Grand Duchy 4

Grand Duchy of Adventure

Session 4
February 14 - February 26, 2014

The Long Night

Nytdain 8th of Thaumont, 1001AC

The group of travelers lets out a collective sigh of relief once the door to the building is blocked. Pytor and his family, though, waste no time in moving to the next phase of defending their home. Pytor and the woman who was shooting her bow in the doorway race upstairs, followed by the man from the gate tower. They each carry bows and arrows. The woman, Alfana, who had opened the gate, looks at the gathered group with pleading eyes, “We have brought you into our home, please help us defend it, or it may be your graves!” She quickly looks over the group and says to Marcel, Akaios and Ree, “Please, come sit, you are wounded. We can at least bandage those wounds up so they bleed no more.” She turns to the young boy, probably around 10 years old and barks an order to him. “Mat, quickly, go fetch your grandmother!” The boy rushes up a flight of steps that leads to a balcony that rings the upper reaches of the massive room that looks to be a common area and dining hall. Two other doors lead out of this room in the west wall. The farthest one is blocked with a stack furniture and the other door appears to be an interior door that lead into another area of the building.

Griffin drops his kit in a convenient corner, turns to Alfana, and flashes a smile. “Well, miss, it seems the least we can do to repay your warm welcome.”  Then his face turns serious, and he turns to his comrades. “Burik, you stay near the door. Remar, maybe you’d join me in assessing the situation while folks are getting patched up.”  His eyes linger on Ree, her face pale and her clothes covered in blood. “Draven, I think you might best serve here for now.”

With that, he heads off in the direction that Pytor, the leader of this fine homestead, went. He catches up quickly and extends his left hand in a traditional Traladaran greeting. “Griffin, from Penhaligon, sir. Can you give me a little more info on your situation? Maybe a quick tour of your fine homestead here, with an eye to its defenses? You know your needs, I know the team, let’s figure something out here.”

“Thank you, friend,” Pytor responds as he lead them upstairs. Eranthil, bow in hand follows them up. 

“I think I will take up the high ground as well,” the Elf says. Pytor nods at him approvingly. 

The upper floor of the main building is not much more than a wide walkway that overlooks the main room below. There is a door in the northeast corner that leads into a stone wall, obviously the entrance to the stone tower that adjoins the homestead. To the west, a door leads into the 2nd floor of the other adjoining building. Windows have been opened in the north side of the building allowing a clear view the burning barn, the breach in the fence and the gathered Goblins near the edge of the forest. 

Pytor’s wife, Darya, and his son, Taras, both take up bows near windows and start aiming out at the approaching Goblins in the distance. Pytor points down at the hole in the fence. “We need to get that fence mended as soon as possible. Maybe some of you can help with that while some of you watch from up here?”

The main floor of the homestead
The upper floor of the homstead

Griffin nods.  “Of course, of course, we can certainly help with that.  Can I take just a few minutes to check out the tower - get a overall view of our situation?  Thanks.  Eran, want to check it out?” He heads off quickly to the door that he believes is the entrance to the tower and heads up.  Soon he is standing at the top of the stone tower.  He starts with checking out the yard, assessing view angles for when they attempt to repair the fence.  Hmmm…  They would try to come through there, wouldn’t they?  Then he turns and shades his eyes from the burning barn, letting them adjust to the darkness, trying to get a sense of what he is up against.

The Homestead and Susikyn

Pytor takes a look at the burning barn. The flames have moved along the fence and now the corner of the gate tower is burning. “Uh, top of the tower? Sure if you want, but I want to get that hole patched. We can pull one of the barn doors down before it burns, wedge it in. That should at least slow them down. We can pick them off as they try to come around it. Tower’s through there,” he points to the door leading to the tower. “We are surrounded by two different tribes of Goblins. The Gnhasska, or Red-Blade Goblins, are there to the north, they were the ones you saw all covered in red paint. Out there to the east and south across the river are the Kloss-lunk, or Wolfskull Goblins. They wear the wolf skull helmets and ride Dire Wolves. There was a third tribe, the Jaggadash, or Vipers. They came at us from the west. Broke in through the horse pens. Killed two of our men, Novannes and Hakos and stole my herd! Watched the cowardly buggers run right out of here with all my white ponies!” He lowers his eyes and shakes his head. “There are a lot of them, but I think we can hold out until morning, especially with your help. The main house is strong, solid. No ground floor windows, only a few solid doors. I recently treated the outer walls to keep them from burning, so they can’t burn us out. Hadn’t gotten around to doing that to the barn, yet.” Pytor chuckles at this, “If they get inside, we can always retreat into the tower. It’s stone, easily defendable. One thing I know is it’s suicide to try to run. We could never get past them in a group. They are swarming in the woods. They arrived just before you did, came out of the woods just as the sun was setting. If we can only hold out until morning, I think we might be ok. They will probably pull back to deeper woods in the light of day.

Back on the main floor, Alfana, Taras young wife, helps bandage the wounds of the injured. She looks at Draven and sees the holy symbol of the Church of Karameikos. “Halav watches over this house, but you are welcome here also,” she says quietly to the young acolyte. The old man, who is called Stellios stands nearby and continues attempts to console the young mother, Masha, who wails uncontrollably as does the infant in her arms. Alfana explains to Draven, Marcel and the others that her husband, Hakos, and her father, Novannes, were killed by the Goblin’s first assault on the compound. 

