Wednesday, 19 March 2014
LotFP Solo - Part the Eighteenth: „Erde und Himmel zusammen sich brennen, / Chaos, das alte, will keinen erkennen“
Setup: fix the problem at Orlsdorf
Characters: Neldir, the Elders of the Elven Forest, Ranwitha the Pious Merchant, Siorighan MU12, Tibalt & Barnot, dwarven mercenaries, griffon, Reverend Father Gelnay de Val d'Oine, Reverend Father de Molleré, Brother Mundlo, Zuhal B'thallit, centaur lizard
threads: find Neldir & the book
remove zuhal's curse
fix problem at Orlsdorf
Orlsdorf is only a three-hour ride up the road from Ander's Well (which the party took pains to circumvent). It is a village of about 115 souls, a jumble of houses and other ramshackle buildings more-or-less in a horseshoe shape surrounding the village square. One of the squat stone guard towers on either side of the road into the square is still in use, the other has been converted into a grain store. The stone wall surrounding the village has never been finished, and what is there is crumbling and full of gaps.
There is a flurry of activity in the square. A large pole has been erected, and around it a scaffolding is being hastily thrown up and kindling collected round and beneath it.
No one seems to have noticed the riders approaching, so the party head round the back of the village, find somewhere to tether the horses, and slip into town to find the mayor's residence.
The mayor, Margrit Daneweal, is a stern old woman. She was formerly the village blacksmith, but age and arthritis forced her to hand the smithy over to her children. Her husband went away on campaign in the army years ago, and never returned.
The back door cautiously opens when Aldira knocks. "Commander Leofstan sent us," she explains. Mayor Daneweal looks her guests over cursorily, then swiftly ushers them into her kitchen.
Some pleasantries are exchanged, grog is poured, and then the mayor outlines the situation.
"Ol' Bairnet used to be a soldier in the King's army. He left years ago, fighting in the wars to the north. He always said he'd be back one day, rich with spoils, and finally marry Hanny Baker and settle down. He did finally come back last twelvemonth. Hanny Baker'd been dead of fever these 18 years since, and he didn't have no spoils to speak of nohow, just silver enough to buy a little cottage and sit in the tavern all day. He were changed, and not for the better. He would talk about the army until everyone knew his stories by heart, but about his more adventurous travels after he'd say nary a thing. If y'asked him about the scar down his face or how he lost the hand, he'd fly into a rage.
"Then about three weeks back this witch comes into town with these two cutthroats in tow, and it's like they know Bairnet from somewheres, and they have unfinished business. They argue in the tavern -- it's mostly the witch what does the talking -- and no one can understand what they're all saying cuz it's some sorta foreign gibberish they're speaking. And they storm off and he storms off and it's over.
"Only it weren't over. The witch starts talking to the folk in town, helping them out with their little troubles, using her magic to find things and what not. And they get to like her. And to trust her. I don't know if that be magic or just her way with talking, but slowly they all come to hate Ol' Bairnet just like she does. An' she's here hell-bent on revenge. She convinced them all that Bairnet done something wrong when he was away -- something evil -- and he gotta pay for it to make everything right again. 'And don't the Light God hate evil?' she says, 'And don't he teach the only way to cleanse the evil is with the light of his fire?'
"And so tonight they're gonna burn him, at dusk, to hold back the darkness and banish his evil for good. But this ain't right. He's not evil. If you ask me it's the three of them up to something wicked. And she got most of the town convinced to join in. This ain't what folk here are like. She's all enspelled them or something.
"The witch is called Yawla or Yolla or something like that. She's from across the sea somewhere. Then there's 'Sir Kirn'. He's from Aylesbyrig, by the sound of 'im. Wears him some fancy armour, struts around talking all thees and thous. But if he's a knight, I'm the Queen! The last one is some scary devil-woman from who knows where, with skin like midnight and eyes like a wolf!"
It is nearly dusk, and the scaffold is finished. The square is empty for an hour or so. The party keep a vigilant watch, peeking out from behind the shutters of the mayor's house. At sunset, the square begins to fill with villagers, about 85 in total. Most of them already bear lit torches. The 'witch' and her two associates have not yet appeared, but the old soldier is led up the scaffold by armed guards and tied to the stake. The party is shocked to recognise the young man lashing the soldier to the pale -- it's Tibalt!
