Saturday, 19 September 2015

Iron Kingdoms Roleplay - Session Fourteen

For those of you who haven't been keeping up you can find earlier sessions and background material in here. The stats of the player characters can be found here should you be interested and the rest of the 'Brotherhood of the Rail' mercenary companies NPC's backgrounds can be found here.

This weeks attendees would be Captain Sebastian LaCroix (Toms character), His Lieutenant Rafaldo Scorgiani (Steve's character), Martin's Priestess and 'Spiritual Advisor' character Danika Jansen, the Mechanik Bragg Halvard (Harry's character) and my Ogrun 'Bosh' Skullsplitter. Andrews new Pygmy Troll character Toborg Lugosh will be temporarily moved to NPC status as he's GMing for the next couple of sessions. We also have a new player (Phil) joining us this session whose Alchemist character 'Johan Holm' will be introduced to us early in the mission...there may be more to him than meets the eye though...

Note - Andrew has sent me his notes so I've copied them out to include in this write up so they'll obviously be in a 'reading to the group' style. This'll save me a lot of time trying to remember everything as he said it during the session and hopefully wont effect your reading enjoyment too much bouncing between the two styles of writing.

Mission Fourteen - 'A Distinct Lack of Trust...'
After being used as bait by Sebastian's contact from the resistance in order to reveal a traitor in their own ranks opinion on the resistance is split amongst the group. Bosh and Bragg are beginning to have some doubts about the cause given their overall positive experiences of the Khadorans and negative ones of the resistance with Bosh in particular arguing that the next betrayal should be responded to with violence. Danika is giving serious consideration to the monetary value of resistance members to the Khadoran authorities with only Rafaldo and Sebastian erring on the side of giving the benefit of the doubt...though even Sebastian is somewhat disturbed by the ease with which his 'friend' put him in severe danger...

Editors Note - I'll be referring to the events in the previous mission quite a lot so if you didn't read it now would be a good time to do so. It can be found here.

You awake as well rested as possible after your escape. Sebastian has been forced to spend a considerable amount of time explaining to their Transcontinental Rail Company contact why he is currently calling himself Baron Johan Harrick without incriminating himself.

Outside the train you can see an increased Khadoran military presence. Darling is waiting in the officers meeting room with Sebastian. "Apologies for the commotion. It seems a group of local people caused quite a stir yesterday and as such all security has been stepped up." He pauses and gestures at a Warjack outside as an example.

"Anyway 'Baron' there is a man outside to see you...he claims to be your former butler in Llael. I'll show him in on my way out.Gregor walks in wearing a good quality suit of clothing that seems designed to blend in as best as possible and without a single hair out of place. "Greetings sir. It's good to see you again. I have a small favour to ask..."

"I'm setting out with some other former retainers to the hillside area of the lowlands. It is known as bandit country and the authorities claim to have no men spare as an escort." "They do offer a one off payment offered by some local nobles for keeping these men safe and you will be armed as you leave"

A further commotion is heard from outside with a lot of shouting in Khadoran. Looking outside you see a mercenary attempting to leave the station. She is armed and arguing with the Khadoran guards when suddenly a shot rings out and the mercenary crumples to the ground. A voice calls out in broken Llaelese "Any-one bringing weapons into the city will face the same consequences."

Gregor continues "Sir, my party is leaving in a few hours please meet us by the South gatehouse"

Editors Note - Several notes were passed around during this intro. My characters one related to something that he wasn't going to do anyway but I'm guessing the others were more relevant.

Bosh immediately took the attitude that this was obviously going to turn into some mission for the resistance and given his recent experiences of them they were no doubt about to be betrayed, used or in some way inconvenienced. He also stated quite clearly that the next member of the 'resistance' who tried to do any of the above was going to get themselves brutally murdered on the spot. Sebastian argued that this was still a paying job and that though he wasn't happy about the circumstances of yesterdays ambush he did understand the necessity of such harsh decisions. Rather surprisingly given her childhood Danika agreed with Bosh's point of view and Bragg had also made his opinion clear after being the closest to capture and death during the aforementioned ambush. Rafaldo had well known anti-Khadoran views so sided with Sebastian's decision to take the job. After some back and forth Sebastian was forced to make the decision an order rather than a request and though Bosh wasn't particularly happy about it he was honour bound to comply given his pledges to the company. Danika on the other hand was swayed by the hundred crowns payment...

It was unlikely however that they'd be getting Bosh's best work this time...

