The map shows the progress achieved on the first and second expeditions. They discuss their options for going back. Renard suggest that they could go back to the Hobgoblin caves and try to ransack their common room first but Azazel feels that the better option is to go back to the Orcs.
“Whilst they are very tough opponents, they are so chaotic that we’ll never be able to rest in the Caves until they are beaten. Perhaps, he reasons, we could make alliances with some of the other races but we could never ally with the Orcs. They must be severely weakened”, Azazel reasons, “and now we’ve got Kirak to help. Whilst Kirack will never be one of us, he will be a fine destroyer of the Orcs”.
Renard nods and they set off.
Kriak will be in the first rank together with Ranald.
Hunulf and Ibba will remain in the second rank with their two-handed spears. Whilst they had a lot of difficulty hitting the Orcs from the second rank Azazel is convinced this is a sound strategy.
Harti will join Azazel in the third rank and the rear will be protected by Goar and Frideric.
As they enter the cave they keep a close eye on the trophy wall to see if there is any movement.
They wait a while but there isn’t any reaction to them entering the cave. It seems eerily silent.
Turning to the east they find a small abandoned 20ft by 20ft room. In it are a few stools, an old crate and barrel, fire place and some wood. They search the crate and barrel to see if there is anything of any value but there is nothing.
Reforming they head down the western passage where upon they come across a passage to the north and an opening to a large underground cavern. As they get closer to the room they can see a large fire burning along the southern wall and a 20ft long banquet table and…….four Orcs hiding (unsuccessfully) behind the long table.
Initiative: The Faithful 17, Orcs 6
· Renard and Kirak double move forward and start to flank the Orcs behind the table.
· With his reach weapon, Hunulf charges at the closest Orc and stabs it in the left shoulder for 4pts. Surprised the Orc bellows in pain.
· Ibba follows suit and charges the Orc in front of him but he fails to connect with his long spear.
· Harti and Azazel double move up. Next round they will go either over the table or around it to get to the Orcs.
· With their lighter armour, Frideric and Goar move up a little quicker and provide a second rank and some flank protection to Renard and Kirak.
· The northern most Orc lowers his crossbow to fire a round at Renard but as he does so Ibba panics and stabs ruthlessly at the Orc hitting it in the stomach for 7 points and putting it down.
· The other Orcs laugh at the misfortune of their brother and pass their morale check.
· With more circumspect, the remaining Orc’s take a 5ft step back and fire at Ibba, Hunulf and Kirak respectively but all the shots miss.
· Looking deeper into the gloom of the great hall Kirak smiles “We’ve found them, we’ve found them all”
· Azazel isn’t so confident……
· “Rush them before they can surround us” yells Azazel
· Kirak rushes forward, leaps over the table and swipes at the closest Orc with his battle axe and hits the Orc in the right leg, cutting it to the bone and doing 9pts of damage. The Orc squeals in pain and drops to the ground.
· Hunulf jumps up onto the table and stabs as the opposite Orc with his two-handed spear but misses.
· Ibba follows suit and stabs at Hunulf’s Orc and hits it in the head, popping one of the Orc’s eyes and doing 3pts of damage, killing it slowly.
· Renard and Harti double move to block the northern entrance from the Orc common room.
· Frideric double moves to block the southern entrance.
· Following Kirak’s lead, Goar rushes forward and stabs the remaining Orc in the left leg for 3pts, gravely wounding it but not putting it down.
· Pushing past Hunulf, Azazel jumps the table and smashes it with his heavy mace in the right shoulder for 6pts, killing it.
· Surprised that their vanguard had been dispatched so quickly, the male Orcs are rushing around getting their equipment.
· Meanwhile the females move towards the far corner and herd the infants towards the north-western corner.
· Rushing forward Kirak attacks the nearest Orc. His battle axe bites hard into the Orcs left leg, almost severing it, for 8pts of damage, killing the beast.
· Harti and Ranard wait. They’d learnt from their previous experience in rushing into a room such as this that they may well get overwhelmed by numbers.
