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Spinward Star, LLP

Crucible, Part Five

  • Flashback: Ten minutes earlier, on the engineering deck, Rolemnarla sneaks around like a gobliny Obi-Wan Kenobi. He remains undetected and appears to cause a massive cascade failure. Alarms shriek, warning of imminent core containment failure. All hands are warned to evacuate.
  • The ‘exfiltration’ team made up of Ella, Buck and Aris ‘borrow’ the system defense boat and launch, hoping to hook up with the ‘rescue’ team on the medical deck; simultaneously, the ‘rescue’ team (Haank, Eddy & Sae … plus the unconscious Ibrahim) opt to get off the station via an escape pod. The two groups reunite soon after.
  • A fast gig is observed leaving the station, protected by six fighters. Three of these fighters angle sharply toward the system defense boat, las-guns flashing. A fierce lightfight ensues, leaving the three fighters destroyed and the SDB lightly damaged.
  • The crew are able to deduce the destination of the gig: a jump system grav-anchored alongside an icy planetesimal. Recognizing their only way out of system, Ella aims toward it as well and a race is on! The three fighters then move to engage the SDB while the gig continues to burn hard toward the jump shuttle.
  • Two of the fighters are destroyed and, when Eddy’s attempts to talk the gig into surrendering fails, it too is shot down.
  • A strike carrier arrives in-system during the fight, commanded by Admiral Gloval, much to everyone’s surprise. The crew then realize that far more time has passed than the two or so days they’ve experienced. They’ve lost more than 188 days…

GM Notes:

  • We used GURPS: Spaceships for the lightfight and it worked fairly well. I made a couple of mistakes along the way, but that’s par for the course. I also introduced a spaceships range band chart that was heavily influenced by the starship range chart thing in the first d20 Star Wars RPG (which, ironically, I hated at the time because I was so accustomed to actually using miniatures for everything.) We then used some modified Chase rules that I sort of hashed out before the case for the race. I’m thinking of  trying to rewrite them and maybe submit them to Pyramid magazine…
  • This completes Season 4, Adventure 1: Crucible.
  • Since we’re livestreaming our games every Saturdays (6:00PM Eastern) at Ronnke’s Twitch channel and then later uploading the stream on the YouTube channel, we’ve decided to dial back on the extensiveness of the recap to just the overall outline..

Spinward Star, LLP

Crucible, Part Four

  • Flashback: Ten minutes earlier, in the medical, the three rescued spacers from the INS Drake wake from low berth, begin screaming, and then start killing everyone present. Alarms sound.
  • The crew are reunited and, with LT Thanisson’s aid, formulate a plan that requires them to split up. Haank will take Eddie and Sae (acting as a prisoner) to rescue Abe, while Ella will lead Aris and Buck to the flight deck to “liberate” the system defense boat.
  • Both groups are forced to go through security checkpoints but encounter no real difficulty thanks to Thanisson’s remote assistance.
  • In surgical area, the rescue team discover that Abe has been implanted with some sort of implant by a sociopathic doctor who is very pleased that this subject survived. Sae has had enough and shoots the man in the head. While escaping, the crew are set upon by security personnel and must defend themselves.
  • At the same time, Ella’s time encounters resistance in the form of the system defense boat’s crew but handily cut them down in a short but fierce firefight.
  • Suddenly, the entire station trembles. Alarms begin sounding: ‘Core breach detected. You now have ten minutes to reach minimum safe distance…”

GM Notes:

  • The simultaneous firefights on two different maps was an experiment that worked out nicely, though in the future, I will need to name some of the bad guys differently so as to better differentiate between them.
  • No one was really surprised that Sae shot the doctor after the state they found Abe in.
  • Since we’re livestreaming our games every Saturdays (6:00PM Eastern) at Ronnke’s Twitch channel and then later uploading the stream on the YouTube channel, we’ve decided to dial back on the extensiveness of the recap to just the overall outline..

Spinward Star, LLP

Crucible, Part Three

  • Flashback: Sae is interrogated by Imperial Intelligence types.
  • Crew is in the fighters, thrusting away from the INS Drake and are intercepted by a systems defense boat that provides them oxygen and coordinates.
  • Coordinates lead them to a space station. On the station, crew meet LT Thanisson who Sae realizes is an Imperial Intelligence agent.
    Crew forced to go through decon but are gassed instead.
  • Wake up in cells. Abe is missing. Sae is escorted to interrogation by Thanisson, discovers that not only is Abe a psi but he’s being experimented on! Sae’s cybernetics are reactivated by Thanisson and he attacks.
  • In cells, a new alien the crew do not know is brought into the cellblocks by more guards who begin to beat it. The crew are enraged (thanks to subtle psionics by the alien) and, when the cells open, attack the guards.
  • As the last of the guards collapse … alarms begin sounding.

GM Notes:

  • Had to cut the session early due to work issues.
  • We were all very amused by Aris’ battle madness.
  • Since we’re livestreaming our games every Saturdays (6:00PM Eastern) at Ronnke’s Twitch channel and then later uploading the stream on the YouTube channel, we’ve decided to dial back on the extensiveness of the recap to just the overall outline..

