"Do you know Gillamoor has some sort of plague? I lived outside of that city, as did some of those others that were with me. I herded goats. The others had similar trades. When word of the quarantine came to us we were not sure what we should do. As much as they depended on us, we depended on them."
"This was our condition when Jad found us. We thought he was our savior. He told us that the world was full of sickness, but that a group had formed to look out for each other in what was becoming a wilder world. He invited us to take our things, our families and come to a place they set up. They told us we would be taken care of if we would contribute. What better offer did we have? They also made all the able bodied men learn weapons. The bow and the sword as you saw here, though I should say, not as efficiently as we thought though." he adds the last ruefully.
"So they led us to a place apart from their main camp, and took my goats, and whatever the others had and set us to training. They fed us very well and we had no complaints. We thought we were blessed. But then they asked us to help them raid merchants. We had no appetite for it, and they could see that. One of the others Gozen, he grew hard squash, he said he would not do it, and if there were caravans there were others that were unafflicted and we would go find them. Jad did not like Gozen's ideas. Ho ordered them to truss Gozen, and made him watch as they… they... They violated his wife and his teen daughter and then butchered them like cattle. They tortured him for hours and then he died. And then we knew what sort we had thrown in with. Some were refugees, but others, they seemed to like the work and the life. Since that day i have prayed to Erastil for a way for me and my family to get away. Mayhaps you are that answer?"
And yes to you, he looks right at Elinor, There is a dead girl in the wagon. I did not touch her, nor did those with me. We do not know who she is. The group coming now, their sorcerer saw that there would be trouble and 2 huge men from the main camp wanted in on the action. The rest are friends or brothers in arms of a group that was ambushed out here a few days back on the way to get rid of more bodies. Whatever I can do to free my family I will do willingly. I am unarmed and no threat. please help me.
Meanwhile the extraction goes smoothly. 5 bodies up and Bryndyn and Narnel besides. Treasure seeking will take alot of time and more light than you currently have, but there is lots coming up and the tunnels seem quiet.
Narnel takes in the battle scene, then drops his full pack on the ground.
Thanks for the lift fellas. I was able to fill my pack with some of the loot, but there is much more where that came from. Elinor, I see we have a prisoner. Are there more bandits on the way?
Bryndyn looks upon the scene, then listens to the prisoner and shakes his head. "These hard men must pay, I think" He adds nothing more, but chomps his snout together, his teeth glinting as he snarls.
|Abbas of Cheliax|
Abbas helps Narnel and Bryndryn out of the hole. He smiles at both of them with open blue eyes and points to the action around the prisoner. "He is speaking." but by then Narnel has already gone.
The warrior picks up his golden staff and listens in to the final words. "Who is he?" he whispers loudly. The man leans over Seneca and grins friendly at anyone that meets his eye, but generally the question is aimed at Taedric and Pluchak.
He echoes the words of Narnel with, "we got a fight with them?"
|Pluchak del Oktar|
The half-orc grits his pointed teeth upon overhearing some of what the man said. Torture and terror never set well with him, and it seemed they were doing these things to young girls as well? Just the mere thought of it made his blood boil. Why couldn't they just leave them alone?
Regardless, it seemed as if more men were heading this way soon. It wouldn't be long before they got here and would want to kill them as well. "Not sure exactly" He said to Abbas. "Perhaps we should set up a trap for them, if we got more coming. From the sounds of it, they are going to pick a fight with us regardless."
Not speaking Sylvan, Seneca isn't in on that part of the conversation
"I agree with you Pluchak, we should set a trap for them. I say we tie and gag this man. It sounds like he speaks the truth, but if we have trouble coming it is best not to risk adding to it."
Elinor softens a bit not having a sense motive worth a damn but doesn't show it her bluff being well worth a damn.
"Aye, strip him of his armour and bind him tightly when he has told us where the others will come from, how long they'll be and what they expect to see when they get here."
"Good to see the ghost didn't take a fancy to you Narnel. We've unwelcome company coming. Your night sight is best, maybe you can trim their numbers before they get here. To quote my uncle's son, 'get the mage'. Master Ayrvar, how canny is your magnificent sword-tooth? Would he strike from the shadows and flee?"
