“Here. It is here.”
Thaddeus Daemoncall knew the signs that heralded another concentration of magical artefacts – feelings and impressions only open to those with extensive experience of sorcery. They stopped, just before the narrow passageway opened up into a snow-dusted square.
The Summoner nodded towards the rows of shattered statues – once proud bearers of exotic treasure in a proud wizard’s private museum, but now just broken lumps of man-sized stone under a wintry sky.
He turned to his warband – the four thuggish tribesmen and their two bowmen cousins, the Hobbit thief and Southlander ranger, the newly-hired knight, loyal warhound and lastly his apprentice, Johannes Oddleigh.
“It was once the custom to keep one’s treasures at the feet of such statues – you can be sure they will not let go of their charges readily. Come, let us advance!”
“Begone! I was here first!”
The challenge echoed across the square as Holbon Toddlebrew and his apprentice Ged Scrollmaster appeared at the opposite side with their band, augmented by a haughty treasure hunter.
“You again Sigilist?” sneered Thaddeus. “Very well, let us begin the d-“
Suddenly an arrow thudded into the chest of the archer standing next to the Summoner. He staggered, clutching his wound. Thaddeus stepped back as his men advanced. Laying his hands on the stricken bowman he muttered a spell, beads of sweat dripping from his forehead and his eyes growing bloodshot.
The archer stood up, but before he could stutter his thanks the wizard weakly waved him on forward before leaning heavily on a ruined wall. Reaching into his robes, he pulled out the healing potion he had found in the previous battle and drank deeply.
“It’s like that is it?” he muttered darkly.
The warband closed in on the statues, spreading out as they moved forward. In the vanguard a small imp appeared, close enough to worry the Sigilist’s men, but not their own party. There was a stronger smell of brimstone to their left, where Halfinch the thief had smashed a potion bottle, releasing the demon from within.
To the right, the healed archer made his way around the edge of the square, keeping a ruined building between him and the archer that had nearly finished him. Climbing up onto the top storey, he would ineffectively cover the square for the rest of the game. Ahead of him trotted Fluffy the warhound, working her way around the flank of her prey.
In support, the other archer had set himself up in an upper level and, perched in his eyrie, exchanged bow shots with his opposite number, who was crouched behind a ruin. He guarded the Sigilist apprentice who, like his master, was busying himself by attempting to cast magical shields over his men.
The released demon screamed in fury, forced to do her master’s bidding, and moved on the treasure. However it was the Sigilist’s men who got there first, pulling out a golden chest from under the rubble. Suddenly one of their number, a bald thug, yelled a warning, as a statue came jerkily to life, looming above him.
As he frantically battled this living statue, the summoned imp was quickly finished off by the Sigilist warhound. Meanwhile the other thug was hauling the treasure chest away, covered by the treasure hunter.
But these small victories were short-lived, for the knight had leaped forward thanks to Thaddeus’ magic, and, ignoring the bald thug’s plight, quickly slew the warhound and clanked straight towards Holbon Toddlebrew and his archer bodyguard.
Thaddeus’ thugs had by now reached the statues, which were coming to life at a steady rate as the treasure chests were touched. However these steely tribesmen were able to attack mob-handed, and with a yell of triumph, soon polished off an outnumbered construct - swiftly followed by it’s neighbour.
The enemy treasure hunter and thug pairing also managed to dispatch a living statue, while their bald compatriot was still locked in an epic struggle with another animated effigy.
The treasure hunter and his friend made a break for it, as did Holbon Toddlebrew, leaving his archer to face the mighty blade of Sir Pierre de Bleu. He did not last long, and neither did the Sigilist apothecary, who had run face-to-face with Fluffy as she appeared on his flank.
A scream rent the frozen air, as the demon, having moved around the opposite flank, fell to the blade of a troublesome archer. Another imp popped into existence, and lolloped towards the bald thug, who was still battling a statue.
Two of the tribal thugs had by now destroyed yet another statue, although one had been wounded in the process, and were now extracting yet another treasure chest from under the snow. A timely leap spell from Oddleigh moved the wounded thug, and the treasure, out of harm’s way, although the miscast had to be boosted, nearly costing the unfortunate apprentice his life.
With a shout, more of relief than triumph perhaps, the bald thug finally dispatched the statue, only to turn and find the imp heading towards him. Groaning, he once again hefted his club, sending the creature back to whatever dimension had spawned it. His enemies overcome, he could finally get at a treasure chest!
But it was not to be. He fell, a look of surprise on his face and a sliver of bone protruding from his back. Thaddeus smiled, flexing his fingers as one of his men raced forward to claim the chest.
By now the Sigilists were in full flight, pursued by a baying Fluffy, with Sir Pierre not far behind. Buying them just enough time to escape, the Sigilist treasure hunter turned and hacked down the demonic hound.
Her howls mixed with a squeal of terror as Nifty Halfinch, Halfling thief, went down under a mighty blow from the remaining statue. However this creature was soon taken care of by Hakim the ranger, leaving the field, and five of it’s six treasures, to Thaddeus Daemoncall. He and his band headed back to the Cloven Hoof, carrying Fluffy and Halfinch’s prone forms. Luckily they were both to make a full recovery.
The Summoners had not only cast half a dozen spells between them, but Thaddeus had also dispatched an enemy thug and had five treasures to his name. In one fell swoop he had risen to a level five wizard. (Edit: After re-reading the scenario, I noticed we also get 25 exp per statue killed, so an extra 100 exp for me, bringing me up to level 6.)
The treasure haul was rather pleasing too, with gold-a-plenty, scrolls, magical weapons and a new elemental ball spell to be learned. Thaddeus’ sojourn into the living museum had proved to be very profitable indeed…