Chapter 1: Harvest (IC)

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Darker

Listening to the conversation, Rasnak ponders out, "The unliving need not much ssspace..." He pauses and then continues in his lisp heavy accent, "ssstored like field toolsss, they could be ssstacked and ssssmassshed in a sssmall ssspace. They could waitsss for an attack and be used assss needed."

MinusInnocence
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Rory turns to Mbali as they return to camp. "I would ask for a few moments of your time during your deliberation about what to do next. But it can wait until after we eat."

Talanall
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Mbali doesn't answer Rasnak, but her lips purse at the kobold's comments. It's clear that she has taken the observation to heart.

Once breakfast is over, she beckons Rory over, and invites, "You had something to say, Rory Greenbarrow. Now is a good time."

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

MinusInnocence
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Rory nods to her commander. "I propose that we return to the grove at the same time tomorrow. If we find the situation as it was today; with the overseers directing the Undead amongst the trees and the necromancers napping, my recommendation would be a two-pronged assault, with the attack on the wizards culminating in setting fire to their quarters or some equally distracting signal. The other party would then strike at the Undead during the confusion."

Talanall
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Mbali nods slightly, and replies, "It isn't a bad thought, although I do not plan to burn the mages' sleeping quarters until sometime after midnight tomorrow night. It is an easy way to guarantee that we disturb their sleep, and there is no point in harassing them until after we have given them a reason to exert themselves magically. If I felt sure that a fire would kill them, I would reconsider, but as it is we must rely on a combat engagement to ensure that they expend spells."

Reflectively, she continues, "More likely, during our first raid we will fire the larger building, which I think is a barn or processing shed. If there is a supply of this bleak banyan wine, it will be there. Destroying the wine is a primary objective in our contract, so it is wise of us to start early. Insofar as the Marchioness cares about the wizards, she wants them alive for interrogation, do you recall? If we kill them, fine. If they flee, fine. If we capture them, or bring back a spell book, better. But we get paid the same fee regardless, and our prize money takes no account of the matter."

With a sigh, the hob woman gets to her feet, and comments, "But for the moment, we have other concerns. Rations will be a little short if we don't set more snares. And then I need to inspect the wounded after we get back here. Uluwasi!" She lets off a stream of words in Goblin, and he nods, getting himself put together for another foray. She does likewise, and comments, "Your help with the foraging is welcome, if you are so inclined. As is Vexandi Iwu's."

Addressing Vandersrike and Rasnak, she continues, "We will be setting an ambush tonight. Please think about traps and other such matters. I will speak to you when I return."

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Darker

Rasnak nods, "Yessss... trapsss we koboldsss can do."

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Mbali, Uluwasi, and several volunteers spend an hour or two setting more snares to catch food; in a stroke of great good luck, Vexandi discovers a cluster of early-ripening apricot trees that will add variety and flavor to the next couple of days' meals.

Once the basics of keeping yourselves alive and healthy in the wilderness are attended to for another day, Mbali and the others return to camp, and Mbali calls for a general council. On a patch of bared earth, she sketches out a rough map of the plantation, showing where a trail passes through the middle and where there are buildings. Smudges at two sides indicate the presence of the dense temperate rainforest of your surroundings.

"Now that I have seen for myself and have the benefit of scouting from Vexandi Iwu's spirit allies, it's fitting that we lay our final plans for action. I also wish to recognize Lord Vandersrike for conspicuous gallantry today. His scouting foray placed him close enough to visually identify a sleeping necromancer, thereby verifying that a pre-dawn raid seems likely to interrupt our opponents' sleeping arrangements."

"During our reconnaissance, it was determined that the bulk of the undead working on the plantation were in this region," and she circles an area covering most of the northeastern quadrant of the plantation. "A much smaller group was active in the larger building, which is some kind of barn or processing shed. No living beings were observed with either group, so it appears likely that any necromancers present must have been asleep in the farmhouse to the southeast. Our knowledge is imperfect, but it is the best we are likely to get, so now it is time for us to act."

She indicates the western edge of the map, where she has denoted a forested area. "Vexandi Iwu will bear responsibility for a diversionary attack that will also provide a general signal for the start of our first raid. We will secret him in this area, before the main body of our troops circles around to the other side of the plantation, and settles in ambuscade in these woods." She marks the maps at the appropriate places, and then continues, "After ample time has been provided for the raiding group to take position, Vexandi Iwu will advance upon the processing building, which is of wooden construction. He will set it afire with the help of a flame spirit, and then he will immediately retreat westward, to his woods. I trust that he has sufficient woodcraft to obscure his trail so that he cannot be followed."

"The fire will shed considerable light, which the raiding group will use as a signal to begin an assault against the larger group of undead. Evrinel and Leland Spark will sling stones to provoke a counterattack from their overseer, at which time the two will withdraw towards the ambush position. There is to be no standing engagement against any skeleton or zombie which remains beneath the plantation's banyan trees. Is this clear? And do all parties understand the intention of the plan so far?"