Spinward Star, LLP

Crucible, Part Two

  • We open with flashback for Buck as he recalls something about his youth that he did not remember previously. Apparently, he has a highborn cousin who arranged for his memories to be altered.
  • Back aboard the INS Drake, the crew attempt to figure out what’s going on. This results in the discovery of a great many corpses, all of whom appear to have killed themselves.
  • When Eddy finally breaches aft engineering, he is horrified to discover an armless, legless human being secured in a bizarre contraption tied to the ship’s systems via cybernetic implants. Telepathically, this individual relates his horrific agony and desire simply to die.
  • Some hours later, just as the crew are beginning to settle in for the Jump, the Drake abruptly returns to realspace with a hideous shudder. To their horror, they realize that they are dangerously close to a black hole! Something explosively self-destructs and the entire aft end of the Drake is torn free, crippling the vessel.
  • The crew desperately race to figure out how to escape and ultimately decide to use the Sparrowhawk fighters still present. One such fighter is nonfunctional and they have discovered three of the Drake’s crew in low-berths, so it is decided to jury-rig fives ‘freezers’ to the fighters (three for the crew, two for Aris and Buck.)
  • We end with the fighters launching…

GM Notes:

  • As GM, I made a few errors here.
  • First, I should have actually read up on the radiation stuff (even though there actually wasn’t any radiation) because it came up.
  • Aris is a Klutz and in my notes, I specifically intended for him to be responsible for the aft end of the Drake getting torn free and he fumbles something, it causes a malfunction, which results in a cascade feedback and then boom. And, of course, when that point came in the game, I completely forgot about this plan and did not remember it until well after.
  • Finally, and this is something Gigermann brought up after the fact, I really should have had all the people in the cockpits of the fighters make their launch rolls secretly (or “into the box” as we say) and then end the session without letting them know what the results were apart from “Fighters … launch!”
  • Since we’re livestreaming our games every Saturdays (6:00PM Eastern) at the Olympus Twitch channel and then later uploading the stream on the YouTube channel, we’ve decided to dial back on the extensiveness of the recap to just the overall outline.

Spinward Star, LLP

Crucible, Part One

Scene 1:

  • Open with Ella Stanbridge being interrogated by unknown agents, then flash back to the moment of escape.
  • Crew are racing toward malfunctioning gate, having rescued Sae who is grievously injured thanks to his escape pod getting damaged.
  • Pass through malfunctioning gate, which hyper-accelerates the Aimless Pilgrim far faster than it is designed to handle which hurls many of the crew into bulkheads and the like, resulting in many broken limbs. Chief Engineer Enzo Arabejo is grievously injured when his skull is smashed into something.
  • The Pilgrim is boarded by freaked out and trigger-happy marines. Several of the PCs realize that the unit patches worn by these armored marines indicate this is Gazulin, some 53 parsecs away from Corfu!
  • As the crew is taken aboard a strike carrier, Aris and Haank are able to see where the Pilgrim emerged from: one of Gazulin’s moons. And it has melted.

Scene 2:

  • For the next thirty days or so, the crew are kept isolated from one another and repeatedly interrogated about how they managed to Jump so close to the sub-sector capital.
  • Eventually, as their stories seem to add up, they are relocated to a lower security prison but the interrogations continue, albeit sometimes in groups and now with more scientists than intelligence spooks.
  • Everyone notes that Ibrahim seems more detached and quiet than normal but he passes it off first as a bad reaction to the drugs he received during interrogation and then due to his ‘break-up’ with Lorain.
  • Admiral Gloval manages to obtain the crew’s release but is forced to do some missions for Gazulin Intelligence. He also reveals that Enzo lived, but the engineer suffered severe brain damage due to the accident and is currently in a hospice for treatment.
  • The crew departs Gazulin at the earliest opportunity, their initial destination: Peridot.

Scene 3:

  • The Pilgrim heads to Peridot but does not land; they refuel then jump to a seemingly empty system though Gloval knows better. He informs the crew that he has been instructed to scout out some abnormal activity detected here.
  • Eventually, a very faint transmission is detected in-system which leads them to a seemingly derelict INS Drake. The large corvette-sized vessel is mostly powered down and Ella takes her crew aboard with Armin flying the launch.
  • The crew boards but finds everything pretty much powered down; Haank attempts to reactivate the auxiliary power unit but it fails quickly, indicating that the batteries have been expended. Ella decides to split the team – she, Abe and Aris will remain on the bridge to monitor while everyone else accompanies Buck to the engineering section to power systems back up.
  • Reaching the forward engineering compartment requires manually opening several hatches, but eventually they reach their destination and Buck begins bringing systems online.
  • Abruptly, the Drake lurches forward and its weapons systems inexplicably fire, damaging the Aimless Pilgrim! Buck automatically reaches for the manual shutoff … but his hand freezes in mid-air!
  • And then, the Drake makes a surprise Jump…

GM Notes:

  • I (Rigil) have officially taken over GM duties for this campaign. I’ve been jonesing to run some sci-fi for a while now and my original intent – “run a one-off adventure” – quickly morphed into a potentially massive story arc that could take an entire year or more to finish. As this would mean nobody else has to run for a while, there haven’t been any complaints.
  • Due to school and other real life obligations, Loki had to bow out of rejoining us so Armin has been relegated NPC status. The same obviously holds true for Abe, my PC.
  • Since we’re livestreaming our games every Saturdays (6:00PM Eastern) at Ronnke’s Twitch channel and then later uploading the stream on the YouTube channel, we’ve decided to dial back on the extensiveness of the recap to just the overall outline..

Company of the Bere
Live Stream
YouTube

But in the end, the village held fast.

Moving more carefully than previously, Lëodan pursued the retreating Antagonese mercenaries as they fled Gentleham. Though it takes him about two hours (or more accurately, takes the mercs that long), he finally reaches the camp where he observes an argument taking place between what appears to be the mercenary leadership, no doubt concerning the recent defeat. The arguing men enter a much larger tent, which limits the amount of information Lëodan might glean. After some time, the elf becomes satisfied that the Antagonese are not going to march a reprisal force back to the village and thus, heads back to Gentleham. He reaches the village near midnight and wakes Ser Kenrick to inform him of his findings; the knight then seeks out the acting watch officer of the lord-vicar to pass this on.

