Thursday, December 20, 2012

The thin blue line

Eight hundred blue Dragon-borns form a line around the city.
An additional hundred stand atop the hundred identical, slender towers.
They are supported by two hundred of the Black-cloaks and over a thousand Kobolds but Belgos knows that he and his kin are the real defence.
The kobolds are undisciplined and will break as soon as they are pushed and the Black-cloaks have no stomach for a real fight.
The Dragon-borns; they will stand firm. They are the true followers of Thereanthor, her true protectors.
The orcs facing them stand less than a quarter of a mile away. Dirty and pig-like but surrounding Khajag in numbers unimagined.
Not the hundreds he’d been told they’d be facing but, from what he could see, well over a thousand!
More disturbing though, is that they appeared organised.
Orcs, he’d always been led to believe, were stupid and incapable of following orders. Yet somehow five of the sundered orc tribes had, not only reformed themselves but allied themselves together.
Looking up at the sun, Belgos estimates the time to be just before noon.
Suddenly something appears in the sky…
An arrow flies high.
It’s followed by scores more…

Aurelius the never-was-chief

‘Another story!’ cried the grubby, little orc child.
Wurgoth smiled down on his grandson. He’d had lots of them but this one was his favorite.
Young but clever.
‘Calm yourself Ori. I’ll tell you one more… Long ago, before even I was born, there was a battle. The first battle ever fought by the reunited tribes.
Five tribes were there. The ‘Broken lancers’ the ‘Blood-bottlers’, the ‘Meat-drippers’, the ‘Flesh-lump-eaters’ and the ‘Bone-crunchers’. All led by their chiefs…
All except our tribe. Chief Orestes had gone to slay the dragon and left his most trusted general: Aurelius in command of his army.’
Ori sat up. ‘That’s not true! Chief Orestes did lead his army into battle!’
The bald headed Wurgoth smiled. ‘Yes, you're right but he wasn’t there yet.’
Repositioning his aching bones in the sturdy, wooden chair, the old orc continued.
‘The four chiefs of the other tribes met with Aurelius and each one bowed to him and took his instruction without dissent.
Each of the five mighty armies was divided into two parts and the ten divisions were lead by a chief or general.
Aurelius the wise lead one of the Broken lance armies and the mighty Bodan the other. Each commanded a hundred and fifty men. Boden though, like the other chiefs and generals obeyed Aurelius’ orders without question.
Each of the ten armies divided themselves around Khajag: City of the Blue prince Narcissus.
A magical barrier prevented living creatures from passing through an evil, magical barrier of lightning.
Each leader was allowed to decide upon their own plan of attack but they all knew that they answered to Aurelius.
On his signal the battle was started. Some of the groups attacked from distance with arrows. Some tried to topple the spindly towers that housed the magic. Some even charged the lightning field!
Aurelius was cleverer though. With shields raised, the majority of his division advanced upon the shimmering blue field of energy. A smaller group fired arrow upon arrow at the two figures atop the tower, preventing the evil Black-cloak from using his foul magics on the advancing orcs.
The Dragon-borns fired crossbow bolts but Aurelius’ men held their shields together so no bolts could penetrate.
When they got to the crackling energy screen, they halted and thrust their long spears through.’
Wurgoth clears his throat as he sees his little grandson’s eyes start to droop.
‘The Dragon-borns were no cowards. They wanted to fight and so they advanced. They passed though the energy shield to get to our warriors. They were seemingly unhurt but this didn’t surprise Aurelius. In fact Aurelius smiled, for now, in the open, his Broken-lancers outnumbered the spread thin troops of the Dragon.
The battle was furious and unrelenting. Orc and Dragon-born alike died by the sword and spear. Aurelius though had superior numbers and the Dragon-borns had no reinforcements because they were fighting battles on all sides.’
‘And then what happened?’ Asked the young orc in awe.
‘Then?’ Wurgoth smiled. ‘Then, when only a score of Dragon-borns were still standing on our side of the magical barrier, Orestes appeared as if from nowhere atop the tower nearest them and struck the head clean from the shoulders of the Black-cloak there.’
‘Where did he come from?!’ squealed the little orc.
‘Well, that’s a different story but his actions caused the magical barrier to fail. Aurelius took advantage of the momentary confusion and charged through. He and his men killed every Black-cloak and Dragon-born they encountered but more importantly, they broke into the nearby towers and killed each mystic powering the barrier. Soon the disciplined Dragon-borns had to break formation and as soon as they did that, they were lost.’
The old orc pulls himself to his feet and kisses his grandson on the forehead.
‘Many orcs died in that battle but it was a great victory. The tribes reunited. Thereanthor’s son killed and enough treasure found to provide all the weapons needed to fight the coming war. Your great, great grandfather fought that day. He was barely more than a boy himself but he always said it was the proudest day of his life.’
The little orc’s eyes were now nearly closed, ‘Was wise Aurelius ever a chief?’
‘No my grandson. Never a chief but instead he became so much more. He became the Chief of chiefs’… ‘But that’s also another story’.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Bodan and the Owlbear

It had been decades since the sundered tribes of the orcs had been reunited but the old stories were still told and retold with relish. This story especially was one favored by the children.

The wise women hushed them all before she began…

The mighty Bodan stood at the front of the ‘Broken lance’ army and surveyed the scene.
Never in living memory had so many orcs stood together.
Not just the ‘Broken lancers’ but also the ‘Blood-bottlers’, the ‘Meat-drippers’, the ‘Flesh-lump-eaters’ and the ‘Bone-crunchers’.
Aurelius the wise had divided up the armies into ten groups, each led by a different chief or general.
Bodan’s group was over a hundred orcs. All eager for battle.
The opposing dragon-borns were on the other side of the accursed blue screen of death…
An evil magical barrier that killed any that passed through.
Bodan looked at the massive, black metal box he had pulled with him.
Much taller than the biggest of orcs and just as wide.
Only Bodan’s bloodlust could match that of the creature held captive within.
An Owlbear!
The most ferocious creature ever to live.
A creature that would kill you, as soon as look on you.
Before ordering his men to release the crazed owlbear, he organised himself to be tethered to the creature by one of the ten-foot long metal poles used to control it.
Once free though, the huge creature lunged at Boden but Bodan didn’t flinch.
Because of the long metal rod between them, neither could reach the other.
He would have been pushed over but instead he took the impetus and charged instead at the blue barrier.
It was over a hundred feet away but on he ran. Pursued by the screeching owlbear.
The Black-cloaks atop the nearest stone towers did nothing.
The Dragon-borns behind the shimmering screen did nothing.
Bodan ran until he was within touching distance of the crackling field.
The Owlbear though, frustrated by not being able to reach Bodan, ignored the intangible light barrier and barreled straight through it.
The lightning field crackled but did not stop the mighty beast and it slaughtered two of the scaled Dragon-borns before they could even recover from their surprise.
Straining his powerful muscles, Bodan dug in his heels and directed the, now frenzied, beast towards the other stunned Dragon-borns.
Dozens went down before the howling Owlbear finally dragged Bodan through…
The lightning field crackled and primal energy coursed through Bodan’s thick skin.
Expecting to die, Bodan released his berserker spirit. He didn’t even notice that he was still standing.
Mighty Axe swinging, the savage Bodan was lost in his fevered dance of death.
Standing back to back, the mighty Bodan and the psychotic Owlbear cut a bloody mess through the Dragon-born ranks.
None could stand against them.
On seeing their leader survive the magical energy field, all his waiting orcs charged forward.
The Black-cloaks rained lightning and thunder upon them…
But on they ran.
The wretched Kobolds threw so many javelins at them, that the sky turned dark…
But on they ran.
But when they ran through the barrier…
These orcs were brave but most of them lacked even a measure of Bodan’s toughness. His resilience in the face of unwinnable odds.
More than half their number fell to the evil Dragon magic but on they came, throwing themselves at all enemies.
In the midst of them all, covered in blood, Bodan found himself panting with exhaustion. All his enemies lay dead around him and only the sound of the growling owlbear behind him broke the eerie silence.
Locking eyes with the amber-eyed monster, held out of reach by the metal pole connected to his waist and the creature’s neck, Bodan unfastened his belt.
As it fell to the floor, the wild, Owlbear understood that it had been freed.
With a screeching howl the huge Owlbear blinked twice, turned and tromped back, seemingly unfazed, through the blue energy field and headed back toward the forest.
Bodan still felt the link they shared though.
No longer a link of chain and steel.
A link of understanding, ferocity and mutual respect.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Blue Prince’s hopefully useful treasure