She pauses and looks around for assent.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Obsidian_Spoon
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Vex speaks up, "There is the chance that either there are no fire spirits in the area at the time of the raid, or that I am incapable of bringing one through to the material realm. If that is the case, it would be useful for me to bring a number of torches or other items to attempt a fire with, if we have them, or perhaps one of our sneaker companions to carry out the task if I can not."

Talanall
Talanall's picture

"We see well in the dark, so I did not think to pack either," Mbali replies with a frown, adding, "Has anyone a flask of oil?"

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

MinusInnocence
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"I have my flint and steel and four flasks of oil," Rory offers. "This isn't the first time this has come up. If I am not needed elsewhere, I would request to accompany Vexandi. I have reason to believe necromancers like these snatched a squad of my brothers-in-arms in less time than this will take, and the thought of anyone being caught alone makes me uncomfortable."

Talanall
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Mbali grimaces. "I do not like it well, either, but I had hoped to keep you with the main body. Your halberd will kill zombies more readily than the weapons most of us carry, and I expect the overseer to become isolated from the rest of the undead because it will move so slowly."

She sighs, and adds, "But your point about leaving people alone is well taken. I will detail a pair of hobs to accompany Vexandi Iwu. More, I cannot spare. We will be outnumbered as it is."

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Obsidian_Spoon
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"The oil will help, and the warriors are much appreciated. I also think Rory will serve better in battle than protecting me, though the thought is welcome."

Arkenian
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Evrinel says gravely, "I concur, we no more fight the zombies under the banyan trees than one stands against an advance of an aureshan legion." He pauses, "But I sincerely hope we can find the fire spirits. First, they're liable to be quite pleased to burn this place, but for another . . . if we were to let the fire get out of control and spread from the abomination to the healthy . . . it would both be deplorable, and potentially quite dangerous."

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Mbali nods, seeing that she has evidently met and overcome the primary objection to her plan thus far, and continues, "Very good. I see several possibilities as to how the overseer will respond when Evrinel and Leland Spark begin attacking its slaves. The most desirable is that it throws all of its forty or so field hands after them, and follows at the best speed it can manage, thus becoming separated from both its slaves and its masters. It is also the least likely possibility; the overseers are supposed to be of human-like intellect."

"If it happens, we are fortunate. Rory Greenbarrow and I will close in on the overseer and kill it, while Uluwasi commands the rest of the ambush. In this case, I would like those of us who are gifted with the powers of a cleric to attempt to turn all the undead they can overcome; they will flee back the way they came, and possibly become uncontrolled if we succeed in dispatching the overseer. Even if that does not happen, it divides the attacking skeletons so that we can defeat them in detail rather than try to destroy all forty in one go."

"A more likely case is that the overseer dispatches some portion of its work crew to fight us, and retains a bodyguard while it follows. If that is the case, we will withdraw immediately upon the destruction of the first wave of skeletons, and end the raid."

"The final case is that the overseer will withdraw toward the farmhouse and barn. If so, we break off the engagement and try something else."

"The most likely case is that something will go wrong, and the exact details of our plan will not come to fruition. That is the nature of battles, but in that event we will attempt to remain as close as possible to the spirit of our plan. If dawn comes and Vexandi Iwu has been unable to start a fire, we will cancel the raid. In that event, or if one of us becomes separated from his assigned group, we will rally here at camp to count heads and formulate new strategy."

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

MinusInnocence
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Rory nods. "Very well." She produces the fire-making supplies from her backpack and offers them to Vexandi. "Don't lose that flint and steel! It's part of my original kit from Kusar and has sentimental value to me."

deadDMwalking
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"Alright. Crouching in a dark wood for hours isn't my idea of a good time which is why I try to include plenty of fiber in my diet. But this is for a good cause. Let's go." Henrik seems to have forgotten that dark is hours away yet.

Obsidian_Spoon
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"Thank you, Madam GreenBarrow, for the oils. I do have my own flint and steel, so I need not risk losing yours." Vexandi takes the oils and stashes them into his pack, before heading a short ways away to find a quiet place to meditate and commune with the spirit realms.

Arkenian
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Evrinel suddenly seems struck by a thought and looks at Leland a bit skeptically, "Leland, how good are you at stalking? The area around the banyan doesn't seem too bad to move quietly about, although cover is lacking, from what I hear. Still if at all possible I'd rather creep up on the overseer until the bullets start flying."

Dafyd
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Leland blinks at Erinvel a few times and bristles a bit. "I'm a doctor, friend, not a burglar. I do not...stalk, as you say."

Talanall
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Mbali defuses the situation by commenting, "It doesn't matter if they see you, so long as they follow you when you try to run away. I detailed the two of you for this job because you are slingers, and Rasnak has indicated that stabbing skeletons with arrows is likely to prove unproductive. The overseer has to consider you a threat worth countering."

