Sunday, November 10, 2013
New format for Obsidian Portal!
Attendance: Missing Justin, Z. Lewis
The weary party returned to the safety of the Decenian walls, as the Aerrisan army triumphantly established itself on the beach. Noddin and Boddin were severely hurt, as was Tyrael, who had to go to great lengths to get the healing he needed. Notably missing was Halia, who took the aquatic cave back up to the city. She emerged from some rough sewers in an outlying part of the city, and had to take a long, noisome walk back to the group’s camp near the main gates, where Kook assisted in finding her an animal trough to again make her presentable. Halia continued to have questions about her abilities, as it appeared she had traveled some 5+ minutes without needing to breathe.
The party was allowed to rest through the night. Tyrael and Amantius spent some time in prayer, and the rest of the party took their time in recharging and sleeping off the battle.
The next day dawned, and climbing up the battlements, the group could see that the Aerrisan forces (with the Vanguard Isles support) were still setting up on the beach, now seemingly unimpeded. Some of the party noticed, however, there didn’t seem to be enough supply ships for the vast number of soldiers being discharged on the beach.
Amantius and Tyrael were invited to the day’s war council, where Igwiln of Tinves was engaged in a serious argument with War-King Haldoss of Decenios over the best course of action. Igwiln suggested another sortie on the beach, while Haldoss seemed unconvinced. When Tyrael and Amantius suggested the supply fleet might be hiding elsewhere, so as to avoid a naval attack from any remaining elements of the Decenian League, it raised an intiguing propoisition. A small reconaissance force of Kook, Halia, Tyrael, Amantius, Richter, and Oddin (the only brother well enough to fight) was to check all the bays on the island, to see if this fleet might be found.
The group left the city by the north wall, which after a cleared killing ground, bordered the subtropical forest that made up the terrain of much of the island. The first bay the searched was empty, but as evening fell, they happened upon a single vessel resting in a harbor on the north edge of the island.
Halia, Tyrael, and Richter came up to the boat. A single sailor on watch by a mast (which showed signs of rushed and recent repair) was dispatched, but not before providing information that this was a) a ship out of the Vanguard Isles carrying wine, pitch, and water, and b) it was a supply ship for the Aerrisan invasion left behind to do repairs to its mast.
There was a small crew in the cabin of the ship, and two of the remaining four were dispatched handily before the two remaining individuals surrendered. Richter Zallan learned that this was part of his family’s fleet, and he burned with desire anew to see them ruined.
The two remaining prisoners, Milo and Tymus, seemed very agreeable to helping the party (especially with the spectre of death hanging over them). They told the party how the rest of the fleet was on the east part of the island in a small bay. The party, wanting to check this out for themselves, decided to check it out, taking this small merchant ship themselves, called the Blessed Bat, into the middle of the enemy supply fleet. Along the way, they learned the supply fleet was somewhere between 40-50 ships, with about 15 of them from the Zallan fleet.
The party was not idle during this short voyage. They used oil, pitch, and made some fire arrows and other incendiary devices. If they had their chance, they would do some damage to this supply fleet.
About an hour before dawn, they reached the bay where the supply fleet was anchored. Amazingly, they manage to bluff their way past one of the only longships guarding the merchant vessels (a bribe of wine didn’t hurt), and against all odds, they found themselves in the midst of this fleet.
That is when a symphony of unparalleled destruction hit the enemy fleet. Every fire arrow, every flaming cask of pitch found its mark. Within 15 minutes, a massive part of the previously sleeping fleet was on fire, panicked and disoriented in the conflagration that pierced the pre-dawn hour.
GM’s Note: Holy moly. I had the players roll for their successes, after they had already made a ridiculous number of luck rolls. They absolutely crushed them.
Meanwhile, Halia had again been attempting to commune with creatures in the deep. She succeeded, in the manner of a pod of dolphins, who resented the fleet in what they considered “their bay”. They offered to take her to a “SOMEONE” who resided in a cave at the bottom of the bay. To the surprise of the rest of the party, Halia jumped overboard.
The elemental spirit who lived at the bottom of the bay greeted Halia as “Daughter of the Sea”, and listened as she pleaded for help, saying they were trying to help drive the ships away. The spirit agreed, and Halia rose back to the surface, just in time for three massive waves to smash the fleet (and the Blessed Bat!) together, causing even more damage.
Richter pulled the ship alongside one of the damaged Zallan ships, and bade the scurrying crew to run back home with a message for his hated brother that this was a greeting from Richter.
That was it. A daring plan, combined with an enemy that didn’t give proper heed to safeguarding its supplies, and more than a bit of good luck and execution. The enemy fleet was routed, with 30+ out of 45 or so ships totally destroyed or out of service for the extended duration. Some of the few survivors fled for their home ports, while the handful of Aerrisan ships that could still float fled to the main force.
Unfortunately, the damaged ships included the Blessed Bat, which Halia ran aground. The crew burned the ship, and made a camp on the bluffs. They rested up, and watched what was left of the supply fleet dissipate.
That evening, as Amantius was standing watch, three individuals came up to the camp, wet and starving. They were galley slaves, who had escaped that morning from an Aerrisan ship. After talking to them for a bit, Amantius informed them they were free men now, who could chart their own course in life. They happily agreed to come back to the city.
The enlarged group made it back to the city in time to hear that King Haldoss was heading outside the gates to hear an ultimatum from the Aerrisan commander. The group also ran out of the gates, in time to tell Haldoss the Aerrisans had lost their fleet.
Needless to say, Haldoss was a happy man.
The Aerrisan commander threatened Decenios with total ruin, but said if it would surrender that day, it would be given favorable terms as a friend and ally of Aerris. However, if they did not surrender, their city would be swept into the ocean, the earth salted, and no two rocks left standing atop one another.
Haldoss then told the Aerrisan commander he knew their supply fleet had been burned, and it would take them at least a year to build another such fleet. He (with input from the group) explained precisely what the Aerrisans could do with their offer. Without a word, the Aerrisan comander, white-faced, turned and walked back to his camp.
Oh, how Haldoss roared with laughter.
King Haldoss announced there would be a mighty victory banquet, and each of the six involved with burning the supply fleet—Oddin, Tyrael, Halia, Kook, Amantius, and Richter—would be granted a reward at that banquet.
Meanwhile, Milo and Tymus were only too happy to swear into the service of Richter Zallan. At the same time, two of the men Amantius freed decided to head home to their speck of an island, but the third, Entrakeus, wished to enter the employ of Amantius himself.
With that, the party prepared to celebrate at a mighty feast, and ask their boon of Haldoss before returning home to Aquona.
The Battle of Decenios was nearly over before it began. 700-800 Decenians, allies, and a force of ten from Aquona decisively beat an army of 10,000 Aerrisan troops. It was a victory worthy of legend.
GM’s Notes: This session seemed disjointed at times, not least of all because we received some bad family news in the middle of it (though not enough to cancel the game outright). This is one of those games where I was immensely proud of my players. Everyone was in-character without any prodding, and I am really loving seeing natural alliances form as each character finds their niche. Even though things didn’t progress in any of the ways I thought they might, I had a blast. They did a fantastic job, even on a day where I didn’t feel at my best.