In addition to the 6,680gp worth of diamonds already received for Morten’s head and the wagon full of rotting, severed orc heads, the party found loads more in Narcissus’ ‘secure’ lair…

A Summoner’s Tome +4 Lvl:20 125,000gp (AP)
A Crown of the World tree: Lvl:18 85,000gp (AV1)
A Holy Symbol of Hope +4 Lvl:18 85,000gp (PHB1)
A Belt of Breaching: Lvl:19 105,000gp (AV2)
Some Aqueous armour +4 (Mindweave Cloth) Lvl:19 105,000gp (AV1)
A Ring of true seeing Lvl:19 105,000gp (PHB1)
A Cloak of the shadow thief Lvl:19 105,000gp (AV2)
A Footpads friend Rapier +4 Lvl:20 125,000gp (AV1)
A Totemic spear +4 Lvl:17 65,000gp (AV2)
A Healer’s brooch +4 +4 Lvl:19 105,000gp (AV1)
A Cord of foresight: Lvl:18 85,000gp (AV1)
A Liar’s trinket: Lvl:18 85,000gp (AV1)
And a Handy haversack: Lvl:10 5,000gp (PHB1)

Also, Diamonds worth: 698,499gp.
306 Platinum pieces.
270,834 Gold pieces.
689,241Silver pieces.

I really hope you can use some of these things. If not, you can get about half-book-value for them in any city. (Town’s would probably give you a lot less.)

Take what you want but declare it by stating your claim on this post.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Sharab Spring

The Sharab are an ancient people - humans, desert hardened, once great sea traders.  They made a life out of the most inhospitable part of the Furnace Coast and it's unrelenting dry heat. More than merely eking out an existence, they founded great cities, built on the wealth brought over the sea from far away fantastical kingdoms.

But, that history is old and in the recent years leading up-to the rule of Thereanthor, their cities had become disheveled  their larders emptied and their people scattered.
Still, there stood Febril; shining like a jewel wrapped in a desert cloth, the greatest trading port in all of Fissa.

It was the one place kept alive as, since being taken by the holy order of St. Cuthbert, the power shifted away from the ancient Sharab people and to the incomers in Febril.  The Sharab became a minority in their own land and few now refer to them as such anymore.

A hundred years later and this land is now utterly ruled by Thereanthor, as is everywhere from the south of Fissa where the dragon's eldest son Yddraig rules, through the mountains running East and West, right up to the North and Gom Dulat the power base of the Ancient Blue herself.

But, something is changing. The black cloaks are becoming fewer. Some suspect that those under the cloaks are not the formidible dragon force that once they were.  It is also clear that Thereanthor has eyes elsewhere and pays little attention to the subjected Furnace Coast. Despite this the black cloaks have been raising higher and higher taxes with local leaders assuming jumped up political powers and wielding them with a cruel hand.

You can pull a people so far, and no further. Their fabric was woven of the tough and proud Sharab, and at some point it could be pulled no more.  The *Snap* was audible.  In a little town of Bouazizi the market traders revolted, threw out the black cloaks and  never looked back.

Inevitably, the eye of the dragon must be drawn to them, and they will pay a terrible price.  But the delay in it happening is baffling.
Why is she distracted? Who knows.
Why are the black cloaks not able to cope? Who can say?

And all the while the revolution rumbles on.

Horde of the ring

Aurelius: general of Orestes' army, stares blearily at his battle plans. It shows a small city approximately a mile in from the circle of slender towers that surround it.
A ring of death.
The vast majority of Narcissus’ defending forces will be positioned just within this circle of blue light.
If he can get past that first barrier, the city itself will be no obstacle.
But how?
His attention is pulled jarringly from his plans by a young orc guard.
‘Sir, we have some new arrivals.’
The boy looks a bit unnerved but rather than ask him to expand upon his statement, Aurelius, flanked by several of his trusted men, strides past the boy and out of his tent.
It is Aurelius though who is shocked now.
In front of him are hundreds of armed orcs.
Orcs baring the crimson and black tribal markings of the ‘Blood-bottlers’.
Looking around, Aurelius finally finds the broken-tusked, smiling face of Auzoux: Newly crowned chief of his tribe.
‘Auzoux, what are you doing here?’
Auzoux is larger and younger than Aurelius but his intelligence is quite apparent.
‘When we were packing up in preparation to move out, a few of my men noticed your group heading away from the main compound. Away but without your women, children and weak. I confronted the few warriors that you’d left behind and they told me of your plan.’
Aurelius looks up into Auziux’ battle-scarred face but lets the other orc continue talking.
‘I’ve brought about half my force. Three hundred fighting orcs. If you’re going to war, we want in!’
Aurelius can’t help but smile. What seemed like hopeless odds have just changed dramatically.
‘I’m glad that makes you happy, as all the other chiefs are just a few hours behind me. Knut leads over two hundred of his Meat-drippers. Ragnar, from the Flesh-lump-eaters has about the same and Unger was bringing up the rear with a hundred of his Bone-crunchers!’
Aurelius steps forward and grasps Auzoux by the forearm. ‘My friend, you are more than welcome. You are all most welcome. With over a thousand orcs, this battle will go down in history!’