Just then, loud war drums begin thumping out a rapid and chaotic beat. As they slow, Goblin chanting can be heard. The sound of the drums rattles the timbers of the house and the savage, guttural chanting of the Goblins grates on the very souls of the defenders.

Tossing his club and shield to one side, Draven sets to work looking after the wounded, doing a bit of quick triage to determine who is sorest hurt, absentmindedly rubbing his holy symbol as he does. Turning first to Ariadne, he looks more closely to see where and how she is hurt, and begins to clean and bandage her wounds, and makes an attempt to get her stabilized. Once she’s set, he looks to Marcel and does much the same. And finally bandages up Akaios. 

Setting aside his more mundane gear, he then takes hold of his holy symbol and chants in a light, clear voice, petitioning for the aid of the gods in healing his companions. Turning his attention to each in turn, they feel a soothing energy take hold and their pains are eased.

Marcel and Akaios look as good as new after Draven finishes his divine rituals. Ariadne looks much better after the healing, though not quite up to perfect health. “I’m fine,” the Half-Elf youth says to Draven as she pulls away from him and stomps off, heading upstairs after the others who had gone that way.

“Don’t mind her, priest,” Akaios laughs. “She is always in that good of a mood. I’m sure she appreciates not having that cut on her chest. I know I appreciate it. Thank you. Now I’m ready to fight some more!” The large man stands up, stretches and grabs his axe. 

Marcel takes a breather and asks about the other doors to the building. “We need to barricade doors and windows!”, he exclaims and asks for clarification on the situation. “Is there a cellar to fall back to, or is the safe room the tower?” The first line will be the doors and windows, but the second and most likely better line of defense will be the stairs to the second level. 

He entrust the companions still remaining to secure the hall while he heads to the rooms to the west (5 and 6) to take stock of the situation.

Marcel marches off into the next room, examining it for possible security leaks. This dark room is filled with a few small tables and numerous buckets and barrels. Several large cuts of meat hang from the ceiling along with baskets full of dried vegetables and roots. Several large bags of grain are stacked on a crate that blocks off a corner of the room. A quick peek into this dark corner reveal a sleeping cot, a footlocker and a pile of dirty clothes. Like the main room, there are no windows in the stout log walls and the western wall is composed of large stones. A single stout door is in the middle of this wall. It is closed and a heavy beam is thrown across it, keeping it locked. As Marcel ponders this, he senses someone coming up from behind him. It is Stellios, the older man from the main room. Marcel now notices the the man is missing his left arm. The old man nods at the barred door and says in Traladaran, “That is the kitchen. It is safe in there. The walls are stone and the doors are stout. I will show you, come.” He nods his head again and shuffles past Marcel. He struggles with the heavy beam for a moment, but before Marcel can help him, he manages it, opening the door. 

The kitchen area is dark and a few embers crackle in the wide fireplace set into the north wall. The room is large but crowded. The two large tables have each been pushed up against the two heavy wooden doors. Each door has been barred as well. Like the other ground floor rooms, this room has no windows at all. Quite defensible, Marcel thinks. There are baskets, barrels and sacks of foodstuffs as well as several racks with dishes, tools and other utensils one would imagine in a kitchen.

Griffin goes and checks out the tower. A spiral staircase totally enclosed in stone goes from the ground all the way to the roof above the 3rd floor and connects to each level via a narrow hall and heavy door. A quick inspection of the tower reveals the ground floor to be a storage area filled with supplies, surplus food and piles of dust covered junk. There are no windows or doors on this floor. The 2nd floor room is an armory and contains several bows, several containers of arrows, a sword, some axes, a rusty mace and a Dwarven sized suit of plate mail on a stand. This room has one arrow slit facing out of the west, north and east walls. Heading up to the third floor, Griffin runs into Matvey, Pytor’s young son, leading Kuzma (Pytor’s mother) and Irina (Pytor’s 17 year old daughter) down to the main hall. They look at Griffin tensely but hurry past. The third floor of the tower appears to be a living quarters. The room smells of incense and old books. There are two straw stuffed beds here and a shrine to the Traladaran deities, Halav, Petra and Zirchev. There are three arrow slits in the walls identical to the room below, though these are closed off with wooden shutters and covered by curtains. Continuing upward, Griffin comes out on the roof of the tower. The near 50 foot height of the structure gives a good view of the surrounding area through the billows of smoke that are currently blowing this way from the burning barn. A voice calls out, “Hey, who are you?” Griffin sees a young Traladaran, probably around Ree’s age standing near the northern battlements. He holds a leather sling in his hand and a large pile of rocks and lead bullets lays on the ground next to him. “I’m Bahaznic. Are you the guys my dad sent in to drive the horses? Too late, the horses are gone, but then again, we probably will be soon too!” He turns away from Griffin back to the north and suddenly drops to his knees. “DUCK!” he shouts back to Griffin as a volley of stones whiz past the top of the tower, several of them hitting the battlements right behind where Griffin is standing. Bahaznic looks back at Griffin, “Are any of those good ones? Keep your eye out for the lead bullets. I think those damned Goblins have already shot most of their bullets though. Pretty good shots, aren’t they? Almost nailed you!” The boy nestles a rounded rock into his sling and starts swinging it slowly while peeking over the edge of the tower. He then pops up and whips the sling out and lets the rock fly. Griffin peeks up over the edge and sees a Goblin, about 50 feet north in the clearing stagger back and yelp. “I’m a pretty good shot too,” the boy brags. Griffin agrees and quickly heads back downstairs, noting that most of the Goblins seem to be keeping a distance of about 50-75 feet from the homestead.

