temir rushes to his aid and applies bandages dipped in a healing poultice to help him.

    ROUND 15
    In the first Exploration Marker I rolled up that it's a Brutal Treasure Trap. Omac was wounded, but I used up one of the Bandages from the backpack.

    After helping themselves to the contents of the chest, they head southwards. Temir starts coughing. A noxious gas fills his lungs and he drops unconscious. Omac drags him back. Alone, he knows he cannot continue exploring the ruin. One by one, he gathers his wounded companions, and they all step outside this forsaken place.

    ROUND 18
    The third Exploration Marker had an Environmental Hazard which brought down Temir. I won't risk going to the rest of the markers with only Omac alive. I've completed the objective, so I can leave and continue with the part of the Quest in the next Turn.

    Since I have two Misty Water Flowers, and two Poison Casualties, I decide not to risk it further, and use them. Caldas and Bolga recover immediately.
    Rolling for the rest of the Injuries, Lady Liana of Trenne was just Knocked Out, Solas Temir the Ox had his Light Armour Damaged and Myrick the Hood was Seriously Injured for 5 Turns of Recovery. I just realized here and now that I have forgotten to Repair Liana’s Helmet. This could be life saving and I must get to it the next time we get to town.

    The advancement was limited this time. They all gain +1 XP for participating in the battle, and Omac an additional +1 XP for surviving. There were no advancement rolls.

    Now we have 3 Loot Rolls from the Guarded Stash, 1 Loot Roll for the Treasure Trap and 1 Loot Roll for achieving the objective. I’ve rolled up one set of Partial Armor, a Fine Shield, a Fine Longbow, a set of Throwing Knives and a Bag of Coins worth 3 Gold Marks.

    For Holding the Field I roll on the Unusual Finds and get that there is a path that Leads to a location.

    Finally to close up the Turn, I roll on the News Travels that there is a Virulent Disease in Broduncer. Probably has to do with the rat-kin wandering in the region.

    Lady Liana wakes up as Omac pours some wine in her mouth. She’s battered but okay. The two of them take the misty water flowers and deliver a healing broth to Caldas and Bolga. The antidote acts quickly and they get back to their feet. Temir has his leather jacket torn, but it seems to have taken the brunt of the attack, since he’s in a good shape. He turns his attention to Myrick who has serious wounds to his torso. He helps him out, but he’s in no condition to be fighting. It will take him a long while to recover.

    After tending to their own, they set guard shifts in watches and Boots looks to what they rushed out. A set of brigandine armour will be a fine replacement for Temir’s ruined leather armour. Bolga picks up a strong shield, and Temir replaces his self bow with a strong composite long bow. Omac puts a set of trowing knives in his belt, and counts a bag of coins that they found.

    Boots with his keen eye also notices another path that leads outside. He follows it for a short while and in the distance he can see that there is an overgrown and long-forgotten tomb of carved stone. He returns with the information to Omac, but he disregards it.
    “Our task is further inside.” the Beard answers.

    It’s been a while since I had a proper photo of the warband, so here they are, outside of the delve. To help with more information sharing I’ll also display their roster.

    The Ravens of Gadun
    This roster display will have to do until I find a better way to do it. There are some issues with form editing of PDF over Linux.

    Session Summary

    That was one of the longest sessions I’ve run so far. Very interesting. I love how everything tries to connect together in the end, but some player oversight is required as Unexplored Locations can easily get out of hand.
    So far to handle this I decided to disregard Unexplored Locations about actions I explicitly don’t follow (e.g. May take up the offer of a contract), but maybe I need to set a hard limit.
    Also some considerations need to be taken regarding the naming of the locations. I started with names like “Ghostwood Forest”, but I can tell that this is best related to the Map Area rather than the location itself, because you don’t know what the location is until you decide to explore it.
    Therefore I went with descriptions in the last two Unexplored Locations. For example using donjon, I went with “Somewhere amidst a shadowed forest. A murder of ravens circles in the sky overhead.” and “Somewhere in the Darkmoor Fen. An overgrown and long-forgotten tomb of carved stone stands here.” and I’ll go with this style in the future. Because after all the Unexplored Location is just something that evokes interest without becoming clear what it is until you get there – and the relative table from 5L3e will take it from there.
    Also I can leave some Map Areas nameless. A number with a location in the Wilderness is sometimes enough. Don’t need to overload the Map.

    Now I also need to connect other aspects to what makes sense, even if it means downsizing (downsizing is to the player’s benefit). Maybe I can spend a Story Point for this, but I’m not sure it’s worth it. An example that arose (which is quite similar to what had happened before, therefore it’s bound to happen again) is that to proceed with the Quest Task Locate an artifact which is a Site Battle, I must explore the Unexplored Location which happened to be a Delve (aka Site Battle) so I must clear the first Depth. According to RAW, I’d need to clear the First Depth (which I did) and then proceed to a second Delve in the same Map Area. However I’ll consider that the Locate an artifact Site Battle is essentially the second Depth of the initial Delve. This will result in having less things to clear in the Map, and make it all more manageable. I’m afraid that if the number of locations continues at this rate, I’ll get lost.

    Finally I started removing some cleared locations and areas from the map, but I’m keeping their numbering for future reference, just in case.


    On a different note, some more topics I’ve noticed are listed below.

    This time on the Delve I went with measuring distance as per RAW instead of using grids, and I must admit that it’s tons better! The placement of the miniatures, terrain items, and the engagement zones are much more clear.

    Since I rarely had more than 8 Backpack items, and the Stash is an abstract feature that is valid in any settlement, I didn’t pay the required attention to the number of items, and I may have travelled with more han 8 (alas only by a small amount). I now will pay attention to it, and maybe I’ll consider the Stash-per-settlement rule as it will make things a bit more interesting.

    Finally the two topics that I’m considering is that Upkeep and Rest Up have zero to minimal consequences.
    I am undecided as to the Upkeep. The way I see it is that if you have plenty of coin, then you can afford to lose some (by not taking the Help the Town Guard or Live of the Land), and gain that extra Campaign Activity. Maybe that’s enough. But as it is, I can only think of a rare few cases that one might be willing to bite the bullet and pay the extra cost. Maybe wanting to both Repair a necessary weapon and visit the Healer because of a time sensitive activity? a contract? But contracts are mainly important due to the extra cash you get, so it seems counter-intuitive. Maybe there’s something I’m missing right now, I’ll keep monitoring it on the back of my head.
    With regards to Rest Up, it seems that if you do this the only thing occuring is that News Travels. So essentially, coupled with the Upkeep one could stay at a Settlement or Camp until every one in the warband is in a proper fighting shape, and then continue. As if time has paused. This is a little bit on opposite ends with the living world feel that the game has managed to evoke that occurs while adventuring. I am considering hacking this a bit. Maybe give a chance for Threats to increase or a chance for a roll on Enemy Plans.

    Back to the Quest topics that had arisen in my previous sessions, running Quests is a Player Skill to be learned. Using the right abstract parts from donjon’s generators and leaving some things open to interpretation seems to work for now.

    Whatever the case, I’m looking forward to the next session where I delve deeper to find the Parchments of Ugmal.

     
  • giorgis 11:20 pm on April 17, 2022 Permalink | Reply
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    In the Aristrax Marches – Ep05 

    Previously in the Aristrax Marches, the Ravens of Gadun travelled to the Chasm of Great Sorrow to learn more about their quest from the Black Ferret, and defeated a giant who was plaguing travellers in the area. The Black Ferret will only reveal more if they rescue his nephew (slight typo there at Ep04) who hasn’t been heard from since when he left for Broduncer village.

    Turn 6

    Since it’s the first time the warband has stayed outside of a settlement sofar, I rolled on the Camp events table and got You feel like you are being observed all night long. Can’t perform any adventure milestones this turn, but if I decide to fight Enemy threats, I’ll receive 2 Adventure Points. No matter how tempting this sounds I’ll stay on the task at hand.

    The Upkeep cost is 3 Gold Marks. Instead of spending an action to pay it off, I decide to consume my Rations.
    For Campaign activities I decide to Forage for herbs (Bolga). It was very successful and delivered (2) Springfield Berries.
    Boots also went on a Hunting expedition and returned with Animal pelts worth 3 Gold Marks.
    Trading is not appliccable for Camps so I moved on to the next step of the Preparation stage.

