We had our next installment of our Dungeons & Dragons game this evening (with guest co-GM, my six-year old daughter rolling for the bad guys…) In this, the characters prepared for the one-on-one combat that Legate Marcellus had proposed to the general of the Quadi (or hobgoblins, in this world) forces. The PCs had never counted on a fair fight, of course — Roman notions of honor still maintained that fondness for craftiness that the Greeks had. The priest, Augustinian, had Carrus the Dwarf melt down a bit of platinum to craft a warding bond , and also cast Shield of the Faithful  to boost the legate to a ridiculous armor class, and allowed the cleric to slough some of the damage he would take to himself.

With ten cavalrymen in support, they rode out to meet Brutharius, the leader of the Quadi and his tiefling advisor, Raphael. Surrounded by hundreds of cheering Quadi and Vandals (goblins, in this world), Marcellus and Brutharius threw down in a contest of skill. Both characters were incredibly hard to hit, and after five rounds, I upped the ante by having the tiefling instigate Icio, the aasimar monk, into action. When he got close enough to the party, he cast Arms of Hadar and pummeled everyone for 16 necrotic damage, with only the monk managing to absorb some of this. He invoked armor of shadows, as well.

The monk got a hit in, only to be hit with hellish rebuke. Before Raphael could really lay into them with fireball, the monk got initiative and put him down with a flurry of solid hits. At this point the surrounding army moved in for the kill, all the while, Marcellus battling the Quadi general. Carrus, who realized they were severely outmatched, called in the cavalry to drag his friends to safety inside the castrum, then valiantly beat off a group of goblins and hobgoblins with his warhammer and axe.

Augustinian — who finally lost concentration on the spells he was using to protect the legate, Calvinus the bard, and Icio the monk all were pretty badly mauled in the fight, and finally withdrew. With a final shatter, Calvinus managed to kill Brutharius. The party fell back behind the walls of the fortress, while the Roman troops poured arrows and ballista bolts into their pursuers, then dumped hot oil on those that got too close to the gate.

Hit dice and healing spells pulled them all back to their max hit points, but this had proved to be a decent challenge for them. Now the question is — did their ploy to break the leadership of the Quadi and hopefully their will to fight work..?