 Griffin comes back down from the tower and confers again with Pytor. “Okay, hopefully Akaios and Marcel are patched up.  They’ll be useful getting that barn door over the hole in the fence.  I was also worried about the Wolfriders.  Once the gatehouse burns, they’ll be able to get back over the bridge. I have a few ideas for over there if I can look in your smithy.”

“Sure, follow me,” Pytor says.

Gathering his things, Draven goes to find the others. “I’m not much use indoors like this, but I’m happy to knock a few skulls if they get in close. Where do you think I’ll be the most good?” He’s happy to rely on the others’ skills in matters tactical, keeping a close eye on what they say, hoping to learn himself.

Pytor leads Griffin, Akaios, and Draven through the inside of the house. They meet Marcel coming out of the kitchen. Griffin motions for Marcel to follow. They go out the back door of the kitchen to the rear yard of the compound. Glancing around in the darkness, Pytor holds his finger up to his lips and then quietly runs out into the yard toward the stable building back behind the house. 

Griffin moves quietly behind, though the others are not as stealthy. Akaios and Draven are not noisy enough to be heard over the booming and chanting of the nearby Goblins, but Marcel is not as lucky. Right out of the door, he manages to knock over a broom with the end of his spear. The broom in turn falls and hits a small table with a metal basin and some other small tools on it. They clang to the ground, hitting on some rocks. The jingling echoes through the yard, mingling with the war song of the Goblins.

Pytor holds everyone up in deeper shadows of the stable. The main part of the building is open to the yard and several horses stamp the ground nervously. Some of the stalls are open and empty “Damn, they took some of our riding horses too!” Pytor curses under his breath. Pytor points to the forge area to the right of the stables. “Forge room is there, tack room is there, should be lots of tools and things you can use.

Marcel’s eyes scan his colleagues eyes, first apologetic. “Someone put a broom in the way.”, he whispers.  He looks around and gets an idea. “OK, since I screwed this up, if they come, I’ll rush forward, knocking as many as possible over and you take advantage of this.”  He is still short of breath from the last sprint across the yard, but ready for round two.

The stables and south yard of the homestead

Looking around, Marcel sees that the south yard could be fairly easily defended. There is a palisade wall between the end of the stable and the corner of the main hall. A wide gate is closed and barred fairly securely there. There is also a palisade wall between the edge of the west fence and the corner of the kitchen, dividing the north and south yards, no doubt to facilitate the horse training. The back of the main house, like its front, does not have any ground floor windows, though there are several visible windows, all shuttered but could easily provide good vantage points for archers. “This place can be easily defended,” Marcel says, “but if worse comes to worse, it will be best to defend from the house.”

 Griffin leans in to whisper over the clamor of the Goblin’s drums. “Tovarisch, don’t sweat it. We’ll work on the ‘sneaky thing’ later. I think we’re okay. Don’t go doing anything noble when teamwork will suffice…”

“I think that we need more than teamwork here. We need an exit strategy unless we think that we can fend these off.” 

 “I just meant that I think rushing out there to give us a chance to get away is probably more “noble” and less “we all get out alive.” If they decide to attack, running is still our best ‘exit strategy.’” He looks back to the house. “I’m thinking they won’t be too quiet if they decide to charge, and neither will our lookouts up in the tower. Relax, and let’s see if we can get this job done and return to the relative safety of the house.”

"I die for you today, you die for me tomorrow! was our unit's motto... or was it the opposite?", Marcel ponders. He smiles. “OK, do we need to find more out or are we good to go back. Where are they, what are they trying to do?” 

Griffin grins at Marcel’s motto, then tersely catches Marcel up. “First to the smithy to get some things to help make traps.  Then to the barn to get a door to mend the fence. Then back to the house. Good for now?”

 Hearing Griffin’s plan, Draven takes hold of his holy symbol and mutters a quick prayer, invoking the names of the gods and beseeching them for guidance. He hopes that they will help ensure a clear path for himself and his compatriots.

Draven is able to confirm through his divine solicitation that there is no other life present in the area beside what is present here. “We are alone,” the young Acolyte informs his companions. 

"Good with me, friend. We get there, you pick what you need and I’ll cover as best as necessary if things go south. I can mend a fence, but that’s about it.” 

 “Fair enough. Let’s move. Pytor, if you please?”

Pytor opens the door to the forge area. It is a heavy, iron bound wooden door secured with with a lock. It is quite dark inside but the bright moonlight makes it easy enough to see the anvil and shelves of tools. The tack room next door is filled with all the tools and equipment for working with horses. 

 "Do we need any additional light? ‘The good gods are always keen to shed light in dark places.’” Touching his holy symbol, it begins to glow, quickly becoming as bright as a torch.

 “Excellent, my friend.  Let’s see what we have here.”  Griffin starts to efficiently check the smithy for things to manufacture some nasty surprises for any gobbos unfortunate enough to lead a charge against the homestead.

The light cast by Draven’s holy symbol is more than enough for Griffin to search the contents of the room. Pytor grabs some tools and then says to Griffin, “You stay here with the priest, find what you need.” Then, turning to Akaios and Marcel, “You two, come with me, let’s go fix that fence!”

