Siege of Alfort (Morgansfort): Tower Defense Style – Prep Work Part 4, Factions for Flavor

This is going to be a briefer post than the others, largely because it does not involve number crunching. In fact, the purpose of this portion of the prep work is to reduce the amount of number crunching.

The battle and conflict as it’s statted out and scripted in the previous posts does not reflect the battle as a whole. While the 200+ Hit Dice of evil elven undead represents a formidable force more than capable of overwhelming the PCs and the fortress’s defenses, it doesn’t connote that “army” feel. It’s not big enough. Now, admittedly, this is going to be window-dressing, but it will certainly help the battle feel bigger.

Other factions –
Imperial expeditionary force – I’m not sure what all will have happened between the time I am writing this and when the encounter will happen, but one possibility is that Portsdam is destroyed by an earthquake. Whether that happens or things have just been so bad in the colony that word has gotten back to the empire, let’s say that an expeditionary force has landed north of Alfort and is on its way. Maybe 2000 strong, this force, while small will certainly distract a chunk of the Elf King’s undead army, preventing it from bearing its full brunt against the fort. If the PCs haven’t cleared out the Zombraire’s estate module, this force will probably be ambushed from west and arrive significantly weakened and unprepared to stand against Caelden’s army.

Eastern Goblin Coalition – The Southeast and Northeast goblin tribes have formed a military alliance. They understand that a limited human presence in Alfheim is preferable to the land being awash with undead elves. Sometime between now and when the battle is run, the PCs will be presented with a chance to dislodge the Northwest goblin tribe from the Old Island Fortress (if the PCs don’t go along with it, the goblins will later take this on their own). The Old Island Fortress will be used as a staging ground for the eastern goblin tribes to lend their support against Caelden’s army.

Northwest Goblin tribe – I’ve retconned my setting a bit to eliminate Orcs as an indigenous people of Alfheim; while Orcs are there, they’re mostly imperial mercenaries (note to self, the imperial expeditionary force should be comprised largely of Orcs). That said, I’m rewriting Starisel’s dungeon to be inhabited by goblins (with Orc stats) instead of the orc tribe. These will be part of the same tribe who were trying to take over Malek (the Nameless Dungeon) until they were slaughtered by undead. If the PCs can reconcile with these goblins (successfully run Cave of the Unknown), there is a good chance that they might be willing to commit to fight against Caelden.

So we’ve got a Battle of Five Armies, here, a perfect climactic fight for the campaign.

To incentivise the players to gather these allies, I might even take away the last two waves via some sort of plot-flash.

Advertisements

Siege of Alfort (Morgansfort): Tower Defense Style – Prep Work Part 3, Enemy Combatants

So, this part is going to take some tweaking, and maybe even some test runs, so these numbers are far from final.

Let’s have a run-down of the various undead we have to work with:

Skeletons 1 HD 20′
Zombies 2HD 40′
Ghoul 2HD* 30′ (paralysis)
Wight 3HD* 30′ (Level Drain)
Wraith 4HD** 40’/ (Level Drain)
Mummy 5+1HD* 20′ (disease)
Spectre 6HD** 50’/100′ (Level Drain x 2)
Vampire 9HD** 40’/60′

The bulk of the monsters are going to be skeletons & zombies, low hit dice monsters who should probably be ignored, if possible, in favor of the bigger baddies coming through. So, let’s come up with some ground-rules for how each of these monsters operates:

Skeletons – move along the scripted path. Remove 1 HD of defense and ‘go away’.

Zombies – move along the scripted path. Remove 1 HD of defense and ‘go away’.

Ghouls – move along the scripted path. Remove 1 HD of defense and ‘go away’ so long as there are at least 3 HD of defense present; otherwise, remove 1 HD of defense per round until no defense is present and continue along path.

Wights – move along the scripted path. Remove 1 HD of defense per round until no defense is present. When no defenders are present, continues along path.

Wraiths – move by flight through walls & buildings towards currently targeted zone. Remove 1 HD of defense per round until no defense is present. When no defenders are present, continues along path. Once, Nuromen may use “Sleep” to allow the elimination of 2d4 HD of defenders.

Mummies – move along the scripted path. Remove 1 HD of defense per round until no defense is present. When no defenders are present, continues along path.

Spectres – Considering their special ability of creating new spectres, I’m highly considering omitting these guys. We’ll see. moves by flight to towers, eliminating tower & rampart defenders. Remove 1 HD of defense per round until no defense is present. After reaching zone 6, will enter the chapel.

Vampire – moves along the scripted path. Remove 1 HD of defense per round, though continues along path without stopping.

Here’s a sample elven army.

60 skeletons
30 zombies
15 ghouls (accursed elves)
5 wights (undead elf knights)
4 Wraiths + Nuromen (undead elf mages)
4 Mummies (undead elf clerics)
2 Spectres (undead elven princes)
1 Vampire (Caelden, lord of elves)

Wave 1
10 skeletons
10 zombies

This wave might even be completely turned.

Wave 2
10 skeletons
5 zombies
5 ghouls

Some of this wave might be turned; I expect this to be the first wave to do some damage in zone 1.

