By now the Sellswords & Spellslingers games have become a weekly thing as we press on to see how our heroes’ story unfolds.
What happened so far…
Roland Metternich hired a group of maximum diversity for a minimum of cash to accompany him to Lands Far Away. He is promised a sizeable inheritance from a remote uncle who recently passed and which he intends to pick up in person.
Thrasher Garglurk, former Blitzer with the Orcland Raiders, was keen to leave town asap anyway. Yorimasu, disgraced and thus travelling master bowman, seeks a way to restore his honour. And Tasha the Witch is on a tip top secret mission to find a source of ancient magic powers.
To get rid of authorities and debt-collectors who were after them our adventurers heroically fled into beastmen-infested forests.
After heroically evading getting enslaved by the savage children of chaos (and a big green troll) they stopped at a charcoal burner’s hut to rest and heal up. In return the owner of the hut asked our heroes to slay 10 Giant Rats which somehow had snuck into his cellar. Ever since he had been to scared to go down there to get to his jam jar.
Easy-peasy. The heroes stormed down into the cellar. 10 minutes filled with loud yelling, sequeaking, smashing of jam jars and shelves later our heroes emerged somewhat beaten up, but victorious. The rats were slain, but Roland and Yorimasu had gotten bit and felt unwell for a few days (diseased). The charcoal burner gave our group a handful of silver coins, mainly just so they’d leave and move on.
As he sent the heroes on their way towards the next village he mentioned that the mayor of said village payed a handsome bounty for each slain beastman. Maybe something to keep in mind.
In rule terms we decided for all of our characters to go for the “Vermin Exterminator” campaign activity. It’s a nice way to make some cash with a slight possibility of getting diseased (and thus a malus on activation rolls for the next game). “Enlist in the City Militia” is a safer option, but we’re kinda outlaw heroes and despite the fact that we could have spun it to fit our group’s situation we felt the Vermin Exterminator thing to be more fitting for the group and to be something different.
Just a few more hours of travelling through the forests and to reach the fields around the village. Tasha was sick and tired of walking and twigs and brambles pulling at her beautiful cape and hair. Meanwhile Thrasher was generally irritating everybody by being very excited and talkactive about the things he was going to do in the village’s tavern. Roland and Yorimasu mainly kept quiet due to feeling very, very unwell, as Thrasher explained the intricacies of something he called a ‘keg stand’.
All the while the adventurers were oblivious to the fact that around them the forest was rustling with sneaky activity – the beastmen horde was still on their heels and dead set on catching our heroes this time. When the group arrived at a clearing the beastmen attacked.
Here’s the table setup:
Our heroes begin the game at the bottom table edge. There are eight rocky bumps in the area (kinda hard to see in the photo), their tops being indicated by the pebbles. Characters on top of these get a combat bonus for elevated position. The elevations are slightly slippery though, so there’s a chance of characters slipping and falling if on top.
In the beginning we got three beastmen brutes around the centre elevation…
…two groups of beastmen Ungors (smaller, wiry and sneakier beastmen). The group with the banner is equipped with short bows. Then there are some single Ungors running around as well.
Even a goblin or two joined the ranks of the beastmen, simply because they wouldn’t pass up on a chance to do some evil.
Since this time there’s no way to get away and the beastmen force being smaller our heroes’ goal is to kill all beastmen on the table.
This is the Orcs and Slippery Stones scenario, straight from the Sellswords&Spellslingers rulebook.
…starts with a sneaky beastman attacking Roland basically from behind, but Tasha zaps the creature out of existence with a magic dart. Thereafter her and Yorimasu move forward to a good firing position so that they could get rid of the dangerous beastmen brutes at a distance.
On one of the first shots, the string on Yorimasu’s Devil-Destroying Bow of Heavens snaps.
Thrasher also runs foward, because that’s what he does. The brute gets shot up by arrows (once the bow’s fixed with an extra bowstring) and magic darts, and Thrasher moves in for the final punch.
Roland follows up to give good leaderly advice on what to do. Also, he discovers a particularly nice looking boulder, right next to a big piece of treasure the K.O.’d brute left, which turns out to be a valuable artifact.
Roland grabs the nice treasure, Thrasher grabs the artifact, they do high five variation which looked much cooler in either of the heroes’ heads and move on.
As Yorimasu and Tasha take turns running forward and firing (of course the bowstring snaps again, but is replaced once more), the Nipponese nonpareil feels a hefty punch to his left leg, followed by nasty pains. A bear trap. Typical beastmen contraption. He loses a hitpoint and his move speed is reduced for the rest of the game.
