TABLE 4 – Dungeons and Dragons 5e (RPG)
Table Organiser: Stephen Arthur Smith
Wednesday 24th April 2019
6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Keep up to date by following the Campaign Journal.
Warning: this Journal occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), acts of violence (which may be unsuitable for adults), and some surprisingly bad decision making (which may be unsuitable for long term survival).
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 objective: the peak known as Stonetooth.
The session opened with the Company walking along a narrow switchback path up the mountain side that had signs it was the original dwarven main approach to Khundrakar. Blithely ignoring the DM’s hints about smoke emanating from the top of the mountain, they continue until three orc sentries come in to view.
The group ducks back out of sight around a switchback for a conflab. The idea of taking them out via missiles is discarded due to the risk of one or all having time to raise the alarm. Instead the Company decides that Alwin will wildshape into bear form, non-chalantly amble up the path like a regular bear, then retreat when spotted, drawing the orcs into ambush as they pursue in the hope bear steaks for tea. Even if they don’t take the bait, it wouldn’t look like an assault.
As Alwin duly lumbers up it becomes apparent the orcs are paying no notice at all. Initially concerned about getting in javelin range, Alwin eventually strolls up into paw’s reach of the sentries and decides to improvise, by biting their heads off……
The first went down straight away, the second fell screaming over the cliff edge, storm trooper style, and the third began to run back into what Alwin could now see as the main fortress entrance, screaming an alarm.
The rest of the party are over 200 feet away in ambush positions. Lamb, initially disconcerted that the plan has gone to shit, is amazed that everyone else seems more worried by the fact that one orc had fallen off the cliff and they wouldn’t be able to collect his head.
The party then begins sprinting to close the gap to Alwin. Homte is careful not to get in front and stays safely behind Thanatos and Balkris. And Balkris’ panther. As he is running the thought strikes him that he could ride the panther.
Alwin pursues the last orc up a broad flight of weathered marbled steps that lead into a broad, featureless rectangular room with double wooden doors on the far side.
As he despatches the last yodelling orc, these doors slam shut and arrows began shooting at him from concealed murder holes 15ft above the floor on both side walls.
The party catches up, Veth slightly behind as he pauses to decapitate fallen orcs, to Lamb’s frank amazement. Homte takes cover at the foot of the steps. The group observes that the archers cannot be targeted from any angle other than from a spot directly between them and exposed to fire from both.
Valiantly dismissing the DM’s at-this-point-not-at-all-subtle hints that a direct approach may not be a good idea and this isn’t the only entrance as the choice of lesser men, the consensus is to press the assault…
Alwin charges through the hail of arrows and tries, unsuccessfully, to smash the doors down. Balkris hears the shouts of more orcs behind the archers shouting instructions to “shoot the fucking bear”. He then pulls off several utterly impossible shots through the arrow slits, from an angle, catching the orcs behind with a hail of thorns.
Thanatos joins the fray, standing in the dead centre of the room engaging the orcs with missile fire. His splint mail protects him admirably and he appears to all intents and purposes to be thoroughly enjoying himself insulting the orcs behind the arrow slits. He also notices there are more than one in each position.
Lamb, stunned to realize he appears to be the least murder hobo member of the group at this point, calls for a retreat, cautioning that a frontal assault on a dwarf built fortress manned by a horde of alerted orcs is folly.
Homte cowers, Veth is collecting heads.
Alwin fails to break down the doors on several attempts, Veth recalls that Homte was entrusted with a knock spell scroll for just such an occasion. Homte protests the knock spell doesn’t have the range to hit the doors from his position, but the party surmises he has sold the scrolls he was given.
The orc archers continue to be surprisingly ineffective, although they force Alwin to draw on his druidic powers to heal himself. Lamb is forced into action by his embarrassment at the useless orc fire and Alwins futile attempts to knock open the doors. He too braves the gauntlet of fire and hammers the door, fully expecting a horde of grinning orcs on the other side.
He succeeds on his first try, proving you should never send druid to do a barbarian’s job.
The doors open to reveal only two orcs that immediately attack Alwin and Lamb, who respond in kind. Homte, seeking to distract attention from any misunderstanding Vis a Vis scrolls, assists with a dashing rapier strike and fade behind a grizzly bear move. Veth piles on the pain with a multiply targeted magic missile barrage, carefully using the spells inherent accuracy to avoid damaging the heads.
The orcs at the door fall and Thanatos skewers his debating partner behind the arrow slit.
The party moved through the double doors to find a smaller room bordered ahead of them by a yawning chasm, blocking their path forward except via a 5ft wide 50 ft long rope bridge. They hear orc voices on the far side, concealed by what they suspect are firing positions.
Veth attempts to illuminate the far side by casting light on an arrow fired over by Thanatos but the orcs, briefly exposed, throw it down the chasm.
