Saturday, July 31, 2021

DM Report: Expedition to Eagle Valley

   The crew finally decided to head to Eagle Valley to see what they could learn about the Duke of Bandits and his incursions on the Seaward frontier. The players and PCs:

Jennifer: Brigid, 8th level barbarian, wielder of Mor Altach, the berserker's blade.

   henchman: Byron, 7th level cleric.

Jack: Athanasius, 7th level cleric.

   henchman: Carlton, 5th level paladin

    henchman: Chiun, 6th level monl

Alex: Starkiller, 5th/5th/5th fighter/mage/cleric

Sam: Greystar, 7th level mage

    henchman: Alton, 6th level cleric

    henchman: Benton, 6th level fighter

Nick: Thorin, 6th/6th fighter/thief

    The party met up in Esber at the inn owned by the Company of the Dark Moon and planned. They had reports of a spy in the Falcon Tower (on of the Count of Ekull's motte and bailey forts on the frontier) and hoped to get there to learn how the bandits were coordinating.

  The first day they reached the village of Rowaneter they learned of trouble in the mountain mines and that farmers were fleeing the frontier. The next day they encountered gnomish mining engineers travelling back to the Four Counties that told of goblins in the mountains and bandit raids on the frontier.  They reached Merlin Tower by that night and were forced to camp outside its walls.

  That night Brigid's dream self was taken by the Black Rider to see Baba Yaga. Baba Yaga repaid the favor she owed Brigid by telling her that the Bandit Duke was a mere catspaw for the ogre magi. The ogre magi planned to conquer Wyvern Keep in 30-90 days. Baba Yaga asked Brigid to prevent this to 'save Vasilissa's life' and that if she and her friends killed the ogre magi chief Baba Yaga would owe them another favor. In the meantime, she ws to fight the bandits.

  In the morning the party went into the outer bailey and had breakfast with the commander of Merlin Tower. The commander was assuring them of the safety of the frontier, that the Count had rooted out spies, and that the battle was easily won when...

...Thorin backstabbed him.

  The commander snapped out a pair of knives and the party backed Thorin by cutting down the commander. they quickly seized control of the tower and captured two men trying to escape. Then  they asked Thorin what happened.

  "My bracelet said he was evil and a liar trying to get us killed."

  Everyone relaxed since Thorin's bracelet is an Agathion.

  Interrogating the prisoners revealed that the commander and 3 of his men were in league with the Bandit Duke. As this was happening the new tower commander pointed out that there was smoke from Eagle Tower. Athanasius ordered him to build a bonfire to make it look like Merlin Tower was also burning, and the party went to the top of the main keep, 100' above the valley floor.

  They were a bit surprised - the Duke's army was at the ford to the village of Lordbrook and obviously had quickly captured the town just 3 miles away that very morning. The party rode out to talk to some of the farmers fleeing the edges of the army and learned the Duke himself was leading the army. One peasant had been close and described the coat of arms of the Duke and his closest ally, a mage. At the description Brigid went white with fury and had to roll a berserk test.

  The Duke was the exiled Alban raider FitzConer, called the Hammer of Eiru, and his companion was his cousin Alkazor, called the Accursed. They had been the joint leaders of the invaders that had killed Brigid's uncles and all of her older brothers when she was only 7-9 years old. Exiled by the Alban king they had vanished, until now. The tragedy that had beggared her clan, that had driven the mirth from her mother, that had eventually forced her to travel far to earn a fortune. had been caused by these two men.

  As they party was getting an idea of the quickly-forming military camp it began to rain, and rain hard. They retreated into the bailey to plan and as night fell they set out.

  The party approached the outer ring of pickets and cavalry guards, left their horses with Carlton and Benton (both of whom are excellent lancers) and crept forward on foot. Ambushing and quickly slaying to cavalry guard, they rushed into range of the camp and started dumping Fireballs and Lightning Bolts from wands. The other cavalry guards were soon closing from behind them and Sir Hue the Perilous was magically prepared to ride out to meet them virtually instantly. Moments later the bandit lancers were getting ready and the Duke was getting armed, so the party fled back towards their horses.

  The cavalry guards tried to stop them, but the party killed a few in a round and the rest rode of to harass them with arrows. Greystar dumped a very wide Plant Growth hedge that really slowed down Sir Hue and the party got mounted and fled toward Merlin Tower. But around the south end of the hedge the Duke came riding at tremendous speed, obviously aiming to get between them and safety as Sir Hue came around the north end, also riding fast and hard, soon to catch them (the Nobleman ability to add speed to horses).

