Previously, our heroes ventured into the Dragonwoods to do some scouting. They were spotted by the minions of Farhast the Bastardspawn, who tries to make a deal with them. Of course, our heroes reject the beast and proceed to attack it in its ringfort.
Read the first part of this campaign log here.
This battle was a carryover from the previous session. Luckily, we had recorded the exact details of how it ended and were able to pick up where we had left off.
The battle was also quite hairy. There were four players with 920 Character Points each and four NPCs (Wahn, Aran, Wenning, and Sykke) who were equally skilled. They faced off against 41 (yes, 41) trow warriors. The trow had 660 Character Points each, but no combat skills with levels higher than 1 except Agility, which was level 2. They were typical trow: no threat on their own, but dangerous in large numbers. And this time, their numbers were quite large...
Farhast the Bastardspawn was there as well: a weak, malformed dragon that should serve as excellent practice for our players to prepare for facing Jotte. Farhast the Bastardspawn had 1,940 Character Points, more than twice the number that the individual players have. All its vital combat skill levels were at skill level 3, and it was fast, able to fly, and had a fiery breath attack. I knew 41 trow and this mighty dragon would pose a big challenge. However, I was sure that if the players would cooperate and use the terrain to their advantage, their chances were actually very good.
The battle began simple enough: the archers in the group (Halred, Lorin, and the NPCs Wenning, Wahn, and Sykke) began picking off the trow on the walkway behind the palisade. Aran the Coward, however, released a battle cry and charged forward, steering clear of the enemy’s arrows and ready to scale the palisade to fight man to man. The players were nervous about this, but Aran is not easily stopped.
The initial exchange of arrows was in favor of the archers: the trow were way too bad at archery to achieve anything against mid-level characters, especially at greater distances. I played them as too surprised and chaotic to assist each other so early on in combat. When the trow had lost about ten of their number, they realized they would not win a ranged engagement and went on the offensive: the gates to the ringfort swung open and out came the trow.
This was where we ended the previous session.
The remaining 31 trow flowed out of the gates and onto the field of battle in three turns, which gave the players an opportunity to thin their ranks, as the trow had to traverse several cubes before they reached the players. A few trow on the palisade had the Overwatch power (see Core Rulebook, page 108). Here, I made a mistake: I let these guys use Overwatch to increase the Hit Difficulty of their allies and--later on--the dragon. However, Overwatch can only be used on characters in your cube, and the allies they shielded were farther away than that. Oops.
When all the trow were out the gate, the dragon rose from the ringfort and began its attacks on the players. The strategy that the players opted for was to have Halred keep the dragon suppressed with his Crippling Shot power (see Core Rulebook, page 84) so that it could not act, while the other archers in the group fired arrows at it.
However, for Halred to cripple the dragon was a huge drain on his resources; he combined its use with other powers to maximize his chances of hitting the dragon. At the same time, there were simply too many trow for all the archers to focus solely on the dragon. In the chaotic battle, NPC Sykke went down and Ena was badly wounded when the dragon finally got to act and fried him with its breath attack. Things were quite dire for a while, until Wenning, assisted by Halred and Lorin and Ena’s Soul Splice spell (see Core Rulebook, page 186), managed to land the killing shot on Farhast the Bastardspawn. With their oppressive leader gone, the remaining dozen or so trow scattered to the winds.
Interesting about this battle was the continuation of use of the assisting rules (see Core Rulebook, page 20) in combination with assistance-enhancing powers such as Crossfire (see Core Rulebook, page 84) that the players had begun to explore during the previous session. They did this to good effect, concentrating their fire to take down the dragon. However, it requires some sacrifice, and both in this combat and the next, it was Wenning (an NPC) who landed the killing shot on a boss, assisted by the others. It is always more fun if a player has to roll the dice to see if he can kill the big bad rather than an NPC, but the players were good sports about it. A small problem that may arise with assisting is AP administration: players interrupt other players’ turns to assist and thus spend AP outside of their turn (just as they would do when they would dodge). Players need to remember that AP reset at the end of their turns and need to keep careful track of how much AP they spend before that moment. I don’t think we made any mistakes in the end, but there was some confusion.
Also interesting was a discussion we had about 0-AP actions. At some point, Lorin was in melee combat with several trow. He held his mace in one hand, his bow in the other. He wanted to assist Wenning with a ranged attack, but in order to fire his bow, he’d have to drop his mace. The rules clearly state that dropping a weapon is a 0-AP action (see Core Rulebook, page 33), but nowhere does it say if this 0-AP action needs to be performed in a character’s own turn or if can be performed in another character’s turn as an Interruption.
A discussion ensued about how much time it would take to drop your mace and nock an arrow. I decided to allow it, but I’ll need to think about this for the next iteration of the rulebook.
There was also a lot of creative use of magic. Wisse used the Telekinesis spell (see Core Rulebook, page 194) to lift his pavise (lit up by the dragon’s breath attack) and drop it on some unsuspecting trow. Ena used his Summon spell (see Core Rulebook, pages 190-191) to great effect, summoning Spirit Wolves that were a good match for the trow and also diverted a lot of fire.
This battle saw Sykke die. However, Wahn used his Medicine (reanimate) skill (see Core Rulebook, page 53), assisted by Halred, and managed to save Sykke’s life. This set me to thinking about that skill, which allows medics to bring back the recently deceased. While I definitely want to keep it in, I think it is too easy now, and the Difficulty may need to be increased.
After a particularly harrowing battle, our heroes emerge wounded but victorious. They take temporary possession of the ringfort and rest there.