Every few weeks Ali Durust comes to Simurgh to ply his various wares.
Today he has arrived and sets up in the market area.
Ali confidently haggles with a local as the rest of the people go about their business.
Erland decides to approach and to inquire as to what news there is.
One of the local women glances over shoulder as Ali slips backwards and his goons step forward…
So it transpires that a few days ride away from a little known oasis there is an old long forgotten temple that has been in ruins, yet not three nights past did Ali see torch light at the temple.
He bids Erland go see if there is religious loot to be found and he will pay Erland a handsome price for anything he finds.
Never one to pass up an honest days looting, Erland accepts!
The Ruined Temple
As Erland approaches the ruins he can make out some robed figures and hear chanting…
The priestesses allocate all their dice to special as at the start of the game they are busy practicing a foul ritual.
Erland seeing them is not sure if to sneak or just run or watch and wait, so he allocates 4 dice to special, 6 to movement and 2 to combat.
Flipping over the top card of my new fancy pants CROM! Deck we see the priestess is up first.
They are activated as a group and as they are unaware of the presence of Erland they use 1 of their 4 special dice to put into the summoning pool, had they been aware they would have expended more energy to hurry the ritual up, but currently they are in no rush.
They roll a 1, 6 and 6, putting 13 into the summoning pool.
The next card is the high priestess and again being in no rush she does not use all her energy and puts in 3 of her 8 dice, she rolls 4, 5 and 6 making 15.
The summoning pool has 28 dice of magic.
(These are not the official CROM! Summoning rules, these are my own version as detailed HERE)
Last up then is Erland who seeing what is clearly some treacherous foul sorcery decides to act sooner rather than later, he rolls (with my new fancy hand carved bone dice) a total of 21 for movement and 19 for special (stealth in this case, again a house rule)
The cursed witches have dice left in special so roll to see if they spot him, however needing to exceed Erlands total of 19 they fail.
Erland draws his sword and runs like a panther across the burning desert sand all the time keeping low and silent as a ghost.
So magic, when using dice for magic they do not all come back the next turn, you only regain 1 per turn.
So the priestesses who only used 1 of their 4, get that back and are at full strength.
The high priestess however used 3 dice and gets back 1, but this leaves her at 6 from her original 8.
Currently the summoning pool is at 28 points.
The high priestess again uses 3 and her acolytes use again 1.
Erland unsure if to rush in and disturb them or to watch and see what it is they may be doing, once again errs on the side of caution or maybe wisdom, but certainly not hesitant or afraid of whatever dark treachery these demonic dogs are doing.
He allocates the dice the same way again.
Flipping the cards Erland is up first, he rolls 21 for movement and 18 for stealth.
The high priestess has 6 dice and is using 3 so she has 3 dice in her pool spare, if she rolls 3 sixes she could equal Erlands stealth roll of 18 and spot him, she gets 12 and is unaware of the mortals sneaky tactics.
The cultists roll a combined total of 15 and the summoning pool is now 43.
Erland like a cat moves up to the ruined column and presses his back against the strangely cold stone and listens to the weird chanting and murmuring that emanates from the she-devils.
He decides he needs to act now as he can detect what seems to be a quickening of pace in their unearthly incantation.
Erland allocates 5 dice to movement and 7 to combat.
We figure these witches will crumble under his blade with ease so do not worry about allocating more than 7, we just need to make sure we can reach them.
The acolyte priestesses again recover the 1 die they used and are back to 4, they allocate all their dice to special.
The high priestess has recovered 1, she was at 6, and used 3 taking her to 3, but with the recovery she is now up to 4 dice, she allocates them all to special too.
Flipping the cards, Erland is up and rolls his movement dice.
He springs with a roar from behind the column and rushes like a desert lion at the first priestess who barely has time to turn before Erland strikes at her.
She has no dice in combat so can not defend, he rolls his 7 dice and gets 2, 3, 3, 3, 5, 6 and 6.
As she cannot defend Erland automatically wins and a win causes 2 hits.
However you cause an additional hit for each 6 you roll.
This means we have caused 4 hit and as the priestesses only have 4 dice in total she is killed.
