It was the 10th of the Fyrmonet, and our heroes gathered what spoils they could from the cold bodies in the dungeons under Haradraith’s Keep. Magic all but spent, they trudged upwards to make their camp a half hour’s march from there.
In the morning, rejuvenated, they returned, to finish it once and for all.
Finding the keep invested by a band of orc marauders, Rallo climbed up, invisible and silent, and opened the gates they had unwittingly barred. As one of the ill-prepared louts stumbled outside of its tower our heroes were already crossing the distance. Desultory arrow fire wounded Ioric only lightly, and they came upon the Orcs and dealt with them swiftly, with Rallo never having broken his spell.
Down they went into Haradraith, Rallo scouting ahead to search for ambush. They found none, and they moved on, and helped themselves to the Ogre’s gold and the bandit’s treasure. Following some queer Elven impulse, Niffa searched the walls while Rallo searched for traps.
Almost did they fall when Niffa and Hummingbird sought the walls of the northern passage leading to Ilyana’s Den, and Sarah searched the southern walls in the eastern passage, only to stumble onto Blackmaer the Swordmaster and his hideous Chameleon War Beast! Her piercing screech echoed through the dungeon! A pit trap all but killed Niffa and Hummingbird, and left them in total darkness. The rest of our heroes, in some other segment of the dungeon, rushed to come to Sarah’s aid.
Already bleeding from manifold wounds, she held off Blackmaer and his Chameleon beast. The Sleep Spell struck Blackmaer, leaving only the Beast untouched. It followed through and on, and crossed blades with Merkull, Ioric and Rallo too, who broke his invisibility to deal with the monstrosity. Sword blows, Shing’s Whip and a Magic missile served to do in the creature, with only minor injuries to Ioric in return. They helped themselves to Blackmaer’s equipage, and found many powerful objects of enchantment.
Using Shing’s enchanted wand, they found upon his person, not only his enchanted Plate, and great two-handed sword, but also all powerful Bag of Holding, and all his treasures therein.
In his quarters they found imprisoned a battered shepherdess, by name of Sarala, who pleaded with them to let her be. They found also the Wolfsbane on Blackmaer’s person, and eyes raised thereat. Quick-thinking Shing moved the Wolfsbane to the edge of the cage, and she recoiled in fear. Hummingbird’s Eyes lit up with the potential for havoc. Though she pleaded for release, our heroes promised her vengeance on her oppressors if she would but help in their final battle. Eventually she assented, and they let her our and fed her and watered her and she took place in their ranks as they marched to meet their hated foe.
In ordered ranks of front and back, armed with flasks of oil stoppered with cloth, and halbeards and enchanted swords, they met Ilyana’s remaining host. Long alerted, they faced them in an ordered line, 7 of the re-animated dead, two vicious warhounds, the acolyte of the dark gods Bernal and Ilyana herself.
Warrior Queen. Champion of Chaos. She was magnificent to behold, with flowing brown hair and hazel eyes and a cruel smirk. Imperiously, she demanded who dared intrude her inner Court.
‘YOUR REIGN IS OVER ILYANA.’ Sounded mocking Hummingbird from the back row. ‘YOUR HORDE IS NO MORE. SURRENDER NOW AND WE SHALL BE MERCIFUL.’
‘Tell me your name, that I may remember it when I glance at your severed head.’
At this Hummingbird only said, ‘AT HER.’
A long, grinding, savage melee ensued. As the living dead surged over them to meet a wall of enchanted steel, a terrible pitch by Shing doused Bernal in burning oil, disrupting his concentration. Arrows and burning oil fell on the living dead, and Sarala turned into a monstrous Were-tiger and fell upon one of the living dead.
The charm spell washed over Bernal, worshipper of Darkness, and for a moment he was ensnared, but only for a moment.
Ilyana’s terrible hellblade surged with dark power, against which no charm or spell of sleep could persevere, and suddenly the Bernal marched behind them once again, his will unbroken, his power terrible.
‘You stand against a Queen of Chaos! Your petty charms are no match for the powers of the dark!’ she taunted, as she matched blades with Ioric, both parties protected, Ilyana the superior in strength and skill, Ioric the superior in protection, for he had donned the enchanted armor of Blackmaer, and was proof against all but the truest blows.
