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  • giorgis 10:30 pm on June 16, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 5leagues,   

    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 havev 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
    Tags: 5leagues,   

    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: 5leagues,   

    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 hear, 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
    Tags: 5leagues,   

    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
    Tags: 5leagues,   

    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
    Tags: 5leagues,   

    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
    Tags: 5leagues,   

    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.

     
  • giorgis 11:55 am on March 27, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 5leagues,   

    In the Aristrax Marches – Ep01 

    Intro

    I’ve long awaited, and finally the third edition of Five Leagues from the Borderlands (5L3e for sort) has been released in pre-order by Modiphius! Pre-ordering means getting the pdf version (prior to any errata) at the time of the order, and that’s what I did.

    Now, this isn’t a review as I prefer to establish my thoughts after I discover topics that arise during gameplay, but I’ll do an exception and share some initial impressions.

    As was the case with the Modiphius version of Five Parsecs from Home, this one too got a huge facelift. The layout is just beautiful and clear. The artwork is really evocative and I found myself at times just scrolling through the pages to look at it. I was also glad to find an index at the end of the book, which -old school me- I used, despite having pdf navigation. This will be really useful at the final printed version.


    The Warband

    So I went ahead and read through the character generation and rolled up my warband. The standard size now is Four Heroes and Two Followers, a sizeable decrease compared to the 2nd edition, but one which I find necessary. Fielding 8 warband members in the past edition made the game a bit cumbersome at times, and easier than my liking. Of course, there are options to increase the size of your warband should you wish, with rules for balancing encounters and upkeep costs.

    Since I’ve spent a sizeable amount of time in the past few months prepping for the release by painting scores of miniatures, I decided to roll the warband randomly and go from there.

    So the results for the heroes were a Halfling, Two Humans, and a Duskling. I decided the humans would be a Mystic, and a Noble. I rolled for all the heroes their background options and rolled the descriptors for my followers as well. Assigned equipment and decided who my Avatar would be.

    I pondered a lot on which miniatures I would use to depict my party and used several generators online to find suitable names and nicknames as well as the warband name. I didn’t use any of my previous miniatures for the Wardens of Gahyrst because I wanted a fresh and unique look.

    I think it’s pretty clear in the above picture as to who is who, but let me introduce them more properly.

    “Boots” Caldas, Halfling. +1 CS, +1 Agi, +2 XP. Fine Sling, Light Weapon (Dagger).

    Myrick, Human, Wily Rogue. Self Bow, Light Weapon (Dagger).

    Bolga “The Butcher”, Duskling. +1 Agi, +1 XP, Wilderness Skill. Bastard Sword (Big Cleaver), Partial Armour (Brigandine).

    Lady Liana of Trenne, Human Noble. +1 Agi, +1 XP, Crafting Skill. Standard Weapon (Sword), Throwing Knives, Partial (Plate) Armour.

    Omac “Beard” Gadun “the Raven”, Human Mystic. Avatar. +1 Casting, +1 XP, Alchemy Skill. Staff, Bastard Sword, Full (Plate) Armour.

    Solas, Human, Studious Apprentice. Standard Weapon (Sickle).

    Backpack: Bandages (3), Silvertree Leaf (2), 4 Gold Marks.

    I’ve rolled on the Avatar table and got a result that an old drunkard told me to come to a specific place (unexplored location) and visit a strange rock.

    A short note on the various Origins, and more specifically now on Dusklings. Dusklings are on purpose of the miniatures-agnostic nature of the game, not defined as something specific. They can range from the high fantasy Orcs, to Dark Elves, to low fantasy Barbarian tribes.
    For my theme I am thinking to incorporate all of these. A collection of different species all of a warlike, nature. Maybe they would unite under a strong leader. But for now, I'm keeping the Orc part under the "Duskling" Origin, and will see if I'm going to accomodate the rest in the future or not.

