Derek was called into work, furiously cooking gluten-free alternatives for customers’ Thanksgiving celebrations, but Matt and I got together over a quick ‘one-of’ ASOBH game last night.
Hrodor the Druid and his nephew Brynar have been tracking the evil necromancer Heinrich Klutch for months. Following him to the quiet hamlet of Tendale, the Northmen hire two sturdy rangers to reinforce their party and follow the sorcerer into the woods. Little do they know the wretched man plans on desecrating the ancient Shrine of the Skystone with dire incantations and foul majiks.
After an hour in the woods, the rangers suddenly report the old man has stopped in the shrine’s clearing a quarter mile on and seems to be preparing to enact some kind of ritual. Worse, he has been joined by unnatural allies: two cursed spirits, a gibbering ghoul, a brawny ghast, and a large, ugly warrior armed with a heavy battle ax and a deadly hand scythe. Six against four – they’re outnumbered.
“No matter,” Hrodor said. “We will stop this desecration, cut Klutch’s black heart from his body, and finally put an end to his vile schemes.”
Brynar hefts his sword and ax. “Ja. And I’ll cut down anyone or anything that gets in my way.”
Reluctant at first, the rangers pluck up their courage, unlimber their bows, and stalk into the woods.
The battle began well for Hrodor. The Rangers crept forward on the right as he and his nephew went left. The Ghoul was the first to spot the intruders and raced to confront Brynar. Garn Gravehand, the large pestilent warrior, and the unnamed Ghast followed after, leaving Klutch and the Cursed spirits to finish the ritual.
Brynar cleaved the Ghoul in half, spraying ichor and black blood among the trees. The Ghast attacked one of the rangers but was forced back. Gravehand’s bulk slowed him down and he lumbered through the underbrush toward the fighting.
Eventually Gravehand and the Ghast reached the Druid’s warband and began slugging it out. The battle was evenly matched with neither side gaining an advantage – until the Cursed spirits showed up.
Aura of Terror. That’s what cinched it for the forces of Darkness. A simple spell but so effective.
Frustrated at the interruption, Klutch sent the spirits to help Gravehand. The spirits floated swiftly on dire winds toward the fighting. Before they landed a single blow, their eerie, forlorn wailing and unearthly glow forced Hrodor’s compatriots to make morale checks. First one Ranger panicked, then Brynar flinched. Next, the Northern warrior was forced back by the Ghast. Another ghostly wail, and he fled off the nearest board edge. That left the Druid and the second Ranger, who fired ineffectively at the creatures advancing on them before retreating themselves. A rather ignominious conclusion to noble intentions.
Like the old Northern adage goes: Run, run, run away. Live to fight another day.
Hrodor’s vengeance was thwarted but not quenched.
*Notice if you will, the fallen rune stone on the right edge of the board. If Matt had bothered checking it, (it was marked with an objective stone) he would have found Piotor, a former mercenary come on hard times. Not above rolling the occasional drunk or lone traveler for a few extra coins, Piotor had followed Klutch into the woods thinking him an easy mark. Once the uglies showed up however, he wisely decided to back off. Some assistance and the promise of a a share in the spoils/reward, Piotor would have gladly have given Hrodor and crew a hand. But did Matt check? Nooooooooooo.
Skystone Shrine in the Tendale Woods