Saturday, 17 January 2015

LotFP Solo - Part the Thirty-Fourth: „Es will die letzte Stunde sein“

continued from here

Scene 36

Chaos: 7

Setup: race to stop Neldir from opening the portal

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, Jola, Sir Gaunet, Jönnick, Baron Iehan Forzdeleu, Count Rotres d'Estancbel, Lady Delphinia, evil cult, Orezuthía the Wise, Cemmeret

Threads: find Neldir & the book

day 93

A few flurries of snow yet fall, but the worst of the storm seems to be over. Having outstayed their welcome, the guests are all eager to leave the Abbey.

[Q: Will the berserkers accompany PCs on their quest? 50/50: 40, Yes -- for a share of treasure, naturally.]

The berserkers don't have horses, so travel is slowed somewhat, but everyone is glad of the extra fighters.

After trudging a few miles through the powdery snow, a patrol is sighted in the distance, about a dozen foot soldiers and two horsemen. Fearing that the patrol may be there to hinder them, the party decide to evade, and turn back on their path, intending to circle round at a greater distance, and hopefully remain unseen.

[d30 Companion: The patrol meeting them is 12 heavy footmen (F0) + Ftr4 + MU3. Encounter range is (3d6x10=) 120 yards; Neither party is surprised.

According to the Expert rulebook, there is a 50% chance to evade: d% roll = 50! they get away.

Q: Does the patrol go looking for them? 50/50: 74, No.

It would seem that luck is with the party. BUT I rolled a 1 on the getting lost check, & subsequently failed the Bushcraft roll to notice...]

That afternoon, the party begin to suspect that the reason they were not intercepted by the patrol is that they travelled in the wrong direction. Their path has led them far to the south west. Instead of making camp in the relative security of the forest, they are forced to pitch their tents by the shore of the lake, and hope that their cooking fires do not attract any attention.

day 94

After a frigid night on the lake shore, the party is up and on the move at dawn. They have an easy time staying on course, simply following the shore. There is some worry that they won't find the ruins in the forest, but this fear is soon allayed -- only to be replaced with a new one. They stumble upon an old track through the forest which shows signs of recent travel by a moderate number of horses. They follow the trail as swiftly as they may whilst remaining alert for a possible ambush.

[Worried by the report of the returning patrol, Neldir has left Castel'Iverre before dawn, and reached the ruins before the PCs. It's now a race against time, to be decided by Mythic based on the results of the encounter above ground.]

Vhisigus' prison is beneath an old church, now fallen into ruin. The bell tower still remains, and the walls on two sides, but the roof is entirely fallen in. Some of the columns still stand, though trees and scrub now grow in the nave, and vines have spread over the crumbling walls. Footsteps in the snow lead right up to the vestibule and inside. Horse tracks lead round the side and into the trees. There are two windows in the front wall, and a pile of rubble where the main door once was.

It is decided to leave Burl the teamster and Haddie under cover in the forest with the horses whilst everyone else approaches the ruin. The berserkers draw their axes, the PCs cock their pistols and arquebuses, Aldira mutters a spell of defence (Shield). Lycinia leads her friends towards the open vestibule, Geirny leads her band of hearty barbarians round towards the south.

[The battlemap was made in Word with a background image for the terrain and a table for the squares. The image was based on a pre-WWII floorplan of St Dunstan's in the East. I erased the walls to make it a ruin, more-or-less corresponding to what's left of it now (it wasn't repaired after the Blitz, but has been turned into a city garden).

One square = 5'. Everyone is indicated by their initial on the map. PCs are capital letters highlighted in BLUE. The berserkers are lower case, in yellow. Anyone who is reduced to 0 or fewer hit points remains on the map but loses their highlighting (in case anyone tried to help them or take their equipment, which didn't end up happening).

