It was deep into autumn, and the land was painted in all the hues of that auspicious season, as the three most powerful of the Champions gathered in conclave to settle, once and for all, their enmity with the band of Lothar Kingsblade. Snorri the Scout, Nicodemus the Priest and Beorn the Northener, and with them their hirelings, procured for themselves stout warhorses and ponies, silk rope and quantities of oil, and made for Law’s End and Bear Hill beyond.
The 1st day on the Elfway, they met a band of travelling beggars, all 5 of them blind, and gave them alms, and simply bade them be on their way. The second day they met 6 soldiers of Novgorond, notable by their high helms and pointed moustachios, who addressed them in their alien tongue, and demanded they pay the road tax. Beorn laughed and told them it was they who owed him tax. Red as fire, the Novgorondian serjeant drew steel, and soon the road was drenched in his blood. The rest scattered into the forest, dropping their weapons. They took the serjeants tabard, embroidered with the coat of arms of Novgorond and Snorri listened to his dying wish, that his gear be sold and whatever silver or gold was gained be given over to his widow Sacha. Snorri had no intention of following his wish, ensnared as he was by the Dragonhelm.
At Laws end they met again the Dragon Tenebrous, and bade him discharge his oath, to aid against the Bandits of Bear Hill, in return for a full share of the treasure. Resentfully, but avaricious at the prospect of treasure, Tenebrous pledged his aid. The first day they set out into the Delvingwood beyond Laws end, and carefully made their way, rotating long watches as they were but few. Tenebrous scouted the Hill by flight, and following the information drawn from one of the bandits, eventually located the secret passageway on its near unclimable southern face, returning by night to the Champions camp.
The next day, 2 hours from Bear Hill, they were set upon by a ferocious Owl Bear by suprise, and it had all but killed Beorns warhorse before they could retaliate. But so ferociously did they hew and hammer, and with hoof-blows and strike the monstrous creature, Tenebrous among them that it was left a mangled pile of offal before it could do more damage. Tenebrous fed on the corpse, and by midday they arrived at Bear Hill to work their design.
Taking gulps from the potion of invisibility, Beorn moved to the top of the hill, whilst Tenebrous and Nicodemus, hidden by the potion, and Snorri hidden by the Cloak of Elvenkind, moved to the guards around the trap. Moving up to the sentry by the entrance of Bear Hill, Beorn came upon him, and with a swordblow, stabbed him through the chest and ended him. A cry of alert and curse went up, and from the trees, the two archers loosed their arrows at the Champion. But protected as he was by banded mail, and the Great shield of Chaos, the arrows could not touch him. He focused, and using his strange ring of controlling plants, bade one of the trees in which the archer was spaced to uproot itself and cast itself in the entrance. While the sentry clambered down, and the other loosed arrows in vain, the great pine lumered forward, and with a shudder and a crash, slid itself down the entryway. And soon the other tree began to walk. Panicked, one of the Bowmen ran down the hill to fetch his comrades, whilst the other slid down also, and kept up his onslaught. Beorn then took two flasks of oil from his pack, and threw them down the shaft, shattering at the bottom.
The heroes near the pit attacked the sentries then, but a snapped branch gave away their presence, and the bandits could reach for weapons and defend themselves in some minor fashion. The Axe grimmtein beheaded one of their number, and the melting breath of Tenebrous killed two more ere 10 heartbeats had passed. Desperate, the bandits put up ferocious but futile resistance ere they were cut down to a man. Snorri travelled then to the secret entrance, taking the Rope of climbing and Tenebrous left off. Nicodemus ran towards the remaining Archer, and with the serpent staff imprisoned him, and questioned him of the whereabouts of his master Lothar Kingsblade. When the questioning was through, he left the captive in the pit, and taking up his staff, moved for the hilltop.
At the entryway, two pines were now lodged in the narrow shaft, and Beorn pulled out flint and steel to light a torch, struggling to get the spark going. Splintered shafts lay strewn about him, as the Archer advanced with handax drawn. In the entrance, alarmed noises of the bandits below sounded, and an arrow was fired up, and a brave men among them began sidling up the trees with a knife in his mouth,while cries of alarm resounded throughout.
The torch was lit the second the bandit had engaged, and his ax struck imperial mail, as Beorn cast the torch inside, and started a fire. More cries of alarm were heard, and the second man had clambered up and grabbed knife just as Beorn killed the longbowman with a practiced thrust. A dagger was no match for an enchanted chieftain’s blade, and this second man too was dispatched with clinical efficiency, and left to expire on the stone. 8 more flasks of oil were cast into the shaft then, and the trees began to smoulder and crack, and were set alight, and killing smoke began to fill the passageways.
