the Way of the Wicked

Fire Axe: Part Three

They meet Fire Axe

As the boat glides towards the rickety pier the villains have a hushed conversation.

Adelea do we necessarily want to kill Odenkirk?

Samra'el Yes!

Fitch Our boss wants us to, we got told to.

A but we'll have a boat with a captain who owes us

S no. Kill him and take his stuff. I have a plan. If we can get him to fight the bugbears then it's our chance to take him out! he hits like a truck with that axe, this is our chance to not take him in a fair fight, ambush him when he's busy.

Fitch We can't kill him yet, do you know how to make this boat go? How about you employ your diplomatic prowess? Can we see if we can get the boat to its destination and just kill him in his sleep?

Fitch is confused. He asks Odenkirk if everyone knows where the secret landing spot across the lake is, and Odenkirk carefully explains to him that no, it's a secret landing spot and he is the one who knows it.

Fitch then asks the group if anyone knows where they were supposed to deliver the weapons. They look from him, to the pier, to the assembled throng of bugbears, to him again. Yes, they're delivering the weapons here. Adelea explains to Fitch that when Sam told the patrol boat they were delivering weapons to the wall that was something called a "lie". 

The approaching bugbears seem minded to storm the boat and eat the squishy humans. Sam is disappointed to find she can't manouevre Odenkirk into fighting the bugbears himself, but he is adamant that this sort of thing is why the party are along. She then, in a virtuoso act of diplomacy, persuades the bugbears they are delivering weapons for Sakkarot, and that Sakkarot would be annoyed if they ate any of the party. Yes, even Fitch.

Three of the bugbears act as bouncers, while the fourth runs off to fetch Sakkarot.

Have they actually got buildings here or tents? Tents

I'll say it's tense, there's thousands of bugbears!

Sakkarot is a huge, dark-furred bugbear in a breastplate, and he is indeed carrying a flaming axe. There is a glint of intelligence in his eyes, and he speaks common without an accent. He arranges for the weapons to be passed out to the bugbears, and they soon transform from a rabble into a well-armed fighting force.

After a barbarous feast in their honour Sakkarot invites the villains to his quarters for a quiet chat. Sam wins him over by telling Fitch not to patronise him. Sakkarot rolls his eyes at Fitch, says “me heap big chief ug ug” then continues to talk urbanely to Samra'el.

He doesn't get much conversation in his day to day and, glutted on roast boar and rot gut, seems in an expansive mood. He questions the villains on their origins, and when shown a Branderscar brand, shows a brand of Asmodeus on his own chest. "We all have our scars"

The party are a little cagey about exactly how deep they are in Thorn's schemes, and perhaps sensing this it seems Sakkarot holds back a little himself. However he does tell them he has heard Thorn wasn't always called Thorn, and might have once been high in the priesthood of Mitra.

Sakkarot is delighted by the "mace fell into the sea" story and laughingly repeats "twenty four tons of weaponry and there wasn't a single mace on board!". He arranges for a lackey to find a discarded stone mace from a pile of weaponry abandoned in favour of steel.

He tells the villains they have a month to bring down the impregnable fortress Balentyne and gives them a signal rocket to fire to launch the assault.


Odenkirk is glad to get clear of the bugbear camp and quickly takes the party to a hidden cove, which is a couple of hours walk from Tower Balentyne and the nearby small town of Aldencross.

As they are just about to ground the boat Sam signals the party and strikes! Despite his more than half-expecting this, Sam is just subtle enough and Captain Odenkirk is taken by surprise.

She demoralises him: "Your greed is only exceeded by your stupidity. You have displeased Thorn you have displeased me and now you will pay!". This intimidation is extremely effective.

Adelea mutters "actually I think your stupidity exceeds your greed" but in this instance her remark is more cutting than her sword.

Fitch plants a thrown dagger in Odenkirk's back.

Sam greases his greataxe, which slides right out of his hands. Suddenly he is unarmed. She shouts to the sailors 

You. Can't you see your captain is a traitor? Four of you perished on the journey.

He did not bat an eye. he only wanted to increase his share of the fee. Join us. or die

Odenkirk, frothing at the mouth and screaming that he killed his own brother to get this ship and that no-one will take it from him, fails to pick up his greasy greataxe, swings a wild punch at Adelea and misses.

