Classic Fantasy Ironsworn - Eilwen's Tale
I appreciate your feedback, Mark. I turned down the volume some at the beginning. Hopefully, it's easier to understand. And now, back to the game!

Episode 69
The arrows streaked towards her.

Face Danger + Edge to see if she can avoid getting hit by the arrows.
8 = 6[d6]+2

8 = 7[d10]+1[d10]

A strong hit. +1 momentum (now 2/10).

She rolled to the side and the dark barbs flashed above her.

Do any of the Redhall warriors turn and run? Here’s where I use rpgsolo’s awesome likelihood buttons, starting at 50/50 odds and then modifying them up and down based on circumstances: It’s dark +1, they’re scared of magic +1, they just saw a guy get severed in two by an unnatural horror +1. That puts it at Very Likely. But to bring it back down, they do outnumber Eilwen’s side, and they think they have a chance (-1), plus Willan screaming for them to stay and is shouting for order in the ranks, urging them to “kill the witch!” (-1). I think this puts it at Somewhat Likely that some of them run:
(Somewhat Likely | 7[d10]) Yes

Most of them?
(50/50 | 4[d10]) No

More than 5?
(Somewhat Likely | 4[d10]) No, but...

5 exactly then. That leaves them with ~fifteen warriors.

Okay, combat time. I have two options on how to handle this:

One is to do a Battle move (not a typical combat) and resolve this fight in a single roll, like how we did with the Battle of Longfalls.

The other is to do combat as usual, blow by blow, with the back and forth of initiative and all the nitty gritty.

Assuming the latter, we would have to consider the narrative effect of everything and how it affects the danger level of the various enemies.

These are trained warriors, so normally, on a 1 on 1 combat, a single warrior would be a Dangerous foe. Aside from Eilwen, we have five warriors in Eilwen’s honor guard, Thorgunna, Haf, and Gethyd. That’s a total of eight combatants. The enemy has a little over a 2 to 1 advantage even after losing some of their number. So the Redhall side vs their side, would raise the rank of the foe to Formidable.

But we also have to consider the two Horrors that appeared out of nowhere and what effect they’re having. Bonewalkers are individually a Dangerous foe. If they were combined against her group alone and allied with the Redhall group, it would be a second Formidable foe. But they’re mindless cutting machines, focused on death and are spread out, one is attacking her group, and the other is attacking the Redhall warriors. Those sort of cancel each other out.

So, I think how I could do this is:
  • Bonewalker attacking her side is a Dangerous foe.
  • Redhall Warriors attacking her side, due to numerical differences, would be a Formidable foe, but because a Bonewalker is attacking them, it lowers them, hampering them, and bringing down their combat effectiveness to a second Dangerous foe.
  • Once either the Bonewalker is destroyed or the Redhall warriors are driven out, then there will become a third Dangerous foe with some progress boxes filled in based on the narrative damage it takes, unless the Redwall warriors happen to kill the Bonewalker and then flee...

But should I do a blow-by-blow combat? I also have to consider her stats. They are currently:

Iron: 1
Edge: 2
Wits: 2
Heart: 1
Shadow: 3

Momentum 2
Health 3
Supply 3
Spirit is 0 (with the shaken debility)
Unspent XP 1

I might be able to avoid a lot of bad luck by doing it in a single Battle roll. Of course, there’s a lot riding on a single roll, and a Miss there can be pretty bad too...

Another option is to try and withdraw and fade into the woods, but I don’t think they can outrun the undead Bonewalker attacking their side who neither needs to eat, breathe, or sleep... Maybe they could try to get away from the larger combat and just deal with the Bonewalker in the woods or something and then re-evaluate.

Choices. Choices.

I’m leaning towards a single Battle roll.
Wish me luck. For a Battle Roll we have to state our objective. Originally it was to slay Willan and drive off or slay his warriors.

But, before I roll, I have to consider this happening. This is part of the negative match from episode 68, so it again changes things.

And then another voice shouted, somewhat behind them but off to the side. “It’s her! The witch with the sapphire pendant! Kill her and take it!”

She recognized that voice.

“Halig,” she hissed at the onrushing group of ill kempt men behind them, ragged and rough, the erstwhile prisoners of Redhall, intent now on robbery and murder.

This is the Pay the Price on the miss to Compel Halig in Episode 56 coming due. Back then, I ruled that Halig and his band were now bandits and wanted that gemstone of Eilwen’s. They were going to try and capture Valeri and her children and use them as hostages to get what they wanted.