At one point one of the goblins, trying to stomp by one of the boulders, seems to enrage the vengeful spirit of a slain hero of the past. The deceased emerges as a dreadful apparition and drags the goblin into the boulder and is gone.
Well, that’s odd. But since none of our heroes were directly affected and since they got enough to do anyway they decide to ignore this event.
Especially now, that the shortbow-armed Ungors get into range. Two of the creatures fire arrows at Roland, but they bounce off his and his steed’s thick armour.
The third of the Ungors doesn’t get a clear line of sight on Roland, so he takes a chance of firing at Yorimasu. He does’t move an inch, because at this range such a dishonourable creature couldn’t hit an elephan-ARGH. Yorimasu loses another hit point.
Highly embarassing. Yorimasu takes the shooter out and Roland and Thrasher charge in. One of them proves to be an especially big Ungor, but that’s like with an exceptionally large bag of crisps – manageable.
The Ungors don’t stand a chance in close combat. This means that things look pretty well now – all we need to do is mop up.
Tasha turns to the last horde of ungor warriors to throw magic darts at them. As does Yorimasu. They’re far off, so he starts running to link up with Tasha – and steps on a poisonous scorpion. There goes the last hit point and the Evil-Destoroying Archer goes down.
Thrasher runs off to punch the Ungor horde, Roland moves up to Yorimasu to help him up again.
…as another Ungor horde enters the table and the first horde steps onto one of those boulders for that sweet combat bonus.
Thrasher and Tasha (took me THAT long to realize that the two have very similar names) try to goad single Ungors out of the horde in its position of power to kill them off one by one. Against all odds this even works.
Meanwhile Roland checks up on Yorimasu, who is rather injured, but gets back up on his feet.
In another odd occurrance, the Goblin who got dragged god-knows-where by the spirit appears again right at the spot he disappeared from. He’s quite disheveled and a bit more mad than before, but otherwise seems to be okay.
Tasha tries to keep the hordes at bay with her spells, but Roland, who rode up to help out, gets charged by a horde of two Ungors and a weird goblin.
Eventually they fall to Roland’s sword, the last goblin flees, and our heroes stand triumphant! Safe in the knowledge that the horde (what’s left of it) is in full retreat and the battlefield is theirs, the group starts looting the slain beastmen for treasure and their weapons. They also collect gruesome trophies as evidence for the number of beastmen they’ve slain for the bounty.
The group loads Roland’s warhorse with so much loot, low-rate weapons, and severed beastmen heads (the slain goblins get additional horns nailed to their heads to make them look like beastmen) that the noble has to walk on foot. Never the less the heroes arrive at the village before nightfall, get to sell all the nice loot, AND even meet the mayor’s clerk. He pays a handsome sum of money for the slain beastmen, but isn’t happy with the heroes just leaving a sack filled to the brim with severed heads on his desk.
Since time is of the essence (stores are about to close!) Tasha gives very, very exact instructions and sends Roland to buy a spell scroll for her while she prepares the ritual for learning the spell. Meanwhile Thrasher tries his best to convince Yorimaso to go on a bender, but fails. The archery master finds a small shrine dedicated to his gods and meditates to gain clarity for his next mission. Thrasher throws himself into the lukewarm nightlife of the village, but quickly finds a group of barflies to hang out and spend money with.
Roland von Metternich goes to sell off the beastmen’s weapons and buys a Scroll: Deathcloud for Tasha, who learns this new spell from the scroll (and pays the required XL cost). Yorimasu goes to Worship, which gives him a little activation bonus on the next game. Thrasher makes use of the option to combine Mingling with Courtensans and Carousing. Against all odds he catches no diseases and gains a bonus on the first round of next game’s activation dice and doesn’t even suffer too bad a hangover.
This went really, really well. I read that the “Through the Badlands” scenario from the rulebook (the one we played last time) is a pretty tough one for beginners especially and that it’s not the best choice for players’ first game. Well, it certainly felt tougher than this one (“Orcs and Slippery Stones”). Ungors/Goblins are nice opponents to fight. Especially if there’s a fat bounty on their heads. We made a LOT of money in this scenario.
Certainly enough to buy some more spare bowstrings. Yorimasu was a bit unlucky this game. Okay, the one hit I’ll give the goblin archer. The trap and the scorpion on the other hand is a bit annoying. Oh well, things can always go wrong.
And this time remarkably little did, actually. And we’re finally out of that forest. So that’s good. Stay tuned for the next chapter in the adventures of Roland’s Roving Rogues!