It's near dawn when Helli comes out from the hut to attend the animals and hears something coming from the woods at the West. He hurries inside and wakes up the others. Einar and Thord come out with Helli to investigate that noise coming from the dark; Hrafnkel, Fafnir and Snorri are still inside gearing up.
I rolled for the three PEFs (Possible Enemy Force) location and scored three ones so they started together by the West side and through the woods. The first PEF came out but it resulted a false alarm.
Helli confesses Einar he's worried because before Winter he had some quarrel with his neighbour regarding the mule he's having at the back of the house. His fears come true when they see his neighbour and his men coming out from the woods, and bringing with him a Death Dealer means he hasn't come to a tea party!
The second PEF came out from the woods and it turned to be the main body of the enemy forces with the leader in it. The highest Rep in the group was the Death Dealer so he became the Big Bad and leader of the group. He is a nasty and very dangerous opponent as he is Rep 6, AC 2, Hardiness 5, Frenzy, Fanatic and armed with a 2 handed axe! The others are a veteran warrior Rep 5, AC 4, and 3 warriors and one archer, all Rep 4.
Without a word of warning the Death Dealer charges Einar who steps back towards the door of the house where the berserker cannot properly swing his axe, thus leveling things a bit. Thord manages to hold two charging warriors while Helli pushes back the veteran warrior. While they fight and contain the charge they do not stop shouting for backup.
Einar, Thord and Helli doing their best while Fafnir, Hrafnkel and Snorri comes out from the back of the house
Snorri comes out from the house, shoots and misses the enemy archer but the enemy doesn't and puts Snorri out of the battle! (Out of fight -OOF-). Hrafnkel also comes out and rounds the house, shooting and effectively killing one of the enemy warriors. Fafnir rushes in help of Helli and charges the veteran warrior but he manages to keep off both him and Helli. At the other side of the house Einar makes his best to hold the enraged Death Dealer whereas Thord falls OOF in front of two warriors. Einar then retreats into the house and comes out to the other side of it.
Hrafnkel takes the opportunity to shoot at the berserker and stick an arrow on his back, leaving him wounded. Einar rounds the house and charges the veteran warrior in help of Helli and Fafnir, and they three finally manage to kill him. Seeing how the veteran warrior is slain, another warrior drops his weapons and flee the fight.
Einar, Fafnir and Helli joining forces to slain the veteran warrior
Einar used his Star Free Will and chose to retreat in the Crisis Test, disengaging from the Death Dealer. Hrafnkel killed the Death Dealer but he used his Hardiness 5 and saved his life, leaving his Hardiness at 3. BTW, here I'm using the Star Power from CR 3.0 Sword play, instead of the test of Hardiness.
The Death Dealer charges again Einar who is pushed back twice, barely resisting his wild attacks. Another warrior charges Helli and the archer exchanges shots with Hrafnkel but both miss.
Now Fafnir charges the Death Dealer to help Einar, hitting and leaving him with another wound and stunned, but with a mighty roar he quickly recovers and keeps fighting.
The berserker is surviving to so many wounds due to his high starting Hardiness points. He started with Hardiness 5, then it was three and after Fafnir's strike is down to two as he rolled another six.
The berserker vengefully strikes back at Fafnir, stunning him on the ground and then striking him again on the ground and leaving him OOF. Einar wisely retreats once again, desperately seeking a way to either escape or kill the mad warrior. Helli finally falls OOF before one of the raiding warriors.
Fafnir and Helli lying motionless on the ground whereas Hrafnkel and Einar get together to face the berserker
Einar picking up Fafnir and Hrafnkel running for Thord and Snorri. Helli is left behind.
Heavy rain begins, slanting from the west. No missile fire in this direction, no bow fire at all.
The berserker was killed by the high penetration factor of a long bow at close range and then he failed his two rolls of Hardiness, so he was dead. I decided to use an accident chart borrowed from Battle troll by Howard Whitehouse and adapted by me to WHAA mechanics. Everytime there is a double in the activation I roll in the accident chart; this time rain happened. The accident chart can be seen at the THW yahoo group.
Hrafnkel picks up Thord first and then Snorri, and puts them on the mule and follow Einar with Fafnir off the board. The last PEF is getting close and they decide to put as much distance as possible between them. Regretfully they cannot carry Helli, who is abandoned to his luck.
The rest of the raiders, seeing their leader and many friends down, and the offender Helli on the ground, they content themselves with capping him, burning the house and go back home with their leader.
Einar's party left the board before the last PEF was resolved. I rolled for a possible persecution but scored a six, so there wasn't any and Einar could safely escape.
They kept walking through woods during all day to finally halt at the top of a mountain and settled up there the camp for the night. From there they can still see the smoke of Helli's house. Hrafnkel suggested to name the mule Helli and Fafnir barked a short laugh in response. A strange mood descended upon the party.
They all were heavily bruised and Hrafnkel even had to spend one of his healing potions on Fafnir, but in the end they all survived and the experience had hardened them.
Hrafnkel started to sing some trying verses about the encounter but whenever Einar closed his eyes he saw the screaming berserker covered in blood and maniacally wielding his axe towards him. Suddenly he thought Sagas were a phony and that being alive was a very good thing.
I rolled for recovery after the battle and all returned to normality thought Fafnir needed a healing potion. Then I rolled for Experience and none of them raised Rep but Fafnir and Einar gained one point of Hardiness being now Hardiness 1 and 2 respectively.
This first encounter was very tense as I was thinking all the time that my main character won't make it. I discovered myself several times thinking this cannot be, that my character was going to die in his first encounter.
Einar was very lucky with his dice rolling and could survive the berserker in melee, and miraculously Hrafnkel could slain him with his bow in the end, and thank God some warriors fled the battle while some others never entered. Moreover, at the end all the members of the party completely recovered, so nothing happened in the end except the lost of the poor Helli.
This is one of the things I love about THW games, that you never know how things are going to turn. It's just like watching a good film.
Do you want to know what will happen next? I do for sure.