"Please, nobody kill that bastard," says Aldira, "until I have a chance to speak with him first."
"We won't," answers Théscine.
"I won't either."
As the sun dips below the horizon, Jola and her compatriots emerge from the inn. The 'witch' wears a simple tunic and breeches, and a costly brocaded coat of continental style. She is thin as a rail, but oddly striking, with white-gold hair plaited into a long braid down her back. A leaf-bladed shortsword hangs at her belt. The man with her is wearing plate armour evidently cobbled together on the battlefield. The device on his shield does not match the one emblazoned on his breastplate. He may not be one himself, but he's certainly defeated a knight or two in his time. The woman beside him is a native of far-off Ifrac. Her nearly-black skin stands in stark contrast to the white sigils she has painted on her face and hands. Her chainmail is of local manucfacture, but her battleaxe and shield come from her distant homeland.
The trio walk up to the scaffold in the now-silent square. Jola produces a papyrus scroll, and begins to read from it.
"Bairnet, son of Henult, child of earth, grief-tempered singer of right and dust, sworn-friend of iron, consort of grim battle and jealous strife, you have sinned greatly in the eyes of the true gods, and it is for this you shall be rendered up unto them that they may judge you as men dare not, and the pain that answers for your crimes shall be sweet to them as a morning when the moon yet looks down from..."
"What's she saying?" whispers Théscine, "That's not a judgement she's reading... it's a spell!"
The mayor throws open her front door and strides into the square. "Stop this madness at once!" she yells at the silent townsfolk, "Can't you see how wrong this all is?"
No one seems to take any notice of her presence except for Jola's lieutenants, who draw their weapons and begin to walk menacingly towards her. Aldira and the elves emerge from the house, ready to make their stand.
Aldira, Lycinia, and Miolla begin casting a spell in unison; approximately a third of the crowd of peasants sink to the ground, deep in slumber [Sleep: 11, 6, & 10 HD affected; morale check for the crowd fails]. Frightened by the sudden display of magic, a panic seizes the crowd. The peasants begin to flee in all directions, half of them dropping their torches as they run. The mayor runs back into her own house and bolts the door.
[And then it was time to take this into combat rounds.
Jola MU5 ch 14 cn 11 dx 11 in 16 st 10 wi 7 hp 15 AC 12 shortsword
Kirn F3 ch 5 cn 16 dx 11 in 9 st 14 wi 13 hp 27 broadsword, plate& shield
Aza F2 ch 14 cn 10 dx 6 in 11 st 15 wi 8 hp 13 battleaxe, chain&shield
1st: shield, sleep, holdportal
2nd: invisibilty, mirror image
3rd:Army of One
Q: Does a bad fire start from hastily dropped torches? 50/50: 49, Yes.
Q: Is the pyre started too? Likely: 02, Exceptional Yes.
Q: Will Tibalt join the fight? Unlikely: 53, No.
I'm using individual initiative, so each round I'll go through the segments in order
Lycinia draws her sword and runs forward towards the magic-user.
Kirn draws his sword, interposing himself between Lycinia and Jola.
Debinvarr unsheathes his rapier, runs forward.
Théscine casts Unseen Servant from her scroll, animates a bucket near the well which fills itself with water.
Jola suddenly disappears [casts Invisibility].
Aldira throws another charm into the crowd. Five more peasants fall to the groundin a heavy slumber.
Miolla run forwards, drawing her mace.
Aza interposes herself between Miolla and the magic-user's last visible position.
Lycinia charges Kirn, swinging her sword over her head. She lands a nasty blow on his shoulder, crumpling the pauldron [rolling 18+2, hit for 5x2=10 damage, dropping Kirn to 17hp].
Kirn is staggered by the force of Lycinia's blow to his sword arm, and can barely muster a counter-attack [rolls 3+5, missing Lycinia even with her AC penalty for charging].
Debinvarr runs up onto the pyre to free the soldier, deftly avoiding the flames [he needs to save vs. Breath Weapon each round or take 1d6 fire damage; a 15 saves handily].