Griffin searches for what he needs to make some traps while Marcel and Akaios follow Pytor around to the front yard through a narrow gate. Pytor runs over to the corner of the barn that is not yet engulfed in flames and starts pulling on a door, trying to pull it down. With the help of Akaios and Marcel, he is successful. They quickly move toward the door. As they get close, a voice calls out from the top of the homestead tower, “Watch out! Incoming!” As Pytor ducks, the sound of multiple rocks hitting the outside of the palisade wall can be heard. One stone flies through the opening and nearly smashes Akaios in the head. The barn door is carefully placed to cover the gap in the fence and Marcel and Pytor secure it while Akaios holds it into place. All the while, loud impacts can be heard on the other side of the fence broken by the occasional sound of a bowstring or sling strap from atop the tower. The Elf Eranthil has taken up a position there with one of the young men of the homestead and is firing arrows in the Goblin’s direction. After they are finished at the fence, Marcel, Akaios and Pytor run back to the main hall, while out back, Griffin and Draven make their way back inside as well.

A loud crash outside indicates that the barn has finally collapsed in on itself, though the mass of wreckage continues to burn. The good news is that it fell away from the north fence, leaving it relatively intact and not burning, the bad news is that the fire from the barn has spread along the fence and now the corner of the gatehouse is on fire as well!

 Griffin drops a few burlap sacks in the main hall.  “Okay, folks, I think we have a little time before they try something, so let’s make the most of it! These old nails, if we twist them like this,” and he demonstrates, “will prove painful if stepped on.  Can I get some of you to work on that whilst I go try and set up a nasty near the front door?”  He leaves some tools for the homesteaders and grabs another sack and what looks like a two-man lumber saw and heads to the front door.

 Back inside, Draven scans the room looking from his companions to the homesteaders, looking for anyone whose countenance denotes that they are despairing. To each of these people he goes and offers to help lead them in a prayer, and generally bolsters their courage. “They are but goblins, and we know the gods shine no light upon them”; “Be of good cheer. My fellows are stout, and know their way around sword and bow. Any that breach the walls will find themselves in for a difficult time.”; “So long as we are faithful, all will be well!”

The gathered homesteaders smile weakly at Draven’s words of hope, though a newcomer to the group, Kuzma, scowls at him. She is a very old woman and Draven notices some trappings of the Church of Traladar on her clothing. “This is a house of Halav, we are Petra’s children,” she starts to criticize in a wavering, raspy voice. 

She is interrupted by Darya, Pytor’s wife. “Mother, these people are here to help us. It matters not who they send their prayers up to. They are the answers to the prayers WE have been saying these last hours.” She turns to Draven, “Please forgive my husbands mother, Kuzma. She is a priestess of Traladar and still lives by the ‘old ways.’” Kuzma turns her scowl toward Darya now, then turns back to her job of twisting nails together into caltrops.

“The Immortals are indeed in high spirits, when they send a Karameikian heretic to your aid, and deliver me to those with whom I have to remain on my best behavior, lest I further the stereotypes, eh?” He tips a nod to the old woman and takes Darya’s hands in his own. “I and my associates will strive to represent well the best that our people can be.”

Marcel takes a brief break from twisting nails and interjects on the conversation. He asks the homesteaders whether they would have available nets, or at least any large quantity of ropes in store. 

Stellios answers Marcel, “No nets that I can think of, but your Thyatian friend there has all the extra rope from the stables, I believe.”

Marcel gets back at bending nails and approaches Griffin. “I think that we need a way to disrupt them if they get inside the confines of the north yard. I was thinking of hanging heavy crap over the hall’s door.” Marcel scans the yard for stuff that could be hauled up and dropped down in last resort. “Whatever we do, we need to make a splash big enough to get them to turn back.”

Griffin nods. “What if we got some lamp oil up in the tower to dump on them as they approach the north door.  Then drop a torch.  If we can catch them near the tower, there’s not much chance of catching the building on fire.” He hauls on a rope.  “Careful there, that’s under tension.  This is almost ready.”

As Marcel and Griffin talk about the best way to set up traps around front, a cry from above signals another barrage of sling stones. “Incoming!” Bahaznic yells from the battlements as small stone missiles begin pelting the yard and those in it. They thud into the ground and bounce loudly off the walls.

Marcel dodges the rain of projectiles and slither into the hall to catch his skipped heartbeat. He asks around for their store of oil, if any. “I hate to burn perfectly good oil like this, but this may come handy if we need to scatter them away for a bit. Whatever you have should get to the upper level. Let me know, we can prepare a few grenades.” 

Marcel is told that there is some lamp oil in the store room at the base of the tower, but not much and it does not burn well outside the lanterns. At best it could distract and scare the Goblins if it were lit on them but probably wouldn’t do any real damage. He goes to gather it up and finds that there is 2 small casks, about 8 gallons total.

 Griffin swears as the rocks clatter down. He twists at the last second and avoids one that clearly has his name on it.  He ties off the last rope and heads back inside. 

He looks around the main room, with no success. “Anyone seen Ree?”  Burik points a finger up, and maintains his station just inside the door.  Griffin climbs the stairs to the top of the tower. Ree is like him.  She likes to get an overview of things.

He stares out into the night, not making eye contact. “I could use a hand getting the caltrops in place.  The others, well, this takes someone *ahem* quieter than they’ve shown. You up for that?” He turns his head slightly and watches closely - the hit she took earlier was pretty nasty. She continues to stare out over the battlements. Occasionally the young Bahaznic sends another stone zipping back into the forest.  After a few moments, Griffin shrugs.

He heads back down the stairs, and gradually becomes aware that he is being followed.  He smiles, just a little bit. They do this dance all the time.

