We did an all day session this past Saturday, and I figured I might as well write down what happened for my sake if no one else’s. I didn’t know how much we would get through in one day, so I did pregens for everything. I made all the specialists ahead of time, and I filled out the Marshal sheet with rookie names in every squad. I also made a nice binder for everyone, printed out a 2ft x 3ft map of Aldermark and pregenerated 18 missions (I still rolled each mission phase to get the number and type of missions, but I made enough that I could choose from my list). The only thing I didn’t pregen was the command staff, since those are the players real characters. So lets meet the command staff then.
Commander Isalana, a devious and cold Zemyati. I think she’s supposed to get a nickname, as Zemyati sometimes do, like keen-axe or one-eye, but it hasn’t been decided yet. People don’t like her, but they’re damn glad she’s in charge.
Marshal Mara Shall (a pun name, great) is an unusually named Zemyati who if fierce and proud. He never shows sadness when the men he sends out don’t return, but privately he blames himself for every one. He’ll mourn when he’s dead I suppose.
Quartermaster Duke Mid Syers is a precise and haughty Orite. He is recently promoted as the old Quartermaster died during the retreat from Ettenmark fields. He’s a new kind of QM for the legion, as a rich noble he couldn’t care less if you take 2 candles when one would do, but he knows how to ration the black shot and when to break out the good booze.
And their Chosen is Shreya, she isn’t technically in charge, but when she tells the command staff what to do, she expects to be listened to. This hasn’t come to a head yet, but it may soon because she and the legion have different priorities. The Legion’s main goal is to get the annals to skydagger and back to the eastern kingdoms, Shreya’s goal is to take out as many important targets as possible as they retreat, no matter the cost. She is radiant and serene, her favor is mystic and her special ability is Asrika’s Mercy (when you do R&R, everyone gets an extra healing tick)
The broken are Blighter and Breaker. We don’t know much about them yet except that Blighter has a thing for Shreya. Shreya doesn’t like to talk about it.
First Mission - Operation Western Fire
It’s Shreya’s opening mission. Blow the bridge that spans the Tigeria with alchemical charges in order to delay the advance of the undead armies. The Grinning Ravens are sent along with the Heavy, Scout and Sniper. The weather is bad and the visibility is poor, so the Sniper can’t find a good perch and is forced to come with the squad. The Scout goes under the bridge to set the charges and sees a unit of crows noiselessly crawling on the bottom of the bridge like spiders. The Sniper repels down and together they kill one crow and send the rest scampering up into the rookies and Heavy above.
The Heavy sees a trio of gut sacks coming toward them from the far side of the bridge. The Heavy chooses to deal with the crows first which allows the gut sacks to close the distance, and now the whole unit (minus the scout) is in close range with these fat, walking, alchemical time bombs. In the pitched melee, the Heavy blows two uses of anchor and the Sniper rolls a critically successful shoot, together preventing any rookie deaths. All of the armor has been burned away by caustic fluid.
All the while the scout is setting charges down below. There are some devils bargains and some bad rolls which ultimately mean that while the squad gets away scott free, the Scout is caught in the blast and takes level 4 harm. She’s full on stress but has to try and resist anyway and rolls a 6. So she merely takes level 3 harm before getting carried away in the river. Her squad-mates fish her out and the mission is a success. Everyone is stressed and the Scout is badly hurt.
Back at Camp
The mood is fairly light, all things considered, with the success of the operation. A noise is heard just outside of the watch lights which raises the alarm. Shreya drags the corpse of an infamous horror The Wailer into the middle of camp and then walks to meet with the command staff. The Commander asks why she brought back the creature and Shreya responds that she assumed it would be good for morale. Looking at the rotting pile of dozens of purtrid corpses, the Marshal is dubious on the effect on morale, but orders the creature burned. The Quartermaster is disgusted and requests Shreya clean herself up. Shreya tells the command staff to be ready to leave in the morning. Then she glows with a radiant light and all the blood and ichor burns off of her as she walks away.
The Quartermaster calls for a boosted liberty because the Marshal tells him the men and women are stressed from their mission. He also assigns the Heavy (a former blacksmith) to a long term project to create a mobile forge that can create items useful for bartering with locals (+1d to acquire assets near settlements). The Heavy, with help from of a team of laborers, finishes a 4-clock in one action.
