Right, so here we go. Next thing that the book requires us to do is to make our way to the keep. We were supposed to get directions towards it from Cuth and Linan, but since one of them died a horrific death and the other has fled with their children (no doubt to die), we instead have to wing our way there… yeah this isn’t going to go well.
The book says, “To reach the keep, the characters must make it past three groups of raiders.” Great. That shouldn’t… be terrible… should it? First things first, let’s set the scene.
Fire blazes throughout the town as screams echo down the streets. A single armoured figure adjusts it’s shield as it looks around, eyes seeming to glow a dark green as it surveys the chaos around itself.
Running through tasks.
Files were corrupted from last shutdown.
Reboot and reformat required.
Switching to backup process.
New priority acquired.
Seek out protection targets.
The warforged unit stops it’s scanning and takes a few steps forwards experimentally. Before it can make any progress however, a group of kobolds followed by a few hooded figures turns a street corner and freezes at the sight of the unit.
Now, a single group of raiders consists of 1d6 Kobolds and 1d4 Cultists. Our first group will have: 2 Kobolds and 3 Cultists, not too bad at all! Our first strategy is going to be the good ole Intimidation check. As before, I’ll be making a group WIS roll for the kobolds and the cultists which will have to beat PU7’s skill check. The kobolds get a 5, while the cultists get an 18 (they also get advantage towards this because of their Dark Devotion feature). Luckily, our unit gets a 24 total, making our foes quite scared of our warforged warrior!
The unit takes a step forwards raising it’s sword and shield, the kobolds in reaction begin to swing their slings above their heads in a steady rotation. The cultist ready their scimitars and take a step forwards towards the unit. A small plate slides downwards from the warforged’s face and the high pitch screech echos throughout the street as it takes another step towards the group of raiders. The kobolds break first dropping their slings as they reach upwards to try and block out the unnatural sound. A cultist on the other hand rushes forwards and fruitlessly slashes his scimitar at the unnatural creature in front of it. A rain of sparks flies as the weapon is deflected as it clangs against the steel chest of the unit. The cultist in a panic drops his blade as the screeching only gets louder. Turning back he realizes that he’s alone as the rest of his group had long fled. Without looking back he too rushes away from the still screeching metal being.
Cool, that’s one group down, two more to go. Hopefully the next two encounters will be just as easy to get through. We’ll have the unit head the opposite direction of the cultists, I imagine that they’ve run off towards the courtyard of the town (where their commanders currently are). I guess we’ll roll an Investigation check to see if we can’t find our way to the keep. We get a four so instead, PU7 is going to wander aimlessly down a street.
As they wander, they of course encounter another group of raiders (2 Kobolds and 3 Cultists)! Let’s try the good Intimidation check here and see if we can’t get the same luck as before. 18 for our check and the Kobolds get a 6 and the Cultists get a 14. Nice, we manage to avoid this group as well! We are still aimless however so PU7 will contiune their journey away from the centre of town. Looking at the map of Greenest that we were given, I imagine that we first awoke near the south side of town (I’ve marked the location with a red “X” on the map).
We are still at 1 HP, I feel the need to remind myself as we start rolling for our next group (1 Kobold and 3 Cultists) and Intimidation check. Our check tops out at 16, while our foes get a 6 and another 6. Wow even with our low roll here the kobolds are terrified of our very loudly screeching warforged warrior. Now here’s our first quandary as a DM. In the book is says that after three groups of raiders we find our way to the keep. Unfortunately for us however, the book is assuming that we know that we need to reach the keep. However PU7 doesn’t have any idea of what’s going on, or that the keep is really our meta-goal. So- in order for this all to make sense story wise, we need to find a reason for us to know to go to the keep.
Therefore, since this group does seem rather small- PU7 is going to engage with them! This leads us to:
Encounter 002 (Let’s Get Some Information):
- Kobold 1
- Cultist 1
- Cultist 2
- Cultist 3
I can’t remember what software I used last time to make the map, so this is just something I created in photoshop from scratch, doesn’t look too bad if you ask me. Okay, anyways we’re going to start the encounter with everyone Frightened of PU7. First off is the first Kobold, as they can’t actually move closer to PU7 they’re going to fire their sling at the PU7. We get an 7 which will clink uselessly off of PU7’s armour! The kobold will then roll a WIS check to see if they can overcome their fear. The sad 7 they roll shows that they’re still very much afraid.
Next we have our still very very injured hero. They’re going to grab a javelin and move forwards two squares in order to get in range to attack the kobold! We get a 16 attack roll which hits our kobold and deals 8 damage which kills our poor lizard friend. The cultist don’t have a ranged attack and are simply going to roll to see if they can overcome being Frightened. The Cultist roll a 2, a 13 and a 10 none of which is high enough to overcome the original 16 rolled by PU7.
