The sound of Vera screaming tore Ashly out of a deep, dreamless sleep, and she’d grabbed her spear and rolled to her feet before even remembering who or where she was. Her momentum carried her out of the tent, and by the fire’s light she could see Vera and Josh standing on the other side of the campfire, weapons ready and raised, facing something in the darkness.
Josh started to back away. “Trolls.” By the firelight she could see his knuckles whiten. “Trolls! We need fire to hurt them!”
“Oh shit, Trolls?” Marco had emerged from his tent, along with Nick, stepping forward and grabbing a long branch from the firepit.
“Are you sure?” Vera stepped back towards the light, but not as far as Josh had gone.
Ashly moved to stand alongside her, spear ready. “Trolls?”
“I don’t think…” Vera trailed off as at least a half-dozen figures moved into the dim outer reaches of the firelight. They were gangly, limbs longer than their torsos warranted, almost like orangutans, but green and hairless, stooped and only as tall as Ashly’s chin. “Goblins. They’re goblins, you idiot!”
“What’s the difference?” Ashly took a step back as the creatures approached. They were naked, except for dirty looking loincloths, and carrying crude iron-tipped spears.
Vera fell back with her even as Marco stepped up to join their defensive line. “Trolls would be harder to kill.”
Josh stepped into place on her right, and Nick next to him, squinting into the darkness.
One of the creatures gave a shrill cry and they swarmed forward, spears jabbing, teeth gnashing, high pitched squealing the worst thing Ashly had ever heard. They were practically tripping over one another as they jabbed their weapons, thrusting and striking. Ashly stood ready to meet them, ready to evade any attacks that came her way. The creatures were fast, two of them in her face almost immediately, spears rapid blurs she could barely avoid as she sought to strike back at them.
Screams came from her left and right, angry shouts from her companions, cries of rage and pain from the monsters attacking them. The larger of the two beasts attacking her had left its side open in its eagerness and she thrust her spear forward, stabbing deeply into its soft green flesh, under the ribs, the creature fell as she pulled her spear back, blood glistening wetly on its tip.
I did it, she thought. I hit one! For a moment all she could do was stare at it, wait to see if it got back up.
The smaller goblin took advantage of her hesitation to thrust again forward, and it wasn’t until it withdrew the spear from her side that she saw the blood on its tip. I’ve been stabbed, she thought to herself, though she hadn’t really felt it – her mind went back to her first aid training and remembered that that was often the case for puncture wounds, that part of it was just shock, that the pain would come later.
She struck back almost instinctively, piercing the creature above the hip, but unlike its fallen foe, this goblin stayed upright. She felt more tired than weak, and felt her legs growing slick with the blood coming from her own injuries, felt her focus narrow to the creature attacking her.
It stabbed again and again, faster than she would have thought possible, like a giant sewing needle, some of which she evaded, some of which she didn’t – a second thrust lodged itself in the thicker part of her armor, a third penetrating near where she’d been stabbed the first time. Dimly, Ashly realized that her growing weakness wasn’t fatigue, but anemia. Blood loss.
Larger creatures – still human-shaped, still green, but bigger and more muscular – had come out of the woods behind the goblins, each carrying a crude curved blade. Abruptly one shouted something feral sounding, and the creature stabbing her backed away, turned, and ran back to the forest.
Ashly could scarcely believe they were running until she turned and saw the six dead bodies lying at her friends feet. They’d managed to fight off half of the attackers, and apparently the raiders had had enough. She turned and saw that Vera had a large iron barb sticking out of her armor. “You’re hurt,” she managed, barely keeping her feet.
Module: A group of eight goblins and three orcs attacks in the night. The goblins begin their assault 13 yards away from camp.
Since the PCs are operating by campfire they are at -2 darkness penalties to attack, worsening as they get further from it. The goblins, having infrared vision, do not.
- Goblins approach by stealth. None fail their skill rolls, but 3 tie, meaning that if the PCs pass vision rolls (at -5 due to the darkness) they will spot them.
