Friday, November 8, 2013

051 - The Numarii King

This session began where the last one ended, in the middle of an interrogation of an orc sergeant that had been put to sleep by Kasper's elf twig hoodoo voodoo. 

Thannolf bent down to the orc's face and repeated his question. The orcs smiled but didn't answer. The northerling lost patience and locked his elbow at a very awkward angle. The orc tapped out from pain and told the company that the dwarves should still be loyal to Farathu. Halin kicked him as they decided to let him go. The only way out was back to his bethren (and into certain death).

The field of battle

The charge of the orcs stalled very fast: the dwarves were standing fast in front of the gate and among the burning orc camp. Archers and crossbowmen traded blows, but the battle had stalled. The company was unsure whether they should side with the Numarii against the orcs. Nimrodel could see everything as if it happened before him (with his elven eyesight). The company reluctantly decided to advance and catch the orcs in a pincer movement.

When the orcs spotted their advance, they regrouped and backed up the mountainside. This turn of events convinced the Numariis to leave their defensive position and charge. The company moved in to flank the orcs, but didn't rush to the rescue.

By the time that the last of the orcs had fallen, the company was scattered over a wide area. Arnadil realized too late that the Numariis had them surrounded, many of them isolated and unable to support each other (Badly failed Tactics quick contest). The leader of the dwarves demanded the company to drop their weapons, but only Halin could understand the request in Naugrim. Halin was himself struggling to see the Numariis surrounding him. A few minutes ago, he broke his spectacle and was now condemned to hold the last lense over his left eye (Per-2 if holding the lense with one hand). Halin translated the request, which was echoed in Westron by the dwarf leader.

The Numariis are no mooks, and are
surrounding the company.
The tension increased when the Numariis realized that the bloodied and noseless company member was an elf. Finbert took advantage of the chaos to slip out of sight behind a rock. The ring of dwarves was tightening. Their leader called Halin an infirm, and asked him to drop his massive warhammer, Zander. Zander wasn't happy about this and threatened Halin against letting go. Arnadil dropped his sword and addressed Prince Numeronos. The other company member either lowered their weapon or dropped them altogether as the tactical situation was hopeless.  

Once that the company realized that Numeronos want to take them inside of the Numarii home, they decided take a chance and see where this would go. Reluctantly, they dropped their unconcealed weapons and walked away under close escort by the warriors.


The company, for the first time ever, were marched as captive. They walked through the smoke of the orc camp and into the mountain. Finbert followed from a distance. Behind the company were a number of warriors dragging his friends' weapon in the ground. Finbert followed from a short distance, but managed to remain unseen nor heard (Stealth vs Per contest won by 2). The first room was a murderhole-lined gauntlet ending with a double door. Beyond this door, another gauntlet ending with another double door. Finbert slipped into the shadow and was virtually invisible, but the room was featureless and two dwarves were guarding the door at the far wall. Finbert weighed his options and decided not to be shut out. He walked out of the shadow and dropped his sword. The guards jumped in surprised and lead him through into the hall beyond.

The hall in which they ended up looked like a dead-end. The floor dropped by a meter and needed to be straddled by ramps. On either side of the double door, there were two 3m statues of dragons. These were sandwiched between two stout doors. One of them was left open and guarded by four Numariis. In the center of the hall, there was a vent covered by a grate. The smell of a smelter was evident. Irina followed steps in the dust an found out that there must have been a concealed door on the far wall of the room. The dwarves were expressionless. However, Thannolf was pretty much convinced that they were actually quite friendly (Critical fail on an Empathy check). Thannolf approached the dwarves to shake their hands. Finbert joined him to get a better view of the room beyond the stout door. Unfortunately, the Numariis interpreted this as a ruse and pushed back with violence. Finbert dodged a dwarf's foot with a dramatic cartwheel (Acrobatic dodge!). Unfortunately, Thannolf got grappled by the forearm and forced to his knees. In an attempt to slip out, the pair tumbled off the ramp and crashed on the ground. Thannolf, free from the hold, bounced back on his feet and withdrew to the center of the room. The company was tightly packed against Nimrodel, which safety was uncertain. Arnadil offered his apologies (Diplomacy, success). The Dwarves threw dirty looks across the room and returned to their post.

