Chapter 04: Pressed

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Session Number: 4
Date: Sunday 18th January 2015
Venue: Densial's
PCs & Players:

Balassar Brb1 (Tammi - remote) (kills: 2 human fighters)
Besheeba Wlk1 (Alain) (kills: none)
Connor Brd1 (Yeran) (kills: none)
Johnny Rog1 (Craig) (kills: 2 kobolds)
Nicolai Clr1 (Fergus - remote) (kills: 1 kobold)
Oskar Mnk1 (Ash) (kills: 1 human in chain shirt)

XP Awarded: 42

The party move into the room with the sally port door. Balassar comes clumping around the corner. "'s alright," Johnny says. "He's one of ours."

"You have a kobold?" Connor says.

"A kobold's big brother."

"Hey, scale mail!" Connor says to the dragonborn.

"He answers to Balathar," Johnny says.

"Balathar, can you fight?"

Balathar flexes his massive muscles and growls in the back of his throat. Moisture around his snout sublimates to ice crystals that tinkle to the ground. "Can you die?"

"Guess that's a yes then…"

"How come you're so … not dead?" Johnny asks. "Last time we saw you, you weren't looking that flash."

"They gave me a potion," Balassar says. "There'th another one here. It'th thuppothed to be for Nicolai." Connor eyes the potion, obviously interested in redirecting it elsewhere.

Johnny puts his hand up. "I have to say, as much as I like the silence right now… and everybody speaking in words everybody else can understand… I think it'd be good to have ol' Nicolai back." There is general agreement, some of it reluctant. Balassar administers the potion to Nicolai, who immediately recovers. Still, pretty much everyone is still wounded to some extent.

"We just have to fight smarter, not harder," Connor says. "Now I don't know how to do that… but I'm assuming someone here is a smart person."

"Thmart-arthed person," Balassar lisps.

"It is certainly advantageous to see…" starts Nicolai.

"'Ere we go," quips Johnny.

"…to see a person of military virtue joining us at this point."

Besheeba talks quietly to Johnny. "Could we pile up the bodies in front of the door?"

Johnny surveys the sally port. The doors open outwards. "You could do, but it wouldn't work."

"But they will have to go over them…"

"Once the doors are open? Yeah… I s'pose…"

Johnny peeks through the sally port doors, hanging drunkenly off their hinges. It is dark outside, but there are glimpses of torchlight off in the distance.

The party plan the defence of the sally port. Johnny salvages some daggers, a sling and a stash of stones from the kobolds. The human's armour is fake, as is his sword. His mask is of a long-snouted reptilian creature; his face beneath it is fairly nondescript. Nicolai cannot see any religious ornamentation on or about the person. There is some discussion regarding impersonating the human using his clothing, but it cannot be convincingly worn over actual armour. Besheeba pockets the mask.

A couple of humans bearing leather armour and swords enter the corridor from the east heading towards the sally port, see the party, and charge.

"We're with the fort!" Connor yells. "Stop!"

Initiative:

Connor 22
Human ??
Balassar 18
Besheeba 16
Nicolai 8
Johnny 5
Oskar 4
Human ??

TOR1
"Oi, what was the master of the keep's name?" Johnny asks the others. "Castellan? Is that it?" Connor says, "We are here under orders from Castellan. Don't attack!" The first of the pair closes and attacks Connor with a sword: AC13 misses. Balassar hears Connor's challenge, then the clash of steel, then moves to see what's happening. She sees Connor engaged with an armed man. "'Ere, turtle, get in there!" Johnny says. "We're being attacked!" Balassar moves past Johnny and chops at the man with his battle axe: AC12 hits for 5 damage. The man stoically takes the blow. Balassar follows through with his hand axe: AChit for 5 more damage. The man goes down, with Balassar shouting "Die, you bastard!" "Nice going, Balathar!" Johnny yells. "We are trying to defend this door!" Besheeba says. "Let us be, and go and fetch reinforcements!" "I don't think these are from the keep," Nicolai says. "Surely Castellan would have informed the guards that we are down here defending the door." "Not if they are themselves attacked," points out Besheeba. Nicolai moves into view and casts Sacred Flame on the remaining human. He nimbly steps aside and avoids the flame. Johnny looks at the human's garb and equipment, concluding that he looks neither like the keep's guard nor Greenest's assailants that he has previously seen. "Fella," he says, "you got two choices. You're either from the keep and you leave us alone, because we are guarding your f^(&ing arse, or you come in here and get killed." He then raises his sword. Oskar checks the sally port to ensure they are not fighting on two fronts. He seen no one. The human advances. "You're one brave, or stupid man," Johnny says, shaking his head. The man closes with Balassar and chops at him with his sword: AC15 hits for 2 damage. "Bathtard!" he spits.

