The Dirty Paws' third encounter of the campaign was in the wild lands around a long-abandoned temple. After their two previous victories, the royalist Special Animal Service were looking to exert pressure on the rogues in an open engagement, but they were quite unprepared for how many rogues there now were.
Clustered near the foot of the cliffs, Lady Briar the badger and Basil the beaver had spread out their forces. The mouse nun, Sister Bridget, sheltered near the two massive creatures; Martin the mouse was off on his own (top left) and Cornflower, the dormouse archer was up on the cliffs looking to provide cover. Other than crushing their foes again, the SAS' secondary objectives were to conserve their own strength, and defend the territory they already held.
Opposed to them, the Dirty Paws arrayed eight beasts. Behind the ruins, Lucky Robyn Longtooth the fox leader stood with the badger, Old Broc, and Sgian Dubh the polecat, supported by Seren the (horrifically scarred) bat. To the right, the rogues' second, Osgood the otter was back in action, supported by Gypsy, the provocative mouse dancer. Her brother, Tibbot, was already in ambush at the top of the temple ruins, along with Knut the squirrel. The rogues secondary objectives were to purge the royalists by 'removing' their nun, or to otherwise isolate members of the warband.
Despite the best efforts of the Dirty Paws to set up a corridor of ambushes, as Osgood went forward - hoping to isolate, or eliminate the wee royalist dormouse - he was intercepted by Lady Briar whose improved speed allowed her to dash straight along the base of the cliffs, outside of bow range, and into a melee-holding position.
Old Broc and Gypsy joined the fray, joined shortly after by Basil, the SAS beaver. Osgood took a bit of a beating, but Broc lobbed a healing potion in his direction which eased the pain. From the top of the cliffs, Cornflower emerged from the shadows, nocked an arrow, and lined up a show hoping to place a telling shot against the injured otter.
However, just at the moment she released the arrow and fate (closely followed by Basil the beaver) stepped in the way. The amazingly poorly placed arrow wreaked havoc and Basil was brought close to death.
By this stage, Knut had realised his position above the ruins was never going to be in range with the action and he'd descended, to be replaced by a fluttering Seren who sent a couple of lightning bolts in the direction of the nun, Bridget. Both hit their target, but only caused middling damage. Tibbot was able to fire into the swirling melee with better success, gradually wounding Lady Briar with his bodkins in spite of her armour. Sgian Dubh advanced cautiously into an ambush position, ready to tackle Martin the isolated mouse who was trying his best to make contact with the rest of his crew.
And then, in a savage turn of events, Broc broke Briar with a breath-taking beating, and Robyn used a killing blow to take down Basil. With their leader and second taken out of action, the remaining royalists scattered to regroup somewhere with less rogues!
In this engagement, the tables were really turned compared to what we've experienced before. Despite the royalists fielding two very tough and well armoured massive creatures, the rogues were able to outmanoeuvre and swarm them. The beaver is now slightly less tough thanks to his chest wounds (curse that friendly fire!), and while it looked for a moment like the badger would be captured by the rogues, the royalist's tame apothacary somehow managed to extract her from danger...
The exploration round yeilded only mediocre results for both sides, with the SAS extracting a new mouse, Sniff, from an oblidging slave trader, and the Dirty Paws scraping together just enough pennies to feed themselves and hire a new mouse slinger, Dafydd. However, the experience gained surviving the engagement and managing to isolate Martin the mouse, meant that every member of the Dirty Paws (except the rookie Dafydd of course) gained an experience upgrade.