Elinor looks at the prisoner.
"If some of the others would turn on their masters, maybe we can use that. I have no sympathy for those who throw in their lot with butchers, no matter what the cause, but if given the chance maybe they'll at least flee."
|Abbas of Cheliax|
"I fight big one please?" Abbas is almost hopping from one foot to the other in anticipation, like a child with a new toy. He looks around for a place to hide. He points at the large clump of trees near the hole.
"How about in there? Hiding for me then hiding for them, ha ha!"
A sound plan, Eli. Yes, Abbas, you get the big one, and Eli can help! I will move ahead and make for our right flank to conceal myself in the nearby trees with my bow and await their coming. I am sure that you will hear their screams before they arrive.
He looks at Aidan then the others,
Do what you wish with the prisoner. I have no care for his like.
Narnel will climb the nearest tree at least 30 feet away from the hole, hide in same, and draw his bow in anticipation of the most likely path of arrival. He will fire upon the enemy mage when he is within thirty feet. Before climing the tree, he places caltrops in a square where he thinks the enemy will pass in route to the hole.
Climb: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (1) + 6 = 7
Stealth: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (11) + 8 = 19
Perception: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (12) + 6 = 18
If that climb was not sufficient, he will try again.
Climb: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (8) + 6 = 14
Taedric listens to the conversation, and then stands on his saddle, offering in a light tone, "Let's use our advantages, then. We should hide and strike from ambush... and we should offer quarter to the men as we attack. If they drop their weapons and step back, we are free to focus on their leaders. It is better to fight a few, rather than the many -- and, if the attackers were counting on the strength of their numbers, it gives us a great tactical advantage."
His friendly voice turns harsher, "Any man who drops his weapon we can deal with afterward -- we can ask any survivors, and our new friend, as to their conduct, and treat them appropriately."
|Pluchak del Oktar|
Pluchak nodded in assent to the plans being made. He points a long nailed finger at their captive. "Which way are they coming from?" He said to him through his long, pointed teeth in a futile attempt to be less than menacing.
Intimidate check to force friendliness: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (16) + 12 = 28
If the pack is large enough, Elinor, he will carry off the weakest prey. Aye, he might thin the herd, but he will offer none of this quarter we speak of, nor shall I.
He looks pointedly at the captive.
Banditry is a serious offense, one that must not be ignored. They will be judged, aye, and hang, at that; if any make it to the gallows.
Without waiting, the man begins taking off his armor. I am Alam. he says, while he moves slowly, aware of how bad this could go for him and just how quickly.
Kill? he repeats, in an answer to Aidan, Nay, and to the chagrin of Jad and the others I have never even draw blood. As you saw, it is not my strong suit.
They come from where we came. There are no others like me in that group. They are all from the main camp, and as near as i can tell they are all hard and bold killers. There numbers are not few though, and running seems the wisest, but an ambush is a good second choice. What do you want me to do?
I think you may be outmatched, if you try. Alam offers as Abbas suggest fighting the big men.
Narnel makes it into the tree without incident.
Elinor nods at Aidan's words.
"No. Quarter is a luxury, and not one for those who prey on the weak. I should have hanged Jad on the spot as would have done in the north."
"I see two main ways of fighting them here. Either to assail them all at once, perhaps when they gather around the hole wondering where this Alam and his companions are, or to attack them as they approach from as many different directions as possible, to split them and confuse them and try to bring great force to bear on small groups. Some of us are faster on our feet than others."
Elinor looks particularly at Trumps and Taedric (given she can't tell if that shadow there is Tkurzhan, or just a particularly intimidating bush).
"I make a mule look fast. Darkness and noise may magnify our numbers and confuse the enemy. Especially if we prop up some of the bodies we have so they look like foes."
I think we have eight bodies altogether - three lizard folk, three bandits and two murdered girls.
|Abbas of Cheliax|
Abbas grins at the prisoner as he removes his armour. "Got to keep up with Taedric. He killed an ogre!"
