Last episode of our second session of the City of Judas : the good, the bad and the Roc Bird.
As Azim and Grégoire were closing the gigantic bird of prey, they spotted the band of warriors led by Abdul al Kerim hidden behind rocks.
Without any hesitation, Azim charged the Roc bird straight on with nothing more than his determination and of course his heavy mace in his hand. As it happened, arrows flew into the sky hitting the beast as Al Kerim with three of his men went to engage Azim in battle. But they didn’t take the courage of Grégoire into consideration who rushed them brandishing his family banner and shouting Frankish war cries as he rose his winged mace (the mace seems to be the weapon of choice among this group apparently).
Two fronts then took place : Azim versus the monster and Grégoire against Al Kerim and his bodyguards.
The veteran took advantage of the fact that the Roc bird was turning its attention towards the archers at the rear, to strike him with a very heavy blow.
NOTA : Azim’s player got a 10+ on his Last Stand move and therefore could fight the monster as an equal, well so to speak. As the beast wasn’t paying attention at him I didn’t ask him to roll a Face Danger move+edge for this reckless action. He got as well a 10+ to his Engage in Battle move and did a lot of damage to the monster but not yet enough to strike it down.
As Azim got the full attention of the beast now, the fight turned dirty for him : he had do duck, dodge and resist to the tremedous strength of its monstrous adversary AND the powerful wind its colossal wings hurled at him.
NOTA : as i just said earlier, I asked Azim to roll some Face Danger moves, be it +steel when he did something tough of athletics, +edge when his reflexes were put to the test and even +shadow when he told me he tried to hide between the numerous rocks and boulders all around.
Grégoire got the upper hand at first against Al Kerim and struck him hard with two consecutive blows, litteraly hammering Kerim’s chestplate. But he took as well his fair share of retaliations when the bodyguards went for him with their scimitars and spears. Grégoire realized that he couldn’t take down their leader by himself, at least with his warriors flanking him
NOTA : Grégoire got several 10+ in his Engage in Batlle move and I decided to make a hard move against him (damage dealing) as he was fighting numerous opponents but not numerous enough to be considered as a gang.
So Grégoire grabbed Abdul Al Kerim and the two of them wrestled as they were rolling on the ground until they fell on a ledge further down. Now it was a duel. The two opponents locked on their gaze to one another for a while, trying both to catching their breath.
NOTA : as a result of a 10+ to his last Engage in Battle test, Grégoire chose to outmaneuver his opponents to manage to reduce their numbers against him. Hence the duel.
Above, Azim managed to climb on the Roc’s back, grabbing his large feathers with one hand and smashing the beast’ skull with another. Some arrows hit him as well as the beast but he stood strong and kept his mace firmly in his hand. Then, in a terrifying shriek, the monster took off, shaking its head to finally throw the hardy veteran off its back! Azim fell hard over the rocky floor.
NOTA : Azim’s player chose the also the outmaneuver tactic to “climb” on the Roc. This was a good strategy as the monster couldn’t really attack him and all it could do was to try to get rid of him. So I asked couple Face Danger +edge to keep his balance and he missed the last one. The fall dealt +2ap to him if i remember correctly but nonetheless enough to have his health drop below 0. He’s gotten the Unstable condition as several ribs and vertebraes were in bad shape.
Grégoire resumed his fight with Al Kerim and after a couple bloody exchange of blows, he tricked the war chief moving just out of his way when he charged the Frank head on. Abdul Al Kerim fell off the ledge and disappeared from Grégoire’sight in a cloud of dust as he saw him roll down the very steep slope.
NOTA : another consequence of the Face Danger move in favor of the fiction : I described the situation to Grégoire’s player like Al Kerim was charging straight at him, bull style, what do you do? Then he did the above and I decided it was enough to take Al Kerim out of the picture even if he still could have fought a while more.
The Frankish leader didn’t have time to catch his breath as he saw the Roc bird taking off and the body of his comrade falling straight to the ground! He tried to climb up the slope to help Azim but his armor impeded him unfortunately and he was then delayed. In the meantime the three bodyguards saw their master falling into oblivion and the beast about to strike from above. Better fight another day and avenge the death of their chief and they ran away.
The two archers who struck the monster (and Azim!) several times during the fight were now about to pay the appropriate consequences of their actions. The Roc bird swooped down on one of them and cleaved him into the ground while the other ran away as if the devil was on his tail!
This gave Azim enough time to get on his feet and Grégoire arrived just in time to defend his battle brother from the wrath of the beast which hadn’t forgotten about this puny nuisance. The Roc bird nearly smashed Grégoire’ shield in one blow of his talons as big as blades but he brave and tough Leader stood his ground, allowing his compagnion to break one of its leg! The beast fell on its side due to the tremendous force of the blow long enough to give Azim the opportunity to deal a last and fatal blow, splitting the Roc’ skull open!
NOTA : here we had a Defend & Hold move and Grégoire got a 7-9 so chose the Hold Position option and I think I should have have the Roc smash his shield as my move (instead I said nearly smashed, like couple more blow and it’s gone). But here i did a mistake and didn’t make a hard move on Azim as he was dealing the final blow to the monster. I forgot that he was Unstable…Well good for him!
One day later, the look-out at Bersaba’s watch-tower spotten two bruised figures limping about and dragging what appeared soon to be an enormous bird’s head…