TOR2
Connor closes and stabs with his rapier: AC16 hits for 8 damage. The human stands firm. Balassar steps to the left attacks the same with his battle axe: AC23 hits for 9 damage; the human dies. "What the hell has happened that they're coming from the other side now?" Johnny gripes. "Oskar, what's happening at that door?" No response. "I think there is another breach," Nicolai says, "Either that, or a lot more got in before we arrived." "The castle has been overrun!" says Besheeba. "We can't just leave them on sight of just two," Connor points out. "We need to check if it has actually been overrun." Famous last words; the pitter patter of scaly feet heralds the arrival of more kobolds. "Cripes," Johnny says, seeing them lining up. "I vote we open the bloody sally, lucy, susan gate, whatever the f^(& it's called, and get the hell out! Greenest is shit! Bloody awful town." "Yup," agrees Connor. "Let's go." A human warrior enters and attacks Connor with a sword: AChit for 5 damage; Connor slumps against the wall and slides to the floor.

One PC down.

A kobold enters, walking straight past Balassar and closes with Johnny. The rogue has a readied action, the presence of Balassar makes it sneaky: AC21 hits for 8 damage, killing it outright. Besheeba Eldritch Blasts the human: AC13 hits for 6 damage. He survives. Besheeba considers getting out, but the route is dangerous so she stays where she is. A kobold enters, stopping beside Balassar and stabs the dragonborn. ACCrit hits for 11 damage; the dragonborn topples and falls.

Two PCs down!

The kobold continues forward towards Johnny. Nicolai moves into the room and casts Sacred Flame, targetting the kobold. The creature dodges into the flame taking 6 damage and dies. "Cripes," Johnny says. "Right, I gotta pull on outta the bag this time." He sneakily stabs with his short sword: AC22 hits for 12 damage, killing the kobold. "Mr. Smith," says Nicolai, "you prove yourself a doughty fighter." "Are you saying I'm like uncooked bread?" retorts Johnny. "I don't know what to make of you. No, lissen! 'ang on, there might be more! Shhhh! Oskar, what's happening at that bloody door?" "Nothing!" says the dwarf. "Good!" says Johnny. "Open it. We're going!" "Wait," says Besheeba. "I can see farther than him. I should have a look first." Oskar continues to guard the sally port. Another kobold enters. "Shit, there's another one!" yells Johnny. "He's a fast little bugger!" The kobold attacks Nicolai with his dagger: AC15 misses. Another opponent enters. "'ere, I got one for you," Johnny says to Nicolai. "Lotsa big words and everything. You might've 'eard of it… Discretion is the better part of … vanquish." "Why don't you take a step backwards?" Nicolai says. "I think I make a better target than you." "Why don't I take seven or eight steps backwards and you follow me?" says Johnny. "But you seem to be very good at letting these things leave this world and I value your assistance in this matter. One might call you a death midwife." "I've been called worse," muses Johnny.

TOR3
Connor has a nat1 on his death save: 2 against. Balassar's first death save is a success. A human wearing a chain shirt and carrying a sword enters. "Servant of evil!" shouts Nicolai. "You shall die here!" The man attacks Nicolai: AC20 hits for damage. Nicolai collapses.

Three PCs down!

"Oh, cripes," Johnny says as the man turns his attention towards him and stalks closer. Besheeba disengages and moves through the doorway to where Oskar stands. She looks through the loosely hanging doors, seeing no enemies. Yet another kobold enters. "Oh shit, shit, shit, SHIT!!" yells Johnny. It closes and attacks him, just missing. Nicolai's first death save is a failure. "Open the flippin' door!" Johnny yells, disengaging and running west. "I don't care what's outside, I know what's inside!" He batters the door open and leaves into the darkness, flattening himself against the right wall. There is no one in sight. Oskar leaves. Balassar fails his next death save. A kobold attacks Besheeba: AC9 misses.

TOR4
Balassar in turn disengages and leaves. Johnny continues cursing quietly. "Shit. Shit. Shit." There is torchlight from the battlements above, and the normal sounds of people moving about. There is the occasional sound of violence from around the village.

"South then east, back to where we started?" Oskar suggests. "Wait - what about the tunnel to the south near the river?"

"We were never told where it was," Johnny says.

"Could they have come in through the tunnel?" Besheeba asks.

"They might have. If they did, chances are the tunnel ends close to where we were."

"Then we need to warn the people in this keep, because they will be overrun." She thinks. "But if I go out there, they might shoot me."

The human and kobold appear at the sally port and start kicking at the remains of the door. "Why don't we step back and take 'em at range?" Johnny says.

"But then we might be shot by the archers on the battlements!"

"'ang in there, turtle!" Johnny yells through the door. He awkwardly adds, "'ang in there … whatever your name was!"

Besheeba moves 20 feet away from the fort walls; Johnny follows. Besheeba speaks telepathically to the people atop the battlements: "The enemy is in the tunnels, they have overrun us! You need to send reinforcements! They are breaching the door!" She then moves to within 20 feet of the door, Johnny following suit. A concussive Eldritch Blast shoots from Besheeba's outstretched arm: Nat20 crits for 8 damage. The man in chain shirt stands firm. Besheeba then moves away from the door. Johnny throws a dagger at the human that misses the human, then backs up towards Besheeba. Oskar heads south to the door and punches the man: miss and hit for 3 damage. The human collapses.