He goes over and puts one arm on Alam's shoulder, "you have orange in your heart so I cannot trust you lots. But I can trust you little. If they say so then I keep you safe in the woods. He is not so bad dark like some."
The muscular arms reach down and Abbas helps the man undo his leather jerkin. Fast fingers show the practised ease of a trained squire or half professional soldier. Again the murmuring humming starts as he aids Alam.
Aidan looks around at the mud and slippery ground. Could he conceal this pit, or perhaps fake one farther back? If he could force the men to fall into the pit, or at least make it easier to topple them with, say, a felled tree, he makes preparations. His expertise at trapping animals helps him with his assessment:
Survival: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (17) + 10 = 27
My idea is to dig a hole like 1' or so deep so that it looks like the pit, cover this pit with brush, and that with the loose mud. Then, it's a simple(ish) matter to roll a stripped log or the wagon into the bunched mass to drive many of them to their deaths in the pit.
|Harlynn P. Quinn|
Harlynn speaks up from his deep thought, Perhaps our best chance is in there pointing at the hole. We could bottleneck them and slay them one at a time.
Narnel waits silently for the approach of the new attackers from his lofty perch.
I hope that I can pick out the mage when they appear.
Taedric looks at Elinor, his normally light tone much more harsh, "You misunderstand, and in the spirit of haste, let me be brief. As I said, I will accept the surrender of any who lay down their weapons. From a tactical perspective, the fewer people trying to kill me in battle, the better, and so I can't see why any would disagree with that. Now, your confusion seems to be that you think that I will spare anyone who surrenders, and that is not the case. How they are treated after the fight and the stories we hear from those within the wagons will be an important part of that."
He pauses, and the looks up into her eyes from his stirrups, "But, if, as this man says, there are a group of pressed fighters -- people who hold swords because others hold knives to the throats of their families, then those people are victims of this Jad, sure as anyone... And if they can see us as a way out from the nightmare they are living, if they will lay down their weapons, then I will not run them down out of some twisted concept of justice, and, in fact, I will raise a lance against any that would. My Oath to the Order is such that I must protect all victims, it did not specify who from."
With that, he sits and wheels in the saddle, riding into the bushes that would conceal himself and Trumps.
Yes Elinor, 8 bodies is a correct count.
Alam looks unconvinced, and then very impressed with Abbas assertion about Taedric's prowess, when it becomes clear Abbas is not joking with him.
Alam offers There are none others like me with the group that follows, save the runners, that fled my group. in an effort to calm the tension.
I have Narnel in a tree, Abbas in a hollow (near the spider webs, right?), Thurzhan and Taedric (on Trumps) have sought brush a little farther out. Also, while we sort out ambush positions, you each might as well get initiative out of the way. :)
Alam looks over the party as they go to their respective vantage points and asks, "Where should I be? How can I help?"
|Harlynn P. Quinn|
|Pluchak del Oktar|
Pluchak grabs Alam and starts tying him up as per Elinor's instruction, but he does so loosely while looking him in the eye. "You can do us a lot of good by telling us more specific things. Things like: what does the sorcerer look like, how many men are with them, what the exceptional fighters look like, what kinds of weapons do they favor, that kind of thing." He picks him up and throws him over his shoulder and goes by Abbas in the hollow.
Setting him down after their short ride, he starts smearing mud on himself to cut down on things that might glint in the torchlight. "You should know by now that I have taken it upon myself to be your jailer. If your information helps us and you have been telling us the truth, you should feel better about your decision as we wipe them out. If you betray us I will pull your bowels out so you die slowly. I suggest you give us what we ask for, and then think about your family. Do we understand each other?"
Initative: 1d20 ⇒ 19 Perception: to see or hear them coming 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (8) + 5 = 13
|Abbas of Cheliax|
Initiative 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (4) + 3 = 7
"Alam wants family safe, Pluchak. Him not want bowels out," says Abbas to help the half-orc understand.
Not see bowels out today. Ugh!
The warrior loads a sling bullet and waits. He tries to spot the approach of the bandits but soon notices a spider busy building a replacement web nearby. The creature skitters back and forth just above Pluchak's head. Abbas grins at it.
