Campaign AAR, A Minuet of Moon and Lightning

Our group just completed our Band of Blades campaign, and I as the Lorekeeper want to share the annals, telling the story of what happened during the long retreat from Ettenmark Fields to Skydagger Keep. Most of the posts will consist of annals describing happened on missions, though I’ll include various interludes (back at camp, dramatis personae, old tales of the legion, and out of character mechanical notes).

Dramatis Personae

  • Lieutenant Anirbhan Godpole, Bartan Officer
    Anirbhan Godpole was head of his class at university, but had a strong yearning to see the world and make a difference in the conflict with the Cinder King. Fascinated by the storied history of the Legion, he joined them just before the Legion, as part of the Second Eastern Expeditionary army under Shreya, arrived at Ettenmark Fields. His first action as a provisional officer in the Legion was at Ettenmark Fields, where he had the distinction of being the lowest ranked officer in the Legion. After Ettenmark Fields, he became its only remaining officer.

  • Zai Yaryevna, Zemyati Medic
    Zai was struck ill as a child, and not expected to live. However, a local healer took deep interest in bringing her back to health, and once Zai recovered she swore to stay strong and use her talents to heal others as well. By then the healer was closer to her then her own kin who had given up hope when she was ill, so when the healer left to seek more knowledge Zai went with her. Alas, their party was set upon and the healer was killed, but Zai was saved by members of the Legion. Zai went with them and made herself useful as a medic in training, eventually signing up, learning to shoot, and using her skills to help the Legion fend off enemies both natural and unnatural. She is well known within the Legion for her tenacity and loyalty.

  • Silver Dancing Storm, Panyar Sniper
    Her parents and much of her village were killed by a mutated boar beast, Rakthos the Great Boar. She swore vengeance and joined the Legion, who were hired to exterminate the beast, and Silver Dancing Storm ended up staying on with them after the job was done. She traveled to the Panyar forest in order to hone her hunting skills, and seeked the forest’s blessing in order to get every edge she could in the hunting of the supernatural. She resents the divine and therefore all chosen since they are the source of magic in the world. Her mark is avian predatory eyes, and she is known for her killer instinct and calm under fire.

  • Maximillian “Mercy” Brecht, Orite Heavy
    Maximilian was born to one of the outer clans at the periphery of Or, one that is known to those outside of the Or as being mystical, but known within the Or city states as uncouth bandits. Maximilian was known to torture animals as a child and graduated to theft and murder. When the heat got too high in his hometown, Mercy decided to try his luck far far away… The Legion had a use for Mercy’s immense strength, and Mercy found his calling as the Legion’s cruel, cold-hearted killer.

  • Emerald Dancing Moonlight, a.k.a. The Horned One
    Originally known as Emerald Dancing Moonlight, the Chosen of the Horned One raged when Nyx was broken and the moon shattered. She found out the Horned One and thrust herself to become his Chosen. They seek vengeance for their loss.
    The Horned One can take animal form and can shift quickly from one animal form or forms to another. The Horned One seeks knowledge and intel, often ranging out from camp to discover what has occurred at large, infrequently appearing at camp in human form. When she appears, all around her are blessed with unnatural calm and ease, and she speaks in ways that appear transcendently mystical.

Ghost Owls

  • Chevalier Norris Lanno
  • Mahogany Piercing Thorn
  • Saniz Karlovich
  • Blue Streaming Laurel
  • Manakesh Kleriki

Mechanical Interlude

Lieutenant Anirbhan Godpole: Warm, Educated, Officer School, Channels 1, Research 2, Skirmish 1, Maneuver 1, Consort 1, Discipline 1, Marshal 1, Sway 2
Zai Yaryevna: Tough, Loyal, First Aid, Doctor 1, Research 2, Rig 1, Skirmish 1, Shoot 1, Maneuver 1, Consort 1, Discipline 1, Sway 1
Silver Dancing Storm: Traveler, Shrewd, Notches, Aim 2, Scout 2, Shoot 2, Maneuver 1, Discipline 1
Mercy: Stern, Cold (starting Trauma which does not count against death, instead taking the place of a heritage trait), War Machine, Anchor 1, Scout 1, Wreck 2, Skirmish 2, Maneuver 1, Discipline 1, Sway 1
The Horned One favors the Mystic. She is radiant and transcendent, and is a shapeshifter.
The Legion is pursued by Breaker and Blighter.

Postal Pickup and Delivery (Mission Obsidian Squall)

As Commander Garossi was marshalling the remnants of the Legion, a squirrel walked into the camp and transformed into an antlered Panyar. The presence of the Panyar instantly calmed the camp, which had been on the precipice of panic. Announcing herself as the former Emerald Dancing Moonlight, priestess of Nyx and as the current Chosen of the Horned One, the Horned One informed Garossi that she had been watching the Legion, and believe that she can help the Legion starting with recovery of a stash of black shot that was abandoned across the Tigeria during the retreat from Ettenmark Fields.
The commander, conferring with the remnants of the command staff, quickly assembled the best that the Legion had remaining: Lieutenant Anibhan Godbole, the medic Zai Yaryevna, the sharpshooter SIlver Dancing Storm, and the heavy Maximillian “Mercy” Brecht. Only Atuli Markesh was left in reserve to quickly arrange a camping site safe from ambush. The specialists led the Ghost Owls across the Tigeria, quickly finding an undead convoy with, among other plunder, the blackshot.

