Battle of Dersyth
Per the commander’s orders, the Knights of the Watch separate into two armies. The bulk of the army begins tending to the dead, giving last rights and digging graves. The second and more mobile portion (formed largely from the flying monster mounts), presses forward to keep Caswallon’s army on the move. The advance force makes quick work of any defenders within Dyffryn y Rheswm, though the bulk of the army is at least a day behind them.
Meanwhile, the Regent’s combined armies from Cymeravon, Ffrthlon Dol and Eryrnyth are mere hours behind Caswallon’s army, which is slowed by the large number of prisoners they are dragging back to their capital of Dersyth.
Caswallon’s army reaches Dersyth just before dark, but find it already occupied by unfriendly forces with the roaring head of a black panther on a field of crimson. Heralds identify it as the sigil of the Robber Baron Lord Krell, who lives just west of the borders of Rhychdir Rhos. Lord Krell made a name for himself as a mercenary during the war against the giants, and it seems he’s taken the opportunity to secure Caswallon’s last stronghold.
Scouts report that Caswallon transforms into a titan and blasts (variable energy type) Krell’s forces from at least 500 feet away. Unable to deal damage against their foe at that range, Krell’s cavalry make a desperate charge, but Caswallon is largely impervious to their blows. One of Krell’s arcane casters manages to cause some damage with magic, but becomes Caswallon’s focus until he stops casting. The whole battle is over in less than 20 minutes, with scattered elements of Krell’s forces retreating to the southwest. Although a loss for Krell, Caswallon was unable to unleash his might against neither the Knights of the Watch army nor the Regent’s army!
Caswallon’s army and captives reoccupy Dersyth, with a military focus on the walled monastery.
According to surviving (friendly) druids, Caswallon is Circle of the Moon, which allows him to easily Wild Shape (as a bonus action). As an Archdruid, he can use his Wild Shape an unlimited number of times. When Wild Shaped, he can use a bonus action to expend spell slots to regain 1d8 hp/level of the spell slot expended. He should be limited to a beast (or elemental) of CR as high as his druid level divided by 3, rounded down. Ancient dragons and titans (empyreans) are NOT beasts!
A few Knights of the Watch on flying mounts can brief the Regent of Gyruff on what happened at Trehalwyn: The knights have seen him as a shadowy green dragon, we were able to force him out of that shape, but he changed again quickly to something smaller and we couldn’t track him in the dark. We believe that he is limited in his ability to assume larger forms. We advocate for keeping up harassment until the bulk of our armies can launch a full assault. If we can deny him a chance to rest and regain his full strength.
Regent: Agreed. We’ll split our main force into two parts. A faster force to circle around to the west and attack Caswallon’s army from there and the main force attacking from the south. Split casters between the two forces. In theory, Caswallon, if that is who he is anymore, can’t be in two places at once. Guerilla tactics to thin out his army and scatter and regroup once Caswallon appears. Focus all long range magic on Caswallon until breaking off. Use any energy resistance we have to mitigate Caswallon’s damage. Any additional advice from Angus or anyone else?
The light cavalry are most maneuverable, so they are going west.
Scouts hide and move stealthily once they are close to town.
Siege engines, supply wagons, heavy cavalry and heavy infantry are best kept to the roads. The fields are more firm than in spring, but still difficult terrain for these units.
Light cavalry and scouts are screening for the infantry and archers, who are screening for the spellcasters. The bulk of the fast moving Eryrnyth infantry and archers move across the fields to approach from the west?
The bulk of the Knights of the Watch army (infantry and supply) are a full day behind, but the cavalry are riding ahead. They are a little behind the Eryrnyth army, but not by much.
I = Company (~100-140 men)
··· = Platoon (~20-30 men)
·· = Squad (~10-15 men)
It is nighttime in a cold, but yet unseasonably warm for Sunsebb (December) under the first quarter of the large moon. Based on conditions, visibility is dim/shadowy 60’ (Disadvantage on Wisdom(Perception) and attack rolls based on sight). I’ll provide a 60’ radius circle on the map for convenience. Half land movement in the dark or risk tripping/falling hazards for those in dim/shadowy. (DC10 Athletics or Acrobatics)
Torchlight provides 30’ bright and 60’ dim/shadowy illumination, but also makes you visible for over a mile. Visible at a distance does not negate the attack roll disadvantage, but it does allow enemies to see where you are. I put a yellow circle under the troops I believe to be using light. The stealthy (rogues, rangers, bards, arcane and flying) troops probably travel without light sources to preserve their stealth.
Flying troops continue moving on the town/fortress, but are bound by the same dim/shadowy vision rules. The Gyri can see that the monastery/fortress on the hill is well lit from torches and there is obvious movement on the walls with several companies of troops moving about. Most of the town is quiet and there are very few fires going.
The light cavalry on the left (West) flank begin the slow incline up into the town. As they get closer, they notice the ground rises up more quickly (at the 100’ elevation). In many places the incline is nearly a 45 degree angle. Getting closer, they can make out which buildings have a little light spilling out of them.
