Blessed Empire

Session 4: 24 June 2011
The Fall of Brsic

“… The bastion is toast,” the GM said casually before he sat down, settling some confusion among the players about the state of things at the end of last session. It is now a few days after the summer solstice.

The headquarters tower in town burst into flame all along its height. It is not falling down, but it is on fire.

When we resume, Kriv is unconcious and Sasha has taken command of both boats. She orders Kriv’s boat, the smaller, to be evacuated into hers, leaving only two oarsmen to keep it in place astern of hers. The mayhem continues much as last time. Bonkk’s first opportunity attack of the campaign kills a Curse Skewer. Minion goblins make it around the north end of the pier and start piling into Lann, though the bursts and zones laid down by Cruhorn and Listar keep them under control. More goblin boats come on either side of the bridge; these also are dealt with by our area attacks and Sasha’s calling in of cannon fire from the east shore.

The goblins bring in a giant archerfish and a handful of vicious trained vultures. There are also some light missile troops mounted on hippogriffs in the air above the bridge; we & they cannot target each other while we are under the span. The archerfish is missile troops, and the goblins on the boats launch volleys of javelins at us. We take damage and lose more oarsmen. Of course, the goblins take casualties as well.

There is a rush of friendlies retreating from the fallen bastion. The bastion commander throws down a cloth-wrapped parcel telling us to make sure it doesn’t fall into enemy hands, and to hold off the enemy down here for three turns and then blow the bridge. He is killed cinematically right after he passes this on.

Kleft is minionized, and Mik scales the ladder and places the charge successfully. That is a significant achievement and triggers a recovery: everyone gets the option to spend a surge or regain an encounter power. At least one PC is out of surges after this. We pull the last two oarsmen off the smaller boat, cast it free, and pull for open water on the downstream side of the bridge. We take more damage, but we get clear and set off the charges. There are big things on the bridge — elephants, giants, ogres — when the charge blows and they are cast into the river. We make our escape and get a short rest.

When we get back to the town, there is confusion. People are evacuating the city. We get a berth at the dock and get to a cohort commander at dockside. We are told to flesh out our boat, carry a bunch of magic items … which he implicitly tells us are ours to use … and 20,000 gp if residuum … and the Severed Arm, which is what’s in the parcel thrown to us by the bastion commander … and tells us to get it to the capital. We also get 4 healing potions and mundane equipment as exists near the docks.

The cohort commander tells us, “They came through the teleport circle, and they were too many. Especially the big one, a Balor.” Demons came through the ’port circles. The commander keeps looking back at the tower as if he expects the demons who came in to break holes through the walls at any moment and start sacking the town.

We draw a team of legionnaires and auxiliaries as the backup grunts on the boat. There is discussion about which way to go, but ultimately we decided to head upriver — south. There is a skill challenge to get clear of the falling town. Most of the other boats leaving town are used for only short distances, as people just get past the encircling cordon to flee wherever they will. We stick to the river for rather longer than that. We are not targeted in particular and if there was anyone pursuing us in particular we don’t know it, and there is no sign of pursuit after the challenge. We get an extended rest.

We start discussing division of the magic items. We are now level 3 (!!). We will be on the run now through wild lands, fleeing east and south to the capital.

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Session 3: 17 June 2011

We add another party member, Heskan Patrin Longtooth, a Dragonborn Star Pact Warlock. We now have two leaders, one controller, one defender, and seventy million bazillion strikers. That’s probably too many defenders, but gotta let people do what they want.

We have a couple of days in Brsic. It is apparent that this is a truly massive assault. Mostly goblinoids, but there are also some flyers: griffins, manticores, air cavalry sort of things rather than large-scale dragons (at least that we have seen). The news is that it’s bad all over, and the entire frontier is under assault. The Empire hasn’t seen one of these in a long time. There is a rumor that the teleport circle in town has been corrupted. As far as is known, the Feyroads work, but there is an enemy army between the walls and the Feyroad terminus at the moment.

We elect to partition the cash loot we’ve collected so far into individual parcels, so that’s 80 gp in each party member’s pocket. Cruhorn buys another gun or two. In retrospect, the rest of us should have loaded up on other gear, like potions and ranged weapons for those without viable long-range attacks.

