A busy month

5 LEAGUES FROM THE BORDERLAND : KATANGA CAMPAIGN TURN 1

 

INTRO:


The war is over. The Empire has withdrawn from the region of Katanga after suffering too many losses and the petty border kings (really, not more than a few villages but with plenty of fighting men who know how to use their weapons) rejoice. And the Red Hand have been on the losing side (for once). 


They curse the strutting popinjay that replaced the battle-scarred commander of the Empire forces. Politics! And all because said popinjay wanted to impress a flighty noblewoman in the capital. Well, you would like to see how much he can impress her now with his head impaled on a spear in front of king Mbisi’s 'palace'.


Cut adrift, low on funds, the warband wonders what to do next.


Red, Sonya, Val, Crow are the heroes in the warband with Crow being the mystic in residence. Batu, Conn, Erland and Karl are followers the warband has picked up along the way.


CAMPAIGN TURN 1


As the Red Hand approaches a new village, they meet a Grouchy Farmer carrying a fierce looking rooster who is grouchy because there's no more gambling allowed in the village ahead. The village chief has cracked down due to his youngest son losing 5 cattle in a cock fight. But seeing the Red Hand reminds the farmer of the time when he was a warrior. They swap old campaign tales and discover they have acquaintances in common. 


Turns out Erland was a farmer way back when! His hidden past can help the warband earn extra gold if he so chooses. No wonder he got on so well with the grouchy farmer! He growls and threatens mayhem if anyone reveals this to others outside the warband.


The farmer tells the warband of a treasure stash from an old battle nearby. He’s looked for it, but can’t find it and now he’s too old to continue. If they could go and look, and find something, maybe they can slip him something for old times’ sake?


They agree and go and search. There’s more people to hunt for the hidden stash. Crow does something mystical. The warband finds an old rotting chest with 4G inside. Things are looking up! True to their word, they pass 1G to the farmer. (+3G)


Sure enough, when the Red Hand reaches the village of Djanzaban, there’s no gambling allowed. Everyone is grouchy.


The purse is lean, so the warband just rests up instead of carousing. Crow decides to go Foraging and finds 2 Protective Herbs; while Sonya, being restless, decides to take a look around. Her tracking skills have found suspicious signs of a couple of armed groups.


Red dickers at the market and only manages to sell a sword for 1G. Truly, the villagers are grouchy! And a Large Quiver for 5G?! What an outrage! But Val is persuasive and Red reluctantly parts with the coin.


Listening to the talk around the village, the warband senses a thread of fear in everyone. Maybe it’s not just his son’s loss at the cock fights that’s making the village chief so unreasonable? Maybe it’s fear? 


The recent events of the war has largely passed by the village of Dzanjaban... but they do feel repercussions nevertheless. 


Masterless men turned bandits now roam the countryside, pillaging and raping at will. Dzanjaban, being at the borderlands, owes fealty to none of the petty border kingdoms... yet. They are too out of the way for any kinglet to bother with. 


Too add to these woes, the unleashing of potent magical forces in the battles has unleashed... something else along with it. Uncanny creatures are said to roam the sandy hills at night, when the moon is darkened.


The warband perks up at this news. Maybe this is a chance to rebuild their fortunes? 


They decide to go take a look to see what's what. Everyone in the village can see they are obviously foreigners, and that means they've been on the losing side: the invading Empire. No one likes or trusts them, that's for sure. The warband needs to prove their worth. Earn the villager's respect.


Red ponders at how low the Red Hand has fallen so low from the days when it first marched out of the frozen Northlands. Now only Red and Sonya (her faithful retainer) remain.


As they move out, they meet a former soldier, adrift and masterless like themselves. They chat politely for a while. Turns out he has a particular destination in mind. As he leaves, he warns them that he's seen signs of suspicious activity in the surroundings. Groups of unknown men are moving about. It's the same information that Sonya has tracked down. They thank him and go on their way.


Sure enough, the Red hand sees one of the groups the soldier has been warning them about. It's a group of barbarians on a pillaging spree. The warband can see the spoils the barbarians are lugging around with them. They are split into roughly three equal groups, all equally spaced apart. They look like a typical pillaging band. Nothing special about them. Red doesn't spot an obvious leader.


The Red Hand prepares to meet the barbarians, with the objective of capturing at least one enemy to interrogate for information.


Red, Crow, Karl and Conn deploy on the left; Sonya, Val, Batu and Erland in the center to meet the largest group.


BATTLE TURN 1


In the best tradition of the Red Hand, the warband hangs back, waiting for the enemies to come at them. Batu strikes the first blow with his bow, killing one. The barbarians charge in yelling their war cries. 

BATTLE TURN 2


Batu and Val both get one each with their bows. Sonya and Erland stand and wait. The barbarians continue to charge in, albeit more cautiously now that they’ve seen what the bows can do. A barbarian charges in, targeting Red. He doesn't realise he’s outnumbered. His first swing misses and Red goes on the attack. She cuts him down. Then Red and her crew dance about the remaining barbarians. Crow throws a rock and wounds one. 

One barbarian from warband B sneaks away, having lost his stomach for the fight. 


BATTLE TURN 3


Red moves in to finish off the wounded barbarian. He’s better than expected and wounds her! Red wins the second exchange and cuts him down with the third. 


Val moves up and shoots at the enemies facing Red. She gets one. Batu fires at a barbarian skulking in the rocks. He misses. Curses! He’s out of arrows!


Conn dashes in and positions himself front of Val. 


Sonya opts to wait. The barbarian charges in screaming wildly. He swings at Conn. They trade blows to no effect.. 


The remaining group of enemies charge Sonya's group but fall short. 

Karl and Crow dash up to surround the barbarian facing Conn. 


With 5 of their warband down, the barbarians decide it’s not worth to continue a battle with no obvious rewards and flee the field. 


The Red Hand hold the field! 

But they failed in their objective to capture an enemy for interrogation. 


They go about about the distasteful business of looting the bodies of the dead, and find something special: a suit of magic armour! You can tell by the subtle glow about it. Whatever it was... it didn't do its former owner any good. They end up with 12G, a sword, a hunting spear and a self bow.


Karl has been valiant and stout and is recognised as a hero (even though Conn did more and actually participated in combat!) His combat skills are evident in how he distracted the barbarian while keeping him at bay, allowing Red to move in to finish off the other wounded barbarian.


There's nothing left so the Red Hand heads back to Djanzaban.



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