Entry 3. 11th day of Tarsakh, 1492 DR.
The lead orc charges forward, clad in ill-fitting plate armour previously worn by the orog despatched earlier by Lamb, an accompanying volley of javelins preceding him. Alwin is struck repeatedly, thick gouts of blood darkening his furred flanks, but he remains standing and fighting for now.
As the Company re-position themselves in preparation to relieve Alwin in the frontline they hear, through the secret door, bellows and crashes from the ogre tearing his way through the barricaded corridor to the room on their flank.
Lamb moves to the secret door to see the orc shaman opening the iron gate to the corridor for the ogre. He alerts the Company with a shout and follows up with an errant javelin throw at the shaman.
With a final growl and swipe, Alwin falls back and Thanatos darts forward to fill the space vacated. Thanatos’ normal luck returns as he walks straight into a fearsome thrust from the plate armoured orc. Sorely hurt before he has even landed a blow, Thanatos grimly sets about wearing down the orc’s formidable defences with his twinned scimitars.
Balkris, sniping from the rear of the formation, has likewise run out of lucky arrows and his shots are ineffective against the combination of pl
ate armour, shield and the narrow corridor. Veth, noting Balkris’ difficulties, opts for the unerring reliability of magic missiles to obviate the stiff defences. He can keep the heads pristine that way, as well.
The shaman beckons to Lamb with one clawed finger, her sibilant command, “Approach”, reinforced with arcane compulsion. Lamb, used to his Nordic good looks, piratical air and perfect physique having this effect on women, as well as being quite partial to strong females in leather and furs himself, thinks this is a splendid idea and moves to comply. The fact that the ogre is in the way is a bonus.
Homte, unable to see the shaman, is surprised to see Lamb abandon his position in the doorway, but not greatly concerned. Company adherence to plans is loose at the best of times and Lamb, Homte has noted, despite his numerous imprecations to caution, is rather fond of a headlong rush into the teeth of the opposition. Following in his customary “wingman” position, Homte is puzzled to note, however, that the over-muscled idiot isn’t evincing the expression of delight and moronic grin that usually accompanies these charges.
Homte’s unease nearly turns to panic as the ogre unleashes a mighty overhead swing with his monstrous axe at the heedlessly onrushing Lamb. The blow looks like it would bisect a horse, but the Northman checks himself at the last moment and whilst the blow opens a wound in his torso from hip to shoulder in a spray of blood, Homte retains his meat shield for now.
Lamb and Homte set about teaching the ogre what hard hitting really means, in their usual fashion, Lamb’s merry smile re-assuring Homte the barbarian is back to his normal self.
In the other room, Thanatos’ inter weaving assault finds a way through the armoured orc’s defence and it falls; Balkris immediately transfixes the next orc in line with an arrow, but the third orc doesn’t even blink as it rushes into the gap and catches Thanatos with a vicious swing. More orcs hurtle into the corridor behind.
Alwin, now in human form and having had a chance to catch his breath, summons a spirit of healing to bolster Thanatos as he fights the stream of orcs, then moves to the secret door. Veth, already positioned at the threshold, sees the ogre shrug off blows from Lamb and Homte and espies the shaman conjuring a spectral spear. Adding his own magical support, a bolt of actinic energy arcs from Veth’s hand and transfixes the ogre.
Homte, fairly certain the grinning Lamb views the ogre’s unfeasible resilience as some kind of savage foreplay, is horrified to see yet more orcs scramble into the room behind the shaman. He screams a warning to Veth and Alwin and begins to plan escape routes.
Alwin unleashes a bolt of eldritch ice at the shaman in response to Homte’s panicked warning. The resulting explosion of shards sorely wounds the orcs behind, but fails to stop their furious charge at Veth, who eschews all efforts at defence and steadfastly maintains his lance of energy. Rather than leave his sorcerous compatriot distracted and alone, Alwin transforms into bear shape again and rushes into the fray.