The following morning, the Company heads out, taking with them the survivor of the earlier ambush to the site of the Antagonese attack. Once there, they spend some time evaluating the tracks; Lëodan is able to easily pick up the route that the ambushers took with their prisoners which is, to no one’s surprise, headed in the direction of the mercenary camp. Ser Kenrick thanks the survivor for assistance and allows him to return to Gentleham while the rest of the Company follow the trail of the enemy.

Upon reaching the outskirts of the mercenary camp, the Company are surprised to discover that a large, open pavilion set apart from the other tents. There, a man Lëodan recognizes as the commander of the force is waiting underneath a white flag of truce; he has several guards with him, and, after a moment of consideration, Ser Kenrick advances with Rayna and Brother Getwelle, also under the white flag.

The mercenary commander identifies himself as ‘Mallus the Clever’ of the Brigandian Band and he is quite polite as they exchange pleasantries. From him, the Company learn that Band are members of the Mercenaries’ Guild, but they do not find out who has hired them. After a bit of discussion – and some very excellent wine – Mallus has a drunken Marthyn the Swift returned to the Company and accepts Ser Kenrick’s offer to carry the missive to the arl regarding a hostage exchange.

With Marthyn rescued, the Company returns to Gentleham to discover that the bulk of the lord-vicar’s forces have arrived, but he himself has headed back toward Nobleham to report his success to the arl. The Company spend a short time gathering supplies and saying their goodbyes before heading out, knowing that they will have to camp overnight.

Once at Nobleham, they make their way directly to the castle where they are escorted inside so that they may get cleaned up in preparation for a meeting later with the arl; Ser Kenrick has the chamberlain take the missive from the mercenaries regarding the hostage exchange so that the arl is made aware of it immediately. Some hours later, the Company is summoned to the arl’s Council where Ser Kenrick is asked to debrief them. Satisfied with these results, the Company is dismissed until later.

Released to their own interests, the Company splits apart to do whatever most interests them. Ser Kenrick, having grown up in the Woodlands, is fascinated by the sea so he spends some time walking along the bay and simply soaking this in. Most of the rest of the Company simply relax, while Lëodan replenishes his arrows and Brother Getwelle makes an attempt to heal the arl’s wife of her sleeping sickness, sadly without success. Later that evening, the Company are summoned to the more formal arl’s court where he officially thanks them for their successful efforts and declares their term of service complete. He also offers to employ them on a more permanent basis, should they tire of the Heroes’ Guild, but the Company defers for the moment, leaving the option open for later.

The following morning, the Company sets out, intent on reaching the Capital as quickly as possible. Along the way, they encounter some people burying a man and, when Getwelle advances to offer his services as an itinerant holy man, they learn that this poor fool died of the burning pox. To Murdok’s eyes, the corpse stirs and issues an ominous threat that hints at the dwarf having unfinished business with a demon; none of the other members of the Company see this, however, though they do note that the dwarf is visibly shaken.

Some days later, they reach the Two Burning Cocks inn where Getwelle heals the innkeeper’s daughter of a dire illness. In thanks for this, the innkeep gifts the militant brother with the borrowed “donkey” that Getwelle has grown rather fond of.

On to the Capital the Company press and, upon reaching it, they head directly to the Heroes’ Guild to report their success. Eventually, they are brought before Válaris of Heroham who asks of Aidin how well they did; the cleric admits that they were far more successful than expected and, as a result, the Company are promoted to journeyman status within the Guild. Payment is meted out and the Company are released to sell their captured loot.


Player Notes:

  • This recap is horribly overdue. We played this session two weeks ago (on 4 November) and I’m just now getting around to typing this up. We had more after this during the stream but it’s basically just paperwork.
  • This marked the conclusion of Giger’s initial run. Next up is a return to Frome County, CommJunkee’s GURPS: Western game.
  • We livestream our games every Saturdays at 6:00PM Eastern; the live stream can be found at Ronnke’s Twitch channel. He’s also setup a YouTube Channel.

See the Daniverse Blog for the GM’s post-game debrief.

Company of the Bere
Live Stream
YouTube

Many men fell in this fight…

With little time to spare, the Company seizes a wagon from one of the villagers and quickly piles it full of detritus that is intended to foul any footing. They then liberally douse the entire thing with readily combustible lamp oil before dragging the wagon to the bridge where they position it on the enemy’s side while still being on the bridge. But even then, they are not completely done: using ingenuity and sheer luck, they quickly arrange a trap underneath the wagon that, once triggered, will flip the entire thing over upon the enemy. Satisfied that they have prepared as best as they can manage, most of the Company hunker down, opting for cover but not concealment. Due to the terrain, they all think it unlucky that they will be unseen so instead they are taking refuge in audacity. The mission that the Lord-Vicar of Churchbury gave them was simple: prevent the enemy from flanking his main force via the bridge and they mean to do so in this manner.

Lëodan however stealths forward, crossing the bridge and hiding amongst the trees where he intends to wreak havoc upon the enemy at the most opportune moment. He does not have to wait long as a troop of Antagonese mercenaries march into view.

At the sight of the barricaded bridge, the captain of these soldiers orders a halt and evaluates their options, none of which are good. Taking the fortified bridge will not be easy for them as they must first get past the wagon, a feat that will require physical effort and will leave them in a somewhat vulnerable position. After some consideration, he issues orders and the troop begins advancing, which they will soon regret.

With the formation of halberdiers at the forefront so they may began attack the barricade, while the pavisers surround the crossbowmen, the Antagonese approach and begin their efforts to break free. Now that their foe are in position, the Company triggers the trap, flipping the wagon onto the whole of the mercenary formation. Two of the enemy are unable to scramble out of the way in time and their screams of pain ring out alongside the distinct crunching of bone. At this, Murdok fires his crossbow at a halberdier, though it is not a killing wound. To add insult to injury, a burning lamp is tossed onto the oil-drenched wagon and fire erupts.

