Blessed Empire

Session 8: Siege Train's Mounted Party

Session date: 2 September 2011

In the wee hours … we have had a short rest, after nearly wiping out the siege train’s initial recon party … we have a discussion about whether to follow up immediately on that success or to try to get an extended rest in to restore daily powers and healing surges. (Action points are not an issue, since the fight with the initial recon patrol made for a milestone.)

We decide to try for the extended rest, partly because while the enemy may not get a good handle on our numbers from the survivors, they will know our whereabouts precisely. So we move down the road (toward Evik) and camp again, about a quarter mile away, in another defensible spot with a good view on the enemy’s likely lines of approach.

In the middle watch there is a patrol moving toward us, mounted this time. It is moving approximately toward us, at a fast walk, obviously searching. We make some attempts to divert them from our camp (we have a nice invisible fire, thanks to our Hunter’s Flint) so that we can get our rest in and step up the psychological pressure on the enemy by disappearing. However, we do not succeed in a minor skill challenge to shift their line of motion away from us, and they blunder unawares into our camp and into an ambush.

The enemy is all mounted on horses, Tieflings and Orcs, and some unmounted but flying imps. Some of them are minions: most of the Orcs seem to be, and so are the imps, but the imps pack an immense punch. Kriv is knocked out by a cluster of hits from a Tiefling and an imp, and it takes Cruhorn slamming a healing potion into him for Kriv to avoid the real death from two sets of ongoing damage inflicted during that cluster on top of the considerable direct damage inflicted. Also, the damned warhorses are combatants too, and do as much damage as anything else. We get most of the enemy, but one of the four imps — all of whom went invisible at the outset of the battle — does not reappear and we must assume it went back to report. An Orc archer-scout also survived the ambush and escaped. There is no loot.

So we must assume they know we with our minons are two or three dozen in number, while in this fight they lost about ten humanoids, three imps, and some horses. This is on top of the losses they had earlier from the first recon patrol. From what we think we knew about their force before, they have suffered the loss of a big chunk of the siege train’s covering escort.

When we get a scout near enough to report, there is a ruckus going on in the enemy’s base camp, that must have begun immediately on return of the survivors. We set up an ambush on the road for them, and we capture a mounted Orc, a courier with a message pouch. The message is in Common, with a comment, “They are stronger than my previous message indicates.” The message indicates the siege train is mobilizing to move up in a hurry to the rear guard of the besieging force outside Evik, and the siege train commander reverses his earlier message and now requests reinforcements.

For a variety of reasons we decide to attack now. The psychological factors are about as favorable as we could hope to get: their commander is clearly rattled, and they cannot yet have all their draft animals harnessed and ready to move so at least some of their personnel must be performing that task. On the other hand, their force is one we cannot hope to wipe out in a stand-up battle. They have four large trolls, a couple of dozen duergar (whom we guess to be the gunners), the command structure of about a dozen tieflings, some 30 orcs, an unknown number of imps, plus draft animals and wagons. As we approach we can see they are hitching animals.

We are minus a bunch of surges and some daily powers, but we hope we can disrupt the train — perhaps to the point where it cannot move without receiving substantial reinforcements either from ahead (i.e., the army at Evik has to send a force back) or from behind (another invading army element catches up from the rear along the Feyroad). In a dream result it’d be nice to capture and destroy the guns, but that almost certainly is impossible.

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