The group took their usual liberal interpretation of the 'no weapons' rule and between Sebastian's armoury of concealed weapons, Rafaldo's sword cane, Bragg's 'tool' belt, Danika's 'Symbol of Office' and Bosh's bulk making concealing weapons fairly simple they were all more than prepared for any trouble that might occur between the train and the gatehouse. Rafaldo and Danika's considerable knowledge of offensive and defensive magic were also as good as any weapons or armour. Gregor also claimed to have a way of smuggling a crate out of the city and offered to transport additional weapons of their's to a rendezvous point where they could be collected outside of the Khadoran guards influence.

They also took some time to look through the equipment crate left them by the resistance as the previous night they'd been far more focussed on the beer and wine. It contained many useful items to those with more subtle approaches to warfare such as cleverly designed pouches for hiding items, pens filled with explosives, rings with poison hidden within and other similar items. These were split between the group though being designed for human hands were little use to Bosh who just emptied out the smaller items and used the pouches for hiding his knives inside instead.

Act One - 'Another Johan?'
You arrive at the southern gate. Gregor is there with your 'rescuers' from the previous mission who are all looking well. This time they are accompanied by an Alchemist of some description. "This is Johan, another retainer. If you're ready the guards will arm you as we already have the relevant papers"

Editors Note - You can't really ask a player to change their characters cover identity name just because it's the same as some other characters cover identity name...

Though strict about the carrying of weapons in the city the Khadoran gate guards are not unsympathetic to the need for citizens to defend themselves when in the wilds so those with legitimate business (and the appropriate papers) are issued basic weapons from the Winter Guard armoury. These consist of basic but functional axes, blunderbuss's and halberds for those who use them. To say that Sebastian looked upon these weapon options with utter disdain would be an understatement of epic proportions but the others did a fair job of feigning gratitude. The payment was in the form of writs to be cashed in upon return to the city and the lack of immediate coin moved Danika back into the 'Not a fan of the Resistance' camp.

After organising yourselves you leave the city via the South gate and after travelling for about an hour you arrive at a burnt out farmhouse. Gregor looks on "These were good people, they sheltered some of the resistance, provided food for refugees and paid for it with their lives."

It's possible that what Bosh muttered at this point was "Here it bloody comes..."

"Sebastian, this is why you're here. Several of our safe-houses are gone and members of the resistance are being held prisoner." "There's a small camp where several of my men are being held. Llael needs them and we need them. If we can get them to our camp in the East we can hide them on your train and smuggle them into free Llael."

A cart can be heard approaching and Gregor smiles. "Gentlemen your weapons are here, stash the Khador items away for when we re-enter"

Every-one re-equipped themselves with their more familiar equipment and prepared themselves for some more dealings with the resistance. Bosh becomes even more vocal about the imminent chance of them being betrayed again and is seemingly trying to provoke Gregor and his followers at every available opportunity but them seem unwilling to take the bait. Bosh decided to let the Resistance lead the way as to be quite frank he didn't trust any of them and found himself next to the alchemist who was the only one of their number he hadn't encountered yesterday after the ambush. Of course the ambush inevitably came up in the conversation as Bosh had been mentioning it pretty much every five minutes since it had happened. Johan used a walking stick to assist him as he had a pronounced limp and a patch covered one eye as presumably an occupational hazard of being an alchemist was the high chance of injury.

He was somewhat surprised to find that the alchemist Johan claimed to have raised significant objections to the plan to use them as bait and had petitioned for a better idea but none could be decided upon so had eventually (and with some reluctance) gone along with it. He did also admit though that once the majority decision had been made he hadn't put any obstacles in it's way. Bosh had to give this Johan credit for his honesty at least as it was a quality he deemed sadly lacking in the other resistance associates he'd encountered recently.

Gregor and his men lead you through a forest area towards the camp. You can then see smoke rising and your guides break into a run and as you get closer you can hear the unmistakeable sounds of screaming...

Apparently being more experienced in the area of caution than their guides the Brotherhood members advanced more slowly and due to his bad leg the alchemist Johan advanced at a similarly cautious pace. Just ahead a temporary camp consisting mainly of hastily constructed tents and roughly constructed guard towers could be seen. The guards in the three towers were facing in the opposite direction to them as they were focussed on the events ahead where the bulk of the Khadoran troops were seemingly occupied by an attack from the far trees, Several men in Khadoran uniforms could be seen slain on the ground, their bodies pierced by large, stone tipped arrows. Seeing an opportunity to potentially free the prisoners while their enemies were occupied and before the resistance members who had charged ahead alerted every-one Sebastian signalled Bosh to take out the far guard tower while he dealt with the two closest ones. Two volleys of precision shots quickly removed the closest threats and Bosh's charge demolished the tower he'd been pointed at. The somewhat surprised guard had landed stunned in a heap and was quickly incapacitated by Bosh but not killed in case any useful information could be gleaned from him if necessary later.

