Mercenary Empires

It Begins
Year 1 Month 1

The group has set out for the Central March of Altengard. A rather wild region, it is well suited to a group of mercenary adventurers. The destination is Rosenheim, a good sized town in the from which they should have no trouble resupplying.

Leopold, Johann, Pietre, Friedrich, Heinrich, and Wilhelm make up the player group.

An Involuntary Encounter is rolled and Wandering is selected to see if they run into trouble along the way. They are coming through a relatively clear area set up as so:
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The group recovers 8 weapons, 7 talos and 2 food from the encounter.

Pietre, Johann, and Heinrich all succeed in advancement rolls and each raises PEP to 4.

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A Shadowy Encounter
Year 1 Month 1

“Ha!” Johann laughed," I impaled that bastard before you had even readied your axe!" He poked at Leopold, a thick finger digging into his captains shoulder. Leopold merely smiled and rolled his eyes. “And that one,” he boisterously continued, “that deadeye couldn’t even hit one! Not one! Say what are you doing back there?” The towering soldier came to a halt as he realized Wilhelm was calmly drawing his crossbow in the growing twilight.
Raising an eyebrow, Johann raise his wide hands plaintively, “Hey, I didn’t mean anything by it.. It was just a bad shot and…” His apology was cut short but a swift rustle. Leopold quickly rushed to their side, suddenly aware of the narrowness of the alley. They had foolishly stumbled into a dead end.
“It occurs to me that we should have been paying more attention to our chosen path,” he sighed, “Where are the rest of us?”
As if in response, a tall figure strode from the shadows. Cloaked in a dull grey garment, and brandishing twin blades, his intent was unmistakable. “You needn’t worry,” he said with a crooked smile," You will be free to leave just as soon as you pay the fee." Leopold and Johann looked to one another incredulously. Surely this fool didn’t think he could single handedly best 3 trained soldiers? Before either could say a word, a distinctive clack preceded the would be robber gripping his chest, gasping painfully. In moments he was nothing more than a crumpled mass in the dusty street, a crimson pool growing around him.
“There’s your one, " Wilhelm grinned, pushing passed his oversized companion.

Arriving in the province- Involuntary Encounter: Robbery

Entering Rosenheim, the sun is setting and the Leopold, Johann and Wilhelm take a wrong turn, finding themselves in a dark alley. A solitary figure emerges from the shadows.
Thief- Rep 4 AC 4, 2 1HW
Wilhelm and Johann pass 1d6 Insight; Thief pass 0d6 and Leopold (star) chooses to Charge into Melee. Wilhelm goes first. Wilhelm fires and hits- the thief goes down with a gurgle, Obviously Dead. Success!
Wilhelm tests to advance and fails. Recover two weapons and 1 armor.

Having bested raiders on the way as well as an attempted robbery, the group secures lodgings and sets to securing supplies. Leopold has no problem trading some of the looted weapons for provisions (barters 3 weapons for 3 Food), Johann and Pietre strike poorer deals- (3 Food for 6 weapons and 1 Food for the sword and armor), but they now have a store of 9 Food. One is given to each member for the month, and 1 to the horse, leaving 2 in reserve. Leopold, as paymaster, holds the talos, bringing his total to 13. He pays 1 talos to each band member with Wilhelm and Johann receiving an additional talos; 7 remain.

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In Search of Bandits
Year 1 Month 2

The tavern was crowded, not unusual for the evening meal time. People from the town would gather to share drinks and stories in the warmth of the old stone building. A merry fire and heavy shutters kept out the early spring chill. Nearby a minstrel played a quick tune and patrons swung happily in time.
Further from the music at a small round table Leopold was seated with a local merchant. The dashing mercenary had drawn more than a few stares. Across from him was a short, heavy set man. Though dressed in a fine velvet tunic and green hose and wearing expensive leather shoes demonstrated his significant wealth, he paled in comparison to Leopold’s flashy garb. “I am glad that we could share a drink together,” the merchant said excitedly," You are obviously a man of means and skill! I am sorry to hear that you were accosted on your way to our town." Leopold smiled warmly. He could tell this little man who lived safely in his quiet little house in a quiet little town was enthralled by the tales of adventure and danger.
“It is nothing unusual in the life of a travelling soldier,” Leopold assured him, “Indeed, is a constant companion when travelling the wilds and we do not shrink from any rogue.” In emphasis he rested his arm on his weapon handle. Predictably, the merchant’s eyes widened as he drank. Wiping his mouth with his sleeve, the merchant nodded appreciatively.
“Capalan is a breeding ground for those bandits! Those thieving bastards wouldn’t know how to follow an honest path were it the only road in a burning forest!” he snarled. Johann nodded. While he had fought both with and against the men of Capalan and well knew how highly many valued honor, he also knew that the merchants of Capalan were shrewd traders and not well loved by the merchants of Altengard. Likewise, it was not uncommon for soldiers of Capalan to engage in banditry in the lands of their rivals. The merchant continued," Indeed, I have even heard that a band of these foreign criminals has been seen by the ruins of Hochmann tower, not even a day away." Noticing Leopold’s sudden increase in interest, the merchant at first startled, but then grinned wide mouthed that he had piqued the mercenary’s interest.
“Tell me more,” Leopold prodded," The next round is on me."

