The characters have all – for various reasons of their own – come to a small keep.
[DM Note: The characters were instructed to design a level 1 character, then level them up to 3rd level, explaining what they did to gain those levels. At the end of the story each had to write themselves to a small keep in the plains area (Shining Plains/Giant’s Plains area of FR). The keep was in the foothills of one of the small mountain ranges and the surrounding area had some hills and woods. I allowed some familiarization with the area before I started in…]
The keep had been peaceful and restful. Several adventurers types were present and a few even introduced themselves to each other. The acting mayor of the keep (Dargon) was an outgoing, friendly man who had done much of the building of the structures in the area. Though he kept tabs on all that went on and seemed happy, he let it be known to a few that he was always warry of wandering beasts as one powerful creature such as a troll could wipe out the settlement if there were no adventurers present at the time.
The Priest (Chandor, of Selune) was a quiet but well respected community member. He was not highly experienced but helped out wherever he could.
The keep consists of a wooden palisade about 11 – 12’ tall with a 2-story stone building in the corner opposite the main gates. Trees have been cleared for about 100’ in front and 75’ to either side of the keep. Behind the keep the land slowly sinks into an area where several cottages are and crops cover much of the area. Sheep and cows graze in the open areas. There was a small militia force of about 10 men plus a couple lieutenants that had seen some combat previously, but otherwise it was craftsmen and normal farmers.
It was early spring and the early thaws had come to clear the small amount of snow and ice that the area saw. Also the cool spring rains had come and for the last week or so it had been chilly with a constant mist/drizzle. The ground was damp, but not soaked or mushy.
After a communal evening meal, just as they were going to wrap things up and close up for the night, a rider approached the gate in a hurry. He and his mount were wounded and tired. The guards at the gate helped him and as the PCs rushed to the scene they heard: “Goblins and Hobgoblins…musta been a hundred of them – gasp – they are on their way here – gasp – will be here in a couple hours!” Then, of course, the messenger died (as all messengers of this type are wont to do…).
After the man gives his message he dies in the arms of the guards. After a moment of stunned silence Dargon stands up and start shouting orders about what to do to get everything ready for the attack. You see guards and people moving all over trying to warn everyone and get the defenses ready.
All night the sounds of drums can be heard and few people get any sleep, knowing the attack could come at any time.
It is still dark as the sun tries in vain to break through the fog and overcast skies early in the morning. Fog and mist hangs in the fields and forest as if waiting for something to break through. It is cool and damp – just cold enough to make it slightly uncomfortable to your exposed hands and your armor cold against your skin.
Slowly the sound of chanting adds to the drums as they together rise in dim crescendo. Men and women peer into the mist and shadows trying to discern the source. The chanting and drums rumble louder and louder until they reach a fevered pitch. Soldiers – farmers, carpenters, and other laborers – load crossbows, heft shields, strap on helmets, and get into position. Their grip tightens on their weapons as the shift nervously and whisper quiet prayers.
Suddenly all is quiet.
Our heroes manage to fend off the overwhelming attack despite the goblins and hobgoblin’s use of grapples, crude ladders, and alchemists fire. A few of the enemy escaped (including the leader) but only a few of the enemy actually broke into the keep propper.