|It's not 'The Enemy Within' without some Ian Miller art.|
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Heroes present were Esmerelda Potter the Shallayan initiate, Herdan Van Helsing the vampire hunter, Jotunn the dwarf veteran, Walter Cinder Corbit the halfling agitator, Solomon the halfling smuggler and Magnus the dwarven prospector.
We left the heroes in possession of Castle Wittgenstein's main gatehouse. They had repulsed a sortie of guards led by the craven Lieutenant Doppler and caused their foe to retreat to their barracks. Victorious they had flung the gates open and thirty allied outlaws moved up from nearby woods to join them. The assault on Castle Wittgenstein was off to a good start.
Key points from Episode 19
|The heroes worked hard to secure the outer bailey|
The group organised the outlaws with bows into groups and co-ordinated fields of fire on the barracks to keep Lieutenant Doppler and his guards hemmed in.
(12:09) The party swept anticlockwise along the outer bailey walls. Their first stop was the stables where they gave valuable looking horses covetous looks. Their greed was distracted by a worrisome green glow coming from an obscured stable stall. Herdan's curiosity was piqued. He discovered the source of the green glow when confronted by a shimmering stablehand brandishing a pitchfork. The pair chatted and agreed to leave each other alone. The stablehand blamed a black rainstorm that had occurred years ago for his mutated condition.
The band finished reconnoitring the grounds running into a number of mutant servants whom they put on notice to behave.
(18:33) Axes and shovels were hefted and the middle gatehouse's side door charged. The dash to the door drew crossbow fire from the barracks. Herdan led the charge shrugging off bolts that clattered harmlessly off his armour. Magnus embedded his pick in the gatehouse door and levered it from its hinges. With one mighty stroke the middle gatehouse was breached
(26:00) The band found the ground level deserted and raced up the gatehouse stairs to confront the shell shocked guards. Solomon and Walter provided cover fire with their slings as Herdan and Jotunn waded into the foe. A grievously injured Magnus shied from combat, instead he watched over the outlaws as they secured the ground level.
|Georg Hegel - Ex-Captain of the Guard ventured from his tower to attack the rear of the group.|
(33:10) The skeletons could not be considered alive which allowed Esmerelda to clobber them with her quarterstaff. It's a rare moments when the priestess strikes out in anger and given her lack of combat experience her blows were ineffective.
(38:13) Magnus guarded the shattered doors at the entrance to the gatehouse. He smashed several skeletons apart before the shadowy form of ex-Captain Hegel swept in to confront him. The undead's deathly cold blade struck Magnus who could not prevent the blow through the fortuitous use of a lucky charm...
... At this moment I had to rescue spring rolls from the oven which left the group on a momentary cliff hanger! ...
... Fortunately for our hero the wight's blade left Magnus reeling on 0 wounds, mercifully avoiding a devastating critical hit.
(40:36) Jotunn, outnumbered four to one in the melee on the second level of the gatehouse, managed to fell a pair of guards in quick succession. The remaining guards were so intimidated by the dwarf's martial prowess that they surrendered. The halflings secured the guard's weapons and kept an eye on them while Jotunn raced down the stairs to aid in the conflict with the undead. Alas upon seeing his foe the dwarf was cowed by fear. In contrast Herdan attacked with righteous vigour and speared the wight's arm off. The crippled spectral ex-Captain retreated.
(46) The heroes pursued their foe into the courtyard and were met by a volley of bolts from the barracks. They shrugged the quarrels off and remained focussed on the retreating enemy. In a frantic flurry of blows Herdan snapped the wight like a twig. With the creature defeated the warriors scurried back to the gatehouse, but not before they gave a one fingered salute to Lieutenant Doppler and his guards holed up in the barracks.
(51:56) Amongst the guards Jotunn had cowed into submission was Sgt Kurtz whom the group began to question. They were interrupted however by a cry from the inner gatehouse where the final outpost of guards standing between the group and Castle Wittgenstein were based. 'What's happening?' they demanded. The group had Sgt Kurtz respond that everything was fine and that Lieutenant Doppler had put down a bandit attack. There was nothing for the inner gate guards to worry about.
Kurtz went on to spill the beans on the castle's defences, residents, guests and layout. His co-operative approach earned him his freedom. Though who could tell what peace a former guard with rotting flesh would find roaming the Empire.
(59:09) To thank Sgt Kurtz for his assistance Esmerelda recommended some chamomile tea and jojoba extract for his horrific skin condition, a condition Kurtz blamed on the night of black rain.
|Lieutenant Doppler could be called risk-averse though to be fair he was badly wounded.|
(67:12) Jotunn cursed Doppler as a coward and charged. Doppler retreated but encouraged his men, 'Look how injured they are. Why that dwarf can barely stand. This will be an easy fight.' While charging Jotunnn got tangled amongst chairs the guards had set as a makeshift barricade. Combat was joined and once Doppler had retreated out of sight a number of guards broke and ran only to be cut down. Skirting the edges of the melee Jotunn bolted up the stairs in pursuit of the craven Lieutenant.
|Doppler's pitiful hostage of uncertain identity was trapped within a crow's cage|
(77:00) Confident that he was in control, Doppler sheathed his sword. He ordered one of his few remaining guards to fetch a loaded crossbow. As he reached for it Jotunn struck with the reflexes of a cobra, quick drawing his rune blade Barakul he sliced cleanly through Doppler's leg. The magic of the rune blade ensured that Doppler's armour remained intact though the torrent of blood pouring around his greaves left little doubt as to the Lieutenant's fate. Doppler's death saw the remaining guards surrender. The outer bailey was secure.