Monday, December 10, 2012

A battle well thought

The Blue prince: Narcissus continues to flap his wings, even as he steadies his breathing. Should he hold his position, high above his aggressors or should he dive into his secure den?
It’s only been a few moments since the attack began but already his personal guard’s been devastated.
Even one of his devils has been dismissed.
Still, his other troops will already be on their way to help.
His troops that are all currently positioned half-a-mile away, spread between all the towers.
It’ll take them too long to get back!
And, if they leave their defensive positions, the advancing orc horde will have an easier time breaching the cities defences.
Now Narcissus understands the mercenaries timing.
They had depended upon his arrogance.
He had allowed them into the heart of his kingdom.
Into his very throne room, while the majority of his soldiers were too far away to defend him.
Clever little monkeys!
With the keen eyes of a flying predator, Narcissus looks down at the mercenaries again.
He sees at least one bow slung over one of their shoulders.
Injured as he is, he can’t risk one or two lucky shots.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Warfare is based on deception

Standing at the head of his army, Aurelius breaks though the last of the trees and organizes his troops along the dirt road.
Three hundred orcs.
Three hundred fighting orcs!
Ten times the number he’s been used to commanding.
It’s a shockingly large number and he knows that every one of them will give their all in the upcoming battle.
Khajag is still hours away but Aurelius knows that the Blue prince’s dragon-born troops will already be waiting for them. He made no attempt to hide from the ever-present raven familiars circling overhead.
Narcissus will know they’re coming.
That was their primary objective though. To trick Narcissus into posting his forces away from his palace. To deprive the young dragon of support when his chief Orestes strikes.
Noon tomorrow.
Camp is set, fires are made and food is cooked.
No reason for subtlety.
Aurelius can’t rest though. He has struggled for two days to come up with a plan that will enable some of his brave orcs survival.
The battle, though vital, is unwinable.
Three hundred orcs verses at least four times that number of spell-casting Black-cloaks and Dragon-born warriors. And that’s not even including the thousand odd kobold skirmishers.
He does have two advantages though:
The first is that the blue barrier, though impressive, isn’t actually a barrier at all. It may stop living creatures passing through but it does nothing to prevent arrows or bolts.
The second is that although Narcissus’ troops massively outnumber his own, they will have to spread themselves thinly around the whole city.
Advantages true but still not enough to win…

Friday, November 30, 2012

Premature attack? You must be a stupid!

Never in all his thirty years, has anyone had the audacity to strike at him. Other than squabbles with his brother and sister, he’s never been so much as pushed!
Flapping his mighty wings, Narcissus holds himself aloft in the upper area of his domed throne room.
It was difficult to tell at first but it appears to be just the five mercenaries that entered with the orc criminal: Morten’s head.
No support from the human vermin in the hall.
Despite his generous reward, the idiot half-orc attacked him!
Not just attacked him but hurt him. Really hurt him.
In front of his mother!
Down below, he can see his Dragon-born soldiers, his Black-cloaks and even his Devils being beaten.
Without support, they won’t last much longer.
His mother’s magic mirror is currently pointing directly upward and therefore mostly useless…
Still, whenever he blasts the treacherous orc, he seems to receive some sort of backlash.
The tiefling also seems somehow immune to his lightning.
Looking down, Narcissus assesses his current predicament…
The orc warrior is impressive but relies on swords.
The tiefling paladin… Another melee fighter.
The wannabe black cloak monk is irritating but mostly unarmed.
The tall, thin shaman seems lost and confused. Probably the first that will fall.
Finally the tiny Halfling…
What is he doing by his throne?
And could they be connected to the advancing orc horde?
Of course they are…
Powerful and skilled as they are, they must be the leaders!
But why attack before the horde arrived?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Battle insight

The Black cloak Scylus, stands at his post atop the twenty-third tower and surveys the land ahead of him.
Unwelcoming but not so barren as to be unfarmable. Lucky for the wretched humans really. Most of them were originally miners but they’re now forced to work the mean fields to provide food for Narcissus, the Dragon-born troops, his fellow Black cloaks and, of course, the annoying kobolds.
It's hard for him to believe that these creatures are his kin.
His shift will last twelve hours.
Long but hardly taxing. All he has to do is maintain the barrier spell that protects this section of Khajag.
For company, he has one of the Dragon-borns. Although stupid, they are useful.
Looking to his left and right, Scylus can see two of his fellows atop their towers.
He doesn’t smile.
Black cloaks mustn’t give in to their human urges. Their unemotional dragon-blood must rule.
Although he knows the distance between the centre of the towers is precisely one hundred feet, he’s never tested it.
Perhaps he’ll never need to…

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Surfeit of Treasures

I've just taken a look back at the incredible amount of high-level treasure Kirk has given out in just the last couple of sessions.
It is truly staggering in scale. Although the most staggering is in fact the Layered Plate :P

Dokan sees that and claims it as his own, immediately.
He'd like the rest of Durden's stuff too, but realises he is not at all proficient in the use of a Bastard Sword, and that he rather likes the helm he already has.  If he could carry the shield as a spare, he'd happily take it, but he is burdened as it is and likes his Deflection Shield.

From Mags, he picks up the Orc's Eye Amulet and happily puts it around his neck. (Not claimed yet!!)

So a lot of stuff to claim yet (just look at all the posts marked "Treasure"!).

If no one wants Clayton's stuff, Dokan would happily taken the bow, and bracers and improve his ranged attacks. :)  Although, he feels it ought to belong to an true Archer - and he can only think of one ...

Monday, November 19, 2012

Cheap ale and a bad (w)omen

Orestes and his generals talk late into the evening. Ale is flowing freely but the mood within the large, animal skin tent is upbeat and unified.
It’s Aurelius who again causes the conversation to alter course.
‘My leader, none of us has the experience to know what is to be done. Our people have been fractured for so long. Too long. Our traditions are all but lost.’
The middle-aged orc looks into the younger faces of all those around him before continuing.
‘Many orcs answered the gnomish call. Mostly male warriors but the very young and old also. Women looking to help also came. Some of them warriors and a few who’d kept safe the old ways...’
Momentarily locking eyes with Orestes and finding support there, Aurelius dares to continue.
‘There are only a few. Wise women all but the wisest one amongst them can foresee the future.’
Bodan grimaces ‘I distrust magic. Steel is all I put my faith in’.
Orestes though, understands what Aurelius is alluding to. ‘Send for her. If we’re to rebuild this clan, then we need to rebuild the old ways’.
A messenger is sent and after a short while, the tent flap is pushed back. An ancient looking orcess edges in. Her grey hair is matted, her back bent and through a toothless mouth she introduces herself.
‘I am Klok Gumma. Keeper of the ancient secrets.’
She shuffles forward and peers at Orestes, ‘Let me see this would-be-chief.’
Her eyes are wide but surprisingly clear.
Snorting derisively, she squats down in the middle of everyone and noisily retrieves objects from her sack…
A large wooden bowl, a silver knife, some dried leaves, a live chicken and some finger bones inscribed with orcish runes.
The wizened old orcess, sets fire to the dried leaves and wafts the smoke around the tent. The smell is acrid and makes everyone’s eyes burn.
Then she cuts the head off the chicken and pours some of its blood into the bowl. Muttering half-formed words, Klok Gumma takes the inscribed bones and tosses them into the bloody bowl.
Agitiating the small bones with her fingers, the wise women begains to relate what she can see...
'Your reign will begin with fire. Many of our people will die in a terrible battle but they will die willingly. They will die by the sword and so be delivered direct to Gruumsh. More fights will follow but eventually the dawning of a new sun will signal the end of our struggles… Adversity is what we must suffer under your stewardship but we will survive. We will remain a unified tribe.’
Orestes looks disturbed but surprisingly the others don’t.
‘Don’t look so concerned’ says Aurelius reassuringly. ‘Did you imagine everything would be plain sailing?’
Bodan laughs out loud at this.
‘Did you actually WANT it to be easy? What kind of orc are you?’

