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