The griffons and pegasi riders should be within maximum heavy crossbow range of the monastery. Despite the monastery being lit with torches, the shots will be at disadvantage unless shot from within bright illumination (30’ of torches). According to their commander’s instructions, they continue to hold fire in order to minimize warning time of their approach.
Other troops advance without opposition or anything notable.
These flying troops can increase elevation by up to ½ their move, so the Pegasi can increase elevation by 45’ in one move or 90’ in a double-move. Griffons by 80/160’, and Hippogriffs by 60/120’. Descent is up to 504’ per 6 second round (i.e. free fall).
The walls of the monastery are about 320’ high. – The pegasi and griffons start the round flying about 75’ above the rooftops (105’ total elevation). They’ll begin climbing each round (unless you contradict that order) until they get to an understood ceiling of 390-ish feet.
The 31st Hound Skirmishers spot large webs covering some of the building east of the monastery.
The 25th Thunder Heavy Cavalry and Cymeravon Light Cavalry suddenly light up with Faerie Fire (circles are purple) and the monastery immediately begin firing at them. The disadvantage in the dark is offset by the advantage given by Faerie Fire.
The 25th have 7 casualties and one wounded (40 hp damage) out of 132 Knights (now 125)
The Cymeravon Light Cavalry have 27 casualties and one wounded (4 hp damage) out of 142, now 115.
(It is probable that spellcasters are in some of the buildings near the affected units, since effective range of the spell is only 60’.)
The Griffons and Pegasi Knights swoop down into visual range long enough to fire their heavy crossbows and pull up into the dark. (The increase in elevation may have occurred a round late, but the monastery troops expended their attacks upon the land-based knights.) – They cause 9 casualties among the 500+ defending Pellham warriors.
Alena is detecting magic, but nothing so far.
The 25th Heavy Cavalry advances, but discovers more giant webs (now shown on map). Likewise, your left flank light cavalry encounter other giant webs blocking your approach. None of those troops can assess if they are magical or non-magical in nature.
Starting elevation for the Hippogriffs was 255’ and they are only able to climb to a maximum of 285’ by the end of the round. Griffons could be at 395’.
The troops on the wall are at 320’, a difference of 35’ in the Z axis for Hippogriffs and 75’ for Griffons.
Horizontal distance is an average of 110’ to the Holister Unit, 140’ to the Garth Unit and 130’ to the Belatros Unit.
The aerially mounted Knights of the Watch dip down and shoot, killing 15 of the defenders along the wall, then the Knights pull back up into the night sky.
One group (the Earthguard, if you’re keeping track) uses their longbows to take aim upon the 25th Heavy Cavalry and take down another 5 Gyri Knights.
Each warrior can burn a 5 foot section of web in a single round.The cavalry units begin to burn through the webs.
Flying units take pot shots at the defenders on the wall only hitting twice (wounding one defender).
A conclave of 41 giant eagles swoop down on Holister’s 20 Hippogriffs, attacking the mounts. The eagles make quick work of the hippogriffs with their double attacks (beaks and talons). The knights fall from 315’ elevation to the ground at 200’ elevation, taking 39 points of damage and surprisingly still alive.
A group of 25 giant spiders rush the (132) 31st “Hound” Skirmishers, taking down 13 of the skirmishers.
A rain of arrows continue to fall about the 25th Heavy Cavalry. 8 more knights fall, leaving 105.
Alena still does not detect magic.
The 31st Hound Skirmishers counterattack on the giant spiders. 4 of the giant spiders are turned back into druids and then slain.
The “giant spiders” attack back: Cutting down 15 of the skirmishers, but the weight of numbers is starting to tell. There are but 21 spiders remaining versus 104 of the skirmishers.
Airborne knights pull back for another charge at the appropriate time.
The cavalry burn away all the webs near them on the south side of the fortress.
Defenders in the fortress continue to shoot away at the 25th heavy cavalry and another 20 knights fall (leaving 85).
The (2) trebuchets begin opening fire at the front gates. It takes 2 actions to load, 2 actions to aim and 1 action to fire, but they have full crews. The first trebuchet goes very wide and long (roll of 3 to hit), but the second is spot on (natural 20) doing 88 points of damage to the outer gate, opening up the outer courtyard, where one company of Pellham warriors are defending. The drawbridge to the keep is up and the gate on that wall is down, but your troops will be able to enter the courtyard next round. Note that the defenders are along the walls and in the towers, not solely in the unit markers.
24th Bulldog Skirmishers begin searching the town starting with the southernmost lit building. They encounter a number of (24) bards in a couple of the buildings that the Cymeravon cavalry passed by. They engage the enemy and 12 bards fall. The remaining 12 cast a spell (invisibility) and flee, cutting down another 2 before the rest flee invisibly into the night.
31st Hound Skirmishers continue fighting and drop 4 of the spider/druids.
The druids fight back, taking down 15 of the skirmishers.
The Siege Engines throw again, but aiming for the gate by the drawbridge. Both shots miss! The first is a 2 with disadvantage. It goes short and left, landing in the courtyard. The second shot is close, but lands in the ditch north of the gate.
The monastery, including the courtyard, is well lit. Faerie Fire has disappeared around the Cymeravon Light Cavalry, but the Heavy Cavalry are still lit up.