Thursday, November 15, 2012

(T)orc of war

Dokan finds himself in a strange situation. Surrounded by friendly orcs and a trusted ally of their new chief.
Orestes: Chief of the Broken lance tribe.
Aurelius and Orestes are starting to discuss their immediate future when the entrance to the tent opens up and the hulking Bodan strides in.
‘I am here to pay homage to my new chief!’
Bodan was named after his father: Konan, a great, savage warrior and Bodush: The evil human sorcerer that infamously killed hundreds of orcs in the battle that destroyed the Broken lance clan. Scores of children were killed that day. Children that would never be avenged.
As the mighty Bodan bows, a diminutive gnome is revealed behind him.
Gauss smiles nervously as they’re both ushered to sit with the others.
Ale flows and soon the conversation turns to war.
War against Thereanthor and war against the Blue prince.
Orestes speaks of the possibility of leading his new army against the Blue prince…
‘Outrageous!’ squeaks the gnome.
‘This was never part of our plan. You would alert Thereanthor of our machinations and bring ruin to us all!’
The gnome looks to the others for support but finds none.
Bodan is already smiling at the prospect of battle. 
‘For so long, I have battled alone. Killing Dragon-borns and Black-cloaks wherever I could. But always small scale for I lacked any support. Now though, perhaps I can cause the accursed Thereanthor more trouble…’
Votton and Elige nod in agreement and Gauss looks horrified.
‘No! I forbid it!’
At this, Aurelius looks annoyed.
‘You ‘forbid’ it do you? Although I appreciate what you’ve done for us, never forget who and what we are. We are the Broken lance clan. We are warriors born. We are reunited at last and we have a strong leader. We are your friends but we are not your servants.’
Gauss cowers under Aurelius’ gaze before the grizzled orc continues.
‘The Blue prince now knows for certain that there is a gathering of the orcs. A large gathering. If we all flee, he or his bitch mother will hunt us down… If a large number of us fight though…’
Aurelius stops as he considers the situation but Gauss interrupts.
‘What you’re offering is a distraction while we evacuate the camp? This actually isn’t a bad proposition. Let me broker it with my superiors.’
And with that, Gauss leaves the tent.
Bodan laughs. ‘I like the little fellow but surely the Gnomes opinion has no baring on what we’re going to do.’
‘No’ agrees Aurelius, ‘But it doesn’t hurt to keep our friends contented’.
Orestes looks at his two generals, his human and tiefling friends and the orcs in his tent.
His orcs.
All told, he’s got over four hundred orcs willing to fight for him.
Willing to die for him!
Should he risk them in a battle against the Blue prince or should he lead them to the safety of Mount Sneafang?
He hasn’t even been officially crowned yet but responsibility already feels heavy on his brow.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Born to rule

After a few minutes, the still battered Aurelius enters Orestes’ tent. He is supported by two of his most trusted commanders but shrugs them off as they pass the threshold and kneels at Orestes’ feet.
Without looking up, he speaks clearly in the hushed silence.
‘You summoned me, my leader?’
Orestes bids him rise and then directs him to the rug and cushions spread on the floor.
‘Sit Aurelius. We have much to discuss’.
Four orcs and one tiefling settle down on the soft flooring: Orestes, Aurelius, Votton, Elige and Dokan.
Drinks and food are ordered and as they get comfortable, Orestes considers these four.
Dokan he has known for over a year. An odd mix of corruption and nobility…
Still, he has proved his loyalty and bravery time and time again.
Votton and Elige are unknown to him but they are Aurelius’ most trusted aids. This makes them trustworthy.
Trustworthy because Aurelius trusts them.
Trustworthy because Aurelius radiates wisdom and nobility.
Aurelius an intelligent and experienced orc who willingly gave up his advantage in their initial bout so he could help defend their people.

They came, they saw, they tried to take your stuff.

Turnaround’s fair so here’s the stuff of the mercenaries who tried to kill you...

Clayton the Ranger

Gambit ‘Drowmesh’ leather armour +4 Lvl:18   AV2  85,000gp
Point blank longbow +4 Lvl:18   AV1  85,000gp
Bracers of archery +4 Lvl:16   AV1  45,000gp
Potion of Vitality Lvl:15   PHB1  1,000gp

Durden the knight

Champions ‘layered’ plate armour +4 Lvl:19   AV1  105,000gp
Bastard sword of flanking +4 Lvl:18   AV1  85,000gp
Heavy shield of flaring Lvl:14   AV1  21,000gp
Dread helm Lvl:13   AV1  17,000gp

Morgan the Hexer

Staff of the War mage +3 Lvl:13   PHB1  17,000gp
Robe of contingency +3 Lvl:14   AV1   21,000gp
Ring of Shadow travel Lvl:15  AV1  25,000gp

Sad Bart the knife-man

Counterstrike leather armour +3 Lvl:15   AV2  25,000gp
Assasin’s cloak +3 Lvl:14   AV2  21,000gp
Assassin’s blade dagger +3 Lvl:13   AV1  17,000gp
Assassin’s slippers Lvl:11   AV1  9,000gp

Dinklage the Dwarf

Avalanch hammer +3 Lvl:14   AV2 21,000gp
Delver’s platemail +3 Lvl:13   PHB1  17,000gp
Heavy Mountain shield Lvl:14   AV1  21,000gp



Thursday, November 8, 2012

It’s my party and I’ll scry if I want to

The young, blue dragon Narcissus raises his majestic head at the approach of the serious looking Black cloak.
As he drags his attention away from the servants, his irritation is obvious. They were in the middle of  presenting the seating arrangements for the first of the feasts.
‘Sire, I’m sorry to interrupt your festival planning but we’ve had word back from one of the mercenary groups you sent out.’
The dragon’s sinuous neck stretches out.
‘And?’ he hisses.
The Black cloak licks his thin lips.
‘And they appear to have found the orc camp you’ve been searching for.’
The blue dragon grinds his pointed teeth, sending sparks arcing around them.
Looking around at his four guardian demons, he signals them to bring forth his mirror.
Originally this mirror was meant as a way to converse with his mother but it has other uses.
The four, barely dressed, demons, carry the large mirror by its wrought-iron frame before their master.
‘Show me Fasssel wood.’
An image appears in the silvered glass. It’s the wood from above and everything looks, as it should do.
Narcissus peers closer. ‘Sshow me…’
He stops and turns back to the Black cloak. ‘What iss the name of this mercenary?’
The Black cloak looks down at a piece of parchment he has in his hand.
‘The message if from a Ranger, named ‘Clayton’ your mightifulness.’
The polished scaled head of Narcissus returns to the massive mirror.
‘Sshow me where the Ranger Clayton is hidden in Fasssel wood!’
The image in the magical mirror shifts until it refocuses on a small band of unaware adventurers.
‘Rissse up and show me the forest from above…’ commands the dragon and sure enough the scene changes again to that of the woodland canopy.
The Black cloak can’t help himself and leans forward for a better look. His magic is better than most of his contemporaries but even he gasps as he realises what he’s seeing.
The canopy of the trees is slightly translucent…
‘Sscroll down’ commands the, suddenly interested, dragon prince.
As the unseen eye floats down through the illusionary leaves though, the image distorts and then fades to black.
There is definitely something there but whatever it is, there are enchantments in place to prevent scrying.
‘Send reinforcements to Clayton’s position. Do it now!’
The Black cloak scurries away confused. How is it that a group of orcs, regardless of how large, can organise magics powerful enough to obstruct Thereanthor’s will? 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Decorations and party flavours

