"Second Son of a Second Son" - An Aquerra Story Hour (*finally* Updated 04/19)

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Martin Olarin said:
Finally caught up - great job. I'm looking forward to future displays of prickery.

Was the characterization of Markos everything you feared it'd be? ;)

Expect another update (part 3 of Session #15) to go up some time tonight.
 

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Martin Olarin

First Post
el-remmen said:
Was the characterization of Markos everything you feared it'd be? ;)

Expect another update (part 3 of Session #15) to go up some time tonight.

Looking forward to the update and didn't see anything in M's characterization that didn't make sense given the circumstances.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Session #15 – “(Aborted) Goblin Genocide!” (part 3 of 3)

The watch-mage had been hanging back near where the main cavern branched off in opposite directions. Here, Telémahkos was having Tymon guard the passage to the right as he sent Dunlevey to reinforce the melee they could hear around the corner of the main passage. The passage to the right was much narrower than the entrance to cavern, not more than five feet wide in most places, and Telémahkos was turning away from looking down it when he noticed a canine figure creeping in his direction.

“Warg!” Telémahkos cried out in alarm. “Dunlevey to me!” He called the sell-sword back before he’d gotten very far.

“Well, I can’t get in there,” Dunlevey replied, as he came back into the narrow passage behind Telémahkos. “Move back and I’ll take your place!” But Telémahkos had other plans, leaping to avoid the bite of the warg; he flipped over it to land behind, penning it in between him and the sell-sword.

The warg was slightly smaller and thicker than those they had seen before, and its fur was a dirty gray-white. It shuffled to one side as it spun around to avoid the thrust of Telie’s rapier, but was not quick enough to avoid Dunlevey’s long sword. It yelped and snapped at him ineffectively.

“Falco! Watch the entrance,” Bleys called the archer back as he moved up, bow in hand to join the melee around the corner in the wider hall. Falco looked around and then did as asked, taking a moment to glimpse the cramped fight with the warg in the narrow branching tunnel as he passed. The warg had moved into the corner where the passageway turned to the right, keeping Dunlevey and Telémahkos from being able to flank it. It viciously yanked Dunlevey off his feet, tearing at the bushy-headed man’s calf to draw streams of blood. The warg let go as Telémahkos thrust at it, but in trying to bite the warrior again as he got up, it left itself open to a follow up thrust. Telémahkos grimaced as the point of the blade hit bone, and the whole blade bent, humming as he yanked it back. The warg’s blood sprayed up at him and it went wild, snapping in all directions. Dunlevey brought his sword across in wide arcing swing and the blade slammed into the passageway wall, flying out of his hands.

“Oops!” He cried stepping back to draw his shortsword, but then he cried out again. He turned in time to see a lankier wolf, with red-black fur and steaming red eyes come charging out from the passage across the way, grabbing hold of the back of his thigh with its teeth. “Devil wolf!” Dunlevey added with alarm.

Timotheus and Laarus fought side by side, the enlarged priest of Ra towering over everyone including Grotitich the ogre, and together they blocked access to their foes.

“Anhur! I have no room for battle, but you can reach where I cannot!” Victoria cried out to her god, and a ghostly spear shining with blue-white light appeared beside the ogre-blood, thrusting forth of its own accord. Grotitch yelped and ducked to avoid it, leaving himself open to a blow from Laarus’ over-sized flail. It slapped Timotheus in the side of the head with its club and moved back to draw the fight further down the hall.

Crusta cried as another arrow from Bleys clipped her shoulder.

“I said don’t shoot her,” Timotheus risked a stern look back at Bleys to his detriment, and the ogre struck him again, making his world a shaking blurry light for half a moment. “Run!” he cried to Crusta “Get to somewhere it is safe!”

“Help me! Handsome man!” Crusta cooed, and she began to move her hands in a casting motion. Markos, who crouched behind the melee, had been waiting for just that and before her spell could go off, she was reeling from the blows from two of his watery magic missiles. Laarus moved in, Grotitich put his shoulder down to absorb the brunt of the priest’s attack and swung upward catching Timotheus in the chest. He had still been trying to clear his head.

