Baron Ballard

Baron Crayon

Baron Sledgehammer

Air Marshall Palmerin
Q Featherhammer

Summary for 18 & 19 September 2004

Greenskins attack from the Crystalmist mountains

You are given a heartfelt welcome, and asked to eat with the Baron.  He appraises you

1                 Lieutenant Keeling lead you up the road to the walled town of Arvin on 26 Fireseek, some 15 miles from the foothills of the CrystalMist Mountains.  Men in your unit tell you it’s governed by Baron Valnastrian, a true marcher lord. He is 52 years old, but has spent most of his life fighting greenskins alongside his friends and relatives. He suffers under an ungodly tax burden placed upon him by the Earl who figures that a western baron should be able to pay as much as an eastern one. Valnastrian knows he cannot tax his knights further, as they suffer even worse than he does. Neither Knights nor Baron can afford to decrease their standing army as greenskin raids are frequent. This means that the Baron cannot afford to keep a household worthy of his station which again earns him the Earl's disdain.

1A.          Baron Valnastrian gave you a heartfelt welcome as you dismounted in his keep, and extands an invitation for you to eat with him that night. After a hearty but plain fare, he appraises you of the situation:

1B.       The CrystalMist Mountains is a place best left alone, all sorts of creatures fester and breed there.  Without the forces to go in and clean them out properly (and that would be an almighty running battle), the Baron is resigned to simply dealing with them when they attack.  This does not mean that the Baron has been lax in his border patrols, quite the opposite, incursions by the greenskins have become more frequent in the last few years.

1C.      Despite repeated requests for more men, the Earl of Sterich continues to draw levies from the borderlands of Arvin to send to Keoland.  Frustratingly, this means that the Baron is left more and more open to invasion from the Mountains.

1D.      Negotiations with the Halflings are the only sign of promise in an otherwise gloomy situation.  There are now some 160 Halfling Bowmen that could tip the balance back in his favour.  If he can keep them alive, he stands a good chance at doubling this contingent over the next year.  But the greenskins attack last month took a heavy toll, killing 2 of his finest commanders.  In a desperate gamble he has sent his remaining captains out to conscript more militia from his eastern marches.

1F.      Now a force of greenskins are sacking mining villages, no doubt building themselves up to attack the walled town of Arvin itself.  His best option is to try and break them at Highpoint Wall, the ruins of the old watch tower set at the foothills of the CrystalMist Mountains themselves.  It’s the strongest strategic location between the town and the Mountains, and the greenskins know it.  If you can stop the advance at Highpoint Wall, and keep the Halfling troupe alive, maybe his Knight Captains will return with enough militia to get him through the coming months.

2                  The Baron introduces an elf (rare in these parts) of strange appearance who has proven his skills at command in the past few weeks.  The elf calls himself Hellyeah, and has a paler skin than your elves.  You note his thin and slightly slanted eyes, and a strange accent that you have not encountered before.  He tells you of his life on a different world called the Forgotten Realms.  While he has been aiding the Baron, he seeks the greater mysteries of Oearth, and shows much interest in your talk of Pogrom Island.  Before you retire, Crayon prophesises that the Halflings and the Ogres will be the units to watch in the coming battle.

3                 On the morning of 27 Fireseek you lead the small army out to Highpoint Wall, arraying your forces in and around the ruins of the old watch tower.  After assessing the battle ground you and your officers form a strategy.

4                 Just before 4pm the greenskins form up at the distant bottom of the hill.  Ballard gets that strange fiery look in his eyes when he sees a contingent of 80 Trolls among the Orcs and Ogres.  Last to take the field, and most feared ally of the greenskins are a group of some 50 Hill Giants. [For the BattleSystem setup of this mass combat, click here]

Battle of Highpoint Wall

5                 With an evil cry, the greenskins begin their drive up the hill, crossing their formations in an attempt to confuse you.  Sir Palmerin, Knight of the Moon, leads the 50 knights who form the heavy cavalrymen out towards the light woods on the right of the field.  At the same time Baron Crayon, Knight Lieutenant of Onnwal and prophet of Essencia leads the human halberdiers of Arvin over the Highpoint wall, down the edge of the river and into the light woods half-way to the enemy.