It was only a few days until the celebrations would begin and Narcissus prowled his palace with barely concealed eagerness.
A weeks worth of enforced adoration.
He could hardly wait.
The streets and buildings had been cleaned and painted.
Blue and yellow bunting had been strung from every parapet.
Banners of his own image had been hung between rooftops.
The Dragon-born’s armour had been polished to reflective perfection.
The Black-cloaks were all freshly died to the nadir of darkness.
The lowly Kobolds were as clean as could be hoped for.
Even the Human vermin had been forcibly washed and given new burlap clothes to wear.
The Dwarves had delivered enough ale to supply the town for months.
The Elven musicians had arrived and the Halfling acrobats were already practicing in the market.
Of all these things though, it was the expectation of the tribute food he was anticipating the most.
What delicacies would his chefs’ prepare for him?
Narcissus’ diet had been reduced to brainless cows, sheep and chickens since he’d arrived in Khajag.
Running his sinuous tongue around the spaces between his razor-sharp teeth, the young Dragon imagines all the delicious treats that are in store for him…

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Diamond another day

As Dokan wanders unmolested, around the delineated orc sub-camps, he feels the demonic part of him whisper...
‘So many orcs! So much easy wealth to be had!’
This is no surprise to him. It’s the price he has to pay for his bisected soul.
A Tiefling Paladin.
Oddly, he is not that unusual amongst his people.
A rarity to be sure but not unheard of.
He wonders what the amassed army of orcs and their gnomish ‘helpers’ would think if they knew about his meeting with the young dragon?
Narcissus had behaved exactly as he’d expected him to act…
Arrogance was a trait that all dragons shared.
As a dragon prince in line to the throne of all of Fissa; how could he be anything else?
Dokan’s mind wanders back to the list of names on the Black cloaks scroll:
The dead Morten had been on it.
5,000 gold pieces worth of diamonds for a head they already had!
It’d be so easy to claim.
Aurelius and Bodan, the two other orcs that had fought for the right to rule the 'Broken-lance' clan were also on the list.
Another 5,000 gold pieces for Aurelius and double that for the hulking Bodan.
In conversation he’d also heard mention of some of the other ‘wanted’ names in the other camps.
‘Auzoux’ had already been crowned Chief of the ‘Blood-bottlers’ and ‘Knut’ and ‘Ragnar’ were due to be coronated chiefs of the ‘Meat-drippers’ and the ‘Flesh-lump-eaters’.
Looking around the thousands of orcs, Dokan was pretty sure the other named orcs would also be near somewhere. Possibly within the ranks of the remaining reformed clan, the ‘Bone-crunchers’.
‘Unger’, ‘Harang’, ‘Stig’ and ‘Viggo’.
20,000 gold pieces just for those four!
Then, despite his wishes, Dokan's thoughts stray to the hundred and sixty eight decapitated orc heads, sitting ready in a wagon by ‘Mallyx’ the, now dead, black dragon-born’s camp.
That’s 1,680 gold pieces worth of diamonds, just sitting there!
Closing his eyes and shaking his horns, Dokan forces the thought from his head.
Giving in to temptation is not the way of paladins.

Friday, October 12, 2012


The normally cynical Charlie Stilton, wanders around the massive encampment with thinly disguised awe on his face.
The more he’s seen of the orcs and gnomes, the more impressed he’d become.
Impressed that such contrasting peoples could find a way (even temporarily) to co-exist.
The Orcs were big, brutish and easy to anger.
The Gnomes were almost as small as he was but jovial and amicable.
Yet, they not only tolerated each other but were actively interacting. They really did seem to be working together in a common cause.
Still the dichotomy between them was jarring. Brightly patterned and designed silk tents, fascinating air-ships and alchemic powered devices set between dull hide teepees and crudely constructed, wooden animal carts.
The athletic little Halfling sauntered towards the periphery of the camp. After encountering the Snowlbears, the confounding mist machines, the oblivion moss and the orc guards, he felt confident that no mercenaries would be able to blunder through to this clearing in any troubling number.
Charlie then looked up at the open sky above him…
How though, were the Gnomes keeping themselves hidden from above?
There are illusions in place to disguise the fires. He can even see the half-visible illusionary tree canopy above him. But surely they can't be enough?
The Black cloaks have raven familiars that would eventually see through the spells...
Squinting at the real trees surrounding the clearing, the Halfling glimpses something glinting through the branches…
Another Gnomish contraption?
Just then, a large wood pigeon flies through the illusionary tree line.
Charlie sees a momentary flash from one of the other treetops…
What was that?
The smoldering bird, wings folded, plummets to the ground, just to be guzzled up by an opportunist guard dog.
‘Aaaah’ smiles Charlie Stilton. Confidence fills him as he realises why no aerial spies have been able to spot the camp and report back to the dragon prince.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

I mist you

Lost in the darkening forest, Indigo tries to retrace his steps. He’d been foolish to pursue the orc. He’d assumed he’d just be able to turn around and find the mossy clearing again.
He’d not considered the confounding mist.
Now he’d not only lost the orc but his teammates as well.
Still, he was pretty self-sufficient and he would eventually find his way out.
He was concerned about the others though and wondered if they’d found the magically shrouded orc camp.

Monday, October 8, 2012

An unaccountable breach through the Gnome defences

Peering through the thinning mist, the dark robed Ranger whispers to one of his associates…
‘Send word to the prince. We’ve found a way in.’
The Wizard with him, chants a few incantations and a shimmering image of a songbird forms in the air and flies quickly away from him.
‘What shall we do now?’ Asks the well-armoured Warrior beside them.
‘We wait’ whispers the Ranger. ‘We wait for reinforcements’.
The armoured Warrior scowls and grumbles, ’They’re only orcs’.
‘True’ responds the Ranger, ‘but they are many. More than I’ve ever seen in one place’.
‘Pah!’ spits the Warrior. ‘Even a hundred of them would fall easily before us’.

Friday, October 5, 2012

The solution

Fitzford Lumenbertle: Assistant to the High overseer of the orc-blood-division, division, looks worriedly at his padded case of potions.
One of them is missing.
The light blue one.
Hurriedly checking the floor and behind his foldaway table, he looks nervously from side to side.
His mentor is going to be furious if he finds out…
The little gnome hesitates.
‘If’ he finds out…
The bright blue potion was only one of the decoctions used to determine the blood heritage of the orcs as they entered the camp…
And the camp is scheduled to be dismantled in the next few weeks anyway.
The incidence of new orc arrivals has slowed to a trickle…
Perhaps he doesn’t have to tell the High overseer?
He’s been trusted to run the tests unsupervised for the last few months anyway…
A few discreet questions and he could probably guess where any new orcs should be placed.
Failing that, he could just arbitrarily select any one of the clans.
It’s not as if the idiot orcs would know any different!
Chuckling to himself, Fitzford shuts his potions case with a reassuring click.
No one will find out about the loss of the pale blue ingredient and, even if one of the orcs find it, they’ll probably just drink it.
Fitzford stops at that thought and mutters out loud...
‘It won’t taste nice… By the will of Garl Glittergold, I hope it doesn’t kill one of them!’