21st Zephyr take down 11 defenders.
25th Thunder Hvy Cavalry take down 20 defenders.
7th Whirlwind fail to take any down
Ffrthlon Dol take down 13 defenders
Cymeravon take down 17 defenders.
Sir Belatros’ Griffon Knights fail to take down any defenders.
The Defenders (#2) of the courtyard strike back, taking down 2 heavy cavalry.
The other warriors (#1, #3, Earthguard) take aim at the 21st Zephyr, taking 32 down.
The Pegasi Knights land near Briallen’s forces, ready to do a pickup.
The 24th Bulldog Skirmishers are in pursuit of the invisible bards, but they are difficult to catch.
The 31st Hound Skirmishers shift in their attack on the spiders (killing 5) to allow the 64th KoW Bear Light Cavalry a place in the melee to finish off the spider/druids.
In the courtyard, the cavalry continue to shoot into the defenders, while the dismounted knights begin moving in. They cut down 53 of the defenders (leaving just 29). The defenders succeed on their morale roll, so they hold their ground.
The defenders shoot at the 21st Zephyr Light Cavalry, killing 56.
The giant eagles return, swooping down on the Griffon knights, once again concentrating on the mounts. 9 griffons crumple and fall with their knights (80’ drop = 25 damage to each knight), leaving 12 griffons still flying.
The two trebuchets both hit the gatehouse this time, cracking it. A third hit should collapse the gate and provide access to the currently raised drawbridge.
Cavalry and the 29 grounded knights (combined Holister and Bellatros mount-less knights) in the courtyard finish off the courtyard defenders with a few shots remaining to fire up at the main monastery (misses).
The monastery troops fire down into the courtyard, focusing on the hapless light cavalry.
The 21st light cavalry take 20 casualties, the Cymeravon light cavalry take 31 casualties and the 7th light cavalry take 21 casualties.
As a result of the pounding, the 21st light cavalry fail their morale roll and flee.
The Cymeravon, 7th light and other units hold their ground.
Sir Bellatros launches a fireball into the giant eagles, before his griffon knights melee with them in mid-air.
Fireball Results: 3 eagles burst into flame as 6 more are singed.
The griffons and their riders kill the 6 singed and 4 more. (Total: 13 giant eagle casualties)
The surviving 28 giant eagles kill 6 more griffons, dropping their riders (painfully) to the ground (to eventually join Holister’s dismounted knights).
Alena picks up a sign of magic and alerts the Cymeravon spearmen who are next to the detected magic.
After busting open the locked door of the house(s), another group of 24 bards is discovered.
One bard is cut down, but the others bust out a window and turn invisible in the darkness.
Faerie Fire around the 25th Heavy Cavalry drops.
Gretta Lea takes her archers advancing quickly towards the now invisible bards.
Sir Boltar on his wyvern joins Sir Garth and his Hippogriff knights as they approach the courtyard and aerial melee.
The two trebuchets fling stones again. One breaks open the gate from the courtyard to the trench, while the other lands harmlessly where the 21st light cavalry just vacated. Your troops would need to traverse a chasm about 50’ across and about 50’ deep. The hilltop is about 300’ elevation (above the 260’ of the courtyard) and has 20’ high walls with gates and towers at key locations.
Life really sucks for those poor 24 bards in the southeast corner. They waited too long to run and while they are invisible, Alena’s Detect Magic can call them out to her allies:
• Gretta Lea and the 52 Ffrthlon Dol Archers
• 142 Cymeravon Spearmen
• 142 Cymeravon Archers
• 132 Eryrnyth 17th “Pheasant” Archers
Even with disadvantage, the bards are cut down quickly.
As the other troops move, they check the other buildings. Of the people there, most are young (age 0-12), older (age 65+) or infirm (including wounded).
Belatros’ Griffon Knights cut down 3 Giant Eagles.
Sir Boltar’s Wyvern and Garth’s Hippogriffs join the melee and cut down another 3.
The Giant Eagles tear into the Hippogriffs first, cutting down 8 of them. The battered and grounded knights will move to join Sir Holister next round.
Sir Holister’s unmounted knights take to the walls of the outer courtyard, which makes room for more cavalry.
Volleys of crossbow bolts and arrows rain upon the monastery. The walls, towers and arrow slits give the defenders ¾ cover (+5 AC and Dex Saves).
16 defenders are killed.
Suddenly, 2 firestorms erupt into the outer courtyard, targeting the newly arrived KoW 64th Bear Light Cavalry. 40 warhorses perish and the knights take 39 damage each.
Then a blade barrier appears along the wall, cutting into the already wounded Sir Holister’s knights. 20 knights fall and the wall continues to whirl, 100’ long, 20’ high and 5’ thick along the outer courtyard’s north wall.
3 Insect Plagues target 20’ radius spheres in the courtyard, stinging knights and mounts alike. The KoW 64th loses 72 warhorses, the KoW 65th loses 84 warhorses and the 25th Hvy lose 60 warhorses. The now dismounted KoW cavalry are more than company sized with a thin minority (44) still retaining a wounded horse. – Next round, you will need to leave those areas or take more damage, although any creature passing through those areas would take damage as well.
