Our Cast of Players:
- Achmed (Dave): Human Thief, level 7.
- Albrecht (Rick): Human Priest, level 6.
- Kaji (Ian): Human Wizard, level 6.
- Pioden (Craig): Elf Warrior/Wizard/Thief, level 4/4/5.
- Randall (Alan): Halfling Bard, level 6.
- William (Max): Human Warrior, level 6.
Total XPs awarded from the previous session: 4,858
The argument over how best to attack the cultists’ camp rages. Some of you favour taking the horses, others want to leave them; some want to take the cart, others want to leave it; some want to try and create a flanking attack, others favour a straightforward assault; some want to attack now, others want to wait for the cover of darkness. On and on the debate goes, seemingly for hours, until Pioden points out that in all likelihood the cultists know you are coming anyway, given that at least one of them escaped from the foiled ambush earlier. On top of that, they would have to be blind not to see you coming from their position on the hill whereon the only tree is the blasted one at the very summit.
That’s enough for Albrecht, who leaps astride his horse, ready for action. Kaji hastily casts a warding spell to protect you from any missile fire that may come your way, and then he, William, and Achmed also saddle up. Randall and Pioden are more cicumspect, deciding to follow on the relative safety of Shanks’s pony.
Before you set off up the hill, Pioden spends a good ten minutes surveying it with his sharp elven eyesight. The lone tree at the top of the hill dominates the landscape, huge and half-
barren of leaves. Four small tents are gathered around the base of the ancient looking tree, with a fifth tent pitched at the very base of the tree. A heavy waggon stands halfway up the hil with a wisp of smoke spiralling into the air coming from close by it,
As you break the tree line and start to ascend the hill, angling across in front of the camp. Pioden points out that you can now see the smoke is coming from a campfire, with half a dozen grizzled men in armour crouched before it. The men look to be laughing and talking, seemingly inattentive, and passing a drinking skin between themselves.
The horsemen decide to head straight up the hill towards the camp, and quickly leave Pioden and Randall behind. When you are roughly halfway up the hill, a fizzing and hissing sphere comes arcing through the air from behind the waggon and smacks into the ground in the midst of the four of you on horseback, and directly in front of Albrecht, where it explodes with a loud roar sending a wave of flame in all directions. All of the horses are instantly killed, sending you tumbling to the ground, burned and scorched. Kaji’s horse rolls over onto him, crushing the wizard underneath its lifeless body and rendering him unconscious.
The six men around the camp fire are on their feet and charging down the hill towards you before the fireball has impacted, screaming “For Pyraxus and glory!”, their seeming innattention now revealed to be no more than a ruse. Three more follow them from behind the waggon, one of them a giant of a man in a breastplate and brandishing a greatsword in one hand. Albrecht desperately drags Kaji free of his horse’s body and prays to the gods to heal him, while William, Pioden, and Albrecht shoot at the charging men. Achmed drops two with well aimed crossbow bolts, Pioden adds another to the tally of the dead, and he and William wound two more between them.
The recovered but dazed Kaji manages to hit two of the survivors with a sleeping spell but another fireball comes arcing down the hill and detonates in the middle of the lead four once more, causing more serious damage. William picks off the remaining cultists with two well placed arrow shots. There is little else he can do as he finds making progress on foot up the steep hill in his full plate armour tricky to say the least. Randall starts ditching his heavy gear in an attempt to increase his mobility and thereby reduce his sitting duck status.
The two men from the second group clatter into Albrecht, thrusting their spears and wounding him. Albrecht disposes of them easily enough with his morning star though, and this opens up a line to the leader type, who takes an arrow from William, three sling bullets from Randall, two arrows from Pioden, two crossbow bolts from Achmed, and now resembles a porcupine more than anything else.
Abandoning his sword, the leader desperately throws two javelins at Pioden. Both miss and it is as well that they do so as an arc of lightning erupts from the end of each as they harmlessly strike the ground. This gives Albrecht the opportunity he needs to move in close and finish the man.
With no sign of anyone responsible for the fireballs, Kaji decides to take no chances and starts to work the arcane energies needed to cast his most recently acquired and powerful spell. He fumbles over the words somewhat but, after a short delay, he corrects himself and a dome of steaming ice forms over the waggon. With no further enemies in sight, Pioden and Albrecht adminster a coup de grâce to the pair sleeped by Kaji.
Nursing some bad burns, you stagger up the hill to the campsite, leaving the struggling William some way behind. Achmed surveys the campsite. There are three small tents and a larger one a little way from the blasted tree, all plain and unadorned with open tent flaps. The fifth and largest tent is pitched at the base of the tree and is cut from black cloth emblazoned with runes sewn in gold thread. Its wide flaps are tied closed by heavy ropes laced with silver. Achmed peers into the nearest of the smallest tents and sees five bedrolls, a cask, a crate, a lantern, and eight javelins standing in one corner.
Kaji decides to dispel the dome of ice of covering the waggons and motions you all to stand ready. As it disappears, the waggon is revealed once more, now covered in glistening frost, and a circle of grass has been burned by the deadly cold. Achmed looks into the waggon, short sword ready, but finds it is empty. Pioden looks underneath and finds a body wearing red robes frozen into a foetal position. He drags it out and finds it to be the body of a middle aged man. He has a sheathed dagger at his waist, a staff clutched in one stiff hand, and a leather satchel slung over one shoulder. Randall attempts to detect magic and reports emanations from within the satchel. Kaji takes and opens the satchel and finds within a gold ring set with a ruby, 35 silver coins, and a large tome, clearly a spellbook, which he opens eagerly and starts to riffle through!
To be continued…