‘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.
An epic battle begins, the King meets a Kraken and Henchmen become heroes!
After travelling through the underground tunnels, the henchmen found themselves in a large cavern beneath the Silver Citadel itself. From the top of the stairs leading up from the tunnels they could see the King’s ritual in progress, centred around a large pool in the middle of a circular platform. This platform was built atop a massive stone column 100ft wide, which was surrounded by a dark abyss, and connected to both sides of the cavern by strong railed bridges. At the centre of the platform, the King could be seen chanting and holding an ornate dagger above his head, as a collection of Blue Mages and Knights bowed and chanted in response to the ritual. Prince Martin stood nearby, guarding the far bridge that supposedly lead to the Citadel above, and on the near bridge, his back to the players, stood an old Wizard in flowing white robes.
Also visible on the central platform were a collection of cages, each holding a different manacled figure. The henchmen recognised Brutalicus, the Toadlord and several other Evil Lords, who would soon be sacrificed for the dark ritual. Even as they watched, the King turned and approached Brutalicus’ cage, raising the dagger to strike. A flash of insight told Madame Hecate how the ritual would work and she instantly warned the other henchmen that if any ‘evil’ blood entered the pool at the middle of the stone platform, the ritual would be complete.
With no time to delay, our heroes leapt into action. Hecate, spotting two dragon statues at the end of the far bridge, focussed her powers to imbue them with life and force them to attack the guards and Prince Martin. Meanwhile, The Knife, Polly and Quinn all charged forward to attack the White Wizard and some of the nearer guards. Elon charged forward with them, trying to fight his way through the melee to reach the Toadlord’s cage and set him free. In the first onslaught, several of the guards and blue wizards fell to the henchmen’s attack, but the White Wizard held his ground against The Knife, and Prince Martin stood guard over the King as he plunged the dagger into Brutalicus’ dark heart. With the magical knife now anointed with ‘evil’ blood, the King turned to place it in the ritual pool. Meanwhile, the surviving stone dragon, now nicknamed ‘Cecil’ continued to wreak havoc amongst the guard on the far bridge.
The White Wizard did his best to defend himself against attack from multiple sides, but he now found himself under attack from The Knife and Hecate. Unfortunately Hecate’s magic went slightly haywire, and instead of blasting the Wizard with eldritch energy, she only managed to change the colour of his pure white clothing into a dazzling electric pink. Perhaps distracted by the shame of the transformation, the White Wizard was unable to stand against The Knife’s blade and was dispatched.
By this point, Elon had fought his way to the Toadlord’s cage and was struggling to free his master. The King was merely steps away from placing the bloody dagger into the magical pool, and Polly and Quinn were being kept busy by the surviving guards and wizards. Our heroes were desperate, and resorting to desperate measures, Hecate called forth her powers to stop the King. Focussing on the ritual pool, she summoned a Kraken from the nether-dimensions, bringing it into existence in the pool itself, right in front of the King. The monster’s body blocked the pool while it thrashed wildly with its tentacles, forcing Prince Martin to draw his blade to defend the King. Seizing the opportunity, Quinn ran forward and grabbed the King, bloody dagger still in his hand, and threw him into the gaping maw of the Kraken, where he died screaming without the blood ever touching the sacred pool.
Several more of the guards and wizards were now dead at the feet of our henchmen heroes, and with the King dead, the ritual was all but over. The remaining knights (who had managed to dispatch Cecil the stone dragon) decided to run for the stairs to the Citadel, and Prince Martin was close behind them. But Tim the Wizard and The Knife were not content to let the Crown Prince leave alive. Daggers and dark magic flew from their hands, leaving the Prince bloody, burned and ultimately dead only metres from the stairs to the safety. Elon and the Toadlord has already escaped back into the underground tunnels, and our heroes spent a few moments explaining to the surviving Evil Lords that they were the new Villains in town, before releasing them and making their escape the same way they had come.
Behind them they left a collection of bodies and a hungry Kraken, which will forever dwell in the cavern beneath the Citadel, ensuring that place will never again be used for dark rituals.
This was the final ‘boss battle’ of our campaign, and as such I wanted to make it huge. I had already found that the PCs were vastly more powerful than any NPCs I could bring against them if I played by the rules, so my idea was to throw a ton of opposition at them and see if they would survive. I believe that a few of the PCs took some stress, and maybe a single consequence was inflicted, but once again they were barely scratched by everything I threw at them. They did a good job of dealing with the problems I laid before them. Hecate’s player really splashed out with her magical abilities which made a huge difference to the battle, in terms of outcome and unique occurrences. While I expected people to be throwing bad guys over the precipice, that didn’t end up happening, but we did get a satisfying moment when the King was dumped into the Kraken’s maw.
Once again the brutality of the players was clearly on display, when Tim and The Knife cut down Prince Martin as he tried to escape. I wanted to have him survive in case a sequel was ever planned, but my players were insistent and got their way. The players were victorious overall – the ritual was cut short, all the opposition was taken care of and most of the Evil Lords were freed. Apparently there was even more of a victory to be had by killing most of the royal family, and also by telling the Evil Lords that the henchmen would be in charge of things now. I think the players felt like they had accomplished a great deal.
You might be asking yourself, “If the ritual had been completed, what would have happened?” To learn more about that, as well as my thoughts on the Fate Accelerated system and this campaign in general, come back for my final post for this campaign – ‘Henchmen’ Campaign Wrap-up.