(Next turn, I’ll consolidate the 44 mounted KoW into the 65th and convert the 64th into another overstrength infantry knight unit.)
Then 144 giant eagles from the monastery take to the air, most climbing past 380’ elevation to the south and into the night, but at least a hundred head northwest somewhere around 340’ elevation. Many of those headed northwest have a shimmer about them (not enough to give advantage, but enough to tell there was magic involved).
Regent: Intelligence Report on the Monastery and Druids under Caswallon!!
• After the big druidic fight, the “Path of Purity” is believed to only have 30-50 druids.
• It is generally believed that one has to be a fairly powerful druid to assume a form that flies.
• Giant Eagles are believed to be rare, with a single convocation being less than 50 adult giant eagles.
• Magic spell(s)?
• Maybe unknown class of druid feature(s)?
• Divine intervention from Obad-Hai?
• Illusionary magic?
In the rear, the 31st Hound Skirmishers are sneaking around back, through the trench and up the embankment to the Garden area north of the monastery. Thus far, they seem to be undetected.
The trebuchets have two more direct hits on the drawbridge. One more will shatter it, then there is the gate and you can swarm the inner monastery.
Sir Belatros’ griffon knights against the giant eagles, dropping 10 of the majestic creatures.
Garth’s knights kill another 4.
Bolthar and his wyvern get another 2.
The surviving 6 giant eagles in that group flee north, provoking some attacks of opportunity, killing another 2.
In the courtyard, the 64th, 21st and 25th cavalry are pinned down. They can’t leave the courtyard without passing through two swarms, which would most likely kill all their mounts and possibly the knights. Those who can, squeeze into the unaffected area. Those who can’t get out of the swarm dismount (rather than take damage falling off a dying mount) and join Holister’s foot knights. Another 20 horses form the 64th and 24 horses from the 25th are lost, but the areas with insects are now cleared.
The rest of your army pulls into town, searching houses and meeting minimal to no resistance. Soon, the whole southern part of town is packed with Gyri Loyalists and Knights of the Watch.
The 24th “Bulldog” Skirmishers find the Tavern (8a) with dozens or perhaps hundreds of captives herded in like cattle and the doors/windows locked/boarded. The captives don’t know where their guards went. – On the east, the Halfling rogues discover that the Knights of the Watch Chapterhouse (8b) was likewise turned into an improvised prison after it was looted for weapons and armor. – There may be additional captives in and among the other buildings (to the north and west of the monastery).
The 31st “Hound” Skirmishers scale the walls and the stable tower is occupied, leading to a fight; however, as they were undetected, they have a 1 round of advantage (that nullifies the disadvantage of attacking while climbing over the wall) from the surprise. They cut down 26 of the Earthguard and gain a foothold on the wall/tower top.
The Earthguard rage, slaughtering 60 of the skirmishers, who fail their morale check and flee back down the wall and into the dark.
The clergy of Obad Hai rush to the Earthguard and restore 6 of them.
The troops in and around the courtyard can fire upon the Pellham troops in the monastery, causing 20 casualties.
The Pellham Warriors 1 and 3 fire their bows upon the 64th, cutting down 4 more knights (down to 28). Due to advantage on their morale rolls (as knights), they continue to fight.
Clerics quickly diagnose the enemy wounded and civilians they can reach. They are concerned about Blackscour Taint if they use magic to cure people. No disease detected among the “Pellham” troops and non-combatants. They are 100% pure Flan. Detect Disease does detect, but does not affect the Blackscour Taint.
Among the prisoners brought up from Ffrwythlon Dol and Rhychdir Rhos, there are some with disease. Most of the disease among the prisoners is mundane, although there is a Wasting Disease (which originated here in Gwyrth Bryn and was cured by the Physician’s Cauldron). – Wasting Disease is not affected (either way) by curative magic, but curative magic doesn’t kill the patient.
Gyri troops begin surrounding and firing on the monastery.
Gyri forces continue to spread out and quickly look into the buildings as they go.
The 3rd “Fox” Light Infantry discover another group of bards and cut down 5. The bards crash through the windows of the houses, turn invisible and run into the night.
The 1st “Falcon” Archers discover another group of bards, but only wounded without killing. The bards crash through the windows of the houses, turn invisible and run into the night.
31st Hound fails to rally and continue to flee into a group of bards that cut down 4 of the skirmishers and cause them to continue fleeing for another round.
Boltar, his wyvern and Garth’s Hippogriffs flying north encounter the glimmering band of giant eagles who had turned south.
They cut down 3 giant eagles that turn into human clerics that fall 180’ to the ground for 60 hp damage. – SPLAT! SPLAT! SPLAT!
The giant eagles then swarm the KoW troops, dropping 4 of them 180’ to the ground… SPLAT! SPLAT! SPLAT! SPLAT! (8 remain and only succeed on their morale because they’re knights!)
The trebuchets smash the drawbridge and gate.