The berserkers (Ftr1, ML12, berserk as Basic rulebook):

           CH CN DX IN ST WI HP
Lifstæn  m 10 14  9  9 12 12  6
Mar      m 11 13 13  6 16 10  3
White    f 17 17 11  4 10  9  9
Geirny   f 11 14  9 11 16 10  7
Nidbiorg f 10 14  9 10 12  8  9
Leather armour, battleaxe

The PCs, as an aide-mémoire:
Miolla        Elf3 chainmail, mace, 2 pistols
Lycinia       Elf3 chainmail, sword, pistol
Aldira        MU4  rapier
Théscine      Elf2 leather armour, magic sword
Fr. Rochouart Cl3  chainmail, arquebus, broadsword
Géraint       Spc3 leather armour, rapier, 2 pistols
Haddie        Ftr0 leather armour, lantern
Worland       Ftr1 chainmail, arquebus, battleaxe
Burl          Ftr0 (hired teamster, non-combatant)

Neldir's forces consist of 12 0-level fighters (in grey: fa-fl; breastplate & helm AC15, sword, arquebus, ML8), and a pair of trolls (green, labelled T and t, ML10, claw/claw/bite 1-6/1-6/1-10 -- all stats per D&D Expert rules).

     ch cn dx in st wi HP AC msl hth
fa m  8 12 12 10 12  8  4 15 +0  +0
fb m 11 14  7 11 15 11  7 14 -1  +1
fc f  8 15  9 14  7  9  7 15 +0  -1
fd m 12  8 10 10 14  6  3 15 +0  +1
fe m  9 14  8  9 12 12  5 14 -1  +0
ff m  9  8  6  6 13 14  2 14 -1  +1
fg f  7 14 15 13 17  4  7 16 +1  +2
fh f 13 12 11 11 14 11  4 15 +0  +1
fi f  6 14 13  7 14  8  4 16 +1  +1
fj m 14 10 11 13 14 10  2 15 +0  +1
fk m 13  8  8  6 16 10  4 14 -1  +2
fl m 10 11  8  8 11 12  3 14 -1  +0
t  m  4 12  9  7 18  7 24 17 --  +6
T  m  2 14 10  5 18  9 30 17 --  +6

At the start of each round, I took a screenshot of the map (though I accidentally saved over the surprise round, dammit). A lot went on in just 7 rounds; I didn't narrate any held actions or this would've rapidly become unreadable. Indeed, part of the reason I had put this campaign on hiatus was being tired with writing out combat scenes.

The soldiers were initially divided into 3 groups. I rolled 1d3 to determine how many of them might have extra arquebuses; only ijkl, fortunately. But I rolled a 1 on the surprise die for the PCs; the 4 in the bell tower have seen them coming. They descend to ground level and give the signal to take up positions.

[Surprise round]
soldiers i&j are stationed at the northernmost window, j&k behind the rubble where the main entrance once was. They wait until the party approaches within 50' (short range), then each fire a shot (at a randomly determined target).

i misses White the berserker
j hits father Rochouart for (1d8=) 2pts, dropping him to 7hp.
k hits Géraint for 5 damage, leaving him at 7hp as well.
l fires at Aldira, but the bullet bounces off her Shield spell (Ac19 vs. Missiles)

The four soldiers then pick up their 2nd arquebuses and run to take their new positions. The PCs split into three groups and rush up to the walls.

[About 3 rounds pass before everyone is in position for the first actual round. Lycinia and Miolla have gotten into the vestibule, and the other PCs are following behind them. The berserkers have just disappeared around the south corner.]

[round 1]
The initiative rolls are tied, so things will happen in order of descending Dexterity.

Miolla sees a soldier (d) behind a column. She fires the pistol in her left hand at him, but misses. She drops the pistol.
Lycinia steps right between i and j. She quickly fires at j, hitting for 4 damage. He falls against the wall, bleeding (-2hp). She backs up against the doorway and throws her pistol aside.

