Chapter 06: Covert Ops: Ambush

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Session Number: 6
Date: Sunday 1st February 2015
Venue: Densial's
PCs & Players:

Balassar Brb1 (Tammi absent) (kills: none)
Besheeba Wlk1 (Alain) (kills: none)
Connor Brd1 (Yeran) (kills: 1 human [nonlethal])
Johnny Rog1 (Craig) (kills: none)
Nicolai Clr1 (Fergus) (kills: none)
Oskar Mnk1 (Ash) (kills: 2 humans [nonlethal])

XP Awarded: 30

Connor is feeling well enough to rejoin the group. He has two more healing potions, given him by Castellan, the knowledge of which he is choosing to keep to himself. The others catch him up on what has transpired and explain the next step of the plan: to investigate the buildings to the east, then cross the river and surveil the enemy for candidates to be captured.

"Are you well enough to go on, Mr. Smith?" Nicolai asks.

"Well, as long as I don't walk into any more crossbow bolts, I'll be fine."

"The likelihood is that we will encounter more," Besheeba adds.

"In which case I'm gonna be at the back."

Besheeba nods. "Maybe we could ask the farmer we saved about his neighbours."

"That's a good plan," Johnny says. "And whether they're already here or not."

"A stupendous idea," Nicolai says. "I believe we should follow that up with alacrity."

"You mean Castellan, don't ye?" Johnny says. "'is name's Castellan, not Alacrity."

The party find the family. They are the Smiths; coincidentally the father's name is John. Their neighbours to the east are Kyle and Martha and they have two grown sons.

As for the second part of the plan, how to capture an enemy leader? The best plan they can devise is from Besheeba: bait them with a little girl and attempt to draw them into a forest ambush.

"That's a good plan," Johnny says. "If it were me, and I was a sergeant and I had two grunts with me, I'd send the grunts. In which case, I'd be alone. It would only give us a small window of opportunity before he goes 'ello, where are me grunts?' Maybe a minute or two."

"I wonder if it would be better for me to be the bait," Nicolai says. "I don't mean to boast, but I am prodigiously fast."

"Yes, but is it not likely that if they see a man in armour like you," Besheeba says, "that they will send more people?"

"I'd be a lot less inclined to chase into the woods after a man in armour than I would a little girl," says Johnny.

"This is a good point," says Nicolai. "Your argument is sound. And when they come after and engage us, what then?"

"You mean when they come into the woods?" Johnny asks. "We kill 'em."

"Would it not be better to try and leave one of them alive but unconscious, in case we do not manage to capture the officer?"

"Bit risky, but OK…"

"What if some of them stay with the sergeant?" Oskar asks.

"Then we take out the ones that come after Besheeba, and attempt to attack the ones remaining," Nicolai says.

"That's why the choice of numbers is absolutely critical 'ere," Johnny says. "Three is a good number to go for. Because 'e'd send the two, wouldn't 'e? And leave 'imself alone. 'e would."

"If there are four and the officer sends three, we retain the same plan?" asks Nicolai.

"Yep."

"But if there are five, we move on?"

"That's too risky."

"Can we decide on a place to regroup if we are separated?" asks Besheeba.

"A very good idea," Nicolai comments. "How about the first house that we cleared?"

"Only safe place out here that we know about," Johnny says.

"Better that than the gate; we do not want to lead them there. Well, it appears we have a plan."

"I'm afraid," Besheeba says in a quiet voice.

"That's OK," Johnny says. "Stupid not to be."

"Do you think you will be able to carry out your part?" Nicolai asks.

"I think so… If it is to help people."

"Hang on," Johnny says, and places both of his hands on Besheeba's shoulders. "Don't do anything you don't wanna do. Alright?" Besheeba nods. "But I understand." Johnny turns to the others. "And look. One thing: if she goes out there and all they do is raise their bows and start nockin' arrows, we take 'em out. Quick. I don't care."

Connor borrows a shortbow and 15 arrows from the armoury, then the party are ready and head to the tunnel. Johnny takes the lead, stopping at the gate and gesturing for the others to stay behind. He listens, hearing nothing dangerous. He beckons the others over, then quietly unlocks the gate. "Wait 'ere, I'll 'ave a look." He slides outside, quiet as a shadow. All clear in the forest and to the south where the buildings lie. He returns and leads the others to the south, across the river and towards the buildings. Johnny winces at the racket behind him. "Wait 'ere," he says. "Stay low." Johnny crouches down and disappears from sight.

Three minutes later Johnny returns. "It's the same as it was; there's no one 'ere."

"Alright," Nicolai says. "We'll wait here while you scout the next buildings."