6                 Baron Ballard, Knight Major of Onnwal, holds his pikemen steady as the enemy advance up the hill.  Cadra Sledgehammer, Knight Lieutenant of Onnwal, and Dwarf Advocate does one final check of his 100 Mountain Dwarf heavy infantry, noting that Q Featherhammer is in the front rank and ready for action.  Cadra growls to himself as the elf Hellyeah orders the Halfling archers ready for battle.

7                 You don’t believe your eyes when the Ogres skirmishers enter the light woods that the cavalry are heading for.  But your attention is drawn to the Hill giants who are advancing on the woods that the halberdiers are in.  Ballard leads the pikemen over the wall and re-forms just on the other side to allow the Halflings a line-of-sight to the Giants who have halted and turned their attention to the woods.  Hellyeah bellows “cease fire” as the Halflings shoot a volley of arrows at the giants who are still out of range.  Several giants hurl boulders in reply, but they fall harmlessly short of your defenders.

8                 As you expect, the message runners start to send orders back and forth between unit commanders.  Ballard’s rangers move about the battlefield with a sure step, and Crayon’s disciples remain calm this close to the onslaught.

9                 Suddenly the giants start hurling boulders over and into the woods where Crayon is stationed.  The sound of breaking timber and the cries of men being crushed come from the woods.  By now the Orc shortbowmen have advanced and begin to pepper the halberdiers with arrows.

10              On the other side of the field, Palmerin bravely leads his cavalry into the other light woods in order to tie down the advance of the 200 Ogre skirmishers.  He’s outnumbered 4 to 1 but still advances, chanting the name of Heironeous, which raises the moral of his cavalry.  In an epic show of heroism, Palmerin and his cavalry managed to hold the 200 Ogre skirmishers for almost 2 hours.  While his knights took many of them down, the Ogres triumphed and Palmerin was dragged from his horse just before reinforcements arrived.  Cadra later found Palmerin next to his dead horse, semiconscious and badly wounded.

11              Meanwhile, the Halflings fired upon the Giants at long range, taking several down.  Seeing this the Trolls assembled just up-hill of the Giants for a charge against the wall.  Their advance was halted when the deadly accurate Halflings rained arrows into them, forcing them to retreat with heavy casualties.  Ballard was shaking with the need to charge and kill his most hated of foes while they retreated, but he held his pikemen firm.  The giants tried to aid the Trolls by hurling rocks at Ballard’s pikemen, but the hardy border men of Arvin took minimal damages from the onslaught.

12              When the Orcs saw their opening and tried to advance on the wall, Cadra called down Fortubo’s wrath; sending a plague of insects into the Orc ranks.  It broke the Orc’s fickle morale and they routed, running back the way they had come.

13              Having drawn the fire of the Giants, Crayon lead the remaining 40 of his halberdiers to the south, and out of the woods.  At the same time Q Featherhammer lead the buoyant dwarven infantry (Cadra had roused them by chanting Fortubo’s name) against the Trolls, who started taking losses and eventually slain by the stout warriors.  The dwarves heavy armour and large axes proved too much for the Giants, and were also slain.  Seeing his opening Crayon started chanting Essencia’s name and, finding their courage, Crayon’s remaining men found themselves once more outside the range of the giants.

14              It’s a good ploy, and Crayon calls on his 40 halberdiers to charge the routed Orcs who are trying to rally in the vicinity.  The charge fails to fully connect to the Orcs.  But before his men could falter, Crayon bathes himself in the light of Essencia and rallies his beleaguered troops to face the 220 Orcs.  Against all the odds, Crayon and the halberdiers prevent the Orcs from recovering from their rout, not only driving them from the field, but slaying 200 of them in the process.

15              In the final stages of battle, before the giants had fallen, but after Palmerin’s knights had been slain, Hellyeah lead his 160 Halflings down the hill and into the woods with the Ogres.  In order to assure himself of victory, Hellyeah conjures the natural powers of the world and sends a fireball into the Ogres who are considering his position.  The smell of charred Ogre flesh and cindered trees hangs in the air, but before the smoke fully clears Hellyeah sends beams of light to strike down more of the Ogres where they stand.

