The Riverlands Campaign – Session #2

It’s been more than a month since my last post.  Christmas, New Years, and family birthdays will do that to one’s gaming schedule. We’re back on track now though. Had the 2nd session of our campaign about a week ago.  We had two new additions to the party, which we hand waved into the story.  We just assumed they had been there last session but had been in the background. We’ll likely do better at adding and removing people in the future but this was the 2nd session so I didn’t feel the need to come up with some reason they were suddenly joining the party.  The two new members were Kraynok the Dwarven Cleric of the Storm God and Tobias a Human Fighter / Thief.

We started the game where we left off. The party had made camp just inside the Thornwood. The night passed quietly until just before daybreak. Those on guard duty heard the sounds of many small feet running through the forest towards the camp. There was also high-pitched yelling, part of which was identified as goblin. The guards woke the sleeping party members and everyone circled up around the remains of the fire pit and prepared for battle.

The first creatures to pop into view were small, dog-faced humanoids that were quickly identified as kobolds. The kobolds made no threatening moves, instead running around or through the party as quickly as possible without stopping. They were obviously frightened and running for their lives. The party decided not to hinder the flight and the kobolds quickly ran through the camp and disappeared into the gloom on the other side.

The goblins appeared immediately afterwards and were much more aggressive. They were apparently chasing the kobolds but the party was fair game to them. They attacked the party to ruinous effect. Ai’slinn dumped an Entangle spell into the woods behind the leading edge of goblins. It immobilized several of the creatures. The remaining goblins were quickly hacked down by the party within a couple of rounds. They kept one alive long enough to determine that the entire fracas was due to a territorial dispute. The goblins had claimed this part of the forest and the kobolds had intruded as had the party.

With that little bit of excitement out of the way, the party continued to skirt the edge of the forest southward. About midday they came upon a good-sized homestead situated on the crest of one of the low, rolling hills in the area. It had a 4 or 5 foot stone wall that surrounded it and a number of livestock roaming about. Just outside the wall was a large, brawny made with a receding hairline herding some sheep. He noticed the party and hailed them before approaching to talk. He introduced himself as Cooper, a long-time resident in these parts. He noted that the party neither looked like locals nor like bandits. Upon being told that the group was headed to deal with the bandits holed up in the Thornwood, Cooper seemed pleased. He explained that Kressle, the female leader of the bandits, was a dangerous sort. He knew they had a camp in the Thornwood somewhere but didn’t know exactly where. When the party wondered why Kressle hadn’t robbed or run Cooper off the man only cryptically replied, “Some things are more trouble than they’re worth.”

They bid Cooper farewell and soon came upon the Goblin Water at the edge of the Thornwood. They found a small cart track that followed the river into the woods along the north bank. Their captured bandit indicated that this was the track Kressle used to pay her tribute to The Stag Lord, the bandit that ran things in this region. He didn’t know where the Stag Lord’s base of operations was. Only Kressle and a few of her top henchmen knew that information. The camp was several miles into the woods on the south side of the river at a ford. Heitala, Tobias, and Al’fric scouted ahead and found the camp where their captive indicated.

After a quick discussion on strategy, Heitala, Tobias, and Ai’slinn stayed on the north bank of the river hidden in the underbrush. They had ranged weapons and spells and were more lightly armored than the other three. Melfour, Al’fric, and Kraynok traveled back several minutes and swam the river before approaching the camp on the south bank. Heitala and Tobias opened fire with bows while Ai’slinn tossed an Entangle spell into the central part of the camp, dividing the bandits in half. The three melee fighters rushed in and quickly overpowered the bandits on their side of the Entangle spell. The bandits on the other side sounded the alarm with a hunting horn.

The melee fighters made their way around the Entangle and quickly engaged the other half of the bandits. The spell and ranged support followed behind, fording the river. They trashed the bandits in just a round or two right as Kressle and another group appeared. The bandit leader was tougher than her underlings but once her support were all dead and she had already been forced to use her healing potion, she surrendered. The fight was over and the party quickly went about securing the area and cataloging their captured supplies. All in all they had killed 17 bandits and captured Kressle and retaken a fair amount of stolen supplies. Not a bad day’s work.

We called the game here. One slight problem with our play date and time is that it limits us to about 2.5 hours per session. Given our once a month session schedule that means this game is going to move at a rather stately pace. The combat moves fairly quickly which helps with the time factor.  The fight with the goblins we used a theater of the mind approach and had no maps or minis or anything. For the bandit camp, I used a kind of map system in order to make it a bit more tactical in nature. It wasn’t as complicated or detailed as D&D or Pathfinder’s grid but it did help visualize a more complex battlefield. I’ll talk about it in my next post. I’ll probably be using it again for more important combats. You can expect that post in the next week or so.

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