Thursday, 15 September 2016

Tezert's dungeon – part two



Two competing bands of hardy adventurers led by Magi Bayaz and Enchanter Cornelius are still battling diabolical manifestations deep within an ancient dungeon, long lost amongst the vast ruins of Felstad. A small group of soldiers have discovered an unusually large, locked door. The thrum and tingle of magical energies emanate from heavily carved inscriptions etched into its blackened timbers. Strange, mournful sounds reverberate. What’s behind the door?

Frostgrave mini-campaign, The Diabolist's Scheme, scenario 4 (part two)

Enchanter Cornelius is desperately trying to support his soldiers with a flurry of Enchanted Weapons and Armour spells, whilst Apprentice Angus is busy trying to Heal their embattled soldiers trying to cut down a frenzied Zombie Troll. 

Elsewhere in the vast dungeon, the rival warband - led by Magi Bayaz - are also in difficulty. Two of his soldiers are fending off three Ghouls inadvertently freed from one of the many rooms whilst Magi Bayaz and apprentice Lancrix are locked into a dangerous duel with a powerful Frost Wraith. Unaware of their leader’s plight, the soldiers Black Dow, Logen and Caul Shivers are examining a large locked door at the end of a side-corridor. Dark timbers are inscribed with glowing runes and arcane symbols. The air is charged with power. Caul, a musclebound infantryman, shrugs with indifference and starts to hack with his Great Sword. The others join in.
Logen, Dow and Caul consider if they can lock pick with their swords
Ranger Ferro is crouched behind a corner watching a hall across the way. She can hear the other crew fighting something large and terrible, occasionally seeing fleeting glimpses of Enchanter Cornelius’ men. She knows some of them have probably spotted Caul, Dow and Logen as they headed off down a side-corridor and are likely to cut across the hall to give chase. She glances at the little potion of Explosive Cocktail hanging from her belt. In the tight confines of the dungeon corridor she waits patiently for an opportunity. Suddenly, there are footsteps behind her. She whips around, bow and arrow primed in lightning speed as Nicomo Cosca staggers towards her. He’s late and hungover but nonetheless an extra blade, even his, is very much needed.

The Zombie Troll bellows in rage, its movements becoming slower as a storm of thrusts and cuts from Cornelius’ soldiers finally manage to overwhelm the monster. It staggers back, the soldiers jumping aside as it appears to stand still for a few seconds, then it falls solidly forwards to the ground sending up a wave of choking dust. The soldiers cheer as the dust settles and the Zombie Troll lies still.  
The Zombie Troll, after an epic battle, is taken down!
Red Hat and Curnden back into a tight corridor, three Ghouls pressing the attack. The creatures are incapable of fear and oblivious to the deep wounds and hacks caused by the two soldier’s blades. One of the Ghouls leaps forward, crashing into Red Hat bringing them both down. With unnatural speed the other two spring upon Curnden. Both of Bayaz’s men are caught by feverish, savage blows. They fight heroically but, alas, they’re soon undone by the feral Ghouls.
Curnden and Red Hat battling feral Ghouls
Magi Bayaz and Lancrix the Tall are tiring. The ethereal Frost Wraith swirls and screeches, trapped within a room whist the two Wizards hold the entranceway. Normal weapons are useless against this entity, it’s all they can do to hold it back. Lancrix suddenly counter-attacks, slashing towards the Wraith with his staff, forcing it back. Bayaz uses the opportunity to blast it with an Elemental Bolt. It succeeds, the Wraith’s piercing wails reverberate around the room as it appears to falter. Lancrix expertly follows up with another Elemental Bolt. The Wraith almost appears to blast apart, its vile essence rapidly dissolving in the vortex of powerful magical energies. It is finally defeated.
Magi Bayaz and Lancrix the Tall finally defeat the Frost Wraith
Ferro hears multiple footsteps, followed by the figure of Cornelius’ apprentice and some of his soldiers entering the hallway. She grabs the Explosive Cocktail but just as she’s about to lob it amongst the unsuspecting enemy an unnatural, thick wall of Fog spills into the hallway totally obscuring her view. She glowers angrily back at Nicomo, who’s casually leaning against a wall making his typical inappropriate comments.

