AMBUSH ON HIGH ROAD

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dndDark-Woods

SESSION ROSTER:

  • Fo, Human Monk, Level One
  • Deiter, Human Fighter, Level One
  • Brûne, Human Paladin, Level One

 ⊕

Sword Coast

The world of Faerûn is a grim one. The year is 1489. It has been several years since the Spellplauge ravaged the world. The shadowy wizards of Netheril gather their power in the frozen North. Countless undead muster to the East in the nightmare lands of Thay under the command of Szass Tam. Ancient evil stirs to the South in Amn, where monsters rule. Across the Sea of Swords, to the West, a continent that was once part of another world beckons with Elemental glory. The gods are restless in the realigned cosmic order. Old dynasties endure, and new ones gaze about with covetous eyes.

Mystra is dead, and Lolth has replaced her as the Mother of All Magic. The sun is hidden in a veil of eternal twilight, allowing Drow to wander freely on the surface without fear of sunlight. And rumor has it that the Old Sage, Elminster, has been murdered at the hands of the Zentarium, also known as the Black Network.

And yet, the folk of the Sword Coast adapt and overcome. They are rebuilding lines of trade and commerce even as they rebuild and fortify their cities. For years, the lands between Waterdeep and Baldur’s Gate have been a vast, stretch of wilderness folk venture into only to get from one place to another. Legends abound of grisly fates that befell unfortunate travellers at the hands of the goblins, trolls, hobgoblins said to infest the area in veritable armies.

Down through the ages, many folk have dreamed of founding a kingdom in this verdant valley hidden in the moors. The area is littered with the ruins of failed dreams – abandoned villages, empty towers and dungeons – as well as the occasional town, city or keep. But overall the wilderness is untamed and dangerous.

And this was exactly where our heroes found themselves. In the employment of Dagult Neverember, the Open Lord of Waterdeep and the Lord Protector of Neverwinter, they travelled to Phandalin by way of the High Road. They were hired to escort a wagon carrying a holy relic. The days of travel South went by easily. The High Road was a fairly easy route, and they met several other travelers headed North to Neverwinter as they made their way South.

However, once turning on to the Triboar Trail Southeast, traffic became less and less. The trail was smaller, and not a main trade route, Still, it was the best route to their destination. At midday, they met a small horse drawn wagon loaded down with mining supplies. The old man driving it warned them of a bandit named “The Black Spider” who was raiding along the Triboar Trail. But thankfully, that was the only soul  encountered until reaching Phandalin.

The Company remained in Phandalin for a day to refresh and resupply. However, they could not stay long. Their mission as not at an end. The next day they were back on the road again, reaching the High Road by early afternoon. The group was much smaller now, composed of the wagon and its two drivers. They were headed to the village of Greenest to collect payment for delivering the relic and to meet up with the rest of the Company from Neverwinter. Also, each of them had personal business in Greenest as well.

Dieter and Brûne rode on horses while Fo lingered in the wagon. As the day wore on, the group decided to make camp after several hours on the road. They guessed that Waterdeep lay about a half day’s journey from here. The drivers secured the wagon and its horses. Afterwards, they happily tended to the other horses as well. Fo prepared a small firepit and started to cook a meal for the Company. Meanwhile, Dieter and Brûne gathered tinder, set up the tents, and secured the area.

As they sat around the fire, chatting and eating dinner, they started to hear shouts and the sounds of conflict coming from further down the road to the South. It wasn’t long before they were grabbing their gear to see what was happening. The drivers said they were going to stay at the camp. Both grabbed their crossbows and prepared for the worst. Fo ran off into the woods, dashing nearly soundlessly. Dieter and Brûne rode their horses down the road, singing and clanging their shields.

Within moments they saw a small child running down the road towards them. She looks to be no more than three years old. She was frantic, and crying. Dieter rode past the girl, urging his steed onward towards the sounds of battle over the small rise in the road. Brûne pulled his horse to a stop, and slipped down to help the girl. She was afraid at first, but he was able to calm he somewhat and pull her up with him on the horse. Cradling her in his arm behind his shield, he spoke words of encouragement and comfort to the toddler. She continued to whimper, but clung tightly to the large paladin.

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Mounted Combat

Dieter charged forward on his warhorse, assessing the scene quickly. He observed four Kobolds armed with spears herding a haggard man down the road. There was an overturned wagon on the side of the road, and at least one other person laying near it on the ground. Dieter wasted no time in joining the battle. He urged his warhorse to trample two of the small creatures, hurling his javelin with practiced aim.