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

deadDMwalking
deadDMwalking's picture

"That's using your brain, fer sure. I was under the impression you were going to use him as bait just 'cause you didn't like him. That's what I've have done if I were in charge." Once again, while it may have been intended as a jest Henrik's tone is sufficiently difficult to read as to make his meaning unclear. Maybe he does hate Leland?

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Mbali is courteous enough to ignore Hendrik's crass remarks, instead saying, "I suggest that everyone rest while they can. This afternoon I will take Rasnak and Vandersrike, along with a group of helpers, and scout out the ambush site so that we can place obstacles and traps. Expect to be awake starting around midnight tonight."

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Dafyd
Dafyd's picture

Leland chortles at Henrik regardless of the dwarf's intent, and muses, "Is /that/ what you're doing above ground, dwarf?" Regardless, he turns to Erinvel as he readies a sling and slingstone. "Well, off we go. Ours is not to reason why. Ours is but to...Well, never mind."

Talanall
Talanall's picture

The remainder of the day passes quietly; the hobs take a short period of time to fashion clubs for themselves out of stout branches taken from the nearby forest, and several other members of the expedition follow suit. Hendrik industriously prepares himself a half-dozen clubs and bundles them together.

As evening approaches, an early supper is prepared, and then Mbali, the kobolds, and several hobs head for the plantation to begin preparing the ambush site. At her insistence, Evrinel and Leland both come along, too, so that she can make sure they have a good grasp of how the ambush will be laid out. Uluwasi goes too, but comes back soon afterward, ordered to see to it that the rest of the expedition rests up, and then to get them where they need to be when the time for the ambush nears.

And with that, the bulk of the party lies down to rest. Those detailed to handle the ambush preparations end up bedding down at the site to catch a nap.


Before Dawn, 5 Imogen 973 IR
Blackwell Plantation
Somewhere North-Northeast of Vine Grove, Enteria

Few members of the expedition really rested well tonight, but rested or not, the time for battle is upon you.

After the inmates of the warcamp break their fast with a light meal, Uluwasi takes Vexandi and guides him to his position, quietly making sure that he is clear that once the fire is set, the elf is to return to his hiding spot, wait to see if he's being pursued, and then return to camp while doing his best to hide his tracks. When that's done, the two look up at the sky and agree on a specific star that is to be in a specific place when Vexandi is to begin his efforts, and Uluwasi undertakes that he is certain that the other elements of the expedition will be in place by then.

After that, he makes his way back to the camp, and immediately leads the rest of the force to the ambush site. Vexandi is left alone with his thoughts, looking out at the thousands of tiny pin-pricks of light that shine from where the banyans' mysterious fruit hangs on the boughs.

Meanwhile, Mbali is getting Evrinel and Leland into position on the other side of the orchard, where the undead are still toiling away, more or less where they were expected to be. Aside from being eerily pretty, the banyans' fruit casts enough light that even Leland can see the skeletons and their overseer. Mbali points the half-elf and the druid towards the shed, and leaves them to keep watch for evidence that Vexandi's work is done, hastening back towards the ambush site.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Vexandi's heart briefly sinks into his stomach when he hears a low rumble of thunder. But a frantic look at the sky shows him that the storm is off to the southwest, back towards the camp. The rest of the day is going to be rainy and miserable, but he can still see the stars well enough for his purposes.

The time is nearly upon him, so he eases through the trees of the perverse orchard until he is close enough to be sure that his spirit allies will be able to see it--or failing that, close enough that he can step up to it and use flint, steel, tinder, and oil to start the job.

Hoping that the rest of Mbali's plan is falling into place, the shaman begins to breathe slowly and deeply, throwing himself into communion with the spirits of this alien land. His awareness finds them easily this time, and he soon latches onto a fire spirit that he thinks will suit his needs, and pulls.

A wave of heat rolls over him, intense as if he stands before an oven, and a hunched, vaguely human figure that looks like a child's poppet made of burning clay suddenly stands in the orchard, radiating such heat that it wilts the leaves on the trees closest to it. It favors Vexandi with a somewhat worrisome grin, but makes no hostile motions.

Vexandi opens his mouth to tell the creature what he wants, and realizes that he doesn't have perfect dominion over it, and he doesn't speak Ignan. With an inward sigh, he begins a sort of game of charades. Several excruciatingly long minutes pass as the elemental watches him, then finally it looks behind it, sees the wooden shed, and visibly "gets" what Vexandi wants.

Quite suddenly, the man of solidified flame runs over to the building, leaving scorched footprints in its wake, and slaps its hands flat onto the wooden siding of the building. Curls of flame immediately rise around its fingers, and Vexandi is gratified to see that the intensity of the spirit's heat is such that the blaze spreads with unnatural speed.

His work is done, and he makes for the treeline.