16              Seeing their Troll and Giant allies slain, and their Orc brethren decimated as they fled the field, the remaining Ogres can see only doom.  Somewhere in the light forest are the miserable little Halflings, with their all too accurate arrows.  The remaining 70 dwarves have turned their stony eyes this way and are marching toward the forest.  Toward the hill, the 100 remaining pikemen also advance on the Ogre’s position, and somewhere near the base of the mountains are the 40 reckless/courageous halberdiers led by the madly cunning elf.

17              The day has not been as glorious for the greenskins as had been foretold, the big push will wait another year.  Its all too much and in a rare moment, the remaining Ogres throw down their spears and flee the field.  It doesn’t take one of Crayon’s prophesies to know that they won’t be back soon.

18              But all has not gone your way.  As you move the dead to the river’s edge, read for a barge to take them home, you find Crayon cradling a dead elf, Mr Christian, who was slain as he ran messages.  Another of his followers, Mr Men was found unconscious next to a boulder that had nearly taken his life.

The army returns

19              You can see Baron Valnastrian pacing at the top of his keep as you return victorious to Arvin.  As you enter the walled town, the Baron strides out among the people to meet you and the townsfolk actually let out a cheer.  Its clear that the majority of the army is returning alive and that makes Arvin’s collective heart soar.

20              As the wounded are led away for healing, and stout dwarves and Halflings mingle with the humans border men, all are made to feel like the heroes they are.  The greenskins of Crystalmist mountains have been defeated in the Battle of Highpoint Wall, and it’s time to celebrate.

21              The head of the dwarven contingent, Helm Orcshatter indicates that the dwarves will stay for the week’s celebrations, but must return under-mountain in 7 days on 7 Readying.

The debrief

22              The following day you are invited to the Baron’s war-room, where you see a sand pit has been prepared to review the battle in detail with old Baron Valnastrian.  He has the sand in the shape of the battlefield, and wooden figures to represent the enemy and the defenders.

23              While he tried to hide it, the Baron took the loss of his knights pretty hard.  They were the glue that held the outpost together, and he clearly sees an uncertain future without them.

24              When Lieutenant Keeling walks into the chamber, the Baron cannot believe his eyes.  Crayon slaps the Baron on the back and says that not even death can separate a true knight from his lord!  With the blessing of Essencia, the Prophet has raised the knight back from the dead, and he quietly informs the Baron that with Essencia’s blessing, 11 more knights will return over the next 11 days to fight once more for the liberty of Arvin.

25              The debrief continues for the next few hours as you recount all that transpired.  When you have finished and the only figures left in the sand are in the colours of Arvin, Crayon and Cadra suggest that the Baron build a tower at Highpoint Wall, and secretly excavate tunnels between the tower and the light forests.  The Baron nods wistfully but sadly admits that he does not have the funds to do it, his taxes are heavy and he is unwilling to increase dues of his men, who are leading a Spartan existence already.

The churches of Arvin

26              When Crayon, Cadra and Palmerin all show interest in establishing churches of Essencia, Fortubo and Heironeous in Arvin, the Baron seems very happy.  He admits that they will attract people, which are in short supply in his border town.

27              He is very happy to grant you each a parcel of land should you wish to set up a presence here.  He does stipulate that you would tithe to him, and that he has final say or veto on the land you choose.  Needless to say, you are all welcome to stay for as long as you like under his roof.  He would like to reward you, but he doesn’t have the funds to do so.

28              You all note that Mr Men, one of Crayon’s follower who nearly died in battle has developed a strong liking for the place and is interested in running the church of Essencia once he has enough wisdom.  You also note that Cadra gets on well with Helm, the dwarf contingent leader.

29              A few days after the dwarves leave, 3 different dwarves come into town enquiring after Cadra Sledgehammer.  They are a husband and wife (Edric & Jennika), and the husband’s brother Audric.  You soon discover that they are priests of Fortubo and they quickly get about the business of laying the stone footings of a wooden church in Arvin.  It turns out that Cadra has made a personal donation of 10,000gp to set up the church here in Arvin.