Mission Phase #2
Three missions are presented upon setting up camp in Plainsworth.
Operation Flying Mountain - Assault to break the siege of an old fort nearby where a relatively well armed peasant militia is currently trapped by a horde of Breakers burned.
Reward - +2 morale
Penalty - +1 pressure
Operation Chosen Storm - investigate a local legend of an old temple that summons a storm in a time of great need. Whoever holds the temple once the storm is over will be granted a boon from the gods. A strange isolated storm was spotted in the mountains a day ago, but if magic and weather is involved, Breaker will be too.
Favor - Mystic and Wild
Reward - Exceptional Asset (relic)
Penalty - +1 pressure/-1 morale
Operation Emerald Thorn - A nomadic tribe that have tamed and ride baerngarde pester the Legion. Find their camp and put down their leader or their mounts. Otherwise the legion loses time to their frequent attacks.
Reward - +2 morale/-1 time
Penalty - +1 time
Primary Mission Operation Chosen Storm
The Star Vipers are sent along with the medic, officer and heavy to hold the temple from Breakers forces. The legion decides it will be easier to hold the temple if they seal themselves inside the old mountain ruin by using alchemical charges to collapse the entrance tunnel. The Officer produces some charges using channels and they very successfully seal themselves in.
In the central chamber they find a long narrow channel to the surface that lets rain water into the temple, which is currently pouring onto a tree that is somehow growing without sunlight. The storm worsens and a lightning bolt enters the room from the channel and splits the tree in two. Six beings of pure energy leap from the tree and beginning to attack the squad. The Medic researches the tree and ends up communing with a chosen of the Living God who died here 1000 years ago fighting giants. The chosen relays a message from his god to take this relic and use it to fight the Cinder King and he grants the Medic ammunition that is potent against these elemental creatures, but the Medic also takes 2 corruption. The fight is won by the rolling of many sixes, and the group is awarded the Bag of Wind. The bag grants a user the ability to take 2 corruption to change the weather in a mile radius to whatever they would like. This also lets Breaker know where you are and ticks a 4-clock that she comes to retrieve the bag at her next convenience.
The squad must now escape the temple, knowing that Breaker’s troops are likely waiting for them outside. They search the temple and eventually find a hidden door that leads to a passage out of the mountain. A fortune roll goes poorly and they find a shadow witch riding the infamous devourer Silver and a pack of burned waiting for them. The Officer uses channels again to say they’ve had horses with them this whole time and they critically succeed on a group maneuver to escape. I was really hoping Silver would get to pick up a horse and rider and drop them from a few hundred feet, but maybe next time.
Secondary Mission Operation Emerald Thorn
They send the Sniper and the Silver Stags to kill the Baerngarde that the nomads ride. They achieve a mixed success and lose a few rookies and the sniper is badly mauled, but the Sniper made good use of the distraction caused by dead rookies to get some key head shots.
Back at Camp
The legion remember the fallen and we see the remaining Silver Stags perform the ritual they always do when losing squad mates. They gather round the fire and tell stories of the dead, all the while taking shots of a terrible liquor. The phrase they always end with is “They may be dead, but at least they’ll never have to drink this shit again”
The Quartermaster decides to acquire horses in Plainsworth and rolls 3 sixes. I give them 2 units of horses for that outstanding roll. They find a merchant looking to liquidate ASAP so he can begin his escape to the east with more coin and fewer horses. Liberty is called for again, and R&R is considered but ultimately they decide the Scout and Sniper can tough it out for one more mission phase. The laborers start work filling carts with dirt so they can grow crops on the road.
Mission Phase 3
The Commander is on the lookout for intelligence and is rewarded with 2 recon missions and an assault mission that also grants intel.
Operation Shattered Light - Lugos the Clockwork Assassin, lieutenant of Blighter, has a small camp somewhere near the long road. Scout out the location of the camp so you can plot a safe course around them or risk losing men to undead attacks. Once you find the camp, see if you can learn anything about what Lugos or Blighter are up to by searching a laboratory and Lugos’ personal tent.
Reward - 3 intel (1 for the camp, 1 for the lab, 1 for Lugos’s tent)
Penalty - 2 deaths
Operation Broken Fire - There are reports of a copse of trees nearby that Breaker is using to create her burned troops. Destroy them or we’ll be overrun with the damn things in this theater. Maybe learn something about the trees in the process.
