Previously, our heroes agreed to travel to the village of Faire Ghealach in hopes of finding a doctor for Sykke, who was wounded in battle with the dragon, and perhaps even reinforcements...
Read the first part of this campaign log here.
In the morning, our heroes set out for the village of Faire Ghealach. To get there, they have to brave a path over the cliffs. As they proceed, the path rises and narrows until our heroes are on a strip of land no more than thirty meters wide. To their right, steep cliffs lead down to sea; to their left, the mountain flank rises. Along the way they see many standing stones with runes in the language of the ulder, Ard’Teanga, and depictions of the treeman god Wuraf and the Pale One.
When evening closes in, the path splits up. A smaller road descends along the cliff face, and our heroes think it might lead to the tomb they spotted from sea when they first sailed here. Our heroes decide to stick to the main road, sure that it will lead them to Faire Ghealach. When the sun goes down, they make a fire and rest for the night.
Shortly after making camp, our heroes sense an immediate and very sharp drop in temperature. Thick runners of fog come down from the mountain, and green lights move about in the distance, as if someone lit green lanterns. Moments later, Sykke’s condition takes a turn for the worse. Wahn sets to treating him with Halred’s help, while Aran, Lorin, Ena, and Wisse go to find some more wood to keep a stronger fire burning.
However, when Ena, Wisse, Lorin, and Aran leave the fire, they find a large standing stone in the middle of the road. It was not there before. There are crude carvings on its surface, but they are in Ard’Teanga. Only Lorin knows that language, and he does not read. At the bottom of the obelisk is a crude stone bowl with ancient bloodstains and a large flint knife, equally stained. Our heroes surmise that they are probably required to leave a sacrifice. Ena tries to detect if there is some Animism effect in place; there is, but he cannot place the precise spell or effect. He decides to use the knife to cut open his hand and leave a few drops of blood in the bowl. The bowl absorbs the drops at once, and our heroes--uncertain if this is enough--decide to leave the stone for now and find some wood.
While gathering wood, our heroes are suddenly beset upon by a man holding a bow and charging straight at them. At the same time, four other men emerge from the mist around the main camp where Halred, Wahn, Wenning, and the wounded Sykke stayed behind. They are all painted men with crude leather armor and swords, axes, and daggers made of copper.
For a moment, our heroes fear they must fight, but the warriors turn on each other, passing straight through our heroes. They fall apart into mist when they are slain: they are ghosts.
Despite these concerning apparitions, Wisse, Ena, Lorin, and Aran continue gathering firewood. When they are done, they return to camp and discuss what to do next; Sykke seems to be getting worse, and they doubt he will last the night. Their debate is interrupted by a bell tolling three times. At the end of the third strike, skeletal warriors shamble out of the mist, axes and shields ready to attack.
The players faced two waves of enemies: the first consisted of nine skeletal warriors; the second of two more skeletal warriors and the lich warrior-queen Bronach Oriain. The skeletal warriors each had 820 Character Points compared to the players’ 920. They had no combat skills above skill level 2, except Close Combat, which was at level 3. However, since they are undead, they do not suffer from Mind or Soul damage and do not receive Disability Counters. As such, they may not be the most formidable warriors, but they can go a long way and do not wear down gradually through Disability Counters as combat progresses.
The lich had 1,120 Character Points, 200 more than our heroes, and all the advantages of the undead. Additionally, she had Infusion and Projection skill level 3 and some pretty awesome and destructive spells to match. The skeletal warriors and the lich both had good armor, good Defense skill levels, and very poor dodging abilities.
An added challenge was the mist: characters could only see in a one-cube radius around them. Since this group has some formidable archers and has previously relied on ranged strategies to take out their foes, this was quite the handicap.
In the first round, the skeletal warriors made use of their Crippling Attack power (see Core Rulebook, page 84) to wreak havoc among the players, but this initiative didn’t last. As he had with Farhast the Bastardspawn, Halred used his Crippling Shot power (see Core Rulebook, page 84) to try to control the lich. The lich had a few opportunities to cast some pretty terrible spells, such as Channel Decay (see Core Rulebook, page 147-148), which helped to grievously wound Lorin, forcing Wahn to use his medic skills on him. Aran was swarmed by the skeletal warriors and almost submitted to his wounds. However, in the end, the players assisted Wenning on the killing shot, bringing the lich down and causing the remaining skeletal warriors to crumble to dust.
This battle saw more characters suffer wounds than the battle with Farhast. I think this was mainly because the skeletal warriors were stronger than the trow and were a serious threat in and of their own: they grinded up Ena’s Spirit Wolves, killing about one per turn, while their armor assured that they needed several well-placed attacks before they went down. Also, the players were unable to use the terrain to their advantage: they stood huddled, backs to their fire and could only see one cube out, thus being forced into melee early in the battle.
When the lich lies slain, the fog lifts and the temperature returns to normal. The shimmering green lights, too, have gone. Sykke’s fever breaks, and the situation looks a lot less dire.