Chapter 03: Holding the Keep

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Session Number: 3
Date: Sunday 11th January 2015
Venue: Densial's
PCs & Players:

Balassar Brb1 (Tammi absent) (kills: none)
Besheeba Wlk1 (Alain) (kills: none)
Connor Brd1 (Yeran) (kills: none)
Johnny Rog1 (Craig) (kills: 1 kobold, 1 human)
Nicolai Clr1 (Fergus - remote) (kills: none)
Oskar Mnk1 (Ash) (kills: 3 kobolds, 1 large dragonlike lizard)
Vincent Ftr1 (Yeran) (kills: none)

XP Awarded: 33

Besheeba caresses the brow of the child that was killed and whispers into his ear, "I could not save you but I will save others, I promise you."

The children that remain are distraught. Nicolai crosses over to them, kneeling. "I'm sorry about your parents but we're going to do our best to take you to safety. Please come with us." The children continue crying. Johnny comes over. "Right. Where's the keep? Just point, that's all we need." Still nothing intelligible.

"Well, it was probably this way," Johnny says, pointing west. "That's the direction they were heading."

"We should probably not follow the roads," says Besheeba. "We will always be found by these creatures."

"Avoiding detection is in our best interests," agrees Nicolai.

"Something else that I just want to put out there," says Johnny. "You know, just a suggestion. Why don't we, just for a change, stay together? What you reckon?" He doesn't wait for a response. "Good, that's settled."

"Going our different ways has not proved the most effective strategy thus far," says Nicolai.

Besheeba picks up the fallen child. Johnny follows suit and picks up the dead mother. Vincent puts the father over his shoulder; Oskar and Nicolai together pick up Balassar. They head south and then west. There, just one building past the intersection of carnage, stands the keep on the brow of a low hill.

They were so close…

The keep has no visible entrance from this vantage point. The group circle around to the south, cautiously following the keep's walls. There is a well-trodden path leading to the keep's west wall. There is torchlight to the west and dim light emanating from the keep's upper windows. Villagers are running along the west road towards the keep; guards exit to usher them inside.

"Everybody put away your arms," says Nicolai.

"Let's go, let's go!" Johnny adds. "Let's get these little 'uns in!"

"Hello the keep!" Nicolai yells. The guards turn towards the party and beckon them to enter. As they enter there is a scream from behind. Large groups of kobolds and men emerge from the darkness and charge at the keep's main entrance.

"Are there any more villagers outside?" Nicolai asks the guards. They are too busy scrambling to close the gate to answer. The gates are closed and barred and there is the twang of bows from above, followed by banging on the gate, then the sounds of battle cease.

Nicolai looks for someone in charge; Besheeba stays with the children. "Remember," Johnny says to her, "they came from the sky before. Get them inside, eh?"

"I will." Besheeba leads the children to an internal door. A dwarf stands nearby, old and grisled with bright red hair, armoured and carrying an axe. He is ordering militia up onto the battlements.

"Do you need somebody handy with a bow?" Johnny says to the dwarf. He raises his axe. "You are not from here. Where are you from? Answer now or lose your head, young man!"

"From the east. We came at the wrong time. But we saved two of your little 'uns."

"Is there anything we can do to help?" Nicolai asks, approaching the dwarf. "I am a cleric and can heal."

"I'm good with a bow," Johnny adds. "If there are enemies out there, I can take 'em."

"Do you have any proof that you are not with these invaders?" the dwarf says, his axe not dropping an inch.

"Apart from the fact that we've already helped and are willing to help more?" Johnny says.

"You could be trying to ingratiate yourselves to get inside the keep!"

"I do not have any proof except that I am a cleric of Sehanine Moonbow," says Nicolai. "In your situation I would also keep an eye on us. But it does not stop me from offering any aid I can, in line with your good judgement."

"Well we could certainly use some help of healing right now, but you stay in sight, out in the open so I won't have to call to have my men kill you."

"Certainly; we wouild not want to distract you from the defence of the keep."