    The Land

    5L3e has a point crawl map system. There are map areas that may contain one or more locations, but travel between any of the map areas takes one campaign turn. The campaign turn is an abstract unit of time so you can come up with any sort of narrative explanations of travel time and distance as you see fit during the game.

    I went ahead and generated the settlements, and came up with four settlements as follows: (town, manor), (village, manor), (village, market town), (hamlet, market town).

    To generate the lay of the land I went to the Perilous Shores procedural generator by watabou. I generated a few until I got something that fit, and decided to keep the names of the locations as given.

    I found out that porting the map over to powerpoint made a huge difference. I can add points of interest and information and even depict time and movements through the use of different slides and arrow connectors.

    According to the rules, I added two unexplored locations (one due to core rules and one due to the avatar backstory) and one Delve. Delves are the 5L3e terminology for Dungeons. I also added three camps, one for each enemy threat.

    The enemy threats is a known concept of 5L. They represent the types of enemies one might face. What is different in 5L3e is that now there are 8 different threats to choose from (or roll randomly). Two threats from the Foes Within table and one threat from the Fors Without table.

    Initially I went ahead and rolled the threats, but I changed one result as I felt I really wanted rat-men in my games (these Ben Siens sculpts from Splintered Light miniatures are just awesome) and switched the Ruin Within threat to be The Gnawling Horde.

    Overall here are the three threats of the region along with their levels.

    • The Gnawling Horde /6
    • The Whispers from Beyond /5
    • Duskling Warbands /5

    And here’s the final map of the region, called The Aristrax Marches, from which I’ll name my Campaign.


    Turn 1

    “We have been tasked!” Omac told, in his pompous fashion. The Ravens looked at their leader.

    “The Beard” as they called him, “the Raven” as he wants to be called, is man who spent his life in pursuit of the arcane. He prefers to declare himself a mystic, but depending on the local sentiment, he may be seen as a devout healer or as a heretic to be burned in the pyre.

    During his research, he has found that there are forces of evil constantly trying to consume this world in darkness. The borderlands are the only place that stands as a barrier against evil, and risk to be the first to fall.

    The petty baron princes, greedy aristocrats and corrupt mayors that rule these lands, don’t care much for their people, nor for the hinterlands. Unless it’s in their direct interest to combat the threats, best case, they’ll do nothing against them.

    Omac Gadun has taken it upon himself to fight this evil wherever it may come from. But he knows he can’t do it alone, so with the promise of gold, glory and fame, he has called up to friends and adventurers to join him.

    “The Aristrax Marches is where we’ll go. My sources tell me of rat-men poisoning the towns and spreading disease, restless dead rising from their graves and tormenting the living, and dusklings raiding and marauding the countryside. The people in these lands need us the most, and we won’t abandon them, or they’ll abandon hope.” Omac finished his speech. He looked them one by one in the eye. “Boots” Caldas, the halfling ranger closed his eyes in an affirmative fashion. Liana of Trenne did a small bow in acceptance. Bolga, “the Butcher” as they called him due to his big cleaver, punched the ground with his fist and shouted “Aye!”. Myrick and Solas nodded.

    Omac looked to the distance as if considering the things to come.

    So for the first turn of the game you start at the edge of the map, I rolled randomly and got that the Ravens approach from the West.

    As the first action I have to travel to the nearest settlement. I chose Langecliff as the destination, rolled on the respective table and got Uneventful Travels.

    The non uniform band travelled the ragged path towards Langecliff. The road went through a valley between two mountain ranges, and Langecliff is in the middle of the valley.

    The village is small, built around the manor of the local lord. No one payed a lot of attention to the newcomers as they met the innkeep to arrange accommodations, but a few who looked at Bolga with disdain, only to be met with a low growl forcing them to return their attention to their table.


    Turn 2

    So a normal turn starts with the preparation stage. Rolled and so the story went on the local events table, adding 1 Story Point to the total.

    Followed up with the upkeep cost which would be 2 Gold Marks, but I decided to Help the town guard as a campaign activity, negating the cost, and chose Meet the locals where I rolled A brief chat.

