"You know where you are? You're down in the jungle baby, you're gonna diiiiiiiieeeee......."
The lyrics bounced around in my head as we were preparing for our next Ghost Archipelago Campaign Game, the second one in the rule book titled: The Drichean Cages. We ended up with five of our regular players plus one guest. We placed three cages containing prisoners down the center of the table, placed treasures, and then drew for starting positions. I was able to select a corner position which would give me at least one protected flank. Across from Skorri was Heritor Griffin, to the right was Heritor Herndon, and diagonally to the right was Heritor Kragmar (guest player). Further down the table were Heritor's Gregorious and Fortrywn.
|One of the cages with prisoner and guards|
|Skorri's end of the table|
"GRIFFINNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!" Skorri bolts upright in his bed and immediately feels the pain in his head from his encounter in the jungle a few....not even certain how many days ago it has been. He can tell he is on board his ship and that they are under sail. Other than that, he is not sure how he got back to the ship, nor the status of his crew. His hand went to his head and he could feel the bandages wrapping his head, as well as a steady throbbing pain. Skorri laid back down on the bed and ran through the events that led to him being here.......
The sky was clear and a gentle, salt-laden breeze was blowing from the southeast. Waves lapped gently again the hull of the ship as it pulled against the anchor chain. Skorri and his crew climbed down into their boats to head to shore, once again following obscure passages written on moldy and decaying scrolls. Hopefully this will be a productive exploration. Anemone was busy praying to the Goddess of the seas and casting a few coppers into the water as a small sacrifice for good luck.
The boats slid into the white sand and the crew members nimbly leaped ashore. Skorri consulted with Kukala and they quickly obtained their bearings. Today's target was the rumored location of a map stone near a large waterfall. Of course the rumor included the usual tale of a large beast protecting the area. With Kukala in the lead, the crew headed into the jungle.
|A view of the table from atop the waterfall|
Skorri notices movement in the brush behind the cage. The way they appear to be sneaking up and keeping hidden makes him think its another crew, probably thinking of freeing the prisoner as well. His thoughts are confirmed as he sees several arrows flying towards the Dricheans.
Further back in the brush, Anemone decides her talents aren't needed yet. She thinks it would be helpful to hinder any other crews who might be in the area today. Anemone calls forth to the denizens of the jungle and successfully casts Beast Cry. Blue Boy spots something laying in the brush and rushes forward to check it out. It turns out to be a small chest which he quickly picks up and places in his pack. His job done, he turns to head back to the beach.
Skorri shoots at a Drichean guard and misses his target. He is angry with himself and feels his blood burning as he Surges to shoot again - and once more misses. Kukala and Amrod fare no better as both of their shots fail to hit their mark.
Anemone joins in by casting Wrath of the Waves. The water from the nearby stream rises up towards the Drichean but looses momentum at the end, merely drenching her target without damage.
Kukala reels back as he is hit hard by an arrow from Griffin's crew (11 points of damage - ouch).
Off to the left, Chen lee moves forward to contest a treasure. Unfortunately he doesn't last long outnumbered three to one and Griffin's crew claims a treasure.
|Chen Lee challenges three of Griffin's crew for a treasure|
|Skorri takes out a guard|
On the right flank, Hat Chet moves into the ancient ruins of an old temple and finds a small leather bag. As he reaches down to pick up the satchel, he sees another crew member he doesn't recognize climb into the ruined tower. He pulls out his hatchet and signals to Wu and Amras for some support. Fortunately the interloper, seeing Skorri's three crew members, decide its not worth the trouble and climb back out of the ruins (He was a members of Kragmar's crew). With their departure, Hat Chet decides it is time for him to get the treasure back to the beach. Skorri didn't think too kindly of those who fail to properly recover treasure items.
|Hat Chet claims a treasure|
|Skorri takes out another guard|
Anemone reached into her tunic and pulled out a small bone whistle. She blew hard but no one could hear any sound. A few moments later, a bone chilling roar rang out off in the distance - Anemone smiled, "Mangia bene amico mio." (A monarch had been summoned by the Beast Cry spell and entered directly behind Gregorius' crew. Beast Cry allows the caster roll at the end of each turn to see if a random creature enters the board)
|The Monarch chases Gregorious' crew through the jungle|
Griffin picks up a huge stone and Hurls it at Skorri. Skorri ducks but the stone still glances off his shoulder causing some minor damage. One of Griffin's crewmen charges into contact with Skorri. Skorri goes through his thrust, feint, and parry maneuvers but is shocked when he feels the cold steel of the crewman's sword bite deep into his side (caused 9 pints of damage). Amras sees Skorri is in trouble and charges into the crewman, momentarily distracting him. Skorri takes advantage of this and strikes the crewman in the head, knocking him to the ground. Amras then has to quickly duck as an arrow flies out of the brush.
|Skorri takes out one of Griffin's crew|
|Skorri falls to Griffin's hurled rock|
At this point, Amras entered Skorri's room, "Good morning Sir, I see you are finally awake. We are heading to the nearest port." Seeing Skorri's confusion, Amras adds, "Let me fill you in on what happened once you.....ummm.....got injured."
