Chris Palmer This past Saturday I hosted the fifth game of our monthly Frostgrave Campaign. We had all of our 7 players in attendance. Since we had the whole gang, I set up the table in a 12’ x3’ configuration. I put a river in the middle this time, and regular ruined city on each side.
(To read an account of the previous game, please see Frostgrave Game Four.)
|A view of the table.|
We planned to incorporate two scenarios into the game; the first being a version of the treasure system from Cigar Box Battles’ “The Diabolist’s Scheme”, where each player would put out a corpse marker instead of one of their treasures, and when the corpse marker is touched the player rolls a d20 with the results being: 1-5 nothing, it’s just a dead body; 6-10 it’s a zombie that attacks the figure; and 11-20 it’s a treasure.
We also did a dragon attack scenario of our own devising where picking up treasures has a chance to activate a dragon which will fly in over the city, with random entrance and exit points determined using a d30. The dragon will fly in a straight path along this line and attack the first figure it reaches that falls within 3" of it’s flight path. While originally planning for just 2 dragons, it ended up that five of us brought dragons, so we decided right before the game started to use all five. We used the stats for the Giant Worms from the rule book, and the associated experience reward for killing one of the dragons. Each dragon would stay on the table until it ate somebody and satisfied it’s hunger, and then it would fly off at the end of the next creature phase; or it was itself killed. The system we used for determining when a dragon entered was a bit too generous (it was based on making a roll after each treasure was picked up) so that all five dragons ended up entering on turn two! It did make for an exciting game.
|Some of the fun Corpse Markers the guys made. Mine is the second from the left, the girl carrying scrolls.|
The old Illusionist was apprehensive as he entered the city; he had lost his Apprentice his last outing, and his trusted friend Sister Elessa the time before that. He didn’t want to have to face the death of another key party member once again, but he felt that if he was too cautious with his expedition, he wouldn’t reap any rewards. He knew several of the other wizards who searched the ruined city were growing quite powerful, and he felt he needed to stay competitive if he was to succeed in his search for treasure and new magic. Hopefully a more bold course of action would be rewarded.
He took Sister Riessa and Danlin with him, as he pressed forward to a nearby building that had a treasure on the second floor. He hoped to take up a position there from which he and his Marksman could do some damage. He sent Cadwalleter to quickly try and snatch a treasure from under the noses of Lingzhu the Necromancer, whose party was entering to the left of Kodak’s warband. Edel he instructed to take up a position of cover to protect his left flank, and Bash he told to hang in the rear and look for target’s of opportunity in the rear ranks of the Necromancer’s zone.
Meanwhile, Danlin spotted the Enchanter across the way walk into his view. The Marksman pulled he trigger of his crossbow, and the bolt hit. Wounded, the wizard reeled in pain. A few moments later and the poor Enchanter was sliced with a Bone Dart from Lingzhu’s apprentice, and dropped to the snow, and lay there motionless.
|Kodak, Sister Riessa, and Danlin the Marksman, carefully cross the frozen stream as they push further into the city, heading for a ruin containing a treasure.|
Meanwhile, Leighlyndana headed onto the river. She sent Linnese up onto a nearby ship to grab a treasure, and she sent Jack 2 down the flood wall along the river to a treasure that lay along the wall a few hundred yards up. She set Weiss up to cover their advance, and Agamemnon advanced toward a half sunk boat wth a treasure laying by it, a little further up the river. Leighlyndana spotted one of the Doctor’s (Chronomancer) men entering the river from the other end, and attempted a Mind Control spell on him. She wanted to impress Kodak with her skill and concentrated hard on the words he had taught her. A roll of 20, and she breathed a sigh of relief as she felt herself enter the mind of the Chronomancer’s Treasure Hunter and bend it to her will. The man turned and immediately attacked the Doctor. the Doctor won the fight and pushed his own Treasure Hunter back, with a wound.
|The Red Dragon lands next to Edel the Archer!|
At that point there was a sound of rushing wind, and the sun went momentarily dark as a large body passed before it. Kodak and the rest of his party instinctively looked up, and were horrified to see a group of five dragons swirling in the sky overhead. He knew that to the dragons he and his party would look like fresh meat. Immediately the large creatures began to swoop towards the earth. A Blue one swooped down towards where the Necromancer’s men was battling with some of the Enchanter’s party. And Kodak could see a strange mechanical beast fly down towards where the Doctor stood. Not far from that a big Green one landed. And another Blue one landed further away on top of a tall tower. Kodak thought for a minute his party might escape injury, when out of nowhere a huge Red dragon swooped down and landed right near where Edel the Archer stood! Kodak froze for a second with dread, unable to look away from what he knew would was sure would be the end of his archer.