The caravan was pulled by two monstrosities of human flesh, later called the stitched by the Legion. One of the stitched had, unlike the other one, multiple heads, forever screaming, and was later named Hecatonchire by the Lieutenant. The two stitched were accompanied by two score of Blighter’s undead, nicknamed walkers by the Legion rookies. The walkers were armed and armored with the fine weaponry left by the Eastern armies at Ettenmark Fields. The Lieutenant then led the detachment ahead of the caravan to prepare an ambush, with Silver Dancing Storm (leaving her armor behind to move more quickly) was dispatched to scout out the adversary. She spotted two of their plague masked minders, similarly named vultures, and eliminated each with one shot apiece. Unlike prior encounters, their elimination did not cause the walkers to go feral, which the Lieutenant realized was due to the presence of Hecatonchire.

At the ambush site, Anibhan asked the Horned One to intercede. The Horned One acceded, turning into a large avian and launching themself at Hecatonchire. They grievously wounded the many headed abomination, and the Horned One shapeshifted to a swift and flew away before the monstrosity could respond in kind. Countless animals emerged from the forest and pecked at the other stitched, causing it to leave its post at the back of the caravan. Anibhan and the Ghost Owls distracted the majority of the walkers with a salvo and led them into prepared pit traps. The walkers were dispatched while entangled.

Zai, Mercy, and Silver Dancing Storm rushed to the carts of the caravan. Zai identified the critical black shot supplies and moved them to one cart while Mercy rigged the other carts with explosives that Anibhan had specifically requisitioned for the mission. Mercy then lashed himself to the black shot cart with the chains used by Hecatonchire and singlehandedly pulled the cart like an oxen. The remaining carts were rigged with explosives, specially requisitioned by the Lieutenant, and were detonated as the undead forces strove to regain the carts. Remnants of the walker force gave chase, nearly catching the legionnaires and causing small injuries to Zai, who saved Chevalier Lanno from a grisly fate, and Silver Dancing Storm.

After the detachment regrouped, they headed to their secondary objective: a mail cache abandoned in the chaos of the rout at Ettenmark Fields. The mail included both correspondence among the leaders of the Eastern armies as well as private letters earmarked for the Eastern nations. Each bore the Legion’s seal. Considering the Legion’s origin as the logistical hub for the Old Empire, recovery of the cache was considered of high organizational importance. Only minor resistance was faced, with Silver Dancing Storm decapitating the vulture leader and the remaining walkers eliminated in detail by the Ghost Owls.

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Tales of the Legion
The rout at Ettenmark Fields

The rout at Ettenmark Fields was a failure of intelligence. It marks the fifth time in Legion history that the Legion, at the height of its military prowess, was humbled through its reliance on its strength of arms.

When Shreya issued her first call of arms in 842 OEF, the Legion commander Boris Godunov considered, on the strong recommendation of the Lorekeeper Kapatia and the more restrained suggestion of the Marshall Trupattellen, breaking the contract at the Windward Isles in favor of joining the First Eastern Expeditionary Army, but ultimately rejected that call to arms. However, the Battle for Aldermark was not far from the minds of the Legion. The Quartermaster, with the approval of the commander, initiated a massive expansion in the ranks of the Legion, and so when the contract was completed, the Legion was ready to join the Second Eastern Expeditionary Army with over 1000 soldiers retrained in the tercio strategies pioneered by the Legion during the late Imperial age. The Legion, along with other elite units such as the Winged Lancers and the Garde Mechaniq, formed the anvil of Shreya’s battle plan and the Commander was part of Shreya’s grand council.

It was shortly before Ettenmark Fields that Shreya foreseen the Salutary path, in the same manner as she had foresaw three years earlier in the pivotal moment at the Battle of Karlsberg which snatched a stalemate from the jaws of defeat (the Legion would later be told of a third such moment months later). With the oracular statement of the Bartan Chosen, morale was high when the combined army set up in Ettenmark Fields.

Lorekeeper Kapatia died before the battle commenced. The Commander, along with the Banner Guard, was at Shreya’s command center when an unnatural fog quickly swept into the allied army position. Heretofore unknown monstrosities arose amidst the soldiers all across the battlefield, shimmering from what seemed to be freezing moonlight. The slaughter of the Second Eastern Expeditionary Army began.