The official word is that the town’s food stocks can hold out for a year, but folks with sense can tell that the supplies really can hold out only a few months. The battle is likely to be long over before then. Other non-food supplies like bandages, arrows, spare weapons, etc., are in better shape, this being the major Imperial depot on this frontier. About half a legion is here, with an intact command structure. Our Dragonborn sergeant has his unit fleshed out with Level 2 rabble.

We spend a couple of turns on the walls, and while a few shots are taken, there isn’t any hot action. It is apparent that the encircling forces on this side of the river are not preparing for any major assault; they are just keeping the perimeter closed.

We are summoned to the general and given a secret mission. The oracles have not been good. The enemy seems likely to take the western bastion, which is a major fort on the other side of the river, linked to the city by a multi-arch bridge. The bridge is 300 yards long, and it can be reached with flyers and boats by the enemy. We must set charges in two of the pillars of the bridge so it can be demolished. Three such teams are being sent, of which we are one. We are given the charges and instructions on how to emplace and arm them. It will be a bit of a trick to get them properly placed, but we can do it. We will have to go out in boats, and there is a substantial current here a couple of days after the solstice. Boat crews are available to flesh out our operation.

The enemy clearly are preparing a boat attack, which could go as early as tonight, from the reports from the west bank.

We have a long wrangle and decide to go split the party into two boats and try to place the charges in parallel.

On approach, there are enemy swimmers at the bridge piers, and something else also out between them in the water. Boat 1, commanded by Kriv and taking the eastern of the two pillars assigned to us, hooks onto that pier. The swimmers there opposing us are Bullywugs. Probably more of the same at the western pillar, for which Boat A (under Sasha’s command) is making.

The free-swimming enemy, when we can finally make it out, is a black wyrmling and a couple of water elementals. These attack Sasha’s boat. Under concentrated attack, the wyrmling is killed, but their elementals sweep Cruhorn and Kleft overboard with a wave blast. Lots of minions are lost. Boats with goblins are seen to be pulling for us from the opposite shore.

The Boat 1 crew dispatches their lot of Bullywugs and Mik plants the charge on the eastern pier. They start making for the other pier, in support of Sasha’s boat. Sasha’s artillery spotting has been flawless, as the first goblin boat is sunk and its payload of minions are scrambling around the far side of the west pier to get into action. Cruhorn and Heskan and Listar take care of that first goblin boat’s leadership.

By this time the minions/oarsmen on both of our boats have been decimated. Kleft and Bonkk get to the pier and to the point where they can climb to set the charge after despatching a Bullywug or two, but both PCs have been chewed up. We exhaust our party healing, but Bonkk is in the Bullywug Mud Lord’s face, so that artillery is neutralized. Listar bombs a second goblin boat and wipes out an entire dozen minions. Its two non-minions have yet to be attacked, but their boat has no motile power and they will drift downstream.

There are two off-map distractions. The western bastion is falling. And the command tower in the city bursts in flame.

2350 PDT: we suspend action for the night, with the encounter still running, though its flavor is about to shift.

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Session 2: 3 June 2011

We have our 24 civilians whom we have to see to safety. Another group of invaders sweeps in from the west as we are getting organized. This force includes a Curse Skewer. They kill one civilian but we have relatively little trouble wiping them out. From the magic-user we get a + 1 1Robe of Contingency (which goes to Listar) and a + 1 Staff of Ruin (which goes to Kleft), and about 220 gp in loot the goblins obviously stole on their way in. The Hunter’s Flint goes into Bonkk’s custody.

It is clear that we are now being pursued by a force of unknown size north of us. We decide to try evading them and driving our civilians — and the ox-drawn alchemist’s wagon — hard for Brsic. We lose one refugee in this process, but pick up two other strays. Cajoling the noncombatants forward, finding an easy trail through the forest, and clearing the rough spots in it when we come upon them, we get within sight, if not hail, of the city walls. But: the enemy is already there, and there is a thin besieging force between us and entry. The enemy is not far behind us, and there are more forces to the west as part of the ring around the city. And there is the minor issue that the city defenses will need to be convinced we are friendlies, not invaders, before we can enter.

