Finding Our Groove in the Command Tent
Our first session was a few weeks ago and was an ambitious session. We played the opening Zora mission, rescuing the commander, chose roles, did our campaign actions and then played another mission and rolled for the secondary (in which the Silver Stags lost 2 rookies rescuing a lost militia squad out hunting Eater, a famed ghoul).
It took us a moment to get back into it and we did it through the roles, reading over the sheets and figuring out who these people were and what decisions they were sussing out.
We decided who was going on this mission, a special mission to retrieve the ancient Legion banner, the Tantari banner, from a dig-site crawling with undead. They chose an Officer, a Scout and 5 Rookies from the Star Vipers.
Jim had played the Officer for a few missions now and didn’t want to do so again. The way it shook out was the Officer went to Janaki. The Scout went to Jim and Charlotte played a Rookie.
The handing around of characters is interesting and fun.
Janaki is the Commander. She asked me cool questions that got me thinking about the mission. I had drawn a little hill with a crane and how the Blighter’s forces had fortified the hill with over-turned carts and gut-busters.
She asked a few intel questions: What are two different ways to approach this mission?
I suggested they could just stealth their way through the forest or ambush an approaching group of Crows and steal their masks, getting through the hill’s defenses through deception. They chose the latter but rolled a Desperate starting situation.
As they approached the Crows saw them coming and for some reason stealing the masks and cloaks didn’t work. Crows and Rotters began pouring down from the hill. The Gut-busters stayed put in the choke-points between the upturned carts leading up the hill.
The scout used a power to find a safe haven. I said that there was a small knight’s castle beyond the treeline but that the scout didn’t know how he knew that.
I had decided that with the focal point of the mission being an ancient Legion banner with mystical properties that weird shit would be afoot this mission. Was it the scout’s past life? Was it a Legion ghost whispering in his ear? We didn’t find out.
They made it to the keep with a successful group action and closed the gate and brought up the portcullis behind them.
Walls, Moat and a Secret Passage
The Scout and the Lieutenant held the walls Indigo led the Rookies, looking for anything in the keep that they could use.
I set up two 8-count clocks:
Legion Drives Away Crows
Crows Being in Reinforcements
We talked about it and I explained that if reinforcements arrived they’d be encircled.
The Scout tried to snipe a group of Crows and Rotters standing at what they thought was beyond bow range but only clipped them.
The Crows made a probing action up the wall and the L.T. drove them back but with a complication. She lost her sword in the last Crow she threw down from the walls and another Crow grabbed the fine saber and waved it over their head in triumph.
Meanwhile the rookies rolled a solid scout and found a secret passage that seemed to lead towards the dig site. They also found a tapestry showing Zora and the Shining One attacking the Legion, who were all gathered around the ancient banner they were trying to find. Also pictured was the Aldermark Knight who had lived in this castle. She was shown patiently letting the battle go by and not getting involved in the mercenaries fighting the Chosen on behalf of the Last Emperor.
They talked it over and the L.T. decided to send the Scout and the Rookie through the secret passage in hopes that it would reach the dig site. The Officer and the other 4 rookies would hold the castle down.
I started two more clocks, explaining that the banner was in a Raiders of the Lost Ark-style underground burial chamber.
The Legion is in the chamber
The Crows are in the chamber
They made it to the chamber and found a stone door. The rookie tried to find a way around it and when Charlotte was getting dice together asked for a Devil’s Bargain. Mind you, Charlotte had said that she LOVED playing this Rookie and we also discussed that I wasn’t all that good at making Devil’s Bargains.
I offered an extra die if the Rookie was possessed by the ghost of an ancient Legion Commander buried in this tomb. She took the die but the roll didn’t go their way. In the end they wrecked their way into the tomb, making enough noise that the undead trying to break their way through from up top knew they were there.
When the Scout left he started a fire with his flare gun to deny the enemy access to the Legion’s ancient dead.
Banner in hand, they got the fuck out of there, back in the tunnel towards the ruined keep.
Meanwhile at the Keep
The L.T. put 3 rookies at each of the 3 lower corners and took the corner with the tower with the 4th rookie. They heard the undead’s efforts to get into the tomb intensify and saw the Crows calling in more rotters. This wasn’t the reinforcements, just the Crows moving folks around.
They shoved rotters into the dry moat, filling it and used them as a bridge to march their gut-busters across and blow up the front gate.
Not liking how that looks at all, the L.T. pulled everyone from the walls and they went into the crypt to get into the secret passage. They got there as the Scout and the Rookie (who was acting oddly, barking orders at the Scout and muttering in Old Imperial tongue) climbed out, explaining that they had set the chamber behind them on fire.
“We’re fucked. That was our only way out,” the Lieutenant said.
“I have climbing gear,” the Scout explained.
The rookies climbed down and the Officer and the Scout were the last to leave. The Officer took a nasty gut wound and was shoved off the wall but the Scout made a Resistance roll to avoid that, hitting the Crow point-blank with a blackshot arrow.
Everyone got home, banner in hand. There had been talk earlier about possibly holding tight and waiting for more undead to arrive with laborers, hoping to bring laborers back to the Quartermaster. They decided the main mission was the banner and got out of there.
Back at Camp
We did a scene in which the Silver Stags, who had lost 2 people rescuing a local militia from Eater, were remembering their dead. The 5 rescued militia, who were now rookies, were also there. We named one of them, Reader, who is now a Silver Stag and is going to be at the bottom of that food chain for a good long time.
When we aren’t sure about a name and don’t have a name sheet on hand we usually go with Black Company style nicknames.
They remembered good things about their comrades, how they saved them and how these 5 rooks weren’t worth it. The Silver Stags were mean in their grief. It was a fun scene.
Zora, the General and the Rookie
The L.T. found Zora staring at the Zantari banner and asked her about it. We hadn’t had much interaction with the Chosen since the first mission, in which she assaulted the castle’s front gate while everyone else stealthed in.
Zora explained that she had seen that banner before when she and the Bright One, who is now the Breaker, fought the Legion. She remember General Zantari as a valiant and smart general.
“What happened when you fought?”
“I took off his head,” Zora explained. Then she looked at the rookie in the crowd, saw that she was possessed and winked at her.
I referred to the general as he/him and they asked about their gender. Zora shrugged, “Honestly, I don’t really remember.”
The Legionnaires who went on Operation: Bronze Shovel decided the best way to help Indigo, this rookie who thought she was possessed by an ancient Legion Commander, was to get her good and drunk.
Why didn’t dressing up as Crows work?
Something was wrong. Some detail was missed. They started that mission Desperate and had to hoof it to safe ground. If they want to pretend to be Crows in the future we’ve established that something has to be different.
How did the Scout know there was a castle there?
I have no idea. We’ve established that strange shit happens when you tread on grounds where the Legion has been.
What does it mean that Indigo is possessed by this ancient general?
I have no idea. I had no idea when I offered the Devil’s Bargain. It’ll become something or it will be just a fun bit of color when folks play Indigo.