Previously, our heroes made their way from the undercroft into the keep proper and found the throne room. Finally, the time has come to take down the queen.
Read the first part of this campaign log here.
Our heroes, the element of surprise on their side, charge into the throne room where the queen is in counsel with a heavily armored man who seems of high rank. The armored man moves in between the queen and our heroes to defend her. Battle is joined.
The battle with the warrior was an interesting, if short, experiment. The man had about 1,000 more Character Points than our heroes, with most combat skills at level 4 or 5. He also wore a strong suit of plate armor, which gave him high Resistance to passively soak up damage and high Defense Points to soak up even more if need arose.
He was down in three rounds without inflicting a single wound on the players.
This was as I expected it to be. On the Stage, numbers are a significant advantage. We have a total of five players and one NPC (one of the surviving monks, remember?), which meant there were six characters to quickly deplete the warrior’s Stamina pool with unceasing attacks. (A Defense skill check costs 1 Stamina; each character can usually make two or three attacks per round, and each successful attack is likely to require a Defense skill check in answer. The man had about 15 Stamina (which is still rather high), so he was not bound to last.)
I was happy with this result; it is what I intended with the Stage. In this system, ganging up and coordinating attacks offer the highest chance of success. Single juggernauts capable of taking down a horde on their own are rare, especially without magic support or lots and lots of potions.
Having worked the warrior to the ground, our heroes turn to the queen. She seems unfazed by their appearance and asks them what they want. Kaan steps forth and tells her that she is to come with them to Zece-Biserici and face the justice of the Church of Damas for all that she has done. The queen has a proposal: she will give them 200 Goldmark each (enough to buy five mansions), as well as access to her secret. Our heroes demand to know what this secret is. The queen simply states that it is immortality. The thing she keeps in the undercroft is not a man, but an immortal. Her alchemists have found that the secret is in its blood. Injecting a concoction brewed of that blood allows life unending. She would give them more money a mortal can spend and the immortality to make sure they can actually spend it.
Our heroes are not tempted. For the first time, the queen seems worried. She tells them that if they were to kidnap her, war would be the result. She is an ally of the Empire of Oest, which is already on the brink of open war with the kingdoms of the Regelui, which includes Zece-Biserici. Oest is mightier than those kingdoms combined and then some. If they kidnap her, Oest would have cause to go to war, and the fall of Zece-Biserici would be guaranteed. Again, our heroes do not care: they have a mission, and they will complete it.
Sensing defeat, the queen pulls out a dagger and puts it to her own throat. She will not be judged by the fanatics and fools in Zece-Biserici; she would rather take her own life. Our heroes hesitate, unsure if she would follow up on this threat. Still, their resolve is unwavering; they step forward, and the queen is swift to slit her own throat.
Bogdan leaps forward to try to staunch the bleeding. He is a medic of some experience and skill and, while the queen is in a very bad way, he manages to stop the bleeding and stabilize her. In the meanwhile, a servant boy comes into the throne room, unaware of what has been going on. Kaan is quick to knock him out before he can sound the alarm.
With Bogdan’s work done, our heroes quickly discuss what to do next. The castle is not in uproar, so they have gone unnoticed so far. They need to make an escape, and a quick one at that.
Kaan convinces his friends to make a bold attempt. They will roll the queen up in some of the large tapestry hanging from the walls of the throne room and simply stroll out. If challenged, Kaan should do the talking; he is the new High Priest of the Patruturle and will claim he had an audience with the queen and that the tapestry was a gift.
And so it is done. While they earn a frown from the guards, Kaan is known and respected as High Priest. They let him and his ‘escorts’ through, and our heroes calmly walk out the front gate. Moments later, the alarm bells start ringing.
Our heroes take a moment to discuss. They need to get to their ship and leave, now. However, there is still the matter of the two monks they left behind in the keep undercroft. They are reluctant to leave these brave men behind to certain death. Bogdan volunteers to try to get the men out. He already has a plan: the city is largely built of timber, and he will start a fire as a distraction. While Bogdan rushes off to the market to get supplies needed to make a fire, the others discuss how to secure the queen. From a higher vantage point in town, they see the harbor is already being cordoned off; ships cannot leave and soldiers are searching them seemingly at random. Using his apportation magic, Razvan shifts to the ship with the queen.
Shifting Unconscious People
At this point, there was a short discussion if you could use the Shift spell (see Core Rulebook, pages 184-185) to teleport somewhere and take a body with you if it was unconscious. Having thought it over, I would now answer that question in the negative. Plainly put: only corpses count as objects, people never do. At the time, however, I cut the discussion short and allowed it for the sake of pacing.
The others have no such magical means, and they make their way to the harbor--calmly, to avoid unwanted attention. Kaan gets the captain and orders him to prepare the ship to leave. However, with guards everywhere and the harbor sealed off, they stand to have a very hard time.
This was a pretty fast-paced session with some on-their-feet thinking from the players. The players received 120 Character Points, bringing the total for Erdan, Zikan, and Razvan to 1,140 and that of the rest to 1,120. As always, a few comments:
- As it stands, the Passwall spell (see Core Rulebook, page 174) is pretty useless. It’s also a misnomer: you can hardly pass through a door with it, let alone through a wall. I’ll need to look at this.
- For teleportation spells (and even spells in general) it might serve to clarify the definition of targets: objects are lifeless or dead, whereas characters are living and undead or otherwise animated.