[Actual play] Swords Against Chaos 28 (B/X Mystara); The Siege of Suskisyn

They bound their wounds and lay in wait, the Lame Ones and the ranchers, and awaited the promise of salvation that dawn would bring. At 5 past midnight all the drums had ceased, and they heard a great angry howling from the east, soon replaced by eerie chants. Shing, still in the tower, kept careful watch.

Fanatic, resigned to death or victory, the Gnasshka emerged from the forest of the east. Thirty strong, bearing great wooden ladders, they ran across the eastern plain to assail the first floor of the main hall with overwhelming force. In the north, King Gnass and his two chieftains came via the remnants of the barn, to assail the bottom floor.

Overpowering sounded the hunting horn from the roof, its source eerily invisible, and a rain of arrows and burning oil rained down upon the goblins from the hall. Hummingbird and Rallo moved into the Main Hall, prepared for violence. The goblins took wounds from vicious arrows as they sprinted across the field, bearing ladders high, the cries of the two chieftains in their ears, death chants upon their lips. Edmin lit a fire in one of them as ladders were set against the eastern windows.

Quick thinking Edmin poured lamp oil over the ladder and set it ablaze, and the goblins leapt off, fearing the bite of the flames. Hummingbird threw down a ladder with two goblins atop, crushing one and wounding the other. A great bale of straw was set alight and pushed off the tower and smote one of the bodyguards of King Gnass, and there he would perish. Even before the first axe was placed on the northern door, vicious arrow and bolt fire smote them also, and with arrows sticking out of them like a porcupine’s quils they raised their weapons and smote at the northern door. Desultory sling fire rained off the mailed coats of the lame ones, but they were safe behind the thick wooden windows and enchanted steel. Hummingbird’s scalp bled from one of the slingstones, and Merkull was struck a glancing blow on the temple. Rallo, Pyotr and Merkull prepared weapons for the melee.

A second and a third blaze was set in the ladders, as Niff and the two homesteaders rained arrows down on the goblins. Now they climbed, these savage creatures, urged on by the war cries of their chieftains, to heed not the bite of the flame, and be certain that their ancestors were watching. Fire bit into the Goblin as he ascended the ladder, and three of them could not abide its searing pain and leapt off, to break on the earthen floor below. Two had entered the hall, weapons drawn. In the northern yard, only King Gnass was still hewing at the door, his comrade dead by deadly arrows. The ghostly horn did not abate, but sounded from the tower as though death itself was blowing it, seeming to punctate the terrible reaping of the Lame Ones.

Onward, onward came the goblin, three ladders ablaze and not a Man of the lame ones had fallen. Thirteen dead and more. Onward he came, until by sorcery he seemed to know that his king had fallen. A wicked barbed bolt, fired from Sarah’s Arbalest, claimed King Gnass, and with muttered prayers to his savage gods upon blood-stained lips, he fell backward, his axe slipping from limp hands, to expire upon the packed earth.

Away ran the Goblin, away into the cover of the trees. But one last terror they would endure. From the battlements, now terribly visible against the moonset, Terrible Shing appeared like some fiend from the pit, and his voice ranged across the field, and sorcerous sleep came upon five more. Of the thirty-three that had assailed the homestead, only thirteen left with their lives intact, the rest fallen prey to the calculated savagery of the Lame Ones.

Exhausted they rested their hands, and passed ale and water around, and asked Pyotr whether or not he thought the Goblins were gone, and if they would return. “The Goblin always returns,” he answered darkly. They interrogated him further, and moved outside, heaping up the dead, of three tribes, one strange and unknown clan, marked with hideous serpent tattoos upon the right cheek, the cowardly and vicious Jaggadash, despised even by Goblins. It was these that had taken the horses.

They piled them up and used Shing’s wand to detect any sorcerous objects that might be among the remainder. They took from Gnass his red-daubed axe, which held a powerful sorcery, and they took from them their gold and trinkets and jewels. The rest they burned in a great pyre on the field, and then had their rest.

When they awoke they enjoyed a sober meal from Pyotr. For the horses were still stolen, and the lame ones were adamant in retrieving them. Edmin, servant of the Trickster, spying their dismay with a twinkle in his eye did raise his glass and toasted to their victory, but the steaders took it well, and with grim determination toasted to the victory of the Lame Ones. It was Taras, Pyotr’s son, who demanded that he be taken with them to track the horses, for the track was easy.

In the morning they awoke, rejuvenated and well rested, and followed the track. Along the way, they came upon five wolves, and with a sleep spell, dispatched them easily, under Niffa’s forlorn look. The two captive wolves they had left at Pyotr, who had eyed them warily and placed them in an enclosure.

By midday they found the Viper goblins, slaughtered, along with 17 horses. It seems the Wolfskull had come seeking revenge. 6 Oil beetles, vile, ferocious things, came upon them first, and one did bite Niffa before a Sleep spell eliminated five of them, and sword blows took the rest. A female goblin, a survivor of the massacre, took that moment to run off into the forest, but Hummingbird, fleet as a hawk in flight, recovered it in no time and cornered the creature, almost sustaining great injury before disabling the creature with a blow to the neck. 

They interrogated the creature, and its fear had made it pliable. It told them of the Jaggadash’s plan to sell the horses to bandits in the east. They threatened it, and it was willing to guide them east.

They arrived at a sign. “Miss L. Fyodorl – Equine Entrepeneur – Dealer in Fine Horses.” As they were spotted, they quickly stuffed the captive Goblin in their bag of holding, to hide their intent and knowledge.
They came upon four people, the Lady Fyodorl, a female elf of charming appearance and a deep, oddly charming burr of a voice, a rough camp and a corral, filled with all the surviving stolen horses, as well as many others. They insisted the horses be returned to them, for they claimed they were stolen. Miss Fyodorl replied in a sympathetic voice that she understood, but that she had paid good money for the horses, and handing them over would mean her ruination. She graciously offered to sell them for 50 gp each, the price at which she had obtained them.

The Lame Ones threatened her, but she said that if they wanted to rob her and deprive her of her livelihood, that they would have to do that by force, and she would give them no aid.

Gloomily, still wounded from their first encounter, and down two sleeping spells, they eyed the “traders” warily, and, hesitant, plotted their next move.

The Tally
16 Goblins (Wolfskull)
33 Goblins (Redblade)
1 Goblin (Jaggadash)
2 Lieutenants (Redblade)
King Gnass of the
13 Goblins defeated (Redblade)
2 Lieutenants defeated (Redblade)
2 Goblins defeated (Wolfskull)
2 Goblin lieutenants (Wolfskull)
2 Dire Wolves (defeated)
5 Giant Vampire Bats
13 Wolves
6 Shadows
5 Stirges
6 Oil Beetles

The Haul
44 Gp in mixed coin in jar at Misha’s Ferry.
7 gp
186 gp in mixed coins and trinkets
2 Bloodstone earrings (100 e.a.)
1 Axe dyed blood-red (magical)
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.

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