Session/Game: Conan #12 Date: 8/22/04
Episode 12, "You Can Pict Your Friends"
Lord Valanus received an urgent message from his mother, who had been assessing the workings of one of the family’s estates. This estate, called Baudeville, was on the northern edge of the Pictish-Aquilonian frontier and was having problems with Pict raiders and surly serfs. So Valanus gathered together a handful of his allies and rode off to the north. Log:
Day 1—The Trail between Platburg and Baudeville
In mid-afternoon the travelers spied a party of 12 Pictish warriors blocking the trail ahead. Vegeta dismounted and rushed up and narrowly avoided falling into a pit in the road. The Picts then let loose some ineffectual arrows from their hunting bows. Conrad and Horsa also dismounted and moved to go around the pit through the woods, to take the Picts on the flank. Vegeta joined them in the flanking move. Grimjob drew back and shot arrows at the Picts. Although he didn’t know the size of the pit across the road, Valanus decided to have his horse jump it, but the beast’s hind legs did not clear the pit. Valanus and his horse tumbled into the pit. Then the real ambush struck, as another dozen and a half Picts emerged screaming from the woods from either side of the road. Some of them grabbed Grimjob’s, Horsa’s, Conrad’s and Vegeta’s horses and stole off into the woods with them. Another handful swarmed Grimjob and cut him down. The largest group did battle with Conrad, Vegeta and Horsa, inflicting some damage. A few jumped into the pit to fight Valanus on the body of his dead horse. Eventually when 10 of the Picts were killed, the rest fled into the woods. Grimjob was severely wounded and Horsa and Vegeta badly bruised up. One of the Picts was taken prisoner. Conrad, compelled by the dark force within him harvested a big bag of Pict meat and had the prisoner carry it. They discovered from the Pict that the Shaman Natunga had vowed to destroy the whole of Valanus’ family and had employed some Picts to guard the roads while he used Chakan and a Swamp Devil to attack the manor. When the party spotted a raven scouting their camp at night, they decided to make all haste forward toward the manor, and so abandoned their camp. During their march, Valanus heard the sound of his mother screaming and ran off toward the noise. The rest followed him into the forest. Valanus was set upon and badly injured by a Swamp Devil and all of them were momentarily overcome with fear. (All party members failed Terror of the Unknown, but spent a Fate Point each to reverse the effect). They set upon the Swamp Devil and between Vegeta and Conrad the beast was soon slain. Unknown to them, this also slew Natunga and scattered his horde of Chakan. Day 2-3 Baudeville Manor
At daybreak the party arrived at Baudeville Manor. They found the head of Valanus’ bastard cousin Ervin stuck on a pole on the path nearby. Inside they were greeted by Stanwic, a Gunderman mercenary who led the 6-man guard detail. Stanwic explained that the Swamp Devil had burst into the house, killed Valanus’ mother (Lady Hildegard) and Ervin and had stolen off with the three Pictish tribal dancers whom Valanus had purchased from a slaver in Shem. The party rested through the day, and the following day. Vegeta scouted the grounds and discovered that there had been a horde of Chakan nearby but it had scattered. Lord Valanus, overcome by grief and rage, vowed to exterminate the Pictish village nearby and organized his comrades and the 6 Gundermen to do the job. Day 4 Pict Village
At dawn, Vegeta rushed into the village, followed by a phalanx made up of Grimjob, Horsa, Conrad, and the 6 pike-armed Gundermen. Lord Valanus rode a horse around the flank of the troops. A long grim battle followed whereby 40 Pict warriors were slain and the women and children fled into the woods. One of the Gundermen was severely wounded and Vegeta, caught outside the protective formation, was mauled up pretty well before killing his opponents. Valanus’ horse was killed by a Saber-Tooth kept in the village, but he himself killed it. The soldiers burned the village to ash and found from prisoners that the shaman had died several days earlier. Lord Valanus returned to the manor to write a letter to his father.