Reward - +2 morale and +1 intel
Penalty - +1 time
Operation Shattered Hawk - We’ve spotted a paddock full of horses that Blighter uses to haul all of her her mobile laboratories and equipment. Set them free and scatter them or kill them, either way it should slow her down.
Reward - +1 intel and -1 time
Penalty - None
Primary Mission Operation Shattered Light (this one ended up being a bit of a quickie because we’d been at it for awhile and people needed to get home)
The engagement roll started them in a risky position where they were almost spotted by a group of horrors with a squad of crows minding them. They manage a critical group scout and are able to follow this patrol back to Lugos’s camp. They find a set of temporary laboratories, a paddock where horrors are kept in a semi-dormant state that is guarded by crows, and a few large tents that appear to be where Lugos works. They decide to send a PC rookie into the lab to look around and set charges. He rolls a 6 to sneak through the camp and get inside the lab. He looks around a bit at what appears to be some experiments to make a new kind of undead, with the failures becoming gutsacks. He decides to rig a charge to blow in this lab but is interrupted and accidentally sets the charge to a very short timer before jumping into a vent to escape. He fails his manuever to escape in time and takes level 3 harm that he brings down to level 1, but still takes some corruption from breathing in fumes.
Seeing something has gone wrong with the distraction, the Officer decides to save the Rookie by riding through the camp with all the horses with him to get the single Rookie. Most of the horses die and she then rides out of camp with many undead chasing her to give the Sniper and Rookies time to search Lugos’s tent.
The Sniper leads the Ghost Owls to the tent and they all begin to search it. A partial success gets them the intel they need in the form of Lugos’s personal notes and correspondence with Blighter. Lugos is trying to create some kind of undead capable of violently expelling corrupting acid great distances, but so far has only succeeded in creating gut sacks. He has also been tasked by Blighter to find out why the Cinder King is watching Breaker so closely. If he can find evidence of her disobedience, Blighter will present it to the Cinder King to hopefully get Breaker destroyed. However the nature of the partial success becomes apparent when the squad leaves the tent and runs directly into a horror. The Officer does a channels and a flashback to have given the Sniper and Rookies owlsight so they can extinguish their lights and escape into the darkness. Unfortunately a bad roll and no channels left leaves her with standard quality owlsight. We decide that they’ll have enough owlsight for everyone, but this is the experimental stuff and one Rookie goes blind permanently and dies in the escape. A partial success results in 2 more rookie deaths and some minor harm for the Sniper, but he escapes with a single living Rookie.
Now the Officer and the PC Rookie need to escape but they’re being chased by none other than Lugos on the back of a very speedy horror. They flashback to having dumped 6 uses worth of oil in the tall grass near the camp, and their plan is to ride through the grass and light it on fire creating a smoke screen they can use to escape. A desperate maneuver is partially succeeded and they do escape, but not completely unscathed. Before lighting the grass the Rookie notices that Lugos has lept from his mount and landed soundlessly on the Officer’s horse. The Officer is about to have her throat slit, but the Rookie does an insight resist to warn her with a second to spare. The Officer puts her hands in front of her throat just in time and instead takes level 3 harm (useless hands), and just manages to shake Lugos off as they light the grass and speed off into the night. The squad returns to camp with useful intel, 3 fewer Rookies and some serious wounds. The PC Rookie promotes and becomes their first Soldier. Because they’ve used explosives in every mission so far via channels, they decide to make this Soldier a grenadier.
Secondary Mission Operation Broken Fire
The Quartermaster spend some black shot and the mission is a rousing success. The Medic leads the Ember Wolves to the copse of trees and efficiently deals with the burned and crows there. After dealing with the undead they take axes to the trees and come back to camp without any casualties.
Back at Camp
We forgo the RP scene because it’s time to go, we’ll pick it up next session. We do however do the Quartermaster’s actions quickly while we remember them. We finish the long term project for a cart garden (they will receive 1 unit of food whenever a time clock fills) by having the medic roll research and using the laborers. We finally do R&R to deal with the mounting wounded specialists, and because Shreya provides an extra healing tick, we have a mercy, and the Officer is a noble Orite, we clear out all level 2 and 3 harm, with only a couple level 1 injuries remaining. Next the legion advances to Barrak mines, with exactly 1 tick of time left on the summer clock.