- Randall (HuS): Level 2 Human Druid
- Oliver: Level 2 Fox Animal Companion
- Bart (TrS): Level 2 Halfling Musician
- Rowan (MiM): Level 1 Elf Magic-user
- Drucillia (BrS): Level 1 Elf Fighter
In the evening, they arrive at the outpost and Randall scouts it in falcon form, finding none of them outside. He quickly flies through its corridors, finding them all empty except for some remains from their prior battle, straw beds, and other furniture and fixtures.
They all enter the outpost and search it thoroughly. Randall speaks to a scrub oak inside the gate and learns that they departed the morning after their last attack.
Thinking they may be able to track them to their new home, they make camp on the edge of the hill clearing. During the night, around 1, a messenger from Matthias finds them and informs them that a gnome arrived with word that the southernmost gnome town, Rathad Oidhche, was under siege from the Dragon Empire. A Vale force intends to go to their aid, but it would be valuable for some adventurers to go ahead and assess the situation.
Despite Randall’s objections, the others are eager to serve and the party strikes out immediately toward the besieged town. By sunrise, Randall and Bart are exhausted, having had watches during the first half of the night. They continue and a couple hours after sunrise, Randall convinces an elk to carry him. He sleeps as they continue and around 11am on July 1st, Bart collapses from exhaustion, driven to it by his own morale boosting music. Somewhat rested, Randall awakes to give Bart a turn on the elk.
At 1pm, they encounter 4 Kobolds, which they pursue into the great road, killing them as they run despite their long march. Bart wakes up during the battle and they cross the Great Road, settling in for some much needed rest. They take 2 ½ hour watches and all awake to counsel again around 11pm (Bart has the last watch and misses a Kobold scout observing their camp before returning to report). They estimate that the Vale force will arrive by evening of the coming day and wish to meet them on the road Verdis would take them by.
In his falcon form, Randall flies toward where they expect the town, finding its lights on the walls opposed by three camps of lights (one near each gate) probably accommodating over 100 Dragon Empire soldiers. By the nearly full moon, he finds the line of the road following the river and traces it back to where it dwindles not far from the great road, 4 or 5 miles from their current camp.
He returns to the party and they agree to remain camped through the night, continuing to rest, before moving to the road. During the first watch, Drucillia’s, she hears someone approaching from the Northeast, the direction of the siege. She awakens the rest of the party and they start to go out to engage. The enemy gets the drop on them, an arrow puncturing Rowan’s lung and dropping him while Randall and Drucillia take arrows. Randall commands a few trees to attack them and they immediately kill one, grappling three others. While Drucillia hesitates to run into the blender of branches before her, Bart starts to play his ukulele, forcing most of the remaining kobolds to dance along with Randall and Drucillia. The trees finish things and Randall has a tree take Bart’s ukulele (he gets carried away). Having stopped dancing, Randall and Drucillia investigate and realize that a kobold got away.
Following Oliver’s nose, Randall and Drucillia pursue the kobold, leaving Bart to watch over Rowan. Oliver runs ahead, impatient for them to keep up, and soon they overtake the fleeing kobold, killing it. They return, and making sure Rowan is stable, they hide the bodies and move their camp to the road where the Vale force will most likely arrive. They slowly move Rowan, arriving at the road near dawn.
No longer tired, they take turns on dedicated watch and tending to Rowan’s wound throughout the day until the Vale force arrives after 5. Randall greets them and Verdis heals Rowan. They brief Michael, Verdis, and Taren about the situation and Taren sets out to seek out the source of the kobold attacks on them. Michael requests Randall do another fly over and assess the situation before sunset.
On this pass, he notices a small band of Dragon Empire soldiers locking down the gnome tower atop the mountain knee. He verifies the other three camps as being at each of Rathad Oidhche’s gates. The majority of the force, 60-80 warriors including a few drake riders, is at the near gate. He returns and while they discuss the intelligence, determining that, come morning, the adventurers should go try to free up the tower garrison to come join the Vale forces and hopefully sallying town defenders in an attack on the main camp. In the morning, the Vale forces will come within a road bend of the town and await a signal. While this plan is being hatched, Taren returns and reports a small force with patrols and a camp on the southwest corner of the mountain, directly east of their position. He has picked off some of their scouts and in the morning will take a small group to remove them quietly.
In the morning, July 3rd, they execute the plan (Verdis (HuS): Level 9 Human Fighter, joins the party). The party leaves early, cutting through woods to the tower path and climbing the mountain. The path climbs away from the tower to a flat between the knee and the slope to the peak before turning back toward the tower out on the knee. As they turn and begin the climb to the tower, Randall spots what looks like gnomes crossing the flat toward the peak.