The majority of Legion survivors from the massacre were from support units that did not begin the battle in the front lines. There were exceptions: Bottas Davintarm, Albon Anunsin and Conte Suderia Feri led the remnants of a few squads of Grinning Ravens to a breakout from Ettenmark Fields. Irex Tayovna was ordered by the sergeant of the Shattered Lions to retreat with their banner, which she bitterly followed, seeing the rest of the veterans lay down their lives so that she could escape. Crimson Rushing Flame of the 15th Ghost Owls managed to get lost from the rest of his squad and only felicitously ended up in the camp of the remnants of the Legion after many lost hours. Sniper Violet Flowing Tempest lost an eye in the battle and was half carried by Vettel Sebanich of the 63rd Grinning Ravens to safety. The heavy Maximillian “Mercy” Brecht outright fled from the carnage-- fortunately for him, none of those that he abandoned lived to tell that tale. And none of the 20 Ember Wolves squads were seen again.

It was not long before the Marshall, the Quartermaster, and the logistical officer Godbole arranged for the command HQ to retreat, and they were hard pressed. It was only due to the brilliant if unconventional tactics of Captain Marchesa Elena Fiammetta Luciana il Garossi, who ordered the the 20th Silver Stags into the trees to cover the retreat, that the remains of the command squad lived to regroup across the Tigeria River.

The Marshall and the Quartermaster debated whether Captain Garossi’s approach was incredibly foolhardy or merely stupid. However, when she declared that it was instead absolutely brilliant and the only reason that they survived, both were impressed by Garossi’s commanding presence and asked her to be the new Commander (in no small part because both felt ill suited to assuming the mantle themselves). Violet Flowing Tempest assumed the role of Lorekeeper, which followed in the long tradition of Lorekeepers who were at least partially blind.

One thousand two hundred and twenty four records were added to the annals that day. In the end, only thirty five soldiers arrived at the mustering point, nearly all green. The thirty who were not specialists were reorganized so that all six of the original squad types were represented. Most of the material of the Legion was also lost, though fortunately a score of smiths, tradesmen, and other laborers along with the alchemist Contessa Severina Garossi (no relation to the new commander, who was now being called Commander Squirrel due to her actions in Ettenmark Fields). The Legion camp was still in considerable chaos when Emerald Dancing Moonlight, the Horned One, arrived.

Dramatis Personae

  • Commander Marchesa Elena Fiammetta Luciana il Garossi (Fierce, Bold, Lithe, Well-kempt, Athletic)
    Commander Marchesa Elena Fiammetta Luciana il Garossi is the youngest of thirteen. Sick of her over-protective and bossy family, and completely uninterested in taking her place in the family vineyard business, she joined the Legion as soon as she was old enough. (Somehow she failed to think about the fact she would be trading one set of bosses for another.)
    A childhood spent keeping up with twelve older brothers turned out to be perfect training for the Legion and she was given her own squad to lead shortly before the Battle of Ettenmark Fields. During the battle, she ordered her squad to scale some trees and cover the retreating remnants of the Legion. The leaders of the Legion were divided over whether it was an act of incredible bravery or stupidity, but given how few people with any leadership experience at all (no matter how small) remained, she received a battlefield commendation and promotion to Commander. She also earned the sobriquet, Commander Squirrel.

  • Marshal Kentik Trupattellen (Protective, Cautious, Crisp)
    Kentik has an uncanny ability to remember names and faces, and no desire to use that ability to sway others beyond what is needed to preserve those names and faces, whether alive or, as happens too often, in memory. Straightlaced and to the point, Kentik carries out the Marshal’s duties with a keen eye for detail, sometimes surprising the troops with a personal word when all that was expected was merely a sharp nod of acknowledgement and an admonition to carry on.

  • The Quartermaster (Bartan, Precise, Resourceful, Frugal, Tired, Grizzled)
    The Quartermaster is the oldest tenured member of the legion, and he is only referred to, even in the Annals, as The Quartermaster. He has the habit of inventorying even the soldiers of the legion, referring to them by number instead of name. The soldiers of the legion are of the opinion that he is a penny-pinching bastard, and the only reason that he has a heart of gold is that he had it replaced so that there is no softness left. The command staff respect his thoroughness and ingenuity in amassing resources.
    Despite his reputation, the legion rarely has any gold in its coffers, for The Quartermaster consistently prefers to invest in practical resources that the Legion can put to immediate use.

  • Lorekeeper “One Eye” Violet Flowing Tempest (Wise, Eloquent, Young, Soft, Maimed, One-eyed)
    Violet Flowing Tempest was a sniper in the Legion before she was physically crippled in the route =at Ettenmark Fields. Ever since that day, the formerly bubbly and personable Panyar woman is now aloof and mystical, attuned to the Horned One like few others in the Legion. She also has a disconcerting way of referring to soldiers of the Legion as future members of the annals, but her recitation of the annals is well-regarded by the remaining legionnaires, for it is more humorous than the dry sermons of Lorekeeper Kapatia.

Mechanical Interlude

The Legion started with 1 intel, 1 food, 1 blackshot. 1 horses, 1 supply cart, 3 laborers, and an alchemist.