Moving right along, we start back up at the top of the Initiative order with our first Cultist. They are going to try and backup a little so that they aren’t attacked right away. They only score a 7 on their WIS check so they do break out of their fear.
Next up we have PU7. They are going to contiune their reign of terror, by first moving 30 feet (6 squares) to pick up the javelin they threw at the now dead Kobold and then chuck that at the nearest Cultist. Since there’s a gap between them, PU7 is able to make this ranged attack without penalties. PU7 scores a 14 attack roll with 5 damage, not quite enough to kill the cultist.
The thing looked more like a statute, a facade of a warrior created purely to inspire- not meant to actually represent what a soldier actually looks like. It’s helmed face has two bright glowing green orbs that stare in our direction but not at us- as if the being or creature was simply looking past us. I feel my compatriots breathing loud in my ears and I feel some comfort in knowing that our fear is at least mutual. I look back and share a glance with and we nod, knowing that we shan’t engage this living statue.
But the choice is taken from us, as it reaches backwards and suddenly the scaled servant of our great dragon master falls backwards, it stops it’s fall however as the tip of the javelin hits the dirt road before it’s body can make it. There’s silence for a moment as we stare at the scaled being’s last breaths, it stuck in cruel imitation of standing.
In my confusion I only realize too late that the creature had rushed forward, grabbing the haft of the javelin and placing a foot on the body of our former companion. It steps downwards and with a sickening crunch of scale and flesh the javelin is ripping from the still warm body. It’s only by pure luck that I manage to step backwards and the javelin that was aimed at my chest instead finds itself in my thigh. I quickly dash away- what monster have we awoken?
Finally the next two cultist are also going to move backwards trying to flee from the metal soldier they’ve encountered. They get a 7 and an 11, not allowing them to break out of their fear. Now- here’s another dilemma. As awesome as this is, with the Cultists being too afraid of PU7 to get into melee range, and therefore being unable to attack him, it’s kind of broken mechanically. Therefore, we’re going to retroactively make it so that the Cultists and Kobolds were only affected by the fear for 1d4 roll. We get a 3, so that means that we only have one more turn of fear to work on before they start hitting back. That’s bad for us, as PU7 still only has 1 HP.
It also dawns on me that adding numbers probably helps. Cutlist 1 will move his way around the building in order to take cover (half-cover). PU7 will move up another square in order to get into range and chuck another javelin at the Cultist 3. We’ve three javelins total, so we will have to try and retrieve the one currently impaled in Cultist 3. A 9 for attack however gives us a miss.
The other two cultists will follow their companion behind the building.
Okay, so here’s where it can start going wrong for us. The Cultist are now free from their Frightened condition and will now be able to both move toward PU7 and not have disadvantage on attacks. Cultist 1 will therefore move their scimitar raised to attack, but won’t be able to travel far enough to reach. PU7 will close the gap and draw their longsword (using their interaction) and then attack the Cultist. 23 total for the attack roll, and 10 damage! This kills our poor Cultist 1 here.
Why are we afraid?
Does our lord not protect us?
“We have no reason to fear!” I feel myself shout towards my companions, as we turn the corner to the building. They freeze where they are and I can see the scales fall from their eyes. They nod towards me as I rush towards the creature that had slain our lord’s kinsmen. I raise my scimitar high, ready to sw- the creature meets me halfway it’s longsword already in mid-swing. I feel the blade cut through my robes and into my side-
And- that’s two down, two to go. The next two Cultist are also going to move forwards trying to get in range of PU7. Three can make it, but I don’t want to take that chance- therefore we’re going to do a little time travel here- and since PU7 had unused movement at his turn he’s going to move one square back to be just out of range of the Cultist. Which is I know, dirty, but hey- I’m trying to complete an adventure book using one characther for fuck’s sake.Next round, we have PU7 once more, who’s just going to move up one square and take a swing at Cultist 3, who has a javelin in his leg. An 18 gives us a hit for 5 damage which is just enough to kill that poor poor Cultist. To add insult to injury, PU7 will pick up his javelin and then move back five spaces. Cultist 2 will then contiune to move forwards as much as he can- but since he can’t make it all the way, he’s going to use his action to take a Dodge action. Something I should have been doing since the start, but only remembered about right now (give me some slack I write these while nursing a whisky coke).
Top of the round, PU7 moves up and attacks, aiming to do non-lethal damage. A actual nat 20 gives us a critical hit, and 11 damage total, which knocks out our last Cutlist!
And that’s combat! Yay, we actually completed our first combat- I really thought this was something that wasn’t going to happen! Anyways, next time we have some interrogation to see if PU7 can’t figure out where they need to go- and hopefully we complete the Seek the Keep encounter.