Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Arandish Campaign 2010 - Session 3

PCs in attendance at last night's session included Innominus (cleric), Uncle Junkal (bard), Percival (m-u), Barbarella (rodian duellist), and one new character, Lara the Sword-Cleric.  Having cleared out the western half of the Hidden Dagger's orc lair (see last session), it was now time for the party to cross the rope-and-plank bridge across the ravine and explore the east side of the complex. 

The first room the group came to -- still deploying their ruse of having Innominus "wear" the skin of Ug, the orc sentry they killed last session -- was empty.  With her limited infravision, Barbarella was able to see a circular vertical shaft opening in the ceiling, which led up at least 30' above, and a spiral staircase leading downward at the far end of the room.  The party had previously learned that the orc lieutenant in charge of these caves was in this upper room, so in order to maintain their disguise as a bunch of humanoid prisoners being led by their orcish guard "Ug," the group proceeded down the staircase without dwelling much on the vertical shaft: Innominus simply yelled a couple phrases ("Ugluk sucks!") up the shaft at the orcs above, and they yelled back ("Hey, that's my brother you're talking about, scumbag!") and dumped urine on the "prisoners" as they passed under the aperture.

At the bottom of the spiral stairs was a barracks with a barred wooden door at the far end.  The party wasted no time attacking and killing the five orcs currently lounging around in the barracks.  Innominus and Lara made some lousy rolls at the outset of this combat, but Uncle Junkal did well with his knife-throwing and Percival wounded one of the orcs with his magic missile spell before switching to his crossbow.  Noteworthy in this session were the actions of two of the party's hireling NPCs, Porkins (the leader of the Vedik villagers, who fights as a Level 1 Fighter) and another fellow named Xork (pronounced "zork").  Xork rolled the first critical hit of the evening, dispatching one orc outright, and while Porkins struggled to succeed during the barracks battle, rolling a critical failure and getting disoriented for a full round, he would redeem himself later once the party dashed back upstairs.  The barracks orcs killed one other hireling named Plissken during the fray, but otherwise the party was largely unhurt.  They killed all the barracks orcs within three or four rounds (and Barbarella even started inspecting the aforementioned door out of this room: moldy, damp, and barred from this side) but not before the last orc standing finally raised the alarm to his superiors upstairs.

The party now heard the ruckus of orc mobilization above, and despite a brief suggestion from Barbarella to spread marbles out on the spiral stairs and wait for the orcs to come down to them, bloodthirstier minds prevailed, and Lara and Innominus led the swift charge back upstairs to confront the now-alerted orcs. 

The previously empty chamber was no longer empty: one orc warrior stood at the ready, longsword in hand, and another was just swinging down on a rope into the room from the open vertical shaft above.  I had my first decent roll all night when I rolled that first orc's initiative; he beat Lara and got the first attack, which was a hit and brought Lara within 1 hp of death!  But she gave as good as she got, striking the orc with her quarterstaff and bringing him, likewise, within 1 hp of death.  Innominus, meanwhile, attacked the orc swinging on the rope, missing the first time, but vindicating himself in subsequent rounds as he eventually pounded this orc's head to mush with his warhammer.  Speaking of vindication, the next round, Porkins the hireling burst into the room and rolled a natural 20 against his first orc in this chamber, instantly cleaving it in two with his hand axe. 

The orcs were sending warriors down the rope at a rate of one new orc in the room per round; the party and their hirelings were bounding up the spiral staircase in pairs, two new combatants in the room per round.  So within a couple of rounds, the orcs were outnumbered, and Uncle Junkal made an amazing critical-hit crossbow shot that dropped yet another orc in one round.  During the general mayhem, Lara was able to break away from melee and commence another project: lighting a torch, affixing it to one end of her quarterstaff, and sending it up into the vertical shaft from whence the orcs were coming.  This scheme worked beautifully.  By holding the lit torch under the hairy buttocks of the next rope-descending orc, Lara prevented that orc from coming all the way into the room, and in fact created some general confusion amongst the orcs in the room above.  Innominus (who understands orcish) heard voices upstairs shouting at the ass-burned orc to get moving down the rope or else they would cut it.  The ass-flamed orc would have nothing of it and started shimmying back up, away from the reach of Lara's torch-on-a-staff.

The rope would indeed have been cut by the orcs the following round, but then Uncle Junkal ran to a position just below the shaft opening, lit an oil flask on fire, and threw it straight up into the shaft.  The oil flask struck the stone ceiling at the top of the shaft and exploded, spraying lethal flames down on all the orcs surrounding the upper lip of the shaft, as well as the poor orc still on the rope.  Uncle Junkal chose to roll his nightly d30 roll for the flaming oil damage, scoring a 20!  So all these orcs were instantly incinerated, along with the rope.  By then, all of the orcs in the lower room were dead as well, and Xork the hireling was also killed.  Things got quiet.

Barbarella cast her grappling hook up into the shaft and over the upper lip, then climbed up her own rope to the top of the shaft.  She readied her crossbow and prepared to peek over the lip, but just then her sixth sense (a Wisdom check) told her someone was behind her.  Indeed, the orcish lieutenant was hiding in an alcove on the opposite side of the lip, having miraculously (?) survived the flaming oil explosion, and now he leaped forward and struck Barbarella with his sword, bringing her down to 1 hp with one stroke.  Not to be deterred, the nimble rodian leaped up, spun around, shot the lieutenant with her crossbow, hit, and (surprise, surprise) rolled her nightly d30 roll for the damage, which was enough to instantly kill the lieutenant and pin his spinal column forever to the back wall of the room.

There was one more room to check out, a smaller antechamber off the lieutenant's main office.  The door to this antechamber was ajar, and especially given Barbarella's hp status, she was not eager to go running in.  So Lara led the others in, only to find a mostly empty room.  Searching subsequently revealed 5,000 cp and 2,000 sp scattered amongst the clothes and effects of various villagers and other humans and demi-humans.  The party also found a scroll with the bless spell on it, and a vial of some unknown liquid that was quite similar to an empty vial found on the orc lieutenant's corpse. . .   Also, after one turn of searching, Barbarella found and opened a secret door in the back corner of this antechamber, revealing a 60' long escape tunnel leading up to the surface. 

Having (to their knowledge) explored the whole orc complex with the exception of whatever lies beyond the damp, barred door two flights down, the party holed up in the orc lieutenant's office for the night, burning down the bridge across the ravine with the firewood their hirelings gathered last session, posting hireling sentries in key locations, and settling in for some much-needed recovery and rest.

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