The Cinder King is coming.
A strange and new threat had arisen in the West, a powerful necromancer calling himself ‘The Cinder King’ vowed to cover the whole of the land in fire and death, ashes and bone, and rule over this undying desolation.
Other usurpers, invaders, and malignant entities had threatened the peace of the Empire before – only to be broken and destroyed. Surely this blasphemous magician would meet the same fate.
Five of the Empire’s Champions, the sacred Chosen, assembled an army and marched toward the setting sun to crush this latest menace on the field of battle.
They did not return.
Instead, the forces of the Cinder King appeared, stretching across the horizon like a malevolent storm, spreading like a foul miasma. Towns were obliterated, cities burned, and thousands died as this dark army marched. Thousands more fled before its advance, bearing reports of wanton slaughter, foul magic, and unnatural creatures.
The Empire mustered a second army, larger than the first. Led by the Emperor himself and the four remaining Chosen, they gathered at Karlsburg confident the force of their arms and the right of their cause would grant them victory.
It was not so.
The day which had begun so bright and full of hope turned into a nightmare of terror, madness and death. The Cinder King’s army was vast beyond measure, overwhelming, cruel and cunning. The Emperor’s forces were routed in utter defeat.
The sun is setting. Citizens and soldiers of the Empire are falling back in panic, seeking refuge on the far side of the Tigeria River. You and the remnants of your company have been commanded to guard one of the few remaining bridges spanning those mighty waters. Your orders are to hold the line as long as possible to allow the survivors to escape.
Karlsburg has fallen. The Legion is defeated.
The Cinder King is coming.
The CCWC will be engaged in a narrative military campaign for a while. Set against the back drop of the Band Of Blades RPG, we’ll be using Advanced Song of Blades and Heroes for our combat and conflict resolution.
Mission 1: Hold the Bridge
Our beleaguered heroes manage to rally four Legion scouts to assist them. The black smoke of a thousand fires rises over Karlsburg. An unnatural chill seeps into the air as forces of the Cinder King approach your position.
First Wave: Plague Rats
Enormous rats slink into view, a writhing hissing swarm, stinking of filth and disease race up the lane directly toward the bridge. Matt’s wizard and two of the Scouts move out and dispatch them with relative ease. Thankfully, no one was bitten.
“A jab to test our mettle,” the mage calls out. “Steady. More enemies approach. “
Second Wave: Undead Hounds
This next group divides, one half up the lane, the other veering off toward the farmhouse to come around by the well. The Wizard and Scouts step up again. On the flank, the Cleric hefts his mace and advances to meet the hell-whelped curs.
The pack’s viciousness forces our heroes to fall back a few paces but in the end, they prevail and the dogs are killed. No time to rest – the third wave of the enemy approaches.
Third Wave: Zombies.
The citizens of Karlsburg died horribly but they find no rest in death. Reanimated by the Cinder King’s dark arts, a horde shuffles and stumbles toward the bridge. Our heroes and the scouts hold their nerve and continue the fight. But the weight of the undead’s numbers begins to tell. Our heroes are driven back.
Carefully, the defenders fall back, making the undead pay for every step. No sooner does the last mob crumple in a rotted heap than a foul monster, an abomination sprung from blackest madness, surges up the dirt road. It bellows and charges straight for the bridge. The Wizard, John’s Ranger, and Max’s Rogue step in its path.
Brutal combat ensues. Perhaps the Gods still smile on Mankind. Or perhaps they just love fools. Either way, all of the frenzied beast’s attacks miss. The Wizard and the Rogue avoid its scything arm blades and distract it while the Ranger delivers the killing blow. A Gruesome Kill.
The creature screams rage even as it dies. Broken and bloody, it falls in a heap at their feet.
The last of the survivors in the area have made it to safety. Other than our heroes and their trusty Legion scouts, there’s no one else in sight.
No one else living, that is.
Another wave of undead appears, thick as a plague of locusts. It’s time to cross the river.
The Legion’s sappers blow the bridge the moment the defenders’ boots touch the other bank. The Cinder King’s forces are stuck on the other side – for now.
A handful of officers and veterans try to rally the men, keep them ready for the inevitable follow-up attack, but the air is thick with smoke and screams, the stench of slaughter and defeat. Their bodies are battered and exhausted. Their minds and spirits broken by the horrors birthed from the Cinder King’s black sorcery. A defeated and demoralized army falls to its knees on the east bank of the Tigeria. Where will they find the strength, the hope to go on?
Our heroes are asking themselves the same question when an messenger appears. His arm is bandaged and bloody, his young face etched with grime, streaked clean by tears. He holds out a rolled parchment.
“The Commander wants to see you.”
Til next week.