Year 1: Month 2 (April)
No involuntary encounter to begin the month. Leopold has discovered that the bandits that attempted to ambush them may be part of a larger group holed up in some nearby ruins. The group sets out to investigate.

Raid: Attack
The group sets out before dawn to arrive by daybreak. Heinrich quickly scouts the area and the lay of the land and finds it to be hilly and rocky.
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The 6 food are distributed and the talos collected bring Leopold to 11. Each man is paid a Talos, and one is used to buy feed for the horse, leaving 4.

The risk of bandits has been overstated- the men camping out there were Capalan mercenaries who were returning home after fulfilling a contract with duke Otto von Wissenslebben. Fortunately, Leopold had quickly recognized their leader, Antony Vici, a former cohort. Vici had informed the captain that they had seen no one in the area. Perhaps it had been the bandits base of operations- there had been food and some valuables. But there were not any signs of recent activity. Apparently, work was to be had in the eastern Marches, however, according to Vici. Recent tensions on the borders of Östermark had brought danger, but also opportunities for those with the right skills. What’s more, the baron was an old friend of Leopold’s father and, hopefully, would be willing to utilize his band of soldiers for hire.

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Meeting the Silver Wolf
Year 1 Month 3

Leopold drank deeply from the silver mug. The amber drought was a sweet and spiced honey wine, a favored local brew. The taste mingled with the smoky scent of the roasted pork before him. In the flicker of firelight, the hazy light gave an ethereal character to the wood beamed hall. Brightly painted shields and heavy tapestries hung about the walls, testaments to great battles.
“It has been some time since I have had a proper visitor,” the grizzled lord across the oaken table declared, “And longer still since I have heard any good news.” Baron von Wissenslebben was once a mighty warrior and now, wizened with age, a capable, if often plain spoken, ruler. Leopold’s father had campaigned with the baron in their younger years and had been a close ally. “As you are no doubt aware, these are grim times for my lands. We face threats of war on our border and bandits of all sorts have poured in to exploit the situation. Tell me young Krieghammer, what brings you to these lands?” The old man raised an inquisitive eyebrow.
“We have journeyed from Rosenburg,” Leopold replied,”Where we faced bandits on the roads and even in the very streets.”
“So I see that banditry proliferates throughout the Marches,” the baron growled.
“Indeed,” the mercenary continued, “And when I heard of the struggles of the people of the Alara, I departed at once to see if we might be of assistance.”
“For a price I suppose,” the elder smirked.
Leopold shook his head, “Do not misunderstand me; my men are well trained and disciplined, no mere rogues. One hails from the region and my father spoke warmly of you and the tough people of this province.”
“You want to help?” the lord inquired raising an open hand, “Then go to Halstadt and find out what terrorizes my people there. My men are thinly spread and I cannot afford to divert troops to comb the woods. Succeed and I will see that you and your men are put to use. Fail and you needn’t return. And I warn you, should I receive word that any of your men have engaged in theft or banditry, it will not matter who your father was!” Leopold nodded solemnly. Otto’s face softened, “Very well then. Let us enjoy the meal and turn the conversation to brighter subjects!”

Based on his discussions with the Capalan captain, Leopold decides to head east, setting out for the town of Wolfsburg in Östermark. Heinrich welcomes the opportunity to revisit his homelands.

No Involuntary Encounter comes up at the beginning of the campaign turn nor upon arrival in the Eastern Marches. Arriving in the walled city of Wolfsburg, Leopold manages to acquire an audience with Baron Otto von Wissenslebben. From him he learns that the village of Halstadt has been suffering greatly from some unknown source. Located near the Deepwood on the Alara, Heinrich warns that there are any number of dangers in the areas.

The group heads to the village and learns that in recent months many animals and several villagers have gone missing. It all seems to be related to a nearby cave complex and locals believe monsters live there. The group moves to investigate.