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Take on me

Orestes vs Morten

Oblivious to the cheers of the crowds surrounding him and the other heat, Orestes stands perfectly still and watches his opponent.
Looking for weakness.
Assessing him.
Though fairly tall, Morten is the shortest and lightest of the four competitors. Orestes is wise enough to know though, that this doesn’t make him necessarily the weakest.
Morten’s choice of weapon is odd though...
A spear?
A useful weapon but crude when compared to a sword or an axe.
He could throw it perhaps but that would mean him effectively disarming himself.
He’s also using it two handedly.
Is Morten planning on sacrificing his own defense in his attempts to cause more damage with each thrust?
Maintaining his calm, Orestes stands on his side of the ring.
The spear is clearly magical though but what special power does it posses?
Morten stares back, almost certainly thinking similar thoughts.
Orestes then notices him glancing at his two cronies. The massive, armoured ogre and the weedy looking orc-shaman.
The shaman’s smile is worrisome.
Suddenly, the clanking bell sounds to signal the start of both bouts.
A cheer goes up in response to something happening in the other bout but Orestes doesn’t let it disturb his thoughts.
He’s surprised when Morten doesn’t charge but instead waits for Orestes to come to him.
Orestes charges forwards and brings his twin swords down.
Morten parries one but as Orestes’ other sword connects, it doesn’t seem to penetrate as deeply as he’d expected.
Taking advantage of Orestes’ confusion, Morten retaliates with a quick thrust of his spear.
As it slices open a superficial wound in his side, Orestes realises what the spears magical power is…
They battle on and Orestes realises that the poison will kill him unless he can finish off Morten quickly.
No matter what he does though, his blows keep being repelled somehow.
With a sickening feeling, that’s nothing to do with the poison, Orestes realises that he’s going to lose.
Still, if he’s to die, he’ll die fighting.
Then something happens…
He feels a healing power wash over him, closing some of his wounds and nutralising the poison burning through his veins.
Risking a quick look around, Orestes spies his teammate: Dokan.
The Tiefling paladin subtly indicates Morten’s shaman friend and everything becomes clear.
The reason for Dokan’s interference.
The reason why Morten’s wounds seem so light, despite Orestes' many sword cuts.
Twisting around and forcing Morten away from his cronies, Orestes sees fear in his opponent’s eyes for the first time in this battle.
The orc-shaman has obviously been helping Morten but his spell range must be severely limited.
Knowing this, Orestes tries to engineer the battle away from them but Morten doesn’t allow it. Always moving back towards his healer.
It matters not though, without the poison slowing him down, Orestes starts gradually to overpower his treacherous but weaker foe.
A cheer erupts around the other ring but it doesn’t steal Orestes’ focus.
Remembering his old teacher's advice, Orestes concentrates on his opponent and nothing else.
He sees the patterns in Morten’s movements.
He waits for the opening and then...
Takes it!
Morten stares at him and then down to the sword penetrating his naked stomach.
A contemptuous sneer is all he can manage before losing consciousness.
Orestes stands back, raises his arms and acknowledges the roaring crowd.
He breathes in the adoration.
He soaks up the cheers.
The cheers of his people.
This feeling is good.
Ignored by Orestes and the crowd, the orc shaman creeps into the challenge ring to heal his stricken and defeated leader.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

There can only be one.

Bodan vs Aurelius

The odds were set and the bets taken. As far as the crowd was concerned, the outcome of this battle was a foregone conclusion.
Bodan was a good head taller and at least twenty years younger. Better yet, he had claimed scores of Black-cloak lives and no one had reason to doubt him.
His opponent: Aurelius, was already in his middle years and the many scars he carried couldn’t disguise the age lines he wore.
They stood facing each other while the crowd cheered and heckled in turn. All of the crowd except Aurelius’ band of twenty-nine men.
Including Aurelius, that made thirty men. The exact limit placed upon the orcs by Thereanthor herself.
Any more and he would be breaking her laws but as it was, he was thumbing his snout at her.
His men were obviously behind their leader but they merely watched. Silently willing their commander to win.
The bell clanged a single note and before the reverberation had started to fade, Bodan had already lunged forward, slicing down with his mighty two-handed Great-axe.
Aurelius blocked with his shield and moved, countering when able.
He was noticeably staggered under the relentless blows but he kept his head and stubbornly stayed on his feet.
Bodan on the other hand, was ferocious but seemed indifferent to his own defence.
Slowly the small cuts inflicted by Aurelius mounted up.
Worse, after a few minutes, Bodan seemed to stumble, as if afflicted by some inner conflict.
Some inner weakness.
Sensing his opportunity, Aurelius switched from defensive to an aggressive stance. Forcing the surprised Boden back towards the spiked outer ring.
Despite the sudden pain in his stomach, the giant orc battled on and the crowd could see the anger and confusion in his face.
Eventually though, Bodan was felled, not by Aurelius’ sword but by a deft shield blow to the side of his opponents head.
Bodan went down, stunned.
Aurelius stepped over the prone body and raised his sword high for the killing blow…
Some of the audience gasped.
Some of them roared and urged Aurelius to land the deathblow.
Instead, after a moment, the older of the combatants sheathed his sword and proffered his hand to the massive orc looking defiantly up at him.
Bodan looked suspicious but then accepted it.
Hefting the larger orc to his feet, Aurelius faced the crowd.
‘I have defeated Bodan but do not misjudge him. He is still a greater warrior than I.’
The baying of the crowd slowly abated and Aurelius continued.
 ‘I was victorious because Bodan gave no thought to his own mortality. He is a true orc hero and, should I win the next battle to become chief of the Broken lancers, he will stand at my side; an honoured General. He will lead our army and remind me that Gruumsh awaits all brave orcs.’
Boden looked down on his opponent with an expression of momentary confusion. After a few seconds though, he smiled and looked up at the mass of orcan faces around him.
He raised Aurelius’ right hand and shouted to all that could hear him…
‘Cheer for Aurelius! Cheer for the only orc to best me since my father’
The crowd roared their approval as Aurelius and Bodan clasped each other’s hands in friendship.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Mags power

Not even bothering to attempt to pull the massive, armoured Ogre into their tent, Orestes strips the leaden creature where it lays.
The armoured Ogre only had three items of interest but those three items are very interesting!