|As the dragon reels back from Edel’s blow, Danlin lines up his shot.|
Much to Kodak’s surprise, the stocky archer seemed almost unfazed by the sudden appearance of the dragon, and with a swift, almost reflexive, action pulled his dagger from it’s sheath and spun to face the dragon. The dragon lunged at the Archer, but Edel was able to side step, and slice up with his dagger tearing a gash in the soft underside of the dragon’s neck. The dragon reeled a step back, right into Danlin’s view. Seeing his opportunity, Danlin the Marksman sighted his trusty crossbow, said a short prayer to his gods, and squeezed the trigger. The bolt hit true, catching the dragon right behind the foreleg as the beast reared to strike again. It staggered backwards, caught in the momentum if its rearing, and the toppled over dead. The Illusionist, watching this, found he had been holding his breath and suddenly exhaled with relief. He shouted the good news to Riessa who was scaling the wall of the building he was standing next to. She looked down at Kodak and said gently, “It is becuase I pray to the Lady each night on your behalf”. The Illusionist thanked the Templar, and said, “She does seem to have favored us with a miracle today.”
|The Clockwork Dragon and the Doctor spend a few turns in battle, neither able to strke a critical blow to the other. Eventually, the dragon lost the battle.|
Things were not going Kodak’s way entirely though. Cadwalleter’s dash for the treasure near the Necromancer’s zone had been rewarded with a shot from one of Lingzhu’s Crossbowmen which had put the thief out of action. Likewise, on the ship in the river, Linesse’s attempt at the treasure on the deck had been cut short by one of the Doctor’s Marksmen who had climbed aboard the boat from the other side.
|Riessa slowly dragging the treasure across the stream as Danlin and Edel provide cover.|
Sister Riessa, in the meantime was now hauling the treasure across the snow. She was strong, but with plate armor on, hefting the heavy chest, she was making slow progress. She debated calling one of th nearby archers, or Danlin, to help her; but she felt they were better occupied doing what they were hired for, and quite honestly she felt that if anyone tried to take the treasure, she would be the most able to defend it. Bash made an ill-fated attempt to distract the Necromancer’s Crossbowman and Marksman by charging directly at them. He hoped he could occupy them a turn or two, giving the Templar some time to get into cover. He made it into contact with the Marksman who swung his weapon like a club hitting Bash straight in the jaw and sending him reeling. As he staggered back, the Crossbowman put a bolt into him, and he crumpled to the snow.
Meanwhile, Riessa was still slogging across the frozen stream that fed into the river, Jack 2 had also claimed a treasure and was dodging numerous shots from the Doctor’s party as he lugged it back towards the rendezvous point.
And not far from Jack 2, Agamemnon had reached his treasure, but no sooner than he had picked it up than he was surprised to see one of the Soothsayer’s men come around the end of the sunken boat and charge at him. They clashed swords, but the enemy’s sword hit home, and Agamemnon breathed through clenched teeth as he tried to steady himself after the biting wound. Leighlyndana rushed forward to help, but then another of the Soothsayer’s soldiers came into view. The Apprentice grabbed a bit of rusted chain that lay in the snow atop the frozen river. Speaking words close to it, and waving her left hand over it, she turned it into a Grenade and hurled it at the two enemy troops setting upon Agamemnon. She cursed, as in her haste to complete the spell she had mis-spoke the words of power. The Grenade landed and exploded, but it was ineffectual doing no damage to those around it.
At the moment, the Doctor came up the river, and hit Agamemnon with his sonic screwdriver, (Elemental Bolt) knocking him out. The Soothsayer’s Treasure Hunter picked up the treasure and began to drag it away, as the Doctor used his sonic screwdriver again, this time to take out the Soothsayers second figure that was by the treasure. With just the enemy Treasure Hunter there, Leighlyndana got an idea, and once again recited the words of Mind Control. She felt a a little light headed and could feel her mind reach out, but it was cloudy. She willed her brain to focus and a searing pain shot from back to front of her head, but like a spike being driven into ice, she could feel herself pierce into the Treasure Hunters head and take control. Slowly he turned and began dragging the treasure towards her.
|In the final moments of the game, sacrificing her own health points, Leighlyndana takes control of the Soothsayer’s Treasure Hunter just after he picks up a treasure.|
On top of the bluff over the river, Kodak had his own situation to deal with. The Enchanter’s Apprentice, desperate for treasure was lobbing her own Grenades up on the hilltop at the Illusionist. Luckily for Kodak, though they hit, they too were ineffective, only coating him with a fine mist of powdery ice and snow. Two of the Enchanter’s soldiers scaled the cliffs after the Illusionist as well, but both were repelled by Kodak’s use of his Push spell; though the second time, he miscast the spell and needed to use his Staff of Power to give it the extra boot it needed to send the soldier flying off the hill top and out into the air. Finally Kodak was able to make it into the bone alter and grab the treasure. As the sun was starting to set, he managed to speak the words of Teleportation successfully and landed back in a safe area near his party’s rendezvous point, treasure in hand.