As he passes the second floor he sees Pytor and Darya, as well as the mage, Remar, peering out from the arrow slits. “Hey, Remar, why don’t you go up and keep the kid upstairs company. Probably a good idea to get a buddy system going - don’t want any nasty surprises if our lookouts get taken out.”

When he gets to the main hall, he collects all the bent nails into a few burlap sacks. “Thanks, folks, I think we’re going to have a few nasty surprises for those gobbos.” He flashes a smile at Kuzma. “Babushka, maybe you could take Masha and the baby to the storage room on the ground floor of the tower. It’s the safest place I’ve seen here. Stellios, you go and guard the door. If those gobbos get inside, close it and lock it. I want us to be able to focus on offense without worrying about the non-combatants.  I’ll leave it to you to keep them safe.”

He turns to Matvey. “Son, your station is up next to the door to the tower. If they yell down, you make sure we know about it.”

He picks up his sack and sees Ree with hers standing by the door. They slip out the door into the darkness.

Marcel weighs the options. Eight gallons is quite a bit of oil, but he is used to think of oil in terms of fort defense while here he is grappling with a wooden homestead. Marcel has seen the effect of desperate battle and he feels like he is at the wrong end of one. “The wisdom in the militia is that the most successful battle is the losing battle that you can avoid. There must be something else, there ought to be a way.”, he thinks to himself. He goes to the 2nd floor to find Pyotr. 

“What do we know about these goblins? Are they from these parts? What are they after? Food, horses, loot? Are they traveling with a heavy baggage, followers? Do they have known enemies other than… us?” Marcel intends to probe Pyotr for any information that may give him and angle to disrupt the raid before both shoes drop.

Pytor tells Marcel what he knows of the Goblins. He is familiar with the different tribes, and usually it seems that their biggest enemies are each other. They compete for the same resources and very rarely attack the handful of homesteads in the area. Pytor knows of some other dangers in the area, such as the Mighty Argos, a green dragon that sometimes ravages the area and the 9 Hags but they don’t usually bother with the homesteaders.

“There must be something then. They are starving, or a new leader that, if taken care of may make the whole thing to fall apart?” 

“Yes, there is something going on here, that is for sure, though I feel we can’t be concerned with that at the moment. Tomorrow, maybe, we can figure that out. Right now, I just want to get my people, and you all, through the night!” Pytor turns back to watch out the window for advancing Goblins. He lets an arrow fly. “Damn! Missed him.” 

Marcel heads off to start working on his junk traps above the door while Griffin and Ree continue setting their traps in the yard. Draven offers to help Marcel with some of the heavy lifting.

As Griffin and Ree are sneaking about the yard, placing the twisted nails and sharp bits in the expected path of the Goblins and their wolves, Ree stops and cocks her head to the side. “What was that?” she whispers.

Griffin stops what he is doing and listens as well. At first he can only hear the pounding of the Goblin’s drums and the shrill chanting of their warsong, but then he hears it. It sounds like someone shaking out a heavy blanket or rug. He then smells a foul, musty odor on the air. 

“There!” Ree shouts as several large, dark shapes descend from the night sky above! Giant bats! Nearby, Marcel and Draven hear Ree’s shouts and look up from their trap work to see 4 huge bats swooping down into the yard toward their companions at the gate. 

 Griffin yells “Run!” and whips out his sword.  Taking a defensive stance, he backs up slowly, trying to buy Ree enough time to get back to the house. He yells at the bats “G’head! Try it!”

Ree whips her knife out and turns to run back toward the building.

Setting the traps and being attacked by bats!

The sound of the approaching bats interrupt Remar and Bahaznic’s efforts to snipe the goblins foolish enough to wander within range.  It had become a friendly competition between the two to see who could score the most difficult hit.  Their efforts did little real damage, but managed to distract and infuriate the goblins.

Remar bumps the youth on the shoulder and winks at him knowingly with a slight toss of his head in the direction of the bats.  Not giving the lad any chance to get a head start  Remar  immediately looses a bolt at the wing of the nearest bat.  

Marcel attempts to jump down from the upper level but slips, dropping his shield and spear on the ground. He kneels down to pick them up before he gets to link with Griffin and Ree to help them out. 

Bahaznic and Eranthil both follow Remar’s lead and send shots at the nearest giant bat, both hitting as well. The creature lets out a high-pitched warbling screech, tries to fly up and then falls, crashing to the ground in the smoldering remains of the barn. The other three bats, undeterred by their fallen brother, turn and swoop down toward Griffin and Ree. Two of the bats swoop in onto Griffin and try to bite him while the other gives chase to Ree and tries to bite her. Unable to defend against the flying opponent, Ree takes another serious wound as the large creature rips a chunk out of her shoulder! As the bats attack him, a disgusting odor seems to smother Griffin. It is a combination of sweat, damp earth and manure. 

Meanwhile, Draven leaps down from the 2nd floor window as he sees Ree take another major wound! The priest stumbles upon landing and goes down to his knees but manages to keep a hold of his gear.

As the wounded bat plummets into the burning remains of the barn, Remar hollers at Bahaznic at his side.  “I guess we share that one eh?”  Still grinning Remar targets the bat circling Griffin.  The bolt flies true, heading directly for the creatures wing.

Griffin hits the bat, as does Remar with his next shot. Ree continues running toward the door to the main hall. Draven and Marcel both pop to their feet, Marcel leaving his shield and spear on the ground and reaching for his knife.