    Rolling for Connections at the Research step gave the offer of a contract. I’ve decided again to stay on the current course and not follow on a new contract.

    Deciding on the adventure, we’ll travel to Broduncer village. Since the News Events from Turn 5 gave a result that local patrols make travels safe, I don’t need to make a Travel roll.

    Having set camp at the ruins, the Ravens are uneasy. They place rotating shifts for every watch, but when light breaks, they can’t shake the feeling that they were observed. Noone speaks for a while, and they all pack, eager to get back on the road. As they set on the path to Broduncer, and the eerie sense of being watched has been left behind, Omac calls for a short meeting at their first rest.

    “This is an opportunity for us. We’ve stayed long behind walls. Now we need to conquer the wild.” He said again in his pompous style.
    “Bolga! You’re skilled in the lore of the lands. You will forage for herbs. See if we can find something soothing or healing.” He sais to the big duskling who looks at him expresionless. Then he turns to the halfling. “Caldas! I know your people are we versed in the lore of the lands as well. Put your sling to good use. Go hunting.” He turns to the rest. “We’ll set camp and guard watches. Have some lunch ready by the time you return. Though by the looks of it, the local patrols have kept the area safe recently.”


    Rolling on the Unexplored location table for the Contract gave a Small community result, which means a failure on the Contract. I decide to spend a Story Point and re-roll. This time I get that there’s an Enemy Camp in the same Map Area. A random roll gives a Gnawling Horde result. This is going to be tough, but it’s time to fight some ratmen!

    Turn 6 Travel Map

    Rolling for the Foe it’s 12 Knife breakers plus a Lieutenant and a Captain. This is going to be a tough fight, since they outnumber us more than 2 to 1. Due to the high number of ratmen, I’ve had to pause here and paint a handful more of my splintered light miniatures (I don’t like double poses, but didn’t have a choice).

    The theme is supposed to be deep forest, but I’m low on woods. (Hint to myself that I need to make more trees and woods). I placed everything according to the rulebook, adding the individual to be rescued and some nasty dungeon accessories (including a mutilated corpse on a table) for both mechanical and immersion effect.

    The Ravens come at a crossroads. Further down in the distance beside a couple rolling hills they could see the smoke rising from the chimneys of Broduncer.

    Another path veers to the north, and what look like houses or a small hamlet was barely discernible beyond the woods.

    Omac decided to take the path see if the people in the hamlet knew anything about Bertio, the Black Ferret’s nephew. The Ravens followed. All but Boots. Omac looked at him with an expression of curiosity.

    “There’s pawprints heading East in the forest.” He answered Omac. “Lots of them. Bigger than normal paws. But what is even more interesting is the pair of boot prints. Which are dragged at times. Someone was here and was forcibly moved, by something not human.”

    “Then that’s the way to go!” Omac started with a shout that ended in a whisper. He knew they should move stealthily.

    They follow the tracks to a clearing. It looks to be a camp. Rat like humanoids armed and armoured patrol the area. Gray fur, long tails, nails and fangs.

    At the centre of the camp they have mutilated a corpse. Next to the table another human, looking like Bertie’s description, is tied and awaits his fate as a big ratman spits over him as he speaks in an unknown squeamish language.

    The Ravens, move closer, their weapons drawn.


    The Combat

    ROUND 1

    Temir, Caldas and Myrick all sneak forward unseen, until the hulking Duskling Bolga walks with his heavy footsteps and is immediately detected by the rat people.

    They start squeamish screams and raise the alarm.

    Pissed off that he’s been made, Bolga pulls out his balanced knives and throws one at the ratman. He’s wounded and blood starts pouring. Boots has already readied his sling and shoots a lead bullet that misses by a long shot. The ratman is very fast and quickly covers the distance and fights in hand to hand combat against the halfling. Boots blocks and follows with a quick dagger strike that cuts off the throat of the rodent man. He falls dead.

    Several more of the rat people close in on Boots, but he’s covered by Myrick and Temir who shoot their bows, wounding and stunning the ratmen.

    Lady Liana of Trenne throws a slim knife at the ratman wounded by arrow, and she hits him, bringing him down. Omac follows but remains in distance.

    ROUND 1
    ROUND 2

    Omac puts his will to the test and acts quickly. He begins an incantation and magical chains bind motionless two ratmen next to the tree grove.
    Lady Liana of Trenne is empowered by her leader, she forces herself to act quickly and charges at the nearest ratman. The heart seeker strikes true and another ratman perishes.

    Two ratmen followed by a stronger ratman cursing orders – probably a lieutenant – rush back to attack Liana. She has the halfling to support her, and one by one, she fends them all off.

    The ratmen bound under the Beard’s spell can’t overcome the magical strings, and remain in place.

    The bigger ratman who must be the captain, screams at Bolga, and charges at him with his battleaxe. “Shebura! Shebura!” chant the other ratmen in unison to cheer their leader. Bolga fights back and pushes him off. Another ratman flanks Bolga from the other path into the grove, but Bolga blocks, stun him with another hit, and cleaves him in two. A third ratman comes from the foliage at Bolga, but Bolga blocks his attacks too, and sends him back with stunning hit. A couple more ratmen close in from the North.

    It’s now the Butcher’s turn. He yells a bellow to Shebura, and the two duel. As he lunges forward, the captain draws a hidden knife and wounds Bolga to the ribcage. He can’t follow on his attack though, as Bolga blocks it, and the melee ends in a standoff, with Bolga bleeding.

    The Ravens armed with ranged weapons start shooting. Myrick aims his self bow at a ratman, and the arrow finds the creature in the neck, killing it. Temir’s shot at another rodent man misses by a hair, and Boots wounds the ratman next to the lieutenant, with his sling shot.

    With so many of their own down, two ratmen flee the carnage.

    ROUND 2
    ROUND 3

    Caldas abandons his sling and challenges the lieutenant. The two are similar in height, and the fight on the hill is a sight for sore eyes, like a dance of blades. But the lieutenant gains the upper hand and Boots is pushed back. Lady Liana follows up on an attack against the lieutenant, but she only barely manages to scratch the furry hide.

    Back in the woods, the captain attacks Bolga, who blocks, but as he follows up the captain counter attacks. His knife now is stopped by Bolga’s armor. He’s stunned but alive for now. Another ratman encircles Bolga, but he’s ready and with a swift kick to the chest, the ratman is sent flying back.

    Covering half the field in a quick stride, a ratman attacks Lady Liana, who parries, deflects and wounds him with the Heart Seeker.
    The lieutenant turns his attention back at Boots, and trying to catch him unaware, he attacks. The halfling is ready, and after dodging his strike, he attacks back and wounds the ratman. He struggles back, bleeding. Boots ducks and his next strike reaches the ratman’s artery. Blood spews everywhere as the lieutenant drops dead.

    Of the two ratmen under Omac’s spell, one breaks free. He jumps on all fours and reaches Lady Liana. She blocks his attacks and sends him flying back from where he came.

    Bolga, wounded attacks one of his many assailants, but winded as he is, he only manages a flesh wound. Myrick shoots at another ratman in the woods, but, the arrow goes through and through his fur. The ratman grows and remains in the fight. Temir switches targets this time and focuses on the captain. His shot is aimed, and the arrow finds the captain in the belly. The captain curses in his rat language, but remains standing, though wounded. Bolga and the captain are on equal footing now.

    Omac no longer focuses on his spell. He draws his bastard sword and climbs the hill, hacking the first ratman he finds in two.

    ROUND 3
    ROUND 4

    Bolga attacks the wounded ratman captain. His cleaver comes down strong, and the wounded captain can’t block the hit. The blade finds the captain’s neck and cuts off the head in a swift downward motion. Bolga screams a cry of victory. Albeit early. A ratman comes in for revenge from the side, and his flail hits Bolga at the head. The duskling is down.

    At the hill, a ratman attacks the halfling, but doesn’t manage to hurt him.

    Free from Omac’s spell, the other ratman charges at the Raven, but he keeps him at bay using his staff.

    The halfling has put his sling in his pocket. His blade thirsts for blood. He jumps at another ratman and with two consecutive strikes, kills him.

    Myrick and Temir keep shooting from a safe distance, providing cover to the warband, but their arrows didn’t hit the rodents.

    Liana charges at a ratman on the hill, but he fends her off. Omac joins in to assist, and the ratman swiftly hacks at the mystic with his blade. The Beard is down.