    Decided to not perform any trading as coin is low at the moment,

    On the Research step, Rolling for connections yielded no result.

    Finally as the adventure step I’ve decided on something simple to get started: Ride Patrol, and outfitted the warband by placing the bandages and silvertree leaf in the backpack just in case.

    The warband gathered around the table in “The Weary Knave” – weird name for an inn, Omac thought.
    “I know we don’t go way back between us, but even more so with the Aristrax Marches. We’re strangers here, newcomers. We’ll need to earn the trust of the locals. Coin is low, so we’ll help out with whatever tasks we can find, suitable to our skills.” Omac told the group.

    “A quick glance of the status of the town guard, tells me they will need help with a few pairs of arms. Even at the sight of Bolga, the drunkards will become sober. Let’s see if we can earn some favors there.” Boots proposed.

    “Excellent proposition Caldas! Now, anyone not involved in bashing drunkard skulls, I want you to talk with the locals, see if there’s any rumours floating around. Ring to any connections you have. We’ll meet in a few days here, to ride out for a patrol, see what the countryside around Langecliff is like.” Omac added, and the Ravens dispersed.

    A few days later, they joined up again to report. Solas, Myrick and Bolga brought enough crowns to the table to pay for their stay.

    “Any news from Langecliffe?”, the Beard asked Boots, but the halfling shook his head.
    “Any contacts?” he looked at Lady Liana of Trenne. “None.-” Liana responded.

    “Then we head out tomorrow.” He said sternly.


    At the adventuring stage, the ride patrol result was that we met up with a wanderer who says that they have seen something odd. I added an Unexplored Location at the same area. I decided to explore this directly since I didn’t want to head back empty handed, and find that a wanderer tells me about an old ruin, crawling with fiends. The Unexplored Location thus becomes a Delve. I rolled up a name using the oracles from Ironsworn and got the name of Longhaven. I rolled up a Traveller encounter, which turned out to be a Young Runaway whom I’ve decided to let join the warband. Pushing further, I decided to enter the Delve, starting the game with a bang!
    For narrative economy, I’ll consider that all the above different persons are the same one, since it has no mechanical impact if I do so.

    Just a bit further than the eastern outskirts of Langecliff, the warband comes upon a young man, running, trembling and mumbling. Myrick stands in front. “Hold up young sir! Is there something wrong?”
    “Y..ye..yes! I was just in the entrance old ruins, and I could swear something was watching me. I ran away as fast as I could.” The youth says.
    “Does your mother know you’re out here playing in the ruins? Don’t you have chores to help with your old man? Go! back to your home. We’ll investigate this ruin…” Omac replies.
    “No, I can’t go back to them. I’ll find somewhere else to go.” The young man says.
    Omac pauses to consider for a short while. Then he sighs. “Hold up. What’s your name?” He asks.
    “Brobern, sire.” He replies.
    “Alright Brobern, you can come join us for smart company, a hot meal and a lousy bedroll every night. If you promise to stay out of trouble, that is, knowing that we are after trouble, and trouble is after us as well.” Omac offers.
    “Yes, yes kind sir. I’ll join you.” The youth smiles.
    “Now, my name is Omac Gudan, and we’re the Ravens. Time to bring some tranquility to these torn lands. The rest of the band will introduce themselves. Now tell me, what do you know of this ruin?” Omac smiles back.
    “Tis Langecliffe sire. Used to be a manor of a lord of old. It’s been derelict for years and I thought I could spend the night here…” Brobern says.
    “You stay here, and whistle if you see anyone approach. We’ll go inside” Gudan says and draws his blade.


    It took me a while to get a grip of how the Delve should be run. I had to go back and forth between three-four different spots in the book. Encounter Locations, Delves, Site Battles and Lurking Foes. Despite going back and forth several times, it was very easy to get a hold of all the required information, and for a first timer, I must say it wasn’t very problematic.