- Vera fails her roll, but Josh passes, shouting a warning just before they attack.
- Vera readies her spear.
- Josh readies his sword.
- Goblin 1 throws a dart at Josh, missing.
- Goblin 2 does the same.
- Goblin 3 throws a dart at Vera, who dodges.
- Goblin 4 misses Vera.
- Goblin 5-8 just fling darts randomly into camp, and will only hit random targets on a critical success. None do.
- Vera goes all out defensive, trying to wake the others.
- Josh goes all out defensive and starts making his way towards the goblins, closing his range to them to 10.
- Nick fails his IQ roll to comprehend what’s going on and is stunned.
- Ashly passes hers and goes from lying to kneeling. She passes her Chronic Pain check.
- Marco passes his and goes from lying to sitting.
Goblins 1-8 ready their next darts.
- Meldar, his daughter, and their men scramble for their weapons.
- Vera, All Out Defensive, goes to back up Josh.
- Josh All Out Defensive, waits for Vera.
- Ashly readies her spear and stands up.
- Marco readies his spear and stands up.
- Nick passes his IQ roll and sits up.
- Goblin 1 hits Josh with a thrown dart. It fails to penetrate his armor.
- Goblin 2 misses Josh.
- Goblin 3 hits Vera with a thrown dart. It does 4 damage through her armor. (7/11)
- Goblin 4 misses Vera.
- Goblins 5-8 miss everyone.
- Vera, all out defensive, advances to 7 yards from the goblins
- Josh, all out defensive, advances to 7 yards from the goblins. Both are now 6 yards from the fire, increasing their darkness penalties to -3.
- Ashly emerges from her tent, 13 yards from the goblins.
- Marco does the same.
- Nick readies his spear and stands up.
- Meldar & co head to guard the animals.
- Goblins 1-8 are out of darts. They ready their spears and advance to 6 yards from Vera and Josh.
- Josh critically fails his Games (RPGs) skill and misidentifies their foes as trolls. He heads back to the fire to grab a burning branch.
- Vera, unsure, backs up a little, all out defensive, and is 7 yards from the goblins.
- Ashly joins Vera.
- Marco joins Josh, grabbing a burning branch.
- Nick emerges from his tent.
- Goblins 1-8 advance to 2 yards from Vera and Ashly, clearly NOT trolls.
- Vera and Ashly fall back, full defensive, now 5 yards from the goblins and 2 yards from the fire.
- Josh rejoins them.
- Marco drops his branch and joins them.
- Nick joins them.
- Goblins 1-2 make a Move and Attack to try and stab Vera. They miss.
- Goblins 3-4 make a Move and Attack to try and kill Ashly. They miss.
- Goblins 5-6 make a Move and Attack to target Josh. They miss.
- Goblin 7 attacks Marco. It misses.
- Goblin 8 goes after Nick, missing.
- Vera attacks Goblin 1, missing.
- Ashly attacks Goblin 3, but it dodges.
- Marco attacks Goblin 7, missing.
- Josh makes a telegraphed attack against Goblin 5, missing.
- Nick stabs at goblin 8, missing.
- Goblin 1 stabs at Vera, but she makes a retreating dodge away.
- Goblin 2 steps up and stabs at her, but misses.
- Goblin 3 stabs at Ashly, but she makes a retreating dodge.
- Goblin 4 attacks her and misses.
- Goblin 5 attacks Josh, he retreating dodges.
- Goblin 6 misses Josh.
- Goblin 7 attacks Marco, who dodges.
- Goblin 8 attacks, hitting Nick, but his armor absorbs the damage.
- Vera critically hits Goblin 1 for 8 damage. It passes its HT roll. (2/10 hp remain)
- Ashly hits goblin 3, it fails its dodge, and takes 6 damage. It fails its HT roll against knockdown and stunning, and is prone with its weapon dropped (4/10 hp remain)
- Marco hits Goblin 7 with a telegraphed attack; it fails its dodge, takes 8 damage and fails its HT roll against knockdown and stunning (2/10 hp remain)
- Josh scores this round’s second critical hit on Goblin 6, doing max damage for his broadsword – 13 damage, nearly cutting it in half. It critically fails its HT roll and drops.
