Beers and Dragons #4

Beers and Dragons #4

our table, note the langskip/knarr/spatha/row boat images on the ref screen

The session 3 (fourth session actually) ended with Ravenscar's leader Runesieg asking our adventuring party to kidnap one of his old friends who left the community and emigrated south. Their reward, in case of success, would be passage to Frisia.

Those session reports are meant to help us get back in the campaign from one evening to the other. They are not meant to be work of fiction. Sometimes mistakes creep in, the players point them to me. It's fun to have these discrepancies between the scenario and set of situations prepared, the actual trajectory of the player characters in the setting, and the session as reported here.

Gerald, Oswald, and Anders discussed the kidnapping mission they received but soon fell asleep in Runesieg's hall. The morning came, Runesieg's wife served them a breakfast of eggs and dried fish. Niall, Runesieg's intendant came to meet them "Our chief told me about the mission he has given you. Your team will gather on the beach soon, I will introduce you and give preparation orders at that point. Do you have any questions or requests before we meet them?"

The party asked for ropes, a gag, and a small sail to wrap Chatz once captured. They also asked to Niall if he could accompany them on the mission to keep the youngsters in check. The intendant replied that he would consider that, his gaze wandered south, as if checking the weather.

On the beach, our friends recognized the three young guys that had mooned them on the previous day. It quickly escalated "we don't want those saxon piglets to lead us! And anyway who's this guy?" One of them was pointing at Anders, our half-Norwegian, half-Irish dressed as a Saxon. Anders grabbed the finger pointed at him, but the kid immediately wrestled it back.

 Tormod "Swede" son of Birger  | Slave                      | Fighter 1
 blond hair, blue eyes, ruddy skin
 Polymath, Wrestler                                         | Mov 30ft_9m_6sq_t
                | STR  16 (+1) | Stab-0                     |              HP 5
    Physical 14 | CON   9 (+0) |                            |   Ini +0
                | DEX  12 (+0) | Administer-0               |       naked AC 10
     Evasion 15 | INT  11 (+0) | Sneak-0                    |             AC 10
                | WIS   7 (-1) | Work-1                     |      shield AC 15
      Mental 14 | CHA  14 (+1) |                            |   Att +1
        Luck 15 |              |                            |          Morale 9
     Punch  STR  +2  dmg 1d6+1  shk 1+1 AC 15
     Spear  STR  +2  dmg 1d8+1  shk 2+1 AC 13
       Axe  STR  +2  dmg 1d6+1  shk 2+1 AC 13
         Axe  DEX  -1 ->20ft_6m_4sq_t-2    -3 -> 60ft_18m_12sq_tt    dmg 1d6+0
         Bow  DEX  -1 ->60ft_18m_12sq_tt   -3 ->300ft_90m_60sq_6Ftt  dmg 1d6+0

Gerald stepped in front of the kids and asserted his authority. The kids replied by summoning the Swede from their rear rank. Gerald gave his sword and shield to Oswald while the Swede was flexing his muscle. Circle on the beach, the kids shouting "Swede! Swede! Swede!", while Oswald and Anders observed their friend and the kids. Niall the intendant had a big smile.

Tormod stroke the first, jab then hook, Gerald avoided, blocked, punched and hit. Tormod ate the damage and went on but missed (Tormod is a wrestler, that gives him shock damage, but Gerald is a close combatant, and that counters the Swede's shock).

Final punch for Gerald and the Swede fell on the sand. Silence among the kids, after a while, Niall said "I think you don't need me". The kids took care of their champion and then listened carefully to Niall giving them instructions, preparing the Selbafesh rowboat, loading it with four day supplies and whatever the Saxons and Anders requested.

Niall then turned to our friends and enjoined them "Let's get back to the hall, the chief and I will answer your questions and let you prepare your trip".

"We propose the following plan to you. There is a long sandy beach on the coast North of Bridling, at its end, there is a cave, the kids could hide there with the boat while you locate Chatz and bring him back".

"We've heard rumors from our people that trade there that someone matching Chatz description bought and settled in a farm."

Anders asked "What can you tell us about Bridling, how big is that place?" Runesieg waved at his intendant "Niall, please call Knud, he trades there often". "Bridling is twice the size of our settlement, the majority of the population is Dane like here. We know they keep a watch on the sea, hence our proposal to go there from the north, from the land."

"We do not know the exact location and situation of Chatz there. One thing we do not want is people there linking his disappearance with us. Probably Chatz is lying down and living under a different name, that's good. He's bald, has got green eyes and his skin is quite pale." The chief paused and then added "He has scars on his forearms. He is a bit special".

At that point, Anders as a weaver, felt a tinge of fear. The quarry might prove hard to capture.

Knud arrived, greeted the chief and the party, then answered the questions "Yes, I trade there often. My contact there is named Bjorn, he's easy to find". The party asked about the farms behind Bridling, "On the north side there are fewer farms, mostly sheeps, the south side around Bridling has a better climate and there are cows there, it's a good spot, it helped their settlement grow steadily". There wasn't much more to draw out of Knud, the chief invited him to stay with them for a casual lunch.

Niall came back and announced that the kids were done loading the boat and preparing it for departure "They're waiting for you on the beach tomorrow morning, by the time the sun hits us you should be on your way. If everything goes well, you should reach the cave one hour before sunset". "The kids kept pestering about taking a langskip, I had to remind them that our long ships are not ready." "Did you prepare a mast and a sail for the rowboat?" "Yes, it might prove useful on the trip back".

The travel to the cave was almost uneventful. Gerald and Oswald were a bit scared at first, it was their first time on a boat, on the sea. They managed and after a while if felt alright. The kids were rowing steadily, one of them steering. Anders, as a Norwegian felt this Danish-style boat was a bit flat for his liking, but he reflected that it'd be easier to beach and conceal in a cave, should there be a cave big enough. He was happy to be back on the sea and settle in front of the boat to keep track of the horizon on the south and the coast starboard.

