View Full Version : Wasted Potential tempered by CMoA

2011-04-10, 01:01 AM
Night had fallen at last. The only lights now were the moon, the stars, and five points of light that made up the tribe's campfires. Beyond the reach of these, three figures creeped silently beyond the outskirts of the camp. Not a word was spoken as they closed in on their target; a large tent at the outskirts of the camp, untouched by the light of the fire.

Here one broke away from the silent group. Creeping up to the tent wall, it stopped as it noted a small flickering light within. A candle. Their target might not be as sound asleep as they thought. After a moments thought the figure resolved to forego caution and proceed into the tent. But not for long, as it slowly lifted the curtain of the tent and peered in. At the sight of two bare feet not two feet away from it, the figure dropped the fabric and creeped back into the darkness.

"What are you doing?" a voice hissed, trying to remain as quiet as possible while still letting his irritation shine through.

"He's still awake." the figure replied, crouching down beside the source of the voice. "We'll wait until he falls asleep."

An hour passed. And then another. Still no change could be seen within the tent. The group grew restless. Finally as the third hour ticked passed, the figure lost patience. Creeping back towards the tent, he approached a wall to the right of their target. Peering beneath the curtain, he saw his target in full: the tribe's chieftan, a powerfully built man peering over some papers laid out on a desk. He was clothed in his sleeping garb; that is to say, nothing.

The figure, revealed in the dim candlelight as the banished nobleman's son Aranesp Peste, noticed something else in the tent: a woman with a young girl in her arms, both asleep on a fur rug. Cursing silenty to himself, he contemplated his options. He didn't bother with this for long and instead decided on a more active direction.

Aiming his crossbow, he fired two shots in rapid succession into the chieftan's shoulder. A pained yell cascaded through the camp, echoed by smaller confused yells as most of the tribe was awoken by the shattered silence. Aranesp tried to dive back beneath the curtains, but to no avail; the man had spotted him. Firing one last frantic shot into the chief's other shoulder, he ran into the night.

Grabbing his prized sword and shield, the man turned to chase his would-be assassin. As he charged through the tent, a pair of crossbow bolts whizzed quietly past him. Calling for a torch, he made pursuit of Aranesp.

Across the camp, two brothers awoke. The Lladnar brothers listed for a moment as the assassination they had ordered descended into chaos. "What do we do?" one asked.

"We never woke up." replied the other, turning his back to the commotion.

Closer to the chaos, a third conspirator was not so willing to stand aside. After frantically attempting to apply his armor for a few seconds, Darius Vajheer soon gave up and grabbed his weapons and charged with the camp sentries towards the struggle.

As the chieftan quickly closed the gap between himself and his attacker, two blades sliced uselessly at the darkness behind his back as the yet-silent member of the intruders attempted to aid their ally. Ignoring these, the chieftan sliced at Aranesp's back, his finely crafted scimitar cutting through his target's leather armor like paper.

Stumbling in pain, Aranesp turned and fired two more bolts at the chieftan. The first planted itself in the man's left lung, while the other shot harmlessly into the night. Two more bolts flew harmlessly over the chieftan's shoulder from the other direction.

The camp sentries finally closed the gap, their torchlight illuminating the blackened battlefield. Lashing out with his blade the chieftan landed a second blow on the assassin, opening up Aranesp's windpipe and dropping him. The nearest sentry wasted no time in dropping to his knees and severing the man's neck completely.

At the outskirts of the torchlight the third assassin, Xumi Sanddancer, drew her bow and fired into the chieftan's back, causing him to stumble. No sooner had her fingers left the string did three other sentries come down on her with a fury, cutting her down in seconds.

The final assassin gave a worried sigh as he stared down his sights. This was not going well. It was time for one last-ditch effort. One shot, and he was gone. Rising to his knees, he took aim and fired.

The chieftan looked about the salt flats around him, giving a sigh of relief as he saw his attackers at his feet. It was his last breath. That instant a bolt entered the back of his head, cleanly passing out the front. He was dead before he hit the ground. Giving a hiss of satisfaction the final assassin, ex-Legion sniper Osama Jamal faded into the night, his job done.

In the dim light of the torch, Darius took a moment to observe the fallen chieftan's body. He wasn't an enemy, he was simply in the way of a brighter future. Giving a sigh of either relief or regret, the warrior turned and made his way back to his tent. It would be a busy morning.

Quick little dramatization of tonight's session. Probably one of the best in a while. A quick rundown of what's going on for those who don't pay attention to my threads:

This is a low-(basically zero except when the plot calls for it)-magic desert campaign. Currently the main plot is that three of the PCs; Atem Lladnar, Al-Ed Lladnar, and Darius Vajheer plan to conquer and unite the various nomadic desert tribes into a stable nation. Step one is taking control of their own tribe, which they have decided can be quickest established by simply assassinating the current chieftan.

This week they accomplished just that. The "wasted potential" part of this thread's title comes from the fact that one of the PCs, Aranesp Peste, died in the attempt. His character was a short, impotent son of a nobleman with a massive ego who planned to conquer the Empire for no reasons beyond general contempt for the establishment and sheer megalomania. And now, two sessions into the campaign, he's cut down by the first boss with his dreams never to be realized.

As for the Crowning Moment of Awesome? Well due to the concealment chance thanks to the utter blackness of night that made up most of the battlefield, Aranesp was the only one actually dealing damage for 95% of the fight. Finally being cut down at the last moment with Xumi shortly behind him, the assassination attempt seemed utterly botched. The last assassin, Osama Jamal, had yet to land a single shot in the darkness. Desperate to flee the scene before the sentries found him, he still took the time to land a final shot before running.