Around 1300 arrows and crossbow bolts take to the air (all troops that can reach), pounding the walls and inner courtyard of the monastery. 25 dead and another wounded by this volley are too much for the unit to hold, causing a rout from the nearest defenders. The panic spreads and they run for the back entrance, but are rallied by the clerics who also heal their wounded and dying.
The Blade Barrier remains in place as do the other insect plagues.
5 new Insect Plagues rip into the knights. Dozens of the wounded dismounted knights die. Over half the 21st Light Cavalry die and the rest panic and are killed trying to escape the outer courtyard. The 64th light cavalry are hit by another insect plague and panic (despite advantage) after their mounts die. The nearest “safe” place was recently inhabited by the dead 21st Light Cavalry, but many of the 64th light cavalry won’t make it to “safety” in time [about 10 of the men will start within the insects].
Some sling stones come flying over the wall into the 64th light cavalry, killing 8 of the wounded and panicking men who did make it to “safety”.
Then the Earthguard fire back into Holister’s dismounted and very wounded knights, killing 20. [56 remain with 8 hp, 24 dismounted Gyri knights with 19]
Although the dark birds flying over the troops in the east (Cymervon’s spear & longbow, 2nd Bear Heavy Infantry, and 61st Med Cav), they note that the stars are briefly blackened and a slight woosh as the great birds pass overhead towards the south.
Alena’s Mass Cure Wounds brings back 6 knights.
Belatros fires his second fireball into the giant eagles and 8 giant eagles turn into hapless falling clerics… Splat!x8
Bolthar, the Wyvern and airborne knights continue to attack, but attempt to drop the altitude 20’. 4 more giant eagles turn into falling clerics.
The giant eagle clerics attack, knocking out all the hippogriffs and dropping the knights 160’ to the ground for 51 points of damage (out of their 52 max hp).
The remainder go after the wyvern, which finally drops. Boltar hits the ground with a mighty thump and klang, but is barely blooded. He is able to rally Garth’s wounded knights to his side.
Earth Divine and Air Arcane are 40’ off the blow-up map, but Water Arcane are in the blow-up area. (Fire Divine is over by the heavy infantry to the east)
Earth Divine can cast targeted dispels (120’) on the insect swarms: They cast Dispel Magic, but they are unable to dispel the swarms.
I had given the default arcane casters (including the Winter Arcane) counterspell instead of dispel magic, with the idea that they could use it as an interrupt against Caswallon. I didn’t have Dispel Magic prepared. (The default clerics had dispel magic prepped, though.) – HOWEVER, they can pummel the defenders with fireballs! 25 Fireballs!! (That’s 70-140 points of fire damage, depending on saving throws!!)
Pop! Pop! Pop! Go the defenders of the monastery, which also drops the blade barrier and the insect plagues.
In the north, the halflings discover another unit of bards. 2 bards die before the others can turn invisible and run.
The remaining Ffrwthlon Dol light cavalry and Gretta Lea’s archers fire blindly (disadvantage) into where the bards are thought to have gone, despite cover of buildings (+2 AC). They take down another 2 bards and bloody a third.
Even as the siege engines are getting packed up, the giant eagles swoop down on the 59th “Dragon” Heavy Cavalry, turning into Giant Scorpions as they touch down and attack. 12 knights are killed.
The battle is far from over, but it is becoming clear that the Regent and Knights of the Watch forces are going to take the field at the end. The 8th Cheetah light infantry are moving up the northern slope towards the gardens and stables of the monastery.
The Pegasi Knights take their arcane casters around for a pass at the giant eagles. That’s 25 more fireballs (using up their 3rd level spells). The giant eagles cease being, although two of the falling humans turn into tiny creatures upon hitting the ground and disappear into the town.
Things do not go well for the fleeing invisible bards in the north. They are surrounded and cut down while trying to escape. The surviving 13 bards surrender, claiming they “didn’t know she was married”… – You also discover the remainder of the prisoners, locked into Arglwyth Andras Dryadson’s estate.
In the south, the cavalry attack the giant scorpions, killing 22 who turn into human monks that are finished off with another blow.
With a screech command from one of the giant scorpions, the surviving giant scorpions all turn into mice, disengage and flee in different directions into the night. All but one of the giant scorpions transform at once except one, who first gestures defiantly at the knights before transforming itself and fleeing with the others.
You have retaken Dersyth and defeated “Druid-King” Caswallon the Green! – The troops rejoice!
But the fight is not yet complete…
Everything has been quiet for about 5 minutes, then a rain of 80-100 large rocks (10-20 lbs or so) fall into the 59th “Dragon” Heavy Cavalry, killing 14 knights and 28 warhorses… [OOC: The rocks hit 12.5% of the 5’x5’ squares in a 100’x100’ area for 20d6 damage, Dex DC15 for half damage.]
There was no warning and the attack stops as suddenly as it began, in a single volley.
Alena and the clerics pick through the wounded, saving whomever they can, though preference is to those Gyri loyal to the Regent, then Knights of the Watch, then Caswallon’s forces. It is harder work in the dark with vision limited to torchlight.
