Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Arandish Campaign 2010 - Session 2

We had an excellent second session last night.  Another smallish group -- 4 players plus myself -- and that factor combined with the group's thirst for action kept things moving at a brisk pace.

Three of last session's PCs -- Innominus, Uncle Junkal, and Hazel -- were in attendance, plus one new addition, Barbarella Bootay, a female rodian duellist / gambler / mountebank.  Further, before game play started for the evening, at Hazel's player's request we shuffled Hazel's attributes around a bit (to favor STR and CON) and shifted her class from Bard to Fighter.

The group then picked up where they had previously left off, traveling to a glade about a half mile away from the suspected ravine lair of some sinister, raiding orcs called the Hidden Dagger warband.  Barbarella the rodian snuck close to the ravine and discovered two orc sentries sitting in the lowest branches of a tree, with crossbows in their laps.  She then returned to the party and proposed a plan whereby she would climb a neighboring tree, leap into the high branches of the orc tree, then tackle one of the sentries from above while the rest of the party picked off the second sentry with missile weapons.  A distraction would be caused by one of the hirelings whipping a goat -- the party had been able to literally con (via Barbarella's loaded gambler's dice) the villagers out of five goats -- so that the beast would run through the woods toward the base of the tree, bleating and causing a ruckus.

This plan worked beautifully, with Barbarella leaping from above and slipping a bag over orc #1's head, then dislodging him from the tree.  Meanwhile, Innominus made a particularly successful sling attack vs. orc #2, rolling his nightly d30 roll for the damage and rolling a 28 or 29.  So orc #2 was instantly killed, and in fact the damage was so great that I ruled the sling stone passed through the orc's body and broke the tree branch he sat on as well.  His corpse fell to the ground next to his bagged but still conscious companion.  Barbarella, who had rigged a harness for herself to prevent her falling out of the tree, dangled from a branch and slugged orc #1 on the head with a crowbar, knocking him unconscious.

The party then dragged poor orc #1 (named "Ug") to a nearby glade and tortured him for information.  Uncle Junkal stuck toothpicks under Ug's fingernails while Innominus, the only party member who speaks orcish, questioned the captive about the size of the Hidden Dagger, the names of its leaders, etc.  The group got a few useful tidbits out of Ug, including a rough map to the first few rooms of the warband's underground lair, but ultimately Ug was not high-ranking enough to know very much about the Hidden Dagger's hierarchy nor its plans.  Further, when asked if the orcs were in league with creatures of other species, Ug was evasive and would reveal nothing -- he insisted that they were just a group of orcs, but Innominus suspected otherwise.

Having completed their interrogation, the party killed and skinned Ug -- Hazel used her huntress' skills to skin him very carefully -- and then they prepared to enter the orcs' underground complex via a passage at the base of the large, hollow tree Ug and his fellow sentry had recently been sitting in.  The plan the party collectively came up with was: the party would enter the dungeon with Innominus in the lead, wearing Ug's skin as a clever disguise.  The other three party members and four of the Vedik hirelings would tie themselves together with rope to make it appear that "Ug" was bringing in a group of humanoid prisoners.  Then, at the right moment, they would attack.

Ug had revealed that the first level of the underground complex was in two sections, separated by a ravine crossed by a rope-and-plank bridge.  Thus, as an emergency precaution, the party instructed their remaining six hirelings left above on the surface to gather tinder and firewood and to be ready to throw it down into the ravine to set that bridge on fire should thirty (game-time) minutes elapse without the party returning. 

With Innominus leading the way with his orc-skin mask, the party and four of their hirelings descended into the orc lair.  The first room they came to was empty, but the second chamber contained four orcs, including one who questioned "Ug" about where he was taking the prisoners.  Innominus claimed he was taking them to Lieutenant Garchar -- a name the group had picked up from the real Ug when he was still alive -- but the orc guard told him that that was against procedure and that he should take the prisoners directly to "the pit."  He let them pass, and they filed through a narrow passage framed by a carved demon's mouth archway.  The orc guard sent two additional orcs as rear escorts for the prisoner group.  Note that I checked three different times to see if the orc guard would notice Innominus' orc-skin mask ruse, but the dice decreed that he was particularly unobservant -- it must have been near the end of his guard shift -- and he accepted the cleric at "face value" as Ug.

The next chamber was immediately adjacent to the ravine-crossing bridge; it contained two additional orcs whose main job was to watch the bridge with crossbows at the ready.  It was here that the party chose to start their attack.  Innominus and Barbarella surprise-attacked the bridge guards, while Uncle Junkal, Hazel, and the hirelings ganged up on the two rear guards.  Innominus missed with his first swing, and Barbarella inflicted a minor flesh wound on crossbow orc #2.  Uncle Junkal threw two knives, missing with one but shearing off one of the rear guard's nipples with the other.  Hazel killed the other rear guard with one stroke of her long sword -- a natural 20 critical hit -- and the best of the Vedik hirelings, a fellow called Porkins, dispatched Uncle Junkal's half-nippled orc with his hand axe that same round.

The surprise round over, initiative was rolled for the second round; the party won.  Uncle Junkal pulled out his crossbow (which had been hidden under his cloak during the "prisoner" ruse) and shot one of the crossbowmen though the throat, killing him before he could raise the alarm.  Innominus swung again with his warhammer and all but killed his orc; I think it was Barbarella who stepped in and administered the coup de grace.  In any case, the orcs were dead without making a single attack nor raising the alarm. 

I rolled to see if the two orcs remaining behind in the previous chamber heard anything, but they didn't.  So the party waited for a few minutes, then Innominus-as-"Ug" stepped back through the demon mouth and started telling jokes about an unpopular orc named Ugluk ("Ugluk sucks" had been written in orc feces on the wall of the first chamber the group passed through), which got the remaining guards laughing.  Uncle Junkal and Barbarella shot crossbows back through the demon's mouth at the guards, while Innominus attacked one of them with his warhammer.  None of these attacks were sufficient to drop either guard, but we rolled initiative again, the party won (again!), and next thing I know, Hazel jumps into the room, swings her sword, and rolls her nightly d30 roll for the damage, scoring enough damage (18 I think) to simultaneously behead both remaining orcs!  Voila!  The party had achieved their goal of clearing out the complex on one side of the ravine.

They concluded the session by searching the three rooms they had passed through, finding about 200 gp worth of coinage and a few mundane weapons.  Overall, another action-packed evening with lots of inventiveness and clever ruses from the players.  I shall have to post soon about how I am dealing with xp distribution -- that is still something of a work in progress -- but for now suffice to say that the characters are performing creatively and well, and I am having great fun with this adventure campaign.

Rules update: Rodians have infravision to 30'.


  1. Yeah baby, Labyrinth Lord Rules!


    That was a ton of fun, looking forward to more shenanigans!