Ambush in Statue Avenue:
It might be called an Avenue..
In fact Statue Avenue is a broad but winding street up to the Palace of the Elders, with a chaos of side streets and alleys leading into it, cluttered with vendors´ stalls, wagons, baskets and covered with awnings to shade the sun.
Any group of people trying to traverse it in an orderly fashion is inevitably reduced to a milling throng as they negotiate corners and obstacles.
And anyone of a malicious bent can move over the roofs of nearby houses or through narrow alleys to stage surprise attacks.
Statue Avenue is the obvious route for Gulu retreating from an Oblob rebellion- it is the only street wide enough to take her palanqin and fat lads directly to the safety of the Palace .
The statues that name the avenue are long gone- only massive feet of strange animals, and reclining torsos remain of what must once have been a bewildering sea of monuments leading to the hill where the Palace sits now.
The Upunzi traders have found good use for them; here the paws of a hyena support an awning that shades the sun, there the belly of a stone infant displays fine sandals and leather goods.
As Gulu makes her way to the Pageant of Punishment in the morning, she is accompanied by troops and surrounded by massive, cheering crowds making their way to the spectacle; an attack then will be swamped by the horrified populace and blocked by the soldiers.
But if she makes a desperate retreat in the face of Convict revolt, Gulu will be unusually exposed.
Mechanics of the attack:
In the retreat, Gulu´s twenty bearers are slowed by confused stallholders and cluttered streets, as they struggle to manoever their massive cargo along.
Even a group who have done no preparation, will be able to run along the narrow alleys and get in front of, or behind, Gulus retinue.
And a group who have walked the area and prepared a plan can roll Tactics and choose one of the following for each point of Width:
-A roof where it will be possible to jump onto the palanquin, over the guards around it.
-spots where missiles or spells (or flasks of burning oil, for the traditionalists) can target the palanquin itself, over the heads of the fat lads.
-Locations where the palanquins passage in one direction can easily be blocked (by burning awnings and barrels in its its path, or tumbling loose stone from a roof into the street..)
-Areas where reinforcements from the palace will be bottlenecked (two at a time) or must detour (arriving another two turns later than when rolled).
-Spots where a small group can sneak in from the rear, after the fat lads focus on an attack from the front.
If planning an ambush, the W of a Tactics roll is the number of turns the defenders automatically stop (and the palanquin stops moving) and can take no action other than defending against attacks, too confused to react agressively.
The Horrified crowds;
There are no secluded areas along the Statue Avenue: Any assault along this normally busy road will cause the horrified onlookers scatter in terror, but after a turn (+ any delay for a successful ambush, as above), the bravest among them form a rag-tag mob and try to assist Gulu. (This is four 1d Unworthies). Every turn after this, another unworthy joins in, brandishing sticks and knives, throwing cobblestones and shouting their outrage.
If attacks and Morale attacks takes out the entire gathered mob in one turn, it snuffs out the flame of resistance- the remaining civillians flee, howling, and no others dare to interfere.
After six turns of wild fighting, the nearest Upunzi troops reach the area and rush to rescue their beloved imortal sorcereress.
-Roll 1d10 for type of troops, each four turns.
1 Rebellious Upunzis want to help the PCs kill the hated Gulu !
(8 Threat 1 desperadoes with daggers and makeshift cudgels).
-A gang of dissidents, probably families and friends of someone Gulu destroyed-
The unimaginable act of actually striking against an Elder make them suicidally brave;
(Count them as Threat 2 vs. Morale attacks)
-If rolled again, read as #4; Red guards.
2 Local toughs
(Six threat 1 thugs with knives and axes)
-A bunch of wine-swilling ruffians see an opportunity to profitably demonstrate loyalty.
3 Local toughs with their champion
(Six Threat 2 thugs with knives and axes+ “Barrelhead”.)
(Barrelhead, a renowned brawler wearing spiked brass rings on all fingers,
has 4 in all physical stats, Brawling 4 and Intimidate:7d.
He has mastered the four first Thunder Fist techniques, too, and his first action will be to loudly challenge the toughest-looking PC to an unarmed duel.
-If rolled again, read as #2; More local thugs arrive.
4 Red guards
A squad of five Red guards show up.
(Five Threat 3 guardsmen who immediately rush to protect the Palanquin)
A unit of 8 spearmen arrive.
(Eight Threat 3 troops-but due to sound shieldwall tactics, they get +1d to their pool for every four Spearmen present).
6 Spearmen with an officer.
(Eight Threat 3 troops- and get +1d to their pool for every four Spearmen present, as #5).
Also, their officer follows behind, with Coordination+Shortbow 7d and shoots at
a) anyone imidiately threatening Gulu.å
b) enemy sorcerers
c) enemies with bows or missile weapons.
The officer is accompanied by a soldier toting a Large Metal Shield (AR3) and 6d Parry, which he uses to gobble attacks against the officer, not himself.
(Four Threat 1 soldiers- but they count as 2d each when they make missile attacks,
so 8d attack pool)
They stop as far from the fight as possible, and target:
a) enemy sorcerers or missile troops
b) The attackers closest to the Palanquin.
8 Four Upunzine marines
Marines fight ugly wrestling and knife battles aboard burning ships, in and out of narrow holds and up and down slippery gangways. This kind of warfare breeds dead men and quick-witted, elite troops.
To save Gulu, the beloved admiral who led them from victory to victory, threatened, they will fight to the death if need be…but they´ ll rather fight cunning, and win and live.
Each of them (Two men, two women) have 4d in all relevant skills and stats you´d expect, like fighting, climbing, sneaking and throwing. They wear leather armor and carry shortsword, and distictive red-striped tunics.