Seeing that this is an even worse position than he originally thought, the Antagonese captain orders a retreat and the mercenaries begin backpedalling. Perceiving this as his signal, Lëodan engages, intentionally targeting the captain – he falls to a well-placed arrow to his vitals. He rapidly takes advantage of his superior night vision and excellent vantage point to drop four more of the enemy, crossbowmen all, and seeing their fellows fall to an unseen but dangerously accurate archer, the Antagonese begin retreating in full. Lëodan, however, flanks wide around them, continuing to loose bodkin point arrows at their formation whenever they seem to be hesitant about whether to continuing fleeing the battle. His continued assault and their inability to find him eventually convinces them that flight is wiser.

Once the Company is thoroughly satisfied that the Antagonese have fled the field, Ser Kenrick sends Aidin the Heal-Sick back to the village to report their success and to seek additional orders while Brother Getwelle does what he can to save the lives of the enemy Lëodan felled. When Aidin returns, he reports that the enemy are in full-scale retreat. Since he does not return with actual orders, Ser Kenrick whistles for Ser Magnus and rides into to Gentleham to seek out the lord-vicar for further instructions where he learns that yes, the Company is relieved. Prisoners are herded into that same barn which, by now is getting quite full.

Following the battle, the Company learn that there were few losses on the side of the villagers; Old Man Bones was found dead but appears to have died simply of advanced age, not injuries. The pacifist patron, it is learned, found himself cornered during the fight by a mercenary and accidentally killed the man; to no one’s surprise, he is taking this poorly. More notable at the moment is that the reeve’s cowardice overtook him during the battle and the entire village saw him flee to hide. No one is happy with him. At all.

The lord-vicar is pleased with the results of the battle though he wishes he could pursue them over the border and would, if doing so would not be an act of war. Ser Kenrick mentions that he is still concerned about the missing retinue from the arl and volunteers the Company to investigate upon the morrow if they have not arrived in that time. The lord-vicar agrees to this and then implies that, if the Company just happened to cross the border and scout out the enemy, well, he would never actually ask them to do so! Lëodan, ever the loner, retrieves what arrows he can find and then heads out ahead of everyone else to pre-scout the route with a promise to be back before dawn. Rayna finds herself as the target of the lord-vicar’s lecherous advances but manages to diplomatically brush him off; she retreats as quickly as she can lest she lose her temper at his antics.

Some time after night has fallen, the village council assembles once more; curious, Ser Kenrick and Brother Getwelle invite themselves to it and no one complains. This meeting is mostly a gripe session centered around the reeve’s cowardice, though they do discuss maintaining a regular watch for several days to prevent a repeat of this as well as talking about rebuilding. It is decided that the slain mercenaries will be buried in the village cemetery.

Following the meeting, the council disperses to their own matters. As Ser Kenrick is leaving, he is cornered by Brother Rikall, the monk accompanying the lord-vicar; the monk believes he has met the knight before some years earlier at Hunterhall. The two reminisce about this, unaware that Rayna has overheard it and vaguely recalls visiting there when she was about three or four.

Night has fallen completely when the armcry is once again raised: someone approaches from the south! Some of the lord-vicar’s men rush out to escort this man into Gentleham. He is one of the arl’s men who was part of the retinue marching north and they were set upon by Antagonese mercenaries! This man was knocked unconscious and left behind when all of those marching north were taken captive.

Including Marthyn the Swift.


Player Notes:

  • This session turned out to not be what the GM intended thanks to PC shenanigans. To paraphrase him, the Players “had Plan A and Plan B prior to game-time, and then during the session, opted to go for Plan C.” He’s gone into much more detail on his blog as to ‘what went wrong.’ Ironically, I had a similar failure in my F2F game which he plays in the week earlier.
  • Evidently, the Kenrick-Rikall discussion is due to Kernick’s father’s secret popping. I think we’ve had one session where a Secret didn’t pop…
  • Looks like next week will be the conclusion of this run.
  • We livestream our games every Saturdays at 6:00PM Eastern; the live stream can be found at Ronnke’s Twitch channel. He’s also setup a YouTube Channel.

See the Daniverse Blog for the GM’s post-game debrief.

Company of the Bere


Live Stream

YouTube

…With foul Mercenaries of Antagonese origin.

Having repulsed the mercenary attack upon Gentleham and convinced the rest of the two to stand against the inevitable reprisal strike, the Company of the Bere immediately look to their next course of action. Lëodan is eager to begin pursuing the larger force, which he does so only after advising Ser Kenrick and pausing long enough to have Dustan haste him. The elf is confident that he can easily catch up to the mercenary band, even in the darkness.

While he is gone, the rest of the Company turn to other matters. Once they are satisfied that the captured mercenaries are secure, many of them immediately find a place to bed down to rest. Ser Kenrick, still flush with adrenalin from their victory, moves around the village, discussing options with those who are still up and generally trying to be a positive, uplifting force, though eventually, he too must seek out his bed. Only Dustan remains awake the entire night as maintaining the spell he placed upon Lëodan requires some small measure of concentration.

Through darkened forest and over hills, across fast-moving streams that gurgle and babble, and under a darkened sky that smells of rain, Lëodan the Wanderer pursues the Antagonese enemy. He knows that he is likely much faster than the mercenaries, though they know the territory and route far better than he does. On he presses, moving both as quickly as he can and as stealthfully. As he pursues the enemy, he is actually surprised at how difficult it is to track these men: they appear to have emulated elvish travel boots that are intended to make pursuit harder than it should. What he does notice, however, is that these mercenaries appear quite disciplined and appear to be following a standard operating procedure.

