While taking the surviving Strigany to Kleinsdorf, the band discovers the ‘secret ford’ of the Upper Waldbach that their teenage guide Josef Gronenborn takes them to has been used by someone else recently, many someones with at least one cart.
[Raz’ successful Perception]
Suspecting goblins they are cautious, but make Kleinsdorf without incident. On the way they are rejoined by Matthais – who has been to Neiderfeld and flew back in falcon form, finding them by flying along the river.
In Kleinsdorf, the party finds the village palisade being reinforced with the aid of dwarfs. The eleven surviving dwarfs of Dargo’s Mine (including Dargo and the engineer Godri) have turned up here (there was evidence before of dwarf presence here in the form of the still). They are also constructing a large arbalest mounted on a cart so that it can be wheeled about to fire as needed through a breech in palisade or open gate.
The villagers look askance at the Strigany (thieves and worse you know) but Brun obtains the village elder Muller’s agreement they will be sheltered in a barn. The elder refuses the request relayed from Captain Zimmerman via Matthais to send aid to Neiderfeld as the village has too few able-bodied men to spare any.
When the Streissen Men say there are goblins nearby, the elder says it should be Neiderfeld sending them aid. He sets about finding a quick-footed youth to run to Neiderfeld, though the Streissen Men say that Matthais can do it in the morning (help not being likely to leave Neiderfeld before then). Matthais did not see any sign of the goblins in the woods to the south (though there were plenty of woods he did not see).
Fear of an attack leads to watches through the night, aided by dwarfs who see well in the dark, but no attack comes.
On the 10th, Matthais carries word to Neiderfeld again. Captain Zimmerman is not as concerned about imminent attack, having heard the report of what the shaman said it seems to him the goblins plan to (a) attack anyone leaving valley; (b) blow up what is probably Three Stones at Mittherbst (which is the day after the 33rd) when there is a festival there as a rule celebrating the harvest (the villagers in region think the Three Stones are important to successful harvests and the region’s prosperity, being sacred to Rhya and Taal).; © and attack the harvest at the 2/3 or so point when crops are gathered together but not taken in yet. None of that sounds like attacking Kleinsdorf or any settlement, yet at least.
Captain Zimmerman has been organizing the surrounding farms to agree to help bring in the Raebel Farm’s harvest quickly to create the draw to lure goblins into what he hopes will be a successful trap – that’s still likely 10 or days from now.
On his flight back to Kleinsdorf, Matthais sees cart tracks in the muddy ground running across the trail into the valley from the woods south of it to the woods north – which is interpreted to mean the goblins did indeed pass by Kleinsdorf into the woods north of Three Stones.
Upper Waldbach Valley
He brings this news to his comrades and they decide to scout, searching for the goblins. They hope to find a cart of blackpowder or oil flasks and set it alight. They set out, with Matthais again flying ahead
[metagame – and now we start rolling for the spell casting and tax and Perception checks because it matters – it is explained a failed Perception check means ‘finding goblins’ by flying past sentries etc. and ending up amidst their camp]
Matthais fails his perception check and flies into the goblin camp (dark robed and others, so at least 2 tribes present). The goblins are mostly asleep in a thickly wooded area (offering enough shade daylight does not pain them). One goblin on guard spots the bird flying in the camp (a goblin-wise would have known that birds and other animals usually avoid goblins as the creatures have idly malicious habits….), the guard snaps off a bow shot with his hunting bow thinking to add something different to the cookpot.
Though at an increased OB due to snapping off shot, the goblin hits the bird, inflicting a Midi wound (not that hard on a small bird such as a falcon) but more importantly Matthais then has to test to maintain the spell [this is in the spell summary provided for the character] and fails – his Falcon Form ending.
GM correction – it is Will vs Spell OB that is tested when concentration on a spell is tests, not Forte (that was actually a harder test so still would have failed – this is also what is in the PC summary provided on spell casting. Matthais has a Will of 4, but was sustaining a spell so 3 – he would fail that test unless he spent Artha. The “good news” is that testing 3 vs OB4 means he just made a Challenging Will test for purposes of someday advancing Will, he only needs 2 Difficult ones to improve Will to 5)
The goblin guard is surprised when a wounded human suddenly lands on the ground. Matthais has precious moments while the hesitating goblin stands and stares. Matthais opts to cast The Fear (it’s also a lower OB spell with his current -2 to dice pools) hoping to further terrorize the goblin and gain time to flee. He is successful, buying enough time to run out of the camp before an alarm is raised.