Théscine commands the flying bucket to head towards the burning pyre.
Lycinia and Miolla hear a spell being cast nearby, but can't see anything [Jola casts Shield].
Aldira grabs her loaded crossbow from off the mayor's porch, and looks in vain for the magic-user.
Miolla and Aza exchange mighty blows. Miolla deals the foreign woman a glancing blow, stunning her shield arm [4 damage leaves her with 9hp.]
Aza swings her strange iron axe at Miolla's head, but she steps right under its deadly arc.
Lycinia's sword is stopped short by Kirn's heavy breastplate, just inchesfrom his throat [missed by 1].
Her chainmail keeps Kirn's blade from her chest, but the force of the blow causes her to stagger back a step [3 damage puts her at 9hp].
Debinvarr begins to cut the ropes binding the soldier to the stake.
Théscine commands the flying bucket to empty itself onto the burning pyre.
Jola runs to the inn, still unseen.
Aldira fights her way through the thinning crowd.
Miolla and Aza circle one another, looking for anopening to attack which never comes.
Lycinia hits Kirn in the side of the head with the pommel of her sword [4 damage leaves him with 13hp].
Kirn bashes her back with the edge of his shield [2 damage drops her to 7hp].
Debinvarr is still cutting the ropes.
Théscine is still controlling the bucket.
Jola runs into the innthrough the front door.
Q: Does Aldira notice the inn door open and close by itself? Unlikely: 15, Yes. She runs forward shouting, "she's fled to the inn!"
Miolla smashes Aza's leg, nearly hobbling her [8 damage leaves her with 1hp].
Aza stumbles, flailing wildly back at Miolla.
Lycinia switches to a defensive posture, parrying each of Kirn's blows.
Debinvarr has cut through the ropes, and pulls the soldier to safety.
Théscine dumps the bucket over Kirn's head [save vs. Breath weapon to dodge: he fails]. Kirn is stuck with a bucket on his head.
Aldira opens the door to the inn.
Jola reappears in the inn's common room as she throws a charm over Aldira [Sleep; 4HD]. Aldira sinks to the ground, asleep.
Miolla presses her advantage [+2 to hit, but rolls a natural 19 anyways]. Her mace crushes Aza's jaw [10 damage drops her to -9hp] and she falls like a sack of flour.
Lycinia presses her attack [+2 for Press, +2 for a blind opponent, who also loses his shield bonus; she rolls a 17 anyway, which would have hit with her normal attack bonus]. As Kirn despeartely removes the bucket from his head, she deals him a painful thrust to the stomach [8 damage puts him at 5hp].
Debinvarr runs to Aldira.
Théscine draws her enchanted sword and avances into the square.
Jola ensorcels the inn's door, shutting it fast [Hold Portal].
Aldira is slapped back into her senses by Debinvarr.
Miolla wheels to strike at Kirn, but meets only his stout shield.
Kirn parries Lycinia's sword inexpertly; his gauntlet absorbs most of the blow, andcomes away mangled [he takes 4 damage, putting him at 1hp]. He nearly drops his sword trying to strike back at her.
Debinvarr finds he cannot budge the inn's door.
Théscine charges Kirn. The magical blade finds a weak spot just below the heavy breastplate and he is run through [danage roll is 8x2=16, putting him at -15hp: so very dead].
Jola runs upstairs in the inn to her room, Aldira watches helplessly as Debinvarr struggles with the door.
-out of rounds-
Miolla uses Aza's axe to cut through the locked shutters, and the PCs enter the inn through the window. They investigate every room, but Jola is long gone [she used a scroll of Improved Invisibility and snuck out the back door in the kitchen].
By this time the villagers have started cooperating to put out the fires blazing round the square. The mayor is out by the well, barking orders. Tibalt is nowhere to be seen. The party collect the still-firghtened Bairnet, bid farewell to the mayor,and ride swiftly back to Huntsman's Gate.
Commander Leofstan sees that they receive healing and rewards them with a paltry amount of provisions (he can't spare any more). The party is anxious to be underway at first light, Aldira particularly, as the longer she remains in the company of the soldiers from her homw village, the more she remembers why she hasn't been back this way since she left 13 years ago.