The Covid-19 outbreak is affecting everyone right now, with myself and Sian first being forced to self-isolate for two weeks, and then being told that we have to stay indoors for twelve further weeks as part of the NHS Shielding Programme. So that’s basically three months where Sian is not only not at work (but luckily with full pay, for now) but also can’t go outside.
The self-isolation was warranted because my persistant cough got significantly worse, so I was in no state to game. As such, I took the decision to cancel the game for two weeks, so I could recover. The plan was that after the self-isolation, Sian was to be going back to work, and things would get back to relatively normal, so it made sense that our gaming sessions should too.
Unfortunately, three months is a bit too long to cancel our gaming, as evidenced by the three-month hiatus we were forced to take last summer as our house guests from New Zealand came to stay. So, we have deicded to return to gaming as per normal. However, the shielding has opened up a pretty cool opportunity – we get to have catch up sessions when we are all available, and the first of these is scheduled for Good Friday (10th April 2020). Currently, this is in the future as I write this, simply because I know that I will forget the events of the session the day before, and fail to write them up.
So, what happened in this session? We returned with our party approaching what they suspect is the source of the wyvernlings harrassing Wyvern Falls. They has spent the best part of a day travelling up the path by the waterfall that gave the small community hamlet it’s name, and followed the trail from the top. Having travelled through a ravine, the area opened into a rocky meadow just as night began to fall. In the centre, a large bonfire roared, and gutteral singing could be heard.
The party sneaked forwards, trying to get a closer look. Unfortunately, it seems like stealth isn’t the party’s strongpoint, and only Peregrine, the platemail-clad paladin, managed to get close enough to have a good look at what was a group of goblins led by a shaman in some sort of ceremony. Next to him, the largest wyvernling they had ever seen was held by a chain by the Shaman, and some smaller specimens were held in a cage. This ceremony was being held amidst what could now be determined to be the ruins of an old temple.
The wyvernlings in the cage began to stir, and the party felt that they were about to be spotted. Seizing the initiative, Sunblayze, Niles, and Darkblade all opened fire on the goblin shaman, who presented too tempting a target standing on the ruined altar beyond the bonfire, appearing like some sort of demon. Two arrows flew true, hitting the goblin in the chest. Although such a volley might have felled any other goblin, the shaman was fuelled by religious fervour and remained standing. Meanwhile, Peregrine, who managed to get closer than the others opted to hide among the ruins of the outer wall of the temple, awaiting the inevitable counter-attack.
The counter-attack was swift in coming, but a lot more organised than the party gave the cunning goblins credit for. The shaman dropped the chains to the large wyvernling, who leapt over the goblins and through the bonfire to rush at the enemies attacking his beloved master. The goblins also surged fowards around the bonfire, preparing to engage the enemy. All except one goblin, who instead went to the cage to release the three smaller wyvernlings trapped within. The goblin shaman moved behind a ruined column, seeking cover and an opportunity to engage the enemy in melee, where he could use his spells in combat.
Darkblade advanced closer into the ruins, aiming to intercept anyone intending to attack Sunblayze, whilst trying to get a shot off at the charging goblins. Meanwhile, Sunblayze and Niles provided somewhat ineffective covering fire. Peregrine remained hidden, preparing to ambush anyone charging Niles.
Unfortunately for Peregrine, the large wyvernling was the one who charged Niles, failing to spot the cleverly hidden Paladin. The creature charged right past Peregrine, focused on the weaker and more obvious target. Peregrine attempted to attack the creature as he passed, but was unprepared for the swiftness of the beast. The large wyvernling was soon on Niles, savaging him with claws and tails. Niles was poisoned, suffering from sickness as the poison coursed through his veins.
Peregrine was unable to help the beleaguered halfling, as he was soon set upon by two of the smaller wyvernlings himself. Darkblade was attacked by a few goblins. One of the wyvernlings even managed to reach Sunblayze, and attacked her with claws and tails, sickening her too. Meanwhile, the goblin shaman crept around behind Darkblade, and chanting evil prayers, struck the fighter with his bare hands, now covered in a glowing nimbus of dark magic.
Melee had been joined, and all the characters were being pressed in battle. They were isolated from each other, and each had to fend for themselves. Unless the tide turned soon, there wouldn’t be any help from their team mates. Sunblayze stepped back from the wyvernling attacking her, and blasted the creature with her sole magic missile spell, killing it.
Niles wasn’t so lucky, and whilst putting up a valiant fight, he was felled by the wyvernling’s deadly claws. The creature howled in delight and bloodlust. Darkblade found himself fighting off two goblins, with the shaman behind him. Darkblade decided that the shaman was the deadliest enemy, and slew him with an emphatic sword thrust.
Peregrine struggled to fend off his enemies, two wyvernlings and the last remaining goblin. Shielded as he was in his platemail, Peregrine at least held up is opponents. Sunblayze, having defeated her enemy, was now free to assist the others. Still sickened, she stumbled across to the goblin attacking Peregrine, and attacked with her longsword, giving the Paladin the break he needed to finally dispatch his foes.
Darkblade finished off the remaining goblins facing him, and in a death-defying heroic effort, he charged the large wyvernling that had taken down Niles. Before the beast knew what was happening as he was crowing after his victory, Darkblade was there, and has thrust his longsword through the creature’s heart from behind with both hands.
The fighting over, the party recovered. Peregrine roused Niles after laying his hands upon him, and the party used elixirs of health to cure the sickness. The party searched the shaman, recovering a map that seemed to show the falls and the temple, as well as a cavern further up the trail. It was clear that the adventure wasn’t over just yet, and more work needed to be done.
Searching behind the altar, the party recovered the shaman’s satchel. Inside, they found 500 gold coins and two rubies. More importantly for them though, besides the valuables, the party found two vials of what they suspected to be elixirs of health from it’s common spearmint smell, and two scrolls that had been marked as protection from poison. These would clearly come in handy as they ventured further to find the source of the creatures attacking Wyvern Falls…