While he tracks, the long-hinted at rain begins to fall. His pursuit uncovers a campsite of some sort – by his guess, this camp was likely used as a staging ground for the mercs who hit Gentleham. The band that he’s pursuing appears to have come here to pick up a much smaller group before continuing on. While pressing on, Lëodan stumbles upon a concealed trip-wire on the periphery of this campsite, set up no doubt to warn of anyone approaching.

He presses on, noting that the tracks lead him toward a rushing, wide stream that he hurdles; his landing leaves something to be desired, however, as he slips and falls into the mud. Soon after, he realizes that this particular leg of the tracks look to be a false trail and he must double-back. Evidently, the men he’s pursuing were sharp enough to lay a distraction.

With the rain coming down hard, he closes in on the enemy and discovers that their goal is a fortified camp. The rearguard of the men he was after are just now entering this camp. Lëodan spends an hour or so observing in order to get his best head-count of the opposition while simultaneously scouting around the outskirts of the tents to get a better grasp of the exact location and terrain. Satisfied that he has learned all that he can for the moment, Lëodan turns away and intends to retrace his steps back to Gentleham. This takes more time than he would like – his marking of the trail was insufficient to properly assist him and he briefly managed to get lost.

Back in Gentleham, dawn arrives and many of the Company roll out of their bedrolls so as to begin assisting the town in preparing for its defense. Aidin the Heal-Sick, who had remained awake for the rest of the night to keep an eye on the prisoners, turns this duty over to the villagers and seeks out his bedroll. At Ser Kenrick’s suggestion, the reeve is to send the young lad who ran to Nobleham to the arl with news of their plight. By now, at Dustan’s discreet suggestion, Ser Kenrick has publicly named the boy ‘the Swift’ and instructs the lad to carry a letter penned for the arl advising him of their plight. Dustan drops another spell upon Marthyn that will greatly enhance his overland travel speed (though it will cause the boy to promptly pass out once he has reached his destination.)

Once the lad is away, the Company then turns to aiding the town in erecting defenses. Ser Kenrick and Murdok are on hand to mostly for tactical suggestions and physical strength, while Rayna breaks away from the others to play with the children, in the process learning which of them will be most useful during the coming fight. Brother Getwelle waits just long enough for the knight to be distracted before slinking away and joining some old men men puffing away with their pipes. The Company learns that this is a relatively new village that is situated in a prime position for trade … or so it is hoped. In the process of reviewing what they have on-hand to defend, Ser Kenrick further asks of Reeve Walder about any survivors from other villages that have been raided by these ‘goblins’ and learns of ‘Old Man Bones,’ late of Farmville, who confirms that the reprisals always took place at night in the mist. On the bright side, there were no cavalry.

Defenses are constructed throughout the morning, mostly with an eye toward slowing the advance of infantry. Knowing that the enemy used fire arrows, Getwelle suggests that buckets of water are strategically located throughout Gentleham for easy access to put out flames. And having confirmed that the Antagonese like to come out at night, Ser Kenrick insists on light sources throughout the entire village. Rudimentary walls are to be constructed using the many trees throughout and, at Rayna’s suggestion, barricades are placed in the small walkways between houses to further hamper movement.

A tired and wet Lëodan reaches the river across from Gentleham sometime after dawn where he notes a pair of Antagonese mercenaries lurking in the woods so as to keep a close eye upon the village. Recognizing scouts when he sees them, the elf sneaks forward to get a better look. One of these scouts is dozing while the other seems to only be paying half attention to his duties; the elf considers his options, then decides to engage. A well-placed arrow kills the sleeping man almost outright; the other man he takes prisoner and marches into Gentleham.

Upon the elf’s approach with a prisoner, Ser Kenrick glances around for his horse but, upon not seeing it, whistles; from the east, Ser Magnus appears bearing Master Walder, the reeve, upon his back. The reeve appears most disgruntled at the horse’s refusal to obey commands. Realizing that the man had dared to try and steal his horse to flee, Ser Kenrick mentally slots Master Walder into the ‘not worth saving’ designation before joining Lëodan and the elf’s ‘new friend.’ The two interrogate the man, learning that the scouts had ‘observe and report’ instructions; their prisoner promptly insists – loudly and repeatedly – that they are mercenaries on contract and not bandits or criminals, though his refusal to name with whom they have a contract with allows Ser Kenrick to point out that, without any proof of this, it is entirely up to the arl as to whether they are actually just bandits after all. And everyone knows that Arl Gudrik does not like bandits…

The prisoner is shoved in with his fellows once it becomes clear he is not going to answer anything else, all of whom are badly injured due to their unfortunate fight with the Company the night prior, and Ser Kenrick discreetly instructs Ser Magnus to keep an eye on them before rejoining the others of his band so they can discuss Lëodan’s findings. Initially, they do not include the town council in this discussion, particularly in light of Kenrick’s firsthand observation of the reeve’s displayed cowardice.

After giving the report and retrieving the body on the other side of the river – which the Company now realizes is Antagonese land – Lëodan withdraws to find a spot away from the village to sleep and recover. Ser Kenrick briefly visits Eldyr the Old to whom Marthyn (now the Swift) acted as a crutch to get an alternate view of Gentleham’s personnel with regards to their efficacy for the coming battle. Upon hearing that Eldyr has a better grasp of the village, Ser Kenrick asks Murdok to accompany the old man and aid him in directing villager traffic.