Alarm was sounded, and the men of Bear Hill roused themselves at the command of Lothar Kingsblade, and were made to fetch water from the spring inside Bear Hill, and form a line in the narrowstairwell, and thus put out the fire. Perhaps they would have succeeded, had not Nicodemus marched up then and brought a spell of Darkness on them. Unable to see, and only able to feel the terrible heat and breathe the stinging, choking smoke, the bandits panicked then, thinking the wrath of the gods was upon them.
An aside then, Minimus, a fighting man, had joined the bandits long since, intending to serve as cover. Hearing the alert, he knew the time was upon him, and suspected it was the champions indeed. Taking halbeard, he made for the barracks, where beyond the cooking fires he knew the smoke tunnel led to a second entrance a mile from Bear Hill. Bading his comrades to grab pans and pots and douse the flames, the room was soon all but empty, and 3 of his comrades remained. One, name of Galbatorix, an old rival and local, who resented his Imperial heritage, gave him a pan also, and bade him join the effort to douse the flames. In response, Minimus grabbed halbeard, and struck him, and battle was joined. Galbatorix was soon parted at the leg, and died gruesomely, and his comrades avenged him, and bludgeoned Minimus to death.
Then came Snorri, sneaking in through the secret passage, where he lost his grip on the loose shale, and tumbled down, injuring himself, but concealed by his elven cloak and the noise, was able to arrive in the cavern of Lothar Kingsblade, arguing with his Gnolls. His face inked with intricate knotwork, his eyes calm and cold, the captain of the bandits ordered and bullied his Gnolls to aid in putting out the fire. As they departed, he moved to a flat stone somewhere in his well furnished cavern, and moving it aside, moved to remove his wealth. From the darkness Snorri leapt then, and moved to deal his deathblow, but the captain, with terrible agility and alerted by some warriors instinct, rolled aside and moved up, holding his blade in a defensive pose.
‘So, dwarf, you come to match blades with Lothar Kingsblade,’ sneered the captain, brandishing a shield worked with glyphs of gold and silver. ‘You are not the first of your kind that I have faced, and you will not be the last.’ They met then, a warrior endowed with all the gifts of Elvenkind against a beggared lordling, but among the finest swordsmen in all the Borderlands. Although the dwarf dealt him a vicious blow, it was clear Lothar Kingsblade was superior, and even if the Dwarf could find an opening it was only so for a split second. In return, the Kingsblades strokes were precise, and soon Snorri was laid low, enervated by many cuts, and a blow with the hilt laid him out. Insensate he peered up, as Lothar removed from his hiding place all the jewelry he could carry, and took from him his Dragon helm, which parted easily, and his elven cloak. The axe he disdained, muttering it was too heavy and crude for him. He patted his cheek with a sardonic ‘better luck next time friend’ and stole out the tunnel, and with the cloak slipped past Tenebrous vigilant gaze.
The heroes rappled down then, and went into the tunnel, and there discovered Snorri, knocked out but alive, and took him up. They were pursued by Gnolls, but these were soon cruelly slain by Tenebrous’s terrible breath. They doused the flames then with packed earth, and spotting a plume of smoke nearby, sent Tenebrous to investigate, who returned bearing an arrow in his shoulder, and claimed he had seen many bandits emerge from a hole, and had strafed them with his breath, killing many. They went in again then, with the fires doused, and took from the hollow under the stone all that remained of the Kingsblade’s treasure.
Taking with them almost four thousand in gold and three in copper, they sojourned back, and by night encountered a strange wanderer at their fire. They mistrusted him, and with a cast clove of Wolvesbane, revealed him to be a skinchanger. He regained his composure, and introduced himself as Valdermar the Wanderer, and told him this forest was beholden to him and his brothers, and if they wanted to sojourn unmolested, they had to pay a toll. They haggled and gave him the copper, which he lifted easily, though its burden was great and his frame seemed brittle, and was soon on his way.
At Laws end they gave unto Tenebrous a full share of the remaining treasure, and discharged it from its oath of service. In the morning it awoke them with a terrible roar, and bade them be on their way. Though its oath to refrain from harming them remained, it bore no love for their company. They took with them their spoils, and drove hard for the Keep. Many bandits had died, and those who had not were scattered to the winds, but of Lothar Kingsblade there was sadly no sign.