The berserkers rush along the wall and into the gap between the scrub. As they pass the window and round the wall they, are fired on by soldiers k&l and a&b.
k hits Lifstæn for 4 damage (he's down to 2hp)
a hits White for 7 points (also down to 2hp)

Now that the berserkers have noticed soldiers a&b, they split into two groups and fall upon them with their mighty battleaxes. The Berserkergang takes hold (+2 to hit).
Mar and Geirny fail to hit a.
Nidbiorg shatters b's helm, dropping the poor man with a single blow (8 damage leaves him at -1hp).

Soldiers c & d can still see Lycinia, and fire upon her. They both miss due to the Medium range penalty.

Géraint and Worland make for the northernmost window in the front wall.
Father Rochouart and Théscine move closer to the wall for cover.

[round 2]
Miolla draws her mace and edges forward.

Lycinia charges d with her sword, which resounds off the column above his head with a clang.

Soldier g runs forward, using the scrub as cover
Soldier i shoots Lycinia as she runs past. She hits, but only for 2points (leaving her with 14hp).
Théscine cautiously moves around the wall to behind Miolla.
Mar swings and misses.

Father Rochouart follows Théscine, Aldira follows him.
Géraint climbs in through the window
Lifstæn, White, and Nidbiorg run around the bushes to soldiers k&l.
Geirny hits soldier a for 7 damage, mortally wounding him.
Worland tries to shoot soldier i, but misses. He sets his arquebus against the wall.

Soldier c draws her sword.
Soldier d draws and attacks Lycinia, but misses.
Soldier h runs up past g.

Soldiers e & f run up on the opposite side of the bushes from g & h.
Soldier k hits Lifstæn with his sword; 3 damage drops the barbarian to the ground with -1hp.
Soldier l misses White.
The trolls move out of their little den, the big one following g & h, the smaller one e & f.

[round 3]
Miolla rushes i with her mace, but misses.

Lycinia slashes d with her sword. He falls, barely conscious, into the snow (3 damage puts him at 0hp).

Soldier g advances under cover.
Soldier i deals Miolla a glancing blow with his sword (3 damage leaves her with 10hp).
Théscine runs over to Géraint & Worland by the wall.
Mar screams and charges soldier g; She raises her arquebus and fires. Mar crumples (4 damage drops him to -1hp).

Father Rochouart strides boldly out of the vestibule. He fires his arquebus at f, but misses. He tosses the gun into the snow.
Aldira advances to the doorway.
Géraint runs over to the column near Lycinia.
White misses l.
Nidbiorg cuts k nearly in half.
Geirny was charging right behind poor Mar. She hits soldier g for 8x2=16 damage, dropping her to -9hp as her breastplate is dented, mangling her torso.
Worland climbs in through the window.

Soldier c moves to attack Lycinia, ineffectually.
Soldier h fires at Geirny; she barely feels the ball tear into her shoulder (2 damage leaves her with 5hp).

Soldiers e & f advance, firing on Father Rochouart. He takes a bullet to the chest for 5 damage, dropping him to 2hp.
Soldier l disembowels White with his sword (7 damage puts her at -5hp, killing instantly)
The big Troll follows soldiers e&f. It doesn't like the noises from the firesticks so was waiting for them to be done.
The smaller troll moves to attack Geirny. It grabs her in its terrible claws, raises her above its head and smashes her bleeding body to the ground about 10 feet away (=both claws hit, 4+4 damage puts her at -3hp, mortally wounded).

[round 4]
Miolla is about to swing her mace again, but has a sudden change of heart and fires point blank. Soldier i is gut-shot for 5 damage (down to -1hp); she slumps to the ground as Miolla casts her pistol aside.

Lycinia attacks c. The sword bites her deep, and she falls under the elf's mighty stroke (7 damage puts her at 0hp).

Théscine moves to get a better shot (Medium range) at f, but her shot still misses.

Father Rochouart casts Sanctuary, in hopes of surviving the battle (with 2hp).
Aldira casts Web on the small troll and soldiers e&f. The troll can break free in 4 rds, but the soldiers are hors de combat.
Géraint moves up, and fires at the big Troll, missing.
Nidbiorg lays into l, but cannot fell him (2pts damage drop him to 1hp).
Worland draws his axe, follows Géraint.

