Perched atop a desolate slab of rock stands a cage. Crafted from sun-bleached bones and tied with dusty scraps of sinew and skin, the cage exudes a kind of forlorn solitude. Travelers are wise to give the bone cage a wide berth if they are forced to traverse the wind-scoured desert of the Hattendorf Border Marches. Those who dare to venture close enough may hear faint cries emanating from within the tattered enclosure…
We played our third game of Nightwatch back in late August, but I haven’t gotten around to doing a writeup until just now. The game was centered around a grisly terrain piece that John printed and painted up just for this occasion — the titular bone cage, wherein the beastmen of the border marches had stashed a few sad, whimpering children kidnapped from Heerselt Manor.
How terrible! If only there were some hunters, blooded from recent battles and increasingly capable of tackling the worst that the border marches could throw at them! Where, oh where, could we find such heroes!
Ah yes. They’re here, at this very place, to attempt the very deed I just described.
If the first two sessions were characterized by caution on the part of the hunters, this session could be characterized instead by competence from the hunters. By this point they were experienced, well equipped, accompanied by a few hand-picked allies, and generally ready to accomplish their mission.
Our Nightwatch battlefield was still quite small, around two feet square, which meant that the hunters were able to quickly get into position to pick the locks on the bone cage. This task took multiple turns, and the rest of the warband had to fight off waves of beastmen and gnoll raiders who swarmed out of the nearby canyons.
As I mentioned earlier, this was a seasoned, competent bunch of players. They knew their characters and had a pretty good sense of how to stymie the beastmen raiders. Their overall goal was to keep the beastmen at bay until they could pick the lock on the bone cage – hopefully before the threat level ratcheted up in the later turns of the game.
The beastmen swarmed in, and the bodies started hitting the floor. The characters had nifty weapons and spells at their disposal, and the low-level beastmen who arrived in the early turns were ground up into hamburger by a flurry of lightning bolts, alcemical grenades, sword parries, and longbow shots.
I’m pleased to report that the players’ plan went off without a hitch. They were able to manage the emerging beastmen threat while simultaneously jimmying the lock on the bone cage. They ripped the doors open at precisely the right moment, just before the threat level was scheduled to ratchet up.
I’ll admit I was extremely interested in deploying some of the more menacing beastmen monsters that we had assembled for this game, but those guys will have to wait until the next session. Until then – you win this round, heroes!!