[P] Snorri the Scout (Dwr 4, hp 20)
[S] Beorn (Ftr 4, Hp 18)
[T] Nicodemus the Cleric (Clr 3, hp 9)
6 Soldiers of Novgorond
[A] Otso (MU 1, 3 hp) – Slain by Treachery
[B] Hardroc Sansaxe (Dwr 1, 4 hp) – Died on his feet against the Goblin Foe
[C] Buddy (Ftr 1, 6 hp) – Died in the rearguard against Kobold treachery
[D] Valen (Thf 1, 2 hp) – Felled by Kobold arrow in the Battle of the Warrens
[C] Brother Buddy (Clr 1, 3 hp) – Felled by a bandit’s spearthrust
[E] Quinton RumbleBreeches (Hal 1, 6 hp) – Felled by a bandit’s arrow
[B] Sazar Thistleborne (Thf 1, 4 hp) – Ripped apart by a Mountain Lion in the Perilous forest
[C] Brother Buddy Jr. (Clr 1, 4 hp) – Drained of life by monstrous Stirges
[F] Hardy the Dwarf (Dwr 1, 6 hp) – Clubbed to death by Ogre
[B] Zed Fauxgivvin (Hal 1, 4 hp) – Fell to a hobgoblin sword, but he did not go alone
[G] Colemeier Stonesaw (Dwr 1, 8 hp) – Fell to hobgoblin swords
[E] Father Kane (Clr 1, 6 hp) – Fell to Hobgoblin swords
[H] Ludwig Andros (MU 1, 4 hp) – Charmed and eaten by Harpies
[I] Derek de Chitsville (Ftr 1, 8 hp) – Charmed and eaten by Harpies
[J] Vinnie Jones (Ftr 1, 10 hp) – Charmed and eaten by Harpies
[K] Johhny Longfingers (Thf 1, 4 hp) – Charmed and eaten by Harpies
[L] Vitus the Southron (Ftr 1, 9 hp) – Eaten by Harpies
[I] Father Theodore (Clr 1, 6 hp) – Struck down by skeletons
[J] Box the Fighter (Ftr 1, 9 hp) – Struck down by Valgard, breaker-of-horses-and-men
[A] Diggory Class (MU 1, 4 hp) – Slain by Poisoned treasure
[M] Pajeje (Ftr 1, 9 hp) – Slain by poisoned treasure
[B] Chinning Poofter (Mu 2, hp 6) – Rent asunder by furious Griffon
[N] Grog (Ftr 1, 10 hp) – Drowned in armor in the bay of the Flooded Temple
[Retainer] Father Bell the Octogenarian (Clr 2, hp 12) – Devoured by the Basilisk
[M] Father Paisisco the Blessed (Clr 2, 6 hp) – Turned to stone by the Basilisk’s Gaze
[P] Roger (Dwr 1, 8 hp) – Rent asunder by the Chimera
[P] Bali (Dwr 1, 8 hp) – Incinerated by the Chimera
[R] Brandt (Dwr 1, 9 hp) – Ripped apart by Troll
[S] Lucifur the Cleric (Clr 1, hp 5) – Devoured by Werewolves
[Q] Cork the Cleric (Clr 2, hp 11) – Polymorphed and Stunned, then pushed to his death by a Beholder’s Rays
[M] Siriroco the Halfling – Slain by Giant Spider
[Q] Aruman the Wizard (Mu 2, hp 6) – Slain by Snorri the Stout, Reverse Betrayal
[S] Feud-baby (Thf 2, hp 6) – Punished for treachery by Dereck
[I] Pyotor (Thf 1, hp 4) – Fell by an evil Curse, slain by Dereck
[U] Dereck Huyderman (Clr 2, hp 10) – Slain by a poison trap
[P] Minimus the Pit Fighter (Ftr 2, hp 10) – Slain by the Bandits of bear hill
7 thoughts on “[Actual Play] B2 Beyond the Borderlands Pt. XXXII; Against the Bandits of Bear Hill”
I love me a map.
Law’s End is a marvelous name. I love “the price” instead of a graveyard. You write a good tale.
It sounds like you guys did a LOT in one session. How many hours is this?
Credit for Law’s End to Justin Becker and Michael Thomas for their work on Necropolis of Nuromen.
We played for 4 hours as usual. A small party sure cuts down on the decisionmaking time.
I see what you did there.
Wow, what an amazing story. It is so exciting to read about the Champions and the adventure they went on. I love the details of the landscape and the characters they meet along the way. My question is what happened to the Novgorondian serjeant’s tabard after they took it?
This will be seen in the next sessions, if they do not forget it.
A map appears, now all we need is a fully worked out language and we can resurrect Tolkien!