And So It Begins

We are still in the sewers and being guided hopefully to safety by our new acquaintance. 'Let's continue to stalk through here quickly', suggests our paladin, Ganelon.

'Technically, we can't stalk quickly', I reply, dangerously close to turning in to Bernard Woolley. Having to make stealth checks changes the subject quickly enough to let me off the hook for now. We are all moving pretty quietly, except for our man in shining armour, Ganelon clanking his way down the poo-stained stones.

The stealth checks are followed by perception checks. 'What do we hear?' asks Ganelon.

'You, you noisy bastard'. We have no idea if the Hellknights are catching up with us or not, which is causing some consternation amongst our group. We are running blindly down dark and smelly sewers, not even knowing how safe our destination may be.

'Are we going to have to fight the Hellknights?' asks our wizard, Skelra.

'No, we just have to run', bard Brennan says, 'and only Ganelon will have to fight them', pointing out the disadvantage of being the only party member in movement-restricting armour.

I'm sure the paladin's okay with standing his ground in the name of goodness, though. But it doesn't come to that, as a torch light ahead indicates movement towards us. The ranger and I sneak ahead to try to get some element of surprise on whoever is coming up to the junction, but instead the three Hellknights round the corner and get the jump on us.

The first Hellknight swings at me with his longsword and hits me hard. I'm still standing, but only long enough to take an attack of opportunity at the second Hellknight trying to get past me. I am able to disarm him of his longsword but the strenuous action is enough to cause my injury to knock me unconscious.

The first real encounter of the adventure and I am unconscious and bleeding to death before the combat reaches my order in the initiative. This is becoming a habit. Luckily, I have hardy companions to stay by me, Ezio the ranger saying that 'I don't want to move away from Ur'thwrm Jim, he's dying', although I'm hoping that's not because he wants to apply a coup de grace.

Disarming that one Hellknight turns out to be a good manoeuvre. Being unarmed causes him to back off, a second is feared by our wizard, and the third now standing by himself is soon killed by the party. Ezio shoves a healing potion down my throat and I jump up and roll through poo in time to see the unarmed Hellknight cut down, leaving us alone again. We move on.

We would move on, but the paladin wants to see what the Hellknights were carrying, checking out their longswords and admiring their armour. 'A paladin looting the bodies of the dead?!' cries our wizard, himself a necromancer.

'No!' says Ganelon, although there is little more rationalisation for his desecration of the dead. And his god doesn't seem to like his actions here either, because when the feared Hellknight returns, bringing some friends, Ganelon spends most of his time face down in the poo, stumbling and slipping as he tries and fails to keep his balance in the sewers.

The rest of us do a better job in the second fight. I stay alive and disarm anyone who comes close, and Brennan uses his whip to good advantage by tripping the Hellknights. The disarmed and prone Hellknights provoke attacks by trying to pick up their weapons or stand up, are easier to hit when lying on the floor, and barely tickle us when not wielding longswords. The fight against four goes better than the fight against three. It goes to show how important it can be to control the field. Or the stream of poo, whatever you happen to be fighting in.

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