Wednesday, February 19, 2014

K23 - One Thousand bottles of beers on the wall

Interview with a green thing

The victor of the battle for the Marzabul Stairs' lower hall were feasting by finishing off the surviving orcs. Thordar saw this as the bleeding of possible intelligence. He picked an orc with both legs broken and dragged him into the torchlight for an interrogation. Interrogation wasn't his forte, but he managed to improvise with a little help from his smallsword. The orc was talkative but crytpic. He mentioned that the Hunters, lead by Haguk, were the rising nation in Moria. That they thrived on selling food to the other nations. He eventually let out that the hunters were settled in the upper levels, and that they never went to the deeps. Amidst the wailing and the pleas to stop the torture, the orcs also mentioned that there were trolls in the ranks of the hunters. By then, Thordar got bored and finished him off.

Locations for this session.

One thousand bottles of beer on a wall

Bain, Khazek and the rangers came back to the East Gate to find their way to Durin's bridge. They found three of the Mithril's lots resting in a hall at the edge of the unending well. The Bridge had been destroyed During the legendary battle between Mithrandir and the Balrog. There was scorching marks and soot that had gently deposed on the ground at their feet.

Beyond the chasm, hundreds of ancestors were standing still. Neatly arrayed and facing them. The sight was unnerving. Goldo suggested to build a simple foot bridge with timber, which would take about a day to put together. Gesdrek insisted into examining the ancestor from closer up. The gap to cross was at least 8 yards wide from the end of the cantilever to the other side. In a distance, a faint green light could be seen some 50 yards beyond the first line of ancestors. If the hall was filled this way, there must have been about 1000 ancestors waiting for something to happen.

Bain ordered one Lot of the Mithril-Attack to assist Goldo in the making of the bridge. They returned to the East Gate where they found Thordar having a pint of ale and a quick meal with other warriors.

Smoked Orcs

Gror took stock of the casualties after the battle: some 40 orcs were dead against one death and 6 wounded. The casualties were dwarves from the Mithril-Attack, many trampled when the Silver-Attack charged. The orcs had retreated up a double helix of stairs, the Marzabul stairs, in the center of the hall. He dispatched scouts to secure all access to the hall.

The scouts came back within 30 minutes with an all-clear. They found a few orcs, a lot of recent encampments, many litters for wargs. The tunnel to the unending well ended with a severed bridge across the chasm. The scouts, however, found a concealed footpath along the chasm wall which lead north. Gror ordered a guard of dwarves to follow the path and find where it leads.

Gror decided that assaulting up a steep set of stairs was a bit much for the time being. He ordered his miners to setup a large bonfire underneath the stair well. This was posible because there was a supply of air coming from both the East Gate and the unending well. Within an hour, a hot fire was smoking all the way up the Marzabul stairs. There was some expletives send down from the orcs sentries, but then it became more quiet. Staying in the stairs for an extended period would certainly lead to monoxide poisoning.

Gror decided to be patient. He ordered to move the fire up on the stairs progressively to keep the well clear and make the inevitable assault up span less of a vertical climb. Later on, scouts from the unending well reported a small footbridges across the chasm and defeated a sentry of five orcs. Gror ordered the scouts to move to contact beyond the chasm.

Down the rabbit hole they went

Khazek and Thordar decided to look for the secret door that was used by Halin's expedition 15 years ago. They had good instructions, so finding the location wasn't too difficult. They entered the tunnel leading South. The last footsteps were pristine: dwarves had rushed out of the tunnel wearing heavy baggage. It looked like this tunnel had remained a secret ever since.

The hall a the other end didn't lead through the unending well. All other access to the hall had been collapsed in a controlled manner by the miners to simplify the defense of the mining complex. The proceeded down to the second, third, then fourth deep through a series of narrow and steep stairs. On the 4th deep, the stairs downward stopped. There was a remnant of a miner's camp and one tunnel leading West. They followed the tunnel and crossed the unending well using a bridge built by Halin for the miners to use. This lead them to a great hall within to the old city. All access to it were systematically collapsed except for the way South towards the gold mine that they knew about. These controlled collapses were part of defensive work done by the miners during the mining expedition. Proceeding into the old city would require serious excavation work by the invaders, but was definitely possible.

They were tempted to head down into the mine to find something shiny, but decided to get back to the surface just on time for a late supper in the East Gate hall.

Day 1 of the invasion was over. The progress was pretty good.

Dwarf bowling

On the following day, Goldo reported to the viceroy that two beams had been installed across the unending well and could be used to cross into the Hall of Tree in a single file. The viceroy and his entourage went down to the First Deep to have a look. The two beams were 9" wide, and thus combined to provide a width of about 20". Khazek crossed first and was shortly followed by Thordar, Gesdrek and Gror. They approached the other side to reveal that the ancestors were arranged row upon rows until torches could light them. In the distance, maybe 50 yards further, there was a faint light sources near the ground. Gesdrek began investigating the signs while Khazek and Thordar moved forward. The ground was covered by 3" of ashes. The ancestors had, at some point in the past, walked to their positions with heavy feet before becoming immobile. Gror, nervous of having Gesdrek touch one of the ancestor, decided to babysit the loremaster.

Meanwhile, Khazek and Thordar proceeded through the ranks towards the light source. There was a coffin on a pedestal upon which a large green gem was glowing. The density of ancestors was higher around, almost shoulder to shoulder around the artifact.

From the dark height of the hall and through the massive pillars, two giant bats came swooping down. Khazek kneeled and butted his pointy stick against the ground. The stick tore through the bat's wing and sent the beast into a spin. In the process, the bat knocked over one of the ancestor. Khazek quickly finished the bat while Thordar dodged another beast. A wail started to rise around them as the ancestors were drawing out of their stupor. The dwarves took to their feet, heading back to the bridge.

Gror sent Gesdrek back to the other side of the chasm while he rush ahead to meet with the fleeing dwarves. Khazek opened up the path by knocking over some ancestors that weren't quite moving yet. As they reached the last few ranks, the ancestors were mostly mobile and the two dwarves had to shove their way out, dodging grapples and shoves on the way to the wood beams. Gror closed the march with a rear guard action and eventually turned coat, dodging unknowingly a few swiped by pursuing undeads.

The crossbowmen on the other side engaged as a sad spectacle of fumbling ancestors attempted to make their way over the unending well.

An thus ended the session, with the PC thinking that the ancestor would mindlessly charge through the bridge like lemming... maybe they are right.

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