· Goar moves over to cover Harti’s rear.
· Frideric, Hunulf and Ibba move to cover the left flank and Kirak’s rear position should he need to fall back.
· Azazel moves forward slightly to be able to support either flank. “Perfect” he whispers to himself. “We’ve got a real twist on them”.
· Roaring in frustration, the three southern Orcs rush Kirak. All three slash at the sturdy Dwarf but none can be his 21 AC.
· The two northern Orcs charge and attack Harti and Renard but neither can breach their scale mail and large shield armour.
· The two remaining Orcs move up but are frustrated that they cannot get at the enemy.
· Female and juvenile Orcs remain cowered in the northwest corner.
· Laughing, Kriak slashes his battle axe in a great arc cutting the southernmost Orc for 5pts, staggering it but not dropping it.
· Ibba steps forward 5ft and stabs with his two-handed spear but misses.
· In the north, Renard and Harti slash at the Orcs with their new swords. Whilst Harti’s blow is blocked by the savage Orc in front of him, Renards blow strikes home, hitting the Orc in the groin for 5pts.
· The three southern Orcs again slash at Kirak but cannot wound him.
· The northern most Orc attacks Harti but again misses.
· The wounded Orc opposite Renard lashes out in revenge and lands a devastating blow, critically hitting Renard in the stomach for 18 points, making him instantly unconscious.
· Renard doesn’t stabilise and bleeds out to -8. He is close to death.
· Frideric moves north 5ft and pulls Renard back from the main line.
· Azazel casts a Cure Light Wounds on Renard healing him back 2pts and Stablising his wounds.
· Goar steps forward 5ft and attacks the Orc that defeated Renard but he misses.
· Similarly, shocked at the sudden loss of his friend, Harti misses.
· In the south, Ibba attacks the Orc opposite him with his two-handed spear and misses.
· Kirak attacks the Orc directly to his front and strikes it in the right shoulder for 9pts of damage, instantly killing it.
· Not broken by the fact that they had lost half their numbers, the Orcs pass morale.
· The southernmost Orc attacks Kirak with a large overhand loop of its weapon. Kirak dodges but cannot avoid the falchion this time and he viscously struck in the head for 10pts. Kirak grunts, acknowledging the pain and squints a menacing look back at the big Orc.
· Boyed by its critical hit on Renard, the Orc opposite Goar has finds a weakness in the humans defences. It again swings its mighty falchion and decapitates Goar doing 23pts of damage. Goars lifeless body slumps to the ground.
· Roaring with laughter, the Orc opposite Harti slashes with its great falchion and also hits, striking him in the right shoulder and doing 11pts of damage. The Master of Arms is Staggered.
Wow!!!! No one is laughing now. Up until this point I thought this combat was going to be a push over but it’s proving to be very deadly.
· Wounded for the first time Kirak must make a morale check. He must pass a 15 – 9 (for Azazels diplomacy), +2 (for never having fought with this party before), +2 (misalignment with the party), +2 (racial differences) so he needs a 12 to pass and…….a 1 is rolled.
· Kirak turns to run from the combat, as he does the northern Orc stabs at his back, critically hitting him in the left leg, severing it just above the knee and doing 22pts of damage. The Dwarf screams out in pain and dies within seconds as he bleeds out from the massive wound.
· Seeing Harti killed with one blow Ibba (and each of the Faithful) needs to also take a morale check. He needs a 15 – 9 – 2 (for having fought before with the party) – 2 (for his religious faith which is in total alignment with the party) = 2. He passes with a 7.
· Ibba attacks the Orc opposite him but misses.
· Hunulf (who also passes morale) 5ft steps forward and attacks the Orc opposite him. He stabs with his long spear but misses the brute.
· Frideric (passes morale) 5ft steps forward and attacks the great Orc which has just critically hit two of his party. He also misses.
· Azazel moves up and casts a cure light wounds upon Harti, healing him for 6pts and bringing him back into the fight.