Depending on the situation, they do one of these:
The four quickly grab a cart of palm fronds (used as makeshift carpeting in stalls) and toss on oil jars and reed mats, douse all of it in lamp oil and set it alight. (All this takes them three turns)
Then they run the blazing cart into the mele around Gulus palanquin, fairly heedless of the health and safety of nearby fat lads.
This is an area 3 K attack that repeats every turn against anyone who remain in contact with the wagon. Anyone who retreats avoids this area attack automatically.
Sour black smoke fills the street.
If the chaos allows the marines to reach Gulu, they make her throw one of their striped sailors´tunics on, as one of them quickly dons Gulus radiant vestments.
Gulu knows them personally, and trusts them enough to do as they say.
While the fake Gulu makes sure she is visible behind the fat lads, the others drag Gulu away from the fighting, pretending to be evacuating an injured comrade.
(They even have Gulu clutch an arrow to her chest, as if impaled)
-PCs might spot something incongruous about their “wounded friend” with exeptional use of Sense and skills, noticing an incongruous number of finger rings, or gilded sandals.
-Other PCs might roll anything from Tactics (to sense something wrong about the situation) or Empathy (to sense that the retreating Marines seem too concerned with their wounded friend) to see through the ruse.
Release the All-seeing Elder !
Avoiding the fighting, the four scout the opposition, looking for an overall commander, sorcerer or archer. They select the most important-seeming individual (anyone barking orders would be their primary choice) and sneak up, before making a comitmitted rush. Three attack with disarm, pin and disarm techniques, while the fourth tries to block any attempts to interfere.
When they overpower their target, they use him/ her as a hostage, gladly cutting off the odd ear and finger to demonstrate their ruthlessness. They demand the attackers retreat, or they will kill their victim, but their ultimat goal is just to cause a delay, knowing that help is on its way from all over the city.
-If rolled again, read as #5- Spearmen.
9 Noble and his retinue
The Lord Kade Onjwa is strong, handsome, rich and late, as he lost track of time gambling. Now he and his retinue of rough men (a lord who enjoys slumming needs stout servants, and he does tremendously enjoy slumming) are hurrying to the party when they come across the unbelievable affront of someone attacking an Elder.
He fills the street with a tremendous roar of anger, before drawing his blade and shouting his name and lineage (“Son of Ereit and Jende of the Tall Mountain of Jua, grandson of Seimin of the bloodied fangs !”), swears he will have the head of each mongrel who dared raise their hand to the Elder Gulu, and charges.
He has 2d in all stats and 2d in all applicable skills. His five man retinue are Threat 2 unworthies.
If struck for more than 1S, Onjwa flees, horrified, tossing away his bejewelled (wealth 4) sword. His confused retinue follows him as he runs away.
-If rolled again, read as #5- Spearmen.
0 Wandering spellcaster
-Of all the encounters above, this is the one most likely to be a wild card that destroys the PCs plans and see them killed. Are you sure you want to risk that from a single roll?
If yes, pick one of these:
Zultasassa, Smoke sculptor of the Western Marches. Counterspell 7d.
A wizened gnome of a man, accompanied by a passel of acolytes (4 Threat 1 Unworthies),
Zultasassa is embarked on an arduous journey of his own and cares little for the locals and their squabbles.
However, he is quick to anger and quick to strike, and once he sees the melee, has his servants fire the dry kindling bag they carry, in order to provide smoke for smokemass.
The next turn, Zultasassa gathers energy for Smoke Scythe (9d+Wd) in case anyone gets uppity.
This should ring the Eerie bells of the PC´s, who can try to strike first, or communicate with Zultasassa. A decent Empathy roll will reveal that Zultasassa, unless attacked, will simply retreat.
Owl, the Sunwise, Emissary of the Supernal fellowship. Counterspell 5d.
A tall, frizzy-haired woman hiding her faint glow as best she can with a heavy cloak, but still trailing a rabble of sick and amputated paupers begging her help.
The Sunwise mostly despise the Upunzi Elders, but Owl is in town on business of the Supernal fellowship, and though she would quite enjoy seeing Gulu decapitated in the dirt, she thinks consequences; The other Elders will likely be furious is she ignores Gulu´s plight.
Owl quickly dons Lesser Radiant Form (7d), backs away from the fighting and begins to zap anyone attacking Gulu or threatening her with Blinding Beam (7d).
If seriously opposed, she tries to retreat out of harms´way, but returns once not threatened.
Also, if she can, she will try to save Gulu with Sunwise surgery, so the PCs had better be thorough with their killing.
Bao-dun the Opetkan(s), Mirror magic. Counterspell 6d.
Fat, with lusciuous beard and hair flowing to his hips, Bao-dun is a sight.
Especially as there is four of him. (in fact him and three Reflective Guardians).
Travelling to Upunzi to sample smoking a rare marsh root (Bao-dun is a passionate imbiber of strange flora), he is quite amused to come upon such a dramatic display of local history unfolding.
Giggling, he casts Martial Mirror, creating twenty copies of the PCs and their Unworthies, Fat lads and Gulu herself, (all Threat 2) and orders them into the fray. Then the four of him finds a nice vantage point to watch and munch on dates, as the fat lads grapple with themselves and try to protect two Gulus, while the PCs fight each other…
Imagoes are mirror-reversed images and cast no shadow. PCs who know this (Lore, or any Student of: Magic-variation or knowledge of Opetka, probably) will have little trouble determining who is real and who is an uncanny product of alien sorcery.