Questions I asked back then and am revealing now:
Did they succeed in capturing Valeri and her kids? Normally, I’d say this is Very likely as there are more of them, and Valeri is poorly armed with only children vs a band of desperados. But she does have horses and could potentially outrun them, so, I’ll put it down to Likely.

(Likely | 8[d10]) Yes

Now back to the present, some other questions :
Halig would be on the north side of Redhall watching for Eilwen from the south. But she’s coming from further north now as she has essentially portaled behind him after her jaunt in the shadow realm. Is Halig aware of Eilwen’s current location? Unlikely since he’s not watching that direction.
(Unlikely | 1[d10]) No, and...

But the negative match from Episode 68 turns this around, and sounds of fighting and the beacon of sapphire light, draws Halig and his group to investigate, so his group also joins the fray.

Did Halig’s group see Willan’s group and manage to avoid them when they first approached? Halig’s group had captured Valeri and her children and had them bound and they were off the road, just waiting for Eilwen to appear when Willan’s group passed so... Likely.
(Likely | 6[d10]) Yes

Eliwn risked a glance over her shoulder. Her little band of warriors was already engaged with Willan’s troop. Halig would hew them down from behind. The only thing keeping them from being overrun was the pure terror from the deathladen eyes of the bonewalker that had slashed into Willan’s warriors with equal mindless ferocity.

Is Valeri still with Halig right now as he comes up behind Eilwen?
(50/50 | 2[d10]) No

So, Halig must have left her and her kids with some of his crew and then he came here with the others to investigate the light and fighting.

“Thorgunna!” Eilwen shouted. “To me! Behind us! We’ll lead them into Willan’s group and cut our way through in the confusion!”

Has the Bonewalker killed any of Thorgunna’s warriors yet? They’re well trained. So, even odds.
(50/50 | 3[d10]) No

Thorgunna and another of her warriors had managed to block or duck the bone-like scythe blades that slashed the night.

Okay. Now the Battle Roll for real.

Envision your objective and roll.
Our objective is to charge Willan’s group thus resulting in Halig’s group also crashing into Willan’s group, and then in the confusion that follows, cut our way to freedom with minimal loss, leaving the two opponent groups to handle each other and the Bone Walkers. This is pretty much using brute strength, Iron, her worst stat, to cut our way through and out, but that’s what the fiction dicates.

I’ll reveal the roll and the outcome of the battle after the narrative.

Eilwen led the way, the nimbus of light swirling around her. She cut through one Redhall warrior and then a second, with her spinning swords alight with light and death, the bluish white glow about her.

Thorgunna brought up the rear guard a few steps behind her, slashing at one of the bonewalkers, keeping it at bay, locking blades with it, then shoving it away. The creature beheaded one of Eilwen’s guards in an off-handed sweeping gesture.

Haf ran next to Gethyd, both in the rear.

The way was clear!

Then the bonehorror that had slain more than a few of Willan’s group reared up out of the dark, behind them, slashing down at Gethyd.

The lad screamed, raising his knife to block the blow, but he stumbled backward in the uneven ground. The serrated bone forearm slashed down.

Suddenly, Haf was there. He leaped in front of the lad and raised Eilwen’s bow she had given him, a poor weapon to parry such a brutal strike, and the slashing serrated bone forearm sheared the wood cleanly in two, and the force of the blow continued, little impeded, splitting Haf’s skull with a crunching blow that cut clear down through his collarbone in a spray of blood. Haf crumpled pitching forward. Gethyd moaned in horror and covered his blood-splattered face.

Then Thorgunna was there, she hacked at the creature, again and again, shattering part of its rib cage and pelvis, knocking it to the ground at the same moment that a serrated bone blade slammed into her midsection, spearing through her, the wicked blade extruding out her back, wet and dark with her blood. She gasped from the pain and fell to her knees, weapons dropping loosely from her grip, eyes wide and gasping from pain.

“My...Queen...” Thorgunna rasped between lips now red with blood. Then she slid down atop the fallen bone creature, surely dead with the bone-blade still jutting out of her.

“Thorgunna!” Eilwen cried and tried to rush back towards her guard captain, but amidst the press of bodies, a hand pulled her back. It was Kiari, one of her guards, the woman’s dark hair matted with blood, dainty nose marred by a cut down her face, which only accentuated Kiari’s fierce bearing.

“No! We must flee, my Queen!”

“But Thorgunna!” Eilwen groaned, the agony she felt rising from her gut to her throat.

“She’s dead,” Kiari shouted over the fray. “We can do nothing!”

“Gethyd!” Eilwen shouted again as bodies fell around her amid the din of fierce fighting.