Initiative:

Besheeba 16
Oskar 10
Johnny 7

Besheeba Eldritch Blasts the kobold in the doorway: AC22 hits for 3 damage. The kobold turns and runs inside, out of sight. Johnny looks at his allies, who are obviously itching to follow. His shoulders slump. "Quietly. Slowly. And together. I don't care where 'e's gone, I care about our boys in there, bleeding out. Come on, then."

"They seem to have fled into the keep," Besheeba says telepathically to the people on the battlements. Then, quietly and slowly, the three adventurers re-enter the keep.

There are no enemies to be seen so the group move to the next room where Balassar, Connor and Nicolai are still lying. Nicolai has just regained consciousness; the others' eyes are closed.

"What happened?" Nicolai asks.

"Um," says Johnny, "things turned to shit. They kept coming and we … had to leave for a little while. But we fought our way back in, killed another couple, and now we've found you. 'ang on, stay there, I wanna check this dragonborn." Johnny checks Balassar; he is unconscious but stable. Oskar moves to the T-intersection and glances north and south; two guards and a man in robes are approaching down the northern passageway. "I am here to fix the door," says the man in robes. He does not wait, and sweeps into the sally port room. The party follow and see the robed man inspecting the timbers. "This is a bit more battered than they said it was… What happened?"

"We've been busy," replies Johnny. "There're quite a few more bodies than there were, too. Some of them ours."

"The keep has been overrun down here," Oskar adds.

"They seem to have another means of entry," Besheeba adds. "We were attacked from behind."

"It would appear that when the door was broken into," says the robed man, "some entered the keep. They were probably exiting again. We had a lot of combat in one of the main rooms to the east; we fought them back and they came this way. I suspect you found them attempting to exit."

"Just to be sure," says Johnny, "how is this tunnel? Have you checked that out?"

"I don't know what you're talking about."

"Ah."

"Maybe we should find this missing kobold," Besheeba says.

"There was a kobold that was found and killed," says the robed man.

"Good," says Johnny.

"You should fix the door," Oskar says. "We will talk after."

The robed man starts casting long and complicated spells to fix the door, his guards standing by. Johnny, Besheeba and Oskar guard the T-intersection. Nicolai asks the robed whether he has any healing spells; he doesn't do that sort of thing.

The party take Balassar up to the infirmary. They take care of him and hand out potions to the others. "Thank you for looking after the door downstairs. These four flasks will help you to heal some of your wounds." Johnny helps Balassar consume one, then drinks his own. "Oh, turtle, you're back!" he says.

"What happened? Dammit, did I die again?"

"When's payday?" Johnny asks. "Coz I suggest you get better armour."

After an hour, Governor Nighthill calls the party up onto the battlements. He points out all the roving bands making their way through the village, sacking as they go. "See over there, that one is obviously leading that group. Over there in the distance, that one that looks like a woman in purple carrying the spear surrounded by guards? That is obviously a leader too. I would give anything if you would go out and get me somebody out there who could give me information. I know that you have taken losses… Perhaps if you are willing you might go to the old tunnel, ensure its security, go out and use it to capture one of these attackers? Almost anybody would do. I wouldn't attack the woman in purple, but maybe some of the others, a lieutenant of some kind… That would be of great value to me."

"If we find survivors, we should bring them back?" Besheeba asks.

"Absolutely - a great idea."

"Can we agree on a password, something that will identify us to the tunnel guards?"

"Pick whatever you choose and let the guards know."

"How urgent is this?" asks Nicolai. "At this point, our party is seriously depleted."

"I understand completely, and I appreciate the work that you have done. Please don't feel obliged, I can find some of my guards now to do this. Thank you greatly for your help thus far, please feel free to take advantage of our sanctuary. There is food in the hall if you would like."

"Every hour we aren't out there, more innocent people will die," says Oskar.

"I suspect that we are going to be better equipped than any of your guards," Nicolai says.

"'ave you got a bow?" Johnny asks the Governor.

"We have plenty of bows."

"Alright. Shortbow and some arrows."

"I could use a shield," Balassar adds.

"Done."

"Do you have any healing potions?" Nicolai asks.

"I can try and wrangle some up; I thought you had been given some?"

"They are the only reason we are alive now. But we are far from well."

"I'll commandeer what I can from the infirmary."

"There're still little children out there, aren't there?" Johnny asks.

"Most of the village is still outside."

"We gotta go," says the rogue.

The Governor smiles and takes his leave, returning shortly thereafter with a wooden shield and a single potion.

Potential strategies discussed:

  • Funnelling the enemy
  • Staying together
  • Making better use of the move-attack-move rule
  • Better communication, especially in combat - minimise lost turns
  • Understanding, remembering and better using our resources (e.g. spells, rage, breath weapon, luck)
  • We are going out, potential to be proactive rather than reactive and perhaps ambush
  • Use the mask to impersonate the enemy
  • Identify initial target well: 1-3 slow-moving or stationary opponents
  • Johnny scouting a short distance ahead

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