Time Passes, 4 = 3 + 1

Campaign Actions
Free 1. Liberty
Free 2. Long term project: Intensive Training Program, allows for campaign action to be spent to give two characters 1 advance each (either skill or ability). Requires someone with Educated background or Officer School ability. Three ticks are rolled, one remaining
Laborers: Supply cart, 4-clock. Requires wood. Three ticks are added.
Alchemical: Fox snuff, alchemical elixir that gives improved cognition. +1 to engagement rolls, causes lvl 1 harm (headaches). Critical success, four ticks are added, project complete.

The Legion advances to the Western Front, 5 = 4 + 1 (fortunate roll from 1 die)

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Back at camp

Even small successes can raise the spirits of the most demoralized units, and the success of the black shot raid was much needed respite for the legion, as well as making available a significant amount of powder, both blackshot and gunpowder varieties. One of the rookies, Maz Belyich, celebrated in his own fashion by combining some of each to launch one of his shoes into the air. He had brought his good friend Kyvat Danilovich to watch, but had not anticipated the additional spectator of Lieutenant Anibhan, who was checking up on each of the soldiers. Maz tried to explain that he was experimenting with a concept for a blackshot explosive, but the Lieutenant was not convinced and certainly not amused. Maz was consigned to weeklong latrine duty, though Kyvat was spared.

Missions

  • Flying Hawk - Troop Recon
    Reward: +2 Intel
    Penalty: +1 Pressure

Reports are coming in that the undead have been seen bringing cartloads of living captured refugees and corpses to the village of Platz. Find out what is happening to the people and bodies being brought here, and report back. This mission is over a day away.

  • Emerald Storm - Route Recon
    Reward: +1 Intel, -1 Time
    Penalty: +1 Pressure

The bulk of the undead forces are still trapped on the west side of the Tigeria River, thanks to the destruction of key bridges during the retreat. They have begun to commandeer river boats to ferry their troops across. Many refugees sailed across the river and abandoned their boats at Schmeker’s Landing. Your mission is to sabotage those vessels, denying their use to the undead. Assess the number and disposition of hostile forces on either side of the river. This mission is less than a day away.

  • Screaming Citadel - Recon
    Reward: +2 Intel
    Penalty: +1 Time
    Requires: Scout (this Specialist does not count against your limit)

The Horned One has reported seeing men and women riding large flying beasts in the night. They have flown East across the Tigeria, and into the foothills between The Legion and Plainsworth. It is unclear who they are or what their purpose is, but we suspect they are agents of the Broken. Find them, find out who or what they are and what they are doing. Gather any orders or intelligence that they may have on them. This mission may take several days.

Persona Dramatis

  • Atuli Markesh, Bartan Scout
    Bright and clever, Atuli attributes his success as much to divine guidance as to his own quick wits and, frankly, a little bit of luck. He has a small metal capsule hung on a chain which he uses as a dousing device when seeking divine guidance.
    Warm, Pious, Infiltrator, Scrounge 1, Scout 2, Rig 1, Shoot 1, Maneuver 2, Consort 1, Sway 1

  • Maz Beylich,Zemyati Rookie of the Star Vipers
    A resourceful but reckless soldier who had interest, but not aptitude, in the aetheric sciences.
    Bold, Stubborn, Devil’s Own Luck, Rig 2, Skirmish 1, Shoot 1, Maneuver 1, Consort 1, Sway 1

  • Contessa Severina Garossi, Orite Alchemist
    Unlike most Orites, her title is not a shallow one. She comes from a family with a large landed interest, many workshops turning out innovations, and enough wealth to have a strong guard. She is the oldest child, and would usually have taken over rulership of the County after her mother, but signed away those rights so she could pursue her passion of Aetheric Science. This was somewhat scandalous in Or, but she had no to give fucks. Her family supported her research interests, and was quite successful until the Great Breaking. When fear and paranoia about corruption started to ripple through the countryside, Contessa Severina signed on with the Legion so she could continue her work, and perhaps end the crisis that kept her from going back home to her beloved grasslands, workshop, and family.

Primary Mission Summary

The Horned One has reported seeing men and women riding large flying beasts in the night. They have flown East across the Tigeria, and into the foothills between The Legion and Plainsworth. The Marchesa, Commander of the Legion, assigned Lieutenant Godbole, the scout Atuli and the heavy Maximilian Brecht, who was ironically called Mercy, along with the Star Vipers to investigate.
The site of the reported beast activity was several days’ travel away, with dangerous Riki, a large indigenous ape, in the area. Atuli tried to lead it away, but instead was thrown from his horse, and the horse was caught and eaten by the Reiki. The squad kept their distance from the reiki, and traveled north, searching with significant difficulty for the site of the totem. The Legion searched for two days, and somehow the rookie Crimson Rushing Flame got lost and later returned to the Legion camp on his own. The Lieutenant identified the peak that the winged beasts were likely to be and the mission team went to investigate.

