Wednesday, February 5, 2014

K22 - War in the East

This session picks up at a cliffhanger in the campaign where the dwarves of the Emerald-Unit have finally entered Khazad-dum.

Strategic Situation

The invasion of Khazad-dum began about 1h ago.

Area 1 - Level 1 - East Gate Hall

One lot of the Mithril-Attack (49 dwarves) is tasked to remove the standing bodies of dwarven ancestors from the hall. The viceroy, Bain Stonetongue, is on site.
PC: Bain

Area 2 - Level 1 - Marzabul Way

Two lots of the Mithril-Attack (98 dwarves) have been caught by surprise by the orc hunters. The front unit, the Trapeze-lot, is shattered and in a rout while the second one, the Galley-lot, is shocked. A stream of orcs is pushing them back to the East Gate.
PC: Thordar, Khazek

Area 3 - Deep 1 - The bridge of Khazad-dum

Three lots of the Mithril-Attack are tasked to proceed to the site of Durin's bridge in the First deep. They are lead by Kiro Rockdigger.

Area 4 - Dimrill Dale - East Gate

The Silver-Attack is stacked and ready to barge in. At their head, Gror, son of Bain, Commander of the Emerald.
PC: Gror

Area 5 - Dimrill Dale - Bank of the Mirrormere

The Ardacer-Attack is tasked with camp upkeep and area security. Thordar found that the Ardacer is the weakest link in the command structure, which is not a surprise since it is a free company from the Iron Hills.

Area 6 - Dimrill Dale - Caradhras's foothills

The last Attack of the Emerald, the Bronze-Attack, is tasked with area security in the mountain areas (a terrain for which it is rated as competent).

Location of the events during this session.


Scene 1 - Stemming the tide, with style.

In the previous session, Thordar made his way through the retreating mass of dwarves and tore into the advancing orcs. His progress was barely followed by Khazek in the rear who attempted to rally both his rangers and the beleagued battle-guards of the Trapeze-Lot. Thordar skewered a number of them but was eventually driven back towards the line. At one point, a warg pinned him under his paws, but Thordar seized the opportunity to eviserate the beast from underneath as a rain of arrows from the rangers covered him. In one amongst many awesome moment, he leveraged the mass of the falling warg to lift him up to his feet, landing with a half pirouette into a parry (I love GURPS).

An aura of blood hovered around Thordar as he shredded into the advancing foes. But even him knew that his luck could turn quickly: let's remember the underdeep adventure for a moment...

Scene 2 - Disciplining toddlers with a flail

In the East Gate Hall, Bain was dealing with mundane command issues while the Sinner-Lot was organizing the removal of the ancestors' bodies that were blocking the way.

Gesdrek pointed out to Bain that the statue of Durin over their heads had changed demeanour. Gesdrek announced in a solemn tone that it was because the heir to Durin's line had entered Khazad-dum. While Bain was left wondering what this prophecy could mean, Saddan's dwarves had made their mind and decided to pile the bodies, as ceremoniously as possible, to the side of the hall. This is when the standing bodies of the ancestors began to wail and agitate.

The sight of walking dead was a bit much for most of the dwarves in the room. They ran for the protection of pillars and other obstacle while they attempted to regain control of these sense. Without skipping a beat (and costing him a whole LUCK point), Bain ran for the first ancestor while roaring at them all to join in the battle. The first ancestor to cross his path was the animated body of a dwarf toddler. The toddler was holding with difficulty a small stake. Bain swung his flail with all of his might. The toddler was cut down at its legs and flew a good two yards in a mock cartwheel.

"They are already dead. They can die some more!", he exclaimed! The battle-guard of the Sinner-Lot was already engaged in close combat while the rangers, axedwarves and crossbowmen regained their composure. Soon enough, a line was formed and the Sinner, with the viceroy at its head, was shaping the battle to their advantage.

The anvil was in place just in time for the hammer to fall. Gror, son of Bain and commander of the Emerald lead the charge through the East gate into the hall. He knocked over the dead-lady with a meat cleaver and opened the charge while hundreds of dwarves in polished armors fanned to both sides to crush the mass of disorganized ancestors.

They didn't pose much of a tactical challenge agains the highly trained Silver-Attack. Within a few minutes, the room was awash with the dust of the shattered bodies of ancestors. Father and son met as the last foe hit the ground.

A ranger arrived from Mazarbul way to announce that things weren't going so well to the North. Gror rallied the Silver-Attack to form tunnel-battle ranks and entered the way with the rhythmic step of the Silver in tow.