“What are you doing?” Timotheus called to the half-orc witch. The last blow had focused his vision for him, and he slashed the thing’s leg with his saber. It roared with dumb-anger. “Run, girl!” An arrow from Bleys was sticking out of the ogre-blood’s forearm.

Crusta began to once again mutter the incantation of a spell, and Timotheus as certain he heard her call to Isis as she touched Grotitch on the back with a glowing hand, healing some of his wounds. It was not enough however. Laarus reverted to normal size as Markos dismissed the enlarge person spell to allow the priest a chance to squeeze into the area. Laarus charged in and slammed the ogre-blood full on in the face. The echo of crunching skull ran down the hall, and Grotitch collapsed.

“No! No! No!” The half-orc archer cried out with woe and fear. Tears streaming down his face, he sent an arrow that buried itself in Tim’s side. The tall bastard son of Briareus fell surrounded by an increasingly large pool of his life’s blood.

“I hope he don’t die,” Crusta said, matter-of-factly. “He’s my new boyfriend!”

Before any of the Signers could move up the door on the right burst open and out came three of the strangest creatures they had ever seen. Wearing nothing but ragged fur loincloths, they were some kind of strange orc, with gray skin covered in scars and lined with spurs of bone at their joints. They had black greasy hair and long apish-faces with large nostrils and a single line of bushy black hair on their ridged brow. Their hands were painfully swollen, permanently twisted fists covered with chips of bone that burst out through their hides. Their eyes were yellow and rheumy, and nearly swollen shut. They grunted as they lined up, their great fists bouncing in front of their faces like monstrous boxers.

“Who let out duh ‘grillions?” Crusta asked no one in particular.

Victoria willed her spiritual spear to move from the felled ogre-blood and thrust itself at Crusta, but the half-orc girl hopped away with a cry, and the spear disappeared. Simultaneously, the militant kneeled by Timotheus, calling to Anhur to close his wounds. Tim sat up suddenly, coughing, the weight of exhaustion (1) pressed atop of his body. “Hold the line,” he grunted as he stood.

“Falco! Tymon! Bows and crossbows upfront!” Bleys called for reinforcements, having withdrawn back to the intersection.

“Eh! Tim’s about as useful as an ogre-ruined cunny,” Markos swore, lighting a torch. “Everyone sound off!”

Bragga dah! Crusta cast, her hands held up like claws, her eyes wide, her mouth a drooling snarl, looking right at Markos. The mage felt magic wash over him, but he closed his eyes and took a deep breath and it never took hold.

“Ready!” cried Tymon having dropped sword to rush towards the melee crossbow in hand, eyes shut.

“Tymon! Tymon! The light! You have the light!” Telémahkos voice echoed through the cavern followed by a growling bark and a complaint from Dunlevey. Tymon spun around confused.

“Ready!” cried Laarus, hanging back from engaging with the strange orc-hybrids and closing his eyes.

“Ready!” cried Victoria and Falco.

The half-orc archer fled through the open door, closing it behind him.

“Markos! We’re ready!” Bleys cried, as the creatures came at them with fists flying. A flash that the Signers could see even through their closed lids accompanied Markos’ voice.

Dunlevey crowded in close to the warg trying to get away from the fiendish wolf, thrusting his short sword down at it wildly at it. He looked up and smiled to see Markos leaving the blind mayhem of the other battle to fire a bolt from his gnomish repeating crossbow at the wolf. The bolt missed. Tymon came back as well, but as he was turning the corner to move up the hall he cried out as an arrow struck him in the head from behind. Luckily, his helmet absorbed most of the blow. “Master!” he cried, the lantern he carried swung wildly, sending shadows to dance about. Markos looked up the opposite passage. The arrow had come from behind a curtain of furs about twenty-five feet down it.

“Tymon! Try and keep the light on us, but don’t die in the process,” Telémahkos called to his servant, amazed at his own ability to be flippant while so very very frightened. He felt the satisfaction of the steel whip cutting through warg sinew. The ground was slick with its blood, but still it fought.