Magnetic plate mail +4 (Lvl:19 105,000gp)
Inescapable greatsword +4 (Lvl:18 85,000gp)
Ironskin belt (Lvl:15 25,000gp)
Coin purse containing: 42gp, 132sp and 49cp


It’s Dokan who pulls the multiple pierced and bloody body of Morten’s healer off the stakes upon which he’d fallen. It’s at this point (figuratively and literally) that the Tiefling Paladin starts to reconsider the little gnome wizardess. She’d seemed so sweet when he’d first met her...
Comical even. The brutal way that she’d killed this orc though…
Frankly, the ease in which she did it was a bit scary. 
That said, the orc shaman does have a few nice things.
Treasure found:
Orc’s eye amulet +4 (Lvl:18 85,000gp)
Repulsion leather armour +2 (Lvl:7 2,600gp)
Pure spirit totem +3 (Lvl:15 25,000gp)
Coin bag containing: 166gp, 31sp and 17cp

Monday, October 1, 2012

Head held high

Zavia hums as she slices through the skin and tough tendons holding the dead Morten’s head in place.
It takes her a while but eventually she’s able to remove it completely and skewer the bloody mess onto the magical spear that was recently used to poison her orcish teammate.
Hoisting it up, she plants the pole into the soft earth outside their tent and smiling, heads back inside.
After a few minutes, Charlie Stilton wisely replaces the extremely valuable magical spear with a mundane but serviceable one he found lying around.

Treasure found:

Spear of poison +4 (Lvl:20 125,000gp)
Hide armour: Darkleaf +3 (Lvl:14 21,000gp)
Gloves of piercing (Lvl:3 680gp)
Amulet of health: +3 (Lvl:13 17,000gp)
Cherished Ring (Lvl:14 21,000gp)
Coin bag containing: 243gp, 51sp and 28cp

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The scared, scarred boy

Avdimi rolls the magical charm around in his hand.
The strange gnomess gave it to him.
Gave it to him.
Rubbing his itchy scars, he considers this gift.
He’s never had anything that actually belonged to him before. His Gnomish masters have improved his lot and the lot of his fellows but they’re still slaves.
Well treated maybe but certainly not free.
Perhaps this magical device might be the key to his freedom?
Avdimi’s thoughts are arrested though by the arrival of a dozen orcs struggling to deliver a fresh Snowlbear. A replacement for the one that was slaughtered by the adventurers.
‘Over here you little maggot!’ shouts the leader of the orcs.
All of the orcs are connected to the screeching snowlbear by long metal poles with chains wrapping around the creature. Binding its massive arms tightly to its sides.
It’s apparent though, that even twelve full-grown orcs are barely able to contain it.
Hurrying, Avdimi runs around behind it and attaches the sturdy booth chain to the creatures collar. He’s careful not to get too close to the razor sharp beak and, as soon as he’s finished, he scampers backwards and out of danger.
Manning his section of the control booth, he seals his protective door and shouts for the orcs to release the creature.
They do it in unison and scatter out of the way as the ferocious creature shrugs off its bonds.
It makes to go after them but is pulled up short by the chain now securely fastened to its collar.
The creature howls and hoots malevolently but it can’t get away.
It takes a while but slowly Avdimi cranks the monstrous creature back into its new home.
The Snowlbear thrashes and throws itself repeatedly at the unyielding, black metal walls.
The solid booth shakes but holds firm.
'Hush my fellow inmate. Hush now and we shall become friends'...

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Stuff to sell later

We have to sell/allocate

(from Indigo/Orestes/Charlie/Zavia/Dokan's loot)

Ghost phase cloth armour +3 (lvl:14 (21,000gp)
Orb of Indisputable gravity +4 (lvl:17 65,000gp)
Shield of Defiance (lvl:18 85,000gp)
Rogues gloves (lvl:12 13,000gp)
Two Ritual candles (lvl:11 9,000gp each)
Verve scale armour +3 (lvel:14 21,000gp)
A Light shield of recoil Lvl: 9 4,200gp

(from Zavia/Charlie/Dokan's loot)
A Bastard sword of terror +4 lvl:19 105,000gp
A suit of Troll skin armour +3 (Scale) Lvl:15 25,000gp

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Unable to see the wood for the cheese

After a brief moment of indecision, the monk Indigo sprints into the undergrowth after the orc warrior. Knowing his memories are suspect, Indigo can’t let the orc wander off alone. He may be a friend and, in his current state, he’d be easy pickings for the various groups of orc hunting mercenaries currently searching these woods.
Meanwhile, still hidden behind some foliage, Charlie Stilton tries to calm his breath while he wracks his brain for answers.
He didn’t just appear here but, for the life of him, he can’t remember the journey or any of the people in the clearing.
One of them had called out to him though, as he ran…
They knew his name…
They weren’t cursing it or shooting arrows at him…
And, as he watches them recover magical item after magical item from the bodies of fallen adventures…
He desperately wants a share of that loot!
Taking a deep breath, Charlie Stilton stands up and walks, in what he hopes looks like a confident manner, back into the clearing.
The other adventurers look around, momentarily losing sight of the monk.
Those few seconds are critical though, as Indigo is lost to them, swallowed up by the same eerie mist and darkness that now holds the unknown orc.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Easy-picking the bones clean

The dead moss creature obviously cared nothing for gold and magic, as it all lies scattered around the bodies of its previous victims. Most of them had little of interest but a few of the mercenaries were powerful enough to have equipped themselves with powerful magics.

After about an hour of searching the rotting corpses, the party find:

(EDITED -  to show who has taken what so far)
1) Ghost phase cloth armour +3 (lvl:14 (21,000gp)
2) Orb of Indisputable gravity +4 (lvl:17 65,000gp) - Charlie Stilton?? Only any use to Arcane class.
3) Shield of Defiance (lvl:18 85,000gp) 
4) Winged boots (lvl:13 17,000gp) - Dokan
5) Rogues gloves (lvl:12 13,000gp)
6) Two Ritual candles (lvl:11 9,000gp each)
7) Four Potions of Vitality (1000gp each) - Dokan, Orestes, Charlie, Indigo 1 each (Zavia extra Jolt Flask)
8) Alchemical silver (lvl:15 (1000gp) - Dokan
9) Anti-venom (lvl:21 9,000gp) - Charlie Stilton
10) Jolt flask x 12 (lvl:15 1,000gp each) - Dokan (2), Charlie (2), Orestes (2), Indigo (2), Zavia (3)
11) Giant dodger leather armour +4 (lvl:18 85,000gp) - Charlie Stilton
12) Verve scale armour +3 (lvel:14 21,000gp)
13) Pinning long sword +4 (lvl:17 65,000gp) - Orestes
Gold: 349
Silver: 186
Diamonds: 189 (worth 50gp each)
68gp, 37sp, 37 (50gp) diamonds each
(remainder 9gp 1 sp 4 diamonds)

We will put the rest up for sale unless anyone wants them.

Level up to 17th

Despite not remembering how you got it, you’ve all gained enough experience to get to 17th!

Another fine moss you’ve gotten yourselves into

Standing in the smoldering mess of blackened moss and trees, the adventurers look around at each other.
Dokan recognises Orestes but no one else. Who are the others? Some of them look familiar but he can’t place them.
Something’s definitely wrong here but he can’t discern what it is and so keeps his sword held ready.
The monk: Indigo is less affected but still, slightly disorientated.
Only Zavia and Orestes feel that they are mentally unaffected by the strange plant creature.
They were, unfortunately, too slow to prevent he halfling and the half-orc from fleeing into the surrounding forest.
Perhaps affected by the heat from the flaming oil, the eerie, white mist covering the ground seems to momentarily dissipate.
Several corpses are revealed. Orc-hunting mercenaries by the look of their equipment. They can’t have been dead for more than a few months as they aren't completely covered in the strange moss that seems to be everywhere in this part of the forest.
After a few minutes of mutual reassurance, the four adventures cautiously help themselves to whatever they can find.
Watching from his hiding place, Charlie Stilton wonders who everyone is, how he got there and, most importantly, how he can get his hands on that stuff.
Piggog the orc though, continues to run from the chaotic encounter. Whoever those strange people were, they were no help to him and his quest to rejoin his ancient tribe: The Bone crunchers!

