Ispitan and company have moved from the heart of the Border Kingdoms to the countryside thereof, and it’s time to roll for an encounter. I haven’t written this up in the usual level of detail because it’s late and I’m tired. I’ll probably stop doing that anyway at some point as I get more fluent in the system. As an experiment I’m also posting this from Windows Live Writer, as the editing window in WordPress is a bit small for this sort of post. The pictures look small in Live Writer, let’s see how they come out in the actual blog.
ER3, +1 for it being spring; I roll 2d6 vs modified ER (4) and score 4, 4 – pass 2d6 so there will be an encounter this month. A few die rolls determine that our heroes are defending a farm from raiding Ekrans. I’ll use eM4 minis for the heroes, D&D pogs for enemies, and haul out the Rackham gaming tiles for the board. I distribute them more or less at random because I don’t like dicing for terrain.
Ispitan and company are inside a small abandoned farmhouse, resting up, when they hear noises outside.
I forgot about Galen, so we’ll say he was out looking for more herbs.
“There are PEFs out here!” calls William, and the group gathers their weapons and armour, such as they are.
Initial setup. Left to right: William, Ispitan, Rufus, Eyjolf, Grace. The big round marker just outside the farmhouse is William’s horse.
Activation: PC 6, PEFs 6 – nobody moves.
End of Turn 1: There are PEFs outside! Chasm at bottom left is impassable, farmhouse in the middle, woods at top right, everything else is clear terrain.
Activation: PC 2, PEFs 5. None of the PEFs has a Rep that good, so only the Star and his entourage activate.
I decide to resolve all the PEFs as quickly as possible so the group scatters out of the farmhouse, advancing far enough to get line of sight and trigger a test of wills, intending to fall back into the farmhouse once we know what we’re up against. I will not be using this approach again, for reasons you’ll soon learn.
William gets line of sight on PEF1 and it resolves as four Ekran knights with three infantry in support. Gulp. A test of wills ensues, but both sides pass 3d6 so they halt and do nothing.
Rufus gets LOS on PEF2 and it is a false alarm.
Grace gets LOS on PEF3, which resolves as four knights, one peasant foot, and an infantryman. One of the knights is the Big Bad, with +3 Hardiness and +1 Rep. Ouch. A test of wills is triggered, but both sides pass 1d6 so they halt and do nothing.
End of turn 2: PEFs resolved. My, that’s a lot of Ekran knights. I ran out of horse markers.
Activation: PC 2, Ekrans 5. Both sides activate, Ekrans first.
The Ekrans formerly known as PEF1 decide to charge; the outcome of the Wanting To Charge test is that they do so, once the defender has fired or cast. I want to check out magic this time, and Ispitan has LOS to them, so he cranks up a Fog Of War spell – if successful, this will reduce the foe’s visibility and move distance to 2”, so that we can engage them piecemeal. Alas, the spell fails and Ispitan’s casting Rep is reduced by one, to Rep 3 (his fighting Rep is still 4). The knights charge home, and unsurprisingly William drops Out Of the Fight after three of the four knights score two more melee successes than he. Ispitan withdraws into the house, with the intention of casting Suggestion on the Big Bad. (“We’re friends! Stop the fight!”)
The Big Bad and his companions charge home against Eyjolf, Rufus and Grace. Eyjolf and Rufus are rendered hors de combat almost immediately, but to my surprise Grace manages to fight both the Big Bad and his wingman to a standstill, with the melee continuing next activation. There’s more to this girl than meets the eye, clearly. For further thought: As PCs increase their CV, they will become more and more outnumbered – but since they can count their melee result against all opposing figures, and will have a higher Rep, do the two factors cancel each other out?
End of turn 3: Show the boys how it’s done, Grace! The lich figure represents the Big Bad, whose name is as yet unknown to Our Heroes.
Activation: PC 1, Ekrans 2. Both activate, Ekrans first.
The Ekran infantry close in and enter the house. Grace puts up a sterling battle against her opponents, but is rendered OOF. Ispitan fails to cast Suggestion – note to self: Spells are harder to cast when you’re moving (roll one less d6).
End of Turn 4: Ispitan stands alone.
Activation: PC 1, Ekrans 2. Both Activate, Ekrans first.
Another group of infantry enter the house from the other side, while the first group catch up with Ispitan and lay into him, forcing him back and reducing his Rep by one. A second round of combat has the reverse effect, as by sheer luck Ispitan forces back all three of his attackers and drops them a point of Rep. Let’s see how they like it. The activation ends with a third round of combat which is a draw.
Activation: PC 5 (does not activate), Ekran 6 (Big Bad activates).
The commanding knight dismounts, enters the farmhouse, and joins in the melee – it’s now Ispitan versus a knight and three infantry. Astonishingly, he beats them all, forcing them back and costing them another point of Rep. The Big Bad is not standing for this and re-engages, striking a telling blow. Ispitan would be Obviously Dead at this point, but makes a Hardiness check and downgrades the OD result to OOF.
End of turn 6: And the final score is Ekran knights 5, Ispitan and Company 0.
The knights grab whatever it was they were looking for, and leave Ispitan and his companions for dead. Clearly, Ekran knights don’t like any of my characters. They’ll pay for that, at some point.
When Our Heroes manage to drag themselves back into the house, they roll for recovery. Galen has returned by this time so is able to help. Ispitan passes 2d6, so recovers fully. William and Grace pass 0d6 and die, despite Galen’s help (Galen rolled 5 vs Rep 4 both times, a success would have improved their rolls by one grade). Rufus and Eyjolf each pass 1d6 and get an extra passed d6 from Galen’s help, so recover fully.
The encounter lasted 90 minutes including setup and knockdown, and used about 20 opponents as well as my party of five. Ispitan survives, so he rolls for improvements in his Rep, Hardiness and Social Standing. Rolls of 1, 5 and 3 mean that he loses one point of Rep, perhaps due to a slow-healing wound, but increases his Hardiness to 2 and SS to 2. I roll for a pursuit encounter, but get a 5, which is higher than the region’s Encounter Rating, so no pursuit. Can’t think why Ispitan wouldn’t want to pursue eight knights.