IN OUR LAST SESSION….
…just as our heroes were settling into the Purple Dragon’s fortress in the forest, albeit after poor Garl had an unfortunate stumble off the roof of a two story building, some new friends showed up.
The fortress is mostly made up of a high stone wall with a “front door” facing the road and a large main gate facing east, anchored by towers in each cardinal corner, and a single large keep in the center of the enclosed court. There’s also a stable, a small office building, an outhouse, a small door in the western wall, and various storage areas. A heavy hoist is mounted to the wall on the northern end. The northern wall overlooks a great pit or something hundreds of feet below. The ground along the western and (especially) the eastern walls has eroded over time and is precarious and unpredictable. There is little to no walkway left outside the northern wall.
The main keep inside the fortifications seems to serve as a garrison, mess hall and defense-of-last-resort for some previous soldiery. Atop the keep’s roof, a great ballista was found, alongside a stack of huge wooden bolts topped with hammered steel bolt heads. As is the case with each of the 4 towers, large barrels of oil stand here, next to an iron cauldron, and small barrels of arrows are deployed across the surface.
A catwalk ties the four towers together at the top of the crenelated fortress wall. Each tower is made up of a 2-story circular staircase, with barrels of spears and arrows at the intermediate landing and a trap door at each level, secured from above. A trap door and staircase inside a bulge in the wall separates the inner and outer doors in the western wall and allows access to the catwalk.
The office building in the northwest corner of the fortress is comprised of a single windowless room featuring a desk scattered with papers and a few books, and a single bed and footlocker.
Along the back (northern wall) are an outhouse privy, the hoist, and a pile of coal and firewood. From atop the northern wall, Tovlakov spotted a ledge a hundred or so feet below, and the remnants of a rope ladder descending from it. There was no obvious way to reach the ledge short of a dismayingly difficult climb. The privy at the back of the fortress is literally just three walls, a door and a large hole in the ground with a great drop beneath it.
As the morning wore on, two groups seemed to be converging on the road. One made mostly of elves, dressed in leathers and carrying axes from the west, another, mostly dwarves with hammers and heavy axes from the east. Here and there were individuals in armor, and the occasional torch-bearing Man. Keeping the peace and seemingly in charge of these two mobs was a human, bald-headed and robed. He brazenly approached the front gate and began to bang on it and call within. He was not welcomed inside. As the two mobs gathered together to form a single fighting force, the bald man revealed himself to be a wizard of some stripe, and caused the front door to be unbarred and opened. The heroes inside set about defending the fortress, mostly working from the battlements, casting spells, firing arrows and holding the southwest tower from those who made it inside and attempted to storm upwards. A ladder was employed, mostly unsuccessfully. Small groups attacked the eastern and western doors, those on the east quite unsuccessfully, given the pit trap uncovered there. Those doors though, were shattered under axe blows. One attacker made it through the western gate and pounded the trap door open leading to the catwalk there.
At one point the rival wizard instantiated a green glowing hound which assaulted Norm, but which eventually disapparated.
By the end of the session, the initial attack had been smashed. The rival wizard had faded back to his mob, which had been diminished by approximately one-third. The enemy was still encamped outside the fortress, seemingly gathering their collective breath and considering the next assault.
Morning is still a few hours away.