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Securing the horse and cart, the group takes stock and readies torches. Group checks for advancement as last encounter was a success: Johann succeeds and is now a formidable Rep 5. Having gathered themselves, they prepare to face down whatever is in these dank caverns.

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The Goblin Caves
Year 1 Month 3

Having traveled into the edges of the Deepwood, the group has defeated an orc patrol and discovered the entrance to a cavern. From the grisly trophies and totems outside, it looks to be infested with goblins.
Dungeon: Goblins ER 4
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1) Locked door- pass 2d6

2) ER+1

3)Trap- Pietre fails to notice a trip wire and triggers a crude trap. His quick reflexes prevent him from being impaled as a spear stabs from the floor.

Level 2

4) Big Bad! 9 goblins 1HW led by Rep 5 goblin with bow of seeking!
Group wins In Sight, Wilhelm shoots goblin, killing it. Heinrich misses. Leopold, Pietre, Friedrich, Johann charge. Leopold 1 OD, Pietre takes 1 OOF, Friedrich 1 OOF, Johann 1 OOF. 5 goblins charge. Leopold 1 OD, Pietre 1 Stunned, Friedrich 1 OD, Johann 1OD,. Big Bad Goblin fires at Leopold- hits, Leopold stunned. Next round, Wilhelm misses. Johann, Pietre, and Friedrich charge- Big Bad Gooblin fires and misses! Johann stuns the Big Bad Goblin. The other two finish him and the remaining goblin.
Recover Bow of Seeking, 4 talos, 2 food, 9 HW.

5) Secret passage!

6) Noise, ER+1

7)Encounter- Dwarves- 7 RS Neutral Soldiers- Leopold- Pass 2d6 to recruit. A grisly scene as 7 dwarves are discovered, bound amidst the mangled remnants of their cohort. The group quickly frees them and learns that they are the survivors of a group ambushed and tortured by the cave goblins. Grateful for the group’s help, they are more than willing to assist, but are in poor shape. They inform the player group that the goblin treasure stash should be further in, but nearby. The group sees to what gear (AC 4 HW each, 4 Talos, 2 food) that can be recovered and Leopold urges them to stay here for now and the group will escort them out. Johann, Pietre, and Wilhelm agree to guard them.

8) Treasure! 15 talos and Potion ([[Potion: Healing | Heal]]), Jewelry ( Ring of Invisibility), Scroll ([[Scroll: Magic Resistance | Magic Resistance]]).

9)ER +1

10) Contact! Orcs 4 REP 4 AC 2. Group wins In Sight- Wilhelm fires and misses, Heinrich fires and misses. Leopold, Pietre, Friedrich, Johann charge! Leopold is beaten and Stubbed- Pass 2d6. Uses Star Power to reduce to Carry On. Pietre takes an orc OOF, Friedrich gets pushed back but then takes the orc OOF. Johann stuns his orc. Orcs Carry On. Downed orc staggers to his feet. Orc 2 fights savagely, but is pushed back by Leopold and then fights to a draw.
Player group wins priority. Wilhelm is reloaded and shoots at the recovering orc, killing it. Johann charges to assist Leopold and knocks the orc down. Johann finishes him. The group recovers 4 weapons and 2 food.

11) Continuing on, they see torches and are surprised to see 8 Imperial Soldiers. (RS, Friendly Pass 2d6) -1ER. Leopold barters 3 of the orc weapons for 3 Talos. Pietre barters the remaining orc trophy for 1 Talos. Pietre sweet talks a soldier out of 3 talos for 3 goblin weapon trophies. Johann, seeing the game, trades 2 for 2 talos. Heinrich and Wilhelm trade the remaining 4 for 2 Talos.

12)As the group prepare to exit, goblins ambush. 8 Rep 3 AC 2 goblin archers! The leader sports a distracting shield, and another a longbow. Group passes 1d6 In sight, goblins pass 0d6. Wilhelm fires and kills a goblin. Heinrich misses. Leopold, Pietre, Wilhelm, and Johann charge. Leopold knocks goblin OOF. Pietre stuns 1. Wilhelm stuns 1. Goblin gets a shot off at Johann but misses. Johann drives it back and oof.

Players win activation. Heinrich is reloaded and fires, knocking a goblin OOF. Wilhelm fires and hits, stunning a goblin. Johann charges the remaining enemy standing, the leader goblin, knocking it OOF. The remaining goblins are dispatched. 7 Shortbows, 1 Strong Longbow, an Enchanted (Shimmering) Shield, and 7 Talos.

Success!

