Having entreated Brother Claude to aid in ridding the land of the curse of Vampirism, Sir Percy once again took the field.
This encounter follows on from:
The wood was deathly quiet this day as the wary party advanced.
The men were ever alert, every sense straining to detect danger.
Sir Percy and his bannerman led the way, checking for possible enemy forces, while the footmen advanced in formation. Spermen in the front rank, longbows and bills in the second, and Brother Claude keeping a watchful eye on them from behind.
This day there would be no hordes of skeletons, no locals in thrall to the Vampire's art.
For today would see an end to it one way or the other.
They were waiting at the castle gateway.
Actually it just worked out that way. All very dramatic as is often the case when one let's the dice tell their own story. The first two PEF's were false alarms, meaning the third must be the Vampire and close escort.
A couple of dice rolls later and it turned out to be the Vampire Lord and his consort. More than a match for Sir Percy's party.
Where were we? Oh yes...
"I grow weary of your impertinence, today you will die", and with that the Vampire incited words of power, words of despair.
The incantation was wildly destructive.
Two spearman, a billman, Sir Percy's trusted bannerman, and Brother Claude all fell senseless to the ground.
Another billman legged it and was quite some distance away before recovering from the shock.
Only by a supreme act of willpower did Sir Percy withstand the dark magic's baleful influence, and even at that he was stunned, barely able to stay in the saddle.
Then the Vampires charged!
To their credit the longbowmen ware able to hit their mark, but the Vampiress shrugged off the arrows' sting.
Remarkably, even in his shaken state, Sir Percy was able to fend of the Vampire's assault.
The Vampiress took one spearmen down, and to their credit, his compatriots did not flee in terror.
Thus began a confused,
And prolonged melee.
While Sir Percy was able to keep the Vampire at bay,
His retinue was slowly, but surely, weakening.
At this point Sir Percy instructed his men to take the wounded Brother Claude to safety.
Sir Percy, resigned to stand his ground at pain of death,
Redoubled his efforts.
Buying time for his men to carry the stricken Holy Man from the field.
Sir Percy now stood alone.
Engaged in battle with two vicious creatures of nightmare.
Again and again they launched themselves in frenzied assaults,
Sword and talons seeking a telling blow.
Again and again Sir Percy met them,
Trading blow for blow, fending them off.
Then, as if guided by divine Providence,
Sir Percy found an opening,
And the Vampiress fell.
They say the wail that ripped from the Vampire's throat,
Was a sound backed with all the rage of Hell itself.
The two adversaries circled,
And clashed again,
in a Danse Macabre,
That could only leave,
The Vampire Lord was laid to rest, never to trouble the living again.
Exhausted, Sir Percy gathered the remnants of his party.
Three good men lay dead.
Brother Claude and one other hovered between life and death.
And the work of razing the Vampire's Castle could begin.
Well everything is coming together nicely and that was a cracking game. Didn't expect to win that one after Brother Claude was lain low on the first turn of combat.
From a technical standpoint, Sir Percy is Rep 5, AC 6, his bannerman Rep 5, AC 4, Brother Claude Rep5, AC 4, the footmen Rep 4 and a mix of AC 2 and 0.
The Vampire Lord is Rep 6, AC 6, and able to take 5 hits, while the Vampiress is Rep 5, AC 4 and able to take 3 hits.
In the event both baddies were slain with outright Obviously Dead results, not having taken any other wounds.
Magic fluctuated quite a bit, enabling the Vampire Lord to get off that telling attack spell, then increasing to near unmanageable proportions making it near impossible for Sir Percy to unlock the Riddle of Steel.
Poor Brother Claude never got a chance to, well, to do anything.
Regarding the AI, once the Vampires got stuck in, there was little chance that they would do other than continue to attack in melee. Alright for the Vampiress who had no other means of fighting, but perhaps not for the Vampire Lord who might have done more with sorcery than force of arms.
Still he is quite hard and if Sir Percy had not the benefits of being a Star, I should think Darkness would have carried the day.
I think the AI is acceptable at this point. It would be possible to tweak it for different types of creatures to act more in character. Although any such attempt must be weighed against rules bloat and possible lack of cohesiveness as one strings many disparate mechanics together.
Perhaps erring on the side of simplicity is the way to go here.
Peace having been restored to the Realm, however briefly, I bid you all adieu.
Hope you enjoyed your visit and thanks for stopping by!