Dunlevey spun around and hopped back towards the fiendish wolf, chopping deep into its skull. It collapsed and then disappeared with a puff of sulfuric smoke. “There is an archer back there!” Dunlevey cried, charging across the main passage towards the curtained passage across the way. Bleys moved in to take his spot, but leapt back startled. The warg had moved up the passage some and took a snap at him.

“Kill it!” Telémahkos cried in a high register as he came rushing out of the passage. The warg spun around and the rapier caught in the roof of its mouth, splitting its face in half. It fell to quickly bleed out.

Back around the corner of the main hall a blind Crusta finally found her way to the door and stumbled through it, while the ogrillions fought on, two swinging wildly in the dark, the other still sighted as is was lucky to have looked away when it happened. Unfortunately for it, this also meant that it was the target of all the noble adventurers fighting here. Victoria, spear back in hand, thrust at the sighted ogrillion, puncturing its chest to finally send it down after taking hits from Timotheus as well. The tall blond warrior withdrew, however, too close to collapsing again. (2)

Victoria stepped back and called to Anhur to grant her the last of the healing spells she had prepared. Timotheus felt the warmth of the divine energy wash over him, making sure he would not bleed out if he exerted himself, but it did nothing for his exhaustion and worst of his wounds. (3)

Falco sent arrows into the blind ogrillions, and one of them flinched, bringing its head right into line with the swing of Laarus’ flail. It withdrew fumbling through the doorway, but as the other tried to follow it, it misjudged in its blindness, and another blow from the priest of Ra sent it to the ground. The door slammed shut. Laarus moved to follow, but Timotheus called him back.

“Everyone stop scattering!” he cried, dropping his sword and shield and drawing his bow. “Gather and support Bleys and Telémahkos!”

Bleys and Telémahkos were in the small room carved out of the rock that lay behind the fur curtain. Dunlevey had torn it down only to be sent fleeing by a rush of magical fear that came over him. He took off out of the cave itself, leaping down the embankment out into the open gorge.

“Tymon! Watch the entrance again!” Bleys commanded, when he saw what happened to Dunlevey. “Hezrah is about and we cannot let her get away!” He charged into the room ducking out of the way of an arrow that struck Markos in the hip as the mage came around the corner. Bleys the Aubergine recognized the half-orc archer as the same son of Hezrah they had fought outside of Rudwilla’s cottage. (4) The light of the radiant spark now followed him, having left Timotheus by the watch-mage’s mental command. The room held some tools in one corner and a stone trough in the far corner, filled with some scummy water. Another fur curtain obscured a passage at the right corner.

“Timotheus? How are you?” Victoria asked, see how pale he was as she came around the corner, followed by Laarus.

Bleys dropped his bow and leapt at the half-orc, his saber sliding from it scabbard and coming down in a fluid arc. The half-orc stepped to the side, hopping up onto the low trough.

“Watch out for something behind that curtain,” Telémahkos warned the watch-mage as he moved to pen in the half-orc. He drew blood from his foe’s wrist. The half-orc dropped his bow and drew his axe with such speed that he was able to parry Bleys and Telémahkos’ blows before he had quite brought it to bear. He let the weight to the axe coming into his hands drive the haft into Bley’s gut.

“Any minute now, Ma! I could use some help,” the half-orc cried out with desperation. Suddenly, the smell of sulfur filled the small cavern as another fiendish wolf ran in from behind the fur curtain. It grabbed hold of Telémahkos toga and pulled him down, worrying him some with an unearthly growl.

“Ahh! Ahh!” Telémahkos cried out, batting it in the face with the basket of his sword’s hit as he rolled over and scrambled to his feet.

“Telémahkos. Get up!” Bleys admonished as he cut the half-orc deep in the arm with his sabre. The saber and battle-axe danced violently around and against each other, and again Bleys’ blade nicked the half-orc’s hands, drawing blood. The watch-mage flinched as the battle-axe slid down the length of the saber and then bounced off the hilt. The flat of the axe’s blade slammed him hard in the face.

