Three for the Twelve

War!

Two months after the Droaamite Invasion of 998

Fort Virtue Soars was the last to fall, and thus exacted the highest price from the invaders. The southernmost pass through the Graywall Mountains was blocked to free movement by Droaamish forces for over a month before repeated frontal assaults by ogre infantry and aerial attacks by harpies and gargoyles finally drove the fort’s defenders from key parts of the walls, which then fell. Thus far, it seems there were no survivors. Soon after news spread of the fort’s defeat, a rallying cry took on a life of its own, as people from across Breland spoke of “fighting with Virtue” to destroy the invading monster hordes.

Things had gone even worse in the central and northern passes, with monstrous forces making relatively swift gains through the mountains. The Argonth had been dispatched to aid in the relief efforts at Sharn, and was thus late in making an appearance on the front. Legions of gnoll infantry had made swift progress south of Silver Lake, across the plains separating northwestern Breland from northeastern Droaam. Those foothills of the Graywalls, and the northernmost pass were also taken quickly. Fort Orcbone fell, and Droaamish forces stopped west of the Shavalant Wood, and northwest of Castle Arakhain – seemingly at the far end of their lines of communication.

In the center, the eastern foothills of the Graywalls were entirely in Droaamish claws. Their forces were, however, in a somewhat precarious position, with their backs against rough terrain with only a few points of egress, and to their front was an expanse of flatland that ended in a dense wood, where Brelish forces had thrown up a stout series of defenses, and were using the familiar woods as a means of supplying what had become their western front.

Shadowlock Keep, at the south end of the border, had stood. A combination of naturally rough terrain and the lingering devastation from the sea had made a large-scale invasion along the southern coast impractical, and so Droaamish forces moving through the pass at Virtue Soars were breaking south to contain and reduce what had become the westernmost bastion of Brelish forces. Their advance through and beyond the pass had been severely hampered since the beginning of the invasion by skilled delaying actions and guerrilla-style attacks by an unknown number of presumably Brelish partisans. The road out of the pass was held with such tenacity that the invaders were unable to move their forces around the fort and into Breland as quickly as they’d planned, thus enabling the fort to do more damage to the Droaamites, and the pass itself, before falling. Word was spread by these partisans to nearby towns, which enabled both for the escape of many people and an early warning of not only the existence of the attack, but a detailed picture of the forces involved.

Following the fall of Virtue Soars, the partisans fought a series of delaying actions to the southwest, back toward Shadowlock Keep, where their eventual arrival was met with much relief – the survivors of Droaam, twice over, with their hefty haul of magic items, were there to make a last stand against the hordes.


We will begin our next session within Shadowlock Keep, with the party working alongside COL Anwar to formulate a defense plan for the coming siege. Scouts have reported Droaamish forces closing in from the north, and the presence of some skirmishers to the west. They could be at the Keeps’ door within a day.

Comments

I know we hold no official rank in the Brelish military. If we are to help with the planning beyond the make of the opposing forces and numbers involved, we need to know what our resources are.
We have a strong spell faster who can reduce a small company of gnolls to cinders, and a strong physical account. What does this fort have to offer in men and material. Do you have your own arcane contingent? What about heavy weapons like ballista or catapults?
(General question. How high are the walls? What are they made of? Are there secret tunnels from which we can launch an attack to their rear once the siege has begun?)

War!
 

You are correct: none of you hold any rank in the Brelish military, and have no claim on past rank, since you’re operating under assumed identities that were designed to be as vanilla as possible. Your emergence from Droaam, willingness to share information with COL Anwar, and your fighting retreat – sorry, ‘tactical repositioning’ – back to Shadlowlock Keep, however, have gained you a great deal of clout with the fort commander and his command staff. The rank & file are also impressed with your Aura of Badassity, which has a 60’ radius and requires all creatures of 2HD or lower than you to save vs. DC20 Will or start drooling over your kits and treasure haul.

Anyway, Shadowlock Keep currently has a garrison of about 650, arranged as a slightly over-strength battalion. There are 3 companies of infantry, one troop of dragoons (mounted infantry – they move on horseback and typically fight on foot), and one company of cavalry, which serves as the unit’s scouts. There is a headquarters company that has a platoon of spellcasters, one of medics & healers (of various sorts, mundane and magic), and one of sappers. There is also an augmented platoon assigned to the garrison itself, and they operate the several ballistas, catapults, and other defenses.

The stone walls are about 20 feet high, with crenelated walls in some areas. The Keep is built over a natural well, and there is a cave under the Keep that provides access to fresh water. Additionally, there is a large cistern constructed underground, along with extensive supplies to support the compliment of troops for months if under siege. COL Anwar is confident that his men, plus you and the 50 or so refugees that have made it here, could hold out for 4 or 5 months without resupply, and without having to worry much about reduced rations. The Keep was built with a 360-degree defense in mind.