Atuli scouted out one of the peaks and found a coterie of six Witches (later identified as consisting of two cabals, one led by Hashi Vikenni), along with their Batbeast steeds. The Batbeasts were former birds favored by the Bartan goddess Varaza, but now seem to be ravenous monstrosities. There were in addition two shepherds with sigils marked on them, which were perverted inversion of the marks of Varaza, gathering storms instead of presaging fair weather. The witches were crafting a summoning totem, using the bones and entrails of sheep which were ravenously chewed by the batbeasts.
The mission team waited for some time until half of the witches left to get more sheep and got into the perimeter of the enemy ritual, with the witches perpetually chanting. Atuli led the expedition towards the ritual gathering, and Mercy used his extraordinary strength to throw a grenade into the ritual pillars, destroying the pillar of bone and wounding the witches and a batbeast. The remaining witches go to confront Mercy while the rest of the team goes into the witch’s camp.The witches invoked a curse at Mercy, who bravely ran away.

Atuli riflds through their tent and triggered a hex, suffering from unnatural warrior wasp stings, as his reliquary burns. Maz Belyich and the Lieutenant managed to net one of the shepherds and the team manhandled the shepherd away from the other, who looks blankly at the squad
Although the expedition managed to regroup, they were heavily pursued in their flight back to camp at Plainsworth. . As they neared a trail through the last woods north of Plainsworth, the witches caught up to the group and Hashi Vikenni cursed Versta Kunyart and Ansunhin Parandi. The two were driven into an unnatural rage and came to blows. Maz Belyich interposed himself between the two and was run through, absorbing the curse.
As the shepherd is taken to camp, his movements dulled even more noticeably. The Lieutenant, the medic Zai Yaryevna, and the Lorekeeper study the shepherd and found that the sigils tattooed into his body are a perversion of Varaza’s sigils of protection. Spiritually, the shepherd was already dead. Mercy took upon himself to excise the sigils in a most unpleasant manner, which breaks the last shreds of non-automatic motion of the shepherd, rendering him into a catatonia. Mercy then disposed of the shepherd. The Star Vipers had started the practice of calling those like the shepherd to be Meat Puppets.

Other Mission Summary

  • Emerald Storm
    Silver Dancing Storm, with the aid of the Ghost Owls, ambushed a squadron of Blighter’s troops, with Silver Dancing Storm earned another notch (a stitched). After eliminating the squad, the sniper and the Ghost Owls rigged the boats with explosives and return safely without any casualties.

  • Flying Hawk
    The Horned One reported that villagers, captured by Breaker’s witches, were impaled on stakes were invigorated with lightning to create lightning crackling constructs of Breaker. Called the Singed by the Lorekeeper.

Campaign Phase
Campaign Phase

  • Screaming Citadel and Emerald Storm were successful. Flying Hawk was aborted. Rewards: 3 Intel -1 Time. Penalties: 1 Pressure

  • Campaign action: Liberty action performed

  • Campaign action: The Long Term Project, Officer’s school, is complete

  • Alchemy campaign action: Contessa Garossi began research on Black shot grenades research begun

  • The laborers complete a supply cart and begin crafting another.

  • The Commander orders an advance to Plainsworth. The Legion make good time (one horse used to reduce pressure roll to 2 dice, with lucky roll) and arrive at Plainsworth (at time 7)

Musical Interlude (Back at Camp)

Maz Beylich was the first, but not the last, Legionnaire to die on the long retreat to Skydagger Keep. His best friend, Kyvat Danilovich, composed and sang the following at Maz Beylich’s memorial.

(To the tune of “The Ballad of Billy the Kid” by Billy Joel)

From a small fishing town known as Karlskronna
Rode a boy with a six-gun in his hand
And his daring in Aldermark’s grime
Made him a legend in his time
East and West of the Tigeria

Well he started with a shoe outside of Karlsberg
In the heel a blackshot charge he hid,
And the explosion and the fire took the lieutenant by surprise
And word spread of Maz Belyich

Well he never traveled heavy
And he never rode alone
And he soon put other older guns to shame
And he never had a sweetheart
And he never had a home
But the officer and the medic knew his name

Well he fought his way towards the Screaming Citadel
And he threw a grenade at a beastbat bearing down
And it served his legend well
For the troops they’d love to tell 'bout when Maz Beylich came to town

Well one cold day the squad got hexed by Breaker’s witch
And he gave his life to save two others, yes he did
And the squadies and the staff, came pourin’ in to watch the funeral of Maz Beylich

Well he never traveled heavy
And he never rode alone
And he soon put other older guns to shame
And he never had a sweetheart
But he finally found a home
Underneath the boot hill grave that bears his name

From a small fishing town known as Karlskronna
Rode a boy with a six-pack in his hand
And his daring in Aldermark’s grime
Made him a legend in his time
East and West of the Tigeria

Players note: Maz Beylich was the first rookie that was played by the PC, and as one of those Devil’s Own Luck characters, made a lot of impressive resists. The task force had almost escaped from the witches when, during the final roll to fill the final clock to complete the mission, we got a risky consequence involving the death of two rookies. The specialists by this point where in pretty bad shape, and the player playing Maz had a chance to be the hero-- all he needed was a 5 or 6 in 5 dice to survive. And that is how the first entry of the annals was added. All of us felt that this episode was about Maz, starting from the Back at Camp scene from the previous mission to his final sacrifice…

Mission Briefings

Broken Storm - Supply - Mercenary Work
Rewards: +1 Box Food. +1 Supply.
Penalty: None.

