Encounter at Farside - Further Into the Woods
rating: 0+x

By HoratioAtTheBridge

Further Into the Woods

This section is wholly optional, but the players may wish to investigate the army personally. Paiman has patrols on the edge of things, so getting close can be tricky. It takes about another two hours to get to the army's encampment deep in the woods if the hobgoblins said where it was (otherwise it takes 5 successes on an extended Perception + Survival roll with a 2 hour interval). A large area has been cleared, with broken stumps sticking out of the ground all around the place (Rock Crusher is responsible for this). A large tent is pitched in the middle of the clearing, with a large pile of rocks behind it.


Paiman - Use the Fae Cataphract QC for this character

Paiman is a knight-errant in service to Queen Aditi of the Gossamer Stockade. He is a tall, elfin looking gentleman with tufted ears and wild blue-green hair. His armor is a similar blue-green color. He has an unrequited love for Queen Aditi and considers himself her champion. He has left for Creation with her blessing, hoping to do great deeds to win her approval. Defeating a Dragonblooded warrior and bringing back a town full of mortal slaves should be adequate. His intimacies are as follow:

Defining Principles: Glory, Honor
Defining Ties: Queen Aditi (Unrequited Love)
Major Principles: I Desire to Face Worthy Opponents
Major Ties: Rock Crusher (Noble Steed)
Minor Principles: Prudence
Minor Ties: Hobgoblins (Lovable, Disposable Minions)

In addition to this, add a Minor Tie of (Respect) towards the players if he catches them in his tent. This increases to Major if they escape in time to join the battle.

Rock Crusher - Use the Fae Behemoth QC for this character

Rock Crusher is a wild beast from the Wyld. It is formed of five nodes made of animated rock held together by bands of force. It eats by hammering other rocks into small pieces and them absorbing them into its nodes. It's really more of a peaceful herbivore, but it was captured by Paiman in one of his adventures in the hinterlands of the Wyld and trained to be his faithful war steed. It's not sure how to feel about this. It is only in Creation by Paiman's command, so if Paiman falls it will flee back into the Wyld. Its intimacies follow:

Defining Principles:
Defining Ties: Paiman (Mixed Fear and Love)
Major Principles:
Major Ties: The Wyld Hills of Its Youth (Desire to Return), Creation (Scary and Unfamiliar)
Minor Principles: Vanity
Minor Ties: Gemstones (Desire to Smash Them Into Nodes as Decoration)

Infiltrating the Camp

Entering the camp uses a push-your-luck mechanic. Call for Dexterity + Stealth rolls to get near to or enter the camp. Grant +1 success to all player characters if one of the Hobgoblins is guiding them. The camp is approached in three stages: close enough to view it, entering the camp, and sneaking into Paiman's tent. Each time the players enter one of these zones, ask if they press forward or turn back. Note that the players may split up at any time. Compare the Stealth result of each character that chooses to press forward with the difficulty of the next area. If they succeed they can take actions or gather information in the area, but if they fail then they are discovered. Mitigation methods to deal with being discovered are discussed in each section.

Viewing the Camp

This only requires one (1) success, so is automatic with a Hobgoblin guide. From here the players automatically verify that there is a hobgoblin force. From here, the players may attempt to examine the camp with a Perception + Awareness roll.

Basic Success (1+) - The player characters can count the number of Hobgoblins, coming in at about 75 (a Magnitude 3 unit, compared to the Magnitude 2 unit back in Farside). They also see the tent and the pile of rocks. The tent has a standard planted in the ground just outside its entrance with two flags on it.

Great Success (2+) - The player character is able to make out the details on the standard. The upper flag is green with three trees stitched in silver thread arranged in a V pattern. The lower flag is blue with three tan stones arranged in a triangle pattern.

Exceptional Success (5+) - They learn that the pile of rocks is animated. It's actually Rock Crusher, resting.

If the players ask about the pile of rocks, they may attempt an Intelligence + Occult or Lore (Fae) roll.

Basic Success (1+) - They learn that the pile of rocks is animated. It's actually Rock Crusher, resting. Rock Crusher is a Fae Behemoth; a strange monster spawned by the Wyld that can have an unpredictable degree of power.

Great Success (3+) - Rock Crusher seems to be a relatively weak example of the Behemoth type. It's still a match for the scale of soldiers back in Farside, but could likely be overcome by a determined band of heroes.

Exceptional Success (5+) - The rock nodes can be destroyed with a focused attack (gambit) which wounds and weakens the creature. This could be easier than trying to defeat the creature in straight combat.

If the players ask about the standard, they may attempt an Intelligence + War or Lore (Fae or Local Knowledge) roll.

Basic Success (1+) - The upper standard represents the Gossamer Stockade, a local patch of Wyld Borderlands where a Fae court reigns. The lower standard likely represents one of their nobles or knights.

Great Success (3+) - The Gossamer Stockade is ruled by a Queen named Aditi. She has tested the River Province over the years, sending monsters to rampage through the lands, but has not mounted a full scale invasion since she founded her kingdom during the time of the Contagion and the Balorian Crusade.

Exceptional Success (5+) - The lower standard belongs to a knight named Paiman, a figure of small importance in Aditi's court.

If the players are discovered, a patrol chases them. This patrol consists of 3 hobgoblins, so the party may fight them. It takes 3 rounds for a second patrol to arrive and 6 rounds for a Magnitude 2 quantity of Hobgoblins, led by Paiman on Rock Crusher, to overrun the player's position. Alternatively, the party can just run away. This is a contested extended Dexterity or Strength + Athletics roll requiring 5 successes - the Hobgoblins have 5 dice. Finally, the party may slip away and hide. This is a contested simple roll of the party's Dexterity + Stealth against the Hobgoblin's Awareness pool of 4 dice. If at least half the party succeeds they slip away.

