The Lemmings had reached the Synod hideout. As they had come to expect, eldritch fog rolled in as they neared it, cutting down visibility and chilling them to the bone. As if that was not clue enough, the mutated fungi that had replaced the tree growth here was a bit of a hint too. The cultists were spread out on guard while their leaders and a select group of members were performing a ritual in the stone circle near the houses they lived in.
|The Thrappled Lemmings (bottom right) fail their first and only sneak roll of the game|
Wido crept forward through the undergrowth. It was heavy going and he made too much noise pushing through. A sentry heard him and yelled a warning to the other cultists. Suddenly a horde of maddened cultists were charging towards the Lemmings. Worse yet, these looked better armed and armoured than previous cultists they had dealt with.
|Cultists start to become possessed by maddened revenants|
In the first rush, Wido, Onesipe and Fulrad let fly all of their bolts and arrows. They wounded and killed several cultists but were now out of ammunition. Drogo, Lysanthir and Sir Thiebault moved to engage the cultists in melee and the others followed them up. Suddenly, the wounded cultists seemed to burst and undead monstrosities emerged from the tatters of their skin. Lysanthir cast a barrier spell to slow one of the undead down, but they all advanced implacably as the remaining cultists also charged.
|Lysanthir falls, mauled by a maddened revenant|
The Lemmings fought desperately against the onslaught. Drogo and Sir Thiebault were both wounded. Onesipe rushed between them bandaging their wounds while the others slowly whittled down the remaining cultists, trying to kill them before they could become possessed. The only saving grace was that Drogo and Sir Thiebault managed to kill the cultists' leaders in hard fought melees. Suddenly Lysanthir cried out. The revenant had felled him.
The others redoubled their efforts only to see the revenants' wounds healing before their very eyes. they fought on and focused on taking out the revenants one at a time. The Lemmings knew how to fight as a unit, despite their rugged individualism, and worked together to cut down each revenant in turn.
|Sir Thiebault copies Lysanthir and crashes to the ground, cut down by a revenant|
Suddenly Sir Thiebault cried out in pain as a revenant attacked him from behind and cut him down. The remaining Lemmings focused their efforts on this last revenant. It took time because the creature healed almost as fast as they could wound it, and it was strong and capable in the fight. At least it lay dead again and they had time to breathe, loot the dead and check their own fallen. As it expired, the eerie fog rolled back and the chill departed.
Lysanthir struggled groggily to his feet as Wido and Fulrad checked his purse to see if he was still alive. he had just been knocked out. Sir Thiebault was in a much worse state and bleeding from several bad wounds. He would take a while to recover.
With their wounded sorted out, the Lemmings started the really serious business of looting the place. They found various art objects that would sell well and a fine longbow that Drogo took. The cultists also had some battered weapons that they Lemmings reckoned they could sell and 2 Marks in gold.
The cultists' houses did not look like they were too infested with anything, so the Lemmings settled in there. They would return to Haitabu in the morning and see what they could earn from their travails.
"Heh," muttered Sir Thiebault weakly, "At least we made sure the beer supplies won't stop, eh?"
The others agreed. This raid could have cost them their leaders, but it had destroyed the Synod of Reason as a force in Utavoll.
Well, that could have gone worse. I got lucky. The bad guys did not get any reinforcements and Lysanthir just took a bump to the head so he will not miss any campaign turns. Sir Thiebault was moderately wounded and will miss 6 turns. Better yet, this has reduced the cultists to 0 Threat, meaning that they are no longer an organised threat. Isolated pockets of them can still be found, but that is all.
I think this is the first time I have faced an enemy force where all the enemies had combat bonuses and higher toughness than my guys. I used up all my remaining story points rerolling armour checks and spent time bandaging wounds to keep my main warriors in the fight. Without the bandages and story points, this could have gone a lot worse. The rolls to see if wounded cultists transformed into maddened revenants were nervewracking. With Toughness 5 and regeneration, the revenants are relatively hard to put down, especially when you keep rolling 1s for the Armour or Toughness rolls!
With the cultist threat no more, this was a satisfying denouement to the campaign against them. It felt dangerous enough that the Lemmings could have failed which makes the victory sweeter. After the lack of respect shown to them by the brigands, the Lemmings are very tempted to go after the bandit threat next, but they need a beer first.