With the camps remaining population dealing with the initial threat the rest of the Brotherhood advanced through it and systematically but quickly searched the tents as they passed through them. The only significant structure was a well built stockade in which several prisoners could be seen. The door was too sturdy to simply pull open but before Bosh decided to take a 'run-up' Bragg arrived and between them the door was removed. Danika moved as quietly as possible to where several horses were tied up and saddled one for herself before starting to do the same to the others in order to facilitate a fast escape. Rafaldo gave medical help where he could to the tired and malnourished prisoners but it was obvious that they would be unable to move at any speed. A hard decision would need to be made.

Act Two - 'The Enemy of my Enemy...'

The bow wielding enemies had emerged from the trees and were slaughtering any Khadoran's who had failed to fall back. To make matters worse a gigantic humanoid wolf some twelve feet in height had also emerged and was tearing it's way through the camp. It was immediately obvious from even a cursory look at their enemies that they could not be outrun.

Sebastian ordered the Brotherhood members to create a defensive perimeter and reinforce the prisoner stockade while Bosh fetched several barrels of gunpowder from the camps armoury on the vague chance that they could create some kind of trap for the giant wolf-like creature as it approached. It was decided that Danika was the most approachable looking of the group and with her priestly accoutrements would get the best response from the Khadorans. She rode close to them and in as brief as terms as possible claimed that they were a travelling group of mercenaries who had come upon the battle and strongly suggested that they fell back to the barricaded position they were creating so together they could defend against this new foe. Seeing the wisdom of this they withdrew in good form and formed up to the right of the stockade. Meanwhile Sebastian instructed the resistance Amethyst Rose Gun Mages to form up on the opposite side but not to open fire till the last minute so as to not alert the Khadorans to what they really were in order to keep these new allies from getting distracted.

An attempt was made by Danika to draw the Wolf creature towards the explosive trap but it was too intent on it's rampage to change direction so further attempts were aborted. It looked like they were going to have to do this the old fashioned way. The feral warriors were concentrating on the flank defended by the Khadoran's and though they were fighting valiantly their numbers were being systematically reduced by hails of deadly arrows with their melee weapon wielding brethren being close to charge range. Bosh was impressed with the Khadoran's resolve but it was apparent that even with Danika's inspiring shouts of encouragement that they would soon break. Being unaware that Sebastian had told the Gun Mages not to attack the already suspicious Ogrun immediately came to the conclusion that they were either incompetent or cowards...

Danika cast her defensive spells and glowing runes appeared in the air as her blessings reinforced the armour of those allies nearby as well as another enhancing the combat prowess of Bosh as he was moments away from being in range to charge into the closest of the approaching enemies. Finally she cast her deadliest spell that inflicted fiery wrath upon any enemy who chose to move towards her and by extension towards their reinforced position. Rafaldo's own magical abilities were creating havoc as the area of effect from his 'powder keg' spell tore apart creatures at it's centre before blasting those surrounding it off their feet disrupting their advance.

Sebastian opened fire upon the approaching wolf monster hoping that his one weapons paralysing enchantments would slow the monster down rather than out of any hope of damaging it significantly and succeeded..much to every-ones short term relief. Bragg was at a loss without his 'jack at his disposal but still wounded several of the approaching horde with ranged weapon fire. Toborg was nowhere to be seen. At this point the last of the Khadorans fell opening them up to attack from the right. Hoping to eliminate the giant wolf before it could shrug off the paralysing cold Bosh charged into it and with two mighty blows from his mechanikal warcleaver ensured that it would never move again. This did unfortunately leave him in the middle of the battlefield next to a rather conspicuous corpse and many enemy archers had begun to look in his direction.

Christophe Mayeux decided at this point that it was time to drop the identity of Johan Holm and dropped the walking cane, straightened up and drew his own magelock pistol. Magically enhanced shells from his weapon tore into the incoming opponents doing far more damage than a simple shell should be capable of with magical trickery causing enemies near to the target to be hit also. Now needing to reload he noted the Ogrun 'Bosh' about to be the target of a number of arrows from a group of at least five now somewhat disgruntled creatures and cast a spell of protection upon him that caused him to fade from their sight.