Entering the Camp

This requires three (3) successes on the Stealth roll. Here the players automatically determine the number of Hobgoblins as well as the nature of the pile of rocks. The camp is a wretched, foul smelling place. The hobgoblins have been hunting and slaughter their catch indiscriminately around the camp. From this, the player characters may roll Intelligence + War.

Basic Success (1+) - This reveals that the hobgoblins have poor discipline (Drill 0).

If the party looks at the meat, they discover that it includes deer, squirrels, birds, and human remains. They may attempt Intelligence + Investigation to learn more about the human remains.

Basic Success (1+) - The party turns up enough of the person's gear to determine that this was a trapper that lived alone in the woods. Based on this the party concludes that this army has not yet attacked any major settlements.

The players may listen in on the hobgoblin conversation to learn more about their purpose. Roll Perception + Awareness

Basic Success (1+) - The hobgoblins talk about the stupid Realm troops tromping through the woods and complain that Paiman hasn't allowed them to slaughter the troops, insisting that the patrols be followed and observed instead. Another hobgoblin assures the first that Paiman has some grand plan and that he'll act soon enough. They talk about Queen Aditi, and all of the tasty slaves they'll capture when they overwhelm Farside.

If discovered, the players must immediately fight a Magnitude 3 hobgoblin unit. Paiman and Rock Crusher enter the fray on the second round. The players may attempt to run away as above, but the Hobgoblins start with 2 successes in their chase pool. It is not possible to attempt to hide at this point, but it may be attempted once the players have 3 successes in their chase pool. Finally, the players may attempt to bluff their way out if this. Hobgoblins are not very intelligent, so the players may be able to pass themselves off as spies working for Paiman, slaves taken by the first group of hobgoblins, or mercenaries come to join the army. Players must be careful not to be too successful, however, as the helpful hobgoblins may offer to usher them into Paiman's presence. This is resolved as Instilling an Intimacy, with a difficulty of the Hobgoblin's Guile.

Entering Paiman's Tent

Paiman's super-human senses require that the players achieve 7 successes in order to enter his tent undetected. The Fae Cataphract is puzzling over some maps. After a little bit of time, he stands, grabs his helmet, and exits the tent. The players may view the maps, which display the area around Farside.

The players may examine the papers with Intelligence + War or Socialize as a Read Intentions action

Basic Success (1+) - The papers consist of scouting reports. If the reader has a single dot in Linguistics they recognize that these are all written in a single hand, likely Paiman's. Paiman is revealed to be a cautious and skilled commander.He has thoroughly scouted the Realm troop position in Farside and has an accurate count on both the number of troops (25) and the number of Dragonblooded (1).

Exceptional Success (6+) - If the Read Intentions action exceeds Paiman's Guile, the player characters learn that Paiman is very concerned about the possibility of facing a Dragonblooded in battle and wanted to be sure that he wasn't up against a full sworn brotherhood. Recent notes reveal that he is relieved to only be up against one such foe and will act soon. They also learn that Paiman is interested in winning glory and then returning to the Gossamer Stockades with his prizes.

If the players search the room, they may roll Perception + Awareness or Investigation.

Basic Success (1+) - The search turns up a chest full of jewelry and fine clothes, suitable for a Dragonblooded Satrap, worth Resources 3. The search also turns up a perfumed letter. It is from Queen Aditi to Paiman, commending him for his bravery and wishing him success on his adventures in the lands of shape.

The players may attempt a Read Intentions action on the note based on Wits + Socialize.

Basic Success (1+) - Paiman is here on his own, though he does have the blessing of the Queen. He's essentially a privateer, and he does not have a lot of additional backing.

Exceptional Success (6+) - If the player character overcomes Paiman's Guile, they deduce from Paiman's treatment of this letter that he is in love with Queen Aditi.

Exceptional Success (8+) - If the players are able to overcome Queen Aditi's formidable Guile, they learn from the tone of the letter that the Queen Aditi does not return Paiman's feelings, but is certainly using them to encourage him to strike at her enemies in a way that can't be directly laid at her feet or provoke a war.

If the players get caught, they're immediately confronted by a Fae Cataphract. Paiman is mostly amused that a mortal managed to get this far and he offers them his best hospitality. He does, however, order that the dozen hobgoblins on patrol be executed for failing their duties so badly. He will then sit down for a pleasant chat.

Paiman willingly shares information about his business as long as the players are free with their own. He makes a point of avoiding any information like watch orders or readiness reports that the players cannot in good conscience discuss, though he is highly curious about how they came out here and what kind of person Herren is. He doesn't really need information from the player characters since he already has good scouting information from his prior work. He will give any information available from perusing his documents, including his concern about facing a sworn brotherhood of Dragonblooded and that he's mostly out here to win a bit of glory. Killing a Dragonblooded and taking a town full of slaves back to the Gossamer Stockade should do.

The players may attempt Read Intentions actions to learn more about him, but it isn't really necessary. He'll tell them whatever they ask. At the conclusion of the interview, Paiman says he has a lot of respect for the player characters. He obviously can't let them go right now, but he'll leave them behind in the care of three hobgoblins while he goes and kills Herren. Once he's done that he'll let the player characters go. He gives his word to this effect, and he will in fact follow through. Of course, the player characters should be able to overcome three guards and arrive in time to help at the battle. Paiman secretly hopes that this will be the case. Opponents who had crept into his tent and then escaped his guards would have proven themselves to be true heroes and worthy antagonists.

If the players are captured earlier and survive the subsequent fight, Paiman treats them the same way. He respects their boldness and their fighting prowess, so he will give them another chance to become greater heroes.

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