The captured bards are somewhat coy. (The married remark was humor in the face of adversity.) – While not happy that they’ve been captured, they are making the best of a bad situation. They have every confidence that they’ll be rescued when their forces rally. It is obvious that you succeeded because the Pellham forces were weakened by the confrontation with the mercenaries who had taken Dersyth. If you treat them well, they will do their best to have you treated as well when the tables are turned… – They don’t know where Caswallon is, but you can be sure that he’s pissed!
The bards (who have bought into the Ffordd Purdeb obviously) and other prisoners also (sometimes inadvertently) give you an idea of the high level leaders of Pellham that may still be at large:
• Archdruid-King Caswallon, representative of Obad Hai on Oerth and leader of the Ffordd Purdeb
• Maelan merch Caswallon, his fanatical druidic daughter
• Leah Redoak, who recruited the giant eagles against the invading Knights of the Watch
• Lleucu the Badger, who led the giant spider defense
• High Priestess Gwendolen the Nature’s Rage of Obad Hai
• Islene the Bearclaw, Halgar the Hornwood, Darragh the Summac, Cade the Stalking Lynx and Derwyn the Charging Boar: – Druids venerating Obad Hai
• Gwydion of the Twained Elm, Old Lore Bard (College of Canaith) and Druid of the 5th Circle. Former Ambassador to Keoland from Gyruff, half-elf nephew of Melwyn Greatarm and cousin to Ffiona the Ebontress. Perhaps not as “loyal” to the Ffordd Purdeb, but his is loyal to the Old Faith and Caswallon is the head of the Old Faith after challenging the Druidic Circle. Besides, Llwyres Rhian killed his cousin.
You haven’t identified any of the above from the dead. But it is still dark. You’re having to search by torchlight.
The giant eagle/scorpions that turned into monks have few possessions (robes and perhaps a sling). They are tattooed with celtic knots and symbols of the Green Man (Obad Hai). Clerics on the scene identify the magic as “Animal Shapes”, an 8th level Druidic spell that lasts up to 24 hours.
To the west of the monastery, the splatted clerics that were giant eagles were likewise under Animal Shapes; however, it is likely that concentration on that spell was broken by the fireballs. All the clerics were followers of Obad Hai, but those burned up were killed by the blow-through damage. They had chain shirts and maces.
Forces within the monastery begin searching the corridors and find hundreds of crispy corpses. Many of the torches (14) around the monastery are continual flames, which did not go out even with the fireballs. Warriors had chain shirts, shields, spears and bows. Earthguard were barbarians with (now ruined) masterwork Gyric Longbows and greataxes. Monks had slings and staves. There were a few Obad Hai priests here too.
Another 5-6 minutes pass and then a rain of 80-100 large rocks (10-20 lbs or so) fall into the 61st “Giant Owl” Medium Cavalry, killing 12 knights and 23 warhorses… [OOC: The rocks hit 12.5% of the 5’x5’ squares in a 100’x100’ area for 20d6 damage, Dex DC15 for half damage.]
The stones appear to have come straight down. Inspection of the stones shows flakes of silver. Since there is a silver mine a mile or two north of town, it is likely that these are the tailings.
Under Peredur’s orders, the knights move apart, no longer formed up in a company.
6 minutes pass, when suddenly the building holding the Air Arcane lights up with Faerie Fire and the house is pummeled from above by the same rocks. Since the area of effect is approximately 100’x100’, other nearby houses are pummeled and the occupants taking 35-70 damage, depending on saving throws. 7 arcane casters die from massive damage, but the surviving arcane caster occupants are still glowing with Faerie Fire.
The monastery and Arglwyth’s estate have solid rooves, but have limited space for so many men.
Regent to Peredur: We’ll detail some forces to take control if the silver mine making sure they are equipped to deal with flying opponents. We’ll also break up some units into smaller details to search for the remaining bards and druids. Faerie fire is short duration and close range so they need to be near anything lit up. We’ll look for stone buildings to protect our most vulnerable troops.
It will take about 30-60 minutes for your troops to get to the mine due to the unfamiliar terrain (mountain trail) in the dark. (Arrival should be at +40 to +70 minutes.)
Your troops begin searching for the source of the Faerie Fire. A couple of your troops spot an Old Faith Bard sneaking away, but are caught in a Stinking Cloud. The bard(s) slip away, but your troops continue to push after them, driving the fleeing bard(s) out of town. After all, you have more than a thousand infantry plus hundreds of dispersed knights, a score of pegasi and six griffons to conduct the search in a small town (pop 2500)! The difficulty is in getting all those troops coordinated and sweep without “holes” or missing hiding places.
You sweep the southern and southwest sectors of the town with your more valuable troops (leaders, knights and demigriffs) inside the stone roof monastery or Arglwyth’s estate. Pegasi and Griffons are on patrol. The Faerie Fire dissipates. Then, sure-enough, about 6 minutes after the last “bombing”, the Fire Divine (on the east side of town) are “painted” by Faerie Fire and immediately subjected to falling rocks. Despite the disperses formation, the 100’x100’ area of effect still catches a lot of searching forces. 7 clerics take 35-70 damage (out of an average of 9 hp). Again, at least three bards are spotted fleeing the scene with a fourth (or fifth) bard casting Stinking Cloud on nearby potential pursuers. The Faerie Fire disappears moments after being hit by rocks.