Editors Note - In case it's not obvious from the narrative Johan Holm the Alchemist is actually Christophe Mayeux the Spy and Gun Mage. I only remind you of this because later sections are written from the point of view of some characters that don't know that yet.

With the maintaining of her defensive and offensive priestly magic's taking only part of her attention Danika rode her newly 'borrowed' mount towards a nearby threat and killed it with a single blow from her mace while Rafaldo further disrupted the closing creatures with more explosive magic. She then cast again the 'Star Fire' spell causing the continuously advancing enemies to take even more damage as they tried to approach and the second application of this spell finished off several wounded from both her and Rafaldo's earlier attacks. Bragg added what ranged support he could by targeting any opponent he thought could be finished with his pistol. The rest of the resistance Gun Mages chose this moment to join in as one of them had fell to a well placed arrow but unfortunately there were now no threatening opponents in range so they had little of note.

With the strange wolf creature dead Sebastian turned his attention to what appeared to be the leader of the advancing group. With his usual accuracy the mechanikally enhanced shots hit home but the chieftain was extremely tough and survived the first wave of impacts despite suffering several grievous wounds.

Seeing that his Captain had elected to engage the enemy leader himself (as was his right of course) Bosh looked for alternative targets though was somewhat perturbed to find himself in the sights of five enemy archers with this passing emotion turning to surprise as all the arrows missed him bar one ineffectual glancing shot. It was at this point that he noticed that the resistance alchemist now appeared to be walking just fine and was reaping a laudable death toll amongst the creatures assaulting them and indeed seemed to be the only one of their 'allies' actually doing any damage. It also didn't escape his notice that the enemy archers disrupted aim coincided exactly with the appearance of several magical runes around the alchemist/mage. Not one to waste an opportunity Bosh charged into the group of archers and butchered them to a man making a mental note to thank the alchemist (or whatever he actually was) for the help when the battle was over.

The tide was now very much turning towards the Brotherhood and their allies. Sebastian finished off the enemy chieftain, Danika, Rafaldo, Bragg and the man introduced as Johan who was later to be re-introduced to them as Christophe Mayeux picked off any stragglers. The remaining two fighters were killed by the Ogrun's warcleaver and to add insult to injury the second was killed by the hurled body of the first.

With the battle over Bosh now had time to remember that he was still annoyed by the resistance...

For the second day running he'd been led into an ambush by the Llaelese resistance...the same Llaelese resistance no less and though he'd been ordered to help there was nothing to stop him defending himself should he be able to provoke them into violence. Several of this fellow officers knew him well enough to pre-empt the plan and headed over to intercept but were slightly too late. Bosh was well into a tirade questioning their competence, implying that the Khadoran's were more worthy allies than they were with a few more choice insults thrown in for good measure. Gregor pointed out that they had no idea that there was going to be an ambush so they could hardly be held responsible and it had become obvious to the Ogrun that he wasn't going to get the desired reaction. As a last attempt to provoke them he picked up the strange pistol dropped by the dead Gun Mage and tossed it to the man he knew as Johan the Alchemist stating that it might actually get used more effectively in his hands than it had in those of the previous owner...

With this last insult failing to get the desired reaction he gave up and turned his back on them all and therefore failed to notice the looks of surprise on their faces as 'Johan' kept the weapon rather than returning it...

Toborg mysteriously reappeared at this point which was fortunate as Bosh needed some-one with skinning skills to help him with a giant wolf pelt he'd taken a liking to. With trophies taken, prisoners made ready for travel and Danika suitably annoyed that there was nothing of value to loot the Brotherhood and what passed for their allies returned to Llael via the route they'd came with the exception of the prisoners who were snuck in via an alternate route.

Back to Reality.
Here's a brief over view of the session from Andrew as he's busy with real life at the moment.

I feel it went as well as could be. I'll be honest I wrote it three hours before we played, unfortunately real life had been running me ragged. If I had more time I'd have wrote up the next session earlier. I was happy Phil managed to fit in seamlessly and a bit sad that we lose Harry for a long while now.

Editors Note - Harry is apparently rather selfishly prioritising his education over role-playing sessions. we're all very disappointed in him, lol.

Thoughts and comments are (as usual) most welcome.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails