Fire, I’ll take you to burn!
– Farshad – A merchant adventurer, small of stature, blamed for more than he should be
– Dhran the White – A farmboy seeking his way in the world, owning his name to a brush with fear
– Juan José – A mercenary and healer from the barbourous West
– Jushuur – A mercenary and ranger, deadly in combat, a half-immortal Perim
– Utana – A noble and agent of the Haraxan magistrate Niralha
– Jalabu – A merchant guard with questionable skills from the far south, who thinks Farshad could be blamed for more
– Gunion – scholar and practitioner of mystic arts, currently studying secret tablets in an unknown location, a half-immortal Perim
As they break camp, looking to three or four days more travel, the weight of the wagon loads is evened up and the mules of the party now riding on the wagons look reproachfully on their riders as they are now pressed into service as wagon mules.
With Utana scouting to the fore and Jushuur keeping an eye to the rear, they use all their skills and talents to look for signs of movement or tracks crossing theirs. As José practices his herblore and healing on his hamster, Jushuur sees signs of something large in the woods to the east, but puts it down to a trick of light and shadow, but Utana spots a number of figures stalking the group, trying to not be seen, but definitely keeping tabs with the group.
Utana rides over to make contact, perhaps these are locals wary of strangers
meanwhile reaction roll :-
The newcomers, unfortunately, react in violence, hurling javelins. Two hit Utana, one bouncing off his armour, the other lightly wounding him. Another flies past him and almost skewers another attacker on the sides. The usual lethal archery from the group kills two, fells one and sends another running. The wounded one is despatched, the fleeing one is chased, but the attempt to capture him is thwarted by Jalabu’s long range archery thus robbing the group of a prisoner to interrogate.
The bodies were piled aside, they were Kurrim, the tattoos and beads of a different sort to the tribe of Kurrim that they met and helped, and were helped by, on the deserted plateau to the north-east of the Haraxan Kingdom. In the tattoos, not on open show, but there, were those marks that they were becoming familiar with, symbols of cultists of Ahyrmya. Loading the javelins from the Kurrim into a makeshift quiver on a wagon, the train continues, the rest of the day being quiet, and finds a clearing just off the road to rest, the next day should see them come to a trading post and then a clear road to Iralun.
Watch that night is uneventful, save for Juan José falling asleep, his hamster gorging itself on medicinal herbs,Jushuur hitting the “stay awake tea” too heavily and not getting as much rest as he should, and starting the next day slightly fatigued, and Dhran(?) blinding himself with too much light on the watch. Utana bears his watch with quiet forebearance, easy as he has had a longer sleep.
As he neared the end of the watch, he sees that the way ahead to the north east is being blocked by a few armed me with large, military shields and spears, of better quality than the attackers before. Above them hover giant, vile looking bats. To the west the attackers are less disciplined, though still better armoured and armed than the ones who attacked the wagon train.
The Kotharim arm themselves, for the rest of the encounter assume that, although not pictured on the map, they are engaging with other foes also not on the map, that way it leaves the field uncluttered.Utana, Jalabu, José and Jushuur let fly with their customary archery, but it is less effective, the armour and shields provide reasonable defence for the attackers. A less well armoured figure in the rearmost attackers, that they believed to be a spell caster and foolishly too far to the fore, is slain. Dhran leaps up onto a wagon.
The bats surged ahead, their cries focussed shrieks that stabbed out at the defenders. José is dazed, Jalabu manages to dodge the full part of the blast and the bat that targetted Dhran is so intent on him, that it fails to spot the war prize javelins sticking up out of their quiver, it pricks itself and reels back in pain. From behind the north-eastern line of shields launches a bolt of fire, burning the air and reality in a kind of black horror, it envelops Jushuur and Utana and the pain, agony and damage of it causes them to be stunned and drop their bows.
Dhran attempts to haul the wagon round to ride down the western enemies (strictly speaking, the carts were not hooked up to the mules at this point, but I was too lazy to do cart only tokens, so what the hell) but only gets the mules to pull it part of the way round.The ensuing battle is chaos around the wagon laager. The forces to the north-east advance slowly and methodically, relying on the distraction of the foes to the west and the bats above to get closer.
Highlights of the melee include Dhran trying to ride down foes with a slowly moving cart coming from a standing start and the foes, with baffled expressions, sidestepping carefully, only for Dhran to end up wearing a bat, after it failed to haul Dhran off the cart, as a cape. Dhran’s attempts to poke it off with his Falchion came to nothing.
Farshad, using another wagon as cover, lashes out, killing another Shevam and managing to catch the Shevam’s hat as a souvenir.
Utana and Jushuuer recover from their stunned state, and take stock of their surroundings (also here we found another difference between SPI’s DragonQuest 2nd edition and the Bantam edition of 2nd, the newer Bantam one gives a larger chance to recover)
The party is aware of movement in the surrounding woods, but of what, only time will tell. A bat grabs Utana in its claws and, flapping furiously, manages to lift the armoured warrior a few feet into the air. He stabs it with a dagger, wounding it slightly and being dropped. With his catlike reflexes he lands on his feet. Jalabu finishes off the bat with an arrow and Utana’s cat like reflexes are tested again as he has to dodge out of the way of a falling bat corpse.Jushuur, meanwhile, laughs at the concept that terrible circumstances can prevent him bypassing any defence (character’s sword skill is seriously OP )
The wood to the north disgorge more well armoured and armed troops, more bats and more of these lighter but still skilled opponents. Dhran’s brave scheme has opened up the west of the wagon laager to easy attack, the bats now outnumber the group. Despair seizes the group, there is talk of surrender, when light arcs from out the woods to the south, arrows fly up, axes are hurled and. eventually more magical light and fire lashes out.
The group, mystified, hold their ground but their opponents instead of pressing the attack, break and flee (I could have stopped the game here and picked it up next time in the middle of things, but I did not want to – it would be having a long fight for the sake of having the fight).
The cultists to the north-east retire in good order, leaving only a few of their dead, the spellcaster priest is definitely still alive. those to the west are brutally despatchedThe leader of the newcomers introduces herself and her two chief companions
Orpoin. = leader
Katiari = Chief Guard
Enari = Seer
Orpoin and Jushuur recognise each other as fellow Perim, half immortals and definitely not elves.Orpoin’s seer has been tracking a great evil, once far to the east, now here (everyone looks at Farshad). Things long dead are attempting to rise up again, forgotten horrors from the shadows are stealing into the light and generally it is not good. The centre seemed to be a barren and deserted plateau far to the east, sounding similar to the place Harvan sent you to explore a tomb, and now seems to be centred on the city and temple that he sent you to in order to aid translation of the books you found in the tomb.Orpoin hands you a message, and requests you to take to Teralag, priestess of one of the temples. She and her folk, having tracked a group here where it attacked you, she and hers have to return to her own town to the south.
Bodies are looted. Jalabu gains a shirt of scale armour, Jushuur a set of Partial Plate armour and enough of the rest of it to have a set of full plate made. Dhran gains coins to share, 33 silver each.
And there we left it