Iral Darkstar: elf (former cook, vain, has a samurai mask and a pet spider)
Jym Hawke: specialist (former miner, glutton, has a Robin Hood hat, pet canary and a mule called Bob);
Randalf: magic-user (former quack, superstitious, a witch/warlock, with a black cat and a broom).
As night fully falls, the three adventurers, Iral Darkstar, Jym Hawke and Randalf, descend into the gatehouse with torch lit.
Inside they find nothing except boot prints; someone has been here recently, no more than a few hours ago. The rest of the gatehouse is empty, so they cross the courtyard (spotting the well, where they expect the creature came from), and make their way to the two-storey building that acts as the keep.
The door opens easily and inside all looks quiet, dark and fairly free of dust. A few scuff marks show that someone has been this way too. Several doors lead into other rooms, and a staircase leads up. The first door opens easily, and reveals a cluttered room of rubbish. While Randalf keeps watch (believing that there are bandits nearby; he heard a bird caw, and thought it a signal), the others search the room: they find a bolt-hole, the door hidden behind all the broken furniture and rat droppings. They open it and find the skeletal remains of a man, possibly a priest. He is wearing a silver signet ring (which they take), a bronze necklace with a figurine of St Barry (patron of warriors) hanging from it (also taken), and a locked iron strongbox, which the elf puts in his pack.
They continue exploring the ground floor, finding empty rooms (a former kitchen, a couple of storerooms, the great hall), and also a room with a staircase leading down…
…and from which torchlight flickers. Despite trying to be quiet, someone hears them, and Iral hears voices from below:
“Barney, did you hear something? Go and have a look. I’ll hold the torch”.
Footsteps are heard on the stairs, and Jym quickly puts out his torch, and ducks into the storeroom. Iral Darkstar takes a step back behind the door to the stairwell, and Randalf hides behind a pillar in the hall, sling at the ready.
It is virtually pitch black now, with just a couple of shafts of moonlight shining through cracks in the walls. Only the magic-user can make out a figure appear at the doorway, although the elf hears him.
Randalf lets loose with his sling: and a well-aimed shot, and perhaps a little luck, puts the stone right between the man’s eyes; he falls down, dead.
Jym Hawke quickly relights the torch and they waste no time looting the body: finding a pouch of coins, a short sword, dagger, light crossbow with 10 bolts, and the leather armour the man wears. They take an ear too, as proof of the kill; for this can only be one of the bandits, surely. Randalf takes and loads the crossbow, and gives Jym his sling back.
They sneak to the stairs, and hear voices down stairs. Another bandit, making two, whispering. A voice calls out: “Barney, you there?” He calls a couple more times, before Iral tries to bluff that he is Barney, but to no avail; the bandits aren’t coming out.
A quick discussion and a plan if formed: they will use the dead body as a shield, pushing it before them, as the three adventurers go down to deal with the bandits. Despite some reservations from Randalf, they all agree and put the plan into action.
Iral gives a gurgling scream, then he and Jym carry the body down, weapons ready, with the magic-user at the back with his new crossbow. They enter a cellar, where two bandits stand, crossbows ready: they fire, and while one misses, the other grazes Jym’s cheek! They dump the body and charge into the room.
Straight away, Iral stabs a bandit through the heart, and the man falls dead. Jym spots the other bandit moving a door, into a corridor lined with cells. He follows and takes a swipe, but misses; and sees another bandit at the end of the corridor, armed with crossbow. Randalf comes up behind Jym and shoots at this third man, but his bolt flies wide. That bandit returns fire, and his bolt hits the magic-user right in the chest, and Randalf falls to the ground, unconscious and bleeding to death. The elf comes to join Jym, and they both attack the bandit, which falls to the stabbing sword of Jym. They move up to the last bandit, and after a few exchanges, the bandit’s blows all parried or dodged, Iral slashes him across the throat and the bandit falls dead.
They quickly tend to Randalf’s wounds, making him drink the healing potion that the magic-user fortunately has; he wakes up, feeling fine. They loot and the bodies, cut off more ears, and the magic-user finds a suit of leather armour he can fit into, and dons it, feeling better protected.
They decide to press on and search the cells, locating another secret door at the back of one cell. They open it carefully, finding a tunnel; which they follow, to another door, with voices behind it.
Hoping to surprise whoever is there, they push the secret door open and storm in; but no one is surprised, and the two bandits guarding a room with three doors off it, open fire with their crossbows, but thankfully miss. The one nearest a door starts kicking it with his heel, whilst reloading and shouting “We’re under attack! Get up, you lazy sods!”
Moving into the room, more bolts are fired by all sides, all missing. Iral slashes at the bandit before him, but only scratches him. He parries the counter-attack. The other bandit crosses swords with Jym, who charged in and missed; the bandit scores a hit, stabbing the human in the chest and drawing blood. Not wanting to fire into melee, Randalf draws the sword he looted and moves up to help Jym, and succeeds in cutting through the bandit’s armour and kills him!
Beyond the door, shouts and noises of people donning swords and armour can be heard. The adventurers combine their attacks on the remaining bandit, realising that their luck is about to run out and that soon they will be overwhelmed: they need to deal with this bandit and flee!
Blows are exchanged, and Iral takes a hit, then Randalf managed to hit the bandit twice, but only wounds him; leaving it up to Iral to deliver the killing blow.
Quickly, they loot the bodies and chop out ears, while Jym tinkers with the lock on the door to the barracks and locks it. Then they retreat through the secret door, locking the cell behind them, and hurry up and out of the cellar, out of the keep (via the forest), and make their way safely back to the village and the tavern.
There, the barkeeper looks surprised and a little alarmed at their state, but they reassure him that they are fine, order some ale and food, then retire for the night to tend to their wounds and count their loot.
End of Session
- # Kills: 1 monster, 6 bandits;
- # PC deaths: 0 (but came close twice now);
- # Shields Splintered: 1;
- Total XP: 262 (monster, bandits, loot).
A very tense and fun game. Every round was a moment where we fully expected for luck to turn against the PCs and the bandits to kill them. The highest hit points of the group is only 4, and none of them are fighters. But, time after time, they managed to succeed and ended the session with six bandits dead, some loot, and a few wounds. The magic-user nearly died, but they fed him the potion (gained in character gen) and saved his life.
Really enjoying this game. Looking forward to next Monday’s session :)