Black Dow, Logen and Caul have finally managed to smash open the huge door. They’re dripping with sweating and covered in splinters and wood dust. One door hangs loose on its hinges, the other lies broken on the floor. Logen kicks the hanging door away. A large room is revealed and standing in the centre upon a raised dais stands a Necromancer - Tezert the Diabolist! He’s unaware of the soldiers, so absorbed is he in the process of summoning a Major Demon. Below the dais, aiding her master is the Death Cultist, Zetch’nat. Operating on pure instinct, and nothing else, infantryman Caul raises his Great Sword and charges the Necromancer.

Dogman is creeping down a corridor, bow unslung, hoping to flank Cornelius’ crew. There’s another closed door further ahead. As he gets closer he can hear urgent voices from the other side. The Dogman smiles as he prepares to surprise the unsuspecting soldiers. He’s completely unaware of the Ghoul silently approaching from behind, fresh from feeding on the Dogman’s comrades.
Logen and Dow fighting for their lives!
Magi Bayaz and Lancrix have found another door to the Necromancer’s chamber. They soon have it open with a little magical assistance. To their surprise they see Caul Shivers engaged in close-quarter fighting with a Dark Mage. Tezert viciously swings his razor-sharp sickle, forcing the infantryman to stumble backwards off the dais. An armoured skeleton jerks towards them, and is efficiently dispatched by Bayaz. A sudden, terrible scream splits the air as a diminutive death cultist appears out of nowhere and lunges at Magi Bayaz whilst he’s distracted. The manic cultist is clad in mail armour and robes, swinging a glowing hand weapon. Bayaz desperately defends with his staff, his Elemental Shield soon dissipating under a frenzy of blows, whilst Lancrix quickly unfolds a scroll.

Zetch’nat is driven back by Bayaz. Lancrix releases the magical power contained within the scroll. The Planar Tear creates a small tear in the fabric of the universe, the rift centred on the Death cultist. The Necromancer and his assistant try to resist the formation of the tiny rift but it’s too late, a blast of violent energy is released before the rift soon collapses, sizzling across their bodies and penetrating their armour in places. But they fight on, the Necromancer quickly resuming his summoning whilst Zetch’nat, screaming with fury, attacks again.

Cornelius soldiers, emboldened by enchanted weapons and their wounds magically relieved, are expertly guided by their two Wizards. Some charge from the magical fog and ambush Ferro and Nicomo. More rush down a short corridor and surprise Logen and Black Dow who are just about to engage the Necromancer when they see Caul, after another scything attack from Tezert, cruelly cut down.

The Dogman starts to panic as a Ghoul bears down on him. He frantically attempts force open the door blocking his way but Cornelius’s men on the other side have put their shoulders to it. The Dogman bangs on the door pleading for them to open it, his cries suddenly cut short as the Ghoul springs, razor sharp teeth glistening and aiming for the forlorn archer’s throat.
Cornelius' soldiers finally open the corridor door, after Dogman's cries are silenced
With Zetch’nat battling Magi Bayaz, Tezert interrupts his incantations to try and remove the threat from Lancrix. He attempts to cast Strike Dead at the apprentice but the spell fails. Lancrix responds with an Elemental Bolt however the energy released is not enough to penetrate Tezert’s armour. Just then, there’s a terrible, haunting cry of pain and despair. The mayhem all around momentarily freezes as Magi Bayaz slumps to the ground, his lifeblood pouring from a terrible wound as Zetch’nat stands in triumph over him. Electric blue sparks arc from his slumped form whist Bayaz shudders. Then the sparks die, along with Magi Bayaz. Lancrix the Tall is stunned. He stares incomprehensively at his fallen master. He is oblivious to the jubilant Death cultist stealthily circling around Bayaz’ body, heading straight for him. Only at the last second does Lancrix register Zetch’nat’.