He is nearly there when he hears some sort of commotion back the way he came, and risks a glance back. The barn is well and truly ablaze, and a skeleton is sprinting for the farmhouse. Another couple of the undead are busy attacking the magmin, but Vexandi can see that it doesn't look particularly cowed. One of the skeletons gets its claw charred trying to attack the spirit, and then the shaman is working his way into the forest, trying to make himself scarce so that he needn't face an angry necromancer by his lonesome.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Talanall
Talanall's picture

On the other side of the orchard, Leland and Evrinel find their waiting at an end. Leland sees it first, by quite some margin--but Evrinel soon agrees with him that the processing barn has indeed been set ablaze. They take a moment to choose a skeleton from the work crew to their northeast, ready their slings, and then break into the open and get into range.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Talanall
Talanall's picture

After the druid and the monk have made their final approach to the work party, they still seem not to have been detected, even by the hulking ogre that has been turned into an overseer zombie. That changes abruptly as Leland's slung shot crunches into a skeleton's ribcage.

Immediately, the overseer's huge head swivels to fix a cloudy-eyed gaze on the pair of scouts. Evrinel follows up with a shot of his own at the same skeleton, leaving a nasty crack in its skull, just to be sure the zombie understands that they're a threat.

It seems that this is, in fact, understood. A pair of skeletons take off at a run, headed towards the farmhouse.

Without need for further discussion, Leland and Evrinel decide that now is a good time run, and behind them, they can hear a substantial portion of the skeletons take up the chase.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Talanall
Talanall's picture

At the ambush site, the bulk of the expedition is in hiding, anxiously waiting for action to begin. Shortly after Mbali returns to them and takes up her position, they get what they're waiting for, as Evrinel and Leland come tearing through the woods. Mbali's foresight in leaving a torch burning for them proves its worth because they have no trouble avoiding Vandersrike's traps and taking up position at the end of the killing zone. In the woods behind them, it's easy to hear the skeletons crashing through the undergrowth.

They are suddenly upon you, but seem completely unaware of the ambushing force. The chase has strung them out in a straggling pack through the darkness, so you will have a few moments to try to smash the vanguard before the hindmost of the undead slaves is upon you.

Initiative
Hendrik (He) - 22
Leland (Le) and Raksha (Rh) - 21
Mbali (Mb) - 21
Vandersrike (Va) - 18
Evrinel (Ev) - 12
Uluwasi (Ul) - 10
Johten (Jo) - 9
Rory (Ry) - 8
Hobs (Blue 1 through 6) - 6
Rasnak (Ra) - 4
Skellies (Black, White, and Grey)- 3

It is currently Hendrik's turn.

Skeleton Black-1 is tethered to square Blue G15, and can only move within 10 feet of it.
Skeleton Black-4 has taken 5 points of damage.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Henrik begins the ambush a little ahead of Mbali, popping up from his hiding spot in order to brandish his holy symbol at the nearest undead and thunder at them, "Throw yourselves into obeisance to a power worthy of respect you filthy abominations!"

On his heels, Leland tells his wolf to heel, and then sends a sling stone rocketing through the skeletal throng. It's not entirely clear which one he's aiming at, but he doesn't hit any of them.

Mbali doesn't bother with slung stones. Instead, she calls out, "ATTACK!" Then she suits her actions to her words, and comes thrashing out of the underbrush to hit one of the skeletons with her morningstar.

Initiative
Henrik (He) - 22
Leland (Le) and Raksha (Rh) - 21
Mbali (Mb) - 21
Vandersrike (Va) - 18
Evrinel (Ev) - 12
Uluwasi (Ul) - 10
Johten (Jo) - 9
Rory (Ry) - 8
Hobs (Blue 1 through 6) - 6
Rasnak (Ra) - 4
Skellies (Black, White, and Grey)- 3

It is currently Vandersrike's turn.

Skeleton Black-1 is tethered to square Blue G15, and can only move within 10 feet of it.
Skeleton White-1 has taken 4 points of damage.

Skeleton Black-4 has taken 5 points of damage.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Vandersrike holds up his hands and cries out, "Behold the power of the Unified Tribe!" But otherwise, the kobold does nothing obvious.

Not far away, Evrinel pants, "Oh, I am so done with running," and turns on the skeletons. The tattered-looking monk erupts into a flurry of punches and kicks, managing to plant a kick into the one undead automatons' ribcages.

Uluwasi leads the hobgoblins' entry into the fight, clambering up to stand atop the fallen tree that most of the expedition is using as cover. He brings his mace crashing into the same skeleton Evrinel just attacked, cracking its skull. The undead clatters to the earth, its unholy vitality suddenly spent.

Johten lurches to his feet as he hears the signal to fight, and fishes around until he finds his club and is thus ready for action.

Rory wades into the fight at the other end of the ambush, clenching her morningstar in both hands. She lays about her, swinging as much to keep a clear space about her in melee as to damage a particular skeleton. Still, the burden of her efforts does seem to focus on one of the undead in particular.

The hobs get to their feet in much the same way as Johten, but also advance slightly so that they are better positioned to get the skeletons' attention (assuming that the creatures are even interested in targets other than Evrinel and Leland).