Training and other movements

30              On 12 Readying, Crayon raises the 12th knight who died at the Battle of Highpoint Wall from the dead.  At this stage the Barons and other lords of Pogrom Island turn to their own education, with Crayon opening a dimensional fold to Pogrom Island, and taking a number of people through with him.  Crayon trains 3 of his followers in the cathedral in Sky Castle.  Palmerin goes on to IronGate to learn more of the ways of Heironeous.  Q Featherhammer also travels back to Scant to learn more about the mechanics of things at the Onnwal Military Academy.

31              Ballard and Cadra both stay in Arvin.  Ballard spends the time in the field training his followers (who comment on the peculiar fact that he always wears his heavy clanky armour when training them in ranger stuff), and Cadra quietly getting his church in Arvin consecrated.  Indeed there was an alarm in Arvin followed by a call to arms as more mountain creatures appear to be on the war path.  When the soldiers reached Highpoint Wall it turned out to be around 150 mountain dwarves with some huge engineering equipment, apparently Cadra has commissioned a huge (10 feet long, 5 feet wide and 15 feet deep) black granite alter veined through with gold that was consecrated and then cut from the mother earth.  It also has a strange golden nugget embedded in the top surface of it that looks like a dwarven hammer, the symbol of Fortubo.

32              A month or more passes and Ballard and Cadra have become strong friends with Baron Valnastrian and his officers, and Ballard has a good feel for the lay of the land.  On 25th Coldeven Cadra presides over the consecration of his newly built wooden church near the centre of Arvin, proving once again that Dwarves are faster and better at getting things done than Elves, especially when it comes to building things!  The month also sees the completion of much training, both player characters and the seeming plethora of Crayon’s followers.  But as usual, Ballard needs more experience.

33              Your attention turns to your Athorite mines once again, so Crayon and Cadra dimension fold to Pogrom Island and then ride to the Iron Hills to secure the transport of the Athorite and other agreements.  Crayon agrees to be blindfolded and Cadra leads him through the hidden portal to the IronForge clan.  Cadra is greeted warmly, Crayon is not — every dwarf knows that elves are thieves, intent on stealing dwarven secrets.  But after several hours even Cadra chafes at the restrictions he is under while accompanying Crayon.

34              The two finally meet Boron Sandcaster (although they are not allowed anywhere near the forge area), known as the Most Grand High Master Armourer in the Iron Hills, a venerable member of the Ironforge clan.  He’s a proud and painful old dwarf, who only does things his way, when he wants them done, and how he wants them done.  After a while, Crayon memorises the antechamber to Cadra’s suite of rooms and a strict protocol is established for future visits by Crayon (who being an elf is not allowed to roam the underground city).

One of Boron Sandcaster’s Forges

35              After the arduous visit, they both dimension fold back to Pogrom Island and Crayon starts “pressing the flesh” in Sky Castle and Freeport while the growing population of Pogrom Island celebrate Growfest.

36              A month later sees Crayon dimension folding the party and followers from their various places back to Scant for the Szeck’s formal court on Moonday, 3 Flocktime, in Scant.  Baron Valnastrian and Hellyeah accompany Crayon through his dimension fold to the Eastern Lord’s court, and is warmly welcomed by the many personages in attendance.  After once again acquainting yourselves with the lords and ladies of Onnwal, the chancellor calls the court to order, and starts the proceedings.

37              One of the first items of business sees the Szeck frowning heavily, he details many grievances against Barons Niahm and Kidzje, former slights are also declared by other lords present.  In the finishing sentence, the Szeck advises that since neither have come forward to clear their name, he is left with no option other than to renounce Baron Kidzje & Baron Niahm, declaring them outlaws in Onnwal.  He formally revokes their titles & estates, which the crown will hold until two worthy recipients are found.  With a sad look the Chancellor closes the day’s proceedings, although you note that some other lords are openly smirking.

38              The Szeck’s court is livelier the next day, and part way through the proceedings the Chancellor calls forth Cadra Sledgehammer, Dwarf Advocate and hero of the Battle of Ul-Drakken.  The Chancellor regales the court with Cadra’s exploits and his part in saving Scant from the clutches of the Drow in both personal deed in scouting the place, rescuing prisoners, and by his role in leading troops. The Szeck knights Cadra Sledgehammer a Knight Lieutenant of Onnwal & further makes him a Baron of Pogrom Island.  Meanwhile Crayon has been quietly speaking to Baron Valnastrian about the need for more troops in Arvin, and donates 20,000gp to the Baron to attract some, on the condition that they get station somewhere near Highpoint Wall.

