Saturday, February 9, 2013

005 - Crimes and Punishments

I smell burnt toasts...

In the early lights of morning, various members of the company woke up to the acrid smell of smoke and the yelps of distress on the ground floor. The first to arrive on the ground level was Finbert, who ran into the landlady and a wounded stable boy. The young man had a bolt deep into the flesh of his thigh. Shortly after, Arnadil, Galdor and Halin arrived on the ground floor. All three had slipped into their hauberks and grabbed their swords. The landlady told the warriors that a marksman was shooting anyone trying to save the horses from the burning stable. There was no windows to observe the front of the Inn, Finbert climbed back to his room to spot the marksmen.  

There was three men, some 25 yards from the Inn. One of them, the goblet thrower, was bracing a crossbow. There was another ruffian with a sword, and a third one with a club. Halin and Galdor climbed back to their rooms to don the rest of their armors. Galdor bursted into Kasper's room to wake him up. Finbert located the crossbowmen and began aiming for the marksman. Meanwhile, Arnadil slipped by the back of the Inn to exit the building from the back.

Once geared up, Halin, Galdor and Kasper came back into the Tavern. In one hand, Halin grabbed one tresle table and held it like a giant shield (that ST14 has got to pay off at some point). The set was staged.

Going tactical with a tresle table

Kasper kicked open the door so that Halin the elderly hammerdwarf could burst out, table first, running more or less blind. Behind 2" of solid wood,  no bolts would be able to overpenetrate through and hurt Halin (GM Note 1). At the same time, Arnadil began to sprint for the ruffians from the side of the Inn, and Finbert shot a poisoned dart to the crossbowman. The dart hits him in the face, cancelling the crossbowman's aim and throwing off the weapon's bracing from a fence post. The two other ruffians fanned out to get a line of sight beyond the charging table (GM Note 2).  The charge was to be made over about 25 yards, a long way to go when one follow a dwarf that is in medium encumbrance (move 3). Arnadil began to cough and wheeze before he was even arrived to the ruffians (GM Note 3).  Arnadil, shield in front, heard a bold zip by and demanded in vain that the ruffians let down their weapons. Galdor broke from the behind-the-table stack and headed for the ruffian with a club while Halin kept on charging towards the ruffian with a sword. There was a few inconsequential exchanges of blows. Some we inconsequential only because of the players' Hauberks (close calls).

The charge with the table was dodged by the sword-ruffian and Halin overshot the target. Luckily Arnadil was behind and managed to distract the ruffian from striking the dwarf in the back. Halin dropped the table and gripped his hammer with both hands. At the same time, Kasper finally got to the crossbowman and struck him in the leg with his longsword, throwing him on the ground in pain. The marksman was already in a large amount of pain due to the Finbert's "oily sting" poison, and had not been able to shoot again. His crossbow lay on the ground, out of reach while a deep wound in his leg was throbbing.

Arnadil finally abandoned all defenses and struck the sword-ruffian, causing one major wound in each leg and sending the ruffian into a pain-induced coma. Meawhile, Galdor struck the last standing ruffian on his weapon's hand. With his club flung to the ground and both friends neutralized, the last ruffians took off for the nearby woods. Galdor attempted a quick shot at the fleeing ruffian, but the arrow missed and the criminal vanished into the undergrowth.    

Debates on the legality of slaying peasants

While the battle was raging, Finbert had turned his attention to the burning stable. It seemed to be burning from the inside, and the front door was on fire. He found a window opening and jumped inside. The building was filled with smoke. He lost his foot and fell backward, burning his hand on some ambers. By the time that he was back on his feet, Kasper and Galdor were kicking the front door open. Of all horses in the stable, only three could be saved. Kasper's and Galdor's personal horses perished in the fire.  A slain stable boy was also found and pulled out of the building.

Seething with rage, Galdor burst out of the stable and head straight for the once-marksman. He was the goblet ruffian from last night. Bleeding profusely, he was laying on the ground beside his smashed crossbow.  Galdor, accused the ruffian of the murder of the stable boy, and most of all of his horse and took upon himself to execute the ruffian on the spot (GM Note 4). Galdor was also ready to finish off the sword-ruffian, who was laying unconscious on the ground. Arnadil, dissaproving of the such swift justice picked up the unconscious ruffian and took him inside the Inn. While on the table, he applied a tourniquet while Kasper coldly cauterized the other wound with a piece of burning amber. The bleeding was then under control. It was agreed that the ruffian was a murderer, and should be punished for his violent crime with Death. However, Arnadil opposed the execution of a wounded man in the coma. This is when events turned weird.

Kasper went back to his bedroom and came back with a handful of flat and dark stones. He arranged them at seemingly precise positions on the ruffian's body and began something like an esoteric ritual. After a few minutes, Kasper admitted defeat: the ruffian will not come out of the coma as fast as he hoped. The rest of the company scratched their heads and pretended that they had not seen anything unusual. The ruffian was to be taken care of until he came back to his sense, then he'd be beheaded.

And all let out a sigh.

Next encounter.

GM Note 1: GURPS claims that 2" or wood has DR 2. The same as a skullbone or some tough leather. I think that this is probably off and this value should be DR4 (most single sword blow just can't cleave 2" of wood). Anyhow, even if we let the bolt go through 2" of oak, the bolt would get solidly wedged maybe after a few inches of overpenetration.

GM Note 2: I really should have gotten the ruffians to take off: thye were no match for the party and they knew it. Their vengeance was exacted: the barn was on fire and many of the horse were either dead or about to. They did not and here are the reasons (some good, some not): 1) they still believed that the  crossbox would be an effective stand-off threat, 2) they were a bit surprised by the charging table coming out of the Inn, and 3) I wanted the player to try the combat system.

GM Note 3 : We were using Action points, and the rule for Anrnadil is that every time that he expands a FP, he has to roll against HT or state to cough (affliction). Using tactical rules for running 30 yds, keeping track of AP was a bit slow and I should have just abstracted part of the charge, roll to tactics and set the scene closer to when the action started to matter.

GM Note 4 : Much debate erupted around the gaming table here. Galdor argued that, according to the code, in absence of the local lord, he was allowed to exact justice for this violent crime and carry on the punishment right away. Many thought that it should be left to the local sheriff. In the end, Galdor just did it: don't get between a Dol Amroth knight and his mount.

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