Session 13: In Which the Legion Drives the Zargonians From Cynidicea

Saturday, 25th day; 9th month (Horse); year 734

The Legion continues making preparations for the rumored upcoming battle with Thrak-Sha’s zargonians. They move their ballista up onto the roof of the Temple, and move as many refugees as possible into the Halls of Pleasure. They find Pablo, their young ex-henchman, among the refugees hand assign him to watch the iron door that leads from the Halls of Pleasure into the Pyramid. They position three scout teams – each consisting of one of the Telkaynie and one of the lowest-ranking members of the Eyes – at strategic points along the shore of Sabban-Ka’s Reservoir. Alas, the shore proves too large for their small force to watch effectively in the dark. The first the scouts know of the arrival of the zargonians is when the team positioned furthest east is ambushed by a small squad of them. Fortunately, the Legion’s scouts are able to escape to the Temple to tell their tale. The Legion responds by sounding the horn that signals their scouts and other forces to retreat into the Temple.

Knowing the zargonian force is too small to effectively assault their massive stronghold, the Legion intends to simply ride out the siege. From the windows, the PCs watch a line of darkness advance from the eastern edge of the city, as the advancing zargonians douse all the lamps and torches they encounter. The sobs and screams of those Cynidiceans who refused to take shelter in the Temple echo through the dark streets as they fall prey to the pillaging beastmen.

The Legion briefly considers lobbing the jars of yellow mold that Milnos collected from the library into the streets, in the hopes of killing a few of the zargonians. A consultation with Osero-Gep – the archivist who used to serve the Magi of Usamigaras, and who turns out to be an expert on molds and fungi – reveals that no one has ever successfully weaponized yellow mold spores, and that the most likely result of this action would be simply to make yellow mold infestations more common in Cynidicea. As such, this plan is abandoned. The zargonians spend the rest of the day in uncontested pillaging, while the Legion waits in their stronghold.

Sunday, 26th day; 9th month (Horse); year 734

Early the next day, a torch-bearing zargonian messenger approaches the Temple and announces that Thrak-Sha would like to parley with the High Spearmaiden. The Legion agrees to hear him speak. The two parties shout at each other across the Avenue of Sabban-Ka: the Legion from the windows of the Temple’s second floor, and Thrak-Sha – a hulking, plate-armored, black-helmed beast-blooded human – from the mouth of an alley with easy access to cover. Thrak-Sha offers to lead his army out of the city if the High Spearmaiden will swear fealty to him, and give him the surfacers as prisoners. Amalaith refuses, but is willing to accept his surrender. He counters with a threat to destroy the city completely if she does not surrender to him. The Legion responds with arrows and ballista bolts, but Thrak-Sha takes only minor injuries before dousing his torch and fleeing into the alleys. Aisha and Milnos summon as many berserkers as they can, give them a torch, and send them into the dark city to find and kill Thrak-Sha. Their torch soon disappears into the alleys, and the berserkers are never heard from again. The zargonian pillaging continues for the rest of the day, while the Legion shelters inside the Temple. A fire breaks out in the northeastern part of the city. It is impossible to tell if it is in the inhabited area or the abandoned ruins.

Monday, 27th day; 9th month (Horse); year 734

Unwilling to let another day of pillaging go by unanswered, Thjolstoff and Spinello lead a small sortie, taking only Thirleiro, Bozek, and 16 summoned berserkers with them. They take no torches, but the darkness in the city isn’t absolute. In the pseudo-starlight of the various bioluminescent creatures that live on the cavern’s ceiling, the party can see – barely – to a distance of about 10′. With the Telkaynie in the lead scouting ahead with his excellent infravision, they sneak through the city towards one of the fires. They blunder into a lone zargonian scout. Both parties are surprised, but Thjolstoff recovers first and strikes the creature down before it can run off.

Behind the Scenes: The Legion’s forces just weren’t homogeneous enough to easily run the zargonian invasion as a Domains at War battle, so I had to improvise a lot. I threw this encounter table together at the table to run this sortie, rolling once on the table every turn they spent wandering the city while the zargonians were pillaging:

1 – Platoon + Commander (1-2 Thrak-sha, 3-4 Shaman, 5-6 Witch Doctor)
2 – Platoon
3 – Squad
4 – 1d3 Scouts
5 – Civilians
6 – Nothing

Thjolstoff’s band sneaks off in the direction the zargonian scout tried to run. They soon come across a platoon of high zargonians looting a building. The zargonians are led by Thrak-Sha himself! The zargonians do not notice the Legion’s detachment, so they take a moment for Spinello to quietly say some inspiring words, then ambush the unsuspecting beastmen. Thrak-Sha, the platoon’s high zargonian chief, and all the platoon’s champions are cut down before having a chance to act. The rest of the zargonians attempt a fighting withdrawal, but Thjolstoff has the berserkers pursue them. In the end, 11 wounded high zargonians escape of the 30 that started the fight. With the help of one of the few surviving berserkers, Thjolstoff and Spinello drag the unconscious Thrak-Sha back to the Temple.

