There is a disctinct possibility that I will be running a one week fill-in game next session. I have some AD&D stuff ready to go, which will hopefully develop into something a bit more permanent when the table changes at the club come around in a few weeks time. Our Dragon Warriors DM is now off for a couple of months and various other commitments have meant that none of the rest of us will be able to attend regularly for the duration. In this period, we will each try to run something else or maybe we can get a week or so on another table if there are spaces.
Anyway, onto the final session...
The End of the Matter (21st August 2013)
The Dragon Warriors
Aethelfrith – Thane
Sir Erich of Barton – Knight
Hillson – Warlock
Nazir al Khalid – Barbarian (NPC)
Solaran – Elementalist
Karban Telos – Sorcerer (NPC)
Amulets (Day 71 (151) - evening)
Solaran accompanied the men-at-arms to the pavilion set up outside the town gates. After he entered the canvas walls of the large tent, an order was given by the knight within and patrols of troops were sent out in all directions. The men-at-arms began to section the town in their search for something. This made Nazir rather nervous; the thought of so many crusader types in the local vicinity led him to sidle out of the tavern at the first opportunity, saddle his horse, and head off into the sunset.
Sir Erich and Aethelfrith had other things on their mind and wanted to see if they could get their original bodies back. They sent Hillson’s apprentice to fetch the sorcerer from the tavern’s common room. After a brief discussion it was decided that the sorcerer would cast a disguising spell over the pair of warriors so that they would be less easily spotted by their adversaries. By the time this had happened though, the search had reached the tavern. Four men-at-arms entered the tavern and began to search each of the patrons in turn. This was met with disgruntlement by many of the merchants present, but it was only a desultory search; a prod or two in the chest vicinity to make sure they were not wearing an amulet around their necks. As the two warriors held theirs within pouches on their belts, they passed the search criteria with ease. This proved too much for Karban the sorcerer, and he decided to catch up with his barbarian friend and he too left the tavern. The clatter of horse hooves on the cobbles outside were the last that was heard of either the barbarian or the sorcerer.
Meanwhile, Solaran was invited to sit at the table within the main pavilion tent. He was cordially treated and offered refreshment. The knight was calm and curious but the thane was agitated and aggressive. He was questioned about how he got to Eastmarch and whether he owned an amulet. Solaran, not having anything to lose, handed over his amulet in its pouch. The knight then revealed an amulet from around his neck, which happened to be a key that looked like it would fit the lock amulet that Solaran owned.
Solaran told how he happened to be in Eastmarch, but he withheld any information about his other amulet carrying colleagues saying that all were either dead or had gone their separate ways after being turned into their current selves from the statues in Worsted by the sorcerer there. He was presently only in the company of his friend Hillson. The knight claiming to be Sir Erich seemed to accept the story but the thane became more aggravated as he refused to believe that Aethelfrith was dead. The thane stormed out of the tent muttering that he was going to collect Hillson to corroborate the story.
Thane vs. Thane
From their vantage point in the upstairs room at the tavern, the rest of the party saw the thane rapidly approach. Sir Erich and Aethelfrith took up positions in the downstairs common room and Hillson sat at a table close to the taps. Just as the door burst open, their magical disguises wore off. The thane saw Hillson and made his way towards him just as Sir Eirch emerged from the shadows behind the door and firmly closed it. As he crossed the room, the thane spotted Aethelfrith and made a bee-line for him.
The thane’s temper was still high from the conversation in the pavilion and he roared out his challenge to Aethelfrith, drawing his long sword at the same time. Aethelfrith, chomping at the bit for a fight drew his short sword. The thane launched into an attack straight away, but it was noticed by both combatants that each was pulling his blows. Initially the fight went Aethelfrith’s way. His blows constantly found their mark or had to be blocked by the thane’s shield. After a few minutes, however, the longer reach of the thane’s sword began to tell, and the tide of battle turned. Aethelfrith’s shield work left a lot to be desired as he slowly took on more and more minor cuts and bruises. Just as the thane seemed to be winning the fight, Sir Erich stepped in and clubbed the thane on the back of the head, knocking him out cold.
Whilst Aethlefrith and Hillson stripped the thane of his armour and weapons and tied him up, Sir Erich went to bar the door against four rapidly approaching men-at-arms. Aethelfrith rudely awakened the thane from his stupor by pouring a flagon of water upon his head. After a few moments to get his head cleared the thane ranted on that they would never work out how to resolve the dilemma of the body swap. Aethelfrith asked his colleagues to disarm him and keep his weapons away because if it was figured out how to do the body swap, they did not want a fully armed and armoured enemy against them with their friend tied up and helpless.
Aethelfrith, in his newly unarmoured state, took both of the amulets and tried to fit key to lock. This only brought howls of laughter from the thane. This annoyed Aethlefrith, so he held a dagger to his throat. The thane was unperturbed by this as the secret was no closer to being resolved and he could now see that there were at least a dozen guardsmen outside the tavern. The guardsmen outside the main tavern door could not get in past Sir Erich blocking it, but those at the windows saw that the thane was being threatened with a knife to his throat and began to smash their way in.