    So in 5L3e, Delves have an interesting mechanic. One party member does a complete move forward and then you roll on a random table, and then you deploy the enemy. This all makes this first move really suspenseful. There are more interesting things in delves, like having exploration markers that also double as patrol points for the unaware enemies, and which give random results when explored, additional rules (limited LOS, movement, can’t dash), but we’ll see them in practice as the dungeon is explored.

    So Boots took the first movement in the dungeon, with a result of A quiet entrance. Afterwards I rolled up my enemy forces from the Lurking Foes table, and got a result of Giant Bugs, and a total number of 9. I have only 8 giant spiders miniatures, and two gigantic ones, so I was considering between using a Facehugger for the ninth bug, but instead I went with the gigantic one, but without making it any stronger. Our objective is to explore 3 markers, and then we can end the mission at any time.

    For the dungeon, I used the tiles I have prepared from the Gamemaster Dungeons Set, which I found to be very easy to make. Unfortunately I hadn’t had the time to prepare many more different tiles that I wanted, so I had to make do with what I had prepared. I added various pieces of scenery from 15mm Fantasy Battle Valor Dungeon Accessories set, and for the doors, I had to make do with paper standees from my ancient Dragon Quest TSR board game. I really need to make some new doors, as I felt like this was the only part that felt out of place.

    Entering the Old Ruin of Longhaven, Boots goes first.
    One of the spiders enters the intersection, and seeing the intruders it attacks Bolga. They fight each other, pushing through the narrow room, until it ends in a standoff.
    The noise draws the attention of another spider who joins in the fray and stands right behind it’s friend. Bolga rushes and charges the two beasts, but he’s careless, and the mandibles grab him, pinch him and toss him aside. Bolga is down!
    Boots attacks the spider with his dagger, but his weak scratches only manage to stun it shortly.
    Two more spiders come from the north, and Omac Gadun shouts an incantation in an unknown tongue.
    As if caught by an unkown hand, the three furthest spiders remain bound in place, unable to move.
    Lady Liana of Trenne comes to Boot’s side. With her exquisite fencing skills, she confuses the spider just enough time, for her to find an opening and drive her sword deep in it’s belly. The spider is down. Another spider comes from the western corridor and jumps at the lady warrior. She dodges the attack and finds herself behind the beast, slashing at it’s torso, killing it with one swift strike.
    Boots has loaded his sling with a lead bullet, he swings it, and with the momentum, the bullet lodges itself deep in the skull of another spider.
    Solas and Myrick have entered the room to help their companions.
    Solas rushes to one of the giant bugs, and with his sickle, he cuts off it’s head! Green goo spills everywhere.
    Lady Liana of Trenne charges at the other spider, but it covers itself with its front legs, and then lashes back wildly, and the lady has to step back.
    Boots climbs on top of the table and takes a shot at the creature, hitting it, but merely wounding it.
    The spider doesn’t move, still bound by the sheer will of Omac, who still seems concentrated on the spell.
    Another spider comes from the northern door, and attacks Solas. One of it’s sharp legs wound him, but in the end, Solas manages to push back.
    A roaming group of spiders saw the battle, and now rush to join from the western corridor.
    Myrick draws the string of his bow and shoots at the spider. The arrow finds its target, and another spider is down.
    With the spell ending, Omac’s concentration is back to his surroundings. The Beard draws his bastard sword and charges at the wounded spider. With a big lunge, he brings down the mighty blade and hacks the spider in half.
    Seeing the massacre, one spider that was coming closer from the corridor, now turns and flees.
    Myrick climbs on top of the table to get a clear view of the corridor. He aims his bow at the spider, hits it, and kills it with an arrow.
    Boots, shoots his sling from the doorway, and hits the last spider. Killing it instantly.
    The Ravens have cleared Longhaven from the creatures, now they can explore.
    Omac searches a pile of rubble, and hidden underneath the dirt, he finds a set of camp gear. This will come in handy.
    As Liana finds herself in the middle of the western corridor, she hears footsteps approaching. She keeps her blade at the ready.
    She searches the room to the north, only to hear footsteps behind her.
    Solas is close by.
    As Solas moves to explore further west, seeing the gap in the end of the ruin, leading to a cavern of sorts, a spider jumps in from the south. The footsteps Liana heard. It takes him by surprise. He tries to fight it off, but to no avail. It wounds him again, and he’s down.
    Liana comes in to the rescue, but she’s too late. She hits the spider with fury, her blade digging deep. The spider is dead.
    She then goes to explore the opening that Solas found, as Boots tends to their fallen teammate.
    Searching through a pile of bricks she finds an interesting potion, looking magical in nature. It’s in a glass flask with a dragon’s head as it’s opening. A swirling flaming red liquid splashes inside.
    Having lost two members, the Raven gives the order to step out. They’ll search for anything of value on the way out, as they carry their fallen friends and get them to safety.

    I decided to not proceed with searching the last two exploration markers, as I find the risk too high.

    On the resolution stage I rolled for injuries. Bolga was just knocked out, but Solas had his sickle damaged.

    On the experience and advancement, survivors got 2 XP, while the casualties earned 1 XP each. Boots advanced, and I rolled an increase to his Combat Skill, reaching +2.

    The warband earned a loot roll, and they found a suit of partial armour.

    On the last resolution step, news travels, rolled a result that a letter needs delivering from Newhorn to Langecliff.

    Just outside the ruins, the warband gathered again. A quick look at their wounded companions, and they saw that it was nothing but a scratch. Solas was unhappy because as he fought with the last spider he hit his sickle on a rock and got it broken. He’ll have to repair it.

    Boots found a nice chain mail shirt in his size, and quickly took possession of it. It would protect him well, hidden beneath his clothes. It was the first time he fought with a sling in such dark and close quarters, but he took knowledge of the lessons learned.

    “Gather round!” Omac spoke up. “It was a successful endeavour. We cleaned up the old ruin. At least the top part. I’m certain there’s more to it, but we’ll come back a later time. For now, back to Langecliff for drinks and rest!”

    As they reach the inn, the innkeeper eyes the group closely and gestures for Omac to come close. “I see you’re men who aren’t afraid to face the dangers that roam the countryside. I have family over at Newhorn. If the road ever gets you there and you send me word back from them in writing, I’ll make it worth your while.” The Raven nods and smiles, as he buys a round of ale for his company. They have earned it.


    Outro

    First of all let me state that I’m biased, and this is not a completely objective review. Nevertheless, I’m still entitled to an opinion, and here it is, with regards to the my first session of 5L3e.

    In two words, my feeling of the new edition is that It Rocks!

    The random tables are everywhere, but they’re intertwined, and what started as a simple Ride Patrol, ended up with my warband searching deep into a Delve!

    The Delve mechanics are very well thought of, with the unaware enemies going from marker to marker. Even though my dungeon wasn’t the biggest possible, there was this one spider that was generated after exploring a marker (Footsteps result) and it never went the direction of the warband. Instead it kept roaming in the darker caverns. Looking forward to continuing the Delve, though I’m eager too for some overworld action.

    The preparation effort I placed in the past months with miniatures and terrain seems to have paid off, but I still feel like there’s a 15% more that I want for completion.

    I still haven’t settled 100% on the way that I will be presenting my posts, as I am constantly evolving my style.

    As to the tools I used, I really like how I can use powerpoint to depict changes on the map over time, add new places and notes. I think this will be a game changer for me as to how I keep my notes. Now I just need to updated it all with the latest results and prepare for the next turn of endless adventure!

    I intend to focus mostly on playing 5L3e on the coming time, and I’m really excited about it!

     
  • giorgis 8:20 pm on April 25, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 5leagues,   

    The Wardens of Gahyrst. Ep14. 

    On to attack the Bleak Keep as provided by the evidence found when I was fighting the Fanatics.