After the Legion arrives in Plainsworth, an agent of the Legion slips into the camp. Antoinette explains to Commander Squirrel that she had an arrangement with the previous Commander, and will continue to serve under the Marchessa if she wishes to continue that arrangement.

She says that Plainsworth is rife with refugees passing through fleeing the Cinder King’s armies, and that bandits that have been attracted to these relatively loaded and easy pickings. Moreover, some of the survivors of Ettenmark Field have also turned to looting and taking what they need from those who can’t protect themselves.

Antoinette’s found a local landowner with extensive holdings outside Plainsworth, Grisynn Bauer. Grisynn has offered several bushels of grain and cured meats, as well as your pick of other useful supplies from her farmsteads in exchange for escorting her, her family, and her wagons past the worst of the opportunists. Three days out, three days back. (Supplies will just barely cover this.)

Crimson Peak - Route Recon
Reward: +2 Intel.
Penalty: 1 Death. (Bandits will eliminate a member of the Legion during Liberty.)

Commander Squirrel quickly grasps that Antoinette mostly brought opportunities to the previous Commander where she had some way to personally profit from the transaction. She seems to be eminently well informed about what is really happening on the ground in Plainsworth, and Violet Flowing Tempest affirms to the Commander that the Legion Annals record AntoinetteAnotoinette to be honest and extremely capable, in the estimate of the previous Commander.

Squirrel is concerned about what impact bandits might have on operations in the area, and spends several hours with Antoinette over maps discussing what she’s seen and where. In the end, the two conclude that though many of the incidents are unconnected, there is at least one group of raiders that seems disturbingly well armed, well informed, and well coordinated.

It sounds as if they make extensive use of trails in the woods to the northeast and mountains to the east. There have also been a number of disappearances of soldiers in Plainsworth. Too many to be accounted for even by the chaos of the retreat from Ettenmark Field, or even by mass desertions among units where morale is shattered. Antoinette suspects these are advanced agents of the bandits systematically removing troops when their guard is down, softening their future targets.

Based on the operational patterns of the bandits, Commander Squirrel assesses several locations that the bandits could be using as base camps. Your mission is to assess those locations for bandit presence, and to chart the trails through the forest for possible egress when The Legion leaves Plansworth. Capturing or killing targets of opportunity is encouraged.

Amber Wolf - Supply
Rewards: +2 Morale, The Tentari Banner
Penalty: None.

Lorekeeper Violet Flowing Tempest has scoured The Annals of the Legion and discovered that an important object from The Legion’s past may be nearby. The Tantari banner, the original symbol of the Legion’s authority, was lost during the Aldermark Pretender Wars. It was granted to the Marshal of the Legion at its founding by the Seventh Emperor, Tantarus.

After the Great Breaking three years ago, Stormbreaker, broken avatar of the Bartan weather goddess Vazara, set up a dig site to look for it before they were driven west of the Tigeria by the widespread use of Black Shot. There are reports of peasants working day and night at the old dig site. The mission is to finish the dig, while fending off any challengers.

Intelligence Questions

  1. Are there any contacts (local allies, guards, police, etc.) of ours or Grisynn’s within the Plainsworth area that can lend aid to the mission?

The Legion certainly does not have any allies in Plainsworth. You’re from far away, and the Aldermani don’t like the remnants of the Old Empire, generally speaking. Grisynn has many contacts in the area, but seems to be using them to protect her interests. She seems to have prioritized using her local influence to protect her assets and her people as they wind down farms and prepare to evacuate, and what she has was stretched thin enough that she had to hire mercenaries to get everything she needed protected/done.

Grisynn’s caravan is about a dozen assorted carts and wagons (1 Supply Wagons). Each wagon has a driver and most have a farmhand riding “shotgun”, except they just have regular muskets. So, you’re looking at about 20 (a large group) of Threat 1 folks. Grisynn’s eldest son Deikart usually manages the farmhands. You think they’re likely to defer to your authority and expertise when it comes to safety, though it couldn’t hurt to build some rapport with them before there’s any trouble, just to ensure things go smoothly.

  1. What is the benefit to the Legion of acquiring the Tantari Banner?

The Banner has great symbolic significance to the Legion, and recovering it will bring significant boost to morale. It can be used 5 times to negate the morale penalty of a legionnaire’s death.

