[Actual Play] Swords Against Chaos 27 (B/X Mystara); The Long Night

Well do the ranchers and hunters of Northern Karameikos remember the 13th of the Ambyrmont, 1000 A.C. Few can recall precisely why they had come, or what they had fought for, but men well remembered the prowess of Balan’s Lame Ones, and so too did the Goblin remember, and when he remembered he remembered the cruelty and devastation they had wrought on the Goblin, in Dymrak forest, when few stood against many.

Come even fall they had entered Susikyn to find themselves surrounded by the Red Blade and the Wolfskull, fierce tribes of Dymrak Goblinkin, the horses they had been sent to fetch long gone. With muttered curses and frenetic haste Balan’s Lame Ones took to the siege, for well had they learned the lessons of Haradraith and learned them well.

They had barricaded and barred the doors of the Hall and piled behind them all that they could carry. The young ones of Pyotr, the Rancher patriarch, were sent into the storeroom to prepare strips of cloth and make flasks of oil and set them on the upper floor of the hall. Rallo, Hummingbird, Sarah and the one handed servant Stellios invested Pyotr’s quarters, overlooking the bridge and the north and south yards. In the tower, behind arrow slits, sat Niffa with the most capable shortbowmen the homestead fielded. The 1st floor of the main hall was held by the finest of Balan’s Lame Ones; Invincible Merkull, Edmin the enigmatic, Pyotr, garbed in his chain and armed with weapons taken from the barrows of ancient warriors and his daughter Irina, trained in the ways of immortals. On the battlements, Shing lurked behind a spell of invisibility, and carried the hunting horn, to warn the fortress in case of attack.

For a while the drums ceased, only to start up once more, accompanied by howling, chanting and war cries. From the edges of the eastern clearing, the first of the Red Blade tried their luck. 3 young braves with sling and bellies full of guts. Slingstones were cast at the open windows of the 1st floor from behind the cover of the treeline. Against lightly armed ranchers, deadly. Against men garbed in enchanted mail, hiding behind thick oaken walls, all but useless. The hunting horn of Shing the Unseen bellowed clearly across the drumming and chanting of the Red-Blade, and soon arrows and slingstones sang out from the tower and hall. They exchanged fire, but the men of Suskyn farm were more numerous and better protected, and soon 2 of the Red-Blade lay dead, and the third one fled into the woods.

3 Hours before midnight the goblins attempted the first serious foray. From the west, across the river came two of the Wolfskull hetmen riding great Dire wolves, and with them 10 braves wielding axes and spears. They roared as they charged onto the northern yard. At the same time from the east came 8 of the Redblade, wielding slings and rushing for the cover of the burning barn. Shing’s hunting horn rang again. Arrows rained down on the Redblade, and one of them fell in the grass, and another took a thigh wound. They fought on and made for the Barn.

It was there the Goblin first witnessed the true prowess of Balan’s Lame Ones. Two of the Wolfskull went for the door to the northern hall, whilst arrows and stones rained down on them from the tower and Pyotr’s quarters and the hall. Before the first ten seconds had elapsed, the first of the wolf riders had fallen, arrows sticking from his flesh like a porcupine. The second was already injured, and two of the goblins had fallen. Stones were cast in return, all but one bouncing from mail and window, with only Irina taking a minor wound.

“Kill, Kill, Kill, Kill,” the goblins chanted, as they hewed away at the door, and cast what spears they had. Then the Lame Ones brought Fire, and pots of burning oil rained down on the Goblin like hail. The second of the lieutenants fell, his throat pierced by a bolt, and more of the Wolfskull fell, baptized with flame. As three of their number fell to arrows and burning oil, the Lame Ones let out a ferocious clamour of curses and insults, Edmin chanting his jeering spider chants, questioning the goblin’s parentage. Faced with such mockery, both of their leaders dead in the mud, and with the door only halfway run through, the wolfskull ran, all but two of them picked off, those grabbing hold of the Dire Wolves and making for the safety of the western forest.

Then came an exchange of fire. The Redskull had cover, but their armor was hide, and their weapons were slings. Against men in armor, behind hard cover, with deadly longbow and heavy crossbows, they did not stand a chance. When they broke, they barely made it out of the building, and two of them were cut down near the treeline, only to fall aswell.