The party discuss ways to mitigate the obvious death trap approach of the bridge. Lamb notes that there is no visible way the orcs could access the flanking positions the party has passed and suspects secret doors on the side walls, but is unable to find any.
Veth proves entirely superior to Lamb in this regard now that his beheading frenzy has subsided and locates a door on one side. Thanatos and Balkris begin searching the opposite wall, inspired by the obvious symmetry of the firing points.
Veth manfully upholds his personal code of opening doors leading to alert guard posts. Utterly unexpectedly, against all odds, the exact same things as last time happens and he is stabbed in the face by an orc, already disgruntled by the thorns Balkris previously administered. Fortunately Veth survives this time.
Thorny orc is dispatched by Lamb, again with the assistance of “move-have it-retreat” Homte. Thanatos locates the other door and engages the obligatory orc lurking behind, and is apparently delighted to continue his repartee.
Lamb proceeds towards the firing point on his side and discovers a guard room with a passage leading off. The remaining guard is converted to bounty money, this time with Homte employing his crossbow, having had quite enough melee, thank you very much.
Thanatos cuts his conversation short (boom boom) and discovers there are no further passages leading off from his side.
The party convene in the guard room with the exception of Alwin, guarding the bridge. Homte is appalled to discover absolutely no loot amongst the orc detritus, Thanatos scoops up a serviceable long bow, but is out on his feet. Veth quaffs a healing option distractedly whilst collecting orc heads.
Finding the passage off leads to more firing points but has an odd configuration. Homte, outraged by the orcs parsimony, searches for more secret doors. Fuelled by the power of avarice (rolls of 23 then 24) he finds one.
Alwin, by the bridge, attempts to draw the orcs out with an inspired performance of macho bravado and circus-esque ridicule but they remain in place and disconcertingly confident.
The door leads to a short corridor and second door identical to the first. Homte, now almost overcome with conviction that he has found the secret route to the orcs treasure, is somewhat overzealous in his efforts to check for traps, sadly alerting the orcs on the other side, in what turns out to be in actual fact, their barracks.
The party, squeezed into the narrow passageway in tactical conga line formation, are confronted by the sight of more than half a dozen orcs equipped with two handed axes or swords and shields. Lamb, leading, sees an orog (super orc) amongst them. His frustration at events and, frankly, disappointment at the orcs showing thus far, boils over and he wades in, laughing contentedly to himself as he slaughters a path to glory!
Everyone else, comically hampered by initiative rolls in the exact reverse order they are queued up in, are starting to suspect their (lack of) plan may be flawed. They rise to the challenge admirably, however, and press forward.
Things go well for Lamb initially as he chops down the orcs between him and the orog effortlessly.
Homte darts in and makes hay applying cross bow bolts to faces whilst dodging between legs to stay safely out of reach.
Balkris, next in line, is engaged by three orcs and whilst overcoming one is almost downed by the return torrent of double handed axe blows.
Vesh begins to unleash a spectacular maelstrom of deadly arcane energy on every orc in the room using every ounce of his power in a matter of seconds. Amazingly, this time, he doesn’t blow everyone else up too.
The orcs at the bridge lose some of their cocky mien and Alwin sees them rapidly move off into the complex; surmising his comrades are causing a ruckus elsewhere, he sprints to reinforce them.
Balkris, forced into desperate defence, buys enough time for Thanatos to draw on the last reserves of his grit and determination then simultaneously slay an orc left and right.
Lamb, facing the orog and two orcs, suffers blows that would have slain a lesser mortal, but he stays on his feet thanks to his catlike agility, godly pecs and manly disregard trivialities like axe wounds. Worryingly though, so does the orog, despite plate armour blackened by Veths sorcerous energy and Homtes cross bow bolts sticking out of sensitive bits.
The remaining orcs fall and Homte executes his piece de resistance, skirting around the orog and disengaging to his rear to deliver the coup de grace to his back….
The thieving little bastard misses, cos he should’ve used his fucking rapier instead, but the distraction is enough and the orog dies spitting fury in Homtes face at his inability to reach him.
Grievously depleted the party is chilled to hear the cries of more orcs joined by the bellow of an ogre and the howling of wolves. Quickly deciding a narrow chokepoint might be to their advantage they retreat to the corridor between the rope bridge and secret door to the barracks. Alwin arrives to see Veth being dragged from the fray, screaming with frustration at being forced to leave orc heads unharvested.
As Alwin liberally hands out good berries, the party take stock.
Alwin has no more wildshapes.
Lamb, Balkris and Thanatos are suffering wounds, despite makeshift healing efforts.
Critically, Veth has no more spell slots.
And most disastrously, Homte has no fucking loot whatsoever.