He goes down under a hail of blows, finished by an arrow from one of his own sailors. The two remaining sailors, promised the ship for themselves, end up sharing the burning ship with Odenkirk as a communal pyre. In the secluded cove the fire goes unseen.

You are close now. Just a few miles from here sits the
small market town of Aldencross and less than a mile from
there is the watchtower of Balentyne – your goal. Already
Sakkarot’s horde gathers and prepares to move. Within
two weeks, they will be in a small valley north of the lake
awaiting your signal. Fire the rocket into the air at just
the right moment and you will take the frst step towards
claiming vengeance against Talingarde.
Destiny has taken you here. Destiny has given you a
mission. There is no doubt that the future of this green
and pleasant land lies in your hands. You could go to that
town right now and warn them of the plots of the sinister
Cardinal Thorn. You could give yourself up and face the
justice you deserve. You could turn back from the horror
and the slaughter that you are going to inflict upon these
Mitran sheep. This is that moment. This is the turning
point. Afer this, there is no going back. Any one eager
for redemption?

I thought not. Come, my friends. We have work to do.
We must burn Balentyne.


In the morning Sam persuades Grumblejack to stay at their supply cache while the party infiltrate the town. He agrees to stay for a while and to keep out of sight.

"A town! Let's go shopping!!"

Flush with Odenkirk's gold the party stock up on supplies and magically enhanced weapons and shields. Shopping is fun. They obtain a room at the one tavern in town, and repair to the bar to buy people drinks and listen to gossip. They hear the following:

Prisoners escaped from Branderscar (!!)

A raven arrived at the rookery – its important.

Captain Mott is a captain – there are 4 of them

Thomas Havelin is the lord commander – he's well 'ard

Posters – play coming to town – Marcus Marlowe – fall of amberline. Command performance to guards in tower.

Belham Barhold – pub owner – enjoys wine – cant get good stuff.

100 soldiers in Balentyne

Captain Varning on patrol with 6 men

Mama Giuseppe's beef stew – Mondays – goes to fort. (got vague directions to her house)

Bugbears amassing to the north – no shit.

Lords dalliance was a brothel – secret passage in basement to tower.

Fitch almost gets into a bar fight through sounding sarcastic at the wrong moment, but just about wriggles out of it. The party retire to their beds after a good days' work.


Steve, you missed out the speech about “this is your last chance of redemption,
theres no turning back etc. etc.” You should totally add that in. That was great.

Anyway, job well done! We’re here, and noone died on the way.

So we need to infiltrate the tower somehow and sow as much chaos as possible before opening the gates to let the horde in. And we have a month do do that.

In terms of getting in – if there is a secret abandoned tunnel, that would be the best bet! I suggest we send our resident Secret-Door-Finding expert down to the basement at the dead of night to have a poke around?

Other than that – there’s the play coming to Fort. That strikes me as a good time to actually open the gates, as a lot of the guards will be watching? Do we have a date for the performance?

Can’t hurt to take out the patrol outside the tower. They may even send more guards after it if it goes missing. We can get GJ to help with that. Might not be much, but it’s still 6 fewer.

The beef stew is definitely interesting. However I think buying poison is probably out. Its about 100gp per dose. Do we have anyone with knowledge Nature, and Craft Posion? Fitch?
We have some time. As we’re heading out of town to intercept the patrol, we could scavenge for Hemlock or Belladonna or something, and Fitch could then make a decent batch of poison for the stew. Enough of it could knock out a decent amount of the guards. – especially if we time it to coincide with the play.

Any other ideas?

Fire Axe: Part Three

We can try and get some decent wine and use that on Belham to get us some access to the cellars?

Maybe a survival roll could help us find some natural poisons? Knowing NOT to eat some plant or other can surely be inversed?

Regarding the play, there is probably a chance it will be taking place in a room with doors – if we could lock a decent number of soldiers away for a time, then that could only help.

Fire Axe: Part Three

Maybe we can kill the inn keeper also, and have one of us masquerade as him using the circlet – if we can make him appear to be sick from something, he can lock himself away in his rooms, and then noone would remark on his absence.

Or Fitch could do his cellar explorations looking like him, so as to not garner any suspicion if anyone sees him?