Gethyd heard her above the noise, and the young man rallied, fear prompting him to his feet. His face was ashen white. He started towards her and made about ten steps before an arrow slashed out of the darkness and buried itself halfway up the shaft into the meat of his thigh. He fell to the ground, writhing in agony, hands clutching at the blood and wounded leg.

“Gethyd!” she cried out again. The swirl of battle pulsed around her still, one heartbeat of death following another as they neared the edge of the fighting in front of them. The screams and groans of wounded punctuated by the ringing and clatter of weaponry against shield and armor.

The remaining bonewalker continued its deadly dance of death.

She might be able to yet get away, or she could stay and die fighting next to Gethyd.

“Eilwen!” Gethyd cried, and she felt her heart tremble at his pained plea. His hand was outstretched toward her. Fear a cold white mask on his face.

Their eyes met and then a warrior stood above Gethyd, blade raised.


Then she couldn’t see him as more bodies and fighting pulsed between them as warrior strove against warrior.

Kiari pulled at her arm, and numb to the core she let herself be dragged away out of the battle into the trees.

Results of the Battle move:

2 = 1[d6]+1

14 = 5[d10]+9[d10]

And the battle goes ill. Uggg.
A miss. What a horrible action die roll!

(Miss count 15/24)

The rules say, “A miss on the Battle move should have dire ramifications on your character and your quest. This objective is lost to you. What does that mean?... Consider the situation and the intent of your foe, and Pay the Price. Make it hurt.”

So things don’t pan out as desired. They had hoped to cut their way through mostly intact and that didn’t happen. The intent of Willan’s group was to kill or capture my group. Plus Willan wanted to see Eilwen dead. Halig wanted to get his hands on the amulet.

Is Thorgunna killed?
(Somewhat Likely | 4[d10]) No, but...
Injured and dying.

Is Haf killed?
(Somewhat Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

Is Gethyd killed?
(50/50 | 5[d10]) No, but...
Injured and probably captured? Eilwen might yet have a chance to re-save him.

Did Thorgunna manage to kill a bonewalker?
(Somewhat Unlikely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

Did the other Bonewalker also get slain by someone?
(50/50 | 2[d10]) No
So, it continued hacking and chasing down anyone who fled. That means there’s one out there still.

Are all the other warriors with Eilwen’s group incapacitated?
(Somewhat Likely | 3[d10]) No

Is Willan injured?
(50/50 | 5[d10]) No, but...
Much of his group is wiped out from the Bonewalkers and the collision with Halig’s men, who surprised them, but Willan and a couple of his men did run away.

Did the Bonewalker chase after Willan?
(Somewhat Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...

Is Halig injured?
(50/50 | 1[d10]) No, and...
His group managed to catch Willan’s group completely by surprise and butcher those that the bonewalkers didn’t. He requisitioned their fallen gear and is now hunting for the witch, intent on that amulet.

But how many of Halig’s bandits died? There were 11 of them with Halig. He probably left at least 1 man with Valeri.

Percentage roll:
62 = 62[d100]
We’ll say 6 of Halig’s bandits are dead or incapacitated or walking wounded, who can’t really fight. So four people, including Halig, are now trailing after Eilwen.

Is Thorgunna captured?
(Somewhat Unlikely | 4[d10]) No
This means she’ll die soon without some serious healing.

Is Gethyd captured and healed?
(50/50 | 2[d10]) No
But his wound wasn’t mortal, though the Bonewalker is out there, and it could circle back and kill him and any other survivors on the field.

Does Eilwen lose health in the battle?
(Somewhat Likely | 8[d10]) Yes
I think she loses 2. (Health now 1/5)

Endure Harm
7 = 6[d6]+1
10 = 8[d10]+2[d10]

A weak hit. You press on.

For losing the battle, losing Thorgunna, and seeing Gethyd whom she has a bond with, go down in battle, she loses 2 Spirit. But not having any Spirit left, she’s forced to lose momentum. (Now 0/10)

Endure Stress:
2 = 1[d6]+1
11 = 3[d10]+8[d10]

A Miss. You suffer -1 momentum. (Now -1/10)
(Miss count 17/24)

And since she’s already Shaken, I need to roll on the table in the Endure Stress move and take the result.

40 = 40[d100]
You give into fear and compulsion, and act against your better instincts.
We’ll do that next episode.

Iron: 1
Edge: 2
Wits: 2
Heart: 1
Shadow: 3

Momentum -1
Health 1
Supply 3
Spirit is 0 (with the shaken debility)
Unspent XP 1

Always on the edge of dire defeat... We’ll see if she can flee. Getting away will not be easy, glowing as she is. She can hopefully outrun any pursuers and then circle back around and help Gethyd.

Until next time.

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