Blessed Empire

Session 9: Shattering Victory

9 September 2011

It is the wee hours, probably about 2 AM. We have had a short, but not extended, rest after overwheming the mounted patrol.

We have a debate about our course of action. Points made or asserted:

  • We should attack oxen, not trolls. The trolls are beyond our ability to fight (well, we could take one or two if that’s all there was, but not with anything else), and our achieveable strategic purpose is to delay the arrival of the siege artillery at Evik.
  • Recollection: Our arcanists would need about an hour unmolested in order to blow stuff up in the siege train’s ordnance. Capturing a Duergar might accelerate that process.
  • Opinion: If our minions become engaged in melee, we will likely lose them all.
  • Suggestion: Stand off at extreme range, launch clouds of fire arrows into the enemy, and run away when they come out after us.
  • Point of information: Evik is about a fortnight’s march by ordinary foot, 3 or 4 days by Feyroad.

We approach the wagons along/near a ravine. We are successful with a group stealth check and get into position without being detected.

We see a couple of “Duergar War Wagons”: armored wagons with a single-person castle-type turret on top. There are also Rage Drakes (which are Level 5 Brutes and can be used as mounts) and other wagons. All the wagons are closed up with solid roofs. There are oxen in the process of being hitched up. There are a number of Duergar, all with chainmail, warhammers, and crossbows.

We deploy anchoring our flank on the ravine and open up with a longbow fire arrow volley from the range limit. Only folks with longbows (our minion archers, Cruhorn, and Bonkk) can shoot; everyone else watches, guards, and ignites fire arrows. We do surprise the enemy, and bring down a few oxen (who are two hit minions) and a Duergar. The enemy reponds by piling into their wagons, even the Rage Drakes. Our shots on their wagons have no apparent effect, but we do drop more oxen. They start returning fire with a gun in one of the war wagon turrets, and it has sufficient range to reach us: Listar is hit.

We break off, seeing a trio of mounted figures and some imps riding hard up their left/our right side from the enemy’s rear. These move only to cover against a melee charge and do not advance on us. We withdraw into the night.

We have short rest, heal Listar, and our sneak-scouts come out of the ravine to scope out what the enemy is doing. They seem to have called in their patrols and are circling their wagons into a laager, with everyone in or under wagons in full cover; the animals are within the circle.

We hae another debate what to do. Eventually we decide to continue our attacks, and circle their position and make another extreme-range volley attack from a different direction, and then (assuming they do not come out after us en masse) we will withdraw, circle to being upwind of them, and start a grass fire that will move in through their position. And, we are out of here by the next nightfall at latest.

The subsequent encounters are handled abstractly, as both sides repeat their tactical choices. We take no losses, hit a few more oxen. They shoot back at us and miss. Kriv makes a couple of dragon-roar intimidation attacks from the darkness. When the grass fire burns into their position, the trolls open the downwind side of the laager and the remaining draft animals (oxen and horses) are chased out of the circle; for the most part they stampede off toward the north, spooked by the fire. Everyone else is in wagons, even the drakes and the trolls(!).

They are thoroughly demoralized and in full turtle survival mode now. The fire is ineffective against their wagons, but the wagons cannot move now, unless they have trolls pull them, which means only four of the 30 or so could be drawn. We estimate there are about 20 Duergar and 50 others holed up in there. As the fire washes past them, we do another intimidation, demanding that they explode their powder in order for us to let them live.

We do another withdrawal and circle in the dark, and send in their dead courier, with his message pouch, tied to his horse, toward the laager along the road from the Evik side. The horse is shot down as it approaches. We repeat an intimidation and include a taunt (which includes a demand for tribute of half a dozen rifles), to which they do respond. Watching them, it seems the Orcs are outside doing things with powder kegs. Kleft does the talking, naming himself “Kleft Farwalk of the 18th Imperial Legion”. A troll pushes a small cart out toward us, and withdraws back to the laager on command.

General Abdesh Mun (a Tiefling) of the Turath Artillery surrenders, and their party walks out along the road away from Evik. We are told the General is a Level 9 Elite Controller. The withdrawing people go some ways off, and we can tell they make some arcane chant, and then the wagons explode: they have destroyed their siege guns rather than let us capture them. We do collect the cart and have half a dozen Duergar-made rifles, each with 25 ball cartridge.

Kriv shows himself, announces himself as “Kriv, of the Imperial Militia”, at which the enemy general pauses and nods to himself, as if the appearance of a Dragonborn confirms things he suspected all along, and they turn and depart.

We distribute the rifles among people who can use them: two each to Cruhorn, Sasha, and Bonkk. We head off to the south, almost perpendicular to the Feyroad, making for the Imperial Capital. The battle for Evik will now be a siege of a fortified city rather than a direct assault once the walls were destroyed.

We are now Level 4, and much toward Level 5 to boot.

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