Thursday, July 18, 2013

K10 - The orc with the plaid sash

Prelude: What Khazek knows about Sarn Goriwig
The hunters from Thranduil hall reported to the Ark-lot, via Khazek Strongmoss, that the obsidian tower of Sarn Goriwig appeared to be occupied again. Khazek has heard of this tower from the Lore of Mirkwood. He knew that the tower was a large glass construction which was built by Morgoth in the first age. It seved as an outpost in Mirkwood and a gate to the underdeep. When the Necromancer was expelled from Mirkwood, the tower was deserted. However, the presence of "fresh" orcs suggested that Sarn Goriwig was occupied again by a new overlord. 

Act 10, Scene 1 - The ranger's raid over an orcs' forward depot.

The Attack-Lord of the Ardacer sent the Ark-Lot North to move to contact with the orc's main body. Gomar Flameaxe, Herd-lot of the Ark ordered his crack ranger guard to open the march. This guard was lead by an impetuous member of the Royal family called Khazek Strongmoss. Training dwarves to fight like elves was a difficult task, but he was getting better at it. Khazek proceeded North off the path, keeping his 13 rangers under close control.

A small number of orcs were busy shouting at each other some 40m ahead. Khazek arrayed his rangers to create a kill zone down the trail. Satisfied with the ambush, he scooted away in the undergrowth. He closed in to a crossing where he estimated that 10-30 orcs were guarding a pile of barrels and crates. A brisk movement on his part attracted the orcs' attention. Now cued to his presence, they attempted to locate him but didn't dare moving away from their positions. Khazek withdrew to let them cool down. He then reported his finding. After adjusting the flow of the ambush, he ran up the trail until within orcs' sight. He then yelled "Oh Shit!" and ran back as fast as he could. The orcs let out alarm cries, shot a few arrows through the foliage over his head. They didn't left their post. Disappointed, Khazek sneaked back until he got a clean shot at one of them. The arrow ripped the orc's arm.

Khazek guided the orcs into the ambush. His tactic worked wonderfully! Many orcs fell to point blank shots and soon both sides got locked into melee combat. The engagement ebbed and flowed for about 10 minutes until about 10 orcs layed on the ground: either dead or wounded. The rangers pursued the remaining orcs and killed a few more until they realized that they had overran a supply depot. By their account, no more than 4-5 orcs had managed to flee North.

Donarik and Gimvar (Secondary characters from the Thranduil Mission) went South to link with the rest of the Ark. Gomar ordered all wounded orcs to be finished. He also stood down the rangers for a brief rest. The depot contained 200 meals made of leathery dried meat, and 6 large barrels of beer of very low quality. A few other crates contained greased and packed swords and shields of ancient human stock. The rangers took the chance to catch some Zs while the other elements in the Ark were probing both West and East of their positions.

Act 10, Scene 2 - Sleepless in Mirkwood

The dwarves of the Ark were busy taking over the prepared positions when night fell. Drolf toured Browek countless times, cheering on his boys and providing instruction on tactics. Vadek was busy upgrading the old tower to HQ standards, with a special emphasis on preparing a place to sleep which was not exposed to rains. It was more than time to catch some sleep, but Drolf simply couldn't let go [ Drolf is workaholic and has a hard time to let go. ][+] When he finally got around to lie down, he drowned into a quagmire of nightmares. The theme could have easily summed up as "fifty ways to see a subordinate die": he dreamt of his sons being somehow taken hostage and tortured, he dreamt of giant spiders and unsavory fate. By 4AM, exhausted by unnaturally vivid nightmares, he gave up on sleeping and went for a tour of the village [ That's one FP lost for going to bed late, then 2FP for the nightmares. ][+]. Shortly later, Drolf found a quiet spot near the HQ and began meditating [ Drolf now realized that taking on Meditation was a good investment of CPs. ][+]. Drolf sank into a trance which was immune to further Nightmares [ This is a neat way to get around these nightmares, 1FP was regained to cancel the "staying late" penalty... because I liked the way it was done. ][+].