Driving our civilians forward, we move ahead to engage. There is a bat-handler whom Listar bombs and halves his quartet of attack bats. There is a double-armed cook with unspeakable filth on his weapons.

We chew through this initial cordon force in a confused, scattered fight, getting several civilians wounded but loaded onto the wagon. We kill the cook before he can put his toxic steel into anyone. The civilians move ahead during this fight, multiplying the confusion, but about the time we finish off the original cordon, the enemy’s reinforcements pile in from the force to the west.

Kleft goes to a creek/ditch dividing the battlefield whihc represents the limits of the walls’ firepower and shouting distance. He hails the defenders on the walls; they recognize him and now we will not have to experience “friendly fire” on the way to the wall.

It is getting late (real-world wall clock time) but we do have a battle line established behind which civilians can run for safety. We can also get our own forces concentrated and meet the new invaders together rather than in scattered packets of violence. Our GM rules that we can handle the situation as midnight comes and we make it into the city without any more dead, and with some loot: 420 gp in coin, a Frostwolf Pelt (my notes don’t indicate who got that), and a Helm of Opportunity (which goes to Bonkk2. We are able to take our first extended rest inside the walls of Brsic.

1 If you use a plus sign at the start of a word in this text body, then the OP formatting underlines everything until the next plus sign and neither gets printed, it seems3. You can get a plus sign to appear only if it is in a word by itself, or embedded within a word. This is irritating because the very common D&D construction of a plus sign followed by a number needs to have an extraneous space between plus and number in order to appear anything like what you want (e.g., that + 1 Staff of Ruin that Kleft got). This seems to be a limit of Textile formatting, and Textile seems to have something of a bizarre history.

2 If he has the benefit of Kriv’s class bonus, then on opportunity attacks Bonkk at level 1 with the Helm, his Fighter Combat Superiority feature, and the Ardent bonus, will be + 13 to hit with the greatspear, and doing 1d10+6 damage. Of course, there haven’t been any such opportunity attacks yet, and that damage is still less than the Sorcerors’ basic ranged attacks.

3 Leading with an asterisk has the same kind of effect but puts the enclosed text into boldface. This is less of an inconvenience than the plus-sign thing.4

4 Yeesh, that’s 45 minutes of futzing with a limited formatting utility flushed down the toilet.

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Inaugural session: 27 May 2011

We are on the western frontier of the Empire, in the fortified frontier city of Brsic, site of the only bridge over the River Prut.

It is the summer solstice. As action begins, we are about 10 miles out of town at a solsticial festival. We open in the festival bazaar, mingling in the crowds, engaging in competitions. As a group we do fairly well. Mik wins a laurel crown in a general strong man competition. Kriv wins a combat contest.

There is revelry, and most of the participants go home. We are left with a couple dozen others on the site, along with the died-down central bonfire and an alchemist’s wagon. Most of us are surprised when wolf-riding goblins and orcs enter from the north, but not Cruhorn and Listar, who drop some bursts on them as they try to enter and break up their assault. The raiders kill one of the drunks, but following the initial bombs dropped by Seeker & Sorceror we obliterate the rest of the invaders without much trouble. We now have to herd the civilians out of trouble and into safety. The problem is that it’s ten miles to Brsic, through area that seems likely to hold more attacking raiders. And if we want to somewhere else, it’s more like five days to Peskn, the next nearest fortified town to the east; the coast is a fortnight away to the north.

On one of the raiders was a set of Sylvan Armor, which goes to Mik. A Hunter’s Flint becomes party treasure, carried by Kleft.

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Starting Up

Sent out emails with starting info and links to this site.

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Welcome to your Adventure Log!
A blog for your campaign

Every campaign gets an Adventure Log, a blog for your adventures!

While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!

The Adventure Log will allow you to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. In time, it will grow into a great story!

Best of all, each Adventure Log post is also a wiki page! You can link back and forth with your wiki, characters, and so forth as you wish.

One final tip: Before you jump in and try to write up the entire history for your campaign, take a deep breath. Rather than spending days writing and getting exhausted, I would suggest writing a quick “Story So Far” with only a summary. Then, get back to gaming! Grow your Adventure Log over time, rather than all at once.

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