  1. What are the weaknesses of the Infamous Stitched? The Infamous Stitched is meticulous about its own upkeep. It is known to collect recently dead bodies, either from the battlefield, or to go so far as to dig up recent graves, in order to find fresh parts for “repairs”. It has metal plates riveted to its body, so it is hard for Black Shot to have full impact on it. Perhaps very precise shots or an injector would get around this? It is powerful, and even survived an encounter with the Horned One. It seems to have high confidence against human troops, and presses attacks somewhat recklessly. Except in situations where there are strong fortifications and no fresh bodies on hand. It seems to want to avoid being heavily damaged and not have resources to fix that. The vultures it travels with are the ones who do the actual surgical / alchemical procedures. We suspect it may make private use of alchemical supplies that are intended for its superiors.

  2. How can we help the Horned One ameliorate the breaking of Nyx?

Nyx Broke when her Chosen Broke. The Horned One does not understand how it is possible to Break a Chosen, but thinks the first step to repairing it is to understand what happened. The most helpful thing would be to find and capture Shadowbinder, Nyx’s avatar. Short of that, it would be helpful to have something with strong sympathetic resonance to Nyx. A piece of the moon that has fallen to the Earth, a relic tied to the goddess, etc. Alternately, observing the other Broken to see if they reveal the secret of how they became as they are. Capturing one of them to experiment on or interrogate seems dangerous but possibly fruitful. Destroying the Cinder King may also fix the problem.

Personae Dramatis

  • “Feathers” Frost Slicing Star, Rookie
    Frost Slicing Star was raised almost exclusively near the frontier, with very little civilizing input. She acts like one of the guys, a point she attempts to drive home on every occasion.Especially among the rough and ready, she is well liked and popular, recognized by her swagger, enthusiasm, and her amiability, and loves to chit chat and drink with all around her. She loves cooking, and though the taste of her food may not be the best, her presentation is excellent and she is quite skilled at the use of herbs to improve the fragrance of food. She also is known to use mild natural hallucinogens for more challenging ingredients to improve the palatability of slightly spoiled or difficult ingredients. Her Panyar mark is the feathers that seem to be hair extensions, and she earned her third name from her travels to Mount Hoggar, where she claims to have touched a star.
    Shrewd Traveler. Home Cooking. Scout 2, Shoot 1, Maneuver 1, Skirmish 1, Consort 2

  • Vettel Sebanich, Rookie
    Vettel’s longevity in the Legion is due to a bit of luck and a lot of determination. Before he joined the Grinning Ravens, he worked at the docks for years, so he is pretty easygoing though there is a new edge to his barking laugh since Ettenmark.
    Tough, Bold. Devil’s Own Luck. Rig 1, Skirmish 2, Shoot 1, Maneuver 1, Consort 1, Discipline 1.

  • Silver Dancing Storm, Sniper.
    She has notched multiple kills and is eager to add more to her tally. Silver Dancing Storm recognizes Feathers as a possible protege.
    Cunning, Ruthless, Expert Shot.

*Lieutenant Anirbhan, Officer
Highest ranking officer within the Legion, has led two prior missions on the road to Skydagger Keep. Cautious and focused on the objectives.
Educated, Earnest, Practical.

*Pakunas
Large predatory felines found in Aldermark. They hunt in large packs (~20) and each are individually smaller than human, but collectively quite dangerous. They are extremely aggressive in their territory, with multiple alphas per pack based on that aggressiveness. They are carrion-eaters as well. They live between the treeline between plains and forest, and are themselves prey to large predatory birds of the plains and the Reikei in the forest. They are nocturnal and often sleep in trees (and have excellent agility among trees). Loud noises can disconcert them. Their flesh is touch and strongly ureaic, but their furs have some value.

  • “Mercy” Maximilian Brecht
    Notorious within the Legion as someone not to cross, Mercy does the Legion’s dirty work.
    Cold, Cruel, Explosives Handler