The bat that Griffin had just hit flutters away toward Ree but instead of attacking her, it crashes into her and gets tangled up in her arms and ends up falling to the ground right in front of her. The next bat swoops down on Griffin again, trying to bite him while the third bat flies past Griffin and tries to bite Marcel but misses. Griffin deftly dodges and steps away from the giant bat and his sharp teeth!

 Concerned about his teammate, Griffin distractedly lashes out at the bat bothering him.  To his (and the bat’s) surprise, his broadsword lands a resounding hit and drives the bat to the ground.  He yells at the homestead, “Get ready to open that door!” then moves to Ree’s other side and makes ready to defend her or help carry her if she needs it.

Ree stops her run and plunges her knife down into the back of the bat that is flopping around on the ground in front of her then steps to go around it. Marcel draws his knife and steps away from the attacking bat. Eranthil and Remar both send another volley down into the fray, this time striking the bat flapping in Marcel’s face, sending it to the ground. 

The three grounded and wounded bats each start crawling away, unable to fly due to their wounds. Draven steps up toward Ree to try to get a look at her new wounds, but is unable to discern the extent of the wound due to the amount of blood covering her shoulder.

 “Help me get her inside!” Draven yells, gently pulling Ree up and assisting her to make her way towards cover and better lighting.

 After making sure that Ree will make it inside, Griffin and Marcel go around and finish the floundering bats off, then go back and make sure the caltrops are all set. AFTER telling Draven, Marcel, and Ree to leave the pretty flowers next to the door ALONE!

Marcel grabs his weapons and assists Griffin the best that he can. Once that the caltrops are nicely distributed and concealed in tufts of grass along the path. “Being blind is killing me.” He looks at the burning fence and barn, “when this is done burning, we’ll have a wide-open gash in the perimeter. Do you think that we should set up to feed the fire? In a pinch, we can probably renew the flames quickly with this 8 gals of lamp oil.”

Marcel makes a visual inspection of the fence and look for gaps in the burning structures that he could use to sneak out to have a peek. He also keep a keen eye on the night sky in case more bats swoop down.

As the bats are being mopped up, Bahaznic calls out again from up above, “Incoming!” and sling stones begin plummeting into the yard. Everyone rushes back inside narrowly avoiding any further injuries!

 “Someone bring warm water, quickly?” He turns to Ree and tries to get a better look at the situation. “Where are you hurt, lady? Help me get a look at you.”

 Griffin paces in the background, recognizing his lack of medical skill, yet unwilling to just wander off.  Draven’s request gives him something to do, at least, and he rushes off to the kitchen where he hopes to find some warm water. 

As he clatters through the pots and pans trying to find something to use, Irina peeks around the door.  Seeing his total lack of progress, she steps in and takes charge. As she scoops water from the cauldron hanging in the fireplace into a sturdy bowl, she gives him a sideways glance. “So, she your girlfriend? You seem awfully distracted.”

Griffin is only half listening, and answers without thinking. “No, not a girlfriend. More like family.”

Irina finishes and hands him the bowl. “Well, then off with you, mister hero.  Go save the day.”  He takes her words to heart and hurries back into the main room with the bowl. He does not see the amused smile cross her lips.

 Taking hold of his holy symbol and praying loudly, Draven lays hands on the wound. After a significant length of prayer, having exhausted an entire stanza of the liturgy… nothing happens. Unwilling to accept this, he launches into another foray, his voice rising as he calls out supplications. The response this time is a brief shock to the hand that holds his holy symbol. Looking skyward, more than a little hoarse, he lets his shoulders slump in defeat. “Alright, I’ll do it the old fashioned way…”

Getting the water and some clean rags, he cleans up Ree’s wounds thoroughly. “Don’t worry now, I’ve never lost anyone yet.” He sets about making sure she is clean and warm and in a comfortable space to recover as he bandages the wounds. He does not let on that he’s never been called upon so many times to heal folk, either, nor that the gods have never forsaken his requests like this so abruptly before. Keen to keep his record intact, he takes great care with Ree.

The traps are set and the perimeter of the building is secure. Draven, bloodied up to his elbows, works on patching Ree’s shoulder. he notices that the earlier wound that she had sustained is now fully healed even though his magic had not been sufficient to completely close the wound. A glaring glance from the old priestess Kuzma, confirms his theory that she is more than just a wise woman. Everyone else takes a moment to rest and prepare for the inevitable Goblin attack. Irina and Matvey both distribute snacks of bread and dried fruit and mugs of lukewarm coffee. Eranthil remains on the roof of the tower with Bahaznic, Akaios stands guard by the main door and Burik helps keep watch on the 2nd floor. Pytor’s people have come out of lower tower room, but are prepared to retreat there at a moments notice. 

 After some effort convincing himself that he can’t help Ree any more, and acknowledging that he is dead on his feet and at least needs to rest, Griffin grabs his fighting gear (sword, shield, crossbow and quiver) and retreats to a station overlooking the courtyard above the main door.

As Draven finishes up with his care of Ree, Kuzma rises and approaches. She looks at Draven’s handiwork and then forces a smile. “You do good, child. Now let me see what I can do,” she speaks quietly and in thickly accented Thyatian. Ree watches the old woman as she approaches. Kuzma begins chanting quietly in Traladaran, speaking a prayer to her three patrons. She reaches out and runs her hands over the bandaged area. She freezes for a moment, as does Ree, then she exhales a long breath. “There, good as new. Don’t make me do this again, Elf-blood.” Ree stretches her arm above her head and moves it in a wide circle. The young Half-Elf smiles widely and whispers a thank you to the old woman. Kuzma turns and smiles once again at Draven before heading back over to her seat near Irina and Matvey. 

