The Search Party
As he is wont to do, the king's aged and incomparably wise advisor has headed off into the forests to collect herbs for his healing potions. That was six days ago, two days longer than ever before but the worry only started when his pony trotted back into the royal stables, riderless and uncharacteristically skittish. To allay the king's fears, out of gratitude for his past acts of healing, and with the faint chance of some chivalric deed to accomplish, two knights claimed the right to search for him...
The cheeky little beggars tried to sneak on their usual helpers, but I soon cleared them and the two knights set off into the forbidding pathways of the forest. Sure enough, there were brigands who tried to ambush the chivalrous duo and met a nasty end, but nearly did for CJ. Then, stepping into a clearing, there was the sound of a hunting horn and a dozen more armed and rough looking men streamed past yelling "They're coming, run!" Fearing this was more of the same band (who seemed dead certs as culprits for the missing old man), the knights assumed they were the cause of the running and, determined to avoid another ambush, used their Charge skill to engage the nearest scoundrel. He promptly tried to run away and follow his fleeing fellows, and was cut down a little unchivalrously by the free hacks of our "heroes". Hmm, a little more Ramon Lull needed for their bedtime reading, methinks!
Back in the woods, the horn sounded again from whence the brigands had been fleeing, and in stalked the hunters. Hunters of men! These twisted beasts, part man, part horror, fell savagely upon our duo and, once again, CJ's poor dice rolling nearly saw him fall. Worried now that these creatures (or friends of theirs) had taken the old man to eat him (vivid childhood imagination had taken a strong grasp on the game at this point), the two carried on until a heavy wooden door in a smooth stone wall blocked the path. It creaked open when pushed...
Inside were an old man, apparently leaning on his staff for support, and a knight in armour of curious form.
The relief at not having to face more of the "men hunters" soon vanished as the old man proved to be a fell sorcerer, and the knight to have sold his soul - the assault began. An initial burst of lightning springing from the wizard's clenched fist splattered harmlessly across CJ's shield but, worried that the next blast would be more efficacious, he Charged the spell-caster and was promptly clubbed to the ground, dropping off the bottom of his Combat Dice Track.
[Strictly speaking, this should have been him out of the game but we were having such a lovely father/sons time on a wet afternoon that I didn't want it to end in tears and a reluctance to play again. So I reached for the trusty old DM-fiat and ruled that he was unconscious but if EM's knight managed to defeat the two baddies (the Big Bads for this quest and the final encounter, although I didn't tell the boys that) then he could be fixed up]
Meanwhile, EM was trading hefty blows with the false knight whose two-handed sword was fearsome indeed with so much space to swing it. Right prevailed over might, however, and EM was triumphant (seriously, that boy would have been banned from any casino on the dice he was rolling). No sooner did his foe collapse, lifeless, in front of him, than a great blast of wind picked him up and hurled him against the far wall, injuring him slightly - the wizard's mastery of the blast spell was dreadful to behold. Undaunted, EM charged back towards the fray, suffering a nasty singe from a lightning bolt on the way. Before he could lay a hand (or sword!) on the mage, however, the wicked man was the cause of his own downfall. Summoning eldritch energies to burn up our hero, something went wrong and he was consumed himself - evil was vanquished by its own hubris!
Shaking his dazed companion back into wakefulness, the two knights searched the lair and found, bound and gagged in the back room, the king's advisor. Before his capture he had found the herbs he needed and applied some of them to the knights, raising them back up towards health by one dice each.
Then, back to the castle for feasting, rewards and recuperation. Job done!
Dungeon tiles, as always, from the Inked Adventures sets.
The adventure worked well, with just the right challenge level in each encounter. There was a nice level of basic roleplaying throughout from the lads which I encouraged with suitable descriptions of the environment they found themselves in. Magic is working beautifully, with a good balance of risk versus reward for the spellcaster. The rules for shields and two-handed swords also behaved as I had intended. I may keep the "unconscious" rule, but I'll more likely include it as a suggestion for Minstrels (the DM figure in Knights' Quest) who are gaming with youngsters that are tired or emotional...