Everyone succeeds in advancing Rep! Leopold is now Rep 6, Pietre Rep 5, Friedrich Rep 5, Johann Rep 6, Wilhelm Rep 5, and Heinrich Rep 5. Treasure: 20 1HW, 7 Shortbows, 5 Food, 33 Talos, Bow of Seeking, Strong Longbow, Potion:Healing, Scroll:Magic Resistance, Ring:Invisibility, Shimmering Shield

Returning to town, word has already spread of the group’s success. Leopold sees that the dwarves are fed and tended to. The group works to trade in equipment. Shortbows are traded for shields for the dwarves. 12 HWs are traded for food. 5 food are given to the dwarves (with the two they already had, everyone is well fed) and 7 food are consumed by the humans and horse. 8 HWs are bartered for 4 talos, bringing Leopold’s total to 41 talos. Each man receives 2 Talos pay and a bonus talos, leaving 26. Wilhelm gets one magic bow and Heinrich the other. Friedrich is given the magic shield, Pietre the scroll, and Johann the potion. Leopold keeps the ring.

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A Noble Task
Year 1 Month 4

The low rapping knock of a messenger interrupted Leopold as he recorded his ledgers. “Enter,” he declared, looking up from his desk. A young boy, his face still smooth and unshaven, entered. Leopold noted that he wore a clean grey tunic and held a delicately folded missive in his hands.
“My master sends this,” he said quickly, handing over the letter. Leopold drew a sharp dagger and chuckled a bit as thye boy’s eyes suddenly grew wide. The mercanary quickly cut the seal and read the delicate looping script. Nodding, he reached down and flipped a golden coin to the messenger.
“Inform your master that Leopold accepts his invitation and looks forward to meeting him.”

The sun rises higher each day as the months of summer begin. Doubles indicate an involuntary encounter- Guard Traveller. As it happens, A Rep 5 noble is seeking an escort to Svenshold on the eastern coast of Mirholme. The trip should be simple enough as it means simply crossing through the border marches to the coast. Leopold ensures that the dwarves each have a food and talos for the coming month.
Leopold, Pietre. Friedrich, Johann, Heinrich, and Wilhelm set out escorting the noble. Arriving in the Central Marches, there is no involuntary encounter, so on to the first Wandering encounter as part of the Guard Traveller mission.
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The encounter is a success but only Johann succeeds on rolling to improve and gains +1 PHY. On to the Western Marches.

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A Noble Task (Part II)
Year 1 Month 4

The Group has reached the Western Marches with no involuntary encounter. Their task continues as they escort the noble through the hillsides, wary of bandits.
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Advancements: Friedrich +1 Rep, Johann +1 Savvy, Heinrich +1 Savvy

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A Noble Task (Part III)
Year 1 Month 4

Crossing the border marches of Altengard had taken the better part of two weeks and the group had been plagued by bandits, but at last they had reached the borders of Mirholme. Leopold knew the journey was not over yet. Mirholme was a rugged land and the thanes and jarls of these lands were well known for raiding one another. What’s more, warbands and pirates were a constant danger to travelers by land and sea, perhaps even moreso than the ferocious beasts and monsters that roamed the wilds.

Stopping in the border town of Fregard, the group restocked and prepared for the last leg of the journey. An involuntary encounter is rolled- Robbery. Apparently they have not gone unnoticed!

Leopold, Friedrich, Johann and Wilhelm find the road ahead blocked by a disabled wagon and notice several men closing in….

Robbery
Rep 5 TW AC2 Pirate with a Shimmering Shield, and Sword Seeking leading 5 Rep 4 AC2 pirates
Group wins in sight.
Wilhelm fires at the leader, OD. The pirate leader uses Star Power; Only 1 dice succeeds, reduced to OOF, which then becomes Stunned and down 1 SP. Pirates Carry On.
Leopold, Friedrich, and Johann charge. Leopold takes 1 OOF. Friedrich slays 1. Johann slays 1. 2 remaining pirates charge in. 1 fights with extraordinary skill- 5 success; Leopold meets him with 7! And then slays him with a 1. Pietre easily kills the other.

Players win activation. Johann attacks the stunned pirate leader and scores an OD result. The pirates SP reduces it to Carry On but loses 2 more SP dice! Pietre attacks and scores evenly matched. Leopold moves in and takes the pirate leader OOF with SP doing nothing. Leopold orders him spared, but stripped and bound. Recover 2 talos and 1 food, 4 1HWs. Shimmering Shield given to Pietre. Sword of Seeking goes to Friedrich.

Wilhelm +1 Rep
Leopold recruits the pirate captain Gyllir and the surviving pirate berserker Ulfar (who both pass 2d6 recovery).

