Prologue to the Dark Tower: the March to Mitra’s Fist

Using Kayan Haduk’s advice on where to travel, the three comrades ride north-east from the Becharadur coast, by way of three cities of Pelishtia that fall inside the Akkharian sphere of influence. They are not large cities and offer no great chance to re-equip. In the final city, Shiktat, they exchange their gold for some portable gemstones, and practical silver, and Bardic has his masterwork chain shirt repaired. Equally as importantly, they pay a seer-sage to investigate the items they looted. They trade the black pearls for this work.

  • The Belt of Anu is an exceptionally fine Bakhariot belt, with the enchantment of Bull’s Strength on it. It is activated once a day by calling on Anu. Bardic wears it.
  • The Scimitar of Fire belongs to the Zugite cult. They will do much to get it back. Morath sells it.
  • The rings, which were the only other enchanted items kept in the evacuation, only have their intrinsic metal value.

 

While in the cities, the three comrades catch up on news of goings-on that their time on the coast insulated them from.

  • Aquilonia and Ophir are at war, after a period of rivalry and false-war on the rivers. Ophir remains in a state of civil strife, so in effect the east is free to do whatever it wants. (This news is a year old so may already be out of date.)
  • Argos is lending tacit support to the Barachans who target Zingaran shipping. Zingara is distracted by civil unrest.
  • Prince Almuric of Koth has rebelled. It is bound to lead to a long and expensive war as Almuric is famously wealthy.

 

By the time they are ready to leave Shiktat the comrades have learned little more about the trail ahead. Even the seer-sage offers only the commonplace knowledge that Mitra’s Fist is also known as Mitra’s Curse, is said to be the furthest south the Hyborian race ever reached, and is no longer visited by trade caravans. Kayan Haduk has previously explained the route to travel, and has told our heroes that Mitra’s Fist seemed odd and its inhabitants all seemed to be hiding something. He was glad to leave it.

 

The lads recruit seven retainers for the trail to Mitra’s Fist. These retainers are generally bound for Koth and one side or the other of Almuric’s revolt.

Dlagbo, Ghanata Nomad8. Though treacherous his abilities in the desert will be an asset.

St15 Dx18 Cn14 In13 Wi9 Ch11, F8 R10 W1. BAB+8, Init+8, HP67, Mv30/40’

Defenses: 10+4Dx=14.

Attack: Ghanata knife +13 (Finesse, (d6+ 2)) Crit 18-20; NB Ghanata knife is interchangeable with scimitar.

Special Attacks: Nomad charge

Special Qualities: Ghanata traits, illiterate, favored terrain 2 (desert), born to the saddle

Skills:  Bluff +11, Handle Animal +7, Hide +8, Heal +4, Intimidation +6, Listen +6, Move Silently +10, Ride +18, Search +6, Spot +9, Survival +14

Feats: Endurance, ImprInit, Mobility, MtdCbt, PwrAttck, Ride-by Attack, Toughness, Track, WpnFocusGhanKnife, WpnFinesse

 

Bennix the Brythunian and ‘Two-heads’ who may be from Koth. They are the ‘Heavies’ – these are L5 Hyborian foot, accustomed to using heavy weapons in close.

St16 Dx12 Cn14 In10 Wi10 Ch10, F6 R2 W1. BAB+5, Init+1, HP44, Mv20

Defenses 10+1Dx+6Scale+1Helm+3Brigandine=20. Optional shield+2.

Attack Bastard sword +9 (d10+6) OR Spear+8 (d6+3) (with shield).

Feats Endurance, PwrAttck, WpnFocus, WpnSpec.

 

Wulber from Koth and Dax from Argos. They are the ‘Lights’ – these are L5 Hyborian mounted foot, accustomed to riding to battle then dismounting.

St14 Dx16 Cn12 In10 Wi10 Ch10, F5 R4 W1. BAB+5, Init+3, HP39, MV30

Defenses 10+3Dx+3ReinfHide+1Cap+Dodge=17/18. Optional shield+2.

Attack Crossbow+9(d8+1/+0), Spear+8(d6+2) (with shield).

Feats Endurance, Dodge, PtBlank, WpnFocus.

 

Finally Hafentos the half-Stygian and A’BinUsta (or ‘Bin’). They are technically Meadow Shemites, accustomed to mounted archery though not as proficient as Zuagirs or Asshuri.

St12 Dx16 Cn12 In10 Wi12 Ch10, F5 R4 W2. BAB+5, Init+3, HP36, MV50 (30 on foot)

Defenses 10+3DX+4Hide/Leather+Dodge=17/18.

Attack Shemite Bow+9 (d6+2/+1), Scimitar+6(d8+1)

Feats Endurance, Dodge, PtBlank, FarShot, Shemite Bow proficiency+1.

 

With the aid of these retainers they put together a small military caravan of two camels and 10 horses. The pace will be slow as the horses have to carry their own fodder for travel through the dry hills north of Shiktat.

 

The march goes smoothly until they get into the dry. Jackals become vocal. Then Hyenas! It becomes difficult to sleep, and of course all wear armor if they can. The heat of the summer tells on them. Finally, their night camp is attacked when Celo and a Shemite are on watch. Celo’s left arm is savaged by a Hyena, while Jackals attack the horses.

At the cost of fatigue, the camp remains well guarded each night, and there are no further severe casualties. But the horses are picked off. Celo’s arm cannot mend while he is fatigued.

Finally, with only the two camels left, but a symmetrical shape that could be a tower picked out in the setting sun, a hulking, slope-shouldered shape is spotted as the camp is attacked yet again.

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