    ROUND 4
    ROUND 5

    Boots attacks a ratman, but he is pushed off.

    Temir shoots his bow, and he kills another of the rodents. Only one ratman remains and he attacks Caldas back; the fight ends in a draw.. Myrick moves to shoot at him, but loses his footing and misses. Lady Liana of Trenne joins in the fight, but the ratman fights to his last breath and his ferocious slashes stop her from harming him.

    ROUND 5
    ROUND 6

    Caldas goes face to face with the last ratman. The ratman feigns a parry and Boots falls for it, and becomes the defender. The ratman hacks at him, but Boots mail shirt hidden under the cloak saves his life. They disengage only for a moment, as Boots has barely caught his breath when the ratman charges back. The halfling blocks, and follows with a finishing strike, cutting at the ratman’s chest. The fight is over. The wardens hold the field.

    ROUND 6

    Since we won a Camp Raid, we’re entitled to 2 Adventure points.

    Resolving the Injuries, I get that Bolga has Moderate injuries for 3 Campaign Turns Recovery time
    I’ve rolled that Omac is Dead, so I’m using Silvertree leaf and get that instead an item is damaged, rolling randomly it’s the Full Armour. Since the Silvertree leaf saved his life, I roll and get an extra 3 Campaign Turns Recovery time.

    Since Bolga and Omac were casualties in a fight with Knife breakers , I need to roll a Crafting test for them. Omac passed, but Bolga failed and had his Cleaver damaged.

    Liana, Boots and Temir each are awarded 2 XP for participating and holding the field. Bolga is awarded 2 XP as well for participating and killing the enemy captain. Omac is awarded 1 XP for participating.
    Lady Liana of Trenne leveled up, and I rolled another Will Increase.
    I’ve rolled that Myrick had Moment of Insight and thus becomes Loyal Hero. I’ll have to choose a new name, nickname and miniature to represent him.

    Since it’s a Camp Raid, I got Vital Information. Which I rolled to be a Quest Find (since I’m already in a Quest), and I got the Emboldened result again. Decided to give this to Caldas as 1 Luck Point.

    Realized that I hadn't applied the 1 Luck Point from Liana's previous Emboldened result. Also forgot that Liana saved from Dead using Silvertree Leaf, should have increased Recovery Time. I think it's only fair to remove the Emboldened Luck Status from Liana which I forgot to apply as well, so that everything evens out.

    The Camp Raid also awards 3 Gold Marks. Finally some cash influx.

    The Loot roll is Camp Gear. Seems I’ll have to sell this as I’ve already got one.

    For Unusual Finds I’ve gotten that a Key Individual was slain (the ratman captain). I’m earning 2 more Adventure points and I’m to ignore the first Enemy plans roll. Already have a similar item, so I’ll see how this will play out.

    My News travels resulted that someone important needs adventurers, and that if I will travel there within 2 campaign turns, I will receive a Quest. I find no reason to do so right now.

    Lady Liana of Trenne runs to Bertio and cuts his bonds. “Thank you! thank you!” He cries. “They threatened to chew on my bones… what are these monsters? how come they’re so close to the village, how…” Liana stops him. “You’re safe now. But we need to take care of our friends. Stay with us until we reach the village and you’ll be okay. Here, drink some water.” She offers him her flask, and he slowly calms down.


    Omac’s wound is bleeding profusely. A huge gap in his breastplate depicts the extent of the damage. His companions lean over him and dress his wounds quickly with silvertree leaf paste. The healing nature of the medicine does its job and Omac is stabilized. He’ll need at least a couple weeks worth of rest to recover.
    Bolga is wounded, but stable. There’s no need for further healing, but a similar amount of time will be needed before he’s battle ready again. His blade though is damaged at the handle and will need repairs before he can yield it again.


    Caldas finds a mundane ring among the belongings, but a ring that carries the sign of his cousin’s family. They must have fallen prey to these ratmen and he vows that whoever sent them here will pay.

    Among the crates they find a backpack full of camp gear that will help them in their quests, and coins worth 3 Gold Marks. The halfling searches the remains of Shebura and finds several signet rings and markings denoting status. This was no ordinary captain. They must have slain an important enemy. The Raven will be glad to know.


    As they walk back towards Broduncer, Temir can’t help but notice Myrick trying out the feel of his bowstring. A different aura is around him. “Hey Myrick.” Temir calls to him. “The Hood. That fits you. Stay low and under cover. Your arrows will hide the sunlight from the enemy.” Myrick smiles. Yes, that’s a good nickname.


    As they reach the village, the crier calls for adventurers requested by someone in the wilds, but the Ravens pay no heed. They have to recover from their wounds and stay focused at their quest.


    Session Summary

    That was a tough fight. I’ll have to leave the safety of the hand-holding Story Points stash I had when starting, and make do with what I have. The grim nature of the game is visible, and it’s not too hard to lose a character that you’re getting attached to.
    Reducing the number of warband members to six from eight in 2nd edition was a step on the right direction. It makes things more manageable on the player side, and each character has that unique feel and attachment. On the other hand it feels like the number of enemies has gone up a bit, and it did feel like fighting a lost cause when I started combat. Despite the desirable outcome the fight could have easily gone the other way.
    This makes one thing clear to me. Player skill is required to survive Five Leagues from the Borderlands. Character skill comes secondary. By Player skill I mean, placing your warband in such a way as to gain the best tactical advantage. Stick together, formulate a line of defense with your archers in a safe spot. Use defensive style when attacked by more skilled opponents. Break out in the open only when you have the upper hand. And time your spells carefully for the best advantage. Yes it might make combats draw a tad bit longer, but it’s necessary until you equip your warband properly and get them skilled.

    I like it when games provide a clear challenge to the player, and Five Leagues delivers a proper challenge.

    For the next steps I’m thinking a couple turns with ride patrols or maybe travel to Newhorn to get the armor repaired (it’s the only Town in the region where I can repair a Full suit of armor). I’ll certainly need to get back to full strength before continuing on the Quest. I’m wondering if the gold we have acquired will make do to pay the upkeep until then.
    Once the Quest is done (let’s hope successfuly) I’ll switch to hunting down Threats in the region. Oh and I need to decide on what to do with those Adventuring Points I have gathered! New resource compared to 2nd edition that I haven’t had the chance to try out so far.

     
  • giorgis 11:27 pm on April 10, 2022 Permalink | Reply
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    In the Aristrax Marches – Ep04 

    Previously in the Aristrax Marches, the Ravens of Gadun rescued a young man from a prominent family lost in the Catacombs near Langcliffe, from the animated Skeletal Defenders.

    Turn 5

    Rolling at the Local events table got me Something for the road, a pack of Rations. Hard times got me an Upkeep cost of 2 Gold Marks, so I decided to proceed with the Help the town guard activity which is a sure way to cover this. As the second activity I decided to send Bolga for some Training because he’s lagging behind in XP compared to the rest of the warband.
    In general I prefer to have a good all-around warband than one with better and worse characters to balance each other out. I think it’s better to be able to count on each and every one to be able to hold their own, rather than lose a battle because my skilled leader is down.
    Research didn’t provide any results, so for my Adventuring stage I decided to go on the Quest that I have noted. I’ll need to Travel to the Chasm of Great Sorrow and after I’ve explored the location, to receive a contract there.

    The Ravens are hanging around in the Weary Knave when an old man arrives at the table they’re hanging. He brings them a sack with food. Dry bread and cheese for the road, and several dried fruits and vegetables. “You’re making a difference here. Please take these with our thanks.” Lady Liana is humbled. “I’ll pass them on. You have our gratitude.”

    Everyone is looking at The Beard. “I have decided. We need to explore the Chasm of Great sorrow. The beggar’s word resonate in my ears.” He sais. “We’ll go there and see what awaits us. We depart tomorrow. Until then see what you can do to help around.”
    “I’ll go at the barracks. See if there’s anyone there willing to test his skill against me.” Bolga replies.
    “I’ll come with you. Keep earning the goodwill these people show. I’ll help the guard keep the peace at night. Heard a pack of wolves roam the outskirts.” Temir adds.
    “It’s settled then. Tomorrow we pack and travel.” Omac closes up.


    The Travel roll was Uneventful travels, which I must say I accepted with content, and I arrived at the location.