· Harti passes his morale and attacks the Orc opposite him. He hits the beast, slashing it in the chest and doing 5pts of damage, almost dropping his foe.
· The southernmost Orc takes a 5ft step forward and slashes at Ibba, hitting him in the right leg for 8pts of damage. Ibba is dangerously wounded but not yet down.
· Following on, the Orc opposite Hunulf also take a 5ft step forward and attacks Hunulf but he misses the Treasurer.
· Sensing victory the remaining southern Orc moves up behind its tribe members impatiently waiting to get to the humans.
· The Orc opposite Frideric lashes out and smashes its falchion into the left leg of the Keeper of the Faith, dealing 9pts of damage and dropping the Curate in training.
· The Orc opposite Renard stabs with its falchion, catching Renard with a nasty groin wound for 10pts, dropping the warrior.
· The remaining Orc laughs as it watches its brothers easily tear apart the interlopers.
· Harti doesn’t stabilise and bleeds out a point. Frideric also doesn’t stabilise and bleeds out a point.
· Realising the imminent danger to the party, Azazel casts Burning Hands, unfortunately catching Harti in the flames. Harti takes 2pts of damage, dropping dangerously close to -7hp. None of the Orcs save. The two at the front are instantly incapacitated and begin to die and the Orc at the back is reduced to 4hps.
· Ibba withdraws to beside Azazel and hopes that their leader will heal him.
· Hunulf similarly withdraws to provide a protective, flanking position.
· The northern most Orc pushes past Harti’s body and attack Azazel, hitting him for 7pts of damage. Luckily, Azazel is still on his feet.
· One of the southern Orcs sees his chance and chases Hunulf. Hunulf gets an attack of opportunity as the Orc closes in on him but he misses the Orc. In a last-ditch effort, Ibba stabs the Orc, with his attack of opportunity and hits it in the head, piercing its skull for 6pts of damage. The Orc slumps to the ground dead and Ibba, from the effort and the strain, takes a point of damage and become unconscious.
· Unperturbed, the next Orc rushes Hunulf, and swinging its might falchion gets a critical hit, striking Hunulf in the right shoulder dealing 15pts of damage, practically severing his arm. Hunulf falls unconscious, almost dead, helpless at the Orc’s feet.
· The last Orc rounds the corner and makes for Azazel, pushing aside Renard’s body to get to the priest it lifts its falchion and strikes Azazel in the left arm for 7pts of damage, rendering him, the last party member unconscious.
· The Orcs would feast on their human prey tonight.
Agghhh friggin hell. At about Round 5 I figured I had this in the bag but then in very quick succession I lost Kirak, Harti and Renard. Once Kirak went down I should have figured that Ibba and Hunulf couldn’t hold the southern flank and I should have pulled out immediately.
I’ve come to the conclusion that Orcs are bloody deadly. I mean stone the crows they are +5 to hit and 2d4+4 damage. They were hitting most of my guys on between an 8 and a 10 and then pretty much putting them down straight away. And my Level 0 companions were hardly up to the job. True they helped but the real stars, I felt, were the men at arms, particularly Harti and Renard once I’d hooked them up with proper armour and weapons. But a couple of lucky hits and down they went. With the Orcs doing an average of 9pts per hit it doesn’t take long, especially with the big threat range of the falchion between 18-20. There were a number of critical hits from the Orcs and they were normally confirmed and this lead to some devastating consequences.
I thought at first that the two-handed long spear was a great weapon but the -4 to attack from a second rank meant that they didn’t once get a hit from that position. True they did kill a number of Orcs that tried to rush them but once they were engaged they were in real trouble because their armour class was so low. There is a big difference between an armour class of 15 and 13 at first level, especially when your opponent has +5 to hit.
The worse thing is that I was really starting to get attached to characters as well. As a band of unskilled misfits they were doing pretty well.
Anyway I’ll start again.
What new character could have a chance against the Keep on the Borderland?