Conquering the Barbarian Altanis: Session 38 play-by-post
This report covers the combat following session 38 that was resolved over seven days of play-by-post.
|Rhovar||Fighter level 3||A generic Nordic guy.|
|Gomm||Thief level 3||Swarthy, good looking, dark-skinned thief. Sweet opium-like aroma is his fragrance of choice.|
|Eccy Throi||Elf level 1||Wears a dark green cloak to hide his bulging muscles and crippling anxiety.|
|Barad the Bald||Magic-User level 1||Bald, beardless, chinless, and lazy-eyed.|
Sunstrong 10th, Spiritday
“Is it cowardice to let another man die in your stead? Is it cowardice to save your own life?”
Fighting the urge to ponder existential topics for too long, Eccy took the lead on organising the looting of bandit camp.
He ordered Barad and ten archers to take the high ground above the cave entrance. Rhovar commanded four heavy footmen to flank the cave mouth, ready to ambush anything that comes out.
Gomm and remaining mercenaries started sweeping the tents.
It took Rhovar and Eccy nearly a minute to get everyone where they wanted them to be.
Just as the dust started to settle, Rhovar heard heavy footsteps and metal clanks echoing from the cave mouth!
Eccy, whom was still standing in the middle of the camp, could see a tunnel full of hobgoblins staring him down. Two mean looking figures towered behind them.
He informed the Hydra Company of the incoming threat.
Rhovar and his men kept their breath, waiting in ambush.
Barad signalled archers to approach the cave mouth. Given they were stand on top of it, they had a prime position to rain hell on any daring assailants.
Archers next to Eccy fired a volley down the tunnel, missing their shots. Surprised with their incompetence, Gomm took out his shortbow and downed one hobgoblin.
Trampling over their sole fallen warrior, the hobgoblins pressed forward, reaching the cave mouth. The first row of hobgoblins chucked their spears at Eccy. Then they knelt, and the second row threw theirs as well.
The elf managed to evade three spears thrown at him. Alas, two mercenaries to his side were not of such skill, nor luck.
Eccy could now clearly see the two large, tiger-faced monsters. Both wore large chainshirts. The one with horned helmet held a large, two-handed morning star, while the other one, sporting a magnificent mane, wielded two axes.
The horned one fixated its is gaze on the elf, licking its lips suggestively. The long-haired one hissed at Rhovar, brandishing its axes.
The monster charged out of the tunnel with a roar.
Three hobgoblins and hairy one clashed against Rhovar and his gauntlet of heavy footmen. Horned and and two hobgoblins charged in a straight line towards Eccy and archers standing behind him.
The archers standing on the rocks around the cave shot a volley at the horned beast and two hobgoblins, killing the latter and wounding the former. The beast looked a bit surprised with being shot in the back.
Rhovar and his men started slicing the beast with great mane. Alas, the footmen on the other side of the cave mouth weren't as effective. One of the hobgoblin's killed one with a mighty blow to the chest.
“Fall back and fire again!”
Eccy yelled as he increased the distance between himself and the beast with horned helmet. The monster hissed at the retreating elf. Its roar was cut short with Gomm's arrow to the throat.
Rhovar could see Brace dramatically staggering, before falling down to his knees. One of the hobgoblins grabbed the soldier whom had killed Finegan the Brutal just minutes ago, and smashed his head against the stone wall. And to add insult to injury, the monster spat on Brace's warm corpse.
“Rhovar, stand back and let us shoot!”
The blond warrior obliged, and rest of the monsters perished under relentless barrage of arrows. The maned beast clanged its battleaxes in disappointment as it succumbed to hail of arrows.
It was a brief, but brutal skirmish.
Three more Hydra Company mercenaries lost on this expedition.
Survivors laboured breaths dominated the soundscape.
Everybody monitored the tunnel intently.
No more footsteps could be heard.
Only darkness could be seen down the slopping tunnel.
“Let's resume with our recovery operation.”
Barad and archers staid on top, watching over the camp and cave mouth. All heavy footmen were ordered to guard the cave mouth as well.
The rest went on to investigate the tents and corpses for any valuables.
Two chests from northern tent were quite heavy and required two individuals to carry. Three chests from the west tent were even heavier. All had padlocks on them.
Two gave off that familiar clanking sound when rattled. Oh how full of coin they must be!
The third chest on the other hand, released a whimper as it was grabbed. The soldiers jumped back in confusion, with some pulling out their swords.
Silent crying is all that Gomm could hear.