Wave 3
10 zombies
5 ghouls
1 wight

This is something of a wakeup call with the wight. If the heroes are fighting from the walls, it should be apparent that someone is going to have to go down and deal with it.

wave 4
5 zombies
5 ghouls
2 wights

Things being in earnest now. Clerics within the castle will likely have run out of turning, and the wight’s level drain could be a serious problem.

wave 5
10 skeletons
2 wights
Nuromen

Boss wave. While the skeletons just march onto reduce various zone HD, Nuromen will be casting spells and with the two wights who accompany him, he’ll be pretty tough, even with his limited HP.

Wave 6
10 skeletons
2 wraiths

Consider this a sequel to wave 5, but at least these wraiths aren’t casters.

Wave 6
5 skeletons
1 wraith
1 mummy

The mummy is going to slowly tank his way through the defenses.

Wave 7
1 wraith
2 mummies

Ditto.

Wave 8
10 skeletons
1 Mummy

Consider this wave a reprieve?

wave 9
5 skeletons
2 Spectres

If things aren’t already really bad, this may be the end of things. The heroes might seriously consider running at this point.

Wave 10
Vampire

The vampire more or less makes a Beeline to the bank, the apartments, the chapel, then the keep. He’s got important things he wants in those places.
Goals:
Ultimately, the castle is meant to fall. The main goal the heroes should have is staying alive or maybe stopping Nuromen (wave 5). Anything after that point ought to be gravy, though they should probably try to either escape through the Chapel Tunnels, the Keep Tunnels or any other possible means.

On the off chance that 8 waves are defeated before the chapel falls, I would consider this a decisive “win” for fort, if it weren’t for those pesky spectres. While Caelden might ‘retreat’, there would be a ton of dead that would need quick sanctification or things could easily be worse than before, in which case, the fort falls anyway. If the heroes manage to somehow defeat all 10 waves, Caelden likely retreats to lick his wounds. In this final case, he’ll probably be treated like any other vampire and sent to his lair (I might stick him in the Gibbering Tower) to be hunted down.
Up next, I’ll detail the tactical scenario leading up to the siege.

Siege of Alfort (Morgansfort): Tower Defense Style – Prep Work Part 1, Statting Defenses

(Download Morgansfort to follow along.)

First of all, I need to figure out roughly what Alfort’s (Morgansfort’s) defenses are and translate that into numbers that can be used in a Tower Defense style scenario.

So, what I’ve done is figured out the total Hit Dice of the fort’s defenses. All told, there are 129 Hit Dice worth of garrison, 134 if we include the Baron/Castellan/Lord. This doesn’t mean there are 134 defenders (it’s actually closer to just over 100) who are in the garrison nor does it mean that there aren’t various level 1 and level 0 persons in the town who might be caught up in the fighting; this is just the number we’re going to use to determine the Keep’s “HP”, for lack of a better term.

One interesting difference between Morgansfort and the Keep on the Borderlands is that most of the guard are not specified to be carrying ranged weapons, though the notes indicate the presence of such weapons in 1, 2, 16, 17, and 22 (all various towers). Though there are none mentioned present in 19, the central tower, one should assume that anyone heading there will have passed someplace that they can grab a bow or something.

Rather than have a fixed HP for the Alfort/Morgansfort, various key points in the fort will have strength represented by the number of HD of garrison present; the fort will fall to the attacker in successive waves as the defenders lose ground. Each HD of monster (regardless of the damage they will have taken) will remove 1 point from a location’s defense.

Now, how to figure out where the defenders are? Well, the notes for Morgansfort explain that the main garrison force is comprised of 8 squads of 11 of the 88 footmen (these do not include the “Knights”, and all told account for 93 of the defense’s 134 hit dice). Now, the Knights will be around doing their own thing with other defenders OR it will be assumed that they’re among the defenders adding to the numbers of whatever location they are represented by; since none of these individuals have been characters in my campaign, it will be unnecessary to adjudicate their deaths, but if you’ve been running Morgansfort by the book, you might consider being more particular about who is where.

Since Morgansfort can really only be attacked from the south and the west, We can assume that 22 (North central tower), 17 (Northeast tower) and 16 (East central tower) will be relatively undefended unless the situation changes. Men in towers will get ranged attacks at attackers but not count towards the “HP” of a zone unless they get down.

So, let’s talk defense zones:

1-main gate
1a- behind main gate
2a- below tower 2
3a- in front of the stables
6-the Square is big enough I think it worth breaking down
6a- in front of the bank
6b- in front of the chapel
6c- in front of the inns
6d- in front of the warehouse
15a- the plaza south of the chapel
19a- the avenue between the central wall and south wall
20- the Green
25- the keep

That’s a lot of areas, but there are a lot of HD to be spread across it. Truth be told about 6, however, the spot in front of the bank, trader and herbalist’s is pretty do or die, so anyone defending the square would make this spot a priority; I’ll assume that if this area falls, there’s nothing but archers in the 16(East Tower) to keep baddies out of those buildings. 6 can be condensed, therefore, to some key strongpoints set up by the bank and in front of the street the Chapel is on.