Markos was looking in from the corridor and ran back towards the cavern. “Things are looking bad in there!” he said. “Get me a frontline fighter!” Falco shrugged, and continued to watch the entrance, but Tymon walked down the passageway. “Master?”

Tymon hurried back out as Timotheus loped past him, looking much better after a cure moderate wounds spell from Laarus of Ra, but still exhausted from his near-death experience. Markos was right behind him, ducking to the right and letting a loosing a crossbow bolt that fell just short of the fiendish wolf. Something banged against his ankle and there was a clatter of clay. “Sh*t!” He accidentally kicked over a chamber pot and now the fetid contents were pouring over his boots.

The half-orc moaned as Telémahkos’ blade slid into his hip, drawing a deep oozing wound, and then the room was dark! Or was it? There was confusion as Bleys’ radiant spark disappeared and a sputtering torch in a corner sconce was all that lit the room. Laarus arrived.

“Nephthys! Bless my blade!” Timotheus cried as he charged in taking Bleys’ spot. The watch-mage leapt back flicking his sword back and forth defensively. The orc was shocked by the suddenness of his arrival and did not lift his axe fast enough to fully block the blow. Telémahkos stabbed the half-orc in the leg, and it reflexively chopped out scrapping a huge rent in Tim’s breastplate and knocking the tall warrior down. (5) Laarus slammed the fiendish wolf with his flail. Two more hits and it fell, disappearing as it died.

“Nephthys! Watch over us! Guard us well!” Timotheus prayed dragging himself free of the melee.

“Don’t worry, Tim! I’m on this,” Telémahkos reassured his cousin. He fell into a roll, trying to knock the half-orc off his feet, but felt the bite of the axe instead. Only his chain shirt kept him from being split in half. “Laarus! Help!” he cried, dropping his rapier as he futilely grabbed at the half-orc’s s legs.

The half-orc looked around. He was bleeding profusely from his wounds, and half-leaning against the wall. He dropped his axe with a shrug saying, “I surrender. I’ll tell you whatever you want to know. I don’t want to end up like my brothers!”

“Ask him how many are left!” Markos called across the room, and then his jaw dropped, noticing for the first time that Laarus had torn down the fur curtain in the corner of the room and was marching down into a dark sloping passage, filling it with daylight as he called out to Ra.

“Accept no quarter! Kill that thing!” Bleys the Aubergine countermanded Markos. The watch-mage ran out of the room towards the sounds of combat coming from the main passageway. He stopped only to pick up his bow. Victoria and Falco were alone with the last ogrillion that come back once its vision returned.

“Glad to see you came to reason,” Telémahkos said to the half-orc, stepping back and picking up the Steel Whip, but Timotheus rushed in swinging at the foe.

“Whoa! I gave up, you rotten human scum!” It leapt at Timotheus, dodging a follow-up cut from the warrior’s saber, but failed to grab hold him. The distraction served to allow him a chance to pick his axe back up, paying only with a hilt-punch to his gut.

“Laarus! It betrayed us!” Telémahkos called down the tunnel, cognizant of what the priest of Ra might think of their attacking a surrendering foe, and then he stabbed at the half-orc. The axe-wielding son of Hezra leapt back, swinging his weapon defensively, his arms flagging.

“Laarus! Get back here, you stupid prick. It’s beating on Tim now!’ Markos yelled down into the earthen tunnel that sloped down to the right. “Great, it’s me, the trembler and the fighter that can’t hit the broadside of a whore’s ass.” He moved in to help pen the half-orc in the corner once again, dagger in hand.

“Finish this bastard!” Telémahkos cursed, and shoved his magical rapier deep in the half-orc’s gut, sending him to the ground to bleed out. He looked to Timotheus. “We could interrogate him after this…?”

“I leave it to you to decide what to do with him, I’d better find Laarus before he gets into trouble,” his cousin replied. “Markos, come with me. Oh, and don’t think I didn’t hear that comment before… Next time, I shove your little crossbow up your ass sideways…” He leapt down into the curving tunnel after the priest, and Markos followed with a scowl.