"Can we take the children inside?" Besheeba says, her cloak drawn over her head. "They are scared."

The dwarf looks at the two that Besheeba holds the hands of. "These are the Rothman children! What are you doing with them?"

"Their parents have been killed as they were trying to flee here." Vincent approaches with the father over his shoulder. "Oh no," says the dwarf. "That's Grant Rothman. A good man."

"His wife fell also," Johnny says.

"And one of their children," Besheeba adds. The dwarf looks equal parts distraught and suspicious. "We'll get these taken care of, he says, and takes the two children aside. "Thank you, sir," says Nicolai. The dwarf kneels beside the children for a few minutes, talking in hushed tones. He pats them on the shoulder, then returns to the party. "The children back up your story, that you were helping rather than hindering. I thank you for that. And for your offer of further help; the Governor and I will be glad for your assistance. What can you do to help a town under siege?"
"My name is Nicolai; I am a cleric of Sehanine Moonbow. I can aid your wounded."

"A needed skill! This is Sister Martin, if you follow her she will take you to our infirmary where you may assist her." Nicolai goes with Sister Martin.

"Have the invaders withdrawn or are they still out there?" Johnny asks.

"They are still out there, pillaging."

"How many of your people are unaccounted for, right now?"

"Most of them."

"So they could still be holed up out there?"

"Absolutely. The vast majority of this village are unaccounted for. We've had to close the gates because the invaders attacked… If they took the keep then there would be nowhere safe at all."

Besheeba whispers to Johnny, "We should go back."

"I agree," Johnny replies. He turns to the dwarf. "Best help I could be sir, is to go out and see if I can find any more."

"That would be fantastic, if you… Well, we have an old tunnel. An escape hatch from the keep. Let me get the Governor and come back and see you. Is that alright? Perhaps if you man the battlements until I return? Keep an eye out for any enemies?"

"I cannot fight," Besheeba says shyly, "but I can bring water and ammunition."

"That would be fantastic young lady, but feel free to rest your weary head - you and your companions. You all look like you've had quite a night."

While Nicolai is tending villagers in the infirmary, the others take a short rest. About an hour later, they gather back at the infirmary. There, a distinguished-looking man comes to see Greenest's visitors. The right side of his face and head are bandaged and his right arm is in a sling. His tunic is stained with blood. "Welcome, strangers. I am Governor Nighthill. Thank you for saving the Rothman children - or, what children you could. We of Greenest appreciate your help."

"I'm sorry that such awful fortune has befallen you and your village," Nicolai says.

The man nods in acknowledgement. "My master of the keep, Castellan, says that you have offered your services in aiding us. We are simple folk, we have but a few guards here in the keep, and not seasoned warriors. You have offered to help retrieve our people, still stuck outside?"

"We have."

"We have a tunnel, here from the keep that leads south and ends close to the river. That would be a way that you could exit the keep and bring our people to safety. The first thing would be to ensure that the far end of the tunnel is clear."

"Is there something we should do at your end of the tunnel to make sure it's us?" asks Johnny. "Like a knock or something?"

"We will keep the door guarded well. We can keep it open; you have to climb a ladder so we will have plenty of notice of anyone's return."

As Governor Nighthill is talking to the party, Castellan bursts into the infirmary. "We've been breached! The sally port has been breached and the enemy approaches!"

"Quick! Get as many men as you can and defend it!" says the Governor to Castellan. He turns to the party. "The sally port is just around the corner from here. Would you be willing to go and help us defend it? It will take some time for Castellan to get his men down from the battlements."

Nicolai looks around his companions' faces, seeing unanimous agreement. "Of course," he says.

The Governor looks at Vincent. "You look in bad shape, you should stay here. I will send my friend Connor here to help you. He is a well-thought-of and worldly friend of Greenest."

Johnny sizes up Connor. "'Ere," he says. "What can you do?"

"I am merely a travelling entertainer."

"Do you know one end of a sword from the other?"

Connor unsheathes a rapier and lets the tip pick up the torchlight. "This is the end that kills people."

"You're a … travelling entertainer? Are you a bard?"

"Yes." Connor pulls out a lute. "And a collector of stories. And other things."

"Alright," Johnny says rolling his eyes. "Well, you want to make a story or two tonight?"

"That's my plan."

"Come on."

Nicolai takes the lead, trusting his heavier armour. He moves to the door that leads to the sally port. Oskar stays right behind. Nicolai places his hand on the doorknob. "Let's all gather r…" starts Johnny, as Nicolai opens the door. "ound first before doing something rash!" he finishes. "Oi! Slow down! Together, like!"

"Keep up!" retorts Nicolai.

"Oi, Nick!" shouts Johnny. "Nick! You dumbass! I said we stick together! Don't go off and do stuff on your own!"

"Fairly spoken," Nicolai says. "I seem to be in front of a somewhat unfriendly entity."

"Nick the dick," Johnny says. "That's my new name for you."

Initiative:

Besheeba 20
Kobolds ??
Connor 10
Johnny 8
Dragon ??
Oskar 7
Nicolai 5

TOR1
Besheeba moves between Johnny and Connor.

John … Connor? Have you seen this boy?

Two kobolds scream something unintelligible and move towards the doorway. Connor gets in line behind Oskar and casts Heroism on him. Johnny moves into position behind Connor, two swords out. Oskar punches around the corner (disadvantage): AC12 hits for 5 damage, killing it. He then moves past Nicolai to the opposite side of the door. Nicolai moves into the corridor and casts Sacred Flame on the kobold in front: it takes 1 damage and survives.

TOR2
Besheeba opens her backpack, removes a suit of leather armour and starts donning it. Nicolai sees the door opposite open and a man with a large sword, armour and a cloak strides in, followed by another kobold. The lead kobold stabs at Nicolai: AC22 hits for 3 damage. Connor takes his place beside the door and peeks around into the room, seeing two kobolds closing on Nicolai. "Come back into the hallway, elf!" he says, readying a melee attack. "Anybody mind if I move into the doorway?" Johnny asks. No objections; Johnny does so. He sheathes one of his short swords and draws a dagger. What looks to be a small dragon bounds into the room, the size of a very large dog. "What the blightin' f^&* is that??" Johnny says. Oskar waits for Nicolai, who disengages, taking a step backwards. The monk stands ready.

TOR3
Besheeba continues to don her armour. Flame spills down over Nicolai but he avoids it, escaping injury. He cannot identify which opponent is responsible for the attack. A kobold advances and attacks: AChigh hits for 7 damage; Nicolai collapses to the ground. Johnny now looks worried! A kobold steps into the clear space and Oskar lunges around the corner at it (disadvantage): AC16 hits for 4 damage, dropping it. Connor inspires Oskar with a clever rhyme "Nice kill. Let's see if you can do another," then readies a stab with his rapier. Johnny throws his dagger at the lead kobold: AC20 hits for 5 damage, killing it. He then moves behind Oskar, drawing his other dagger. The dragon bounds forward to the doorway… Connor stabs: AC19 hits for 9 damage. The creature continues on and bites at Connor: ACmiss. "Nice try, you overgrown lizard!" Connor says. Nicolai fails his first death save. Oskar kicks the dragon, missing. He punches: AC13 hits for 4 damage.

TOR4
Besheeba stops strapping on her armour, steps into the northern corridor and looses an Eldritch Blast at the four-legged reptile. It misses. A gout of flame falls upon Oskar, burning him for 8 damage - enough to kill him, were it not for the temporary bolstering from Connor's Heroism spell. A kobold runs towards the doorway and stabs at Oskar around the doorway (disadvantage): AC18 hits for 6 damage. (Oskar is now on 2hp.) Connor stabs with his rapier (disadvantage): ACmiss. Johnny throws a sneaky dagger at the lizard: AC24 hits for 7 damage. The lizard attacks Connor: AC11 misses. Nicolai's second death save is a success. Oskar kicks the lizard: AC16 hits for 6 damage, killing it. He aims his second blow at the kobold in the doorway (disadvantage): AC4 misses.

TOR5
Besheeba moves 10 feet down the corridor, preparing another Eldritch Blast. Fire rains down around Oskar, he avoids it by virtue of Bardic Inspiration. The kobold in the doorway attacks Connor (disadvantage): AC15 hits for 4 damage. Connor maintains concentration on his Heroism spell despite the blow. He stabs his rapier at the kobold but misses. Johnny draws his other sword and prepares to use them should the dwarf in front of him fall. Nicolai makes his death save, 2-1 now. Oskar steps into the doorway and punches the kobold: ACmiss and AC21 hits for 5 damage; the kobold falls. He steps back around the doorframe.

TOR6
Besheeba moves into the doorway and Eldritch Blasts the human, but the force missile is off-target. She notices as she withdraws that the man is wearing a metal mask. Connor avoids being engulfed in flame that rains down from above. He glances around the corner and spots the human, then his gaze falls upon Nicolai lying on the floor before him. He darts into the room and grabs the unconscious elf, dragging him backwards. "Can you help him?" he asks Besheeba. "Yes!" Johnny asks "What's going on?" "He's retreating," Connor says. "So are we following? I'm right behind ya!" Johnny moves to the doorway, spots the human in the opposite exit looking behind him, and closes the door, dropping the bar into place. There was a light source behind him. "Looks like he's got help," he says. "Right, sort out ol' Nick here. I'll mind the door."

"Can we defend here?" Connor asks.

"We can't just stop 'em 'ere," Johnny says. "They're in."
Besheeba stabilises Nicolai. "Man down!" yells Connor. "We need help!" A young girl in a white dress and bonnet appears. "What's going on?"

"We have a man down," says Connor. "We need to get him to the infirmary."

"I'll go and get somebody to get him there. But… Is he alright here? We have a lot of people down."

"If you can get him away from our fight…"

"OK."

Johnny listens at the door, hearing nothing. Besheeba continues to don her armour. "Are we going?" Johnny whispers. Assent. Johnny opens the door. Whoooof! He is surrounded by fire that drops from the ceiling, doing 4 damage. The human from before is on the other side of the odd-shaped room, finishing a spell.

Initiative:

Connor 22
Besheeba 20
BBEG ??
Oskar 9
Johnny ??

TOR1
Connor looks around the corner but cannot see any opponents. He casts Heroism on Johnny, then says "That bullshit didn't kill you, now you can go and kill him!" (Bardic Inspiration.) "What do you see?" Besheeba asks. "He's there," Johnny says, still smoking. Besheeba waits for the rogue. Whroooof! More flame drops down over Johnny but this time he is ready and avoids it. Oskar dashes into the room to the southwest corner. Johnny feels the first effect of Heroism. He reaches down and pulls his dagger from the carcass of the dead reptile. He then moves to the kobold inside the room and retrieves his other dagger. Besheeba moves behind Johnny and looses an Eldritch Blast that hits the man for 2 damage.

TOR2
Connor moves into the doorway, sees the situation and doesn't know how he can contribute, so moves back. The man in black casts a spell on Oskar: fire rains down but none touches him. The monk steps in front of the human and pummels him: AC20 hits for 3 damage, AC17 hits for 3 damage. The man is reeling. Oskar then moves to the opposite side of the passageway. Johnny moves into view of the human and throws his first dagger: AC(11 + 3 Bardic Inspiration)14 hits for 11 damage, sinking deeply into his neck. The human keels over, dead.

Oskar looks into the room beyond. The centre 10 feet of the 20 foot long wall is a large single wooden door, broken off its hinges. It cannot be easily closed. Oskar searches the fallen human while Connor searches the kobolds. Besheeba hurries back to seek anyone with carpentry skills. She meets Castellan, who organises one of their spellcasters to help fix the door.

sally_port.jpg

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