‘Henchmen’ Campaign – System: Fate Accelerated by Evil Hat Productions
In a fantasy world with strange races, magical powers and a hierarchy of heroes and villains, we are Henchmen – soldiers for hire and underlings to an evil Lord.
Assassins are answered, Brutalicus butchers and Champions are challenged.
As our party tried to sneak through the gates to the High City in Session 2 – Part 2, they were challenged at the threshold before they could enter. Three men in dark cloaks called for Gundabar ‘The Knife’ DelToro to step forward, claiming they would take his head for the bounty. This bounty was offered in retribution for The Knife killing a rich merchant’s albino giraffe to make his signature white coat. ‘Stay out of our way and we won’t have to kill you too!’ the assassins growled at the other characters as they leapt at The Knife.
With characteristic flair, the Knife stepped inside the whirling blades and dispatched the first assassin. His albino giraffe-skin coat was drenched with spraying blood, but it did not slow his assault. Polly also ran to aid her friend, taking the attention of one of the hired killers. The leader of the assassins, the one who had challenged The Knife, managed to draw blood with some slashing blows, but the Knife was unafraid and the battle raged on.
In the chaos, Tim the Wizard tried to heal The Knife’s wounds with his grand magics, but all he could do was to bring down a bolt of lightning that struck no-one, and caused a small flower to grow in the place it had struck the earth.
Now wounded, The Knife knew he was dealing with a determined foe, and unleashed a flurry that decapitated the senior assassin, while Polly also dispatched her opponent. Upon looting the bodies of the fallen, they found a wanted poster, listing the value of the bounty.
While the battle had raged, the scared gate guards had closed the gate, so it wasn’t until the next day that the party could enter the high city. A few whispered words to members of the criminal underworld were enough to point them in the direction of Brutalicus, the last of the Evil Lords still alive as a result of the Golden Shield’s crusade. The party were brought before Brutalicus, and they offered their services as henchmen.
With his face hidden behind a mask fashioned from a large human skull, Brutalicus certainly looked as though he deserved his reputation for violence and brutality. Even as he spoke to the party, he had several of his servants and warriors killed on the spot before the assembled group. Several of the party noted that Brutalicus clearly had openings in his organisation that they could fill, while others began to question whether they wanted to work for such a brutal master.
“If you want to work for me,” Brutalicus growled at them, “you must prove your strength. One of you must defeat my Champion to prove yourselves worthy. Who is your strongest warrior?”
The group chose Polly, the 11-year old troll-girl as their champion, and from behind a portcullis in the dark dungeon emerged the Champion, a hulking man covered in a myriad of scars. The battle began with a mighty yell from the Champion, who bore two spiked maces which he swung at Polly without warning or hesitation, but Polly had a secret weapon. Her magical teddy-bear talisman protected her from the worst of the onslaught, and Polly managed to steal one of the Champion’s maces, and break his own arm with it. The Champion was soon overcome, but Polly took pity on the masked warrior and spared his life. Brutalicus was impressed by the entire display.
“You are strong indeed,” he remarked, “but you cannot become my henchmen.” He began to explain that while he was the last free Evil Lord, that the other Evil Lords were not dead, as all the henchmen had assumed. The others had been captured alive, to be used by the King in a blood ritual that would take place at midnight. “I will lead an attack tonight, enter the Silver Citadel by secret underground tunnels and stop the ritual. I want you to fight by my side. Leave now, meet me at the Highborn Tavern as the sun sets, and we will fight our way into the Citadel and put an end to this.”
Given The Knife’s background and trouble aspect detailed how he had killed a rich merchant’s pet to make a jacket, I felt I had to work this into the story. the assassins were not meant to be major opponents, but I managed to wound a player for the first time. I also enjoyed making the Wanted Poster which I printed and gave to The Knife’s player on the night.
The battle with Brutalicus’ Champion was the first time the players had seen a battle between two non-mook characters. I used some Fate Points on the Champion’s turns, but even with that help, Polly was much more powerful in 1-vs-1 combat. It was a useful experience, and I learned some points that I would apply in the next session.
What is the goal of the blood ritual that the King was attempting? Were the other Evil Lords truly still alive? Come back and find out my next post, Gameplay Session 3 – Part 1.