The Scales of War

A New Peril

For a moment the four stood looking at one another, taking in what they had just been told. Then the gnome broke the silence. “So, what are we to do now? I doubt the tavern will be serving ale again any time soon.”

Chenia speaks, not so much in reply as just being set in to motion by Okidoki’s comment. “And are we a … group … now? Somehow I expected the creation of an adventuring group to be more … impressive. What should we call ourselves?”

Thomas stirs at this and glances at Chenia. “Ourselves? What ever do you mean woman? We banded together to face a single threat … that does not make us …”

Thomas breaks off mid-sentence as the distant shouting that has been going on for some time suddenly rises up into screams as three townsfolk burst out of an alley at the far end of the tavern from the group. Rushing out in to the street they instantly split into three directions, one of them turning down the street and running towards the group. And then, following the fleeing townsfolk out in to the street came the strangest sight the group had yet seen. A full grown Ogre, yoked to a wagon, towing it out into the street, and standing in the back of the wagon, two hobgoblins, one of them wielding a longbow.

Seeing the group of adventurers at the far end of the Tavern the Ogre roars and hurls a barrel at them. It fails to hit anyone but the lit fuse on the top of the barrel ignites the roofing pitch that was splashed all about when the barrel shatters on impact. Chenia and Thomas suddenly found themselves in a pool of fire.

An instant later the hobgoblin shoots Okidoki – the monk yelps at the sudden pain but fades from view immediately after. At the same time the second hobgoblin hands the ogre another barrel, a lit fuse sparking merrily on the top. Without a word the group scatters in all directions, seeking cover from the deadly ranged attacks.

Seeing his targets rapidly disappearing the ogre selects Gladys as his target of choice and launches it’s new barrel at her. Once again the inaccuracy of the thrown barrel is clear as the ogre misses the elf by a fair margin, creating another large burning pool of pitch in the middle of the street.

Gladys takes the opportunity to fire her crossbow at the hobgoblin with the bow, but an involuntary flinch from the sudden heat of the burning pitch threw her aim off, and the bolt sailed away down the street.

Meanwhile Okidoki was taking advantage of his temporary invisibility to dash down the street towards the fight but then detour to take cover in the open but unoccupied Tailor’s shop. When he arrived in there his invisibility wore off but he was now safely out of sight of the monsters.

Thomas rushes around the back of the Stag and Thistle and finding the back door locked, applies his strength and smashes it in. With a grim smile he realises this is why the tavern patrons couldn’t escape this way during the first fight. He then rushes across the interior of the tavern until he is near enough a window to see where the ogre and it’s passengers are.

Entering the fray, Chenia popped out from behind her cover at the corner of the Tavern and took a shot at the hobgoblin with the bow, but unfortunately she was no more successful than Gladys. Seeing Chenia the ogre dragged the wagon a few ponderous steps forward down the road towards her and then threw a barrel at her. This barrel continued the ogre’s record for inaccuracy however and smashed into the side of the tavern, setting it on fire once again.

Leaning around the ogre, the hobgoblin with the bow shot the fleeing townsman squarely in the back, dropping his corpse in the middle of the street, only a few short steps from the corner and safety he was running toward. Enraged at seeing one of her fellow Brindolians murdered right in front of her, Gladys shot at the hobgoblin archer once again, but her rage led her astray and the crossbow bolt followed the first one down the street.

As Gladys was glaring over her crossbow at the surprisingly difficult to hit hobgoblin, Okidoki was taking advantage of being out of line of sight of the foe to clamber up the side of the building and on to the roof, aiming to get a better view of proceedings. Thomas finished sneaking up to the window to get a better look at the ogre.

Chenia, deciding that being the target of two heavily hurled barrels of pitch was enough, decided at this point to follow Thomas’s route around the back of the tavern and in through the back door, seeking a less exposed line of attack.

The ogre, finding himself with no living targets, hurls his latest barrel on to the roof of the Tailor’s shop, setting it merrily alight. The hobgoblin archer, similarly bereft of targets, holds over his action, awaiting a target of opportunity. The other hobgoblin meanwhile lights the fuse on another barrel and passes it to the ogre.

Gladys pops out from her cover to shoot at the hobgoblin once again. However the hobgoblin was waiting for her and fires first, hitting. Thrown off her aim by the sudden injury, her third unsuccessful bolt is followed down the road by some rather profane curses.

All of a sudden, his eyes once again glowing an eerie icy blue, Okidoki summons the power of the Spinning Leopard Maneuver and springs down from the roof, landing next to the wagon and lashing out with his spear to damage both the ogre and the hobgoblin that has been supplying him with barrels to hurl.