    I've noticed that the Maps had incorrectly labeled the "Ruin Within" instead of the "Whispers from Beyond" camps, and I've just corrected it now.

    I’ve rolled to see what the Location is, and it is a Monster Lair. Things just got interesting. Since I wasn’t tasked beforehand to see what the monster is, I’ll roll about it after I meet it.

    I decided to go ahead and explore the Monster lair, so I performed a Scouting roll with success! I’ve found the entrance to the lair.

    For the set up of the lair, I decided to go ahead with an overland lair. Some ruins of old where the aberration has set up its den. On hindsight, after reading the text more carefully I realized that the expectation would be best by using a dungeon, so after some discussions over at discord, I worked around this by adding extra terrain to close up the region as much as possible. I decided not to switch to a dungeon style battle because I had already set up the table, and also because I had already fought two dungeon style battles and wanted something a little bit different.

    Boots will scout first. He has entered through the Western path, and will head to the curious marker on the south.
    I played the scouting according to the monster lair scenario rules, and with a couple of lucky rolls, at the third scouting turn, I’ve reached in range of the Curious location and rolled that Boots found the Monster Unaware.
    I’ve stopped and considered my options, and since the warband is not too experienced, I decided that it’s best to take the tactical advantage I have now rather than explore further and risk being discovered by the monster. Even if that means abandoning a chance for extra loot.
    Since I found the monster I rolled at Creatures most vile and found that it is a Giant.
    For the Giant miniature I went a trip down the history line. Back in the 90s when I was playing D&D, I had gotten a Fire Giant miniature from old Ral Partha (not Europe) to my knowledge the miniature is OOP now, but I may be wrong. The scale of the Fire Giant was 25mm, but I find that it scales even better for 15mm. It was painted back then with only Humbrol Enamels, and the only techniques I used at the time where undercoating (instead of priming), basecoating and drybrushing. No blending, no mixing colours (enamels…) and no washes. I won’t touch up the miniature, since it’s a testament to the time period that it represents. Oh, and no basing at all. At least enamels are rock hard, so I expect it to outlast in toughness any acrylic.

    A strange stench hangs in the air as the warband reaches the chasm. Omac gestures for Boots to head upfront and scout.
    Boots, tiny compared to human sized standards enters some ruins. It must have been a settlement at times old. The ruins of a tower, and manorial support buildings cover the lower levels, and at the top of a hill overseeing the entire area are some columns, remaining from what must one have been a temple.
    The halfling moves further inside and southeast, as his hair stands up. The place isn’t abandoned. The entrails of a goat ripped apart in two sit on top of a broken wall. He proceeds with caution, and then he sees him.
    A huge giant. Not giant only by his diminutive standards, but by his human friends. He stands over 5 meters tall, and wears some sort of armor and carries a huge sword that not even Bolga could lift.
    As silent as a cat, he walks back and tells the Raven what he saw. They make their plans, and head back to fight the monstrosity.
    Temir and Myrick with Omac take positions at the top of the hill, while Bolga and Liana with Boots post themselves at the bottom. With all of them together it doesn’t take long for the giant to see them.
    “Who goes there?” He yells.”
    Omac can smell his bad breath even from 20 meters away. He draws his blade. “The Ravens of Gadun! and we’re hear to end your vile existence!”.

    Without further warning, the battle begins.


    The Combat

    ROUND 1

    Boots takes aim, swings his sling profoundly, and despite being the smaller man, his lead sling bullet hits the Giant in the forehead, blood spilling everywhere. The monstrosity screams in agony, holding his head, not believing such a small creature could cause so much pain.
    Enraged he charges forward to meet Boots, but not before Lady Liana of Trenne has gotten in the way. She puts all her efforts to avoid the giant’s attacks. She has to step back, keeping the giant at bay.
    From the safety of the hill, Myrick shoots at the giant, but despite hitting the large dude, his arrow is like a toothpick. It doesn’t cause him any worry.
    Temir, the Ox, follows with another shot, but his aim is better. The arrow lodges itself in the giant’s eye. Despite the size difference, the wound is severe, and the giant screams in pain.
    Omac begins the incantantion for his spell of Binding. But the temple’s energies somehow interfere. He puts all his will into it, and manages to cast the spell, and aims it at the giant.
    Bolga moves in position next to Lady Liana, so that they can fight the aberration side by side.

    ROUND 1
    First of all I'd like to note that my first two successful hits at the giant were very lucky, since they scored double Monster Points damage, bringing him down to only 2 Monster Points.
    Secondly, I may have mishandled Omac's casting timings. To have the best effect you need to cast the spell at the Quick Phase and reactivate the caster at the Slow Phase of the next turn. But I couldn't afford to assign a Quick Phase agility die to Omac, so I went with it, losing a turn from the duration of the spell in the process.
    ROUND 2

    Boots takes another swing with his sling, but the lead bullet ricochets off the tough scales on the giant’s armor. Myrick shoots his last arrow at the giant, but he misses, despite the big target. Temir shoots another arrow, but as it sinks into flesh the giant breaks it off, like a mosquito bite.
    Bolga charges at the giant with his cleaver, but he blocks with his sword, and hits back. He sends Bolga flying backwards, stunning him.
    Seeing the predicament they’re in, Lady Liana of Trenne commits her will and intercepting the fight, she charges at the giant. The giant counters, and with a strike of his huge sword, Lady Liana wounded is brought down.
    Even though the spell should bind the giant in place, he breaks free and charges at the halfling, Caldas.
    The tiny halfling avoids the giants stomps, and dodging his feet, he tries to wound him, but his dagger can’t get through the giant’s armour.
    Omac tries once more to cast the binding spell, but he fails the gestures.

    ROUND 2
    Monsters have an easier time to break off Binding spells, as they add their Monster Points (I decided to use current Monster Points not maximum) to their attempt to break off. That's why it's really easy for the giant to save against such a spell. Nevertheless I decided it was the best spell in my arsenal until such time as when Omac would have to come to close combat. The other spells were not so useful, even Mark is offset, by the giant's big size, meaning that further advantage would be lost at such short distances, as a Natural 1 is always a miss.
    ROUND 3

    Temir aims from the hill draws his bow, and shoots, but his arrow again is just a nuisance to the hulking man.
    The giant charges at Bolga, who deflects the huge blade with his cleaver, and strikes back. The Butcher manages a strong wound at the giant’s thigh. He roars, but is pushed back. Bolga closes the gap, and follows with another strike, but this time he barely scratches the giant.
    Boots loads his sling and shoots, but the bullet flies too high and misses the giant.
    Meanwhile Myrick, having run out of arrows, descends the steep hill to join the melee.
    Omac concentrates once more on his Bind spell, this time successfuly.

    ROUND 3
    I considered carefully if Bolga would follow up his attack on the giant and step up. At his initial position Bolga has a +1 bonus from his Combat Skill and a +1 Combat Bonus from Boots at his side within 1". That's a total of +2 on D6 which is a lot, versus only +1 from the Giant's Combat Skill. Since he won the second exchange and pushed the giant back 1" as attacker this time, Boots would no longer confer a +1 Combat Bonus, and with just +1 Combat Skill, he's at equal terms against the giant. Hence he's at 50% chance of losing the exchange. This is very dangerous since the giant has Counter Attack, which means that he can wound the enemy combatant, even as Defender! Considering the Armour and Toughness penetration bonuses the Giant has that would be an almost sure casualty. Nevertheless I decided to risk it, because the giant was at only 1 Monster Point remaining at this time and the +1 to Harm from Bolga's Cleaver (Bastard Sword) was too much to let go.
    ROUND 4

    Temir aims carefully and shoots at the wounded giant. His arrow strikes the giant in the throat. Blood spews out. He gargles, puts his hands around his throat trying to breathe, trying to stop the bleeding, but soon, he kneels, and with a huge thud, he falls down dead.
    The Ravens are victorious!