Meanwhile, Rasnak brandishes the holy symbol of Draklaknak at the undead. Nothing much seems to happen, and the kobold scuttles a little farther from the melee, perhaps intending to try again from a safer vantage point.

Half a dozen of the skeletons then take off at a dead run, fleeing Henrik as if his very presence is unbearable. The remainder lunge in to the attack, and Evrinel gets his chest decorated with a nasty set of claw marks. Rory gets mauled even more badly as several of the undead converge on her and Mbali, clustering around them so that the rest of you can barely see your distaff colleagues. For the moment, at least, Mbali is unscathed, although the face of her bullhide shield displays quite a set of gouge marks.

Although the two women are holding for now, the unengaged skeletons from the rear of the pack lope closer, heedless of undergrowth, in search of an opening through which they can come to grips with living flesh.

Initiative
Henrik (He) - 22
Leland (Le) and Raksha (Rh) - 21
Mbali (Mb) - 21
Evrinel (Ev) - 12
Uluwasi (Ul) - 10
Johten (Jo) - 9
Rory (Ry) - 8
Hobs (Blue 1 through 6) - 6
Rasnak (Ra) - 4
Skellies (Black, White, and Grey)- 3
Vandersrike (Va) - 3

It is currently Vandersrike's turn.

Evrinel has taken 4 points of damage
Rory has taken 7 points of damage
Skeleton Black-1 is tethered to square Blue G15, and can only move within 10 feet of it.
Skeleton White-1 has taken 4 points of damage.
Skeleton Black-2 has taken 7 points of damage. It is destroyed.
Skeleton Black-4 has taken 5 points of damage.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Vandersrike loops around the back of the skeletons engaging Evrinel, Leland, and the hobs, and reappears with a club when he emerges from behind one of the massive old trees that dot this forest. The kobold's attempt to kneecap a skeleton fails, but on the bright side he is now serving as a flanking backstop for both Evrinel and Leland's wolf.

Henrik bulls past Johten, and hurls a club at the nearest skeleton. He's too focused on throwing hard, though, so his accuracy suffers and he misses his target.

Leland calls out a command to his wolf, and both he and his companion surge in to attack the skeleton nearest him. Leland's wolf doesn't manage to connect, but the druid lands a solid thump into the skeleton's ribs, nearly crushing it.

Mbali seems to be keeping her head well, despite being surrounded by a crowd of bloodthirsty undead. The hobgoblin woman edges backward to keep herself from getting hemmed in on all sides. Almost as an afterthought, she caves in a skeleton's head with her morningstar.

Initiative
Henrik (He) - 22
Leland (Le) and Raksha (Rh) - 21
Mbali (Mb) - 21
Evrinel (Ev) - 12
Uluwasi (Ul) - 10
Johten (Jo) - 9
Rory (Ry) - 8
Hobs (Blue 1 through 6) - 6
Rasnak (Ra) - 4
Skellies (Black, White, and Grey)- 3
Vandersrike (Va) - 3

It is currently Evrinel's turn.

Evrinel has taken 4 points of damage
Rory has taken 7 points of damage
Skeleton Black-1 is tethered to square Blue G15, and can only move within 10 feet of it.
Skeleton White-1 has taken 4 points of damage.
Skeleton Black-2 has taken 7 points of damage. It is destroyed.
Skeleton Black-3 has taken 5 points of damage.
Skeleton Black-4 has taken 5 points of damage.
Skeleton White-11 has taken 8 points of damage. It is destroyed.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Evrinel erupts into another brief flurry of attacks, felling the skeleton that Leland just cracked across the ribs. He doesn't manage to land an attack on the other.

Uluwasi charges, calling out a battle cry as he goes, and delivers a thunderous blow of his mace to the skeleton that has managed to flank Rory. Its skull essentially disintegrates into powder under the force of his attack.

Johten does a fairly good job of mimicking Uluwasi, rushing over to another skeleton and crushing it with a heavy blow of his club. Its bones fall to mix into the clutter of the forest floor at his feet.

Having been pretty comprehensively mauled during her brief engagement with the skeletons, Rory disengages from combat and runs back towards the main body of the expedition. With some luck, she will soon find herself behind the line of battle, and possibly the recipient of healing magic.

If that was her expectation, it proves to be well-founded. Several of the hobs make their way towards the skeletons, and although they are too far away and the ground too broken for them to come to blows with the undead, they nevertheless manage to form a line of battle so that Johten and Uluwasi cannot be outflanked as Rory just was. A couple of them stay back to help finish off the skeleton that Vandersrike's trap has put on a leash, but their clubs don't find its bones.

Initiative
Henrik (He) - 22
Leland (Le) and Raksha (Rh) - 21
Mbali (Mb) - 21
Evrinel (Ev) - 12
Uluwasi (Ul) - 10
Johten (Jo) - 9
Rory (Ry) - 8
Hobs (Blue 1 through 6) - 6
Rasnak (Ra) - 4
Skellies (Black, White, and Grey)- 3
Vandersrike (Va) - 3

It is currently Rasnak's turn.