The ogre, snarling at its inability to strike the now maniacally laughing Lamb, finally begins to slow as its wounds take their toll. The wizened gnome, always strongly in favour of kicking anything when its down, sees his opportunity and seizes it, darting in to deliver a straight armed botte segrete de Homte. The ogre, a foot of gnomish steel through what passes for its brain, has time for one puzzled look of amazement before thundering to the floor, dead.
Homte is given no respite to enjoy his victory, however. The shaman, finger outstretched like an arrow, utters the command “flee” at Lamb and charges. Homte barely has time to turn his attention from the sight of Lamb, bewildered expression on his face, sprinting into the other room, before a hail of enraged blows from the shaman descends upon him.
A wearying Thanatos, losing track of how many orcs he has cut down, is caught flat footed by the shoulder charge of the next in line and tumbles backwards into the chamber behind. The orcs, freed from the bottleneck, boil into the room and surround Thanatos and Balkris.
Alwin mauls his way through the orcs surrounding him whilst Veth recklessly holds position and launches bolts after bolt of arcane fire at them. The druid is caught unawares, however, by the shaman striking at him from behind. As Alwin turns he is not altogether surprised to see Homte, having decided that valour plays no part in the question to which the answer is “discretion”, rapidly retreating into the next room and that he is alone, surrounded.
Lamb’s thoughts are ironically cleared by collision with the rooms far wall and, turning to see a fleeing Homte, he immediately realises events in the room he just inexplicably vacated must be critical. Throwing a passing blow at an orc with its back to him, he rushes to assist Alwin.
Balkris, bow abandoned for short swords, orders his panther companion Shadow (thus far little more than a decorative feline back pack) to attack. Between the two of them, Thanatos, the choas caused by Lambs rapid entrance and exit and Homte’s hysterical sobs, they begin to make short work of the remaining orcs.
Next door the tide of battle decisively turns. Veth draws upon all the wild energy available to him and casts a volley of magic missiles at the shaman. Overwhelmed by the barrage of arcane power she falls screaming, body charred beyond recognition but head strangely untouched.
Alwin faces the sole remaining orc but is a hairs-breadth from collapse, forced from bear shape by the damage he has suffered. The orc, suddenly flanked by the incoming Lamb, sees his doom approaching and chooses to cut down the weakened Alwin as his final defiant act. Orc and druid fall together as Lamb’s furious assault is a fraction too slow.
Homte, the tumult of battle fading away around him, is almost overwhelmed by the realisation he is actually bleeding and feverishly reaches for the potion of healing he has been entrusted with. Luckily, his old friend Avarice remains true and he hurriedly puts it away when he considers how much cash he could get for it.
As the party take stock Lamb ministers to the fallen Alwin with practised efficiency, bandaging wounds then reviving him with a fistful of healing berries. Homte receives little sympathy for his wounds from the warriors, most of whom are sheeted in blood from head to toe, but in truth, he, Alwin and Veth came closest to death.
Veth sets about converting orcs to gold with gruesome enthusiasm whilst the others survey the battlefield. The door at the far end of the fissure is all that remains to be explored and Homte is asked to check it. Noting charring to the skeletons heaped in front of it and the glowering dwarf face carved in bas relief with a glance, the sullen gnome refuses to move from where he sits by the far wall and pronounces, “It’s trapped”.
Shrugging, the rest move to loot the orc bodies but are disappointed to find a distinct lack of portable wealth. The now twice-battered plate armour is the most valuable acquisition and Thanatos begins stripping it from its recent temporary owner. Balkris decides that when he can’t shoot, he’ll hit as hard as he can in future and picks up the best of the orcish greataxes. Convinced they have defeated the last of the orcs, the Company resolves to pause briefly before exploring further. As they settle in they are disconcerted to watch Lamb arrange the orc heads into a pyramid, humming cheerily to himself all the while.
After the brief interlude Homte is cajoled into action and effortlessly disarms the counterweighted trap on the far door. With a dismissive grunt of, “typical shoddy dwarven work”, he reveals the workings of an alchemical fire projector in the room beyond, clearly designed solely to immolate the unwary. With a terse, “let’s go find treasure” from Balkris, the group is off.