3+1d6 goblins take up pursuit (9 at it turns out).
Speed tests are called for and a tie results, the gobins needed to beat Matthais to catch up so he manages to stay just barely ahead of them.
[Huw I think we missed that this counts as a Speed advancement test, Matthais was rolling 2 dice and I believe got 2 successes against 2 successes, so that counts as a Difficult test for advancing Speed – again being wounded sucks but is also a great way to rack up the Difficult and Challenging tests to advance stats].
Matthais runs back to his comrades shouting enough warning they are ready. We enter into a “Range and Cover” as Harek Holds with his Crossbow (rolling the maneuver for “team PC”) and the Goblins try to Close. Harek manages to keep the goblins from closing (as they have no wish to expose themselves to so deadly a weapon, this is at the +3D bonus extreme range for crossbow). This continues a couple of volleys allowing his comrades to get aiming or positioning dice as they choose and Matthais to rejoin his comrades.
Brun launches a charge at the goblins who are trying to close (3 teams of 3 goblins so he is charging one). Other goblins in turn try to close with him (goblins love overwhelming odds)
[This could be seen as Desperate [cha trait] or Instinct to interpose as is ‘crazy’ enough example of either to earn a Fate]
This results in Harek taking a shot (Hold maneuver) inflicting a Midi wound on one goblin in a group trying to close with Brun, and Brun fighting another 3 – Resolved as Bloody Versus with 2 goblins being advantage dice for the lead one. Burn wins, and inflicts Midi wounds.
[NB – as this was a ‘team’ Brun actuating lays about himself and inflicts Midi wounds on all 3 goblins not just one – the rule that ‘helpers suffer as well’ applying here – note this was a bit of back and forth about about – a Range and Cover volley is up to 20 Fight! actions]
The goblins are cowed (-2D to actions including Reflexes being nothing to ignore when your skills are about B4 – suddenly facing a foe with only have 2 actions every 3 Fight! exchanges might make PC’s want a Fight!] and flee.
The heroes return to Kleinsdorf. The dwarf healer Ulfar (more skilled than any PC) treats Matthais wound to stop the bleeding (and aid Health recovery check), aided by Raz and Harek (who both get advancement tests as helpers vs OB2). His check gives Matthais one bonus die on his Health check to recover.
Matthais nearly fails that check but (Fate point opening 6’s) manages to pass. He will still have an ache imposing -1D penalty for 12 weeks (on everything but Resources, Circles, Health – see page 488, this includes reducing Reflexes by 1).
1 – I misspoke about the consequence of failing recovery check. I had stated this accurately earlier when talking about how in BW you can improve almost everything on your sheet (except stride) but that your stats can also decline due to wounds.
The actual consequence of failing a Midi Wound recovery is -1 to both the ultimate cap of the stat but also to its current value. You choose which stat the wound affects but one of your 6 stats goes down 1 point.
2- Related to this, I think you can now see what I mean about the 2 rails BW runs on. Fate points opening d6’s is seen as representing luck – and you’ve been relying on luck a lot. Mechanical resolution rules that make a life of risk and violence very difficult, with the Artha system saying only “heroes” who “fight for what they believe” (and have interesting characters whose aspects drive story) actually can expect to succeed frequently and avoid debilitating wounds piling up dangerously. You want to have a pile of those points for the critical scene and also to recover from the critical wound.
Don’t forget you spend Persona before rolling to add dice to the pool as well. This usually makes best sense on rolls where extra successes are still useful (combat, Health checks etc.)
Artha isn’t really just ‘gravy’, it’s necessary to survive as a hero.
3 – Matthais’ rolls with his impaired stats show the game’s philosophy of “it’s you who struggle on against the odds in face of near certain defeat who improve yourselves”.
4 – I did this Range and Cover one maneuver at a time. The full version is “declare 3 secretly”. While Range and Cover’s longer narrative time makes pre-committing less realistic then in a Fight! duel, you may wish to try it for the ‘fun’ of the unpredictability. Brun for example might have scripted Charge/Charge/Charge while Goblins Sneak In/Sneak in/Maintain and we see how that all turns out. It makes an ’unexpected ’ action like Charge more useful.