Oswald, versed in the arts of the scop found inspiration in the travel and devised a rowing song. He performed it and it was very well received by the kids at their oars, their rowing got better and faster.

The boat entered a zone of rain and the joys of maritime travel were gone, Oswald and Gerald wrapped themselves in their coat and endured. At some point, as Gerald left hand was firmly on the side of boat, something fishy lay on his hand. He withdrew it but could see nothing on the left side of the boat. He explained what happened to Oswald, both Saxons felt a bit scared and small in the middle of this mix of rain and waves.

The sun became visible again well on its way to the West, highlighting a long sandy beach. The danish boy at the steering oar directed the boat at the east end of the beach and they reached the beach and the cave behind it with one or two hours of light left. The whole team unloaded the supplies in the cave then slid the boat on some of the oars inside of the cave.

The kids volunteered for guard turns and Anders asked them to wake him and his saxon friends right before sunrise.

Sun rose for a beautiful summer day and our tired heroes woke up. The kids too were tired, nobody was keeping watch and the sun was already up in the sky.

The party was mad at the kids for not waking them up, the breakfast was served in silence. One of the kids then showed them the way up the cliff. It was quite steep, the return with a tied man might be difficult. The adventurers reminded to the kids not to venture outside of the cave and to wait for them for three days. "Do as Niall told you, you wait for us for three days, if we don't show up, you head home. Got it?"

Once up the cliff, the view was beautiful, the travel to the south was easy. They reached the high point and the slope inverted, leading them south. They arrived at a small farm a woman and a young boy were cropping the hooves of cows. They looked danish, Anders addressed them "Hello, we're travellers and farm hands, do you need help?" "Well, my husband is away, you can stay for lunch if you help us taking care of the cows".

The work was easy for Oswald and Gerald, they had done it numerous times in their Saxon village up north. Anders wasn't much around cows, but he chatted with the woman and helped her with minor tasks. They learned that an old, big farm with ten to fifteen cows had recently changed hands or was set up half an hour to the east. Once they had lunch, Gerald stayed at the woman's farm while Oswald and Anders went to look for jobs at the big farm.

Our two scouts found the farm after a bit more than half an hour. They engaged the discussion with the old woman they found there and she said she'd gladly host them in exchange of work for the coming week. She gave them a place to settle for the evening in the cowshed.

The husband came to meet them. That definitely was Chatz, bald hair, green eyes, and pale skin.

Anders went back to fetch Gerald at the first farm. As they were coming back, three Danes on horseback joined them and asked them who they were and where they were heading. It turned out they were the part of a community patrol. They let Gerald and Anders go on.

Anders wielding the 30ft stick as a tactical pointer

Once reunited, they had supper together, the old woman had provided a pot of gruel for them. They discussed quietly how to perform the kidnapping. After a while they came with a plan: put the cowshed on fire and pick the family as it comes out of the habitation wing.

Anders cast red disk in the corner of the cowshed and started shouting "FIRE! FIRE! FIRE!".

Gerald was positioned on the right of the habitation door, while Oswald and Anders were waiting on the left. The first son of Chatz came out and peeped through the slit into the cowshed. He noticed Gerald, but the Saxon quickly despatched him. Oswald and Anders had more difficulty with the second son, an arrow from Oswald, a black arrow from Anders and finally a seax hit from Oswald were necessary to take him down.

Gerald meanwhile, was focusing on the entrance door, waiting for Chatz or his wife to come out, but what came out was a black arrow hitting him in the back. That unnerved him and he entered the house. He couldn't see much but guessed the weaver was at the level of the small window from which the black arrow was fired. He advanced there, collided with Chatz, received a black arrow hit and a fry pan on his head from Chatz's wife. A sword hit took care of the bald weaver while Anders hit the wife with a black arrow of his own.

Anders bandaged Chatz making sure his wounds weren't mortal, he used the healing elixir given to them in Ravenscar. They then tied him and started transporting him. They quickly went straight north-west to reach the cliff. The burning farm was quite impressive, lighting the landscape so they made sure to reach the nearest wood to hide in its shadows. They remembered at that point that they hadn't untied the cows, poor beasts.

As they were making a "jump" between two areas of woods, Chatz manifested itself by casting a white halo above himself. The party got afraid the it might be seen as it was quite bright. As Gerald and Oswald were transporting Chatz, Anders was making sure to cover the halo with a piece of the sail they had wrapped the sorcerer in. After a dozen minutes, the halo vanished.

They reached the cliff and had to find, in the dark, the beginning of the way leading down to the cave. There was some stumbling and sliding, but they reached to beach and the entrance of the cave. They were halted by two of the danish kids. "Who goes there?" "It's us, wake up everybody, we're leaving now!".

Unbeknownst to the adventurers, the kids had loaded extra-ale for the travel and, thinking the wouldn't leave for another two days, they had had a small drinking party the previous evening. It took quite some time to wake up everybody, packing hastily and pushing the boat back into the water. The first rays of the sun reached them as the kids started rowing. On top of the cliff, they could see three horsemen. Oswald, Gerald, and Anders were hoping they wouldn't figure who they were or where they came from.

The rowing was a bit slow (nobody had take the time to mount the mast and use the sail). There was a frightening sight, a longship was sliding in front of them heading east (wind was coming from the south, in the back of our rowers). The ship was rather far away and didn't seem to want to engage them. Anders identified a Danish style longship with a snake as its figurehead. "I hope he doesn't come back on us, he must be quite faster than our boat".

The session ended here.