Since starting on the Pathfinder game last year, we have lost two DMs and one player due to work and family commitments - I wish them all well. However, we did manage to finish the first adventure arc of The Carrion Crown, so thanks to all involved. Dean, one of our fellow players took up the mantle of DM but decided to run a game that he had been planning since back in the 80s rather than continuing with the Pathfinder story. The last three of the Pathfinders now began a new campaign using the Dragon Warriors system and, after a little advertising at the club, we were joined by two new players. Unfortunately time took its toll, and we lost one of those players to another system (he was only filling in for a few weeks until his next game started - thanks for your time Michael), but not before completing the first part of the adventure arc. We thought all might have been lost as numbers had dwindled again, but the club introduced a new player to our ranks this week, with the possibility of another starting next week. We were also approached by a player from another game that was due to end this week, so we may very well be up to the full table strength of one DM and six players next week!
Ambush on the Road to Glissom (
The Dragon WarriorsAethelfrith – Thane
Sir Erich of Barton – Knight
Solaran – Elementalist (absent)
Thormann - Sorcerer
A New Adventure and a New Friend (Day 1 (81 from their arrival in Worsted))
Over the previous few days, caravans had arrived in Worsted to trade their everyday and exotic items from around the world for pelts, wool, cloth and agricultural produce with the traders of Worsted. The first caravan that was to pull out had completed their trading quickly and arranged to leave the following day for their trip back to Glissom. Sir Erich and Aethelfrith (Solaran had been taken ill) negotiated with the other merchants to allow them to join their caravan for mutual protection. This was heartily agreed to, the forest and hills were crawling with orcs and bandits.
After concluding the business of booking their passage with the rest of the caravan that was heading out the next day, the adventurers paid a visit on the mayor. They called at his house and found that he was packing to leave Worsted for good. He explained that he had completed whatever tasks he had set himself and, because the bandit threat was no longer a reason to keep him there, was now no longer required.
A little later that day, the party were approached by Mary, the girl who wished for a life of travel and adventure. This time, because the villagers had downplayed the role the adventures took in removing the threat of the bandits from them, they agreed to her coming with them and told her to hide herself in their wagon at first light.
The wagon train pulled out just after first light and made good progress along the main road towards Glissom. There were five wagons in addition to the one owned by the adventurers and a goodly amount of armed warriors to protect the ten or so merchants and their trade goods.
The day passed uneventfully and, except for stopping to watch a wild boar cross its path, the caravan made good time. They camped in a small clearing on the edge of the forest beside a small stream. Guards were posted to stand watch, and the merchants were then free to enjoy a friendly chat amongst themselves. The adventurers ate sparingly of their meagre rations, but offered a few morsels to the one fellow who did not seem to be a merchant. They asked about his role in this venture and he introduced himself as Thormann; interpreter to one of the merchants who often traded in his homeland. Seeing that they had encountered another free-spirit, they allowed him to share their camp fire for the evening and swap tales of their adventures to date.
Orc Attack (Day 2)
The night passed uneventfully and so it came to the adventurers’ turn to take point on the caravan; each wagon owner would take point for one day of the journey. The forest had thinned by now and the hills began to recede, so the going was slowly becoming better. However, there were still a few more small woods to pass through before they reached the main thoroughfare that crossed the grass plains towards the city of
so there was no room for copmplacency. Glissom
Towards mid-morning, the caravan had entered one of the last woodlands of that part of their journey when dark clouds began to roll in from the west. The guards and drivers could barely see a hundred yards through the gloom of the forest canopy and the failing light beneath the leaden sky.
Suddenly a shout went up from Thormann in the third wagon; he had spotted the movement of a body of people descending upon the caravan through the trees. A loud whooping war cry erupted from the mouths of many assailants and several arrows sped towards the guards of the caravan. Most of the shots were targeted on one guard in particular and although hit more than half-a-dozen times he failed to give ground. The orc raiders, in three groups, burst from the trees on both sides of the trail and fell upon the last wagon of the line with glee; their task looked easy.