It seems that the bards are acting in small groups and waiting for opportunities to “paint” valuable targets, because as soon as the Faerie Fire lights up, the rocks begin dropping in that area, while the bards make their getaway.
1 in 10 Knights of the Watch are Arcane (Eldritch) Knights with access to 2 second level (i.e. Darkvision) spells. Fortunately, it isn’t a concentration spell. So, it would make sense for each of the knights to cast it once upon themselves, so knight units can have 10% Darkvision and call opponents out to other members of their units and spend the remaining 2nd level Darkvision on a spellcaster, scout (i.e. skirmisher) or another person.
There are 688 Knights of the Watch, so there are 69 Arcane Knights (including Belatros and the Fey Enchantress, the only two “named” spellcasters in the KoW advanced group) who can cast a spare Darkvision on someone.
The Knights of the Watch have 6 griffon riders (1 of which is an Arcane Knight) and 20 pegasi riders (2 of which are Arcane Knights). Each can take 1 lightly armored passenger.
The Winter Arcane, who are currently on the pegasi, have used up their 3rd level spells.
Rhwng yr Coed’s Summer Arcane have 29 wizards/sorcerers with all spell slots.
Eryrnyth Water Arcane have 26 casters and Air Arcane have 19 casters with full spell slots.
The Eryrnyth 26 Earth Divine casters have used 1 dispel and 1 cure wounds.
The Eryrnyth 19 Fire Divine casters have full spell slots.
Rhwng yr Coed’s 29 Sun Divine have full spell slots, too.
Rhwng yr Coed also has 117 bards (most are 1st/2nd level, but 17 are 5th level or higher).
The Knights of the Watch use Darkvision and See Invisibility (using both 2nd level spells) up and running. Darkvision (8 hours) plus See Invisibility (1 hour) aid in your ability to scout for the bards. Most of the bards are using mundane stealth, the darkness and buildings to their advantage, but darkvision takes away one of the advantages within 120’. They’ve only been using invisibility (1 hour, concentration) when faced with melee with a superior force.
There are three patrolling groups: 10 pegasi at 350’, 6 griffons at 300’, 10 pegasi at 250’. Each group has at least 1 darkvision/see invisibility knight and 2 bard with the rest being arcane casters.
Since the attacks are happening every 5-6 minutes, you have enough time to reorganize your troops somewhat. The (216 including Alena and Eridan) Arcane troops are able to Detect Magic (now only 30’ range in 5e) up to 4 times for 10 minutes each. That’s 8640 caster-minutes of protection. You have approximately 72 “blocks” (40’x40’) of troops to protect. If you organize them into a giant block 320’x360’ and place your casters 60’ out, you’ll need 54 casters to cover the perimeter. That gives you 160 minutes of Detect Magic.
The first group of bards attempting to approach your perimeter find themselves in a world of hurt. As before, two begin to approach the troops. Once the spellcaster(s) call out the position of the bards, troops within the nearby block can shoot blindly into the area where the bard is. About 6% of the shots hit, killing one and gravely wounding the other. As before, other bards hanging back use stinking cloud to cover their escape.
A minute or so later, a sphere of Daylight (60’ bright, 120’ dim light, 1 hr duration) appears (on a sling stone) and is almost instantly flung about 100’ over a building and down into a group of troops (119th Hvy Cavalry), doing no damage itself. Within a couple seconds, the darkvision knight at 350’ spots a convocation of giant eagles 60’ away (400’ elevation and 35’ in the x-y axis). The area within the Daylight is pummeled by stones from above (30 knights and their nearby mounts are killed). However, the 8 arcane casters in the pegasi group and 4 from the griffon group pepper the area with fireballs. 15 giant eagles are transformed into hapless monks become falling objects into the knights on the ground killing 8 knights and all the monks. 3 knights were just seriously wounded). Holy symbols of Pelor are found among the bodies of the monks indicating that these may have been some of the monks from the monastery of Pelor here in Dersyth (which was used as a fortress by Caswallon’s forces).
The aerially mounted knights can move to pursue. The heavily laden pegasi fly up to 395’ elevation and within 5’ of the closest giant eagles. Using their crossbows, they shoot, but don’t take down any giant eagles. The heavily laden griffons climb to 340’ and shoot blindly toward the giant eagles, likewise not taking down any of the majestic creatures. The lower level pegasi climb to 295’ and shoot.
Clouds begin to form about 100’ above the gathering of your troops and 5 lightning bolts lash out at the divine casters and one at a wounded knight on the perimeter. 4 Earth Divine are slain as is the wounded knight.
Knowing that the slingstone and druidic call lightning came from that corner, troops begin scouring that corner for the enemy. They are immediately met by stinking clouds as cover.
300 gp of diamonds later Alena revivifies a monk. He’s still in a bit of pain, but alive and can answer questions. – Among them is why are monks of Pelor following Caswallon and attacking Gyruff?