Ferro and the Dogman are desperately fighting back to back. Cornelius men to the front, two Ghouls to the rear. There’s a sudden thrum and Ferro feels a powerful blow. She’s knocked to the ground. An arrow protrudes from her chest. As unconsciousness descends the last thing she sees is Nicomo finally living up to his stories, battling a knight, a men-at -arms and a soldier. He goes down under a flurry of blades, still grandstanding to the last.
The Bards with lament the 'Fall of Brave Nicomo'
Black Dow and Logen are filled with despair as they witness Magi Bayaz fall. They are trapped between the Necromancer and Cornelius’ apprentice Angus leading a handful of reinvigorated soldiers straight towards them. They fight side-by-side, roaring defiance and brutally swinging their blades. But the despair and fatigue soon leeches their battle frenzy. They are outnumbered and eventually overwhelmed. The only member of Magi Bayaz’s party of adventures left standing is Lancrix the Tall.

Ferro receives and arrow
Whilst Cornelius’ soldiers are distracted, Tezert once again takes an opportunity to dismiss these unwelcome interlopers. He casts a Bone Dart spell at the battling group of soldiers, a swarm of the tiny darts smashing into the walls, floor and soldiers alike. But the power of the spell was diluted by the Necromancer’s attempt to simultaneously continue summoning a Major Demon. The soldiers are all wounded but most of the darts are repelled by their armour.

Apprentice Angus grasps the initiative and in an urgent effort to forestall the Demon Summoning he orders his soldiers to charge down the Necromancer. After their struggle with the Zombie Troll some of them hesitate but Angus points his staff authoritatively at Tezert. The soldiers obey and they soon have the Necromancer surrounded. A vicious melee, swords clashing against sickle, plays put. Soldiers fall back winded or wounded but are ordered back into the fight. Tezert, under pressure, attempts to use his Ring of Teleportation but the onslaught is too much.

Lancrix, in shock, wounded and his Elemental Shield long depleted, wildly swings his staff double-handed. But Zetch’nat is too quick and diminutive, easily cutting under the apprentice wizard to thrust and chop at his unprotected legs. He’s soon caught by a cruel, slicing cut and falls heavily to the ground. His head slams onto the stone floor, the blurred image of Bayaz’s crumpled robes wavering in is vision as darkness falls.
Necromancer, Tezert the Diabolist surrounded by Enchanter Cornelius' soldiers
The onslaught on the Necromancer, Tezert the Diabolical, continued. Blows raining down from the soldiers. He’s tiring fast from his physical and mental exertions. His defence with the sickle becoming increasingly laboured. Suddenly, one of Cornelius’ men wearing an orange bandana slips under the Necromancers guard, angling his sword between the folds of the Dark Mage’s armour. He is pierced to the hilt. A dread howl roars from Tezert’s barred teeth. He staggers, his grip on the sickle loosening. The soldiers spring and the foul Necromancer is soon ended by their many blades.

Unnoticed, Death Cultist Zetch’nat steps over Lancrix’s unconscious body and slips silently away into the dungeon maze

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is the end to the Diabolist's Scheme, a free, four-part mini Frostgrave campaign by Cory Ring and Chris Ward from Cigar Box Battle.  

Enchanter Cornelius and Magi Bayaz have led their valiant warbands through the icy ruins of Felstad, following the trail left by a dying captain. They’ve discovered treasures and fought many fell creatures and monsters -  amongst a crumbling Wizard’s Tower, in deep caverns and finally facing a Dread Necromancer at the heart of a vast dungeon.

A full summary of the campaign can be found on the campaign page. Thanks to my good gaming buddy and campaign opponent, Sam Pate of Wee Blokes, for yet another thoroughly enjoyable miniature adventure. Sam intends to keep his warband, led by the experienced Wizard Cornelius, ready and prepared for new adventures. Sadly, Magi Bayaz will lie entombed in Felstad for evermore. Now its Lancrix the Tall’s time to honour Bayaz’s memory.