Curious, he takes falcon form and flies out to speak to them while the others continue toward the tower. They are startled by the bird landing before them and becoming a human, the three warriors quickly protecting the two robed members of the group. One of them responds to his greeting in broken ensignal, spitting at his switch to elvish.
When he doesn’t need their commands to depart, one of them produces a powder that when thrown at him causes his eyes to tear up as sadness fills him. Randall escapes their attempts to grab him as he transitions to falcon form again, rejoining the party.
At the tower, they stealthily come within bow shot for the whole party and loose a volley. Most of them hit drakes, but Randall wounds a Kobold and Verdis kills a lizardfolk. With the enemy’s attention turned to the threat at the rear, the gnomes shoot more aggressively, wounding others. The Lizardfolk and Kobolds turn their efforts on the exposed enemy, rushing the party while the two drake riders take flight toward the main camp.
Verdis directs his powerful bow toward them, and with the help of withering fire from a fully engaged tower garrison and Bart’s poison in one of them, both go down, dropping their riders to the steep mountain slope far below.
While the gnomes cut down the Kobold archers supporting the Lizardfolk, Verdis and Drucillia engage the enemy with magic and but support from the others. The battle is soon won.
They explain the plan to the gnomes, who then signal it to the town, getting confirmation. Together, they descend the mountain, resting a while before rushing into battle.
Round 1: the gnomes (14) take the camp by surprise, hitting hard before they can mount an opposition on that flank. Meanwhile, the Vale folk (9) stumble a little in their charge, but engage enough to keep some heat off the gnomes. The town (4) fails to sally, but gets some arrows on among the confused enemy (9).
Among the adventurers, Bart (12) poisons the Dragon Empire commander, Verdis (12) bolsters the gnome line and slays the Sergeant commanding that flank. Drucillia (11) watches his back as he pushes out beyond the line. Rowan (12) drops a death explosion arrow into their center to devastating effect and Randall (6) kills a foe with arrows from behind the line.
Round 2: the Dragon Empire (13) rallies, threatening to break the Gnomish (9) flank but for Drucillia’s valor. On the Vale folk flank (14), they hold firm, if anything pushing the press back toward the town. The townsfolk (9) sally forth, taking some wounds from Dragon Empire archers, but emerging in large numbers to engage the new rear.
Verdis (9) finds himself engaged with the commander of the Dragon Empire, who is gaining the upper hand, meanwhile Drucillia (12) prevents others from interfering and bolsters the gnome line. Bart (10) hits another leader with another poisoned dart, Rowan (7) puts another death explosion in a place with minor effect, and Randall (7) continues to act as a support archer but takes an arrow.
Round 3: the Dragon Empire (7) lines all crumble and it’s a massacre as the gnomes (11), Vale folk (13), and townsfolk (15) all advance and a few enemies manage to surrender or fall only wounded. The drake riders flee, but no others escape.
Verdis (12) puts on the Mordia man mask, burning and freezing the lizardfolk commander and a number of other enemies forced into the cone by the pressing lines. Drucillia (6) takes a wound in the final charge and hangs back. Bart (10), Rowan (13), and Randall (11) continue to shoot into the dwindling foe until the battle is over.
While Dragon Empire forces at the other two gates retreat, the battlefield is assessed, finding 60 Dragon Empire warriors among the dead and 8 captured. On side of the allied forces, 1 Vale folk is found dead, 14 wounded (2 during the disorganized charge), 2 of the Rathad Oidhche militia died beyond the gates, 3 were wounded, 2 of the tower garrison were killed, 13 were wounded.
In the aftermath, Verdis and Rowan distribute some healing magic, the gnomes take control of the prisoners, and Verdis manages to buy 4 more ounces of poten-wax from the town alchemist at cost.
In the morning, July 4th, the Vale folk and the adventurers begin their return to the Vale. They start early, take plenty of breaks, and continue late. They follow the path from the Great Road Mine to Confluence in double or triple file, arriving there without incident by midday the 5th, a Saturday.
Drucillia, Rowan, and Randall level up.
We had to take an hour break in the middle to help a new neighbor move in, but it gave me an excuse to test a large force combat resolution system I’ve been thinking about in the final battle. Without it fully defined, I never would have used it like we did, but we were so short on time, I went for it and the final battle resolved in three rolls! It was a great test I can use to continue refining the system.