Sgt. Zayno makes it our responsibility to get the newbie in line. His name is … does it mater? He’s the newbie, so his name is Private Newbie. He’s apparently a gifted lutist.
Some quick catch-up, since its been a bit. We were ordered to reinforce an army laying siege to the capital of Urartu. Tmolus went through the forests to take out some enemies, all stealthy-like like. Like he do. Coincidentally, my mission was to support an assassin’s mission to disrupt the enemy – as it turns out, it was Tmolus. I had his back from afar and took down commanders as he was sneaking around camps up close, doing similar things. Have to say, we make a pretty good pairing. Thankfully, I got to hermit a bit – get some alone time while on mission. Kinda re-center a bit – which is good. It gave me time to work on a new technique I’d been mulling around. I think I’ll call it Hail of Thorns™.
Upon my return, I learned that Pen had invented “trucknuts” and then invented the codpeice to hang the nuts from. He … he has issues. And I have a feeling they’re only going to get worse.
And, back to the now. We’ve been on the road for close to two weeks now. Two rainy weeks. We’re learning that the army’s methods for estimating time/distance/troop strength are more of an exact art than observation and data based. We also learn that our ranks are indeed rife with spies. It’s mostly our duty to protect the rear by taking out traitors.
Our current stretch has found us in the forest, and it’s been raining for three days straight. Raining enough that two flash floods have come through that took out a fair amount of supplies. Couple that with the natural dwindling of supplies, and morale seems to be pretty low. Well, low for most groups – I’ve been foraging, so my unit is not hungry. Plus, I can get a fire going at night even with wet wood – something that even the boisterous cleric of the death god (Pen) dare not mock. It’s drizzling now, but there’s a downpour imminent – we’re in for a long
cold wet night. Sgt. Zayno shows up, knowing we’ll have a good fire, and hunkers down with us. He has word about Pen – he’d fallen and injured himself bad enough to warrant a stay with medical. A runaway horse spooked him, and he fall-down-go-boom. Apparently he was taken from medical?
Sarge asks how we are, and reports that other units are not doing so well. Do I detect the faintest sense of pride? While we’re eating well and having a fire every night (you’re wecome), the other units are suffering from trench rot, low morale, etc. And in fact, he has another mission for us. It’s completely off the books, and he will disavow the very orders he’s giving us if we’re discovered. He knows full well that war is hell, and a certain amount of ill behavior is to be expected. But, when troops get too far out of line, it affects discipline. The Captain knows there’s a rogue unit taking the opportunity to plunder while on our march. Not “requisitioning” as normal – taking. We’re now asked to “chastise” them. According to reports, these abusers have an insignia of sorts – a skull (Punisher-like) scarred onto their forearm.
In fact, Briff has seen them. He’s seen at least one lieutenant, three sergeants, a number of corporals, and a slew of privates. Roughly thirty to forty in total.
Tmolus and I investigate around. They have a notorious reputation – badasses. Bullies, even – they’re known for messing with other units. It also looks like they’ve taken shelter in a series of caves, two ravines over. And like us, they are hardened vets. This won’t be easy. Although, it would seem that we have a new advantage – apparently Briff can change his appearance. From this, we develop a rudimentary plan: I track the Sfardi members of this unit, show where they lead to Tmolus and Briff, and watch them impersonate and draw out a few true members at a time. We take those out, rinse, and repeat. We also want to make sure they can’t yell for help, so death will need to be quick. And just to make sure they get the message, also cut an X through their scar marker, rubbing dirt/charcoal into the wound. Also, we take their tongue.
After picking up on their tracks, I lead us across some difficult terrain, since we’re in a forest, we get to proceed at a normal pace. It’s raining and raining and muddy, but this doesn’t deter us. We sneak through a camp on way with ease, and come to the ravine where we believe they are. There’s even a clearing in front of their supposed caves. We find a spot we like, and I climb a suitable tree for a better overview. We’re far enough away from the caves that hopefully between swift kills and the rain, that anyone still in the caves will not hear any screams. We detect that seven are coming through, two in chains. Not sure what’s in store for those in chains, but it can’t be good.
(By the way, SCAT isn’t army-wide, but specops. We have our own “dialect”)
Briff summons some dancing lights in the form of a person somehow, and throws voice his voice to the area of the shape. He make the shape act drunken, cursing loudly and vowing revenge. It works – they notice, and all stop and crouch down. One is clearly the leader – he talks (whispers) and two others peel off with him towards the illusion, while the other two knock out and stay with the prisoners.
Even though we have the element of surprise, Tmolus throws a dagger and misses. I plant an arrow through the neck of one (Nat20!) with my Hail of Thorns, tagging him to a tree and bursting damage to the other. I quickly knock a second arrow and loose it on the other combatant (Horde Breaker) and hit him, but Robin puts an arrow through his eye and silences him.
Two quietly down, three to go.
The other three start returning. I can’t who is in charge, but can see that one is on Tmolus, so I plant an arrow in him and then duck back behind the tree. When I next look, I can see two running through the clearing, towards the caves. I hit one (Nat20!) with Hail of Thorns and he stumbles. My second arrow goes aimlessly into the grass. The other yells, and three men come out. Tmolus finishes puts one down, and Robin hits one of the runners with arrow. An odd crown of iron appears on his head, and he turns and chases the one running towards cave. I don’t how Robin “turned” him, but he tackles closes and tackles the guy, and starts stabbing him. (We’ll have sneak attack against guy getting stabbed.)
Session Date: 06/05/17
Title Source: Megadeth – Holy Wars … The Punishment Due