    ROUND 4

    I’ve rolled at the Injuries tables, and got that Lady Liana would be Dead. Considering the choices between using Silvertree Leaf OR a Story Point, I went with the Silvertree Leaf, since any result better than Dead I’d keep, and there was no worse result. Also Story Points are more powerful than Silvertree Leaves as they can be used at a variety of situations. The re-roll showed that Lady Liana is Moderately Wounded, but she rolled doubles, and wears a Helmet, so the Helmet is Damaged instead and she escapeps unscathed.
    Defeating a Monster comes with many rewards. 3 Gold Marks, 3 XP split among the survivors, which I decided to give 1 of each to Temir, Boots and Bolga since they did the most work, 3 Loot rolls, 1 Story Point and 1 Adventure Point. I’ve earned 1 more Loot roll for Holding the field. No Unusual finds since there was no column for Monster Lairs at the respective table.
    I’ve done the 4 Loot rolls, resulting in Valuables worth 4 Gold Marks in total (Foreign Coins worth 3 Gold Marks, and Sacks of Grain worth 1 Gold Mark), Throwing Knives and Misty Water Flowers.
    In addition everyone earned 1 more XP, and the survivors Temir, Boots, Bolga and Omac earned 1 more XP.
    Boots advanced to Level 2 earning a Speed Increase.
    Omac advanced to Level 2 earning an Agility Increase.
    Bolga advanced to Level 2 earning a Combat Skill Increase.
    Temir advanced to Level 2 earning a Toughness increase.
    Myrick has his Flash of Insignt but didn’t gain anything.
    On the News Travels roll I’ve gotten that outriders of the local army have been patrolling the region, and in the next campaign turn I won’t have to roll on the Travel Table when journeying somewhere.

    Now with all this information I’ve decided to find out what the Quest contract is about, and got that it’s about Rescue Individual, and therefore the Location will be at the nearest settlement, which is Broduncer.
    Seems I’ll have to do some travelling, and the News Travels result will really help me travel without trouble.

    The Ravens head to Lady Liana. They all saw how the giant’s blade came down on her head with force. Omac prepares a poultice with Silvertree Leaf and applies it to her wound. The helmet is cracked, but it has taken the brunt of the blow. She stands up, dizzy. If it wasn’t for the helmet and the quick application of the medicine, she might not be able to live to tell the tale.
    They look around and see that the giant had made this place his den. He had looted caravans and preyed on travellers. Omac, knows that they purged a great evil this day.
    Bolga arms himself with some throwing knives and Boots puts the misty water flowers into their backpack. Foreign coins worth several gold marks, as well as local coin has filled their pockets, and some sacks of grain that will surely fetch a nice price when sold to the nearest village.
    But Omac is restless, the beggar had spoken about a Black Ferret and Six Broken Fingers. And then it hits him. The tower, and the ruins of the temple and the broken columns, they all looked together if they saw them from a particular angle, as the broken fingers of a hand. The Black Ferret should be around there.

    With the Quest in place, I think I’ll switch on to some Solo RPG tools to help me find out who this Black Ferret is, and what do they want.
    Back to my trusted UNE.
    Helpful Villager, Comparable Power Level.
    Motivations: explain faith, attend purity, maintain enemies.

    I’ll go simple, this is a villager, devout follower of Xapha the God of War. Through battle they explain their faith to their enemies, through bloodlust they attend purity, and they have to maintain enemies to fight. He’s helpful because he needs someone rescued (as has been defined above). Maybe he’s wounded and can’t travel far anymore.

    “Bra-vo! Brav-vo!” Omac hears someone clapping behind him. He turns and sees a black bearded man with an eye patch, and a wooden peg leg. “You fought with great passion. Xapha will be content today.”
    Omac nods.
    “You certainly have proven your skill against Gothmug, the giant who ravaged these lands. Men of your skill are needed. To save the lands from a terrible evil.” The man continues.
    “That’s why we’ve come to the Aristrax Marches. We’re to fight the ratmen, the undying and the dusklings.” Omac replies.
    “That evil is none of those. I’ll tell … alas no, I still have a personal task I want done, before I tell you what I know.” He adds.
    “Is this the Black Ferret boss?” Bolga asks. “Should I make him talk?”
    “I’ll welcome any attempt to fight! Actually I’m looking forward to it!” the Black Ferret draws a battleaxe.
    “Actually not. We’re not at quarrel with you, and we’re tired.” Omac holds Bolga back and steps forward. “We have your word that if we do as asked you’ll get us the information?”
    “But yes. My nephew was lost. Or taken hostage, I know not. He was supposed to go to Broduncer. Fetch him back alive. I’d do it myself, but my leg doesn’t allow me to travel far anymore.” He looks down.
    “We will. We camp here tonight and leave for Broduncer tomorrow.” Omac responds.


    Session Summary

    Fighting a monster was fun! Thankfully my first two shots that removed 2 Monster Points each were just what I needed, because otherwise the ending might have been a tad bit different.
    Fighting a monster was a lot simpler tactically compared to fighting many enemies where you have to take under consideration all possible attack routes. Of course it was a mostly simple monster. The knock back was the only attack that was tactically important, but only once did it happen, so my warband mostly stayed in one place. Having 3 missile troopers certainly helped, and the hill also helped, since I could pepper the giant with arrows while the rest of the warriors kept him away.

    My main concern right now is the Quest structure. I find some narrative issues on how to make it all fit together. As much as I found all the tables intertwined insofar really tied together, with the Quests I am at a slight loss. I may have not found yet how to deal with it, and it might be really simple. But I have to answer “what is the reason of this Quest about?” yes, I can populate it with Tasks, Foes and Locations, which all answer the What, Where and Who, but not the Why. (Side note: This all feels like me performing Data Integrity training in my day job, and trying to explain to people that the automated Audit Trail captures the What, Where and Who, but they have to enter the Why themselves, because no software has this knowledge).
    I managed to avoid tackling it sofar, but now I feel this more than ever. Why do the Ravens want to get information about something that they don’t know what it is? I decided to go back and edit my narrative, with a simple “a terrible evil has come, which is none from the existing evils you’re fighting but something else”. This all also fits with the usage of different enemy types than the existing threats according to the rules of the Quests. Maybe it’s a skill that I need to hone, and with time it will become clearer to me, as to how Quests work in the narrative term.
    Looking forward to progress further and see how it will work out in the end.

     
  • giorgis 11:04 pm on April 5, 2022 Permalink | Reply
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    In the Aristrax Marches – Ep03 

    Previously in the Aristrax Marches, the Ravens of Gadun defeated a band of ghouls led by a vampire as they were entering the outskirts of Langecliff.

    Turn 4

    Rolling at Local events table returned Got in a fight. I have no friends to speak for me so I have to pay 1 Gold Mark in recompense. Thankfully Upkeep was lower this turn at only 1 Gold Mark.
    According to the News Events from previous turn, I rolled up a Contract given to me by Townsfolk to Rescue Individual that will pay 2 Gold Marks.

    Helping the town guard would only cover the upkeep costs, so this time I decided to make some money through honest hard work that needs to be done. Betting on Liana’s Crafting skill to assist. But she failed the roll. Only 1 Gold Mark earned. Which I wasted right after by going to the Blacksmith (Fletcher I guess?) to repair the self bow for Solas…Temir.

    Research didn’t return any results, so for adventure, I’ve decided to act on the Contract.

    Talking about Temir, the follower turned Hero. Here’s the new figure that will represent him.

    Temir “the Ox” Solas

    “Boss…” the Beard turned around to Bolga calling his name. “We… I…”
    “Well, spit it already Bolga!” Omac started losing his patience.
    Bolga sighed. “A man’s family demands we pay them recompense.”
    “Bolga, what kind of recompense? what did you do?” Omac asked.
    “He laughed saying my face is green.” He replied.
    “That wasn’t nice. What did you do?” the Beard said.
    “I turned his face red, blood red…from a broken nose and blue… from the bruises. Also, gave him a black eye…”
    “Okay, okay I get it, that’s a lot of colours. Can’t argue with what you did. But if you can, try to keep the violence down a notch unless it’s necessary.” Omac gave a purse of coins to Bolga. “Go, pay them”.

    The Beard did some counting, and saw that they were dangerously low on coin. “Lady Liana, you and Myrick. Earn some silver for expenses if you can. The honest way.” He asks of them.
    “I am but honest. And yes, I want by bath with warm water, but that costs way less than Wergilds! At least I can control my temper.” She snaps.
    “My dear, people can get arrested for looking at you funny.” Omac points out.
    “And that they should. Any way I’m not putting my skills to cover the Butcher’s wrongdoings. Find someone else to do it.” She scoffs, turns the other way and starts playing with a lock of her hair.
    Omac gestures to Myrick. They’ll make some coin, but less than what he’d like. To add to that, Temir Solas took the bow to be repaired. That will cost a hefty amount too. He just hopes the Ravens won’t start deserting him should their luxuries end.

