Session/Game: Axeburg 3e #3
Episode 3: "Holy Cow" or "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing twice."
Campaign Date: Imperial Year 482 Zan to Vay
GM: Dave Nelson
Erkenvald, son of Borvald, trollson berserker, level 3 (Mike Miller)
Bormund, son of Rathgar, human, fighter, level 2 (Andrew Smith)
Erkenward, dwarf, rune smith, level 1 (Toby Miller)
Othere, son of Rathgar, human, brewmaster/barbarian, level 1/1 (Bob Laforge)
Einar, son of Rathgar, human, Priest of Gorm, level 1 (Pete Zollers)
Dagmar, human, vola, level 2 (NPC)
The Warriors: human, warrior 4, NPC's
Lucky Olaf, Wulfgar Number 1, Grunwald, Blauvald, Blaumund, Stangar, Manfred, Bunnbjorn
The Sailors: human, expert 4, NPC
Heinrich the Navigator and 7 others
Xar 30th, Axeburg
Othere and Wilma announce the birth of their daughter (one month premature but healthy).
Wap 27th , Jarlsburg
Erkenvald, Bormund, and Othere were ordered to accompany Borvald the Old in delivering the year's tribute to Jarl Sighvat. They were joined by Bormund's brother Einar, who had recently returned from the mountain fortress of the Sons of Gorm and his champion's training there; and by a dwarf named Erkenward. Erkanvald spent huge amounts of money on runic bandages and the mystically powerful Jarlsburg cheese.
At the Jarl's Thing, they delivered the tribute and watched as one of their folklanders, Ludheim, appealed to the Jarl for recompense since his men had stolen his property. Jarl Sighvat, a middle-aged man with long white hair and no beard (much to the shock of Einar), beckoned Ludheim to approach. As he did so, Sighvat unleashed Elsenmu, the dreaded Trollish Cow of Jarlsburg. The Cow neatly sliced off Ludheim's head and feasted on his body in an instant. Borvald was overcome with rage and leaped forward to kill this Trollish beast. Elsenmu let out a huge bellow, causing all around, save for Borvald, Erkenward the dwarf, and a few others to writhe on the ground in pain. Borvald advanced and with a mighty blow injured the cow. The cow however then sliced Borvald's head off and feasted on his body, to the horror of the Axeburgers. With swelling anger at such defiance, Sighvat ordered all of Borvald's remains and gear cast into the privies and levied a new, greater, tribute on Axeburg. They must supply him with 3 noble women and 20 other women by the end of the year to be fed to the cow, or all their lands would be laid waste. With great trepidation, the Axeburgers sailed homeward.
The travelers have returned, and they give the grim news about Borvald. Since Rathgar is loathe to hand his wives, daughter-in-law and new granddaughter over to be feasted on by a cow, he decides that noble women will have to be captured from the gray elves of Eldax. Rathgar and his sons debate whether to concentrate all their forces in on major attack, or whether to send their ships individually to a number of points across the coasts. They call for Tovi the Vola, who casts the runes and these favor the multiple attacks.
Vay 3rd, Axeburg
After a more sober than usual Hangangar, Hersir Rathgar summons a special Thing. Captains are chosen and the danger of Elsenmu if they should fail is outlined. Bormund decides he will outfit his knar and make a try himself. He gets sufficient money form his mother Hilda to supply the ship and put on the party (the majority of his own fortune was spent on Alfward's wergild). Bormund makes a passionate recruiting speech, based on his growing fame and inoffensive personality, and gathers 8 warriors and 8 first-rate sailors to crew the boat. Erkenvald and the others attempted to gather followers as well, but all met dismal failure.
Vay 5th, Axeburg
Bormund throws a pre-raid party and beer bash. His boast is unnoticed, but everyone hears Erkenvald's boast that he will slay 10 elves. Othere boasts he will slay a half dozen, as does Erkenward. Einar boasts a mere 2. A major drinking contest breaks out, and all fall into stupor with no clear winner. The next morning, hung-over Einar and Erkenvald have a wrestling match, which Erkenvald wins.
It is Bormund's plan to return once again to the Elf town of Smirkenburg. He and Othere had led an expedition there two years earlier and had had some success. Some disagreement arises about whether Dagmar the Vola should accompany the voyage. Erkenvald insists upon it, but Einar is horror-struck that a woman should be allowed on the boat. Eventually a compromise is reached whereby they will also bring Othere's smaller fishing ship along and Dagmar can stay on that boat. Harr apparently can see through such trickery as evidenced by the poor personal rune prophecies of all the heroes.
