Thursday, 20 March 2014

Doggerland Session 3:24 (The Battle of Imeryds Run)

The Battle of Imredys Run (19th March 2014)

The Adventurers
Bow – Ranger
Cormac - Fighter
Joan – Cleric (not present)
Johan – Cleric
Ryze – Magic User (not present)
Ulf – Fighter (NPC)
Vox – Magic User

The Waterside Hostel
A Mission to Nulb - Moonday 15th Quinquember (Day 48) – early hours

The only sound that the party could hear as they made their way up river with their stolen skiff was the snuffling of nocturnal creatures. The full moon lit their way to the point just across from the landing jetty a few yards up river from the Waterside Hostel. The expected hammering and subsequent creaking and groaning that would ordinarily be made by the party that was constructing and then loading the trebuchets was hidden by magical means.

The adventurers knew they had about five minutes to get into position and had just enough light from the moon and the few lanterns dotted around the village of Nulb to make out their destination. They settled the boat into the water carefully and began to silently paddle across the Imeryds Run.  

They pulled up under a small jetty and alighted from the boat, and Vox, using his boatman skills, tied it with a slipknot that could be undone in a fraction of a second should the party wish to return that way. Bow led the way up the muddy bank and across the short strip of open land to the back of the Waterside Hostel. The rest of the party joined him swiftly and began to search for a way into the inn other than through the two sets of main doors situated on the main street.

Just as they made it to the inn, two balls of fiery destruction arced out of the trees down river and descended into the Imeryds Pool. From the sound of the impacts, one shot missed but the other flew true and struck the intended target of the pirates’ vessel. An alarm was raised and warning bells began to ring throughout the village in a steadily increasing circle like ripples on a pond.

Bow finally settled on a shuttered window that was pitch dark beyond the cracks around the frame. The rest of the windows had shown a splinter of light and so the rooms beyond were considered occupied. He levered up the window bar that held the shutters closed but the bar slipped and fell to the floor. He winced at the exaggerated sound but no movement appeared from within; perhaps the increasing amount of sounds coming from the outside had masked it he thought. Johan cast a Silence spell onto a small river pebble that would keep the party’s movements quiet for the next several minutes and the adventurers then followed Bow’s lead and clambered into the dark chamber beyond the opened window.

The room beyond the window was of a considerable size and full of barrels, sacks and bushels of foodstuffs. The only other features in the darkened room were a door in the wall opposite the window and a set of wooden stairs to the party’s left that led down to what they presumed must be a cellar.

Ulf took up position at the head of the stairs whilst Bow peered through the cracks in the door. As it was held in place only by a small latch he lifted it and peered within the low-lighted room. Beyond the doorway he saw that there were several tables that were still set with plates, tankards and what looked like the remains of meals and drinks from the night before.

He cautiously pushed the door open and entered the large common room. He spotted the barred main doors to the hostel to his left and an archway to his right that led through to more tables and what appeared to be a bar. He could also just make out the top of a staircase opposite as well as a small skylight in the centre of the room that ordinarily would have lit chandeliers hanging above it. It would also allow the occupants of the floor above to peer down into the common room.

The rest of the adventurers stealthily made their way across the common room and got their bearings. They noticed that behind the bar was another set of steps downwards that led to another (or the same?) cellar and a fine stone chimney took pride of place as a kitchen area because the skillets and pans that were used for bread making were still hung within it.

Bow made his way to the second set of entrance doors and noticed that they were wide open. The sounds of the attack on the village sounded louder here and he could see flames rose from the docks area to the north. He could definitely hear the tramp of heavy soldiers’ boots on the bridge just outside and then the clash of steel. He also spotted two enormous shapes emerge from the cover of an outhouse that were headed straight towards him. He let loose a couple of arrows at the approaching monsters and called for help. Unfortunately the Silence spell on the stone meant that the party could not hear him. Johan, luckily, was within a short distance of the ranger and saw what was happening so he threw the pebble off to the farthest corner of the room. Their cover was blown and the silence the spell provided would serve no further purpose.

Ogres Attack

The two hulking shapes that emerged from the shadows charged the door in which Bow stood. He drew his trusty sword and stood his ground against their onslaught. Now that the silencing stone had been cast aside, the rest of the party heard the sounds of a large amount of people stomping around upstairs, with orders barked and the clanking of weapons and shields being prepared. Ulf and Cormac swiftly made their way up the staircase to investigate. Ulf kicked open the door directly on his right at the top of the stairs but it only revealed an unused chamber with beds, bedding and other paraphernalia for an overnight stay in the hostel. Cormac tried to kick open the door to their left but it refused to budge as a result of his administrations. Ulf swiftly advanced to the door directly ahead from behind which he could hear the sounds of preparation for combat, whilst he left his companion to continue with opening his current door and another that the burly fighter had passed by.

Meanwhile, downstairs, the fight at the doorway to the hostel was at a stalemate; the ogres could not battle their way in but the ranger and Johan, the cleric, could not seem to hit them in return. Vox saw his opportunity and managed to skip past the combat and up the stairs to join his two warrior comrades.