Bain decided to follow the silver. As he was about to leave the hall, a messenger from the bridge told him that there were ancestors standing across the chasm "until the eyes can see". Gesdrek and Goldo headed down Durin's way to the first deep. The ancestors were not doing anything at the moment, so Bain filed this news on the TODO pile and entered Marzabul's way to meet with the advancing orcs.

Scene 3 - The Silver-Attack steam-roller

The war chant was filling the air as the Silver advanced as a solid mass of steel through the narrow tunnel. Down a set of stairs, through some kind of administrative area and eventually along a nearly featureless corridor. Gror at their head roused the shock troops until the unit arrived on the tail of the Galley-Lot. The dwarves ahead had broken ranks and were not on the move. The Silvers momentum was too great to be stopped, but Gror managed to get the axedwarves from the Mithril to step aside lest they'd be trampled. Well... some dwarves probably did, but the majority dodged the murderous charge.

Some 20 meters ahead in the hall, Thordar was making for the line where orcs and dwarves were clashing. Some dwarves got side-stepped and vanished into a side corridor as Khazek tried to reconnect the shattered unit. Thordar swooped under an orc which flew over his head and fell down in a crash in the green waves behind. Khazek had mortally wounded the last of the wargs, heralding the end of the flight. Before the advancing wall, Khazek gathered the remnants of the Mithril and his own rangers and stepped aside into a door frame. The Silver-Attack rammed into the orcs without slowing down. Thordar, covered in  blood, decided to beat the Silver at their advance and slipped between the wavering orcs until his leg met with the well placed blow of a sword. Incapable to keep up, he stepped aisde and let battle-guard through. Gror was on fire (figuratively), knocking foes that would get cut down and trampled in his wake.

The massacre was a masterwork of tunnel battle: systematics, dispassionate and expeditive. The combined mass of 300 dwarves driving through the orcs line and forcing them into a rout. The tunnel opened into a large hall where the Silver deployed and wiped the orcs that foolishly didn't run for the stairs. The war chant was filling the air like a thick fog. Gror, drunk with glee scanned the room and found a large number of doors and access points. His dwarf-self wanted to climb up the majestic stairs, but a cool head prevailed and he managed to hold the Silver into place.

Bain made his way into the hall, followed by a bloodied Thordar. Gror took upon himself to scout the area and setup a defensive position in case of a counter attack from above. Bain, tapped Gror on his back and headed back South to the East gate hall. He ordered Thordar to "do his thing" and make sense of the maze all around.

Thordar eyed a surviving orc and walked to it: "Let's have a chat, shall we?".

Scene 4 - Hatchet-head dwellings

Gror passed by Khazek without a glance, his silhouette drowned into the steel of his soliders. Khazek looked around and saw a smashed door leading to a narrow stairway. Down a few steps, into a rustic bed of mildewed hay, was a door left shut for a thousand year. The rangers and a few member of the Trapeze-Lot took it down and entered a hall untouched by anyone since the glory days of Khazad-dum. The main hall comprise a two-level gallery from which a number of dwarven dwellings were connected. Evidently, the place has been left alone, although possibly small rodents were doing the rounds every now and then. The dominating design element was a tiled hatchet-head pattern etched into the walls.

The dwarves discovered a living area, an eating hall and a number of storage areas with the remnants of farming equipment. There was three ways out of the dwelling: back to Marzabul's way, down a set of stairs heading towards the undending well, and a small service door heading north.

Khazek estimated that 200 dwarves could be comfortably be housed in these quarters. Probably more if the storage area were to be converted to billet. He ordered the Mithril dwarves to reconnect with their unit and headed back to where he came from in hope to find Bain.

Looking ahead

The viceroy shared the news that a very large number of ancestors were arrayed in the Hall of Trees across the unending well. He sent Thordar to figure out whether there was any hidden secrets to the lower Marzabul hall. Gror, both beaming with satisfaction and carrying the weight of three thousands dwarves on his shoulders told the viceroy that he would secure the area and explore ways to break to the Second Level.

Khazad-dum wasn't what they pictured it to be. In the hearts of dwarves, there was a muted drone of sadness. Was it the dead ancestors crushing witlessly against their awesomeness? The stench of orcs defiling the promised land? Soon the warriors will break open celebratory kegs of ale: but deep down inside, they couldn't help but feeling empty.

3 comments:

  1. This is kinda how I pictured KD would be, just sayin.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Time to engage in some serious expectation management for the other 2999 of your colleagues.

      As for you , don't pretend you were expecting it all along when this campaign morphs into a space opera!

      Delete