- Nick scores this round’s third critical hit against Goblin 8, doing 4 damage. (6/10 hp remain)
- Our three Orcs arrive at 11 yards distant, carrying scimitars.
- Goblin 1 goes all out defensive. (2/10)
- Goblin 2 attacks Vera but misses.
- Goblin 3 fails its IQ roll and is still stunned. (4/10)
- Goblin 4 attacks Ashly. She fails her Dodge roll and takes 4 damage (6/10 hp remain)
- Goblin 5 attacks Josh, but Josh dodges.
- Goblin 7 passes its HT roll to shake off its stun. (2/10)
- Goblin 8 goes all out defensive. (6/10)
- Vera attacks Goblin 2 but misses.
- Ashly attacks Goblin 4, hitting for 4 damage (6/10 remain)
- Marco attacks Goblin 7 as it starts to get up, doing 4 damage, and bringing it to -2/10 hp. It fails its HT roll.
- Josh misses Goblin 5.
- Nick misses goblin 8. (6/10)
- Orcs 1-3 advance to 6 yards distant.
- Goblin 1 hits Vera but its spear fails to penetrate her armor. (2/10)
- Goblin 2 misses Vera.
- Goblin 3 fails its IQ roll and is stunned.
- Goblin 4 attacks Ashly but misses (6/10)
- Goblin 5 misses Josh.
- Goblin 8 misses Nick. (6/10)
- Vera punches Goblin 1 for 2 damage. It fails its HT roll and is unconscious.
- Ashly misses Goblin 4.
- Marco attacks Goblin 3’s flank but critically misses, slipping in goblin blood, and falling down!
- Josh makes an all out attack on Goblin 5, hitting for 13 damage, striking it down.
- Nick misses goblin 8.
- Orcs 1-3 advance to 2 yards distant.
- Goblin 2 hits Vera but she dodges.
- Goblin 3 is yep, still stunned. (4/10)
- Goblin 4 hits Ashly, but the spear fails to penetrate her armor. (6/10)
- Goblin 8 hits Nick but he dodges. (6/10)
- Vera misses Goblin 2.
- Ashly hits Goblin 4, but it dodges.
- Marco gets up to kneeling.
- Josh makes a telegraphed attack on Goblin 8 but misses.
- Nick gets yet another critical on Goblin 8, doing 8 damage. It fails its HT roll and drops.
- Orc 1 attacks Marco. Marco manages to dodge.
- Orc 2 attacks Nick, missing.
- Orc 3 attacks Josh, missing.
- Goblin 2 attacks Vera, but misses.
- Goblin 3 recovers from stun, yay! (4/10)
- Goblin 4 hits Ashly for 4 damage (6/10)
- Vera hits Goblin 2 for 12 damage. It’s down.
Ashly goes all out defensive.
- Marco stands and attacks Orc 1 but misses.
- Josh hits Orc 2 but it parries.
- Nick misses Orc 3.
- As over half their raiding party has fallen, Orc 1 calls for a retreat, backing away all out defensively.
- The others flee, and the PCs let them go.
“Oh my God, Ashly!” Vera rushed to her side, helped her to the fire. “Guys, bring her pack, she has bandages!”
“They got me bad,” Ashly said. She felt faint, terrified of the injuries, but she had to see the extent of the damage. “Help me get my armor off.”
Vera unlaced the leather curias while Nick hustled over with the pack. “You need to… to wash out the wounds. Liquor if Meldar has any… not wine, not beer, nothing with a lot of sugar.”
“I’ll go ask,” Marco disappeared into the darkness.
“Wash it out, water if nothing else,” Ashly cleared her throat. The numbness was fading, and she could feel the ache setting in – it would get much much worse.
Vera lifted her armor off and helped her recline near the fireplace.
