One of the things I sold people on when suggesting an Eberron campaign was that the tone was more swashbuckling and heroic. We’d just finished an old-school first edition campaign with a lot of dungeon crawling and enjoyed it immensely, but the number one question I got from people was about the mixture of roleplay and the ratio of fighting to tactics and negotiation that was envisaged. So far, people seem to be happy with the mix, but this was the week where we went full on to buckle those swashes. Well, it was one of my player’s birthdays – he asked for something epic…
So here they were, in the lap of luxury in First Class on one of House Orien’s Lightning Rail coaches. The concept is very similar to that of the US Old West, using magical conductor stones instead of physical rails, which should tell you everything you need about the scope and scale of this week’s adventure. The journey was due to take three days, so I lured them into believing that this was simply a roleplaying opportunity between set pieces. They met a goblin artificer who was extremely nervous, also travelling first class, a number of sellswords travelling in standard class and a mix of people across a variety of social backgrounds.
The journey was smooth, the food and drink plentiful, and some even dared to remove their armour and weapons in favour of enjoying the luxurious surroundings. Of course, come dinner time on the second day, someone had to spoil it all. A band of Talenta halfling bandits riding their dinosaur steeds, to be precise. If you’re envisioning a fantasy version of a Wild West railway shootout, congratulations, we’re on the same page.
Fortunately, enough Spot rolls were made by the party as they ate their canapés to have a couple of moments to prepare. Seeing that the riders would arrive at the rear of First Class, the adventurers began making their way to intercept them. Some of them were better at making their Reflex rolls to move across the open spaces between the carriages than others. Some, thinking tactically, clambered on to the roof and started making their way along too. Lots of unstable footing and rolls to leap between carriages followed, especially for Koff and his ten foot pole. Unfortunately for those who chose the high road, the raiders had air support in the form of three more raiders on Glidewing mounts.
The raiders began systematically ransacking the rooms in the last carriage, and decoupled standard class so that it was left behind. The goblin artificer was killed by the raiders and a chest grabbed from his room for retrieval by their leader. Epic swordplay up and down the corridors within the carriages was matched by a raging barbarian on the roof being dive-bombed by flying dinosaurs.
One of the druids collapsed due to his wounds, and the bard Theodore barely survived after being run through by a raider’s blade. Ruin was able to cast an entangle on the brush around the train though and caused something of a pileup among the dinosaur mounts keeping pace with the train. This meant that they were left behind, cutting off the remaining raiders’ main means of retreat. The Glidewing riders attempted to scoop up a couple of their team from the roof, including the leader, but the bandit chief was cut down by the heroes. He dropped the casket, but his unconscious body was lifted away in a Glidewing’s claws. The remaining bandit threw down his sword and surrendered.
And that’s where we left it. Next week will probably bring train repairs, the examination of loot and finally reaching Sterngate, ready to join the caravan to Darguun through the Marguul Pass.