August 27, 2012

The Ballad of the Swiftblade

After a long hiatus, my group finally got a chance to play some C&C last Friday.  It was a blast of a session.

Our campaign is set in the Southern Reaches of the Wilderlands, with the party operating out of Sacred Rock. They decided to follow-up on an old adventure lead about an abandoned guard tower outside of town. Quite some time back, they saw a gargoyle floating around there.

A darkwing (notably, not Darkwing Duck).
There was a stable and an armory on the ground level, and the upper levels consisted of  a series of walkways (i.e., upper interior was mostly hollow). After breaking in and battling some zombie guardsmen, they were set upon by darkwings and, later, a gargoyle swooping down from the upper reaches of the tower.

It was a tremendous battle with plenty of "fantasy #@#$! Vietnam"-style play. Thanks to a critical hit dealt out by the gargoyle, the party's wood elf ranger, Ash Swiftblade, bled out at the very end.  The party's bard player posted the ballad below on the campaign's EpicWords site afterwards.

As much as I take pot-shots at bards, there is no doubt this is awesome:


The Ballad of the Swiftblade

To the forgotten tower I did journey
with Wil, Gravel, Ash, and Antonin
through its sealed doors we sought the secrets 
held in darkness within.

The air was thick with dust and must
We found arms and bones of horse
But in its draft we did find 
something much, much worse.

Bold Gravel cried, "I need no help
To vanquish this undead foe!"
But was soon beset by death
taken wing to dive from above to below.

Swift as his blade, Ash ran up,
his companion beset by undead scum
but a rushing, flapping sound from above
foretold of death to come.

Wings violet as night swarm in the dark
trimmed with fangs and claws
that will lift you up to heights so high
that the fall should give any man pause

A swarm so large it should be said
that it could even lift large Gravel
"We must pull back!" the Swiftblade said
"Lest upwards you wish to travel!"

Gravel found the quickest way down,
landing with a sickening thud
"To the armory!" the Swiftblade called
"They'll not have our blood!"

Through a hail of death taken wing
We struggled to the door
When it was slammed and leaned upon
We numbered only four

Potions were quaffed by one and all
both magics and fermented
The door was braced, but slowly gave
under attack unrelented.

As we took stock and readied to fight
to the bold and bitter death
When the scratching and clawing of our foe
eased like a sighing breath.

"This is our chance!" the Swiftblade growled
"We open this door and fight!"
All agreed and so we did,
his blade the first to cut right.

Only a few remained, the rest drawn away
A riddle quickly won
When a voice we heard, Antonio's cry out
"These beasts, they fear the sun!"

Took flight we did for the door we came in,
cutting through the winged lot
seeking the solace of the sun
and its warming rays most hot.

As we did a beast did join, 
larger than the rest
It sought our blood as its favorite sweet
Nearly putting enormous Gravel to his rest.

Wil came up to the giant half-man,
"We make our stand now and here!"
And all did turn to fire upon
the gargoyle without fear.

Know that gargoyles are not the sort to shy
with their stony bodies and hide
Though pelt it we did with arrows and blows
With our line it did collide.

"You'll not have my friends!" the Swiftblade yelled
His sword arced for a mighty blow
But the gargoyle tore with tooth and claw
to lay him bloody low.

As there he lay, his lifeblood spilling
He beckoned me to take his blade
"Take this now and run him through,
before to darkness I do fade."

I wish I could say I did such a thing,
though at least I can say that I tried.
But even as he lay bleeding he save me once more
or else I would have died.

Slick with his blood, I could not stand
And the gargoyle terrible and fierce
Expected with my rise to run me through
With its horns it meant to pierce.

With it low to the ground my companions did strike
They ran it through front and back
And there it fell, beside the Swiftblade
Its blood as Ash's name most black.

"Thank you for that," he sighed me
as he died there in the sun
But he'd done much, much greater for us
for because of him the battle was won.

So when into darkness you must tread
or through trouble you must wade
hope you have a noble friend
as brave as Ash the Swiftblade!



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