PBeM report 2: Long Winter Shadows – A Single Step

Note from the GM~ This entry continues the tale of Marlin Tyrell, wizard and adventurer, as he makes his way toward Luna Beach. The first entry of this tale (comprised of the actual PBeM posts for the first three major scenes of the story) can be read here as a part of a series of entries on the creation of the campaign.

This part of the tale, as it was conducted face-to-face, had been cobbled together in a more fictionalized and embellished account from the point of view of the main protagonist, by that character’s player, Kyrei. My input was simply to correct factual errors and tame Marlin’s egregious self-aggrandizement. It should be noted that while the tale is told as a reminiscence of an old, old man there is really no guarantee that Marlin will survive the next encounter, let alone endure on til he reaches his dotage…


The Kobold Lair

(Based on notes taken by Player the first and revised by the GM and his near-eidetic memory)

This is a recounting of what, to my recollection, is the first great encounter of my young life as a wandering practitioner of the mystical arts. Please forgive the ramblings of an old, old man.

~Marlin the Great

Part 1: Gaining the entrance

The two Kobold guards in front of me raised their heads in surprise, having been roused from their undutiful slumber at their posts. They looked out over the ledge to see what the commotion was; said commotion being two dwarves in full plate mail madly running for the river to storm the cave entrance as a handful of Kobolds appeared up out of holes in the ground, (holes previously unseen by the invaders.) From behind, and utilizing the element of surprise, I twisted my will into form, spoke the words to make it manifest, and lashed out with twin bolts of fire, one for each of the guards. One splashed pain and dire injury across the head of the leftmost guard while the other set the right-hand guard alight. I ran forward and kicked the burned Kobold over the edge of the cliff as the right-hand Kobold, realising that the best solution to being set alight was to drop his crossbow and leap into the river, did so. First one scream and splash, then another; the two guards were out of the picture.

From my vantage point above the river I could now see four Kobolds converging on the river, a river that the dwarves had found surprisingly, and frustratingly, deep. To aid them in their attempts to regain the bank of the river and bring their helms above the surface, my words of power once more caused oily, reeking smoke to rise out of the ground and blind the Kobolds to the dangers they faced, followed by a pair of fire bolts into the midst of the smoke, to no apparent effect. As the Dwarves emerged, dripping and truly pissed off now, I shouted out a (pre-prepared) signal “Blink!” and drew off the smoky curtain only to release a brilliant Blinding Flash in the faces of the coughing, choking Kobolds. These Kobolds, coughing and now stunned to varying degrees, were rushed by the Dwarves who opened their eyes and charged: Daddy Foulmouth at the leftmost Kobold, Sonny (formerly known as T’other) the next in line to the right. I leapt off the cliff and rode the ley line further to the right to attack the rearmost Kobold with arcane fire. Daddy Foulmouth took his Kobold with a full facial smash of his empowered hammer and vanquished him outright, while Sonny engaged in an exchanging of blows of flanged mace and Kobold sword. The forces of the thrill of battle, the heightened power of the ley line at my feet, and sheer power of my own words made manifest in reality combined and a scream of ecstasy erupted from my mouth (much to my subsequent embarrassment) as I sent two more bolts of fire rocketing across the pre-dawn dimness, one to splash fire and pain across a Kobold’s hardened leather armour and the other passing harmlessly (and ineffectually) into the woods beyond, sadly not setting fire to a tree or other hapless shrubbery which could have, in burning brightly, aided us in our battle.

The dimness was playing havoc with my aim, as was the adrenalin coursing through me, so I tossed aloft a Globe of Daylight as Daddy Foulmouth moved to help his son, putting down the bleeding Kobold in what could only be called a merciful, skull-splitting end. Another bolt of fire dispatched the third Kobold while my eyes sought the fourth. This last Kobold, a true hero in his heart, turned and charged me. Two more bolts of fire brought him down before he had covered half the distance between us: one bursting and burning off his armour, and one to flash-boil his head. It was a gruesome sight as his corpse flopped forward and twitched its last life energy away, his blood, hair, and brains still burning, and the stench of an (already foul) Kobold wafted into the dawn air. The battle was short and loud, but now over, and gone was our element of surprise. As father and son paused to check their wounds, I floated out over the river using the power of the ley line to keep me aloft and empowered with deadly fire to where the two guards had dived. One was floating face down and drifting off with the current, but the other, horribly burned and fighting for his life, fighting his wounds and the force of the current raised his wide staring eyes to me, eyes full of hate and maybe even a glimmer of hope. As much as it tore my soul to do so, this creature should he survive to reach the other bank would only spend the rest of the day dying of these horrible burns that I indeed had afflicted him with. I had no choice but to put end to his suffering, and drawing on the power of the ley line, blasted him once more. Tears blurred my sight as his smouldering corpse drifted downstream, spinning with the remaining force of the fiery blast that had destroyed him. I floated back up to their vantage point and grabbed the one crossbow that remained there, lamenting the fact that the corpses of the Kobold guards had floated away with quivers of bolts that would be of undoubtedly good use in the battle to come.

From the guard point, I spied a small trail that led down to the cave entrance, a huge gated tunnel that stretched deeper into the darkness than my Globe can penetrate, and is only one of three such intricately metal-woven constructions. The waters here had stones protruding above the surface and eddies swirling noisily; however naught but a small coracle could navigate these waters, and there was a small gateway in the woven-metal gate for such a craft, as there was another for Kobold-sized denizens (both locked from within apparently) but the function and necessity of these great gates eluded me. The Dwarves had explained that the Kobolds were ambushing and hijacking river traffic in this area, but that did not explain this series of gates. I suspected dragons within, but kept those suspicions to myself for the moment.

Upon returning to the other bank, I found Daddy Foulmouth and Sonny searching about for the holes from which the Kobolds had emerged. I helpfully indicated the direction from which they had come but could do no more than that. I left it to Dwarven ingenuity to discover the hidden entrances. There was no easy or close way for the Dwarves to make it across the river, and even if they could, no way that I could see into the gated entrances. We decided to take the battle to the Kobolds from their own secret tunnels.

To be continued tomorrow in Part Two: The Guardroom


*”The world, characters, likenesses, rules, titles, names, publications, trademarks and copyrights related to all Palladium Publications are owned and licensed exclusively by Palladium Books Inc.; all rights reserved, worldwide.”

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