Oh god, everyone’s going to see my- Ashly pushed the thought aside, pushed modesty aside, pulled up the hem of her tunic and looked down her body to the two neat little puncture wounds on the left of her abdomen, an inch apart, looked at the blood welling up from them. Welling, not spurting, that was a good sign. And it didn’t look like the spear had pierced any vital organs, though there was no way to be sure.
Marco returned with a brown bottle, staring down at the holes in Ashly’s torso. “Whiskey, I think.”
“Fine. Bring a canteen, wash the punctures out, then pour the whiskey over it.”
“Okay.” Nick did as asked – the cold from the water was bad enough, but Ashly couldn’t help but scream at the pain from the alcohol. She clenched her eyes shut, gritting her teeth.
“Ashly?” Vera asked.
“Okay.” Ashly panted. “Okay, okay. Now I need you to unroll the bandages and wrap it around my body. Tight, but not constricting. Just around sideways… yeah, like that. A few layers, enough to cover about an inch above and below the wounds. Okay? And someone needs to put pressure on them.”
“What if the bandages soak through?” Nick asked.
“Then add more layers.”
GURPS: Nick is rolling his default first aid. He’s moving half as fast for a +1 bonus.
8: Success! Ashly’s bleeding stops and she gets 1 hp back, up to 3.
She opened her eyes and looked down to see that her torso was wrapped in linen cloths, with only spotting blood making its way through. “You’re doing a good job, Nick. Now do Vera.”
“Vera?” Nick asked.
“It’s just a scratch.” Vera shook her head.
“Off with the armor,” Ashly said.
Vera sighed and removed her armor, revealing the puncture above her right breast. She slipped her arms out of her tunic and pulled its neckline down to her ribs, using her forearm to cover her breasts, leaving the wound exposed. “Okay, fine.”
“That’s not just a scratch,” Ashly said.
Nick repeated the process as Ashly had showed him, this time wrapping the bandage like a sash from Vera’s neck to under her arm.
GURPS: Nick again rolls First Aid, again with a +1 for taking extra time.
8: Again, he succeeds.
Once bandaged, Vera pulled her tunic back up.
“What now?” Nick asked.
“Now we rest,” Ashly said, closing her eyes again. “Get back to Daggerford as soon as we can. Hope there’s no more trouble.”
Okay, everyone gets 1 cp. Vera, Ashly, Marco, and Nick all used Spear. Josh used Broadsword. Vera used Brawl. Nick used First Aid.
Vera rolls and is able to add Spear, as does Marco. Josh rolls and adds Spear. Nick fails both rolls and cannot add anything.
The return trip to Daggerford was blissfully uneventful, though the ride did little to help either Ashly’s or Vera’s wounds, and they had to stop to redress them several times. Meldar was ecstatic, of course, and paid the group the agreed upon coinage. While the others went to the tavern to celebrate, Ashly went to the barracks to rest.
She’d only been dozing for an hour when the others returned, a serious look on their face.
“What is it?” she asked.
“It’s the Duke,” Marco said. “He… had a job for us. His wife was kidnapped, wants us to pursue him.”
“I’m in no shape for that. Neither is Vera,” Ashly said. “And who cares? We’re jumping out of here in a week or so anyway.”
Does the group take the job? Note that if the party splits, we stay with the viewpoint character, even as I roll the dice for the party that’s off adventuring. They keep earning CP and risking injury.
1: No, and it’s unanimous
“That’s what I said,” Josh grinned. “The Duke looked real disappointed, like… if we weren’t going to fuck off, it would have been a bad idea to say no. But man, we’re gone forever in a few days so who gives a fuck?”
“It was the best choice, I think,” said Nick. “Besides, he’s got a ton of other adventurers and guards he can call on. Right?”
“Right,” Vera sat on her cot. “No need to risk it when we can just play it safe.”
Ashly closed her eyes. “Good. But you should really be resting, Vera-“
Ashly’s words were cut off as the world shifted.
Next time: A New Adventure