Soon after this, Ser Magnus prevents the newly captured mercenary from sneaking out of the rudimentary prison, which causes Ser Kenrick to realize they cannot spare the people to watch these mean. With that in mind, he puts those capable of it, including the newly captured scout, to labor on the defensive structures. Fierce-eyed villages keep an eye on these prisoners while they work as does Murdok. In the process of this, spirits dip somewhat as the village patron complains loudly about why they are even bothering with erecting defenses. The Antagonese mercenaries are too many and will certainly kill them all! Brother Getwelle, who has grown increasingly irritated at the patron’s constant negative attitude and ill disposition, responds with a powerful speech about taking heart and holding fast against the darkness of evil. This speech raises spirits and counters the patron’s discontent.

Late in the day, the armcry is raised: the lookout in the high church tower has noted the approach of an armed band from the north! The Company rally to investigate and promptly discover that these approaching riders are bearing blue and gold banners, the colors of the Bredwelles. It appears that the arl has heard of their plight and sent reinforcements … though seeing them come in from the north is odd. Just in case this is a ploy of the mercenaries, the Company advances to meet these men-at-arms, taking with them the reeve since he is the man most likely to recognize legitimate authority figures.

At the head of this column is Lord-Vicar of Churchbury, the arl’s marshal; at the Lord-Vicar’s approach, the village patron asks the gods for patience and retreats to his church. Ser Kenrick greets the high-ranking churchman properly, but the Lord-Vicar immediately concentrates all of his attention on Rayna, despite her unkempt appearance at the moment. From him, the Company learn that the arl send a rider, informing him of the impending attack; the bulk of his forces are still on the road but he has his retinue and that should be enough. He is mildly disconcerted at the lack of other forces as evidently, the arl informed him that he was sending some of his personal guard. Hopefully their absence is not a bad sign.

The Lord-Vicar immediately assumes command and tours Gentleham to get a handle on the terrain and situation. After accomplishing this, he informs the Company that they escape the main force of the enemy to cross the Pale to the north, likely near Farmville, and march upon Gentleham, but it is unlikely that they will send their entire number. As it seems likely they will attempt a flanking maneuver to the south using that bridge, the Lord-Vicar decides to assign the Company to hold it and signal should they encounter too great a number. This will lead Ser Kenrick to late seek out Eldyr the Old so as to borrow a battered war-horn the knight saw in the man’s home; from him, Kenrick will learn that this horn was used during the last great war with the vile Overlord of Nefaria…

Abruptly, the Lord-Vicar remembers his manners and asks to be introduced to the entire Company, though it seems clear he is most interested in learning Rayna’s name. At Brother Getwelle’s introduction, however, the Lord-Vicar blinks in recognition and calls out for Brother Rikall, a monk accompanying him; did not the brother once know a man by the name of Getwelle? This monk expounds, revealing that he helped deliver Brother Getwelle many years ago and remembers this only because of the sizeable donation his mother left to the church to raise the child: six hundred and forty-seven crowns is a considerable amount of money and Brother Recall always thought it strange, especially once he learned this was ‘hush money’ from the child’s father. Later, Getwelle will discuss this more privately with the brother and learn his mother’s name: Annys.

As the sun begins to set, word is raised: hostiles are approaching! The Company, now fully assembled, heads to the bridge per their assignment.

And thus, the Battle of Gentleham begins…


Player Notes:

  • Evidently, we ended the previous session in a weird place, so this was mostly just a set-up session for next week’s ‘Battle of Gentleham.’ We also cut short so Ronnke could join Mook’s first ever Fantasy Grounds session, which can be found on Mook’s blog. It’s awesome seeing other people using the GURPS ruleset.
  • There was a miscommunication between the GM and myself (at least) regarding the Antagonese mercenaries; I thought they spoke only their native language, not Common, and as a result did not think to make an interrogation attempt until Lëodan captured the guy.
  • Once again, CommJunkee rolled under the 6 for his father’s Secret – this is a 0-point Secret that both he and I (Rigil) have for our characters since we’re unknowing half-siblings and brother to Rayna. Gigermann decided to have us treat this like a Secret in every way except for point costs since, otherwise, none of us would ever find out that we’re related! This led to the data-dump about Maykew’s mother.
  • We livestream our games every Saturdays at 6:00PM Eastern; the live stream can be found at Ronnke’s Twitch channel. He’s also setup a YouTube Channel.

See the Daniverse Blog for the GM’s post-game debrief.

Company of the Bere

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…There was a Fight…

Warned of the approaching ‘goblins,’ the Company scramble back into position where they ready themselves for the ambush. As they do so, Lëodan re-positions himself so he can get a better view of the approaching force. He is already suspicious of them – according to his understanding, goblins don’t have glowing red eyes … in fact, glowing eyes simply defeats the natural advantage derived by predators to see in the dark – and nothing he’s seen thus far has changed that opinion. The closer these ‘goblins’ get, the more convinced Lëodan becomes that this is all a shell-game: yes, they appear to have upswept, pointed ears but their ‘eyes’ are actually glowing (and colored) rocks secured to their helmets.

Once the hostiles are in the kill pocket and move to take the ‘tribute,’ Brother Maykew empties a small bucket of simmering coals upon a great pile of oiled faggots dipped in pitch. They ignite suddenly and brilliantly, flaring up with an unexpected intensity, and it is this action that the rest of the Company takes as their signal. Most simply step out of their places of concealment, readying their weapons and cutting off lines of retreat, but Ser Kenrick spurs Ser Magnus forward to a second pile of identically-prepared wood; the knight throws his own bucket of coals down, which also provides light. Even Aidin the Heal-Sick steps into view, casting a spell that results in his blade catching fire.

