Hearts of Stone 10: Marines

Posted: 7 December 2016 in Hearts of Stone
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Report prepared by Decanus Matteus Fulmens, Legio III Adiutrix, 21 April 216

Sir, I beg to report as follows:

Pursuant to your orders, we set out along the road from Glitterhaegen to Anvil in pursuit of the griffin “Lord Fluffington III” stolen from the Duke of Glitterhaegen and the suspected thieves, and by dispensing small sums of money (separate accounts attached for reimbursement) we were easily able to determine their route.

Approaching by stealth we were able to observe the group before committing to engage, and discovered it to consist of:

  • A knight bearing the livery of Baron Stormwatcher’s household troops. He wore a closed helm and could not be identified. This individual was riding the aforementioned griffin, together with an unidentified woman of apparent noble birth.
  • A recently-shaven dwarf, accompanied by a dwarf-forged construct soldier.
  • A rav’malak female – previous reports had not mentioned her so we were not prepared for a party with air support.
  • One high elf wizard accompanied by a wood elf musician and a female human bard of uncommon beauty. The wizard’s presence was expected, hence my own assignment to the patrol.

There was no sign of the dark elf known as “Dave”, Hayes Agar or the dragonborn Soreth. These may or may not be accomplices in the theft but did not take part in the engagement to follow.

We moved parallel to their track through the woods at a sufficient distance to avoid discovery, and blocked the road ahead of them. We observed them encounter an awakened bear – its status was recognisable by its chain of office and its ability to speak. After a brief conversation with the wood elf, the bear moved on, back towards Glitterhaegen. We did not detain it for questioning as the chain of office clearly marked it as a diplomatic envoy.

The bear was clearly on friendly terms with the wood elf, but we could not hear what was said without breaking cover, and mindful of the primary mission, we held our position.

As the party approached, we prepared ourselves for combat and made our presence known, requesting that the griffin be handed over to us – I was hopeful that the situation could be resolved peaceably and indeed several of the party, including the mounted knight and the bard, attempted to parley, but the dwarf-forged immediately attacked us in melee, presumably on the dwarf’s orders, and supported by the rav’malak; negotiations therefore stalled. While the bulk of the patrol engaged the dwarf-forged, a small flanking party approached the griffin from the right flank but were driven off by arrow fire. (Munifex Septimus was gravely injured and will require extensive sick leave; we were lucky he was not killed, and I have sent him back with this letter and an escort of two other Munifexii, leaving me with 9 effectives including myself.)

Meanwhile the enemy high elf had cast several spells, including what appeared to be summoning mystical ghost zombie snakes and some means of whispering into all the patrol’s ears at the same time that he was not wearing anything under his robes. However, the discipline of the Legio held firm and we continued to fight.

Under close attack from the rav’malak, who swooped on me with a greatsword, I was forced to reveal my arcane abilities but managed to drive her off. At this point the knight took to the air on the griffin, claiming that he had been given it by Lord Alron Stormwatcher, who as you will recall, sir, has not been seen for a number of years and whose death has been rumoured on several occasions, and that “this is not the griffin you are looking for”.

At this point it was clear to me that we could not effectively pursue the griffin once it became airborne, and that the remaining arcane offensive options available to us risked serious injury or death to the griffin and its riders, at least one of whom claimed to be noble born – and thanks to my service in Glitterhaegen I was able to recognise that the knight’s livery and heraldic emblems were indeed those of the Stormwatchers. I therefore gave the order to disengage and we retreated in good order.

We will follow the group at a safe distance but will not engage without further orders, as to do so might set the Duke and the Stormwatchers at odds. I recommend however that Baron Stormwatcher be requested to explain his family’s involvement if any, since the markings on the griffin clearly identify it as the missing animal. Should you wish us to engage the group I request reinforcements, especially archers, as I do not have the numbers to best them by the honourable means I know the Legio would wish me to use.

I have the honour to remain, sir, your humble and obedient servant,

Decanus Matteus Fulmens, Legio III Adiutrix
Given under seal this day, 21st April, year 216 of the 13th Age

GM NOTES

Well, here is another emergent recurring enemy, I think. As I was a bit under the weather and unsure what to do next – I’m trying to time it so that the encounters with Casila’s family are handled in downtime when we break for Christmas – I introduced some troops sent to recover a griffin allegedly stolen by the character who now calls himself Balthazar Rook.

The Decanus and his men performed admirably for mere Soldiers (admittedly he is an Experienced Soldier Wild Card with an Arcane Background), and this led to the group deciding they were facing Imperial Marines, so I rolled with that, and have started adding Roman trappings to reinforce the image of tough, professional soldiers. If you leave the dice and the players to it, they will produce intriguing NPCs for you. What Matteus has not mentioned is that his reaction rolls to Silmaria the bard are off the top end of the scale, and his reasons for following the group are not limited to recovering the griffin.

Meanwhile, stealing a griffin from the Duke of Glitterhaegen on a whim, and then in effect claiming that Baron Stormwatcher put you up to it, is likely to make ripples in the game for some time. Once you’re a few sessions in, this stuff writes itself.

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