A Fine Morning… or Afternoon
The party awoke well rested late in the afternoon. Their grim adventure into the mines were fresh in their mind, but the troubles were behind them. All except for Sal, who was still afflicted with a case of the wobbly legs from his brush with the nightmarish creature in the mine.
[Sal and Noone reach Level 3!]
They gathered outside the mine entrance in the glorious sunlight and took in the nearby stone wall. It was pretty long, about 20 feet high, and had drum towers at each change in direction. The top of the battlements was lined with merlons. Sal elected to take a quick ride around to gauge the size of the structure. It was almost square shaped, except the SW corner was cut off by a diagonal wall segment. At the south side there was a raised drawbridge despite having no moat. He returned to the group to find One-Eye tossing his grappling hook towards the top of the battlements. He missed twice, noisily clanging against the stone wall, but got the hook secure on his third attempt. Without a word, he climbed swiftly up the rope and disappeared over the top.
Not to be left behind, Sal followed up right after and the two scouted the wall. There didn’t seem to be anyone or thing around at first, but then they peeked over into the inner bailey. Directly below their section of the wall were some skeletons looking up at them as they were attracted by the noise. Two appeared in no better condition then the ones they encountered in the mines, but the third was well put together, wearing leather armor, a short sword, and a shield.
Down below, Valanthradil decided to climb up and join the other two and Noone tried to follow, but her lack of strength and heavy armor made the going tough despite having the wall to brace against. She took a deep breath and overcame her obstacles in the end though which helped her build some character and work through some tough emotions dealing with failure.
As the party studied the scene of the inner bailey, they noticed the keep was a good distance from the wall and about twice as high. The side of the keep facing them had a large set of cellar doors with a tough looking zombie nearby. The keep sat closer to the north wall and south towards the gate was dotted with skeletons and zombies. Valanthradil checked the drum towers at each end of the wall section they were on and found a wooden hatch leading down into each one. He listened at one and then went down the spiral staircase to see where it lead. He came to a door facing into the courtyard and peeked out.
Shooting Fish in a Barrel
One-Eye and Sal started hatching plans to somehow enter the keep from the top as it was much more badass then using the front door. After a while though they decided to deal with the undead infestation below them. The party took aim with their crossbows while Valanthradil sneaked out into the courtyard itself with his composite longbow. Sal and Valanthradil managed to down one skeleton each in a single shot, while One-Eye and Noone peppered the remaining one. It ran straight towards Valanthradil and One-Eye tried to hang off the wall to get a clearer shot past Sal and Noone who were in front of him, but his one-handed shot failed to hit the skeleton. Noone aimed at a fourth skeleton approaching the commotion and managed to blast it to pieces with a critically placed shot. Meanwhile, Valanthradil took aim at the mean looking skeleton running right at him, but it reached him in time to land a heavy swing into his side. He still managed to loose his arrow though which downed the skeleton.
Split Up? Definitely!
Valanthradil, Sal, and Noone head south along the wall and start firing at anything in range, electing to stay safely in the battlements. One-Eye stayed behind and eyed the remaining zombie hovering near the cellar doors and tried taking pot shots at it while it wandered about.
The Story of One-Eye
The zombie, two arrows sticking out of its body, went around the north side of the keep just out of sight. One-Eye stood in between two of the merlons, puffed out his chest, watched the rest of the party stalk away to the south, and then tried to backflip into the inner courtyard. His plan was to deploy his batwing glider cape, but his backflip went terribly wrong and he crashed to the ground bruising a couple ribs. His pride hurt, he looked up in time to notice the zombie shuffling right at him.
He braced his crossbow on the ground and fired, but missed! He quickly reloaded to try and take another shot, but the zombie reached him first. He tried to jump to his feet instead while the zombie reached out to grab him, but he managed to slip away and with a lightning quick draw he tried to uppercut the zombie with one of his masterwork punching daggers. He was just a hair too slow as the zombie tilted his head to one side. The zombie started trying to land blows with both hands, but only grazed One-Eye who quickly responded by grabbing his arm equipped with the dagger and landing a powerful jab with both hands behind the blow. The zombie shuddered and fell to the ground.
One-Eye backed up to the wall of the keep and quietly slid along towards the south side. There he spotted some skeletons milling around what looked like the main entrance to the keep. He sneaked up behind the closest one and grabbed a hold of him to kill him, but the skeleton shook free. One-Eye still had the jump on him though and attacked with both punching daggers, landing solid blows and killing the skeleton. The others did not seem to notice, so One-Eye disappeared back around the corner of the keep and setup a tripwire with caltrops.
He shot and killed another skeleton and two more noticed and gave chase. They rounded the corner where one tripped and fell into the caltrops, but they didn’t damage the skeleton since he was all bones. The second skeleton seemed to notice this happen and went around the tripwire. One-Eye shot another crossbow bolt at the skeleton still standing and clipped him for some damage, but he closed the distance and scratched One-Eye for some minor damage. The second skeleton made it back to its feet and joined the melee which lasted a couple rounds with hits being traded back and forth, but in the end One-Eye prevailed.
He then used his grappling hook to climb the wall again and the noise drew the attention of another skeleton. He decided to use the grappling hook to “fish” for the skeleton and managed to latch into his rib bones with the hook. He pulled the skeleton about halfway up the wall and climbed down the rope to disarm it. The skeleton took a swing at him as he lowered himself down, but missed. One-Eye cleaved the arm off the skeleton and then left him dangling there. Worried about being alone for so long he went off in search of the rest of the party.