Fo joined the mêlée, suddenly appearing from the dense woods. He launched himself into the air in an impressive display of acrobatics. Even as his feet touched the ground, the monk was lashing out with his staff, punches, and kicks. Moving with practice skill and graces, the surprised Kobolds were not match for the martial artist.

Joining the battle late, Brûne charged through with his horse, following Dieter’s example to trample the Kobolds. The paladin sang as he entered battle, drawing his longsword. The paladin still held the young child against his body, protected behind his large shield.

With all four Kobolds dead, the exhausted man appeared stunned. He dropped his shield, and stammered a thank you to his three rescuers. He was clearly not a fighter. He has been holding the shield improperly, and striking with the sword ineffectively. Yet, the Kobolds seemed to be toying with him rather than killing him outright. The man sputtered between heavy breaths.

“They just came out of no where!” He looked around frantically. “My wife! My baby girl! You have to help them!”

The little girl with Brûne shouted out happily. “Daddy!”

Dieter was already over by the wagon to check on the woman laying there. She was young, and beautiful. Her body had been pierced by three black fletched arrows. Also, her throat had been cut. Dieter looked to Brûne and shook his head. She was dead, and beyond their help. No amount of healing power the Paladin possessed could return her to health. She was with the Raven Queen now in the Land of the Dead.

All three men took notice of the wagon as well. It was overturned and the horses were pin-cushioned with arrows. All of them had the same black fletching as the ones used to kill the woman. Before Anyone could attempt to respond to the man, they heard the twang of bows. Three arrows landed solidly in the man’s chest. However, these arrows had bright green fletching. The man fell backwards, but Brûne reached out and caught him with one hand. Brûne tapped into his inner pool of spiritual healing power, and channeled it towards the injured man. The healing magic kept him alive, drawing him back from Death’s Door.

“Move,” shouted Fo. “Behind the wagon!” The monk dashed Northeast towards the edge of the woods while Dieter rode the opposite direction towards the source of the arrows. He took his best guess and charged into the brush, trying to flush out the snipers. Brûne dragged the man back behind the wagon. He saw the body of his dead wife and started to whimper. “Alicia! Alicia! They’ve killed you my sweet wife!” Brûne tried to make the man as comfortable as possible. He knew nothing could heal his broken heart. Brûne left the child with her Father, and moved to the edge of the wagon to lay out one of his traps. He hoped that if the enemy made a surge towards them it would prove helpful.

Fo dashed into the woods, seeking cover. He accidentally ran straight into three Goblins who were hiding at the edge of the forest. All three had their short bows drawn to loose arrows at Dieter. The Goblins barely had a second to react before the Monk engaged them, dropping two of them with skull-crushing blows. The third Goblin took aim and fired at Fo, but missed.

The two began to trade blows, but Fo was superior with his extensive martial arts training. The Goblin did manage to keep moving and got off a few lucky shots. Fo knew that he couldn’t take much more punishment. He grappled the Goblin and flipped him end over end into a nearby tree. The Goblin retaliated by pulling a knife and swiping at Fo recklessly. Fo saw an opportunity and lunged at the creature, pinning it to the mossy ground. Punch after punch landed solidly until finally Fo ended the mêlée by furiously tearing the Goblin’s head from it’s shoulders. He raised the trophy high, it’s blood spattering the monk.

At the same time, three Wild Elves sprung from the forest near Dieter. All three loosed arrows at Brûne, but hit the wagon instead. Although they were fast and elusive, Dieter and Brûne worked together to defeat the Elves. Dieter charged again and again on horseback, tossing the last of his javelins. The Elves proved to be quite a challenge, but they fell nonetheless to the teamwork and strategy of the Paladin and Fighter. In the end, Brûne was unharmed and Dieter had suffered a from two solid hits from the Elven arrows. Dieter couldn’t help but notice that the arrows had bright green fletching.

Fo used his medical skill to remove the Goblin arrow from his shoulder. Checking the wound, he determined that there was no sign of poison. He stumbled towards his friends, and Brûne rushed to the Monk’s side. Brûne layed hands on Fo, and channeled the remains healing energy to heal Fo’s injuries. Afterwards, Fo repeated the procedure to safely remove the arrows from Dieter and the wounded stranger. They talked as the Monk did his work, deciding that they would escort the man back to their campsite with his daughter. In the morning, they would decide what to do with the man’s wagon. There would be plenty to chat about over breakfast.

… to be continued …

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 And if you read this, please send a message to the Dungeonmaster on Facebook saying, “Cragmaw” to gain a point of inspiration for the next session!

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