Wondering how to resolve this dilemma in a hurry, Aethelfrith tried a variety of combinations of amulets around his and the thane’s necks before everything suddenly went dark for him.
Now back in his own body, the thane tried to order the men-at-arms who had clambered in through the windows to attack the adventurers. Sir Erich still held his own at the main entrance, so Hillson and his apprentice were forced to stick up for their friend. Unfortunately no-one yet knew who was who in reality.
Luckily for the adventurers, the men-at-arms thought that the thane giving them the orders was still Aethelfrith, so ignored his ranting and began to attack him. This gave Hillson the opportunity to run his healing hands over the unconscious body of Aethelfrith, bringing him out of his stupor. Aethelfrith was able to quickly give their agreed upon password in case of trouble and so the warlock cut his bonds and ushered him towards his arms and armour.
The ranting thane, now back in his own body, carried on attacking his own soldiers but was quickly overcome when Aethlefrith in his original body gave orders for all the men-at-arms to restrain him. Sir Erich let the soldiers in through the main door and played along with the ploy. The melee died down very quickly and the adventurers and thane were disarmed and bundled into a corner to await orders from their commander who was now almost dressed in his armour.
Sir Erich Bargains for his Old Life Back
Whilst the combat was being carried out in the tavern, the knight decided he would need to see what the thane was up to. He ordered a dozen more men-at-arms with him and headed to the tavern, with Solaran in tow.
He arrived just as Aethelfrith had full control of the situation and had made sure that the guards had their attention fixed upon the thane but the rest of the party were under loose guard. He was now fully armed and armoured and ready to take on the knight with the rest of his fellow adventurers if required.
The knight entered the tavern and quickly surveyed the situation. He was shrewd enough to realise that as Aethlefrith was no longer frothing at the mouth that the body swap had taken place. He realised that a fight would be tough and may have resulted in a lot of blood shed so he sought out Sir Erich and strode up to him.
After a brief conversation they decided to go off to a side room to discuss the next steps. Both knights disarmed and gave their word that they would not seek advantage of the situation. The rest of the adventurers and soldiers were left in the main tap room to their own devices. Aetheflrith took advantage of the situation by striking the thane several times to soothe his sense of unjustness.
Sir Erich was invited to sit at the table and was served with food and drink. He was then told that the amulets were matching pairs. Each lock and key would allow the owner to trade bodies with anyone of choice, provided that the amulet could be placed around the other’s neck. Each amulet was marked in a foreign script with the owner’s name, so the pairs could be easily recognised and paired up. The sorcerer in their little group was very powerful and had made them but he was no longer around. This would prove problematic for getting Solaran his own body back as the sorcerer would not be so easily overpowered and was most likely in the east, so would be very difficult to track down. Primarily the amulets were for longevity; swap bodies with someone to get a new lease of life and then when that body wore out, swap again. This all came undone when the sorcerer in Worsted released the party from the spell as stone statues and thus made the owners much more vulnerable as the lock amulets were at large and no longer locked down in stone.
Sir Erich asked what was to be done now, as he would like to get his old life back. The knight was sympathetic to his plight and suggested that if Sir Erich gave him his amulet back he would let the party go their own way. Sir Erich was a little worried by this but his chivalric upbringing led him to believe the imposter, and so he agreed to the trade-off. He handed over his amulet to the false knight and awaited the outcome of his trusting gesture.
The knight led them back outside and ordered his troops to pay attention. He said that something had come up and from that point forward the men-at-arms were under the control of Sir Erich. He then placed the amulets around his neck and the two knights swapped bodies.
The knight, now in Sir Erich’s statue body, ordered the men-at-arms out of the tavern and back to the pavilion. They followed his command unquestioningly. Sir Erich asked the knight what they should do about the thane. He said that the thane was too much of a hot-head and was a liability. They could deal with him as they saw fit.
Denouement (Day 72 (152))
The start of the evening was spent in stunned silence. Hillson, his apprentice and Solaran found it difficult to begin with to get used to their warrior companions in their proper bodies. A few flagons of ale made things a lot easier to deal with however. They were a little concerned to begin with about the loss of their other two companions who had fled during the previous evening, but that soon passed as they realised that new adventures now awaited them. Aethelfrith still had his pair of amulets, so could extend his life if he wished, but also he could play havoc with the thane who was still their captive. Their first thoughts were to swap his body with an old veteran warrior close to death to give him a new lease of life and punish the thane for his past body swaps which left those owners with curtailed lives. They decided that they would sleep on it, but divided up his belongings as it was found that each of his three swords were magical and worth a fair bit.
The following morning, the party awoke to the sound of marching. They peeked out of their windows to see that the small company of troops was leaving, on its way to the castle at Eastmarch. The knight nodded to Sir Erich as he passed by.
Sir Erich and Aethelfrith were all for returning to their homes to catch up on their lives but Solaran reminded them of all that may have passed whilst their doppelgangers were in charge of their bodies; they would have made new enemies and friends but not know who was who. Likewise, they could now evade all of their own enemies as they were in their original, different bodies – the Bloody Bitch and the troubles in Glissom could now be safely ignored.