Fire Axe: Part Three

If the innkeeper can’t find good wine – then we probably can’t either. That said – yeah we could just get him pissed and unconscious before Fitch goes poking around in the cellar disguised as him.

We don’t need to kill the innkeeper (yet)… Although funnily enough I was harbouring thoughts of doing exactly that to Mama Giuseppe. Knock her off and cook the stew ourselves. We could maybe even use diseased meat or something, in addition to any poison we get? I could pretend to be her.

Fire Axe: Part Three

Another thought. We can’t afford enough poison – but we could STEAL enough!

There’s bound to be an apothecary in town I would have thought.

Fitch – you’re going to be busy. “Towns are your natural environment”…

Fire Axe: Part Three

Looks like you have the beginnings of about four plans! I believe the last words of the session were to have your secret door specialist poke around the cellars a bit. No time like tonight eh?

Fire Axe: Part Three

We have a number of objectives right:

- Infiltrate the tower
– Use the tunnel
– Deal with the inn keeper to allow unrestricted access
– Use the play

- Incapacitate as many of the guards as possible
– Kill patrols outside the town to deal with them in smaller numbers
– Poison them on a Monday
– “Obtain” poisons from somewhere
– Deal with Mama Giuseppe
– Ambush them somehow when they are at the play

- Open the gates
– Presumably taken care of as a result of the above 2 objectives

Fire Axe: Part Three

Yay for formatting.

Fire Axe: Part Three

That seems pretty accurate.

We know the fort has a Lord Commander, 4 Captains and 100 soldiers.

The Lord Commander stays there, so we’ll probably have to deal with him inside. The 4 Captains however…

One of them is on patrol – so we can deal with him quietly. If we can lure the other three out on patrol, or into town, or somewhere where we can deal with them, that might be useful. If the soldiers have no leadership, it might make the assault a little easier?

Cpt. Varning is on patrol. The only other one we know of is Cpt. Mott – who the troops said was a good captain.. hrmmm…

Fire Axe: Part Three

I expect Zachariah Creel to name his new +1 stone mace. Some oddity of the crafting process means it’s necessary in order for the magic to work in this instance.

Fire Axe: Part Three

Bashy McBashface?

Fire Axe: Part Three

Reading this back, I think we have overlooked something. They have ravens.

I would suggest that we need to take them out before we start nobbling anybody. Otherwise, if we take out the patrol, they can just send a raven requesting reinforcements, and they could be back up to strength pretty quickly. And we’d be back to square one.

Once we gain access to the fort by whatever means, we should send the sneaky one up to the rookery to deal with the birds. That would cut off comms to the fort – and they may even send foot messengers to wherever – lowering the guard contingent even further.

Sound reasonable?

Fire Axe: Part Three

Or we could use them to send false messages!

Persons matching description of escaped prisoners seen heading south towards the wall ?

Fire Axe: Part Three

ooh nice! Except we don’t know where they get sent?

Thought we could give fitch a chance to test-drive his poison

Fire Axe: Part Three

Looks like you guys had fun. Plans seem to be good, would recommend not killing the ravens too soon, would look rather suspicious and put everyone on high alert.
Maybe see if we can drug the birds too, just enough that they wouldn’t fly off if released. Raven aviary…how easy to get to? Can Fitch or whoever be in place before the assault to cut the communication line at it’s source?
Re-con seems the order first, check the tunnel and find where/if it enters the tower…if it opens in a locked cell or in a cellar or even to under the stage where the play is going to be?!
How does the beef stew get to the tower? Does the entire guard eat stew at the same time? No use if it’s eaten over a week in drips and drabs, after the first few get sick, the stew will be thrown out.
When is the play, where will it be shown? Inside or outside the tower? Will there be a banquette, can we poison that instead?
Can we get a plan of the tower?
How long from our rocket signal before the Bugbears attack? We may only need to hold the tower open a short time to allow there numbers in and minimise our exposure as saboteurs!

Fire Axe: Part Three

We could also disguise ourselves as Captain Varning returning from patrol with the remains of his 6 men to gain access to the tower after killing them.

Fire Axe: Part Three

Yeah recon definitely the order of the day. Need to see what we’re dealing with.

And coordination of all the various schemes – they all need to hit around the same time, for maximum effect before the assault.

Fire Axe: Part Three

Does this world have watches we can synchronise?

Fire Axe: Part Three

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