    Campaign Turn

    Village Events: Offerings of food and ale. No need to pay Upkeep this turn.
    Agents and Adventurers: Bruno – Away on Quest, Alida – Dead, Frans – Away on Quest.
    Pay Upkeep: Still away on Questing as Agents: Bruno, and Frans.
    Healing Up: Ardus, also chugs a Tonic. Roving Wanderer.
    Actions:
    Ardus (+Evie): Healer. Fully Healed.
    Rudiger, Gustav: Priest: Failure
    Roving Wanderer: Healer.
    Where are we going: Bleak Keep
    Sell Unwanted Gear: Nothing.
    Trade: Nothing

    Despite that the Roving Wanderer was at 0 Recovery Turns needed after healing Up at the start of the turn, I decided that in order to allow him to adventure he had to see the Healer, and thus spent a town action.
    Combat Encounter: Fanatics: Camp: 6 Fanatics (1 Archer), Captain: 13″ combat distance: Seize Initiative: Success.

    Theme: Edge of the woods
    Oddities: None

    Aftermath

    Injuries:
    Ardus: KO
    Unusual Finds: Bounty on their heads: 5 GM
    Experience:
    Gustav: Pathfinding
    Rudiger: +1 Luck
    Ardus: +1 Toughness
    Loot: Enchanted item: Hate Strike, Fine Standard Weapon, 11 GM. Also 3 GM for completing the mission.

    Journal

    With dark heart I received the news that Alida had perished. No longer would his steady crossbow cover us while we advanced against the enemies. But we lost not only a soldier, also a friend. We drank to his memory.
    Bruno and Frans were still away.
    The villagers of Eerfeld were still so happy we freed the lands that they gave us food and ale, and the innkeep gifted us our stay.
    Ardus and the Roving Wanderer were already feeling better, but with a visit to the healer, they’re back on their feet.
    Gustav and Rudiger went to the temple, but the priests weren’t receiving, due to a holy ritual that lasted the entire week.
    No time to waste, we headed for the Bleak Keep. Once outside, I taunted Crerdieu, and enraged, he and 4 fanatical followers met us out of the gates, while an archer took pot shots from above.
    The fight didn’t last long. With ease, we dispatched most of the minions, and Gustav finished off Crerdieu in hand to hand combat. Apart from a few scratches and wounds, only Ardus was downed in the field. He climbed the gatehouse and was knocked out by the enemy archer. This gave me an opportunity to finish him off with an arrow.
    It seems Crerdieu had a bounty on his head which we claimed, and also we got extra gold for clearing up the fort. Speaking of which, we found a fine sword, as well as an enchanted blade which screams with hate as Wigmar wields it. A fine addition to the armory.

    Evie’s Journal, week 14

    Session Summary

    The first of my hero deaths happened while they were away, using the optional Agents and Adventurers ruleset.

    In this fight I also used an optional rule about increased harm. This means that wounding happens much more easily. I really liked this rule as it gave a much faster game flow. The only downside is that the AI isn’t currently set to deal with it, so the player has a slight advantage as they can focus attacks on wounded enemies.

    With this battle, I’m hitting pause on the story of the Wardens of Gahyrst. Not hitting pause on 5L of course. I have some plans that I want to follow on later, but I feel that this warband power level at this campaign difficulty makes it go too easy… and I like a challenge.

     
  • giorgis 4:07 pm on March 15, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 5leagues,   

    The Wardens of Gahyrst. Ep13. 

    On to finish the last threat point in Eerfeld.

    Campaign Turn

    Village Events: Wandering healer. I don’t have any wounded Wardens.
    Agents and Adventurers: Bruno – Away on Quest, Alida – Found Loot: Tonic, Frans – Empty Handed
    Pay Upkeep: I send away on Questing as Agents: Bruno, Alida and Frans.
    Healing Up: Nothing.
    Actions:
    Ardus: Labor: +2 GM.
    Gustav: Tracking: Failure
    Roving Wanderer: Foraging: 1 Protective Herbs.
    Where are we going: Go adventuring
    Sell Unwanted Gear: Nothing.
    Trade: Bought Holy Water (Rare Item for -5GM)

    Adventuring: Roadside Encounter: Soldier, Special: Generosity, Friend: +1 Ration
    I spend the Ration to continue adventuring: Roadside AND Combat Encounter: Roadside: Humble Priest, Special, Clue: Loot: Full Armor.
    Combat Encounter: Raiders: Located Camp: Last Stand: 6 Raiders (1 Archer), Boss (Captain), Lackey (Sergeant): 15″ combat distance: Seize Initiative: Failure.