Telémahkos kneeled beside the orc, and with a shrug slid the rapier deeper into an existing stab wound and jerked it around a bit, until fresh gouts of black blood seeped out in all directions. Another one of Hezrah’s sons was dead. (6)

“Laarus has chased after Hezrah!” Bleys informed those back out in the hall as he joined the fight. “Falco, back to the entrance. Keep an eye out for Dunlevey, and make sure Hezrah does not get by you…”

Victoria looked battered but satisfied. She took her time to yank her long spear free of the last of the ogrillions, now dead on the cold stone floor, before leaning over Tymon’s unconscious form to feed him a potion of cure light wounds. He had come charging from his post at the cave entrance to support Victoria, and had paid for it with a deep gash in his head.

“Hey! You may want to come look at this!” Falco called from the cave entrance, and Bleys hurried over. Out on the gorge floor they saw Dunlevey fighting for his life against a group of kobolds that had him surrounded. He had made halfway from the dogwood trees to the base of the escarpment before having to stop.

“Dunlevey is besieged by kobolds!” The watch-mage called out, raising his bow, and instructing Falco to do the same. Squinting against the light of mid-morning, they sent arrows down towards the melee. The could hear the kobolds yap in alarm as the arrows seemed at first to come from nowhere, as they were so far from the cave entrance. Telémahkos joined them, sending bolts with his crossbow.

The kobolds were small doggish humanoids with rat-like heads and blue-black fur. They had beady eyes and tiny horns, and wore patched-up leather armor. They thrust their small spears at him viciously.

“Dunlevey! Fear not! We are coming to save you!” Bleys’s voice boomed with the aid of his announce spell, and the kobolds began to scatter. Even being outnumbered eight to one, Dunlevey had managed to kill three of them, and now numbers were no longer on their side. One collapsed into the grass with a crossbow bolt through its rat-like snout. It whined for a moment, and then was quiet. Dunlevey was able to begin to scramble back up to the cave, sweaty, winded and critically wounded. (7)

“There was still fighting going on back there,” Timotheus was calling to Laarus who led the way along the winding earthen tunnel. “We should go back…”

“Yeah, dumb-f*ck, you done yet?” Markos added, coming along behind. The priest ignored his cousin and continued.

“I just want you to know, Laarus, that when we’re dead and you’re getting your glories before Ra, there’ll be one person in the Nine Hells cursing you,” Markos added.

Laarus stopped and turned. “Then don’t follow.”

“Seriously, Laarus, why are you being so insistent?” Timotheus asked.

“Hezrah got away from us twice. I do not plan to let her escape again,” Laarus said, and with that he turned and continued. Timotheus and Markos continued to follow him.

The tunnel ended in a shaft in the low ceiling that led up to a wooden trapdoor by way of metal spikes driven through rotting wood planks and into the dead end wall. Laarus did not hesitate. He climbed up and pushed open the trapdoor. Beyond was some smoky and dim chamber, but he did not get a chance to get a good look. He felt the sharp pain of a spear thrust and suddenly he was back down in the tunnel with the wind knocked out of him. Above, the trapdoor shut.

Markos laughed sardonically as Timotheus helped the priest of Ra to his feet. “Can we go back now?” Markos asked.

“No!” Laarus insisted.

Markos sighed, but quickly applied his resources and intelligence to the problem and devised a plan. He lit up a torch and handed it to Laarus. The young priest of Ra climbed up and awkwardly thrust open the trapdoor, while Markos stood directly beneath to make sure he saw the torch. The shadowy figure above thrust its spear even as Laarus raised the torch, crying, “Now!”