Act 10, Scene 3 - The little drummer orc

"Enough slumber laddies! Wake up", exclaimed Gomar. He roused the rangers to their feet and sent them to scout the path to the West. It must have been 2AM at this time. The rangers ate a bite and headed into darkness. Soon, a lone drum beat could be heard, maybe 500m ahead. Khazek arrayed his rangers off the path and went forth on his own.

There were three orcs walking down the path. A drummer, a torch bearer and a larger one wearing a plaid sash. They were obviously trying to make noise and attract attention. Khazek hid within the foliage of a bush and let them pass by. He had to fight a strange head buzz, as the orcs approached. By the time he has shaken it off, the orcs were right on him and proceeded forward without taking notice. Khazek could hear the drone of a large camp further west. He sneaked to make contact and let the three orcs walk into the ranger's ambush.

Khazek eventually got to a point were the trail approached the Browek river. The sound ahead betrayed a large camp with lots of military activities. Some orcs sounded like they were marshaling units into position, he could smell many campfires. Some drumming was audible. His size estimate was coarse: 200 to 1000 orcs. He couldn't get much closer without running into a very well setup network of sentries screening the location. Khazek turned around and carefully toed back to his ranger.

Back at the junction, he found his ranger, the Ark and the three orcs discussing. The orcs proclaimed that they wanted to talk to the dwarf leader. Gomar, not used not to kill orcs when he sees them was scratching his head.  Gomar told Khazek to take Donarik and Gimvar and escort the emissaries back to Browek. Khazek tried to get the plaid-sash orc to talk, but had no luck. The orc was haughty and dismissive. They made sure that the drummer couldn't start playing by confiscating his instrument.

Act 10, Scene 4 - ...and I though everything was going so well...

Khazek sped ahead of the emissaries when they got to Browek to seek Drolf. He found his Attack-Lord in the Lotus position on a tree stump. Drolf resurfaced to the world at first slowly, then his mind started racing again. He called for the Herd-lots to gather. He ordered Gror, son of Bain, to act as the commander and interrogate the emissary while he himself would be observing on the sideline. Gror thought the move rather unorthodox, but an order is an order and he was very much a soldier. 

The plaid-sashed orc had an unusual demeanor. At first, he was haughty and articulate. More unusual was his theatrical way to speak as if he was performing for someone else [ Body language comes to the rescue. Without it, this behaviour would have not been distinguishable from haugtiness. ][+]. The orc was getting the upper hand in the discussion, Gror began to struggle in making up a story that didn't reveal important details. Gror managed, with struggle, to claim that they were merchants! Drolf and Khazek started to worry. Gror's speech was starting to slur, make senstences without verbs... Something here was very much amiss.

Drolf pulled the plug on negotiation and grappled the orc by the neck, attempting a neck snap. However, necks are tough to snap and his attempt didn't work. The orc, broad and strong began to try to hit back with his elbow while the other dwarves recovered from the surprise. Khazek joined the fight and hit the orc twice with the pointy-end of his stick. When the orc fell to the ground, Drolf had managed to make some funky (but pointless) noise by twisting the neck. The orc slipped on the ground, unconscious. All the present dwarves began fighting off a head rush, kind of as if they had to pop their ears. Kalin, Gror and Khazek fell to the ground in a deep slumber while Drolf struggled to remain on his feet. He could feel his heartbeat in his temples. He stumbled out of the HQ and looked for the other dwarves. Donarik and Gimvar were guarding the two other orcs. Donarik noticed the three commanders, including Khazek, and thought that they were dead. Drolf ordered the orcs to be slained.

This hearbeat was still deafening, dozens of dwarven eyes were fixed on him, waiting for a command. Drolf was in good need of his legendary composure. 

... and thus ended Session 6. 

1 comment:

  1. Orcs will soon learn to have nightmares and fear of dwarves! This is why I wanted to make a monster to beat a monster lolz! Awesome session!