There are natural tunnels underneath the Keep, leading outward from the well to three different destinations. The first heads to the southwest, and ends in a well-concealed collapsed cave out in the planes. It opens to daylight about 1/2 mile from the Keep. Another goes roughly east, and ends in a similar point of egress, about 1 mile to the Keep’s rear. The third passage leads to the north, and goes downward. It was sealed long ago by Brelish engineers who, after several subterranean scouting parties failed to return, believe it leads into the Darklands, better known as Khyber.

War!
 

From what I understand of siege warfare, it comes down to attrition. Will their will hold out long enough for us to go through our food and start to die of starvation, and/or disease. We don’t have a time table for the Droamites, let alone their objectives.. this is not a good idea for Droam unless they are a diversionary force for something else. Do the daughters truly believe they can overthrow Breeland? Well, that line of thought is for someone higher up the food chain then us.
As I see it, we need to find out their objective with is. Destruction, or containment? If it is destruction, then we turtle up and make their attacks hurt them a lot more than they hurt us. Lightning quick counter attacks and stay on the defensive. If they want to contain us to move deeper into breeland, then we need to set a line and make them earn every inch with their blood.
Until we have a firmer grasp of what they intend, then I think defence is the best option. Don’t spend our forces needlessly. Be warned of their fliers. I hears of a very interesting tactic they used a few years back where harpies, carried medusa into the fort to generate general mayhem, while oger mage flew on invisibly to open the gates as the guards fled the medusa.
While Breelands finest contain the invaders here, I suggest that we use the tunnels to take the fight to them. Start our own war of attrition against them. Whittle away at their flanks and rear to SAP their will to fight. Make them fear us more thani they fear their leadership.
Do you have communication with another garrison that is not overrun? Perhaps a Sivis heir on retainer? We have a sending stone. Who would be best to tell of our plight and that this fort still stands firm?

War!
 

Sitting and waiting for the inevitable is not my style. Invisibility and disguise would get us into all kinds of trouble…er, I mean fun…skirmishing with the inhuman invaders. Wait…I’m not human either…oh well. Taking out their commanders over and over again would be a hoot! Every time they rally-we take ‘em out again. There’s nothing like sliding a blade between some ribs and punturing the heart. Now that the targets are evil, Flet can put his skills to work again. Creeping into camps, slitting throats, stealing plans or magic items, gathering intel, this is why Flet was originally created. This is where he excelled in the Last War. Remember in the sensational news about those TOP SECRET battle plans that Arko! “captured” all the while wooing his camp followers? Good times! Don’t you just miss the good ol’ days?
Let’s sit down and plan, my brothers. After all, we have the Hero of the Last War, the luckiest elf in Droaam, the bammffing (UPS) buttkicker, a raging and cleaving and leaping Damage, inc. machine, and of course…Flet. We are likely the greatest team of heroic badassity the World of Eberron has ever seen. (or we’re just legends in our own minds, either way we should open up a WHOLE CAN of you know what!) Lets give the bards something to sing about! What say you, gentlemen?!?

War!
 

I agree. Our skills are better put to use in or on the field. However, regardless of how Hua we may be, 100 gnolls would turn us into pin cushions quickly. Going after their leadership is a good idea. If we remove the thing that the Droamites fear, they may lose morale and start the migration back to the county of monsters. I would also like to attempt to get Intel as to why the monsters invaded in the first place. Was it the Daughters sending their minions for some purpose? Was it in the stars that caused them to come out of their holes? Or perhaps something more sinister? So if we can capture the leadership of the invading force that is arrayed against us, that would be good.
So, the fort turtles up, and we eat away at their flanks until the opportunity presents itself to get their orders, or the commander himself, so be it.
The prophecy guides us.

War!
 

I believe all of us can be stealthy, whether through invisibility or outright stealthy skill. Let’s wage guerilla attacks on them.

War!
 

We can make our first priority to capture for intel, but not lose sight of the value of degrading their morale through a thinning of their numbers. In addition to every attack, leave a dragonmark painted in blood.

War!
 

Ooh! A calling card! Who’s will it be? I suggest Faynes or Flets as they are unique.

War!
 

Why not simply a dragon’s claw with 5 talons?

War!
 

A dragon’s claw with 5 talons may make them think it is a symbol of one of their own units, which isn’t all that bad either. But I still prefer the Dragonmark symbol, specifically one of the Aberrant marks. But whatever, I’m not an artiste unless I can color between the lines.

War!
 

A dragon claw may be a sign of the cult of the dragon below. Now there are some of those cults floating around Droam, and the monster nation is known to fight amongst themselves. It may have merit to make the hoard think there may be some monsters who do not sanction this conflict.

War!
Lyle

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