Castles & Crusades: Barrowmaze Campaign, Session 42.

Summary:
Under vicious winter conditions, Ironguard Motte is attacked by the goblin-like Bauk, an angry nature spirit, and Chort, demon beasts of Czernobog sending flame strikes and insect plagues down upon the people in the streets.

Game Diary:
It is late December. It is freezing (0°C) with a brisk wind under mostly gray skies. There is 11 inches of snow on the ground. Closing in on midnight one evening while the Army of the Light is relaxing in their cozy building, they hear the screams and shouts of panicked town folk. They head outside their building and notice the lanterns have mostly been blown out. People are scattering, and small, goblin-like creatures with brown, hairy bodies, lumpy heads with pointed noses and ears can just be made out through the thick, falling snow. These goblin creatures (known as Bauk) catch the flickering torch light of the characters (they hate light), as well as a dwarf (they hate dwarves!), and hear Chonk, the half-orc barbarian standing outside the door to their building pounding his tower shield (they hate loud noises!). The bauk head toward the characters and attack them ferociously. Battle ensues, the elven wizard Seraphina launches a fireball, the explosion vaporizes a path of snow down the street and blows away several of the bauk. They are on the loosing end of this fight! Not long after midnight the bauk have been dispatched. The lamplighters, escorted by town guards, re-light the street lanterns and everyone goes back to sleep. But the town folk mutter under their breath that this is a bad sign and that the gods will want reckoning, since they had not made grain offerings to the agricultural gods at the end of the growing season. The town folk were right.

The next morning the characters wake up to 3 more inches of snow. The temperature has dipped even further to -18°C with a very strong wind blowing the snow about. Everyone stays indoors. But around noon a several hundred foot diameter pillar of howling wind and penetrating ice shards descends from the sky and cuts across several streets, tearing some of the roofs and walls off buildings, and pelting town folk to death from the biting ice particles, before hitting the south west street and heading up to the central marketplace (which also happens to be where the Army of the Light’s downtime building is located). Barely visible through the violent winter elements a shadowy, out-of-focus figure could be seen. The wizard Balthazar uses his wand of wonder and a lightning bolt shoots out and impacts the nature spirit. He follows this up moments later with a mighty gust of wind which manages to hold some of the powerful elements at bay (reducing the damage on their building). Just as the spirit is about to envelop the house with its horrific winter destruction and rip it to shreds, it is put to rest from the groups attacks and the winter chaos abruptly ends.

But before the characters can relax they hear the howling of demons and look up into the sky to see four demonic beasts galloping down from the gray clouds towards them. Possessing a horned head, goat-like legs, a skinny tale and grayish-black skin, they are Chort, the dark demonic servant beasts of Czernobog, the god of malice and wrath.

Chort, a demon beast of the Slavic god Czernobog.

Chonk heads outside and awaits their attack with his tower shield, as others spill out into the freezing cold to receive them, but the chort stop roughly 50 feet up in the air, and one sends down a flame strike catching all of them off-guard. Two characters were about to die from the fiery inferno, but the group had three cards from the Deck of Dirty Tricks that could reduce or eliminate damage. This would easily allow up to three characters to avoid a death blow. But rather surprisingly they chose to only use one of the three cards to prevent one character from dying, choosing Brurin, a dwarven warrior of the dwarven god of battle (Barundar) to lie a scorched mess on the ground. The reasoning? Rather than prevent two characters that are about to die, plus still have a card left over for another character if needed, they chose to save one character, allow the dwarf fighter to die, and keep the two remaining cards on the possibility that two other characters might need it later on (they weren’t needed). Sometimes player reasoning can be difficult to understand.

Meanwhile, another chort opened it’s mouth and an insect plague emerged, swarming down and entering through the doors and windows of their building, many of the low level party members fled into the streets from the horror. However, with the group now down a dwarven fighter of battle, and with the low level members running through the heavy snow, the spellcasters got to work again. One of the elves used her circlet to blast a chort with a searing flame, killing it. Another got cut in half by a critical hit from Chonk, and in the end, the final chort gazed down at his suddenly dead companions, turned tail, and galloped back up into the gray clouds. The Army of the Light had once again succeeded, and the folk of Ironguard Motte witnessed their battle prowess!