‘Throw down your arms and surrender now!’ Kenrick orders loudly, which many of the Company repeat, but the false goblins – this close, it is clear that these are simply men, their skins blackened with paint – immediately try to retreat. The faux-goblins are orderly and disciplined, with a clear leader who issues orders via a whistle, but they have been caught wrong-footed and the Company does not let them recover. Lëodan drops the leader of the enemy with a carefully placed arrow while his allies engage as well. Rayna drops a foe with a lightning fast thrust of her rapier even as Murdok looses at bolt from his crossbow. From where he stands, Dustan casts a spell that begins creating a fierce windstorm around him; he intends to use this against the enemy but the fight is over before he can do so. Seeing that the Enemy are trying to escape via a specific route, Maykew steps into that path and brandishes his weapon. Ser Magnus throws himself forward, which provides Kenrick an opportunity to strike one foe with his warhammer; this man reels and, as he does, the war horse twists to body slam the poor bastard and knock him prone while putting his rider in a position to engage with another man. Throughout this entire engagement, both Kenrick and Maykew continue to shout out orders for the enemy to surrender.

By this point, the orderly repositioning by the faux-goblins has turned into an all-out rout as they scramble to get out of the kill pocket. Unfortunately for them, the Company is having none of this and only two of the hostile manage to get clear; this pair reaches the river … but so does Lëodan. The elf looses several arrows at the swimmers – one of the faux-goblins goes limp and is swiftly carried down the river by the stream; the other makes it to the opposite beach, but no further.

As Lëodan drops his last foe, he can see the ‘goblin’ reinforcements on the other side of the river; more than a dozen of them that he can see, they loose fire arrows into Gentleham before withdrawing. The elf momentarily considers emptying his quiver into the retreating figures, but decides against it and returns to the rest of the Company who are now either gathering their prisoners together or aiding the locals scurrying to put out various fires. After retrieving what arrows he can, Lëodan informs Ser Kenrick that he means to pursue the other ‘goblins’ so they know their numbers and the location of their camp; the knight wishes him good hunting.

Rayna, curious as to the identity of the enemy, does some investigating, confirming that these are simply men wearing paint and false ears. From the snatches of words they can hear from them, the Company deduces that these are Antagonese mercenaries, a fact that causes no small amount of embarrassment amongst the Gentleham citizens who were so eager to yield to the ‘goblins.’

After securing the wounded Antagonese survivors in a barn, Kenrick asks Murdok to keep an eye on them while he attends an emergency, late-night town meeting; Rayna, equally disinterested in the town politics, volunteers to join the dwarf in this. With Dustan and Maykew backing him up, Ser Kenrick joins the meeting already ongoing in the church.

Here, the Company discovers a tense disagreement ongoing. The faction led by the town’s priest is strenuously urging surrender as they have heard terrible stories about the fates of other villages who resisted, while the more militant of the citizens are cheered by the victory of the Company. Ser Kenrick and Maykew interject – the latter is far more effective at this sort of thing than the knight – but neither sway either side. In the end, the reeve of the village looks at the bickering villagers and the victorious adventurers before making his decision: ‘We shall fight,’ he declares.


Player Notes:

  • In terms of fighting, this was mostly definitely a complete victory on the part of the PCs. None of us took any damage and none of the bad guys got away, whether this meant they were captured or shot by Lëodan while trying to swim the river. Sure, there are a bunch of them on the other side of the river we have to chase down, but still, phase one is a Win.
  • We’re debating how to reward our repeat viewers by allowing them to have some sort of influence in the game, but nothing has been firmly decided as of yet.
  • We livestream our games every Saturdays at 6:00PM Eastern; the live stream can be found at Ronnke’s Twitch channel. He’s also setup a YouTube Channel.

See the Daniverse Blog for the GM’s post-game debrief.

Company of the Bere

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…in the town of Gentleham…

Following the uneventful night at the Two Burning Cocks inn, the Company of the Bere prepare for another day of travel. Now equipped with an ass obtained from the innkeep, they hope to make much greater progress, and when Dustan reveals that he has a spell that will allow them to quickly travel, they are all eager to get on the road, even if they have to wait to get started while he recovers from its casting. Ser Kenrick takes this time to assist the stableboy in recovering all of the animals freed from their pens by a mischievous Ser Magnus.

18 Earlispring, 1000AE. Stronghold, Generica.

Onto the road the Company goes and they make very good time thanks to Dustan’s spell. Near midday, Ser Magnus strongly urges Kenrick to mount up and the young knight foolishly does so; instantly, the destrier charges madly forward, almost surprising a local band of patrolling soldiers. Upon seeing the rapid approach of what looks like a mounted warrior thundering toward them, these soldiers hurriedly ready themselves for a fight. Fortunately, Kenrick manages to rein in the horse before something dire happens. These men-at-arms wear the heraldry of House Surrly, and demand to know what business the Company has on this road. Ser Kenrick has nothing to hide so he proudly announces their destination and purpose. Once satisfied that they are not bandits, the patrolling men-at-arms allow them to pass.

From Aidin during the trip, they have learned that the Heroes’ Guild did not have positive interactions with the previous lord, so this will be a learning experience all around. The Company reaches Nobleham long after the sun has gone down and, after a brief moment of discussion, opt to make for the castle itself. At the castle’s gates, there is some brief confusion as the guards initially do not know what to make of them, but an elderly Lady instructs the soldiers to let the Company enter. She leaves them waiting while she goes off to inform Arl Gudrik, and a few moments later, a servant appears and exclaims his confusion at their presence. Eventually, matters are sorted – the Company are provided temporary lodgings and baths for the night. Those familiar with castle life – Kenrick and Rayna, especially – cannot help but to notice that the normal finery and decorations seem to be absent.