Johnny nods, then disappears to the southeast, taking a circuitous route using the terrain. Tense minutes pass, then with little warning Johnny reappears. "Three buildings, all quiet. There's no one 'ome."

"That's not good news," Nicolai says.

Johnny leads the group east to the buildings, then north to the trees near the river. From there, they all head northeast across the river and into the woods on the other bank. Johnny ensures the others are reasonably well hidden, then disappears to the southeast, keeping to the trees. He hears to the northeast the crunching of boots on loose stones, and freezes. The noise continues, moving westward. He slowly and silently edges forwards until he can see beyond the trees. He sees three humans about 20 feet away to the northeast, walking slowly past, following the treeline to the northwest. He waits and watches; the trio continue along their path out of sight. The others hear them pass. There is visible torchlight coming from the church grounds, obscured by the fence. Johnny waits a minute then heads back.

"You would've heard 'em, I s'pose," he whispers. Stay 'ere, I'm gonna tail 'em. Maybe see if there are others along there."

Johnny sneaks northwest until the trees begin to thin, then crawls north. He sees the building and tree to the north, then hears boots on gravel. The three men he saw earlier move into view, heading to the east then following the treeline southeast. There is no one else in sight, but there is torchlight to the north and the sounds of others occasionally filters through. Johnny lets them go, then sneaks back to his allies.

"What's going on?" whispers Nicolai.

"Those same three came back. Patrolling, I'd say. There's nobody to the north; I'd say the three we saw from the battlements are these three."

"I say we take them", Nicolai says. "They're vulnerable. If one of their number is an officer, we've achieved our goal. If not, and we have to go further afield, I'd rather not leave these three wandering around at our backs."

"That's true," says Johnny. "Alright. Besheeba, are you still up for this?" The tiefling nods, showing certainty she doesn't necessarily feel.

"I could do an illusion," Connor offers. "Make the noise of a girl crying."

"If we wanted the sound of a little girl crying," whispers Johnny, "we could have a little girl crying. We don't need an illusion for that. Besides, I'm thinkin' the sight of somebody is gonna be that much more enticing than the sound. We've only got one shot at this, I think we've gotta give it our best shot. Sorry, Besheeba…"

Besheeba divests herself of all weapons and pulls her hood up. "I'll go due north, then come back the way I came," she says. The others arrange themselves to the left and the right of her intended route. She then moves to the edge of the forest, picks up a dry stick and waits.

It doesn't take long before everyone hears the sound of boots on gravel. Besheeba and Johnny, both close to the treeline, see the three humans come into view. They have swords and clubs; they do not obviously carry any missile weapons. Besheeba shares a glance with Johnny, who nods and raises his nocked bow. Besheeba breaks the stick in two then stumbles out of the treeline and falls to her knees. She whimpers, scrambles to her feet and stumbles back into the trees. Out of sight, she casts Blade Ward.

"Oi!" yells the human to the rear. "Get that one!" The two lead humans run in pursuit - headlong into Connor!

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The bard stabs with his rapier, missing wildly. Oskar punches and hits for 4 damage, punches again and hits for another 4 damage: the man lives! Besheeba yells in her allies' heads, "I made a mistake! I made a mistake! They've stumbled on the others, on Connor!"

Initiative:
Connor 17
Johnny 15
Nicolai 15
Human ??
Oskar 13
Besheeba 6

TOR1
Connor stabs the human to his right: AC21 hits for 5 damage, knocking him out. He then backs up. Johnny moves to the edge of the woods and sees two assailants: one with a sword and one further away with a club. He stows his bow, draws his twin swords and moves deeper into the trees, out of sight. Nicolai moves to the action and fires an arrow at the human towards the rear: AC13 hits for 1 damage, wounding him. The warrior beside Connor attacks: AC15 hits for 2 damage. Oskar moves towards the human with the club, draws his sword and slashes at him: AC23 hits for 5 damage. He follows it up with a punch: AC11 hits for 5 damage, knocking him out. Besheeba retrieves her weapons.

TOR2
Connor attacks: ACnat20 hits for 16 damage, knocking him out big time.

"Drag him back into the woods before he's seen!" Johnny hisses. Connor does so, then starts rifling through the man's gear. The man with the club has a pouch with 18 gold pieces.

"These guys are going to be out for at least an hour," Nicolai says. "Let's not waste time tying them up, and just take them back."

"Are you kidding?" Johnny says. "I'm not taking the chance." He cuts his coil of rope into three equal lengths and ties up the captives. "Belt and braces," he says, quietly. "Right, can you take them while I scout ahead?" Nicolai tries to lift one but struggles and asks for help that Connor provides. Oskar takes a second. Johnny looks at the third unconscious body, then at Besheeba. "Now's when I really start to miss turtle…"

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