After defeating the bandits in battle, the PCs marched the survivors back to Jayanama. There were roughly 24 of them, equally divided between wounded and unharmed. A dozen were left dead in the field, and another dozen had run off into the night. The bandits were imprisoned in a barn and some thought was put into what to do with them. Peraphon wanted them all executed, but seemed to be a bit put off when Captain Jiranee asked if he wanted to be the one to lop of two dozen heads with an axe. In her typical fashion, Captain Jiranee listed to what the bandits had to say before making any further decisions.
It was discovered the bandit gang was made up of soldiers and the like from the Plains. There were the remnants of armies smashed in battle by the “Warlord,” a man who calls himself (or is called) ‘Conan.’ He’s reputed to be a giant of a man, able to wield massive weapons, and to be unstoppable in battle. The bandits had fled when their lands were overrun, and had banded together to survive. Leaving the Plains behind, they made their way up the cliffs to the Jungle, finding it a land unfit for men or beasts. After losing nearly half their number (meaning the gang must have numbered around 80 at some point), the bandits managed to climb the cliffs to the Forest level (where the PCs now are.) Finding no succor there, they decided to take what they needed by force, and turned to banditry to survive.
After considering the issue for some time, Captain Jiranee opted to use an idea Marcus had. First, the bandits (a.k.a. refugees) would rebuild the barn they burned down. Then, they’d be left in groups of 3-4 at various villages from Jayanama to Virava, sentences to something akin to indentured servitude. They’d work to bring in the harvest and support the village, and after a period of several seasons, Captain Jiranee would declare their debt to Virava paid. Vilgerthr later told Macrus that Jiranee’s eyes when informed of this idea reminded her of when her Hunting Person friend Dalla was hatching a some sort of secret stunt.
Captain Jiranee started to prepare to return to Virava and asked the PCs to come with her. She also asked Jonathan Roberts to come along as well, since there still was some resentment against him in Jayanama, despite the refugee’s declaring Jonathan wasn’t one of them. Jonathan, for his part, was delighted to stay with the PCs (and Captain Jiranee.)
Donovan made some patrols around the village to make sure there were no further bandit attacks. He found the abandoned supplies left back at the bandit’s camp to be quickly vanishing, but never saw any survivors. Juras, a Running Person and apparently Ciodaru’s lieutenant, stated that when the PCs attacked the bandit’s were at rock-bottom morale. Thus, it’s a safe bet any survivors of the attack had gone to ground and were thinking only of themselves.
About a week after the battle with the bandits, Marcus (who barely needs sleep) stepped out into the front courtyard of the inn and found Kanya standing by the front gate, staring at something in the village crossroads. She motioned him over, and asked if he’d ever seen anything like this in this travels.
“This” turned out to be another Serpent Men sky raft, this one much bigger then the last, and equipped with mounted guns on the railings. There were also six “Stormgators,” Scaled People in complete suits of white (non-metallic) armor, armed with advanced weapons. Instantly reminded of certain scenes from Star Wars, Marcus went back to the inn, where he found an awake Edward, and they quickly roused the rest of the PCs.
Edward and Marcus set up on the roof of the inn with Marcus’s CREW, while Billy-Jo and Cyan headed for the gate. Calvin elected to slip around the back and flank the Stormgators, while Donovan took to the air, rising up about 500 feet to where the sky raft circled over the village. The pilot, intent on his instruments, and the gunners, watching over the troops on the ground, never saw his approach and arrival on the sky raft.
Eventually, Captain Jiranee, in full armor, went out to speak with the Stormgators. The PCs have no idea what was said, but Cyan and Edward both felt they were seeing two commanding officers discussing recent matters. Jiranee gestured out to where the bandits had been and then to the barn where they were now. It seemed she was mentioning the battle (in vague terms) and discussing how it had been resolved. After finishing their talk, Captain Jiranee went to return to the inn, but the Stormgator commander had his men train their weapons on her. The sky raft settled down next to her and the Stormgators, and Donovan clearly heard the commander say “...you're coming with us...."
This was the cue for the PCs to act. Marcus and Edward blasted one of the skyboat gunners out of his station and across the crossroads. The rest of the PCs charged into battle. Captain Jiranee managed to fight the enemy commander to a stand-still (neither did much to each other). Billy-Jo, being Billy-Jo, simply charged the closest set of Stormgators and laid waste with his sword, killing one trooper in a single blow. Calvin was able to successfully knockdown and then defeat one of the Stormgators (those who saw him fight saw little more than a multiple-exposure blur). Cyan found her bow to be ineffective against the heavy armor, but discovered that the gaps in the armor fit her knife just fine. Donovan tangled with the other sky raft gunner and ended up hauling him 20+ meters into the air. The gunner broke free of Donovan’s grasp, only to realize he’s been hauled 20+ meters into the air. Edward also charged into battle, and smashed the pilot out of his cockpit, but was taken out of the fight when one of the Stormgators caught him with a rapid series of energy bolts. Marcus, for his part, sniped from a distance, putting his CREW to good use.
When it was all over, there were 9 dead, dying, or severely injured Stormgators. The front gate and fence to the inn was gone, Edward was down and out (but pretty much okay), and the PCs found themselves in possession of another sky raft and a lot of advanced weapons and armor.
Afterwards, the PCs stated that Captain Jiranee was now a target for the Snake Men. As an outside, she was something they’d want to capture. They expressed their desire to carry the fight to the Snake Men, prompting Jiranee to offer her house in Virava as a base the PCs could come to in a times of need. She also squired each of the PCs, using wording some of the PCs (such as Donovan) found curious.
Marcus decides the Stormgator armor is some sort of extruded bio-plastic. It’s DEF 12 and very durable. However, he can cut and shape it somewhat, using some tools and elbow grease. He can cut it down to fit someone, he can’t splice parts together to fit someone taller or larger than the Stormgators (making armor for Jiranee is tough.)
The sky raft is roughly twice as big as the ones you saw in Fyrkat. It has the same basic design, which is an open lower deck and then a second, pilot’s deck, above.
The pilot and each of the gunners had a pistol-sized CREW (Coherent Radiation Electron Weapon or CREW/P.) Two of the Stormgators had full-sized CREW rifles. The rapid-fire energy weapons are apparently ion guns, or CRIW (Coherent Radiation Ion Weapon.) The weapon that blew the gates apart fired a ball of ionized gas contained in a magnetic envelope. In other words, an Ionized Matter Plasma Weapon (or IMPW.) I have stats for all of this and can send them out. Note—the IMPW’s huge blast radius has been cut back. It now loses 1d6 per meter/hex instead of 1d6 per 2 meters/hexes. There is another Electro-Axe, and all six ground troopers were carrying 1-handed 1d6+1 HKA Fighting Blades (a.k.a. broadswords.) There is also rations, tools, and communications gear in the sky raft and on each of the troopers.
You’ve met the following people:
Juras, a typical (i.e. tall, long legged, tanned skin, pale hair) Running Person. He’s a former soldier and is Ciodaru’s lieutenant.
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