The ‘once-a-month’ crew showed up last Saturday for the next episode of the Steelheart Saga. (yes, that’s what I’m calling it. Because it sounds cool)
Recap: 1. Our heroes scoured the Wilds for clues to the location of the Tomb of Alrik Steelheart, ancient king and hero of the Dwarf clans.
2. The party entered Alrik’s Tomb and cleansed it of the foul majiks of a Necromancer and his apprentice who were attempting to raise the spirit of said ancient, legendary Stunty.
3. After liberating treasure and artifacts from the Tomb, the crew headed down the mountain to the town of Greeft where they encountered a sketchy human Bard, a clutch of tetchy Dwarves, and a trio of aloof Elves. Oh, and a cluster of oversize spiders. (cluster being an appropriate term) It would seem they were drawn after our heroes because of a certain vampiric sword the Barbarian took from the dead Necromancer.
This session, our party continues down the mountain toward the nearest human city…
Occasional Tom was unable to attend so four player characters, one with an owl companion named Scowl. Other players have come and gone. The current roster stands with Chris running a Barbarian fighter, (a ‘Blade’, in NW parlance) Matt with a Mancer (spellcaster), Jasmine with a CQB Tracker and owl buddy, and Seamus as another Blade but in a rogue-ish kind of way.
Soon after their departure from Greeft, our heroes found themselves in a stretch of deep forest where they heard strange, alluring music coming from a clearing. Two of the party went to investigate while the other two remained on the road, alert.
This group of gamers has been quite gracious, volunteering to playtest a set of simple RPG rules to accompany standard Nightwatch games. Accordingly, each session has both narrative scenes and combat encounters. Here, the Tracker and Barbarian came upon a troll playing a cello-like instrument.
The troll paused when he saw them but the tracker immediately tossed a gold coin at his feet. That small act of kindness earned them a trollsong; a one-of-a-kind impromptu musical weaving of primal energy that revives listeners and imbues them with strength for the journey. (D10 Action dice for the first round of their next tactical encounter) Back on the road, Matt and Seamus appreciated the tune but were not empowered.
Further down the mountain road, the signs of civilization grow numerous: cultivated farmland, herds and flocks in fenced pastures, homesteads clustered behind stockade walls. Our party happened upon a tinker and merchant making his rounds.
The group bartered an semi-precious oddity from Alrik’s Tomb (a small dwarven statue) for a number of potions and tokens. The trader called their attention to a heavy, black iron key they’d found in the Tomb. (Very old, very dangerous magic clinging to it.)
He also warned them he’d seen strange tracks half a league back. He didn’t recognize them but they were large and deep, and went into the foothills overlooking a large fortified homestead called ‘Cally’s Venture’.
Forewarned is Forearmed
Being the decent, principled sort of adventurers, (if not always law-abiding) the group elected to investigate the tracks when they came upon them. A quick aerial reconnaissance by Scowl the Owl revealed a band of Ork raiders preparing to savage the unsuspecting Cally and company. Enough talk. Time to Fight!
Successful recon and stealth allowed the group to position themselves one move in from the mat edge anywhere they wanted. Hunters always go first anyway, and Jasmine’s Tracker and Chris’ Blade get 3 D10 for their first round Action Dice Pool. (Pro Tip: Toss a coin to your Troll Singer)
Get in the first punch
The Hunters used their first round advantage to good effect: Matt’s Mancer cast Elemental Fury on the Ork Shaman and two brutes. Chris’ Barbarian charged his way toward a second pair. Jasmine’s Tracker fired her one-hand crossbow at the war boss while Seamus’ rogue got all stabby with the other brute. Hilarity ensued, as did wounds and sudden death. By the end of the round, half the greenskins were down for the count or bleeding heavily.
The remaining orks fought back but their initial losses gutted the effort. The ork Shaman cast a series of ineffective spells although the Barbarian took a good hit while hewing down more brutes. The war boss charged his tormentor while Seamus’ rogue went toe-to-toe with a no-neck tusker swinging a huge axe.
All over but the crying
Fortune favors the bold. And those who take down half their opponents in the opening salvo.
The greenskins simply could not rally after getting slammed. Jasmine’s Tracker – who had already sunk two crossbow bolts into the war boss, fends off his charge and stabs him in the throat with her short sword. Seamus ‘ rogue slices and dices his foe. The Barbarian should definitely name his great axe something cool after this, and Matt’s Mancer blasted the Ork Shaman and his helper into pieces with a superb cast of a Superior Mage Bolt spell.
Time to loot the bodies and inform the inhabitants of Cally’s Venture they’re safe for a while.
The Steelheart Saga will continue in August. The group is headed for a city. But those Dwarves and Elves will be back. And what’s the deal with the old black key, anyway?
That’s it for now. Have an excellent weekend.
Thanks for stopping by.