Evrinel has taken 4 points of damage
Rory has taken 7 points of damage
Skeleton Black-1 is tethered to square Blue G15, and can only move within 10 feet of it.
Skeleton White-1 has taken 4 points of damage.
Skeleton Black-2 has taken 7 points of damage. It is destroyed.
Skeleton Black-3 has taken 8 points of damage. It is destroyed.
Skeleton Black-4 has taken 5 points of damage.
Skeleton White-8 has taken 7 points of damage. It is destroyed.
Skeleton Black-10 has taken 9 points of damage. It is destroyed.
Skeleton White-11 has taken 8 points of damage. It is destroyed.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Rasnak hesitates, clearly planning something, but just as clearly unready to commit to his plan until he sees how things develop.

The skeletons crash into the line of battle like a wave against the beach, clawing and scratching wildly. The one snared in Vandersrike's trap does likewise, and leaves Evrinel with another bloody set of claw marks. In the aftermath of their rush, several other members of the party also find themselves injured. One of the hobgoblins is on the ground, bleeding and unconscious after one skeleton got past his guard and left him too distracted to ward off a second.

Initiative
Henrik (He) - 22
Leland (Le) and Raksha (Rh) - 21
Mbali (Mb) - 21
Evrinel (Ev) - 12
Uluwasi (Ul) - 10
Johten (Jo) - 9
Rory (Ry) - 8
Hobs (Blue 1 through 6) - 6
Skellies (Black, White, and Grey)- 3
Vandersrike (Va) - 3
Rasnak (Ra) - 3

It is currently Vandersrike's turn.

Evrinel has taken 7 points of damage
Johten has taken 3 points of damage
Mbali has taken 5 points of damage
Rory has taken 7 points of damage
Hob #2 has taken 7 points of damage. He is unconscious and bleeding.
Hob #3 has taken 2 points of damage
Skeleton Black-1 is tethered to square Blue G15, and can only move within 10 feet of it.
Skeleton White-1 has taken 4 points of damage.
Skeleton Black-2 has taken 7 points of damage. It is destroyed.
Skeleton Black-3 has taken 8 points of damage. It is destroyed.
Skeleton Black-4 has taken 5 points of damage.
Skeleton White-8 has taken 7 points of damage. It is destroyed.
Skeleton Black-10 has taken 9 points of damage. It is destroyed.
Skeleton White-11 has taken 8 points of damage. It is destroyed.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Vandersrike withdraws from the melee in the rear of the expedition, and then takes off at a jog towards the line of battle that has just formed. He jinks between a couple of the hobs, dodges swipes from a couple of skeletons, and gets his hide decorated with a set of bloody furrows before he wins through and cuts around to the rear of the skeletons.

Rasnak seems to come to some kind of decision, and hops up onto the fallen tree that previously had served to hide the majority of the expedition. The kobold scurries along its surface . . . and uncharacteristically, he seems to be going TOWARD combat. Matters become clearer as he pulls a holy symbol from under his shirt and holds it aloft. A nearly palpable ripple of divine power bursts from the little kobold. The skeletons have not started to run yet, but there's a noticeable change in demeanor—they carry themselves as if they are afraid.

Initiative
Henrik (He) - 22
Leland (Le) and Raksha (Rh) - 21
Mbali (Mb) - 21
Evrinel (Ev) - 12
Uluwasi (Ul) - 10
Johten (Jo) - 9
Rory (Ry) - 8
Hobs (Blue 1 through 6) - 6
Skellies (Black, White, and Grey)- 3
Vandersrike (Va) - 3
Rasnak (Ra) - 3

It is currently Henrik's turn.

Evrinel has taken 7 points of damage
Johten has taken 3 points of damage
Mbali has taken 5 points of damage
Rory has taken 7 points of damage
Hob #2 has taken 7 points of damage. He is unconscious and bleeding.
Hob #3 has taken 2 points of damage
Vandersrike has taken 3 points of damage
Skeleton Black-1 is tethered to square Blue G15, and can only move within 10 feet of it.
Skeleton White-1 has taken 4 points of damage.
Skeleton Black-2 has taken 7 points of damage. It is destroyed.
Skeleton Black-3 has taken 8 points of damage. It is destroyed.
Skeleton Black-4 has taken 5 points of damage.
Skeleton White-8 has taken 7 points of damage. It is destroyed.
Skeleton Black-10 has taken 9 points of damage. It is destroyed.
Skeleton White-11 has taken 8 points of damage. It is destroyed.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Henrik moves to Rory's position. More to himself than to her he mutters, "I wasn't planning on talking to them anyway." Laying a hand on her he intones a brief prayer and a warm light suffuses her wounds.

Leland murmurs another command to his wolf, but she lays her ears back and refuses to do as ordered, perhaps unhappy at the taste of dry bones. The druid moves in to take the fight to the skeleton himself, using his club, but fails to land a blow.