Draven cleans up the mess from bandaging Ree up and to his surprise, she comes over and helps. “Thank you again, priest. I’ve never had much call for the immortals in my life. Always felt like they didn’t care much for me. This journey is showing me that they can have their uses though!”

“We may not always pay attention to them, but the Immortals have more than just two eyes to keep on us.” He gestures at everyone in the immediate area. “Through each of us they keep watch over us, and guide us to take care of one another.” He calls pointedly over his shoulder in Kuzma’s direction, “Even if we don’t keep to the same sects at all.”

After they are done, Draven joins Marcel while Ree wanders off upstairs. Meanwhile, Remar has come down from the roof and taken up a spot near Griffin on the balcony of the 2nd floor watching out over the front yard. The tension in the air is high. The barn and gatehouse are nearly burnt to the ground, only blackened debris remains. The chanting and drumming of the Goblins in the nearby woods can still be heard echoing through the homestead. Everyone is exhausted. It is nearly midnight now and everyone starts to wonder what the Goblins are waiting for. Many campfires can be seen dotting the edge of the woods past the northern edge of the homestead. Suddenly, the drums and chanting stops abruptly leaving a silent, dark emptiness. After but a moment, that emptiness is broken by Bahaznic yelling from up above, “Here they come!”

Quickly, all the non-combatants are rushed upstairs and into the tower. The old man Stellios and Marcos help them down to the secure first floor of the tower while everyone else makes last minute preparations. A handful of Goblins can be seen making their way from the north toward the burnt out barn while to the west, two wolf riding Goblins are leading another group of Goblins toward the bridge and burnt out gatehouse.

 As the non-combatants rush by, Griffin calls out to Matvey. “Kid, we’re going to be busy in a moment, dealing with the mess of gobbos in the front yard.  I need you to be our lookout and watch our flank. Can you keep watch out that window,” and he points to the southeast corner of the upstairs,” and make sure no one sneaks up on us?”  The boy, eyes wide, nods vigorously. “Now, if I say Jump, you get in the tower with Stellios, clear?” He nods again.  “Okay, get to your station. Things are about to get exciting.”

Griffin readies his crossbow and takes aim at the ruins of the gatehouse and smiles a grim smile. Those wolves should be in for a bit of a surprise.

The howl of the wolves filled the night sky. The sound echoes through the courtyard as their claws dig into the wooden bridge. The lead wolf leaps over the smouldering remains of the gate house and lands directly amid the twisted nails and sharp shards. As soon as its feet hit the ground, the creature lets out a different kind of howl, this one of pain and leaps back up into the air, twisting and trying to pull its feet up. Before the wolf even crashes into the ground, the second wolf is scrambling and trying to avoid the trapped area, but its speed and momentum were too much and the beast slides right through the area as well, yelping and bucking his rider off. The rider of the first wolf is thrown into the air as well and lands sliding into the dirt!

Marcel take stock of the situation and takes a step back. He announced for all to hear that the wolves have walked into the trap and that all should brace for an assault. He uses his best pep-inducing power to get everyone pumped and lift their spirits in otherwise grim times. His best attempts, however, gets drowned into the clamor and clanging to everyone and he ends up feeling like a fool. 

Seeing Marcel’s hangdog attitude, Draven slaps him on the back. “You’re not wrong, friend, even if nobody heard.”

A handful more Goblins come running across the bridge, slowing to a cautious trot as they reach the burnt out gatehouse. They are armed with spears and axes and wear wolf skull helmets and thick wolf skin cloaks. Another group of Goblins approach from the north. These Goblins are armed with slings and shortsword and are painted read, from head to toe, in thick, sloppy warpaint. They approach quickly and then take cover in the rubble of the burnt out barn and begin readying their slings.

gda4 midnight.png
The traps are working!

There are only a few spots of fire still burning where the barn and gatehouse once stood, casting an eerie orange glow throughout the yard. The moon still shines above, unhindered by clouds. 

 Griffin grins as his caltrops take their toll, then draws a bead on one of the two wolfriding brutes with big axes. After a moment to draw a breath, he carefully squeezes off a shot. Even as he’s shouting “Make your ammo count, folks!  Take your time to do it right!” he’s reloading.

The Goblin does not see the bolt coming and it strikes him in the side. He grunts loudly and reaches for the bolt, breaking it off and throwing it to the ground. He looks up toward the window and barks something loudly in his guttural language, pointing up toward Griffin and Remar. Almost immediately, two sling bullets blast into the windows shutter, shattering the wooden covering. Griffin pulls his head back quickly in case more missiles are to follow.

Arrows, bolts, sling bullets and magical bolts begin to fly back and forth between the homestead and the Goblin’s in the yard. The two (former) wolf riding Goblins retrieve their large, 2 handed axes and start advancing toward the door that leads into the kitchen. The Goblin slingers cover them from the ruins of the barn, sending fairly coordinated volleys of lead bullets at the archers shooting from the 2nd floor windows. The Goblins prove to be very good shots with their slings, causing folks to be very careful wary of being hit.