Sir Erich and Aethelfrith in the lead position heard the commotion and bade Mary to keep driving the wagon with the sick Solaran asleep inside away from the ambush. The two warriors jumped off their wagon and called for Thormann to join them in repelling the raiders. The other wagons that had not been attacked rapidly passed through the woods in line behind Mary in a bid for safety; each merchant urging his guards into the fray to protect their goods.
The guards quickly formed a shield wall to stop the orcs from pursuing the rest of the caravan and a small force peeled off to their right to circle behind one group of the attackers. The main body of attackers bore down on the shield wall, but two groups of about half-a-dozen orcs continued to fire arrows at the guards. For a short while, the guards’ armour protected them but the sheer volume of arrows began to take its toll. The two merchants on the last wagon struggled in vain to protect their goods from the marauders, but were swiftly cut down by the third band of orcs. Aethelfrith and Sir Erich rushed towards the combat to help where they could. In the meantime, Thormann had cast a spell, but it did not seem to have any effect on the marauding orcs.
The volleys of arrows that the orcs had been pouring onto the guards began to take their toll, and many of the guards in the defensive line began to pick up wounds. Once the arrows had run out, the orcs charged into combat against the weakened shield wall. One of the orcs suddenly felt his strength ebb away from him (Thormann’s spell casting was now proving successful), which may have helped to save the integrity of the defensive line if several of the guards were not cut down at the same time. Sir Erich ran towards the melee to the right of the line where the second band of orcs was met by the second unit of guards. Aethlfrith charged through the action to join the shield wall, killing an orc as he went, thus freeing up three more guards to join their comrades on the right flank with Sir Erich.
Aethelfrith joined on the end of the shield wall and pulled the guards back into shape, just as one of the marauders became engulfed in flame; his screams of agony tore into the air but he did not die. Sir Erich joined the fray on the right flank and ordered the guards into another shield wall to protect the flank. The third band of orcs threw the bodies of the dead merchants to the floor and then pulled that cart out of the way to join their brethren in the fight, which was fully going their way.
As the two shield walls were being beaten backwards, Aethelfrith called upon the last few men in his squad to redouble their efforts. He slew the orc that was on fire, and saw a magic bolt from behind him kill another raider opposing his part of the shield wall. He smiled grimly to himself, “That Thormann is proving to be very handy in a tight spot.” Meanwhile, Sir Erich’s great axe had hewn another orc in twain just as the guards had formed a formidable defence, but it was in vain as the third wave of orcs burst upon the guards with Sir Erich and slew them to a man. Sir Erich realised his situation had become rather grim, so he turned on his heels, calling for Aethelfrith as he went, and ran towards the safety of Thormann’s cart, in the hope of regrouping there.
Aethelfrith heard the shout from his comrade, slew another orc with his trusty spear and followed the last three guards with him away from the combat towards the rallying point around Thormann. Another magical blast from the sorcerer killed another orc, stunning them just enough to allow the three companions and the last remaining guards to escape the ambush.
The orcs decided that their prize had been hard won; nine of their comrades lay upon the dust of the road, so they decided not to pursue the vanquished humans. It was a shame for them that the wagon only contained woollen fleeces and turnips.
Arrival in Glissom (Day 6)
Once the party and the three remaining guards had made the safety of the caravan a few miles up the road, Thormann set about healing as many of the combatants as possible just in case there was a repeat attack. The remainder of the wagon train though made good progress throughout the rest of that and the next three days, with no sign of pursuit.
On the sixth day of travel, just after , the weary caravan arrived on the outskirts of Glissom. The town walls towered over the sprawling shanty town and merchant camp that always springs up outside of every city’s bounds. The smell of greasy meat and stale sweat pervaded the air around the makeshift settlement. Merchants and traders called their wares in the hope of attracting an agent to help them sell within the city. The city revenue collectors plied their taxes on every wagon entering through the gates below the watchful merlons upon the walls, and city guards kept a careful eye out that no trading was taking place in the shanty town without the city getting its share of the revenue. Mary’s eyes widened as she saw the great city before her. Her life of adventure and travel was about to begin in earnest.