It crit'd. More importantly it dead exactly enough damage to bring the chieftan from positives to -10. I decribed the attack as being a perfect headshot. Many "hell yeah"s, high fives, and brofists were exchanged.

After losing track of what we were doing for about half an hour, we finally got back on track and dealt with that little "become the new chieftan" thing. One member of the party, Darius, was already a tribe favorite for successor on account of being the strongest surviving warrior in the tribe. However, the party had already planned beforehand that Atem was to be chief, as uniting the tribes was his dream in the first place.

But as Atem's player struggled to think of a good speech, Darius grew impatient and gave his own improvised speech; that the tribes had been made into second-classed citizens by the Empire and forced to live in the utter hellhole that was the desert. As the crowd favorite to begin with, the tribe wasted no time in cheering him on.

But Al-Ed wouldn't have it. Getting Atem to his feet and whispering into his ear, he got his brother to deliver a speech of his own; that strength was well and good but that the tribe needed someone of intelligence, someone who could work from the shadows. Unfortunately, Atem's delivery came off as akin to a sleazy pedophile (this is probably mostly because Atem's player is the sort of goth with a predisposition to self-indulgent melodramatic poetry and usually RPs as creepy villains), and he was met only with disturbed whispers.

So with no real counter-arguments to speak of, Darius was made chief of their tribe. Going to the chieftan's tent and investigating the papers his predecessor was looking at, he saw that they were maps tracking the movement of... something. No sooner did he do that did he here the sound of hooves in the distance.

Out-of-character, Darius's player groaned here. "You're gonna do it, aren't you?" he asked. This was because I had mentioned during the pre-session banter that if we ran out of material I would probably just say "and then bandits happened." However, I reassured him that he only heard a single set of hooves and he decided to go out to investigate.

The hooves belonged to a scout. After explaining that the old chieftan was dead and that he was the new chieftan, he learned that the neighboring tribe, which due to lack of natural resources primarily survived by raiding bordering territories, was sending a party to attack the camp and that they would be there by dawn. After taking a few minutes for him to set up a rough battle plan, I ended the session.

So, next week will be a bandit raid, probably followed by attempting to assimilate the raiding tribe into the party's army. The players have:

1 Level 3 TWF Warrior [PC] (Darius)
3 Level 3 TWF Rogues [PC] (Atem, Al-Ed, Xumi's new PC)
1 Level 3 Archery Rogue [PC] (Osama)
1 Level 3 Mounted Warrior [PC] (Aranesp's new PC)

20 Level 3 Archery Rogues (Hunters. Outside the desert they would only be Level 1, but living in such an environment just naturally results in badassery.)
30 Level 1 Rogues (Civilians. In the harsh environment of the desert, basic hunting skills are taught to everyone and this is expressed in game turns as bare-basics rogue abilities.)

I haven't concretely decided anything regarding the invading tribe, but this is what I'm thinking so far:

1 Level 5 TWF Rogue (The boss.)
9 Level 3 TWF Rogue (Bandits.)

The reason for so fewer enemies is a) because this is just a small raiding party, and the tribe as a whole isn't very big, b) because they're only intending to attack, loot what they can, and get the hell out. They're not planning to wipe out the tribe because then they couldn't come back later, and c) the PCs will be trying to capture a few and recruit them or at least use them to negotiate with the invading tribe as a whole. Don't want to give them too many new toys.

So, what is the Playground's thoughts on the impending bandit raid? Too easy? Should I be using some particular strategy? Any twists I should plot down the line in relation to this? Oh, and feel free to remark on the quasi-campaign journal up there.

2011-04-10, 04:45 PM
With 21 archery rogues vs 9 twf rogues, each level 3, in desert terrain, off the top of my head, I would expect the villagers to be able to just shoot the raiders down before they arrive, unless they´re coming during the night.

2011-04-10, 04:54 PM
Yeah, I don't think the raiders have a chance.

2011-04-10, 04:56 PM
Thank god none of them were named Abdul, I'd have thrown a fit.

Anyway, the TWF rogues are going to get cut down. They're vastly outnumbered by even-level opponents and even with the low hit chance of low level DnD they're still likely to get turned into pincushions, especially with 2 archers to one TWF rogue.

2011-04-10, 06:38 PM
Thank god none of them were named Abdul, I'd have thrown a fit.

Honestly none of them have particularly culture-accurate names, considering the language they speak is essentially Latin. Although considering I was lazy enough to name the chieftan they killed "Aliquis," I'm not exactly leading by example.

And although it may not make much of a difference, it may be worth noting that the bandits are all mounted, while only 10 of the PC's forces have mounts.

Either way, I may want to consider doubling the invading force.

2011-04-10, 06:43 PM
I would also consider either throwing in mounts and making some archers, or reducing the village's archers by half. As it is, the PCs could win by doing nothing.

2011-04-10, 06:48 PM
I would also consider either throwing in mounts and making some archers, or reducing the village's archers by half. As it is, the PCs could win by doing nothing.

Well I can't reduce the village's forces, since I already explicitly layed out what they had ahead of time (back in the first session when they were planning the assassination).

The bandits are already mounted, though archers might not be a bad idea.

2011-04-10, 06:50 PM
Also, see if you can have a second, smaller force of mounted bandits come up while the larger group is buzzing the village's defense force.