  The party paused. Athanasius case Implore. Greystar case Monster Summoning I. Then they kept riding. After three rounds the Duke was ahead and shouted his warcry which triggered Brigid's berserkegang - she rode off, swinging her sword Mor Altach as the sword sang its war song.

  Mor Latcha;s song: video

  Behind them Sir Hue (whose coat of arms is a field azure with upright lance sable and 29 drops of blood, one for each knight he has killed in a joust) called out,

  "You shall either die a tired coward or a brave man of honor, choose!"

  I checked loyalty for the henchmen and ruled that the paladin Carlton asked permission to joust, which Athanasius granted. Carlton turned to face his doom and rode at Sir Hue.

  The next round was very, very busy. In the very first segment the badgers summoned by Greystar's Summoning appeared and rushed off toward the Duke. And the Implore's result also happened - an old brass dragon appeared and bit at Sir Hue. It missed, but it revealed something to Carlton, who adjusted his lance as they made a pass.

  At this point Jack said,

  "Carlton has a +1 Lance of Jousting and good stats. If he pulls this off? He's a PC.!"

  Brigid and the Duke slammed into each other at started cutting each other to ribbons. Starkiller hit the Duke's horse with Ray of Enfeeblement and the horse went down, disrupting the Duke's attacks. Berserk Brigid leapt off her horse to fight mroe.

  I broke out the jousting rules and we used the war jousting rules. Sir Hue - flat-out missed completely. But Carlton, due to his Lance of Jousting, scored a True Smite and unhorsed Sir Hue, causing 80% of his hit points + lance damage!! All these rolls were made in front of the players and the shouts of amazement were pure gold. The damage was enough to knock Sir Hue to 0 h.p.

  bout this time Alakzor appeared above them on a carpet of flying, made visible as he dispelled the dragon. Greystar, Starkiller, and Athanasius immediately hit him with a ton of spells, revealing he was within a Minor Globe! Byron was doing his best to cure Brigid in battle as she and the duke just beat each other with swords. Benton made a pass with heavy lance against the Duke, but he was just too tough to go down easy.

  Over the next two round the party was finally able to bring down the Minor Globe and disrupt the carpet - Alkazor dropped down, still casting, saved by his Slippers of Feather Fall, and it turned out the warriors were all on the duke, the mages all on the mage. Greystar, always unconventional, started grappling Alkazor and the next two rounds were the nerd fight of two mages pummeling and grappling in the rain to disrupt each other's spells. Starkiller was busy throwing spells at the bandit lancers who were getting close

  Then Carlton rode down Alkazor with his lance, killing him, and the blood loss from Mor Altach i=finally brought down the Duke. All three of the top leaders were dead. The party grabbed their bodies and horses and fled to the Merlin Tower. They stripped the bodies and cast Consecrate on them and then had them stored under heavy rocks.

  The next morning the officers of the army were leading the bandits back toward Freetown. Athanasius rode out under a white flag and parley ensued. Eventually it was agreed that the bandits would safely lead all their five hundred  slaves to the edge of the forest and then they'd flee beyond the borders of Seaward rather than a protracted ground fight with a major military force.


DM Notes:

Quote from the table #1: "You sit there, behind that screen, and talk. And everything is in our imagination, not real. And yet I am so stressed out I need to take a break."

Quote from the table #2: "So Sir Hue was a cheater and the very first joust he did without cheating he died in the first pass? What a loser. We're paying bards to spread tales of his cheating so he is remembered as an honorless loser forever."

Quote from the table #3: nick: "I can;t see the evil wizard, so that's bad. Knowing Rick "Not  A Killer DM" Stump he's summoning a banshee to attack us."
Me: "he riding an invisible blue dragon right above you."
Nick: "Really?!

Me: "No, but I am saving that for later."

Quote from the table #4: "I must admit, that entire scene - we're fleeing for our lives, death is catching up, a dragon sent from Heaven appears to show us how Hue cheats, and then that fight, all within a heavy thunderstorm the sky rent with lightning, out voices drowned in thunder? We gotta make a movie."'

Background: The Eagle Valley has been building up for a long time. The timeline for the bad guys meant they were invading this week of the calendar and the players' timing was perfect completely by accident!

More details, including some unique magic items and a writeup of Sir Hue the Perilous will be added to my Patreon (see top right!).


  1. Hello, i think blogger swallowed my comment on previous post,
    what are you using for the Nobleman class?
    thank you in advance.