Rather than simply retire, Lëodan wanders around the castle a bit where he encounters a well-dressed man and engages him in conversation, learning a bit about the state of the arl’s House; evidently, Lord Gudrik’s late father was exceptionally bad with his finances, which has left his son in a difficult position. At no time does this man actually identify himself and, still being ignorant of human customs, Lëodan does not think to inquire about.

Brother Maykew is also less inclined to simply bed down and seeks out a kitchen, wherein he finds several servants who he engages in some sexually-charged banter so as to learn more about the House. The old woman who helped them, he learns, is Lady Hagnes, the arl’s mother who evidently has something of a reputation as being a busybody, so much so that Gudrik’s father once exiled her. Further, he learns that the arl’s wife is bedridden with the sleeping sickness, which he takes note of for the future in the chance that he might be able to cure it.

19 Earlispring, 1000AE. Nobleham Castle, Northelderland, Generica.

In the morning, the Company are summoned to the Lord’s court where they are presented as Ser Kenrick’s company, sent from the Heroes’ Guild. There is a brief deviation as Lady Hagnes once more intervenes, but soon after, they are properly presented to his lordship. Prior to the arl’s arrival, Ser Kenrick gives the members of the Company about what to do and what to not do; in fact, it’s probably best if they keep their mouths shut. Once the arl> has arrived, he thanks the Heroes Guild for arriving so promptly but asks for a demonstration: Rayna is to duel with one of his men.

As this is only a spar, Rayna eyes her opponent and then glides forward. Once the duel begins, she expertly slides forward and taps her foe across the mid-section while simultaneously evading his strike. This greatly impresses the arl, but the warrior declares it to be beginner’s luck … they must cross blades again! She agrees and they return to their starting spots; this time, the guard gives a better account of himself, but even so, Rayna is able to easily parry his strikes and counter with little difficulty. Once more, she gets the touch upon him, confirming that their first exchange was not merely luck after all.

At this, Arl Gudrik claps his approval and then addresses the Company. His holding in Gentleham is about to raided by brigands and his troops are spread too thin across his holdings due to dealing with other banditry. He wishes the Company to march to Gentleham, deal with these brigands, and bring any captured back to him so he can make a proper example of them. When asked about numbers, he guesses ten to twenty, though a larger troop is not entirely out of the question; as to how he knows about when the strike is happening, the arl reveals that Gentleham sent a missive to him, seeking aid. At this, the arl has a boy fetched who ran all the way to Nobleham bearing word. This boy, Marthyn, will show the Company the way to his village.

The Company sets out soon after with young Marthyn leading the way. From the boy, they learn that these bandits are supposedly goblins, which no one truly believes because those creatures have not been seen in these lands for decades. Still, Dustan discreetly interrogates the boy, hoping to get a better understanding of their foe. Marthyn insists that they are goblins who come with the fog and have fiendish glowing eyes.

It is near dark when the Company reaches Gentleham and, as before, Ser Magnus encourages Kenrick to mount before they enter the village proper before racing forward into it and rearing majestically. This naturally draws all attention – much to Kenrick’s irritation – and the villagers all surge forward. They begin murmuring and complaining that the Company do not appear to have ‘brought the money’ which is a matter of some confusion and the visible lack of excitement that Heroes have come to deal with the matter is even more strange.

Once everyone is gathered within the church, the Company learns that Gentleham has been extorted by these ‘goblins’ for many years and always managed to buy them off before. This year, though, the harvest was poor so they did not have the money and sought the arl’s assistance; evidently, they expected gold, not adventurers, and more than a few of them express fear that the goblins will respond in bloodshed. Maykew steps forward and gives a stirring speech about the need to stand against bullies that sways some minds … but not all. He notes that the village patron gathers some like-minded men once the meeting has broken up and begins to scheme; Maykew briefly attempts to interject himself into this but is rebuffed.

Expecting the goblins to come late that night, the Company splits up to attend to various tasks. Lëodan scouts along the expected route as well as the spot where so many have seen the ‘glowing eyes’ as he expects this to be a trick of some sort. At the same time, Murdok and Ser Kenrick seek out the best tactical means to defend the village, while Dustan and Rayna seek out locals to quiz them on the enemy. In the end, the Company does not quite agree on the best spot to defend and resort to the traditional Heroes’ Guild way of deciding things: they flip a Coin. It is decided they will ambush the ‘goblins’ once they come into the village proper to pick up their tribute.

As night sets in and the Company arrange themselves in various hidden locations, Murdok is the first to note that the village patron and his fellow schemers are attempting to bundle a young girl to a specific spot. The girl is bound and struggling, which the dwarf does not take kindly to, and all of these schemers are so busy with her that they fail to even notice his stealthy approach. When he clears his throat, they overreact and panic, then insist that presenting a virgin girl to the goblins is the only way to assuage their fury. Murdok – and the rest of the Company present – are having none of this, and their simple presence (along with the implied threat of violence in defense of the young lass) is more than enough to send the schemers packing.

And of course, in that moment, Lëodan looses his signal arrow: the goblins are coming!


Player Notes:

  • Following last week’s realization that we move really slowly overland, Maykew (CommJunkee) spent his earned CP to buy a very low-point ally in the form of a donkey in the hopes of speeding our troupe up. However, Dustan (Herodian) promptly discovered within his spell list the Quick March spell which almost made that animal redundant. Maykew still picked up the animal though because I think he’s got his eye on having a wagon (which is kind of common with CommJunkee, now that I think about it…)
  • Related to the above, we did discover after the fact that Maykew really shouldn’t have been up and about. Quick March has a thing where the subjects just collapse once it wears off. Live and learn.
  • We livestream our games every Saturdays at 6:00PM Eastern; the live stream can be found at Ronnke’s Twitch channel. He’s also setup a YouTube Channel.

See the Daniverse Blog for the GM’s post-game debrief.