Soldier h moves up, shoots Géraint for 3 damage, leaving him with 4hp.

Soldier l desperately swings back at Nidbiorg, but cannot find an opening.
The big Troll rushes at Géraint. It grabs him with a claw (3 damage), then leans in an bites off the top of his head (7 damage, to -6hp). Géraint expires messily, gushing blood into the snow.

[round 5]
Miolla casts Sleep on the big Troll. It lies down in the snow to take a nap.

Lycinia moves towards the web, takes off her 12 apostles (ammo bandolier).

Nidbiorg cuts down l with her axe.
Soldier h flees out the back.

[round 6]
Lycinia tosses her apostles over the little troll in the web. A roll of 14+3 hits, so the bandolier is around its neck.

[round 7]
The troll looks like it may almost be free of the webs, so Lycinia casts Sleep on on it.

[out of rounds again]

Lycinia lights her torch and, to the horror of the trapped soldiers, sets the Web alight. [Her intent with the apostles was to make a lot of fire so the troll would completely burn up. I remembered something in the rulebook about getting hit by a fire attack when wearing them. However, the damage turned out not to be from fire, but from shrapnel, and it's only 1 point each, save vs. Breath Weapon for no damage. The troll made 5/11 saving throws. The web burnt it for (2d6=) 9 points (6+9=15 damage, it has 11hp left). The two soldiers are burnt to death in the web, but the troll is just angry and runs out at Lycinia.

Initiative was tied again, so Miolla cast a quick magic missile at the troll, dropping it before it could eat anyone. The torch was applied to the trolls wounds to make sure it wasn't going to get back up. Having learnt their lesson from Lycinia's mistake, the sleeping troll is dealt with in a much more careful fashion. Nidbiorg beheads it with her axe, and then all the powder that can be found is sprinkled over the beast and set alight.

On bended knee, Father Rochouart prays to the Light God, that He might stretch out His benevolent hand, and erase the Pains from His humble servant, that he might continue on this Quest for Justice (casts cure light wounds on self; back to full hit points). Father Rochouart has but one spell remaining, and asks Nidbiorg which of her companions should receive it. She tells him to heal Lifstæn. And though he be a heathen, yet is his Purpose on this Great Quest truly felt; thus does the Mercy of the Light God cause the berserker's injuries to melt away like darkness before a candle flame. He rises to do battle once more against Evil (cure light wounds restores him to full hit points). Praisèd be the Light God!

The battle has left Mar comatose, and Géraint, White, and Geirny dead. Mar is wrapped in as many blankets as can be spared, and moved into the bell tower out of the elements. Father Rochouart makes sure he has a holy symbol of his own heathen gods, and one of the Light God for good measure. Miolla, Théscine, and Aldira arrange their fallen companions in a corner as father Rochouart quickly pronounces Last Rites over them. Worland, Lycinia, and the two remaining barbarians attend to the grim business of dispatching the fallen soldiers. Not even Miolla moves to stop them, though Father Rochouart insists that they, too, shall be buried once their quest is finished.

But there is no time to delay now. A quick search through the ruins finds the trapdoor to the crypt in the troll's den.

[Q: Is it trapped? Likely: 63, Yes -- Rolling on the trap table in some book or other (I forget which) comes up with Explosive Runes. Makes sense: the trolls, being illiterate, couldn't have triggered the trap. (random N/PC=) Lycinia finds it, and luckily, since Magic-Users (and by extension, Elves) have a 5%/level chance to detect the runes without triggering them. D% comes up 04.]

Lycinia sees that something has been painted on the trapdoor cover, and feels magic emanating from it. She opens it whilst looking away, mindful of the last time she saw magical runes in some ruins. She tells everyone to descend the steps without looking at and especially without touching the trap door, a proposition to which everyone readily assents. When they all down inside the damp and musty crypt, a sudden shouting and commotion above catches their attention. "If you're going down there," calls Haddie, shining her lantern down upon them, "you're going to need some light!"

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