Zavia of the Universe!

She'll save every one of us!

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Blue Prince: Mid-series catch-up (Episode: 2)

Leaving his erstwhile teammates: Indigo and Orestes behind to explore the woods, Dokan and the diminutive Zavia rode on towards Khajag.

Khajag, as far as they knew was just a mining town. A profitable, diamond mining town but just that. Recently though, it has been bequeathed by the tyrant Thereanthor to one of her four children: Narciss.
As they journeyed on, a leather clad, Halfling called out to them from behind. He seemed cocky but not threatening. 

After he’d managed to catch up, the Halfling introduced himself as ‘Charlie Stilton’ and invited himself along for the journey. He was originally from Fewham and had followed after the adventurers as he’d lost confidence in the protection the ‘captive’ dragon: Sybille had giving the town.

They arrived at the outskirts of Khajag about a day-and-a-half later. Just farming outposts but, weirdly, worked by human slaves overseen by kobolds.
Some of the kobolds, the bigger ones, rode upon strange dog-like mounts.

The kobolds gathered in number before approaching Dokan, Zavia and Charlie Stilton. They overtly threatened and insulted the gnomess Zavia but she refused to let herself be provoked and eventually the three adventures were shown to the town’s outer ‘wall’.

A gatehouse, complete with an iron portcullis stood astride the main road into the town. It was stone-built, ornate and impressive. What was most odd about it though, was that there were no walls on either side. Rather a shimmering field of blue light.
Tall stone towers interrupted the sheets of crackling energy at regular, mile wide intervals. Each one manned by a Black cloak and a couple of blue Dragon-borns.

After a brief conversation with the Black cloak atop the main gatehouse, Dokan, Zavia and Stilton were allowed through the gate to meet with Narciss himself.
As they walked toward the newly built palace, Charlie Stilton and the others noticed how poorly treated the humans were. Everything in the burgeoning town of Khajag had been built on the whipped backs of the human slaves.

The central palace was huge in relation to the town itself. Grand but overblown. It was made mostly of white marble but had domes and decorations of vivid blue.

After dealing with a few underlings, the adventurers were surprised to be shown directly into the blue prince’s throne room§. Here they found the young dragon talking lazily to one of his mother’s Black cloaks. The room itself was colossal and, at its zenith, the domed roof reached over 50’ high!
Despite this, the dome was supported by highly decorated ribs at the circumference of the room rather than interrupting columns. Each rib denoted one of the many races of Fissa, their intertwined bodies and faces in expressions of painful subjugation. At the very top of the dome, where the ribs met, was a huge, decorative, stone boss. A boss that showed Narciss breathing lightning at the hairless monkey races.

After making them wait for a few minutes, the young dragon uncurled himself from his specially made throne and summoned the three adventures forward.

Although still young, he was already the size of a large horse but when he spoke, his voice was like a rasping whisper. Like wind over gravel.
The young Dragon told them that he’d ‘ordered them here to help stamp out a large and illegal gathering of orcs. Possibly in their thousands’.
He explained that ‘He could get help from his mother, the tyrant queen, but her troops would take weeks to arrive and he’d elected not to wait’.
He also explained his frustration with his scryers. ‘For some reason, despite numerous reports of orc sightings, they cannot locate them’.
Narciss ordered the three adventurers to ‘Go out to Fasel wood. Find the orcs and kill as many of them as possible’.

It was only then that a wretched looking human clerk shuffles forward and presents Dokan with a scroll with a reward list on it…

Ten gold pieces worth of diamonds per confirmed normal orc grunt killed but larger amounts for ten particular orcs, who are known troublemakers.
Five thousand gold pieces worth of diamonds for known troublemakers: Morten, Ragnar, Knut. Aurelius, Unger, Harang, Stig and Viggo.
Ten thousand gold pieces worth of diamonds for Bodan and Auzoux. Two especially dangerous orcs. Orcs who are inspiring their kin toward open rebellion.

After they were dismissed by the young dragon prince, Dokan, Zavia and Charlie Stilton had a quick look around on their way out of the town/city.

The main entrance to the main diamond mine was located at the far edge of the town but still within the confines of the blue energy shield. It was unsurprisingly well guarded, as were several other building.
The trio of adventurers also saw the humans being openly mistreated by the kobold overseers. Dokan, Zavia and Charlie Stilton did nothing to prevent this though as it would have caused direct conflict with the Dragon-borns and Black-cloaks.

As they were escorted back to the main gate, Charlie Stilton, on viewing the shimmering blue energy field, asked one of the nearby kobolds what the shields did. Happy to explain, four of the kobolds dragged over a human slave and threw him through the barrier.
The translucent blue field didn’t prevent him passing through it but his electrified body was quite dead when it fell on the other side.

From one of the nearby doorways, a woman wailed in despair. Her husband had been killed just as a cruel example.

Slightly disturbed but unwilling to kill the culprits, Dokan, Charlie Stilton and Zavia headed out and away from Khajag.

They made camp that night at the edge of the forest. In the morning, they headed in.
It was late that afternoon when the Halfling cleverly noticed a pit trap. Not that wide but spiked at the bottom and deep enough to prevent easy escape.
The diminutive Charlie Stilton and Zavia found themselves somewhere to hide while the well-armoured Dokan triggered the clanking bell alarm.

After a few minutes a huge black scaled dragon-born arrived. He was wary due to the ongoing bell and flanked by two humans. A well-armoured warrior and a mysterious looking sorceress.
These three were the survivors of the mercenary group Dokan had fought on-route to ‘saving’ Lady Sybille from the Black cloak tower near Fewham.
They had proved themselves tough and now it looked as if Dokan was facing them alone. Mallyx, the dragon-born signaled his human teammate forward but he was surprised by a sneak attack from the well-concealed Charlie Stilton.

Realising it was a trap, the black dragon born and the sorceress rushed to help. The battle was closely fought and Dokan looked in trouble until the little Gnomess, illusionist: Zavia managed to fool the Dragon-born into stepping onto his own pit trap.
Down he fell, soon followed by his underlings.
Zavia sealed the pit with an illusionary but unassailable metal lid, effectively trapping the three mercenaries. It was a simple matter then, for the rogue and the paladin to finish them off with crossbow bolts and daggers.

After a brief rest, the three adventurers stripped the mercenaries of all their valuable equipment and searched to area. They found dozens of pit traps and, eventually, Mallyx’s camp. Tents, a prepared but unlit fire and a wagon containing a hundred and sixty eight severed orc heads. The bodies were to be found dumped down a natural, open pit.

Despite the distasteful nature of the campsite, the three adventurers decided to stay there overnight and to look for Orestes and Indigo in the morning.