Elinor shakes her head at Taedric, not sure whether his anger is because he thinks she has implied he is unnecessarily merciful, or because he thinks she has implied that she is unnecessarily ruthless, then shrugs and chalks it up to the mercurial nature of the fae.
Initiative 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 1 = 5
Where's that spider Abbas - I want a look.
"Once the more heavily armoured of us are engaged, we'll likely be stuck. We should probably plan to stay close to each other to stop a single person being overwhelmed. Are there areas of broken ground which we could skirt but which our enemies might be slowed by? How lang have we got before they arrive? Do we have time to make such?"
Elinor frowns trying to puzzle out the permutations of fighting a large warband with a small one.
"They'll surely be gannin with lights so we'll see them approaching. Do they expect a call or signal from their harbingers?"
Planning something like this goes on indefinitely even when we're sitting around a table. I see three main possible strategies (with infinite permutations). 1. The mobile/ranged fighters (and summoned critters) start attacking the bad guys early in the hope that they'll split up to try to find their attackers, and our less mobile fighters stick together and act as a kill squad. 2. We wait for the bad guys to clump around the hole wondering what has happened to Alam and charge out of cover. 3. Our kill squad starts 'in play' and we plan to trap the enemy between them and the mobile/ranged fighters. No plan survives etc. As we should be able to see them coming we may well have time for buffs before things kick off. And I know I keep asking, but how long before they get here Sigil?
I think your first plan is the one to go with. Harrass them into making a move and then exploit it with our heavy combatants.
Bryndyn will stick close to Elinor for now.
Initiative 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (11) + 3 = 14
|Abbas of Cheliax|
Whatever the plan is, the fight will be determined by us taking out their leaders quickly and with extreme prejudice. Abbas intends to take on a big guy but he could use some help.
Abbas eats some cheese and bread. He breaks it into thirds and hands chunks to Alam and Pluchak. Seeing how hungry the prisoner is, he hands over his own pieces too.
"How we hide the wagon? Leftie and Rightie in here?"
Abbas watches as the spider finishes its web and Alam his food. He waits to see what anyone wants to do with the ponies and cart. Meanwhile he wipes stray bits of mud from the silvershod tip of his magical staff.
"It should have a name. What do you think Pluchak? Something special for a warrior like me."
|Pluchak del Oktar|
Being less mobile suits me right now, so I will make a strike team with Abbas. I am hanging out with him anyway, and hopefully Alam will tell us who to kill.
"I hope Alam things the way you do, I'd rather not be betrayed."
He accepts the food from Abbas with a nod of appreciation and thinks about his questions. "I think the best way to hide the wagon is just to move it in the opposite direction of where we think they are coming from. As for your staff? Hmm. I will think about it for a while. You don't want to rush it, names last a while."
Before guiding the horses and cart away and covering the tracks, Aidan smiles coldly at Elinor.
Oh, the ground shall slow them. The land is angry, can you feel it? It knows. It feels. It will reach up to end them.
Hopefully, the caltrops that I placed before climbing the tree will also find some purchase.
Elinor, no way to know how long until they get here... But Alam and his crew were brush beaters and how far could they be ahead of the others?
The idea of this fight is a definite role reversal. You guys are going to set the battle terms (and to limited extent the battleground). You are expecting a superior force, but the evening of the odds will be your preparedness. When the encounter starts there will be 2 rounds before general engagement. One will allow for buffs etc (and you seeing/hearing them at some distance) , and then the second will be an actual surprise round. The enemy knows there is something out there, so they may not all be surprised, but none of you will be.
Alam begins to think through what he remembers of them. Addressing Pluchak he begins, Thier augurer is sick. I do not think he could walk, or even ride on horseback all this way. He will be in the wagon with the dead girl. The big men... I think they call one Gamel, and he is a ferocious man with a huge maul. It seems to be enchanted with some sort of energy. The other is called "The Widowmaker". At least I have never heard him called anything else, and they say he has never lost a fight. The others will be more like the man who led us against you.
|Abbas of Cheliax|
retro action to bring the pair of ponies into the woods too now that the cart is out of sight. Thanks Aidan, Abbas needs that kind of support. Haven't heard from Seneca in a while? He could be another key to this.