But with time, Ilyana’s front weakened, as more defenders fell. Rallo dealt the death blow to the hound that had chased him out so ignominiously. Shing’s spells of sleep affected little. Flasks of holy water melted the living dead away, and the monstrous were-tiger wreacked terrible havoc behind the lines.
The Lord Bernal invoked the powers of Darkness, and the SILENCE spell washed over the ragged ranks, and all the rest of the melee was conducted in eerie silence. Whenever our heroes faltered, Edmin rushed forth to apply his Healing Staff, and thus Ioric, bleeding from two vicious cuts, persevered and carried on.
Ever was hummingbird on the back row, harrying with his Halbeard. One by one the defenders fell, inch by inch they were driven back, until two islands remained around Bernal and Ilyana. Niffa, with all but broken jaw, joined by Hummingbird and later the Were-tiger, smote against him, and as he took a vicious bite his will faltered and he drank the potion of gaseous form and fled in mist form, swearing hideous revenge.
Now the melee involved but one. The queen was mighty, and all but the truest strikes slid off her like rain off oilcloth. But the numbers accumulated, and two true strikes and she was bleeding heavily from mighty wounds. In eerie silence, she continued, unbowed, unbroken, calling on all of them to surrender, as a blow from Ioric claimed her head.
As Shing closed the doors to prevent any escape, the evil fog slipped through the cracks, and carried on to do future evils.
Ilyana’s head bounced on the ancient flagstones in eerie silence.
The Queen was Dead.
3 Human Warriors
Segreb the Ogre
Blackmaer the Swordmaster
The Book of the Living.
[C] Ioric the Reborn (Ftr 3, 17 hp)
[B] Niffa (Elf 2, 9 hp)
[D] Rallo the Bastard (Thf 3, 19 hp)
[E] Shing the Golden (MU 3, 6 hp)
[F] Hummingbird Twiceborn (Mys 3, 7 hp)
[G] Edmund Os Traytor (Clr 1, 6 hp)
[NPC] Sarah (Thf 3, 15 hp).
[NPC] Merkull (Ftr 3, 20 hp)
The Book of the Dead:
[A] Ilyanka Pjottrsdöttr (Clr 1) – Beheaded by Giant Chameleon
[B] Liliath the Elf-maiden (Elf 1) – Skull-split by the horrid Bugbear
[C] Cold-Souled Fenrig (Thf 1) – Cut down by the Orc menace
[D] Balan the Lame (Dwr 1) – Cut down by the Orc menace
[B] Earendil (Elf 1) – Struck down by vile Orc Sorcery
[G] Azalesh Slyly (Clr 1) – Shanked by common robbers
[NPC] The Wardog Biter (Dog) – Cut down by the Orc Menace
The Rolls of Honour:
[A] Egil Soft-pate (Ftr 1, 18 Str) – Long may he Reave!
[NPC] Erren (Thf 3, 10 hp) – She wanders the roads, looking for who knows what.
4 thoughts on “[Actual play] Swords Against Chaos 21 (B/X Mystara); Queen’s Harvest”
Did Ilyana really say “Stop the melee now! I’m winning!” A satisfying conclusion, well done the party.B10 next?
Hahaha Ilyana declared the melee to have been decidedly won by the forces of Chaos, as the last few melee rounds had taken place after the official session end time of 22:00 PM Sunday had elapsed.
B10 seems a logical progression. Hex crawling and advanced faction play. The lower ACs combined with the immunity provided by Ilyana’s sword made this one drag on, but it was well fought.
Dear Prince, would you consider doing a quick post-mortem for your legions of low-spectrum Dragonsfoot fans ? I think we can all agree that endlessly tinkering with the combat sequence is more satisfying than playing with actual humans, so now you’ve bitten the bullet for the rest of us, cough it up : does BtB B/X really stand on his own or did you import Lotfp-isms, 3E skill-centric resolution methods, ascending AC, unified save roll or other foul adulterations into your game? Is 0 hp immediate death? Do you have a mapper and a caller ? Do you gleefully punish them for every mistake they make? We demand to know – you can’t resist the obligatory “my-houserules-if-any-of-you-guys-is-interested” blogpost forever.
Great suggestion. Next post it is! (or maybe 2nd post after Hyqueous Vaults).