The footsoldier Goblins following the wolf riders advance across the bridge slowly, their heavier armor slowing them down a bit. The first two Goblins in this group run right into the trapped area as well, stepping on twisted nails and sharp spikes, though the remaining Goblins take notice and skirt the area without further injury. Remar manages to put a few magic bolts into the Goblin that Griffin had already winged and just as he gets to the door, he collapses onto the ground. His companion, on the other hand, raises his heavy axe and begins chopping into the wooden door of the compound. Griffin peeks out as he reloads and sees mass of lumber, horseshoes and other junk fall from the eaves above, crashing down on top of the Goblin’s unsuspecting head. The Wolfskull Goblin steps back and shakes his head from the impact.

Meanwhile, inside the main hall, Marcel, Draven and Akaios can hear the sounds of battle outside. Several times, Akaios considers bursting out through the front door to enter the fray, but each time, Marcel or Draven talks him out of it, reminding him of the trap set outside and the defensive position they are trying to take, waiting for the exact right moment to strike!

One of the two wolves, obviously in great pain, rolls around on the ground, howling and trying to bite at several of its feet in an attempt to get the spikes out of its foot pads. The other one, however, seems not as affected by the trap. This wolf, clearly the smarter of the two creatures, limps behind the far corner of the building and out of sight.

A loud cry pierces the night. Not the cry of a Goblin, but the sound of someone being wounded. The sound came from somewhere around the area of the tower. Griffin chances a peek out of a nearby window and sees that Eran has fallen from the top of the tower and lays unmoving on the ground. Inside the main hall, Marcel, Draven and Akaios all hear the cry too, as well as the thud of a body hitting the ground very hard. 

“I’m done waiting!” Akaios shouts and pushes his way out the front door. As the burly Thyatian opens the door, he trembles then screams, “NO! Eran!” Marcel and Draven see the Elf laying in a heap on the ground near the base of the tower just a few yards ahead. Akaios scream has now drawn the attention of the Goblin slingers in the barn!

Marcel tries to determine whether Eran can possibly be still alive after the fall (and whatever caused the fall). If there is any doubt that Eran may still be alive, he slips out, in full defense stance to cover with his shield Akaios’ effort to get to the elf. 

“Akaios, I’ve got your back. Get a grip, friend, and let’s get Eran from danger.” 

gda4 eran.png
Going to retrieve a fallen comrade.

Marcel scours the area, despite the darkness, to make sure that the pair isn’t walking into a wad of goblins. Marcel firmly intends to draw the charging goblins into the trap covering the open door, and bail out if timing to get back inside on time prove to be too tight.

From the ruins of the barn, two lead bullets fly at Marcel as he covers Akaios. Marcel brings his shield up, but in the darkness, he misjudges the path of the bullet and it hits him in the hip. The lead bullet stings sorely and it seems as if his new mail didn’t do much to protect him from the blow. Behind him, he hears Akaios frantically talking to the Elf, though there is no response. Akaios begins dragging Eranthil back toward the open door of the homestead. Marcel can see the group of Goblins crouched in the blackened ruins of the barn some 20 feet away, swinging and reloading their slings. From over his head, he hears the whoosh of another sling and looks up to see Bahaznic let a stone fly down into the Goblin ranks. One of them yelps loudly as the young Traladaran finds his mark! Further across the yard, Marcel can see the other Goblins swarming into the compound. He sees one Goblin at the kitchen door, hacking at it with a large axe.

 Griffin steps back into the shadows and attempts another shot at the gobbo attacking the kitchen door, but his bolt goes wild. He grabs his shield and heads for the stairs.  “Remar! Keep hammering the one on the door!  Cripple him if you can.  Burik! We need to get down to defend the main door!  Let’s go!”

Remar blasts bolt after bolt at the Goblins hacking at the door while Griffin charges down the stairs to the main floor. Meanwhile, Draven holds the door open, dodging random sling bullets while Akaios slowly drags the fallen Eranthil toward the homestead. Marcel continues his protective maneuver, standing in front of Akaios, defending with his shield. More sling bullets come his way and one looks to be on target!

Several axe wielding Wolfskull Goblins charge the kitchen door to help the wolfrider in hacking on it, though he eventually falls to Remar’s magical bolt. The remaining Wolfskull Goblins, the ones toting spears and shields, charge toward the other door where Marcek, Akaios and Draven have made themselves visible.

Marcel shakes his head and peer over his shield. “They are coming, about to breach the kitchen’s door. Someone deals with that!”. He sees 8 Redblade slingers from where he stands, crouching in the ruins of the barn. 

“Listen guys, there are already a bunch pressing on, and it probably won’t get any better. Let’s stick together: we can anchor our line between the spike trap and the tower’s wall. Akaios, Griffin, let’s stick together and take advantage of my beats.”

Continued on GDA5 - Goblins and Wargs and Bats, Oh My!


This 'session' was another play by post style continuing story segment. We got participation form each of the 4 players, though some were not able to contribute as much as others and some had issues with document notifications and was missing some of the action. I am looking into ways to make that more visible and easy to access. Though this part was predominantly PbP style, we did jump into Roll20 often to access the map and dice macros. It makes playing online like this much easier, I think.

Cast of Characters: 

Garrett "Griffin" Constantine, a Thyatian rogue of a gambler from Penhaligon rolled by +Arne Jamtgaard 
Remar Umerus, an Alphatian battle mage that escaped forced service in the Thyatian army conjured by +Ben Lipe 
Marcel Maas, a down on his luck Traladaran soldier turned mercenary commanded by +Christian Blouin 
Draven Rickart, a Thyatian Acolyte of the Church of Karameikos piously played by +Jason Packer 
and +Jason Woollard as the DM

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