Leopold held his axe to the fallen northman’s neck.
“Go on then,” the pirate spit,“finish it.” Leopold shook his head and sighed.
“I have no intention of killing you,” he mused, hefting his axe to a shoulder," Though it would not trouble me in the slightest to end the life of a thief, I would rather hand you over to the local authorities. I am sure they have suitable punishments for one such as yourself." The bound pirate shifted uncomfortably. “Such a waste,” the mercenary sighed, “Perhaps your talent may be put to better use. Tell me, what is your name?”
The fair haired reaver glared at him suspiciously.
“I am Gyllir Ulrikson,” he finally replied. Leopold nodded,
“I am Leopold Krieghammer, mercenary captain, and you have met my men. I can see by the arms you bear that you are a man of some martial talent. I also see that your men, desperate thieves that they were, followed you even at risk of death, indicating some measure of loyalty. Swear an oath to me, renounce your old ways, and I shall spare you. Know that I take care of my men, but also expect them to behave with honor. Join me and your thievery is a thing of the past.” The pirate chewed the words, considering his reply carefully. He had grossly underestimated the ability of these men and mistaken their foppish dress for softness. They had spitted his men, tough and trained warriors, as if they were tied hogs. Gyllir did not swear lightly and such an oath would bind him in service until released. Betrayal would brand him something even worse than a thief and Gyllir’s honor, such as it was, would not suffer that. Perhaps fortune had smiled on him, however, by offering powerful new allies. And if this man showed such mercy, perhaps he would also offer him a chance at freedom. Even if he were to remain a bonded man, service to a capable lord was hardly a punishment.
“I pledge my arm to your cause,” Gyllir replied, “My life is now yours and I surrender all that I have in tribute. I ask only that you spare my man, for he has been steadfast to me and will serve you well.”
“Can we trust him?” Heinrich whispered.
“He puts the safety of his man before his own freedom and wealth,” Leopold noted, " I think so." He gestured for the men to see to the fallen man cloaked in rough furs.
Friedrich helped Gyllir to his feet. The injuries were painful, but he would live, as would his man.
“Now that we are all friends,” the northman coughed, a wolf’s grin spreading across his face, “We must share a drink to this great victory!”
Johann raised an eyebrow,
“I think I am going to like this guy!” he chuckled.

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A Noble Task (Part IV)
Year 1 Month 4

“Ah, I see you have gathered local reinforcements,” the noble said, “Though they look a bit rough.” Leopold chuckled,
“That’s because they are rough, but also more than capable.” The noble nodded.
“We should depart soon, the road to Svenshold is heavily wooded and we do not want to be caught by the dark, " Gyllir noted," Bandits and Tereken raiders often hide and use the trees or cover of darkness to conceal their whereabouts."
“Oh, and when we leave town, we will be meeting a very large fellow. Very large. Do not worry,” explained Leopold “he is in my employ.”

In the town the group trades 18 HWs for 18 talos and 2 HWs for a shield for Gyllir. Ulfar trades a 2 HWs for AC 4 armor and keeps 2 HW for himself.

The group sets of for the final leg of their escort mission. Fortunately, Gyllir is sober.

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The encounter is a tremendous success, netting 22 talos, 11 food, 13 Hws, a Strong longbow, Heartbreaker arrow, Potion of Nerves of Steel, Potion:Heal, Cloak Stealth, and Boots of Agility!
After the encounter advancements give Leopold +1 Rep, Friedrich +1 Sav, Johann +1 Phy, Heinrich +1 Phy, Gyllir +1 Rep, Ulfar +1 Rep.

Having completed the mission, and arrived at Svenshold, the noble bids farewell to the party and pays them 16 talos.

Leopold makes payments for the mission: Pietre 3, Friedrich 4, Johann 4, Heinrich 3, Wilhelm 4, Gyllir, 1 Ulfar, Ogre 1.

The Potion of Nerves of Steel and the Longbow go to Johann, the Boots to Gyllir, and the Cloak to Ulfar. The Ogre gets the Healing Potion. Leopold hangs on to the Heartbreaker Arrow.

70 Talos remain with the paymaster. Deciding the cart is too slow, he trades the cart for a pack mule, but keeps the stout horse as his mount. Fortune favors Leopold and the mule is Rep 5.

The group still has a Voluntary Encounter for the month.

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Raiding the Raiders
Year 1 Month 4

Gyllir has shared the location of a pirate camp with the group. Leopold decides that the pirates cannot be left to continue raiding the area. By the light of dawn, they prepare to raid the encampment.

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After the battle check for improvements: Leopold +1 Phy, Gyllir +1 Phy, Thurnor the Ogre +1 Rep.
Each member is paid a talos for the encounter.

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