Rallo climbed out alone then, and in the silence and the moonlight picked over the lieutenants and the fallen, and gathered himself some 56 gp worth of trinkets and coins, and severed the heads of the chieftains and cast them on the bridge, staying well out of sight. Pyotr used what arts of carpentry he had to attend to the worst of the damage, but it would only delay the inevitable.

The goblins tried a cunning gambit. In the night there was heard an awful screaming, and a glimpse of a figure in a yellow dress was seen near the treeline. Pyotr urged caution, but his wife said her friend on the nearby homestead had such a yellow dress. The Lame Ones stayed put, and that was the end of that. They bound their wounds and Pyotr’s mother, long a servant of the Immortals, applied her healing arts to those small wounds that could not be healed via their arts.

Once more the Goblins assailed them with snipers, and once more the Lame Ones drave them back with arrowfire, and they left one of their number dead in the treeline before retreating.

The Lame Ones, weary of inaction, gathered them great bales of hay to hoist up and place on the tower roof and near the windows and drenched them in oil. In the midst of this process, with Rallo cursing and heaving the things so they could be tackled up, he was assailed by 5 Giant Vampire Bats.

The rest was belatedly alerted as Rallo made to climb the homestead, and fended off the bats with ranged weapons. One fell, one sunk its teeth into Rallo’s neck. The paralysis took him, and he fell into the mud, unconscious. 4 of them left, they climbed in, two in each room. The room was barred between. The Bats in the hall fell quickly to sling stones and arrow fire before they could close. The Bats in Pyotr’s room were not as easily dealt with. Twice Sarah was bitten, and twice she narrowly staved off defeat as she switched to her enchanted short sword. Another fell on Stellios, the one-armed servant of the homestead, whose sling had claimed the life of a goblin this longest night. Its fangs ripped out his throat, and he was the first of the homesteaders that died. Niffa had rushed down from the tower, and a combined force of fighting men broke through into Pyotr’s home, and killed the beast with combined blows and arrow fire.

It was 2 hours past midnight, and the night was not yet over. But would it be a triumphant defence or a glorious last stand? We shall see.

The Tally
16 Goblins (Wolfskull)
16 Goblins (Redblade)
2 Goblins defeated (Redblade)
2 Goblins defeated (Wolfskull)
2 Goblin lieutenants (Wolfskull)
2 Dire Wolves (defeated)
5 Giant Vampire Bats
8 Wolves
6 Shadows
5 Stirges

The Haul
44 Gp in mixed coin in jar at Misha’s Ferry.
7 gp
56 gp in mixed coins and trinkets
3 scrolls (unidentified, not clerical)
Potion of antidote (minor), Potion of Clairaudience, Potion of Speed

The Book of the Living.
[B] Niffa (Elf 2, 9 hp)
[D] Rallo the Bastard (Thf 4, 20 hp)
[E] Shing the Golden (MU 3, 6 hp)
[F] Hummingbird Twiceborn (Mys 4, 11 hp)
[G] Edmund Os Traytor (Clr 3, 12 hp)
[NPC] Sarah (Thf 4, 16 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
[D] Rallo the Bastard (Thf 4, 24 hp) – Throat ripped out by a Cave Bear
[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
[NPC] Aziz the Impetuous (Ftr 1) – Struck down by an impostor’s hand
[NPC] Hyacinth the Fair (Ftr 1) – Felled by an Arrow
[NPC] Kellhus (Mys 1) – Drained by Stirges

The Rolls of Honour:
[A] Egil Soft-pate (Ftr 1, 18 Str) – Long may he Reave!
[C] Sir Ioric (Ftr 3, 17 hp) – Retired in glory, long live the Duke!
[NPC] Erren (Thf 3, 10 hp) – She wanders the roads, looking for who knows what.

3 thoughts on “[Actual Play] Swords Against Chaos 27 (B/X Mystara); The Long Night

    1. I am typing up the report now. I’m curious how you would adjudicate it. I ruled it would take two rounds for the Goblins to cross the clearing to the hall and set up the ladders, but perhaps it should have been one. They did not come close, it was an absolute slaughter.


      1. One round to get in position, another to place the ladder, and line up ready to climb: that seems reasonable to me.
        Those not in the first wave should be firing missiles at the defenders. If you were to say the first couple of goblins were halfway up the ladder at the end of round two, that would also be a fair judgement. Some Subotai style quotes, e,g,”Shing is wizard, he won’t use bow. So I shoot them for him” are expected.


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