Mbali has no such trouble; she flips her morningstar into a quick, effortless-looking attack at the skeleton to her immediate left, shattering its skull without any trouble.

Initiative
Henrik (He) - 22
Leland (Le) and Raksha (Rh) - 21
Mbali (Mb) - 21
Evrinel (Ev) - 12
Uluwasi (Ul) - 10
Johten (Jo) - 9
Rory (Ry) - 8
Hobs (Blue 1 through 6) - 6
Skellies (Black, White, and Grey)- 3
Vandersrike (Va) - 3
Rasnak (Ra) - 3

It is currently Evrinel's turn.

Evrinel has taken 7 points of damage
Johten has taken 3 points of damage
Mbali has taken 5 points of damage
Hob #2 has taken 7 points of damage. He is unconscious and bleeding.
Hob #3 has taken 2 points of damage
Vandersrike has taken 3 points of damage
Skeleton Black-1 is tethered to square Blue G15, and can only move within 10 feet of it.
Skeleton White-1 has taken 4 points of damage.
Skeleton Black-2 has taken 7 points of damage. It is destroyed.
Skeleton Black-3 has taken 8 points of damage. It is destroyed.
Skeleton Black-4 has taken 5 points of damage.
Skeleton White-7 has taken 9 points of damage. It is destroyed.
Skeleton White-8 has taken 7 points of damage. It is destroyed.
Skeleton Black-10 has taken 9 points of damage. It is destroyed.
Skeleton White-11 has taken 10 points of damage. It is destroyed.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Evrinel sneers at Leland, "I understand that with my robes sliced open my sexy chest is pretty dazzling, but I'd be more impressed with healing magic than whatever that was supposed to be," and finishes off the skeleton by ripping out several of its vertebrae in a chunk.

In the line of battle, Uluwasi takes a strong swing at one of the skeletons facing him, but it jinks to the side just in time, and he has put too much behind it for him to alter his point of aim. He misses.

Initiative
Henrik (He) - 22
Leland (Le) and Raksha (Rh) - 21
Mbali (Mb) - 21
Evrinel (Ev) - 12
Uluwasi (Ul) - 10
Johten (Jo) - 9
Rory (Ry) - 8
Hobs (Blue 1 through 6) - 6
Skellies (Black, White, and Grey)- 3
Vandersrike (Va) - 3
Rasnak (Ra) - 3

It is currently Johten's turn.

Evrinel has taken 7 points of damage
Johten has taken 3 points of damage
Mbali has taken 5 points of damage
Hob #2 has taken 7 points of damage. He is unconscious and bleeding.
Hob #3 has taken 2 points of damage
Vandersrike has taken 3 points of damage
Skeleton Black-1 has taken 8 points of damage. It is destroyed.
Skeleton White-1 has taken 4 points of damage.
Skeleton Black-2 has taken 7 points of damage. It is destroyed.
Skeleton Black-3 has taken 8 points of damage. It is destroyed.
Skeleton Black-4 has taken 5 points of damage.
Skeleton White-7 has taken 9 points of damage. It is destroyed.
Skeleton White-8 has taken 7 points of damage. It is destroyed.
Skeleton Black-10 has taken 9 points of damage. It is destroyed.
Skeleton White-11 has taken 10 points of damage. It is destroyed.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Johten swings even harder than Uluwasi, wielding a club hastily shaped from a stout wooden branch. The difference is that he connects so solidly that the club starts at the crown of the skeleton's head, and doesn't stop until it hits the skeleton's pelvis.

After Hendrik wipes away her injuries, Rory seems full of vim and vigor, and moves to stand in a position where she can back up the line of battle and deal with any breaches that might open up.

One of the hobs who was previously engaged against the same skeleton as Evrinel and Leland, now free to join the line of battle, charges over to slam his club into the same skeleton that Uluwasi just tried and failed to dispatch. It crumbles, and the other hob from the rear lines hurries over to fill the gap that it left. The hobs already in line wield their clubs, but not to any great effect.

Then, suddenly, the skeletons are fleeing like scared jackrabbits. Those close enough to do so pounce on the opportunities presented by their sudden rout, striking in the instant where the skeletons' defenses are down but they are still close enough to be attacked, and several more of the undead horrors fall to the humus of the forest floor.

As they flee, Mbali calls out, "No pursuit! Assist the wounded, get them fit to move if possible, and prepare for a retreat! Uluwasi, make sure to put out that light."

Victory is yours.