Behind the Scenes: I hate the term “sub-chief”, so my beastmen bands are led by chiefs, and their villages by warlords.

Back at temple, Brother Aubrey casts cure light wounds in an attempt to revive Thrak-Sha for questioning, and eventual trial and public execution. The half-breed survives, but is blinded and needs a month’s bed rest. He is able to answer a few questions, however, and too weak to refuse to do so. He confirms that he brought 6 platoons with him, along with his shaman and witch doctor. He reveals that his forces in Cynidicea are camped in Obexah Park, and that there are only 2 platoons remaining in his stronghold. He also tells them that he believes that, without his leadership, his chiefs will squabble among themselves. Finally, he tells his inquisitors that his black dragonbone helm is a delver’s helm that allows the wearer to see in the dark like a beastman, and that the key they found on him opens his treasure chest that he left in his stronghold. Having extracted what they can from him, the Legion leaves Thrak-Sha to rot in one of the cells in their stronghold. They decided to wait until the next day to attack the zargonian camp in the park, and the pillaging continues.

The Legion is roused in the middle of the “night” by screams coming from the Halls of Pleasure. They rush there as quickly as they can, pausing to grab helms, shields, and weapons, but not to put on their armor. When they arrive, they find a platoon of high zargonians butchering the refugees. They are led by Kaz-Vex the Sly, Thrak-Sha’s high zargonian witch doctor. Lig-Vig is aiding them, having already killed Pablo and let the zargonians in from the Pyramid through the iron door.

Aisha casts energy bow and shoots down her traitorous henchman. Milnos activates his wand of paralysis, incapacitating several of the zargonians, and several of the refugees as well. Thjolstoff cleaves his way through three zargonian bodyguards to reach Kaz-Vex and disrupt his casting. Spinello, along with a small detachment of the Legion’s henchmen, follows the barbarian. Another detachment tries to lead refugees out of harm’s way, while the rest of them dive into the fray. When the scrum subsides, all the zargonians have been slain. Only two of the Legion have fallen: Abghai-Fam the assassin ended up with a damaged left eye, but Bozek was merely dazed. Of the refugees, six were killed outright, including Pablo, while many others suffered various mortal wounds but survived due to the power of the staff of healing.

With the zargonian assault resolved, the Legion doubles the watch and goes back to bed.

Tuesday, 28th day; 9th month (Horse); year 734

The Legion organizes all of its forces: PCs, henchmen, mercenaries, thieves, dogs, and the small peasant militia organized by the cults of Madarua, Usamigaras, and Gorm before the PCs arrived in Cynidicea. In all, there are nearly 70 of them. Omar, Milnos’ daemonic familiar, agrees to scout the park for them, and returns to say that the remaining zargonian chiefs are having some sort of quasi-formal meeting. The Legion decides to attack immediately. The bulk of their forces, led by Amalaith and Spinello, will march to the park down the main street bearing torches, while Thjolstoff and a couple of stealthy henchmen escort Aisha (armed with the delver’s helm and the wand of paralysis) and Milnos around behind the enemy, to surprise them while they are distracted by the larger force.

Marching into the long-abandoned park, where bizarre ornamental fungi entwine ancient quasi-Grecian statues and a monstrous enemy is known to lurk in the darkness beyond the range of their torches, is unnerving, but the attack goes better than planned. The 120 zargonians are too preoccupied with the large, torch-bearing force to notice the wizards sneaking up on them, allowing Aisha to hit both of their slinger platoons with the wand of paralysis before the zargonians can react. The zargonians hold fast, however. The remaining slingers fail to hit anything. The zargonian infantry charges into the dogs and summoned berserkers that make up the Legion’s front line, taking bow, crossbow, and ballista fire as they do. They devastate the front line, but take heavy casualties from the polearm-wielding berserkers’ counterattack. Meldotia-Nar and the untrained peasant militia among the Legion’s forces all break and run, but the rest of the army holds fast, with many of the henchmen fighting for death or glory. Thjolstoff and his templars charge in and take down the zargonian shaman, Vig-Deth the Defiler, before he can finish casting any spells. The remaining zargonians try to regroup, but that just allows Aisha to take more of them out with the wand. Thjolstoff and the light and heavy infantry that make up the Legion’s second rank cleave through those beastmen that remain, and the few who survive their assault succumb to Milnos’ sleep spell. The Legion leaves no survivors, and the only casualties on their side are dogs and summoned berzerkers.

The Legion recovers around 3500gp of coins and supplies that the zargonains plundered from the city, which they return to its rightful owners. They also rescue 22 Cynidicean captives. They can do nothing for the 12 families lost in the pillaging, but can take solace in the fact that this number would have been much larger if they hadn’t sheltered most of the population in the Temple. Damage from the pillaging reduced the value of Cynidicea’s infrastructure by 4414gp, to 20586gp. This means that the infrastructure will have to be rebuilt before the city’s population can grow beyond 249 families.

Behind the Scenes: I did not give the party XP for recovering the zargonians’ plunder, as their actual treasure is waiting in the zargonian stronghold across the lake.