Next are the 2 remaining acolytes who use 3 of their 4 special (to use all 4 would be to spend the last of your life essence and they do not willingly do this) they total 16 making the summoning total 59.
The high priestess now calls upon her arcane and demonic lore, her cries and those of her sisters reach a terrible crescendo and a foul stench fills Erlands nostrils and the hairs on the back of his neck rise as the ground begins to tremble and shake.
The tiles of the ruined temple floor crack and a screech like those of the damned rips the air apart as before his eyes the dead awaken.
Frozen in horror Erland is transfixed as once dead temple guards rise to life and pull themselves from beneath the temple floor.
The summoning pool is at 59 and the skeletons being 2 dice minions require 14 points each to be summoned.
56 points gives us 8 dice so that equates to four 2 dice skeletons.
However once you have summoned the dead you must bind them to your will or they will attack you for disturbing their slumber.
Fortunately as the skeletons are weak they should be easy enough to control.
To control them you must roll equal to or higher than their dice total.
They have a dice total of 2 so require a roll of 2 or more to control.
There are 4 creatures summoned this turn so that makes a roll of 8 or more, the high priestess has 4 dice so it should be a certainty.
having said that, to fail could be death at the boney hands of her undead slaves, so we elect to ‘burn’ a d6 and make that an automatic 6, so even if we roll 1’s on the other dice we will control them.
Burnt dice are removed from the game though.
So her 4 dice become 3.
But the skeletons do her bidding!
Erland has 12 dice and allocates them all to combat.
The acolytes have 2 dice (was down to 1 but they recover 1)
The high priestess has 4 dice (was 4 but she burnt one, so that is 3, but she also recovers a spent magic die each turn)
The acolytes allocate both dice to special at the instruction of the high priestess, who in turn allocates all her dice to movement!
The skeleton card is added to the deck.
The priestesses begin a new ritual in earnest, rolling 6 in total, the high priestess seizes the chance and in the confusion, flees the temple making for the edge of the cover, rolling 14 and disappearing into the lush greenery.
The undead creatures are drawn next and they all strike with 2 dice at Erland.
He decides to play it safe and splits his 12 dice into four groups of 3 dice.
By Yimir’s Axe I will send you foul creatures back to Valhalla!
And to be fair his rolls are incredible.
The first attack on Erland is a 6 and 1, making 7 (which with a 6 will cause 3 hit rather than 2 if it is the highest roll)
Erland however rolls higher so the attack fails, and Erland causes a single hit on the attacker (if you roll higher as defender you only inflict 1 hit instead of 2)
Except that Erlands defence roll had two 6’s so he actually adds 2 hits to his 1 and strikes the skeleton for 3, as they are 2 dice creatures it is slain.
Erlands shield parry lifts the creature off its feet and it flies backward with terrible speed and smashes into the column where it falls to the hard temple floor once again a lifeless pile of bones.
As another skeleton lunges in with the spear Erland drops low on his haunches and thrusts his own blade upward through the ribs, splitting bone and piercing upward through the skull.
Wasting no time he spins and as the mace narrowly misses his head Erland again rams his shield into the boney lifeless skull of his dead assailant and smashes the ribs into splinters.
Only one remains, but fatigue from fighting in this cursed heat and uncertainty at what the witches behind him are up to, Erland dodges the spear thrust and quickly jumps back and glances over toward them…
The high priestess again puts all her dice into movement, the acolytes horrified at the betrayal and afraid for their lives put their dice into special, Erland puts 6 into Movement and 6 into Combat.
The priestesses are first and throw themselves prostrate on the ground pleading for forgiveness, unaware of this until he smashes the remaining skeleton he glances upward, scanning the dais but is unable to see the high priestess.
He bounds up to them and not until certain that she witch is gone does he turn his attention fully to them.
He binds them with the musty decayed stink ridden cloth and straps from the undead and marches them back to Simurgh where they will face justice at the hands of the priest of Pteor.
Erland wonders though if Ali would consider these witches as religious loot..
Unaware is he, that not too far out in the dry desert a pair of eyes filled with hatred plan and scheme their revenge.