Mission After Action Reports

Broken Storm

The Legion arrived at Plainsworth battered but not broken, and sought out mercenary contracts in order to restock the depleted Quartermaster stores. Due to the Legion’s poor reputation in Aldermark, the only opportunity that presented itself was an escort mission. Grisynn , a significant land owner with estates south of Plainsworth, was seeking to evacuate her goods to the east towards Westlake, and needed to make great haste due to the rapid advance of Blighter’s forces. A task force led by the Lieutenant was dispatched, along with Silver Dancing Storm and the Grinning Ravens to guide the caravan to safety.
The Legion made contact with Grisynn’s wranglers and made good time despite the racket of the assembled convoy, including the cacophony of a wagon of chickens. After settling to camp for the first night, the convoy encountered a desperate band of refugees from Karlsberg. The Lieutenant foresaw the possibility of a riot or theft by the refugees, and so dispatched “Feathers” Frost Slicing Sta to hail the refugees and bear offerings to the leader of the refugees, a priest of Gerholtz. It was the Chosen of Gerholtz that previously had been Broken and there was lingering uncertainty among the faithful of these broken gods. Feathers’ offering was well received, but was not enough to share among all of the refugees. Some of the refugees made to steal from the caravan, but Vettel apprehended them and gave them a gentle beating before seeing them on their way.
The Lieutenant surveyed the possible routes and maneuvered to a path deep into the woods in order to dissuade the refugees to follow. However, the convoy found tracks of pakunas, a large predatory feline. SIlver Dancing Storm led the Grinning Ravens in a hunt for the pakunas and found them napping. Volleys of gunfire showered down on the animals, killing most of the pakunas. A couple made it through to the Grinning Ravens and nearly eviscerated the Conte Suderia Feri, before Vettel beat the feline down. The Grinning Ravens brought the bodies of many of the pakunas to camp, and they are transported along with the rest of the convoy.
A day before arriving at Grcwynn’s rendezvous point, the convoy arrives at a shrine of Gerholtz. Most of the pakuna flesh (which is tough and redolent of urea) are left there, with only the pelts retained. The Lieutenant tries to make an offering with the pakuna flesh, but gets a severe premonition of fear and his reliquary catches on fire. Some poor quality pakuna jerky is brought back to camp for those desperate enough for meat.
The convoy arrives at its destination safely, and Grisynn repays the legion with a wagon of food and a banker’s note. Feathers would later successfully trade the pakuna pelts for a variety of foreign (by Aldermari standards) food stuffs that was well appreciated by the multinational forces of the Legion.

Amber Wolf (secondary mission)

The heavy Mercy was sent with the Shattered Lions on the critical mission to recover the Tantari banner from the dig site that Breaker had initiated prior to their discovery by the Second Eastern Army. The squad found that the dig site was in fact a cemetery and shrine dedicated to Mattias the Maker near an Aldermani village.
The local Aldermani were suspicious of the Legion and balked at the arrival Legion soldiers.The Aldermaini in the end stood down due to the intimidating stare of the corporal of the Shattered Lions, Irex “Honeybadger” Tayovna and the hardness of Mercy and the Shattered Lions, who were handpicked for calmness in the face of danger.
While most of the squad surveyed the prior excations, which defiled the far eastern part of the cemetery that held primarily foreigners, Albon Anunsin (who as the kid of the squad was assigned lookout duty) noted a strangely familiar Dar inscription on one of the family mausoleums. The phrase “Witness Bearer” is part of the Legion’s credo, and Albon, acting on a hunch, opened the casket which had the inscription. Underneath the embalmed Aldermani corpse, who the Lorekeeper later confirmed was the corporal of the Shattered Lions during the Aldermani Pretender Wars, was a tube containing the Tantari Banner.
When the squad tried to leave with the Tantari Banner, a meat puppet stationed at the village managed to tip off the coven led by Hashi Vikenni, and the squad was ambushed before it could return to the Legion camp. The beastbat ridden by the witch Kevani Mahnushin carried off Midnight Cascading Thunder, and his remains were later found a mile away, dropped from a significant height. The rest of the squad fought back, killing several meat puppet auxiliaries, with Mercy throwing a grenade that slew the witch Adikar Dewa, though not before receiving significant shrapnel damage from the close range of the blast. The squad managed to escape in the confusion, though not before the witch Hashi Vikenni laid a curse on Intendent Alidraius Orate, who tore his own eyes out and died during the retreat.
Mercy, Corporal Irex, and the rest of the Shattered Lions were praised for bringing back the revered Tantari Banner, but Admattus Torio Rosso felt only bitterness over the loss of his squad brethren. He deserted from the legion and is suspected of being recruited by the bandits of Crimson Peak.

Back At Camp

The Lieutenant approached the Horned One, asking about his concerns about a contact with the Aldermani shrine. The Horned One sniffed Lieutenant and was revulsed, flying away. All of the stress that Lieutenant had held flooded right back. The Lieutenant sought out the counsel of the Lorekeeper, and she brought up that although it is possible that it could be jealousy between the Gods, the more likely result is that the Horned One sensed the Cinder King’s taint from his interaction with the altar. The Lieutenant asked for discretion on the manner, and so the Lorekeeper sealed this account until after the siege of Skydagger Keep.

Campaign Phase

Primary mission Broken Storm is successful, food and a unit of supply were received in payment.
Secondary mission Amber Wolf is successful, with the loss of two legionnaires. Morale improved and the Tantari Banner is again in Legion hands, after its loss over a hundred years ago.

Tertiary mission Crimson peak was ignored. Result in desertion of a legionnaire (Admattus Torio Rosso of the Shattered Lions), and bandits are gaining in strength.

Time progressed, Morale 9, Time Summer 8, Pressure 1

Quartermaster procured many assets, including horses, religious supplies, corrupted alchemist Amber Bubbling Spring, expending all supply

Quartermaster dispatched Frost Slicing Star to get food. She manages to trade supplies and pakuna furs for very fine victuals which are particularly suited for all members of the Legion

Laborers complete third supply cart, begin crafting a ballista.
Alchemist complete work on Black Shot grenades.
The Legion stays in Plainsworth…