Pyroclastus lux! Markos cast, and there was a flash of light. A babble of rasping high-pitched voices came from above. Laarus tumbled back down painfully and Markos was barely able to get out of way. Timotheus however, leapt to action, clambering up the makeshift ladder and into the chamber. He was awed by what he saw. The chamber was hewn from the stone and some sixty feet across. It was set on all sides with dirty straw pallets and ratty woolen blankets. There were six small braziers giving a weak smoky light to the place. Laarus’ daylight streamed up from the shaft he was climbing for a second time. There was a wooden door set with iron bands in the center of the wall on the right, and there was a corridor about forty feet along the wall on the left. And all about the room were the frantic flailing forms of orcish women. But these were unlike any orcs he had ever seen or heard of before. These had webbed gray hides and thick black hair in tufts on their heads and along their backs and legs. They had large red eyes and naked flaccid breasts. Heavy black chains set with cylindrical weights were manacled to their legs and wrists. There were nine of them blindly trying to flee, but having nowhere to go. One knocked over a brazier and burned herself. One had white hair and held the spear that was stained with Laarus’ blood. She alone kept her head, swinging the spear back and forth in wide arcs and barking out in her best intimidating gestures. She had no chains.

“Ooh! It’s my boyfriend!” Timotheus looked up and saw Crusta standing across the room.

”I’m so glad your safe!” He walked towards her, making his way around the orcish women and making a wide arc around the spear-wielding crone. “You should stay back, my friends are coming. What is going on here?”

Laarus came up into the room, and his light filled the chamber and illuminated a hulking form emerging from the corridor. It was a female ogre, with long dirty orange hair, and draped in a woolen smock the size of tent. Her belly was swollen with pregnancy, and she leaned on the corner of the wall, obviously having difficulty walking.

End of Session #15
 
Last edited:

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
---------------------------------------------------------
Notes:

(1) In Aquerra, going from being mortally wounded (i.e. at negs) to positive hit point without actual physical rest leaves you exhausted. After an hour of rest or light activity you improved to a fatigued condition, but that requires 8 hours of rest or light activity to overcome. Alternately, restoration spells can be used to circumvent it.

(2) Timotheus was at 0 hps.

(3) Cure minor wounds

(4) See Session #11

(5) In Aquerra, we play with rules for knocking foes down just from normal combat hits. See Knockdown.

(6) The Signers of the Charter of Schiereiland killed the rest of Hezrah’s sons in Session #10.

(7) We try to refrain from using numbers to determine describe the wound condition on characters. Instead, hit point total is divided into fourths, each one being equated to being lightly (3/4), moderately (between ½ and ¾), seriously (between ¼ and ½) and critically (between 0 and ¼) wounded.
 

handforged

First Post
Great fight!

I hope that the Signers can make it through the rest of this without losing anyone, as they are probably very low on resources at this point.

Good job again, Nemm.

~hf
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
handforged said:
Great fight!

~hf

Thanks

I can't wait for 4E so that I can stage dynamic fights with different groups of foes and the PCs will have reasons to move around in combat like that this static trading blows 3E stuff like the above. ;)
 

They are always low on resources!

Would they even know what to do if they had a sudden windfall and were flush with gold and magic?

I bet the players still love the game even with the tough fights and low resources (or because of).

I know I like to read about it (even if it makes me feel exhausted).
 
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handforged

First Post
darkhall,

I meant low by contrast to their normal amount. They are nearly depleted of offensive magic, healing, and hitpoints and are heading into yet another confrontation.

Nemm,

excited to hear that you will be heading into 4E when it comes out.

~hf
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
handforged said:
Nemm,

excited to hear that you will be heading into 4E when it comes out.

~hf

Actually, I was being sarcastic, which does not always come through the textual medium. ;)

I was poking some fun at the claims that 4E is going to fix the static quick combats of 3E, when I have been doing dynamic moving combats since day 1. :)
 

Tony Vargas

Legend
el-remmen said:
I was poking some fun at the claims that 4E is going to fix the static quick combats of 3E, when I have been doing dynamic moving combats since day 1. :)
3E really does lend itself to "static, quick combats," at the standard wealth levels, if the players powergame. Melee types will tend to avoid moving, so they can make full attacks (static), and almost any sort of PC can be min/maxxed to output massive damage (quick). Obviously, neither issue is a problem in your campaign. It's one of the things that makes it a pleasure to read.
 

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