    It has been but a couple days, when the innkeeper approaches to Omac’s table. “You told me, if there’s work to be done, to let you know. This is about dangerous work.”
    The Beard turns and looks at the man. “A youth, from a well standing family has gone missing. Word has it he had gone in the Catacombs at the ruins of the old Langecliffe.” The innkeeper says.
    “Catacombs you say?” The Raven asks.
    The innkeeper nods. “They used to bury people from the great houses there when Langecliffe was a bustling town decades ago. Now they’re not used anymore. The family belongs to the merchant’s guild and they will pay well.”
    “We shall go.” Omac stands up and looks at Solas and Myrick. “Gather the Ravens. We leave in half an hour.”


    So at the Adventuring stage the group went to the Unexplored Location, which is once more an Old Ruin (I had rolled this before writing the previous narrative), where they also roll a Traveler Encounter with a Scholar, which is a Special Event, Favor granting a Quest which I can’t take since I have one already, and thus got a Quest Find of feeling Emboldened.

    At the Delve I rolled for enemies Giant Rats. I don’t have any miniatures at the moment of Giant Rats, so I’ll keep going down the table (and thus to more dangerous enemies) until I get something I have. I’ve settled at Skeletal Defenders (since I don’t have Winged Imps and just played against Giant Bugs) because they also look cool. Rolled 5 Skeletons plus a Lieutenant. Skeletons are Undead meaning they can’t get Stunned and are also Fearless, they’ll fight to the death (or at least oblivion?).

    For table setup, I’d really have like to have some extra dungeon rooms (I’ve since painted 5 more rooms before my spray primer died) so as to not repeat the dungeon of my previous Delve at Ep01. Therefore to make things different, in addition to changing the layout, I used the cavern style rooms as the main part of the dungeon, added some wooden passages, and used a different set of accessories to populate it. According to the Contract mission, I placed the Individual at the centre of the board, and made the first move.

    Rolled that there’s a passage leading elsewhere and will add a new Unexplored Location to the Wilderness. Placed the enemies next, and they’ve randomly been placed around my objective and closest to my warband. Seems it will be a quick melee.

    Just outside the ruined mausoleum, the Ravens meet an old man.
    “Your aid is required.” He says at Omac Gadun. “You must go far to…”
    “To the Savage Mountains and find the Black Ferret. Yes I know.” The Beard cuts him off.
    The old man is startled. “It, can’t be…”
    “No?” Gadun asks.
    “No. I would task you to an adventure worth your caliber, but it seems that Destiny has other plans for you. Face your destiny and claim it! or be devoured.” The old man responds.
    “I see. Now step aside, we must save a foolish young man who has gone where he shouldn’t.” Omac says as he draws his sword and moves inside. The Ravens smirk and follow him as they move past the old man.
    Temir steps in front, and feels an air draft different than the dampness of the catacombs. He looks to the side and sees a passage leading elsewhere. He jots it down so that they may explore at another time.

    The Ravens move inside.

    The Combat

    ROUND 1

    The Ravens move closer from the two passages as they hear the screams of what echoes in the catacombs as a young man.
    ‘That’s good’ Omac thinks. ‘He’s still alive.’
    Then they see them. Skeletons of men striding towards them. Bones clacking, teeth moving up and down. A chill runs down the Raven’s spines, but they hold.
    Bolga screams a warcry. He’s heard stories of entities that should be put to the ground, but are restless. He’ll send them to eternal rest.
    Temir shoots his bow at one of these, but there’s little for the arrow to hold on to. It breaks a few bones, but the skeleton is still marching on.

    ROUND 1
    ROUND 2

    Bolga charges at a skeleton, but the undead animation deflects, hits back Bolga and stuns him. Bolga loses his footing and is hit again. The skeleton’s spear should have skewered him, but for some reason, it is as if the spell that moved the skeleton bugged out, and it stood motionless. Long enough for Bolga to step back in safety.
    The skeleton attacks Bolga again, and his spear cuts a wound in his arm. Another jab by the skeleton’s spear, but his armor saves him, and again, the brigandine stops another blow.
    The other skeleton follows and attacks Bolga who’s been pressed back. Bolga is tired and another strike hits his armor, and once more, but as the skeleton comes for a third attack, Bolga counter attacks. He manages to break off from the repeat hits against him, gains momentum, and cleaves the skeleton in two.
    The constant fighting has taken it’s toll on Bolga, who doesn’t pay attention to the third skeleton attacking from the flank. He’s hit at the side, and drops.
    Meanwhile Temir shoots again at the skeleton coming at him, aiming at a crucial bone at the spine, and splits the skeleton in half, destroying it.
    Boots, at Temir’s side, arms his sling, swings it with might and hits the largest skeleton he can see, must have been a knight once. The bullet hits, but it is ricocheted off the skeleton.
    Now the skeleton knight has reached Temir, but The Ox is tough. Sword and bow, he blocks the blow. He pushes him back.
    Lady Liana of Trenne fights against the skeleton who brought Bolga down, but only manages to wound it.
    Meanwhile Myrick and Omac have closed in to support their companions.

    ROUND 2
    Used a Story Point to save Bolga once here. Decided not to spend another one. If worse comes to worst, I still have Silvertree Leaf.
    ROUND 3

    Boots shoots his sling at the skeleton knight, but the bullet is stopped by the rusty armour.
    Temir takes advantage of the small distance he has gained and shoots at the knight. The arrow pierces through the rusty armor and lodges itself in the skeleton’s ribcage destroying some old bones.
    The knight attacks Temir. Holding his bow, he can’t defend himself properly, but what would be a certain killing blow, misses. The knight should have gone for Temir’s open chest, but instead it just slashed open air. Temir gets to his senses, and using his sword, he blocks the next two slashes.
    At the other side, Myrick shoots at a skeleton, but in the dark corridors, he misses.
    The same skeleton attacks Lady Liana, who blocks, counters, and cuts off the skull destroying it.
    The other skeleton moves in against her too. She blocks with her shield this time, bashes it back, and counters with a diagonal downward strike, smashing it to bone fragments.
    Omac concentrates on casting a spell that will assist him in close combat as the skeleton knight has come close. He emboldens himself and a fiery gaze is set in his eyes.

    ROUND 3
    Used a Story Point for Temir, and now I'm down at 1 Story Point, which I'll save for a rainy day. Maybe I'll need to save a member at a strategic point in time.
    ROUND 4

    Temir shoots at the skeleton knight. Another arrow breaks through rusty armor, and lodges itself at the skeleton’s ribcage. It stumbles back, and the magic that was holding it in place vanishes, as the bones drop to the floor motionless.
    Boots sends another lead bullet flying, hitting the skeleton right behind the knight. The bullet strikes with such force that the skeleton is destroyed in one strike.
    Lady Liana quickly moves towards the screams and finds the young man and calms him down.
    Myrick checks on Bolga, to make sure their companion is still alive.
    The rest of the Ravens look around for anything useful.

    ROUND 4
    Decided not to start exploring the various markers, as with saving the Individual the objective was complete and I could stop the mission at any time (since I held the field as well). The two main reasons I didn't explore further was that I didn't want to press my luck, the warband is still low level with moderate gear. The other reason was that it was late at night and I was tired.

    Since I held the field and completed the objective I’m entitled to both a loot roll and an unusual finds roll, plust the 2 Gold Marks gained by completing the contract. But first I must check for Injuries and advancement.

    I’ve rolled that Bolga was only Knocked Out.

    Lady Liana and Omac Gadun gain 2 XP each.
    Bolga only gains 1 XP since he was a casualty.
    Temir gains 3 XP since he survived and also defeated the Skeleton Leader.
    Myrick rolled on the Flash of Insight but gained nothing new.

    Rolling on loot, I found an Enchanted Weapon! The Heart Seeker! It bypasses armor! I’ll give it to Lady Liana, since others already have Bastard Swords.

    Rolling on unusual finds I’ve got a Strange Sack, which gives a loot roll, which is Vital Information(1). Rolling on this gives me a result that this information may negate the next Enemy Plans.

    Finally, rolling on News Travels I got that travelers have seen something odd in the forests and hills. I’m to add an unexplored location to the wilderness of the map.