    Theme: Along The Road
    Oddities: Ladden Down By Spoils

    Meeting the raider camp along the road
    Left to Right, Front Row, the Boss and his Lackey
    Advancing behind cover
    Raider shot between the trees
    Closing in combat
    The fight draws on
    Ardus in close combat against raiders

    Aftermath

    Injuries:
    Gustav: KO
    Rudiger: KO
    Ardus: Moderate: 6 RT
    Wigmar: KO
    Roving Wanderer: Moderate: 3 RT
    Unusual Finds: Bounty on their heads: 6 GM
    Experience:
    Wigmar: +2 Speed
    Loot: Medicinal Herbs, Vital Information, Partial Armor, Soul Render (!)
    Threat: Border Tension Reduced to 0: Village Cleared: 11 GM, +1 Story Point

    Journal

    Who were these skirmishers? their uniform colors were foreign. We need to find out if they were scouts of a larger force.
    As we gathered together, I waited for news from the agents. Alida and Frans returned. Alida brought a nice bottle of tonic to share with the wardens in a time of need. Bruno was a no show. I hope he’s alright. He’s a tough man.
    The week passed quietly in Eerfeld. A wandering healer came to offer their services, helping the locals for free. The Wardens did some chores in and around Eerfeld. The Roving Wanderer found some helpful herbs, Ardus helped in the fields, while Gustav tried to find any tracks of the skirmishers, to no avail.
    Before setting off, we bought a flask of holy water to help in these dark times, and left for adventuring.

    On the road we came upon a friendly figure. It was soldier, Rupert, once a member of the Eerfeld militia. We shared stories and news, and he gave us food for the road.
    With renewed strength and full bellies, we kept on the same path. Soon we met a member of the clergy. It was a priest of Adeus, returning from Heagrove. He told us how much he valued what we had done for Eerfeld and that he knew of a nearby abandoned altar that was dedicated to Adeus, and there was a set of gear there for the protectors of Eerfeld, bought by the donations. He said we had proven more than enough our worth. We parted ways and went to this altar to find a suit of full armor, hidden and tucked carefully under the marble steps. It was the middle of the day when far in the distance we saw the smoke of a campfire. We split and scouted ahead.

    It was the same raiders. They wore the same colors as the skirmishers the other day. They had pouches full of loot from their raids. Who knows what farmstead they burned and what terror and pillaging they had caused. It was time we ended this once and for all. We made out that they had a leader, just as we were noticed.

    Me and the Roving wanderer covered the sides with our bows while the rest of the wardens headed for the main camp. The cover of the trees, saved the raiders for only a short while, before they fell under our arrows, and one of them fled. The battle was bloody. Rudiger and Wigmar got locked into combat with the enemy captain and what seemed to be his bodyguard – a sergeant of sorts. The captain brought Rudiger down as we closed. Gustav took out his bodyguard in melee. Furious that his friend was killed, the captain attacked Gustav with all his might, bringing him down as well. Meanwhile Ardus flanked the rest of the raiders. The battle drew on, for every one of them, one of us went down. With a carefully placed shot I took out the captain, but his troops wouldn’t leave. It seems there was too much loot to be lost. As the battle went on, in the end, only I was standing. With the field clear, I went to check on my companions.
    Luckily, the wounds of Rudiger, Gustav and Wigmar were superficial. Ardus was wounded again at his old wound. It would take a while before he was back on his feet. The roving wanderer also was hurt, not as badly though.