Abbas listens to Alam and mouths the names, Gamel and Widowmaker. He slowly wafts at a fly away from the web to safety. He nods to Pluchak about the decision to wait for a name. And shakes his staff a little to give it patience. "Be brave in heart and mind and ye shall triumph. Iomedae priest said that."
Gamel. Big man. Big maul. What's a maul? Look silly if I ask. Has magic though maybe like a dragon. Could have wings and breathe fire. Wow I get to see a dragon.
Look at that spider just waiting...........for flies.
"I'm already a widow. I wonder what he'll make of me."
If it's possible to prop up the two intact deceased bandits on the other side of the hole so they look like combatants Elinor will do so. She's not keen to further misuse the girls, and thinks that the lizard folk cadavers are probably best left unsullied.
When we become aware of the enemy, she will cast message with Narnel so that she can find out from him/his vantage point what the enemy are doing. If Bryndyn, Abbas, Pluchak and Elinor stick together as a kill squad this should assist in directing them to the place they can do most good.
How about the plan being for at the chosen time Trumps, Taedric and Tkurzhan attack and then fall back away from the enemy. They could be expected to pursue, leaving some of their number guarding the wagon and the auger. The kill squad could then attack the wagon from the other side having been hidden close enough to do this before those pursuing the strike force give up. Summoned creatures could delay the pursuers from returning to reinforce those by the wagon. If they don't split up to follow the Ts, then the Ts can attack again. Aidan and Harlynn are probably best finding a place they can observe the battle and use their magic but where they aren't in immediate danger of attracting attention to themselves. I'm not sure how martial Seneca is and I'd encourage Larayn to hang back and wait till the shouting is over to heal those of us that fall.
Survival: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (2) + 10 = 12
Aidan searches for the tracks of previous wagons, and puts his bear trap under the mud where it'll be likely to catch someone. He marks the spot by transplanting a nearby couple of flowers, warning the group to watch their step.
Still here, just PaizoCon over the weekend and then back and forth to NYC this week for a couple big pitches.
"I'll fire my crossbow against them until they close and then I'm decent with a mace. But, my greatest value might be hitting them all when Trumps, Taedric, and Tkurzhan fall back. I can bring the force of my god against them all. But, I can only protect one of you. The other option is to position me near an edge where I can do the same. Otherwise, I shall just fight them with the rest of you."
Initiative 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (8) + 1 = 9
Elinor grins in admiration at Aidan's foresight in having a bear trap along with him.
"Heaping the curses of your Lord upon them may be the finest welcome we can give them, Master Lucianus. Maybe you should strip your armour off so that you can greet them and then withdraw before our furry friends attack."
More table talk to refine...
If Seneca is positioned/hidden close to the route they'll take up with Narnel's caltrops and Aidan's bear trap between his position and the presumed position of the enemy then he could almost certainly get off two channel energies before they start beating on him (one in the surprise round, one while they're drawing swords and closing with him - if he strips off his armour he'll be able to outrun them easily (and it'll be easier to conceal him so they don't spot him too early)). After the second channel goes off the cavalry charge can go in (holding action till that point)- hopefully able to break off after the initial shock. Narnel will have a position to observe and inform Elinor through message (as in order for the -5 stealth crew to be confident in staying hidden they'll have to be actually out of sight) so that the kill team's advance can be timed right - will take at least a full round to close.
Hmmm. Next time I'm planning a GM-ambush, my players are going to regret it...
Yrs Lucilla "Napoleon" Frost
|Abbas of Cheliax|
Elinor - I may be the stoutest of us all. Let me step forward against this man with the maul when the time comes. I'll do my best to take his punishment while we all try to kill him. I think you plan is sound - draw a goodly number off and then attack the wagon.
Damn. Call myself a rules lawyer... I just remembered that anyone trying to get to Seneca can draw their weapon as a free action. So he may be putting himself in more danger than I'd originally thought. He may need to consider a full withdraw rather than a second channel...
|Harlynn P. Quinn|