Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Rumble in the Urban Jungle

Campaign: The Excruciata

Characters: Grumli Fellhammer (mountain dwarf path of the ancestral guardians barbarian) and Nina Kessler (air genasi way of the frozen soul monk)

Events: Rumor had reached the Excruciata gang that their rivals, the Red River Jezebels, were planning on reprisals in return for the poor treatment they had received previously. Looking to get ahead of the storm, the Excruciata approached the Jezebels with a challenge: pit your champion against ours, in public, and we'll see whose gang is tougher.

The Jezebels accepted the offer, and terms were agreed upon: the fight would take place at a rented boxing ring in neutral territory; admission would be charged for this spectacle; the winning gang would receive seventy-five percent of the profits from the door and the losing side would have to make do with twenty-five percent; both sides would be free to take bets from the punters in attendance.

The Excruciata knew that the Jezebel's chosen champion would be Erin Lindstrome, a much feared pugilist who had served under one of the roughest commands in the Empire's navy. She was an absolute mammoth of the ring, and it was unlikely that any one member of the Excruciata could take her on one-on-one. But they had a plan.

The night of the event found Maximo's Gymnasium a hotbed of boozy excitement; the crowd was looking forward to a little sporting bloodshed. The heavily muscled, tattooed ruffian that is Erin Lindstrome entered the ring to the sound of cheers, shouts, and the stomping of feet. No one entered the ring on behalf of the Excruciata; rather, Grumli Fellhammer merely stood outside the ring and began to taunt Erin Lindstrome with a variety of well-chosen barbs about her mother, the lack of genetic variety to be found in her family tree, and the possibility that she served the navy best on her back. 

Fed up with the harangue, Erin left the ring and attacked Grumli. Grumli has no particular skill for fisticuffs, but his inner rage served him well--Erin's blows rained down like iron bludgeons, but he withstood the assault and managed to land some solid, anger-fueled punches of his own. Unfortunately, the experienced Red River Bruiser's expertise eventually wore him down and left him unconscious amid the peanut shells and discarded orange rinds.

Erin Lindstrome returned to the ring, expecting to be announced as the winner of the bout. To her surprise, she discovered that the scheduled match was yet to begin: Grumli was not her opponent for the evening, but had merely been a gambit to tire her out before the real fight. Into the ring leaped Nina Kessler, an unlikely opponent given her wispy thinness and obvious concern for her appearance. But Nina's martial arts training soon became evident as she demonstrated a quick series of strikes and kicks to warm up, so to speak. Nina gave Erin the universal hand motion for "Come get some" before encasing her fists in ice generated by her ki.

Erin was the superior fighter; she was stronger, more practiced, and hardier, but she was also winded and bruised from her previous brawl with Grumli. Nina was quick and agile on her feet, but took a hellacious beating from the former sailor. Nina backed off, then surged forward like a gale, her ice-encrusted fist catching Erin full in the face. Erin went down; she realized, just before slipping into unconsciousness, that her nose was broken.

Nina was declared the winner by knock out, and a message was sent to the Red River Jezebels from the Excruciata: we here, expect us.

Elsewhere: While the Red River Jezebels were distracted with the bout, the remaining leaders of the Excruciata--Raymondo Cortiz and Zanna Cobblestop--raided the Jezebel's treasury. It was guarded by a powerful sorceress in their pay and her lackeys. They didn't manage to kill her or her henchmen, but they were run off the site and the Excruciata made away with some choice loot.