A Knife in the Dark
Standing outside the Miner’s Exchange the party, at Wendel’s insistence, tied up the two knocked out imposters and tried to listen to the door. Only Wendel succeeds with his ridiculously high perception successfully making out the sounds of scrapping metal along with various grunts of exertion.
*What Wendel is hearing is the sounds of someone attempting to break into the Exchange’s main safe located on the opposite wall in the room beyond. *
Concerned that Halia and her staff could be in trouble, they use the key to quietly unlock the front door, ready themselves and then burst into the Miner’s Exchange. The main entrance was the scene of a bloodbath, the dead bodies of the exchange guards and several staff members lay in a pile in the center of the room.
The floor was soaked in blood with a blood trail leading off to one of the side offices. Against the north wall lay a female human dressed in a night shirt, who was bound and gagged, her eyes were wide, seemingly pleading the players for help. On the far wall was the teller cage, behind which were three roughly dressed figures attempting to break open the safe with various tools. The side door of the cage was blocked by a ruthless looking Bandit Captain.
Taking in the scene and having the element of surprise the party attacked. Merric moved into the middle of the room ready to engage the following round while the rest of the group used range attacks on the bandits, with Asterin starting out with a scorching ray at the bandits behind the cage.
The following round the battle was joined with the bandits taking cover behind the cage returning fire and the Bandit Captain leaping at Merric. The cage provided extra cover preventing most range attack damage to the bandits. Aurelia got upset by this, so with mage armour up and Crescent Claw in hand she charged the cage itself, successfully slashing a bandit through the bars.
Asterin changed tact and let loose with Sacred Flame to negate the bandits benefiting from cover, with great success. Meanwhile Merric was visibly taking a beating from the Bandit Captain’s multi-attack, prompting Wendel to support him in melee. But due to still being drunk, aka poisoned, Wendel missed most of his attacks. Asterin threw a heal on Merric, whilst Aurelia raged at the cage receiving a few solid hits in return.
*I incorrectly used the cover rule here. The bandits were receiving the bonus for half cover from the cage bars, however, once in melee Aurelia should have also been receiving half cover from the bandit’s melee attacks. I honestly hadn’t expected someone to directly charge the cage and hadn’t taken it into account. *
Between the two halflings, they were finally able to take out the Bandit Captain but before Wendel to shout in protest Merric split the captains head open with his sword. With the remaining bandit down to just one, Wendel attempted to intimidate the last remaining bandit, but was unsuccessful. Allowing Asterin to take him out with a final sacred flame.
With a bloodstained sword, Aurelia immediately rushes over to the tied-up woman on the flood. *Blood on the Crescent Claw. Foreboding. * Thanking the party she informs the group that she is Halia’s handmaid Anabel and that she had been instructed to come downstairs to investigate a noise. This was when she had been jumped by the bandits and tied up. More men had run up stairs and Halia was in danger.
Quickly finishing picking over the fallen bandits, finding some gold and a healing potion (which Wendel immediately drank) the party raced into the back room towards the stairs. Anabel ran out the front door to go warn the Greycloaks. Wendel could already make out the sound of clashing steel and grunts of pain coming from upstairs.
*That Observant feat is bloody OP. *
Reaching the stair’s mid landing the party saw an odd sight. The five bandits were facing off with one of their own, who was blocking a door on the landing at the top of the stairs. A shining crown of iron could be seen pressing down on the defending bandits head, Asterin successfully deduced that the spell was a charm spell. Seeing the players, the remaining bandits cursed and began firing down from above.
Single file, Merric held the front attacking the lead bandit while the rest of the party let loose with some attack spells and range. It was poor rolls all around, very few hits were scored by either side. Both the stairwell and top landing did not allow for any manoeuvring of either party.
Entering the third round the crown suddenly disappeared from the bandit captain making them dazed. Anger filled their face and with an angry shout turned around moving through the door. A familiar voice screamed in frustration, “If I’m going down then I’m taking you all with me!”
*This was a timed event. I had always intended that the charm spell would fall end of round 2. This was my way of covering the eventuality that the party would be too beat up to take down the second group and that Halia’s next move would help reduce the remaining bandits. Yeah it didn’t go down like that, damn dice rolls. *
A large ball of fire streaked over the bandit’s heads, curving down to land in the middle of the top floor landing. A large explosion blew several of the bandits off their feet and left the top floor completely in flames. Every bandit but one, failed their saving roll and were burnt alive. Merric and Wendel (the only two within range) both passed their save receiving half damage.
The single bandit that was left standing stood in shock at the level of destruction and quickly turned tail. Fleeing down the top hallway as the flames spread. The sounds of shattering glass could be heard from down the hall as they leapt out of the top story window.
The entire top floor was in flames and continuing to spread. Stay tuned next fortnight to see how the group intends to deal with this latest development.