    We searched through the bodies and the crates. We found several gold pieces, even among the fallen enemies, a set of armor, some healing herbs, a sealed letter with important information, and a sword with markings, carefully tucked in a piece of cloth. This looked a lot like the legendary Fornaught.

    Victorious, we returned to Eerfeld, only to be met with a rider. He claimed to be a messenger of Lord Ornfric. He had a bounty out for this band of raiders we just eliminated, and paid us the reward. It was a hard earned reward. For once we could rest, assured that nothing would bother the people of Eerfeld at least for the coming weeks.

    I looked at my map, showing the location of the keep. Then looked at the Wardens. Joyful they were singing and drinking. Two of them were bedridden, taking their time to heal the wounds. Such is the fate of the defenders of the people. No matter what, we must press on.

    Evie’s Journal, week 13

    Session Summary

    This game was thrilling. Bringing the boss down was really difficult – as it should be, even with my experienced warband. In the end it came down to a thread. It was 1 vs 1, with only Evie standing.

    I hadn’t a count of where the threat point started (the rulebook states that only camp/lair fights of threats that started in 3 or more that are down to the last point trigger a Last Stand fight) but decided to go with the Last Stand nevertheless. It was only fitting.

    Despite trying to make the game harder, I rolled a loot result of the Soul Render. Easily the strongest weapon in the game. Decided it’s going to be a sword.

    I’ll attack the Keep in the next session, before leaving Eerfeld and adding some expansion content.

     
    • Garrett 5:10 pm on April 18, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Hello! I purchased Five Leagues 2e a while back because I wanted a solo/coop skirmish game that I could play with my son using our (way too large!) LEGO collection. However, after reading through the entire rulebook multiple times I still cannot make heads or tales of how to actually play! I think part of the problem is that I’ve never played a skirmish game before; I’m coming from more of a board game background where you typically have a “rules reference” and a “how to play” manual, and I feel like I’m missing the “how to play” manual with Five Leagues and just have an encyclopedia of rules without enough guidance on how to put them all together.

      That being said, would you have any tips to help me get started? Perhaps some homemade reference docs that you could share? Any help is appreciated! Thanks for your time.

      Liked by 1 person

      • giorgis 7:01 pm on April 18, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        Hello!
        I’ll try to explain as much as possible as I don’t have a set of references.
        In your case, starting I’d avoid any optional rules as they can complicate things. Once you get get hang of it, slowly add more things.
        So the game is split in the campaign (pre-battle [Campaign Turn], post-battle [The Aftermath]) and battle sections [The Game Turn].
        When you begin, you set up the campaign region by rolling the number of villages and their respective threats [Starting the Campaign], and then go to the section to create your 8 member party [Character Creation].
        For flavor you can go to a number of name generators for your villages and party members, or make up your own. You can leave the region abstract, or if you want draw a map, as it is a fun task on its own.
        Now to the game itself, you go to the [campaign turn] section, and decide what you want to do with your alloted actions for the round, then you usually choose to go adventuring and roll on the respective tables [Encounters], which may generate a combat encounter. Place the terrain and miniatures on the table according to the theme and distances rolled.
        The battle itself is pretty straightforward. After the Seize Initiative check, you roll to see how many members of your party play before or after the enemy. The enemy follows a specific mindset defined in the rulebook [Enemy Movements].
        Haven’t played co-op, but the most common way to do it is split the warband in two, and have each player roll for their own figures.
        It helps if you write down the things as they happen and update the warband sheets regularly.
        The question was quite generic, so if this doesn’t help, let me know and I’ll do my best to answer more informatively.
        Also the publisher’s blog is http://fivemennormandy.blogspot.com/?m=1 and maybe there’s a FAQ there that might help as well.

        Kind regards

        Like

        • Garrett 11:08 pm on April 18, 2021 Permalink

          Thanks so much for the thorough reply! I really appreciate the help.

          Liked by 1 person

        • giorgis 11:36 pm on April 18, 2021 Permalink

          Glad to have helped. If you need anything further shoot.

          Have fun playing!

          Like

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