    “Thank you! You’re heroes! I’ll sing your exploits everywhere! Thank you!” The young man starts kissing the hands and feet of Omac and the rest.
    “Get a grip of yourself boy!” Omac shouts as he stands him up. “You’re just lucky we were around. What foolish thing was this?”
    “My name is Aethed. I was looking for the ancient blade that will vancquish any foe. The Heart Seeker! But I’m not worth of it. Adventures and dangers are for people made of a different paste. I’ll go back to my father and learn how to do calculus, help them with the logistics of the shop.” The man explains.
    “Search for this blade! Leave no stone unturned! But don’t delve too deep, don’t want to be searching for more lost people inside.” Omac orders his companions and soon they spread out, as Temir guides the young man outside.
    Not long has passed, and Lady Liana of Trenne appears with a gleaming blue blade. She kneels before Omac, and presents the blade. “With your permission. I’ll use it to defeat our enemies.” She bows.
    “And thus you will. Rise Lady Liana ofTrenne. This blade will serve you well, as you will serve the Ravens.” Omac responds.
    Boots comes with a manuscript in his hands. “Hey Beard, I didn’t find no blade, but this might be of use. It speaks of ways our enemies move.” Omac smiles. “We’ll review it later at the inn. It’s time to return and get our well deserved pay. Pay that will fill our bellies with fine ale and pork on the spit.”

    As they reach the Weary Knave, the merchant’s family is thrilled to have their son back, and pay the Ravens the agreed upon sum. News reach them about talks of a cave to the east, were strange things were happening. Omac notes it down on their map.


    Session Summary

    A quick battle in the delve with my beloved enemy skeletons. Without morale to reduce their numbers, I’m just glad they were few to begin with. The Heart Seeker will definitely improve my warband, but I still need to gain some levels. I think it’s important to get increases in Combat, Toughness and Agility before I have some fighting chance against the most dangerous enemies. Also I’ll need some better armor, but this costs much needed Gold which I lack at the moment. Just barely making ends meet.

     
  • giorgis 3:00 pm on March 31, 2022 Permalink | Reply
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    In the Aristrax Marches – Ep02 

    Previously In the Aristrax Marches the Ravens of Gadun travelled to Langecliffe and cleared out the upper level of the old ruin of Longhaven, taking young runaway Brobern under their wing.

    Turn 3

    Again the local events table gave me a result of and that’s how the story went earning another Story Point for my warband.

    Upkeep costs were rolled higher, at 3 Gold Marks this turn, so it was necessary for me to choose to help the town guard as an activity to pay off the cost.

    Back at The Weary Knave the Ravens were enjoying their breakfast. It was all so frightening and yet so thrilling that giant spiders not only existed, but they had nested just outside the settlement of Langecliffe. Word of their exploits had started spreading in the village.
    “The righteous shall prevail!” Omac proclaimed. “We shall cleanse the land of evil, so that these people may live in peace, without fear for their lives!”
    “What’s our next move, Omac?” Boots asked.
    Omac looked at his group around the table, and touched his pouch.
    “The pouch is light, but before it becomes heavier, we must bind. Like the broth that’s still cooking, we need to stick together. The fire that feeds us is the suffering of the people, and the pot that will bring us together to a boil is the battles that we face!” The Ravens looked at their leader waiting for some explanation.
    He sighed. “Help the town guard for some easy coin, repair our gear and then set out for a patrol in the outskirts.”
    “Aye!” Bolga yelled, and the group dispersed.

    I can’t send my warband unarmed in a fight so I visited the blacksmith paying 1 Gold Mark to repair the damaged sickle.

    The research step identified that you may undertake a quest. The quest location was rolled to be in an Unexplored Location in the Wilderness. The task was rolled Information Costs. After talking with Ivan, he gave me a great solution of how to dress such a series of unknown quests with a narrative.

    I’ve decided once again to Ride Patrol as my adventuring action for this turn, and brought in my backpack my entire stash.

    After bashing a few drunkard skulls and fixing Solas’ sickle, the Ravens start gathering again at The Weary Knave.
    Omac is walking the streets of Langecliff when something shook his resolve. He tossed a coin to a beggar, and then the old man, looked at him with a blank stare.
    “Beyond the Savage Mountains, at the Chasm of Great Sorrow! The Black Ferret awaits you at the six Broken Fingers!” He cried.
    “Who awaits me, who is the Black Ferret?” Omac asked? But the beggar didn’t answer.
    “Who awaits me?” He asked again and persists, until a passerby saw his frustration.
    “Don’t expect an answer soon, the old man has had his tongue cut out years ago.” The villager told him. Omac lost his footing and left for the inn to clear his head.
    The rest of the Ravens pay no heed to his state of distress. They’ve packed their gear and are ready to leave for a patrol. He sees them, nods and they all set out.


    At the adventuring stage, while rolling for the encounters, I realised that in my previous session, I didn’t roll for leadership. So to make things fair, I’ve decided that in my next enemy leadership roll with a No leadership result, I’ll make a reroll and accept the new result.

    So I rolled that we encounter Unsavoury types and our objective will be to Scout the area. I rolled for the enemy at the Roadside encounters table and they will be Roving fiends 10 in number. Leadership gave a No leadership result, so I rerolled and got Unique Foes. Rolling further got me a result of Enemy marshal. With a motivation of the same goal as the group of enemies. The theme of the battle map will be settlement outskirts.

    Some notes on the encountered enemies. The Roving Fiends have no archers, natural armour and regenerate. This makes me think a lot of Witcher style necrophages, so my ghoul miniatures will fit right in. The Enemy Marshal is tough, can parry and gives a Combat bonus to his nearby allies in 4″. I felt like my Vampire miniatures would be the best match. I’m not thinking that the creature is a major vampire, but something more low key and primordial. Also enemies from Roadside encounters give 1 less Gold Mark in valuables, but also will flee if reduced to 1 or 2 figures in the Tracking Phase.

    For the battlemap, I went with a mostly flat terrain using my 20 cm² grass and dirt tiles. I put some houses to the centre and west of the map, and hills and woods to the east of the map, to better represent something that is the edge of the settlement. I put piles of scatter everywhere to make the entire thing look better. I’m only playing at a 2×2, so it’s important that terrain is as dense as possible, otherwise archery and movement become too easy.

    I rolled a placement distance of 17″ between the two forces, and that the two scout. objectives are the wooden cabin and the cross shaped roof house to the west. My warband failed to Seize Initiative.

    https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/627941499220525056/958764585165402192/329E9495-3052-4FEA-825E-0FB59A1B09A6.jpg
    To the left is North from where the warband arrives.

    They hadn’t even left the village, when they glimpsed some figures crawl around the houses at sundown. A chill ran down their spines.
    A wooden cabin and a big house had lantern lights still inside them. They could become targets for whatever was crawling in.
    Omac Gadun drew his sword and with his staff on the other hand he pointed to half the warband to take positions up on the hill to the east.


    The Combat

    ROUND 1

    From high ground, Myrick took a pot shot at the ghouls with his self bow, but the arrow fell way off course

    Stressed by the sheer number of fast moving creatures towards them, Boots loads his sling and shoots, but he’s too far away.

    Omac curses through his teeth. He has led the Ravens to the east side to gain advantage of the open field but the ghouls were not dumb enough to fall for it. As if they’re led by a stronger smarter sentience.

    They walk under the cover of trees and scatter and Omac reconsiders maybe he should have chosen the narrow alleyways of the settlement. He thinks if it is too late to reposition.

    ROUND 1
    ROUND 2

    With no target in sight, Boots turns to heel and dashes into the cabin, to see if there’s anyone in there. He sees a peasant an tells him to hide quickly into the hay.

    Omac repositions to the centre to support Bolga and Liana who now engage in combat against the necrophages that have closed in from all sides.

    Lady Liana of Trenne attacks, sword and board. But he ghoul is emboldened by the stronger cloaked fiendish woman in the middle. She sports her canines and hishes as she gestures to the ghoul to fight stronger. In the fight they’re equal, she pushes the creature back.

    Bolga attacks the other ghoul. His cleaver overcomes the thick skin, but he doesn’t kill it, and as the ghoul steps back, he sees the wound close on its own.