39              After Cadra has gone through the administrative nightmare of becoming part of a large knighthood, including the declaration of his heraldic devices, Crayon dimension folds the whole party back to Arvin, along with Baron Valnastrian and Hellyeah.  Adestra had advised that she was staying on Pogrom Island to further the Mages of the Black Star.  You thus decide to incorporate the wild mage Hellyeah into your plans for the mission into the desert.

40              Baron Valnastrian thanks you all for a marvellous journey to other side of the world & resumes his role of protector in Arvin.  Cadra’s church of Fortubo seems to have a few followers already.  Cadra tithes 1,500gp to Baron Valnastrian, and declares that he will give a cut of the customs tariff from desert people if a trade route gets established.

Crossing the Crystalmist Mountains

41              From Arvin, the party travel up into the massive Crystalmist Mountains and meet Helm Orcshatter and his dwarven heavy infantry at the foot of a massive glacier.  Upon hearing you mean to cross the Crystalmist Mountains, he and his contingent escort you blindfolded through one of the portals to under-mountain.  After an hour your blindfolds are removed, and you start the journey through heart of Crystalmist to western side.  The huge network of dwarven tunnels is unbelievable, but Helm declares that dwarves have been mining the Crystalmist Mountains since before the great Oeridian migration, which itself was before the Common Year calendar even started.

42              Days later and again blindfolded you cower from the sun as you emerge on the western side of the Crystalmist Mountains on edge of Dry Steppes. Helm Orcshatter bids you a good journey and marches off with his contingent up a ravine into the mountains.  Someone asks Menkarae where to now and he points vaguely; “out there, kind of West-North-West…”, someone swears.  Ballard takes the lead and mutters that he refined his desert survival skills on the Jama Plane, and can get you there.    Menkarae advises you all to these long light cotton robes he has bought to keep the sun off and help prevent dehydration in the desert.

43              You leave the familiarity of the mountains and start to trek on foot across barren desert.  Menkarae advises all that from here on in Neferkare is to be treated as queen of Khemit. Neferkare is unhappy about this, but complies and starts to review all the information Menkarae has given her over the years on palace life.

44              After 2 days of blistering heat and clear skies, a sand storm hits you from nowhere.  Ballard takes charge, making a shelter out of sacks and other materials.  All come through unharmed by the 6 hours of ferocious wind and sand.  After 2 hours of trudging in what you hope is the right direction, Crayon spots something a few miles distant.  On investigation it turns out to be a large camel train snaking across the desert in roughly the right direction.

45              You approach the train, seeing guards on Camels and what appear to be merchants.  The large number of guards look none too pleased to see you but Menkarae speaks to them in another language and you join the train.  The merchants on the train speak a little common.  You find out they have 150 camels, and are heading for Atum-Seyal, in upper Khemit.

46              After another 4 days of journeying with the camel train, the desert starts to change, and some rocky hills start to appear, although they are still barren and hold little signs of life (pic on pg 218 of An book).  The camel train guards start to look more alert and you gasp in disbelief when you suddenly stand at the lip of an enormous gorge something like the Grand Canyon.  Above the gorge all is barren rocky outcrops and low hills with sparse desert-like vegetation.  But within the gorge is another matter.  At the very base you can see a beautiful river winding along, and the banks are green.  At various areas within the canyon there appear to be human settlements, and on the bank of the river you can see a medium sized Egyptian looking town that one of the merchants informs you is called Atum-Seyal.

47              Atum-Seyal he says, is on a tributary of the River Nile, hidden in a canyon somewhere in the Dry Steppes…he smiles and calls you foreigner.  Over the next 5 hours you take winding tracks down the side of the canyon until you at last reach the river tributary.  Here you are ferried across the water by a large reed boat with a red sail that looks the worse for wear.

48              You alight on a stone wharf and walk up an avenue that curves around to approach the main building down an avenue lined with statues of lion-like creatures upon pedestals.  The citizens of the town appear happy and wreath the lions in flowers and other items.  Two tall obelisks stand before 4 huge human like statues on huge thrones, 2 on each side of the entrance to the walled area.