Read all the Kith’takharos Campaign session recaps here.
This session highlighted some of the fundamental ways that Savage Worlds is different from Pathfinder and other OGL-based rules systems. The characters fought poachers with the same stats as those encountered 10-15 sessions ago. Yet, through good organization and tactics, the poachers still presented a credible threat. Savage Worlds does not suffer from a need to devise an entirely new class of foes just because the characters have gained experience. To be fair, the typical poachers had some powerful comrades, but they still comprised the bulk of the opponents.
I think there are three main reasons the poachers were still effective. First, in Savage Worlds it is relatively easy to hit a target with missile weapons. Second, the open-ended die rolling of Savage Worlds can provide spectacular results, and even powerful characters will not be immune. Third, Savage Worlds does not have a hit point systems for damage; any successful attack has the potential to seriously harm a character.
Characters often think long and hard before initiating conflict. The results of a fight can be volatile, and it is best to engage with an advantage. During most of the session, the characters and poachers jockeyed for position.
As we begin the recap, recall that Larry was not present last session.
Immediately after the group kills the remaining poachers on the roof of Tower 2, Larry appears in the Teleportation Ring. He hears the fading sounds of battle and races to the roof hatch, joining his comrades on the roof just before they slam the hatch shut. They pile three bodies atop the hatch to deter pursuit.
Obviously the group is in a difficult position. If they stray near the edge of the roof, poachers below will shoot at them. Climbing to the ground under fire would be suicidal. Likewise, entering the tower through the hatch would likely expose them to massed fire from the poachers on the third floor.
An hour passes. Finally, Luc pulls the bodies off the hatch and opens it wide. He hears nothing in the darkness below. Holding one corpse by the hands, he lowers it through the hatch, hoping to provoke a response. When nothing happens, he drops the body, along with a torch. The floor below erupts into flame. The fire illuminates scores caltrops surrounding the base of the ladder. Even though he did not achieve the desired results, Luc still gained some useful information.
The group discusses how to proceed. Unfortunately, they leave the hatch open and the poachers overhear the plan. When they lower Mala by rope to one of the third floor windows, two poachers fire crossbows as she attempts to enter. Mala is hit twice, and must be pulled back up to the roof to prevent her being captured or killed. Sasha heals her.
The group closes the hatch again and places the two remaining corpses over it. A few more hours pass and afternoon becomes dusk. They decide to retry the plan that almost killed Mala, but with more decisiveness and vigor. Using the poacher bodies for ballast, and with three people holding the ropes, Mala and Luc drop down and through the third floor windows. No poachers occupy the room and they enter unopposed. In a classic Larry move, he drops down to the windows without a rope and grabs the ledge as he passes. Whiskin and Sasha climb down by rope.
The third floor of the tower is silent. The group moves forward carefully, searching for the poachers. Mala draws up short before entering an intersection, sensing danger around the corner. Luc tosses an illumination gem around the corner. In reply, a second illumination gem rolls toward the group. Now everyone can see, but no one has turned the corner to present a target.
Larry makes the first move, dancing into the corridor to confront four poachers. All fire at him and miss! Before the poachers can reload, Luc and Mala charge forward to engage. Soon they are pushing the poachers back and gaining the upper hand. Then a pair of spellcasters arrive and even the odds. One of the casters summons creatures to fight alongside the poachers, while the other strengthens the fighting abilities of the poacher leader.
The summoned creatures pummel Whiskin and he retreats. Mala goes down, out of the fight but not dead. The poachers press forward, and now Luc wonders whether his team can survive the battle. Then Larry dances through the enemy lines, past poachers and summoned creatures, avoiding every attack. He engages the spellcasters, and the poacher leader moves to defend them.
The tide of battle turns. Larry creates so much havoc that his comrades have time to regroup. Poachers begin dying, and their defense begins to crumble. The poacher leader finally salvages something for his side by killing Larry and severely injuring Luc. The few remaining poachers pull out, leaving behind one dead and one unconscious spellcaster. The group does not have the strength to pursue.
Sasha heals her comrades as best she can. Someone binds the surviving enemy spellcaster. Now that he has time to think, Luc realizes that the poachers fought more tenaciously than is typical for their kind.
The group retreats to one of the tower rooms for rest.