    ROUND 2
    ROUND 3

    Omac Gadun, “The Raven” takes the moment by his sheer will. He moves forward next to his companions, and chants to the enemy marshal and the two ghouls that surround her. Invisible tendrils shoot and bind the creatures in place. He can feel that they’re a sacrilege to the world of the living just by existing.

    But a ghoul jumps down on Liana, and she’s quite certain that the claws of the creature would have stuck in her throat, but for some unknown reason, they struck void. Disoriented by this unknown save, she gets hit again, and stunned she is pushed back.

    The unbound ghouls surround the warband, as Bolga looks the vampire in the eye. He feels challenged by this monster, and charges head on. The vampire is hit. The Butcher earns his name, as the blade cuts the necrophage in half. Blood spews everwhere as the duskling screams a victorious cry.

    Emboldened by his companion, Myrick has an opening. He calculates the shot, and an arrow sends a ghoul to its end.

    Solas comes to the side of Lady Liana. Blows are blocked and parried, but he finally overcomes his enemy and kills it.

    Boots steps out of the cabin, and slings a lead bullet at a ghoul. It strikes, but the fiend survives, and the wound closes on its own.

    Lady Liana of Trenne, still disoriented, moves to engage her attacker. But the ghoul manages to turn the tables and wound her. She spits blood out and holds the wound at her side as she swears and curses at the fiend.

    With three of their own down, including their leader, a ghoul scampers away.

    ROUND 3
    I spent a story point to save Liana from becoming a casualty. I decided that those extra story points that I earned in my campaign turns by luck are an excellent resource to burn at a time like this. It's not so much the risk of Hero death, but the loss of an important combatant on my side so early in the battle, which can have catastrophic consequences.
    ROUND 4

    Lady Liana moves with her back to her companions as the ghouls approach from all sides. “We’ll fight them off! We must! before the sun sets!” she shouts. She draws a couple of balanced throwing knives and shoots them at the ghoul who eyes her with evil intent, sitting on top of the table, but she misses.

    Boots shoots at the same ghoul, but his sling shot is off and the bullet hits the farmhouse next to the monster.

    The ghoul growls and jumps at Lady Liana. She focuses her entire talent to defense. She knows she’s wounded and can’t afford to fall. Or her friends will fall next. Strike by strike, she blocks, parries and dodges, until the ghoul is pushed back.

    As they’re surrounded another ghoul attacks Bolga. As the creature is about to rip off Bolga’s neck with a bite, by divine intervention, Liana kicks it off with her boot. Bolga takes advantage of the situation, blocks, and returns with a counter attack, hacking the ghoul to death.

    Omac remains focused on his spell, keeping one ghoul immobilized.

    A fourth ghoul charges at Bolga, but he’s in a rage. He blocks the hit with his bare hands, grabs the ghoul by it’s throat, and brings the cleaver to it’s head, cutting it off.

    The warband is attacked continuously at the center. Back to back they fight the creatures. Omac uses his staff to parry the attacks of a ghoul. He manages to stave it off.

    From behind the fence a ghoul tries to flank Solas, but he’s ready. He wounds it, and screaming it distances itself.

    Myrick nocks another arrow, and shoots it, but it merely scratches the skin of the creature.

    Bolga engages in another fight with a ghoul, but he’s starting to get winded and can’t eliminate his foe.

    Seeing Lady Liana with blood in her mouth, Omac tries to focus on a healing incantation. He starts speaking the words right, but distracted by the fight, he fails to do the proper gestures at the right time, and nothing happens.

    Solas wants to take revenge on his foe. He jumps over the fence and chases the ghoul, but he can’t get past it’s defences as it claws wildly and jumps from side to side.

    ROUND 4
    Again, here I spent another Story Point to save Bolga.
    ROUND 5

    Boots shoots again at the ghoul on top of the table, wounding it, and the wound again, starts regenerating.

    Omac now focuses again on the same spell. He gets it right this time, and a surge of warmth overcomes the noble lady. She feels revitalized.

    As the wounded ghoul jumps from the table to her again, she blocks the attack. She counters, and with a hit of her own, her blade pierces it through and through. It’s dead.

    Bolga is attacked by the ghoul next to Liana, and taking point from her, he too blocks, counters and hacks it dead. Free from the spell that bound it, the other ghoul charges now at Bolga too. The hit is strong, but Bolga’s armor saves the day, for just enough time to give Bolga the opportunity to drive his attacker back. Bolga is attacked yet again by a third ghoul, but he manages to keep it at bay.

    Solas realizes he’s made a mistake to leave the defensive position of the fence, as the ghoul’s wound has regenerated and it charges back at him. It claws at him, and unarmored as he is, he’s wounded. He puts all his efforts to fend off his assailant, and manages to push the fiend back.

    Myrick shoots another arrow. An enemy is hit, but only barely scratched.

    Bolga decides that the distracted ghoul is a prime target. He charges furiously, with no regard for his own safety. The ghoul finds the opening and claws at Bolga from below, bringing him down.

    “No!” cries out Lady Liana, as she attacks the ghoul in vengeance, hitting it. But she’s lost focus. The hit, is merely a flesh wound.

    The falls, but the ghouls have suffered many losses. They scream and hiss, and run off to the darkness.

    ROUND 5
    I decided not to spend another Story Point for Bolga because a) I had spent one for him already, b) The battle had tipped in my favour, c) His fall was a result of my bad choice.

    Not having completed the Objective (I needed to Scout both buildings before Round 6) means I’m not entitled to a Loot Roll. Bummer. But I should have known better. Nevertheless, I’ve earned 3 Adventure Points!, and all Heroes earned 2 XP (even Bolga despite being a Casualty, because he took out the enemy Leader). Bolga thankfully was only Knocked Out, so I didn’t have to resort to any healing means.

    On the advancement front, Omac Leveled Up, earning a casting increase. Liana Leveled Up, earning a Will increase. Bolga also Leveled Up, earning a Combat Skill increase.
    Myrick gained a skill on the Flash of Insight table, and I decided to give him Expertise.
    Solas had a Moment of Inspiration on the Flash of Insight table. He became a Hero, and also earned a Combat Skill Increase.

    Since we Hold the field, I rolled on the Unusual Finds table and got a Damaged Standard Weapon and a Damaged Self Bow.

    On the News travels table I got a result that a Friend needs your help, but because I have no friends this means that at the next campaign turn in a settlement, I will get a contract.

    Covered in blood and the entrails of the wicked necrophages, the party took a moment to tend to their own. Bolga was only knocked out, but both he and Liana felt like they had survived by an unseen hand that intervened.
    “Xapha didn’t want me dead today” Bolga said. “My blade was led by the god of war.”
    Lady Liana looked at him. “By Achiem, through our deeds.” She responded. “The gods help those who help themselves.” Referencing Achiem, God of Fate and thanked him in a whisper, tossing some pebbles in the air as is customary. Her resolve was strengthened.
    Bolga just grunted. He stayed down, sitting cross legged trying to keep his head straight as to what had happened, and considering every strike he delivered.
    The Beard looked around to his companions. They had come too close to their dooms, but through self reflection they’d grow from this and emerge stronger. Why did his first attempt at healing fail? Was he distracted? He’s going to have to study his manuscripts tonight.
    But of all, his gaze stopped on Solas. He was gathering a sword and a bow that he found in bad condition nearby that didn’t look to belong to anyone. Solas no longer looked to be the frail apprentice that followed his master at whatever petty task was asked of him. Something in his eyes had changed. “You won’t let the beasts get you huh boy?. Tough as an Ox.” Omac told him. “Ox. That’s what I’ll call you. Solas the Ox”. Solas smiled.
    “Temir.” He said. “I’ll use my middle name…. I feel the blood of my ancestors flowing through me.”
    Omac nodded. “Temir, tough as an ox.” They both laughed.
    “The people will sleep safe tonight. Our work here is done. Ale tonight’s on me.” He declared, and a faint smile traced on their faces.


    Session Summary

    It was a really tense session. And despite not earning enough gold, my objective (as a player) was achieved. I wanted to strengthen up my warband, and those level ups were absolutely perfect.
    Having played the second session now, I must say that I find that even where the changes from 2nd to 3rd edition aren’t so evident, the improvement is. The game is better, plays smoother and has more tactical options to make choices relevant.

    Since Solas has advanced to Hero status, I decided to give him a different core name, a nickname, and I will also give him a new miniature to represent him. I’ll consider what that will be until the next campaign turn.

     
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