“Tell me your name, we have killed your captors.”
“Comply with us and you may walk freely again, it is my word.”
“Yeah, I don't know either. Could be another fucking troll.”
“I want to help, but knowing Wilderlands...”
“Maybe drag it to the middle of the camp and have all archers aim at it?”
“How about we drill a hole and take a peek?”
“I think that would be hard without hurting whomever is inside. Either way, I propose we go with my plan or burn it.”
“Weird that it isn't answering. It reminds me too much of that dwarf.”
“Maybe it doesn't understand Common? Let me try in Elvish.”
Eccy was rewarded with silence, and yes, more silence, regardless of the language he spoke.
“OK, we go with my plan, Gomm. We bring the chest into the clearing in front of the cave mouth and tell our archers to be ready.”
Just a few steps after they lifted it, Eccy could hear desperate crying from within. The pitch sounded like a child or small creature, perhaps gnome or halfling.
“Barad, come down here. You are a man of languages.”
And so Barad came and asked in Gnomish and Pixie:
“Hello, can you understand me? We are here to help.”
The silence had been broken with intense and desperate crying.
Gomm became fidgety.
“Could you pick the lock or should I smash it with my mace?”
“Yes, let's try and save the cry baby.”
“Nope, didn't work. Got a crowbar?”
“No. Let's leave the chest for a bit and continue searching.”
Large tent also had two bearskins, and three wine casks. Finegan the Brutal had a mean looking handaxe with a serrated edge and a notch running along the blade. It seemed to be for bloodletting. He also had a pouch with gems tied to his belt, as well as an iron ring with seven keys.
“Oh wow. Look at that. Keys.”
Eccy tried keys on the crying chest. 4th key was the right one.
A waft of nauseating stench hit his nostrils as he tilted open the lid. He could see a curled up child lying sideways, cowering and covering its head with small hands. It's all bones and skin, and little more.
He took a step back.
Now everybody could see a naked child crying in a chest.
No surprise trolls showed up.
“It's alright, you're safe now.” Eccy said softly to the child.
The party offered water, food, and clothes to the boy. It took him some time, and some care on their side, but he did manage to calm down.
Ithiel is how he introduced himself. He was kidnapped by this foul group of bandits. Finegan got really mad when he realised that Ithiel wasn't of noble origin, but just a commoner.
He also shared there were more hostages, including other children, but didn't know how many. They are imprisoned in the cave, guarded by horrible tiger-faced monsters.
“You must be really strong to have killed them! One of them killed my father's horse with a single blow!”
“Where are you from Ithiel?” Eccy asked. “We need to get you home.”
The boy paused for a moment, as if in deep thought. Then he suddenly lit up “Weststar!”
“Do you mean 'Kestizar' Ithiel?”
“Hmm, well I don't know where that is but we'll find your home.”
The party proceed on with their plan, scrubbing the camp of all the valuables. They also made sure to pick monsters' weapons, cut off the left hands of all the bandits, as well as Finegan's head.
Eccy took Finegan the Brutal's serrated hand axe. Holding it made him feel like he was the mightiest elf in the hundred mile radius. From now on he will fight only with that glorious weapon and nothing else.
Then they buried the fallen mercenaries.
“Death comes for us all, but not everyone truly lives. We have known battle today, have saved the life of an innocent child, and known glory. Tomorrow we may die, but until death comes for us, we are each of us heroes. And with this wine and this gold you will have a hero's reward!”
You reached Kestizar by nightfall. The guards summoned Elidarth the Elder.
“Mother, our people have been avenged!” Norvin the ranger yelled before she got the chance to ask anything. She looks at Eccy and Rhovar, as if to check the veracity of the claim.
She was pleased with the evidence presented to her.
Rhovar took the men to a secluded hill outside of the village, ordered a fire be built and poured some wine into a cooking pot over it.
He set the spear tips and daggers on the coals. Then, when they were hot, he ordered the men to gather and to take up their weapon.
“Come men, dip ye blades into this here brew. Quench the steel in the blood of our enemy. Just as this here wine darkens our blades, it symbolises our shared brotherhood.”
He quenched his blade in the wine. And pointed for them to do the same.
Once this was done he handed out cups, each man to take a cup of wine, and toasted:
“Our first victory, brothers in arms, let us drink to our dead, and let the ghosts of our enemies lament our victory!”
“We are kinsmen now! Now, bring the wenches and let us merrymake!”
A great feast was held for the Hydra Company that night.
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