Vay 7th-14th Outer Ocean
Entrusting Heinrich the Navigator to setting the course, the knar and fisher reach Smirkenburg safely.
Vay 15th Smirkenburg
Smirkenburg lies on a peninsula, at the far end of which is a landing beach. Then comes a steep hill surmounted by a watchtower. The hilltop is only reachable by climbing or by a single narrow stair. Beyond the hill is a band of forest. On the far side of the forest the elves had built an earthen rampart surmounted by a log palisade to defend the rebuilt town itself.
When the Vikings landed, they found 8 wood elf spearmen guarding the beach, 9 halflings at the watchtower, 8 human swordsmen guarding the stair, 8 wood elf archers in the forest, 12 gray elf soldiers and 8 human swordsmen on the rampart at the town.
Othere, Einar, Erkenward, Bormund, Erkenvald, and the 8 warriors swept away the 8 spear-elves on the beach (capturing the one female elf) and then headed straight for the tower hill. Othere swung along the left side while the others headed toward the right where the stair lay. Manfred was felled by a volley of halfling stones and arrows, and Dagmar raced to his rescue. She revived him, but then they were both grievously wounded by the halfling missiles and swooned. Othere came under some arrow fire from the forest, but managed to rescue and revive Dagmar with his magic brews.
As two years earlier, Erkenvald stormed the stairway, slew several swordsmen and cleared the way for others to follow. Bormund on his horse, Erkenward, Einar, Stangar, Grunwald and Olaf the Lucky all climbed the stairs and joined the battle against the halflings and swordsmen. Meanwhile, Erkenvald leapt form the hill to chase down the elf archers in the forest. He was joined by Blauvald, Blaumund, Bunnbjorn and Wulfgar Number 1.
Eventually, the warriors and Erkenvald slew 5 of the elf archers, the other 3 escaping over the rampart, Bunnbjorn was killed, however. The warriors raced back to help their comrades. Grunwald was killed on the stairs and Stangar was killed by the swordsmen too. Othere reached the hilltop and aided in the battle against the remaining swordsmen and halfling bastards. Despite the loss of Bormund's horse to the halflings and many serious wounds to the combatants, the hilltop was secured. Einar was finding it very slow work to cut down the tower door, to get at the two halfling archers at the top. Erkenvald, meanwhile, ran out of visible targets and came out of his berserk rage in the forest. He spent some time tying up his wounds with rune bandages and drinking Cure Light Beers. Eventually, he heard Othere shouting that the halflings had killed Dagmar (who indeed had been grievously wounded a second time by halfling arrows) and he returned to rage, charging the hilltop, and smashing open the door. Erkenward had put one of the halfling archers to sleep with a rune spell, and Erkenvald rushed to the top of the tower and threw both halflings over the side to their deaths. The Vikings then set the forest belt on fire, to clear a path. They also burnt down the inner structure of the watchtower. Dagmar retired to the boats.
The remaining Vikings, Bormund, Erkenvald, Erkenward, Othere, Einar, Blauvald, Blaumund, Lucky Olaf, and Wulfgar Number One, rushed the ramparts. They found these ramparts difficult to climb and took a fair amount of arrow fire. Then they all formed a human pyramid to allow Erkenvald to climb up more easily. Ignoring Alchemist's Fire, spear attacks to the guts and sword strokes, Erkenvald climbed over the palisade and began to clear the ramparts. Because he was berserk, he couldn't take the time to throw down the rope ladder to allow his comrades to cross over. Eventually, Bormund threw Othere's lasso onto the palisade, and Einar and the warriors built a sort of ladder by driving spears into the earth of the rampart. Bormund and Erkenward the dwarf seemed cursedly unlucky in their attempts to climb these devices, but the others managed pretty quickly. While Erkenvald was clearing the right rampart, the others descended to fight the 5 gray elves and 3 wood elves in the town itself (they had descended from the left rampart). Othere was grievously wounded by the wood elves, but the warriors did well against the gray elves. 4-5 of the remaining human swordsmen fled from the left rampart. Erkenvald cleared the right rampart just in time to help finish the last elf defender in the town. Bormund finally managed to climb the wall at this point. Tragedy struck at this moment. Erkenvald was unable to come down from his rage and he slew his two companions Blauvald and Blaumund, before he could stop.
The Vikings plundered the town, taking 4000sm worth of goods, silver and beer, and capturing 6 elf maidens, none of whom were noble. Erkenvald should be prepared to pay 400sm each to the families of Blauvald and Blaumund.
The haul for the heroes was as follows:
50 long swords
12 elven breastplates
12 elven longbows
2 halfling shortbows
4000 silver marks in hack-silver
7 Vimmen (no noblevimmen)