Moving on through the complex, all is eerily quiet. Venturing into areas they have not entered before, the Company first come to another orc living quarters. As Homte gleefully begins to gather gold coins from an iron cauldron, the thought strikes Thanatos that perhaps they are best to not rely solely on the gnome to gather the loot, and he moves to search the room. The rest follow suit.
Seeing the competition Homte quickly begins to rummage through the rank bedding, but is left holding only a plump rat as both Thanatos and Lamb turn up stashes of gems. Ignoring Lamb’s suggestion that he has found breakfast, Homte protests that he would have added anything he found to the party fund. Alwin, watching through narrowed eyes, senses Homte’s assertion is not entirely truthful and somewhat harshly sums up what everyone is thinking, “He’s a fucking liar”.
Pride wounded, Homte strides ahead to discover a flight of steps ending in an iron banded door with a human skull adorning it. Keen to get a lead on the rest of the company he abandons his normal caution and darts inside. The homely (to Homte) feel of the ogre’s chamber, decorated with poorly cured hides, wolf faeces and indescribable smell, is spoiled by the appearance of Lamb, who grins as he offers to help Homte with the chest in the corner.
As the Company join them, the chest is opened, yielding a collection of gold and silver coins, a stoppered potion and a long cloth wrapped object. Carefully unwinding the covering reveals the elegant beauty of a fine Elven crafted rapier. Rather pointedly observing their Articles of Association, the Company agree that the obviously magical weapon should go to Homte according, as it does, to his preferred melee weapon.
Turning the last bend in the corridor to the orc barracks, the Company are confronted by the 7 foot statue of a fierce dwarf, clad in mail and armed with hammer and sword. Balkris, his relationship to statues as Veth’s is to guarded doors, feels a click underfoot as he moves to inspect it and the statues face slides open, emitting a cloud of gas that envelopes the whole corridor. Protected by his draconic physiology, Balkris laughs heartily as his feeble mammalian companions sprint from the cloud eyes streaming and throats burning.
When the retching (and rumbling chuckles of one individual) subsides, the group finds themselves back in the orc barracks from their first foray. A carful survey turns up a modest collection of coins and a potion of healing. Veth begins punching the furniture in frustration when it becomes apparent the bodies of their early foes, lovely heads still attached, have been disposed of, probably down the large crevasse.
Stopping again to shake off the effects of the gas, the Company discuss their next moves.
Alwin feels he has the measure of Homte.
Balkris’ sinuses have been really cleared by that gas, he might go back and see if he can get some more.
Homte is lovingly stroking his shiny new weapon and wonders how much it’s worth.
Lamb is ruing the despicable sorcery that interrupted his duel with the ogre.
Thanatos is starting to feel suspiciously itchy in his new plate harness.
Veth has a plan to recover the heads from the crevasse; he just needs to borrow that featherfall scroll from Homte…….
Entry 5. 12th day of Tarsakh, 1492 DR. The vanguard of the party cautiously edge into the antechamber, Balkris in the lead and drawn to the statues like a moth to a flame. As they advance the sound of hammering on metal can be heard echoing down the stair way on the...read more
Entry 4. 11th & 12th day of Tarsakh, 1492 DR. The general consensus amongst the Company is that they have an opportunity to ensure they are fully rested in a defensible position, one that may not arise after they head down below. They discuss the possibility of...read more
The Company retreats back to the foetid guard room and discusses their options; push on, despite the unknown number of orcs still at large; rest in place, or retreat and find the source of the smoke or another unguarded entrance. Lamb, bored of conversation, returns...read more
The Company are following a map, obtained previously, to the lost dwarven stronghold of Khundrakar. Leaving their horses in the nearest town, and buoyed by the promises of a 25 gold piece bounty on orc heads, they have plunged into the Sword Mountains and found their...read more
Loot divided, and we're off to the next Dungeon. with horses! 27/2/19 They've nailed the first Dungeon. Durnan will be very proud. Leaving close on 4th level, what with story objective for defeating Belak the Evil Druid and finding the last remaining...read more