An old tactics delivers awesome again

The rhythmic beat of the drum grew louder. A number of warriors entered the room and lined its periphery. The company was disarmed and surrounded... in a locked room. A few monks entered the room, ahead of a drumming priest. The dwarves began to chant to the drum.  Prince Numeronos was present again, and another older looking dwarf with noble garments. Finally, a vigorous middle-aged one entered the hall, suited with a gold armor.

The King introduced himself and demanded the company to explain their presence. Halin, could barely see what was going on through squinting. Arnadil moved forward and asked Halin to translate for him. Arnadil explained that Farathu owned artifacts that belonged to them and they were coming to get them back (Diplomacy, success, the King's composure is at -1). Prince Amos, the older of the princes, asked for more details while the other dwarves were singing increasingly louder. The King asked for counsel: Prince Amos abstained, Prince Numeronos suggested to hand the company to Farathu.  The priest abruptly yelped in Naugrim to spare the drake and kill the intruders.

The King was intrigued by the allusion to Gondor. The company confirmed that they were representative of the King of men, which seemed to interest the King and prince Amos.  Arnadil, through Halin's translation for the hardest parts, explained that an army was on its way (Not technically a lie, but a small army indeed). The King announced that he had decided to hand the company to Farathu for judgement.  The company pondered whether this was a valid way to get to the drake, although sans weapons.

Thannolf leapt from the pack and challenged the Numarii King as to whom was the true leader in this house (Fast-talk vs Will,  success). The King's composure was shaken as his son Amos whispered in his ears (Diplomacy vs Will, success). The King was rather speechless. Arnadil reiterated the question. The music stopped. The King announced that the company was to meet with Farathu with the dignity of emissaries: their weapons in hands. He stormed out, held the door frame, answered back to the company that HE was the Numarii King.

Stairway to heaven

Prince Amos ensured that the company got their weapons handed back, offered them food and drinks.  He explained to the company that none of the Numariis would go to the temple with them. Thannolf chatted with the Prince and pulled a few interesting facts by reading through the lines (Fortune-telling (cold reading) vs Will, success). Thannolf perceived through the chat that the Numarii had discounted Farathu as a false hope and had moved on. Thannolf started to worry that there may be another hatchling involved.

His musing were cut short when the company passed by a residential level and peered at a palatial hall at its far end. Prince Amos lead them further up the stairs. The stairwell had been sealed with a bulkhead. A small door was carved in the new wall. Amos opened the door with an oversized key. Beyond, there was a layer of snow on the ground. The stairs kept on spiralling up and the faint light of day could be seen. The air was crisp and cold, small ice crystals were falling down the well. 

The hobbits and Nimrodel moved ahead while the company huddled near the bulkhead. Amos locked the door behind them. Irina and Nimrodel readied their bows, Finbert prepared his blowpipe. The stairs were silent and climbed up for about 50m. When they got to about 10m from the top, Finbert spotted an arrow coming out of the snow. He pulled on it to identify its make. The arrow was holding a chain which was holding a bucket that was hanging off the ledge. The bucket slipped and fell 40m down the well onto the steel bulkhead,with a huge crash (Stealth, critical failure: a Pippin in Moria kind of moment).

The sweet voices of trolls rose from the temple overhead. Finbert ran down the stairs to warn the company. Irina and Nimrodel braced for a charge. Two trolls ran down. Nimrodel hit the first one without slowing it down. Irina was down to 4 arrows, she "kited" the trolls until she ran out of ammo. The last arrow hit the eye and lodged itself in the skull. The troll got knocked out cold and fell into the well, landing on the bucket down below. The troll preceded the arrival of the elf and hobbits. Surprisingly, the second troll broke the charge and didn't appear to be in the stairway anymore. 

The company figured out that up was the only way to go. They readied their weapons, placed the scouts ahead and braced for another charge. The charge didn't come. The company climbed almost to the top of the stairs, the place was cold and brightly lit by sunlight. Arnadil heard the crinkle of snow under feet and motioned all to stop. Four hulking shapes appeared, weilding large boulders over their heads. 

And thus ended the session! Will this be technically counted as an ambush?  

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