We picked up again tonight with the party having repelled the first attack by the Quadi (hobgoblins) and their allies, the Vandals (goblins.) In a very one-sided fight, the Romans held out against catapult attacks from the south and Vandal attempts to get over the wall from the east. In the end, the Vandals on the right flank of the legion of bad guys broke and ran for it. Insult was added to injury when the heroes disguised their monk with an invisibility spell, allowing him to pour Greek Fire on the catapults behind enemy lines, which were then lit by incredibly lucky (and well buffed) archery tests by Legate Marcellus and Benarix the spy.

Two days pass with the Romans putting the fortress in order for a prolonged siege. Augustinian the cleric purified the food and water that had been despoiled by the rats loosed on the fortress by the Vandals, injured were tended to, and at the end of the second day, they were roused to the western wall by horn blasts in the snow frosted forests. Someone was getting reinforcements…but who?

Moments later, Titus Germanicus — one of their scouts who had been sent to contact Marco the Hammer in Heilbrunna and ask for his aid — arrived at the head of a small group of mounted Marcomanni. 300 Marcomanni were on the march and about to relieve the castrum! Outside and to the south, the Quadi started shifting their lines in anticipation of an attack, giving them the opportunity to coordinate with Marco’s people.

The plan was simple: the Marcomanni would attack the left front of the Quadi, while the Romans flanked their right and struck in. The attack was led by the turna (cavalry) under Carrus the dwarf, and augmented with Carona the satyress, Icio the monk, and Titus. They would harry and distract the Quadi and allow the Romans to close the distance and attack.

Using the Unearthed Arcana mass combat rules, the larger force of Quadi held against the cavalry, and gave the PCs in the group the chance to battle some of the individual bad guys. This led to Icio and Carona getting pretty chewed up, Carrus getting knocked about a bit — badly at first, then not so much as the fight went on. Icio, at one point, was knocked to 0HP, but healed by Augustinian, who ran to aid him. The initial exchange between armies and the early injury to PCs made it look like this could be a possible TPK sort of night, but they rallied.

The turna was reinforced a few rounds later by the two cohorts of Roman legionnaires, who hit the Quadi hard. The real damage, however, came from the bard, who laid into the hobgoblins with shatter, killing or incapacitating 40+ of the hobgoblins. Between all the characters, they took out almost 60 of the 180 in that particular group, breaking their morale and causing them to flee. The Marcomanni were better prepared and smashed through the other cohort of Quadi with ease. In “real world” time, the entire fight was about 15-20 minutes long, but ended with the last of the hobgoblins evacuating the field in half-decent order.

During the fray, Icio had attempted to pray for help from his guardian angel (as it were), Michael, but was healed by Augustinian at that moment. He puts the intervention down to God’s aid.

In the end, all the players did very well in experience points, and loot. The characters also realized that the solid victory of the Romans — and the new allies that Marcellus had signed a treaty with — had put Marcellus’ star, until then just a lark of the young caesar, into rapid ascendance. Rich, victorious over new and dangerous enemies while outnumbered, and having brokered a successful alliance, the characters are set to become heroes of the empire!