Back at the inn where they had set up their base, Kodak was elated. He walked up to Sister Riessa later that evening and took her by the shoulders, beaming at her. "Truly, your prayers have been heard by the Lady!“ he rejoiced. "You must have her favor, Riessa; for today, nobody died! and four treasures retrieved from the city!” It was true that Cadwalleter had been badly wounded by the crossbow that hit him, but he would heal.
Leighlyndana came up to them, smiling herself. She was proud of her first foray into the ruins of Felstad. Kodak turned to her, “I heard you performed well today.”
“Thank you, master Kodak” she said with pride. "Though I will need you to go over the spell for Grenade with me again. I am not doing something right with the power words.“ The two took their leave of the Templar, and walked into the inn, talking.
The next morning, Kodak sat at a table in the inn and turned his attention to cataloging the treasure they had brought back with them. There were 335 gold coins. He would need to consider how to spend that. Also found was a Ring of Teleportation. As Kodak rolled it between his fingers, he thought to himself, "Riessa, should have this. It would be good if she could come to the aid of others, or get out of trouble, more quickly.” He set the ring on the table and picked up a fine leather jacket. "Magic Leather Armor", he mused. “Now there’s something you don’t see everyday. I think I will give that to Edel. Anyone who survives a dragon attack deserves some reward.” There was also a Grimoire of Reveal Death. "Not the most useful spell,“ he thought.
Then he was suddenly aware of a commotion outside and rose to go out and investigate. He was surprised to Leighlyndana laying flat on her back on the ground with a large dog, with matted hair and brambles and whatnot caught up in its tail, standing on top of his Apprentice and bouncing up and down. The rest of the group stood around watching the scene. And first he thought it was an attack, and instinctively turned for his staff; but then he realized the dog was licking the half-elf’s face, and she in turn was laughing a deep husky laugh.
"What’s all this?” he demanded.
The apprentice quickly stood, and walked towards Kodak. The dog close behind. “My apologies for the disturbance, Master Kodak, but this is an old friend, Kinddrif. It means ‘son of kings’ in my father’s tongue.” Kodak looked down at the soggy looking animal, and was suddenly aware of a foul smell. "He is my dog, and a close companion.“ Leighlyndana added. "When I was on my own and traveling the roads, he was my only fiend, and a stalwart protector. Then four months ago, outside of Randlfae, we were beset by orcs. Kinddrif threw himself at them, and we were able to beat them back; but in the excitement he chased a fleeing one into the woods there and never returned. I waited in Randlfae for three weeks for him; daily walking that stretch of road, calling his name, but without any answer. Finally, I realized I had to move on. I assumed he was dead. I can’t believe he tracked me all the way to here,” and she reached down and scratched a matted ear.
Kodak looked at his Apprentice, frowning; and then looked down at the dog, and then back at the apprentice. He didn’t care for dogs, and this one in particular was certainly not a shining example of the species; but Leighlyndana was beaming with joy, and it had an effect on the old Illusionist. He turned to Sister Riessa, as if searching for some sort of support against the mangey looking beast. But she was smiling too, and sensing Kodak’s gaze, she looked up, “Perhaps sent to us by the Lady” she suggested. “She is the Star that guides those who are lost”.
Kodak looked at the Templar suspiciously, a growing sense that his mind was being made up by others. “You wouldn’t refuse something the Lady has sent you, would you?” the Templar asked with a smile.
"Alright.“ Kodak conceded. He was in a good mood following their successful outing the day before, and was of a mind to be more agreeable to new ideas. "Also”, he thought in the back of his mind, “A good sturdy dog might be an asset to our expeditions.” To the apprentice he said, “You can keep him here. But, he will need to earn his keep by jining us on our forays into he city. And we will need to buy supplies to construct him a proper place to stay…he’s not living inside the inn with us. And for heaven’s sake, bathe him and try to make him look presentable. He can’t stay if he looks and smells like that.” And with that settled, Kodak turned and walked back towards the inn; his mind already turning to their next excursion into the ruins of the frozen city…
To read the Necromancer, Lingzhu’s account of the day, see: Dragon Strike!