DM’s note:

It occurred to me while writing this up that Okidoki just used his Daily Power for the second time in the same day. Bit of a no-no that. Still, none of us spotted it at the time and frankly it may have actually saved the party… so all good.

An instant later Thomas leaps out of the window of the tavern on the other side of the road and unleashes his Wildblood Frenzy, damaging both the ogre and the hobgoblin archer. Chenia then follows this up by moving up to the window of the tavern and shooting the ogre.

Roaring with rage at the sudden flurry of hits on it, the ogre whips his enormous club around and smashes it into Okidoki, catching the gnome by surprise and hurting him very badly. The hobgoblin archer, focussed on his target, holds over his attack, waiting for Gladys to once again show herself. And he doesn’t have long to wait as Gladys soon pops out from behind the Tailor’s shop and moves towards the combat. Seeing his target the hobgoblin takes his shot but misses. The other hobgoblin ignores the melee going on around him and passes the ogre yet another barrel.

Seeing this from the window Chenia yells to Okidoki “Take out the reloader! Quickly!”

Reacting to this suggestion from the party bard, Okidoki unleashes a mighty attack on the hobgoblin, just as he is picking up the next barrel to hand on to the ogre. The hobgoblin is hurt and pushed backwards a few unbalanced steps, tripping on the backboard of the wagon and falling to the street, the barrel at his side. Okidoki then shifts carefully out of the reach of the ogre.

Thomas attacks the hobgoblin archer once again, hitting it and causing it to cry out in pain as Chenia moves to a different window where she can see Okidoki and invokes her Majestic Word to give him some much needed healing.

The ogre lumbers down the road to meet Gladys’s approach and hits her with his club. Gladys sneers in the ogre’s face and taunts him. The archer hobgoblin, suddenly dragged away from Thomas by the ogre moving the wagon, shoots at Thomas but misses. The other hobgoblin, finding himself isolated from his companions, shifts away from the gnome who had hurt him so badly and prepares to flee down the alley behind the Tavern. However it is not to be, as Thomas charges down on him and kills him with a single mighty blow.

Chenia leans out the window to take another shot at the ogre but misses as it lunges forward with an enraged snarl and smashes it’s huge club in to Gladys knocking her over and leaving her unconscious and dying in the street.

DM’s note:

Yes that’s right – the first critical of the session and it is from the creature that does 2d10+5 on a normal hit. I must confess I was a little surprised at how willing the PCs were to get up and melee in this fight. It seemed logical to me that they would have shot down the supporting hobgoblins and then just kited the ogre around the streets until they filled him full of arrows. However, the party consists of two defenders, one melee striker and a leader – they really are a melee heavy group. That said, they are probably not going to run in to a situation like this all that often.

Once again the archer shoots at Thomas, this time hitting. The hobgoblins bark of victory is short lived however, as Okidoki performs the Swan’s Wings attack and leaps from well behind the wagon, seeming for a moment almost to fly through the air to crash a powerful attack into the Hobgoblin. With a sickening crack the monster’s neck is broken by the gnome’s powerful kick and it falls into the back of the wagon, dead.

Thomas grabs up the fallen Hobgoblin’s bow and shoots the ogre in the back, distracting it from it’s plan of smashing the fallen elf into a red paste on the road. Turning to see where this new torment rises from it sees that the two hobgoblins are now both dead. Chenia takes advantage of the ogre’s distraction to rush over to Gladys and help her. Realising that it is now outnumbered and feeling distinctly bloodied the ogre smashes it’s club down onto the front of the wagon, breaking the yoke free and turning once again, runs off down the street. Thomas and Chenia hit the ogre with a few more arrows as it departs but it escapes around a corner and off towards the exit from town. With Gladys down the group is feeling rather too battered to press the issue and let the beast go.

DM’s note:

Well, by and large that session went rather well. Despite putting themselves rather more in harms way than expected, the PCs all acquitted themselves quite well. They were perhaps a little lucky to only have one of their number knocked down by the extremely heavy hitting ogre, but it all worked out well in the end.

One thing I did discover that we were doing wrong is the use of Reach weapons (primarily the use of spears on the part of the party, but also the ogre and his club) A read of the PHB reveals that Reach Weapons can attack two squares out but they don’t threaten there. In other words even with a Reach Weapon you still only get Opportunity Attacks in adjacent squares, not out at the two square mark. The way we were playing it nobody would ever NOT have a spear because then you always get an opportunity attack as your foe comes in to melee range. No harm done to the session as it didn’t come in to play a lot, but now that we know we can do it correctly from now on.

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