When this reckoning is complete, the Legion returns to the Temple triumphant, and releases the refugees to return to their homes.
PC1: Milnos-Sim – M Lv 3 Atlantean Tycoon; 6675/11600 xp; Damaged Knee
PC1: Sablain-Xee – M Lv 1 Fighter; 1876/2000 xp; Heart & Lung Damage, Severed Arm; Recovering
PC1: Amab-Rah – M Lv 1 Fighter; 1244/2000 xp
PC1: Omor-Kar – M Lv 2 Bard; 1499/2800 xp
PC1: Abghai-Fam – M Lv 1 Assassin; 228/1700 xp; Damaged Left Eye; Recovering
PC1: Ulea-Bu – F Lv 1 Thief; 128/1250 xp
PC1: Mandeez – M Lv 2 Thief; 1304/2500xp
PC1: Mandeez: Ilompha-Vo – M Lv1 Thief; 54/1250xp
PC1: Mandeez: Ilompha-Vo: Sabban-Mu – M Lv0 Carouser; -46/0xp
PC1: Mandeez: Ilompha-Vo: Gausnoc-Ret – M Lv0 Carouser; -46/0xp
PC1: Mandeez: Ilompha-Vo: Cushneah-Mi – F Lv0 Carouser; -46/0xp
PC1: Mandeez: Ilompha-Vo: Valompha – M Lv0 Carouser; -46/0xp
PC1: Mandeez: Fulcand-Tnep – M Lv1 Thief; 54/1250xp
PC1: Mandeez: Fulcand-Tnep: Elylla – F Lv0 Carouser; -46/0xp
PC1: Mandeez: Fulcand-Tnep: Zaneah – F Lv0 Carouser; -46/0xp
PC1: Mandeez: Fulcand-Tnep: Naznur-Ya – M Lv0 Carouser; -46/0xp
PC1: Mandeez: Fulcand-Tnep: Naznur-Ujua – M Lv0 Carouser; -46/0xp
PC1: Mandeez: Hoaghai-Tnek – M Lv1 Thief; 54/1250xp
PC1: Mandeez: Hoaghai-Tnek: Ilalmah-Dal – F Lv0 Carouser; -46/0xp
PC1: Mandeez: Hoaghai-Tnek: Famdok-Abn – M Lv0 Carouser; -46/0xp
PC1: Mandeez: Hoaghai-Tnek: Simlain – M Lv0 Carouser; -46/0xp
PC1: Mandeez: Hoaghai-Tnek: Fuldotia – F Lv0 Carouser; -46/0xp
PC2: Thjolstoff – M Lv 3 Barbarian; 6861/10400 xp
PC2: Arther – M Lv 2 Templar; 1648/3000 xp
PC2: Urbrec mag Esteger – M Lv 2 Templar; 1648/3000 xp; Stiff Wounds
PC2: Kennerd of Rugstowe – M Lv 2 Templar; 1648/3000 xp
PC3: Amalaith – F Lv 3 Bladedancer; 5900/6000 xp
PC3: Selexah – F Lv 2 Bladedancer; 1648/3000xp
PC3: Manatha-Sab – F Lv 1 Bladedancer; 1445/1500xp; Mangled mouth & tongue; Recovering
PC3: Thirleiro – M Lv 2 Thief; 1499/2500xp; Genitals Damaged
PC3: Hestmon-Zo – M Lv2 Fighter; 2054/4000xp
PC3: Porotha-Dal – F Lv1 Bladedancer; 54/1500xp
PC3: Belatha-Ou – F Lv 2 Bladedancer; 1554/3000xp
PC3: Belatha-Ou: Soalia-Tnep – F Lv1 Bladedancer; 54/1500xp
PC3: Belatha-Ou: Poreeti-Il – F Lv1 Bladedancer; 54/1500xp
PC3: Belatha-Ou: Arcbiniah-Lap – F Lv1 Bladedancer; 54/1500xp
PC4: Aisha Alendi – Lv 2 Atlantean Stormtrooper; 6237/7350 xp
PC4: Lunatha-Sim – Lv 2 Fighter; 2799/4000 xp; Gruesome Scars
PC5: Spinello di Lombabasso – Lv 4 Bard; 6838/11200; Minor Scar
PC5: Meldotia-Nar – Lv 2 Fighter; 2796/4000 xp; Gruesome Scars & Missing 2 Fingers on Left Hand
PC5: Dalili-Lu – Lv 1 Bard; 781/1400 xp; Heart & Lung Damage
PC5: Jozez Yazimakusht – Lv 2 Telkaynie Kazevok; 2774/4000 xp
PC5:Jozez: Golej Yazimakusht – Lv 1 Telkaynie Kazevok; 228/2000 xp
PC5:Jozez: Bozek Yazimakusht – Lv 1 Telkaynie Kazevok; 228/2000 xp
PC5:Jozez: Kovez Yazimakusht – Lv 1 Telkaynie Kazevok; 228/2000 xp
PC5:Jozez: Boleg Yazimakusht – Lv 1 Telkaynie Kazevok; 228/2000 xp
PC5:Jozez: Golep Yazimakusht – Lv 1 Telkaynie Kazevok; 228/2000 xp

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