Answer: The monks of Pelor have sworn service to the Druids of the Old Faith. – Caswallon is legally (within the order) the head of the Old Faith Druidic order through trial by combat of one Druid challenging to become the next Archdruid of the region. Whether or not any of the monks agree to his politics, they have sworn an oath and must obey. Want, desire or even a belief in what Caswallon is doing are of no consequence. He is the head of the Old Faith Druids and so he (the monk) and his brothers MUST OBEY. He completely understands if you need to put him to death for being a traitor to Gyruff. He will plead guilty and suffer your judgement, but know that there are others (especially among the Old Lore Bards and Rangers) fighting who also serve the Old Faith even though they don’t necessarily believe in Caswallon’s Path of Purity. Of course, there are many who DO believe and believe strongly!
Upon a command from the lead eagle, the giant eagles vere off, climbing to 480’, dispersing into a very loose formation at least 45’ away from each other and circling to the north at full (double) move.
The upper heavily laden pegasi climb to 440’, but are now at least 115’ behind the eagles, but has lost sight of the eagles.
The heavily laden griffons can climb to 380’.
The lower heavily laden pegasi climb to 340’.
Meanwhile, 5 more bolts of lightning from the cloud (roughly 180’ in diameter and 10’ thick about 100’ up) lash out at more spellcasters caught on the ground, killing 2 of the advanced Water Arcane Wizards. (Note: everyone within 5’ of where the lightning hits is also affected.)
It doesn’t take long to realize that the stormcloud is bad news, so troops begin moving away from the cloud.
Before everyone can get away (approximately 60’ x-y range from the cloud), 4 knights of the 119th and their mounts are electrocuted.
Troops continue to sweep the area, avoiding the lingering Stinking Cloud Areas. They spot a few bards at distance, who lead them on a raggedy chase through town. Although your sweeping troops are unable to catch the bards, they are unable to do further damage to the army. On a couple of occasions, they sense small animals (bats, rats, owls, mice, etc.) and shoot at them, but are only able to kill mundane animals in the dark.
About 6 minutes later, the giant eagles are well above where the pegasi are patrolling, so they aren’t seen. When they drop their 36 rocks, it is over an area 240’x240’ (1.6% of hitting a particular square) with the corner based on the center of the daylight area, which was already evacuated due to the lightning storm. By chance, some of the rocks hit the 24th Skirmishers, killing 2.
One of your clever and brave troopers (Gwan the Brave, one of Olfred Marsh’s men) figures out the correlation and throws the daylight stone as far from the camp as he can. Of course, he was electrocuted by the storm for getting too close.
Shortly afterward, the storm cloud dissipates.
The aerial troops extend their patrol altitude to the maximum (dim) vision range of each other (about 100’ apart in elevation +/- 65’ horizontal spacing) and increase overall patrol vision range to elevations from 900’ down to 500’. However, they don’t spot the incoming enemy.
When the eagles return the next time (about 5 minutes), they bombard over the daylight in an area of town away from the army.
About a minute later, the daylight goes out. You didn’t see what happened, because all troops were away from the daylight when it happened.
Four minutes later, the daylight stone is flung from another sling into the camp. As troops begin to flee the daylight stone, another daylight stone flings into the camp from another direction. And then another from a third, and one from a fourth direction until the camp is highlighted by four corners of daylight.
The loose formation of rocks (from somewhere above 900’) pummels the camp randomly:
• Sir Belatros and his griffon are wounded
• One of Sir Ostraman’s pegasi knights and his mount are wounded.
• One of Sir Holister’s men (previously healed by the clerics) is wounded.
• One of the knights from the 119th Hvy Cavalry is wounded.
• One of the knights from the 61st Med Cavalry is wounded.
• One of the knights from the 65th Light Cavalry is wounded.
• One of the Eryrnyth 8th Light Infantry is killed.
• One of the Eryrnyth 3rd Light Infantry is killed.
• One of the Eryrnyth 1st Archers is killed.
• One of the Eryrnyth 15th Archers is killed.
• One of the Eryrnyth 17th Archers is killed.
• One of the Earth Divine is killed.
• One of the Water Arcane is killed.
• One of the Air Arcane is killed.
• One of the Cymeravon light cavalry is killed
• One of the Cymeravon spearmen is killed
• One of the Cymeravon longbowmen is killed.
• One of the Ffrthlon Dol Archers is killed.
• One of the Rhwng yr Coed “Land” Rangers is wounded.
• One of the Rhwng yr Coed Song bards is killed.
• One of the Rhwng yr Coed Summer Arcane is killed.
• At least a dozen commoners are killed. (In addition to the couple dozen killed in previous rock droppings.)
The army quickly scrambles to cover the Daylight stones, and of course, the search for the bards and druids continues.
About 5 or 6 minutes later, several (5) of the divine casters on the perimeter are painted with Faerie Fire in five separate parts of the perimeter… but nothing happens. As the Faerie Fire wears off, more cases appear. After they dissipate, two more casters are lit up, but the giant eagles never return.
The surviving Pellham bards, druids and other survivors must have fled.
In an hour or so, about half the light cavalry dispatched to take the silver mine return. They defeated the returning giant eagles who turned into monks and had to be re-killed, but lost 45 of their own number. The leader of the giant eagles escaped, though.