The Missing Temple Troops

Just as he reached the top of the stairs he saw that Ulf had barged his way into a room at the end of the corridor and was battling several black-caped soldiers within. Ulf was totally surrounded and Cormac could not make his way in to help his compatriot, so Vox cast a Sleep spell to aid his fellow wolf-cloaked clansman. All of the men-at-arms fell into a swoon, but their leader still stood and kept Ulf on his toes.

The next moment, one of the other doors further along the landing area opened and another half-dozen or so Temple guards flew out at the party. Cormac stood his ground and tried to protect the mage from this new onslaught. Then, just a few moments after that door opened, so did the last door on this floor. The three adventurers upstairs were being swamped with Temple guards and although the two fighters did not overly worry too much, Vox got a bit scared and scarpered downstairs into the cover of the stone chimney stack so that he could quickly study his books.

The two ogres at the door became frustrated with being blocked by two puny humans so used their huge bulk to barge their enemies out of the way. Bow and Johan could do nothing but give ground to the two hulking brutes and realised that now the two beasts could attack simultaneously.

The combat upstairs went badly against the two fighters, but Ulf was trapped and could not make his way out of the predicament. Cormac answered Vox’s shout to get out of there when suddenly the whole hostel was engulfed in fire. The new Fireball dweomer that the lady Mathilde had taught the young thaumaturgist was set off to great effect. Vox had pointed to an area at the top of the stairs and the streak of energy exploded in a fiery flower of flame. Every man-at-arms except for the leader succumbed to the roaring flames, as did all of the combustible material on the first floor of the hostel. Unfortunately, Ulf was caught in the blast but managed to drop to the floor before he was too badly affected. Downstairs, there was a bit of a backdraft which made its way towards Vox but did not quite reach him. It also billowed down from the balcony above and into the common room where it set light to table cloths and wooden platters, as well as melting every candle in the room. Bow and Johan nodded their appreciation that the mage could at last do something useful to aid the party when they were in dire need.

Luckily, things also went badly for the ogres, as one of them was in the path of the back blast and the other was simultaneously attacked by the ranger and cleric. Both dropped to the floor dead within a few moments of each other.

Bugbears and Gnolls

Cormac quickly raced back up the stairs to make sure that his companion Ulf was OK and saw that he was still in a life and death combat with the leader of the Temple guards. As he did so, the door that the party had entered into the hostel through was kicked open and the familiar shape of half-a-dozen bugbears and gnolls filed through, waving their spiked clubs and flails at the two adventurers that they could see still standing on the ground floor.

Vox quickly emerged from the chimney stack, clattering pots and pans around him which drew the monsters’ attention. Their grins of certain victory at seeing an unarmoured human before them turned to howls of frustration as the Rope of Entanglement swept from the wizard’s hands to encircle them in a tight embrace. One gnoll, however, managed to avoid the magical device and began to saw at the bindings that encircled his fellow warriors. Bow saw his chance and leapt at the monster, cutting it down swiftly. Vox, his blood up at how effective he had recently been stepped into the melee and began to stab the bound creatures at random in his fury.

The Priest of Zuggtmoy

From upstairs came the yell of “Priest!” Johan swiftly made his way towards the stairs that led to the first storey, leaving Bow and Vox to finish off their tightly bound opponents.

As Cormac reached the central balustrade he heard the heavy step of a plate armoured cleric step onto the landing from the attic above. The black armoured cleric drew his favoured weapon and advanced upon the fighter just as he yelled his warning.

The priest of Balder made his way to the top of the stairs, hatred burning in his eyes at the sight that confronted him. To his right he heard the death of the last Temple guard and saw his companion Ulf race past him to join Cormac in combat with the sable-armoured cleric.

The two fighters tried with all their might to hit the evil priest but he just laughed at their feeble attempts. His armour glowed with protective magical dweomers and he held the two warriors at bay with ease.

Johan advanced towards the fight but just as he got there Cormac was Commanded to stillness by a magical spell. This gave time for the Priest of Zuggtmoy to use his magical staff to strike down Ulf in a flash of powerful energy. Johan cast a Hold spell back but this just bounced off the evil priest’s defences.

The priest then turned his attention to the cleric of Balder. Johan knew that the party was out-classed so yelled that everyone should leave the hostel and let the Thuringians take care of this troublesome opponent. He then swept passed Cormac and sprinted back down the stairs just in time to see the last of the bugbears brought to its knees. His conscience then got the better of him; he had seen one companion struck down and did not want to lose another. He strengthened his resolve and headed back to the combat after he called to the rest of his companions downstairs for aid.

The sight that struck him when he got back to the combat haunted his vision. Cormac was also struck down by the mighty power of the Staff of Striking and hit the floor in a heap. However, whilst the evil cleric gloated over the death of his two companions, Johan quickly administered a Cure spell which brought the fighter round just enough so that the pair could stumble back down the stairs to join the remainder of their small party.

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