The battle with Griffin's crew continued without any quarter being given by either side......
Wu fights off one of Griffin's crew, inflicting a severe wound to his arm (9 points of damage). Amras is hit hard in the side by an arrow (9 points of damage). Ignoring the wound, he draws a bead on Griffin and with vengeance on his mind, lets an arrow fly. His aim is on target but Griffin is saved by his armor. Anemone, still stunned by seeing Skorri fall, draws upon her anger to successfully call forth the power of the water to strike a fatal blow against one of Griffin's crew. The water rises up and crashes down on Griffin's crew member drowning him (Successful casting of Wrath of the Waves).
|Anemone's Wrath of the Wave spell takes out one of Griffin's crew|
Griffin Hurls another rock, this time the target is Kukala. The rock hits his left arm, the shock causing him to blackout. Later, when he wakes up, he finds his arm had been broken. That will take some time to heal (rolled Badly Injured on the Recovery table, will be sitting out the next game). Amras and Amrod return fire but once again they both miss. Anemone casts Water of Life on Amras, pushing it for 5 points of damage (which is okay since she is safely hidden behind cover).
Amrod dodges an arrow and is immediately attacked by Griffin's man-at-arms. The man-at-arms easily bests him. Anemone counters by casting Wrath of the Waves on the man-at-arms but the water dissipates just before it strikes, causing no damage.
|The dead pile up around the prisoner's cage|
The roar of the nearby monarch galvanized everyone into action. Griffin and his crew withdrew into the jungle carrying their wounded but leaving the prisoner still in the Drichean's control. One of Griffin's crew looked like he was carrying a map stone. Looks like the old scrolls were correct.
Amras and Wu rush to Skorri and quickly rig a stretcher. Amrod groggily wakes up. He moves to assist Kukala who is tenderly holding his broken arm. He fashions a suitable sling for him. They all pause momentarily beside Anemone, knowing that she had finished her last adventure. A few silent prayers were said. they then turned and headed towards the beach, and the safety of their ship. They arrive to find Blue Boy and Hat Chet waiting for them.
|Tiefer tries to take out an archer - spoiler alert - he fails|
While the crew waited for boats to be rowed ashore, Chen Lee manages to stumble onto the beach before collapsing from a loss of blood. The crew place him in a boat along with Skorri and Kukala and they all row out to the ship. Their heads are hung low in the shame of being beaten so badly. Even the two treasures they managed to recover brought no real joy as Amras realized Skorri's magic sword was not in his scabbard. There'd be hell to pay for that (Skorri rolled a Close Call on the Recovery chart meaning he lost all items he was carrying). They knew they would lose valuable time sailing back to a port to recover and refit. But none of them would ever forget the name of Griffin. His name was written into the book and underlined twice. Retribution will be had.
"We did manage to recover a magic looking helm (Piscian Helmet) and 40 gold coins. Get some rest, we'll wake you when we near the port," and with that, Amras got up and closed the door.
Tiefer had been slowly moving around to ambush Griffin's archer. He charged out of the brush, knowing this would be an easy fight. The archer wass startled by Tiefer's charge. He spun around wielding his bow like a staff. The bow struck Tiefer on the left temple with a loud crack. His knees buckled and his newly acquired sword slipped from his grip (Superior Hand Weapon +1 Fight found during the last game). Tiefer had a look of astonishment on his face as his eyes closed for the last time (rolled a "3" on Tiefer's recovery roll).
|The end of game photo|
What a great game as player's fortunes waned back and forth! Skorri and his crew got spanked hard with 60% of them out of action. The loss of Anemone will force a return to port meaning some of the few magic items will have to be sold off to make the trip. She will have to be replaced so I have some decisions to make concerning what kind of warden to replace her with. In hindsight, Anemone shouldn't have pushed that last heal, she would have survived the arrow hit.
Anemone's Beast Cry spell bringing in a Monarch on the other end of the table was great - not so much for Gregorious and Fortrywn but at the other end of the table, everyone was entertained. The game was a bit unusual as the six crews seemed to be playing three separate battles, centered on the prisoner cages. Little to no flank action - which was probably a good thing given the number of Drichean guards. No one managed to get away with a central treasure (the prisoners). Fortrywn came close but between "Hail Mary" crossbow shots and the Monarch devouring Gregorious' last crewman, he was denied his hard fought over prize. When Skorri heard the story, he got a good chuckle out of the final outcome.
As for Skorri's tribulations this game - Griffin - we shall meet again......
"I'll chase him round the Lost Isles, and round the Ghost Archipelago, and round perdition's flames before I give him up!"
|A view of the action between Gregorious and Fortrywn at the other end of the table|