So that leaves us with (no longer using the module key)
1 Main Gate
2 Behind the main Gate
3 Below tower 2
4 In front of the stables
5 In Front of the bank
6 In front of the Chapel
7 Beyond the Chapel
8 Between the Walls
9 The Green
10 The Keep

That’s still going to be a lot to defend. Let’s see if we can plug some numbers in.

“Zones”
1 Main Gate – 8
2 Behind Main Gate – 10
3 Below Tower 2 – 8
4 In Front of the Stables – 15
5 In Front of the Bank – 20
6 In front of the Chapel – 8
7 Beyond the Chapel – 10
8 Between the walls – 8
9 The Green – 10
10 The Keep – * We’ll come back to this.

That’s 97 HD worth of defenders. Part of this number assumes that defenders from the northern towers have descended the walls to join the fighting.

“Towers” (These WILL use the module key)
1 Main Gate – 4
Between 18 and 1 – 2
Between 1 and 2 – 2
2 – 4
16 – 4
18 – 4
Wall between 22 & 19 – 4
19 – 4

So, there’s 28 HD worth of firepower coming from the various towers. We’ll say that the remaining 9 HD consists of the Castellan and 4 personal guards remaining with everyone in the Keep, perhaps ushering them out of tunnels somewhere to safety.

Up next, I’ll write up a short script of how the scenario will play out, after which point I’ll try to figure out how many undead and in how many waves should they come.

Shadow Over Alfheim Pt7 – Interlude

There was a respite in the action in our last session. A lot of story-related stuff needed to be handled as did some in town resource management.

The cleric fired off a letter to Lord Richmond, which would be taken by one of the refugees from Stull, informing him of the situation. Ironically, the party may overtake this letter.

With little to do in Stull but pick up the pieces, the party decided to return to Alfort and figure out what to do with the Elfstones. In regards to their ill-fated agreement with the saw-mill, Mayor Barclay handed them a letter to be taken to the Laquin home office in Portsdam explaining the terms he had agreed upon. The agreement will almost certainly be rejected by the home office, especially since the deal was for the party to save the mill, which will now have to be rebuilt at great expense.

After hearing a rumor from goblin scouts of brewing war among the northern tribes, the party took a couple barges and floated down the river back to Alfort. After two days, they arrived to find the heads of 9 goblins and 5 orcs posted on spears along the shores of the isle.

Back in town, the Cleric got a note from Richmond’s solicitor, who has arrived in Alfort. The solicitor offered the new information he had regarding elven ruins in the region, including a very large city which was once along the road between Alfort and Portsdam. The party was originally reluctant to hand over the elfstones, as they did not know their purpose. Upon finding the value of the stones, the party nearly crapped themselves, but rather than handing them over, they elected to deliver them to Lord Richmond in person.

This is an interesting twist; I was wondering if and when they’d consider why they were turning in items in Alfort if the only route to Portsdam was overland through territory that was becoming less safe. Of course nothing is being delivered to the Imperial University and forgeries are being used to manipulate the party in to believing the correspondence between the museum curators and nobility.

The party has set out to hand deliver a pair of artifacts they’ve been told are worth 100,000 gold. The evil thief and the monk have both signed up to be agents of Lord Richmond. Soon, they’ll find themselves caught in the middle of a goblin war and delving an ancient elven labyrinth filled with animals made twisted and gigantic by cruel elvish magic.

Tonight in Alfheim

Where will the story go?

Things have settled down in Stull for the moment, but there is still plenty to be done and adventure to be had.  The heroes might stick around for a bit, help pick up the pieces of the damaged town, scribe some scrolls, or brew some potions.  The elf has a new spellbook.  But the longer they stick around, the more likely they are to discover the true nature of the elfstones.

Up north, a goblin war is brewing.  One tribe has failed to dislodge the inhabitants of the old Fortress, and the winners are going to press their advantage.  The news of trouble in the colony has spread like wildfire among the tribes; it sounds as though whatever disaster is impending, it could very well drive the imperials from Alfheim (if it doesn’t bring a legion from across the sea to investigate!) which would leave it to the greenskins to fight for supremacy.

Richmond’s solicitor awaits in Alfort with paychecks for the lord’s employees.  News that the saw mill has been badly damaged will surely put a crimp into plans for building the harbor and shipyard in the delta.  But Richmond eagerly awaits the elfstones, which may further his ultimate goals.  Should anything happen to the stones from Stull, he has other options to the west and north.  If the party can’t be trusted to deliver, he may need to hire some new hands.

Gernauch is still under the shadow of the Loess, but neither the party nor Caelden seem to have shown any interest in the sleepy hamlet.

Revelations that not one but two elven cities once stood along the road between Alfort and Portsdam should spark the party’s interest.

Tonight, the heroes will:
-Finish Up in Stull
-Maybe fight the goblins who’ve established a stronghold on the island fort.
-Probably go back to Alfort for their payday and maybe
–Hear about the orc tribe that is harassing caravans
–Hear about the giant ruined elf city of Malek.

If they visit Essel, he’ll reveal the locations of several of the ruined elven cities in the regions, as well as some information about them.

I’m not sure what direction the party will take, but I’ve tried to cover my bases and be prepared for anything!