A much more combat-oriented session then my last. Next time we'll do some wilderness/intrigue action. Gotta keep them on their toes!
The city was rioting, upset with The Lady's decision to loot the Enclosure. The five hundred brothers of the Black Company secured Duretile, the Duke's castle, and the Enclosure. Corporal Omelet's squad (including the four PCs) was down in the catacombs beneath the Enclosure, looting in accordance with orders. The satchels provided (and their own pouches) bulging with silver they worked in teams holding lanterns, smashing urns, and scooping coin.
They had seen cat's eyes reflected in lantern light, but never gotten closer to the mysterious dwellers in the depths. Until now! Out of the shadowy darkness a pack of Guardians charged, strange grey creatures who were once men, ages ago. They swarmed the squad and quickly overwhelmed them, gouging and scratching with powerful claws.
The squad struggled with its weapons, trying to ready shields and swords as the Guardians continued to press the attack. They took a beating, a couple of them were close to going down. Rag was forced to spend a Spell Point in order to hold onto his three "held" spell effects. Finally they managed to get their act together. Cranes (one guy, plural name) and Scratch began cutting a swatch through the unarmoured guardians. Cranes got a chance to cleave finally. Ghost got in a single stab before going down beneath the claws of a Guardian. Rag stepped back against the cold wall, waving his hands and babbling out the strange words that formed a "lynch-pin" of a held spell. It was a powerful Enchant crafting, well beyond his ability. He spent more of his precious Spell Energy. The strain was too much for him, uttering the last damned syllable he collapsed. However the Guardian was trapped by a crimson glow, to be cut down by Cranes.
With Cranes (and NPCs Omelet, Big Horse & Little Horse) forming a piquet Scratch began stabilizing Ghost (and NPC Foul), and looking after Rag. After that it was time to clear out ... the squad was pretty bashed up and who knew how many more of those weird things were down here?
GM's note: This encounter came uncomfortably close to TPK.
A couple days of recuperation followed, with the walking wounded manning the walls as the city continues to melt down. Faced with the Grande Promenade filled with violent rioters the Taken Journey unleashed a "big one," a crawling green fire that clung and melted everyone it touched. Open rioting became a thing of the past, however the dissent in Juniper was quickly developing into a full-blown rebellion.
The next "mission" gathered together across the Duke's great council table, scattered with maps, accompanied by the Duke himself ... or at least the blue-ish salt-crystal he had been turned into by the Limper. Elmo & Omelet explianed: the squad would be broken into two halves: the PCs and the NPCs. Two other squads were planning to go arrest Baron Lanner. These plans, including their route, had been leaked. Our boys and several other squads were being deployed as "counter-ambushes."
...later. The abandoned three storey house dominated the two storey neighbourhood. The half-squad approached in the empty hours before dawn. Ghost picked the lock easily, and the group began to explore. No magic treasure or anything, just rubbish and decay. They prepared observation positions, and Ghost rigged a couple alarms at likely entrance points. And they waited, two watching & two cat-napping. Just after dark that evening a cast-iron fireplace rod found in the abandoned kitchen and left leaning against the back door fell with a clang. Taking care not to move, the troops got ready for rebels. Ghost slipped out a third story window, down across a neighbouring second story roof, and lowered himself into the alley. He slipped back into the house, and began following the rebels up the creaking and noisy stairs, timing his almost noiseless footfalls with theirs.
Scratch fired an arrow as the rebels crested the third floor on the stairs, but missed due to low-light. Cranes held his great-sword "half-hand" waiting in the shadows. Rag began a complicated series of mudra with his fingers, clutching a bag of pure white sand. And Ghost took out the first rebel at the bottom of the stairs, lowering the body and stealthily advancing.
Lanterns were unshuttered to dispel the gloom. The rebels charged up the stairs, confused but bold ... and Cranes cut two of them down with a flurry/cleave. Rag dropped another two on the stairs with his Sleep spell, but it taxed him heavily (rolled an 8 on strain). Ghost dispatched another, and deftly managed to grab the hooded lantern before it fell.
Cranes began a short fencing match, his "half-sworded" great-sword versus a short-sword in the dark. The more alert troops caught the sound of other rebels clambering in the windows. One of the rebels on the stairs turned, and seeing a carpet of "dead" (two were asleep) vaulted down the stairs, slamming into Ghost. They both tumbled to the ground, wrestling with daggers in the dark.
Rag dropped Cranes' fencing partner with another Sleep spell. Once again drain was his nemesis, exhausted he fainted. Cranes slid into the open foyer at the top of the stairs and made his stand against the new reinforcements while Scratch took several risky arrow shots past Cranes.
Less then a minute later it was over. Rag was unconcious. Scratch was healthy. Cranes was cut up, but okay. Ghost had a couple close moments down on the second floor, but although the rebel had tagged him a number of times he was unable to land a telling blow. Sorely injured and covered in both their blood Ghost issued a number of coup-de-gras while checking the bodies for any critical information (and some loot to stuff in his larcenous pockets).
Meanwhile the two squads of Black Company marched below, unmolested.
Later that night, limping and exhausted, the squad snuck back to Duretile and a well-deserved rest.
OOG: After two sessions the characters had earned a total of just over 3000 xp, putting Ghost, Rag, & Cranes at 3rd level, and Scratch at 4th.