Evrinel has taken 7 points of damage
Johten has taken 3 points of damage
Mbali has taken 5 points of damage
Hob #2 has taken 8 points of damage. He is unconscious and bleeding.
Hob #3 has taken 2 points of damage
Vandersrike has taken 3 points of damage
Skeleton Black-1 has taken 8 points of damage. It is destroyed.
Skeleton White-1 has taken 11 points of damage. It is destroyed.
Skeleton Black-2 has taken 7 points of damage. It is destroyed.
Skeleton Gray-2 has taken 12 points of damage. It is destroyed.
Skeleton White-2 has taken 4 points of damage.
Skeleton Black-3 has taken 8 points of damage. It is destroyed.
Skeleton White-3 has taken 9 points of damage. It is destroyed.
Skeleton White-4 has taken 4 points of damage.
Skeleton Black-4 has taken 5 points of damage.
Skeleton White-7 has taken 9 points of damage. It is destroyed.
Skeleton White-8 has taken 7 points of damage. It is destroyed.
Skeleton White-9 has taken 4 points of damage. It is destroyed.
Skeleton Black-10 has taken 9 points of damage. It is destroyed.
Skeleton White-10 has taken 12 points of damage. It is destroyed.
Skeleton Black-11 has taken 4 points of damage.
Skeleton White-11 has taken 10 points of damage. It is destroyed.

Skeleton Black-12 has taken 7 points of damage. It is destroyed.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Cronono
Cronono's picture

Vandersrike begins grabbing jawbones. As he shoves his trophies in one of his many sacks, he looks to Rasnak.

"Holy One, are you injured?"

He continues grabbing trophies as he examines the kobold priest.

Darker

Rasnak shakes his head, "No, I am unharmed. Othersss however..." He scrabbles from his perch toward the fallen hobgoblin, mumbling a brief praying and laying his scaly hand on the fallen warrior. "Thisss one can be moved now. He issss at deathsss door, but ssshould not fall through."

[Cure minor wounds].

Talanall
Talanall's picture

One of the uninjured hobs hands over his weapons and shield to a comrade, hoists his still-unconscious kinsman to his shoulder, and says, "We have the wounded ready to move, Chaka, thanks to the kobold umfundi." Almost at the same time, Uluwasi snuffs the torch, and Mbali says, "Single file back camp to camp. Uluwasi leads. I will follow and cover our tracks."

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Arkenian
Arkenian's picture

After people gather up a bit, Evrinel asks Mbali "13 of the skeletons down, for half that number injured on our side. And its not like we each got one. No overseers. And now they know we're here. What do you think?"

Talanall
Talanall's picture

"We came off better than I thought. We smashed a quarter of their total undead forces, and none of us are dead. Only two seriously injured, unless Vexandi Iwu and his escort have suffered a mishap."

She adds, "And another quarter of their force is scattered, maybe even uncontrolled. I do not know what orders the skeletons were given. Probably something like, 'Chase down and kill anything that breathes,' which may mean that they will attack the necromancers, if any of them are coming to investigate. They may be busy dealing with the fire."

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

deadDMwalking
deadDMwalking's picture

With Rasnak moving to the aid of the fallen hobgoblin, Henrik spares a moment to gather a couple of his clubs. Seeing the healing failed to restore the hobgoblin to consciousness, Henrik moves to the shouldered hobgoblin. Summoning the blessing of the Stone Lords, he incantation a prayer.

"Better to have everyone ready to defend us. At camp I may help more".

[Divine Favor for Cure Light Wounds]

I rolled 1d8+1, the result is 6, 1 = 7.
Talanall
Talanall's picture

The unconscious hob wakes up seemingly as good as new, and, after thanking the dwarf, he accepts his gear from a comrade. Mbali calls out, "We go! Double time."

And with that, Uluwasi takes off at a jog. Mbali brings up the rear, and your expedition travels until even Johten and Leland can see clearly in the light of dawn before she calls out, "Standard march," and pauses to bring a small pouch out from inside her chain shirt. She sprinkles its contents behind her, and it obliterates all traces of your expedition's having passed by--no tracks, no broken limbs and twigs, no flattened weeds remain to show that you've been through the area.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

"Well... that could have gone worse," says Johten flatly.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

"Yes, much," agrees Mbali, cheerfully. "Come, we'll take a nap in camp. After midday we'll do something else to harass the necromancers and keep them from resting."

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

"I like naps," says Johten, pulling at the collar of his armor. "Means I can sleep through all the sweating. I thought it was hot back home, but this humidity? Damn."

MinusInnocence
MinusInnocence's picture

"It does not do the locals any favors for their demeanor, I can tell you that much. People and beasts alike are more irritable here." Rory appears to be in good spirits and catches Mbali for a moment to grab her attention. "Assuming we make contact with Vexandi before then, I volunteer to scout the area before we harry the necromancers again."

Talanall
Talanall's picture

"A good thought," Mbali agrees. "I will join you."

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Vexandi learns of the raiders' approach long before they are even close, since his grig allies carry word back to him. Soon enough, the rest of the expedition likewise learn of his and his hob companions' safe escape from firing the plantation's barn.

The hobs spend little time on discussion; instead they take a quick meal of hardtack and dried meat and fruit, and bed down. A couple stay awake as sentries, and Mbali retreats to her tent, where she appears to be working on a rough map on parchment paper. No doubt she is working out her plans for the next phase of harassment against the necromancers.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

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