An Orc in the Hant
(Some in-between history).
Forgileill & Thranduil drop in at the lyrond on their way past. The ilin attempt to bomb-burst to safety but don't make it out in time.
Kamilata & Forgileill meet to discuss matters of state. So what happened? Not much. OK.
Red haired Valarwen turns up at the door "I'm not quite sure why I'm here" Welcome to the club. "I'm on a mission from god". Uh oh. "I'm supposed to be looking after someone". Kam: “well we've got a lot of elves around here that would be regarded as 'special'.”
Some Gnomes turn up, we remove the dwarf but everyone else lurks
Lina Ostroff (Bond villain name) and three others. Had a caravan led by her father carrying lots of 'documents' (i.e. other people's money). Now a charity case - what happened to all your 'documents'? The caravan's gone missing far to the south and she's heading back to raise more cash. Can she and her henchmen stay the night?
Forg is feeling a bit mercenary: OK you can stay here but I'll be asking a favour. Alright. The Big Book of Favours is brought out and the first entry made.
Summary of introductions:
Nymraith: Greyrobe, missing one eyebrow and multicoloured stains, the organic alchemist
Tûd: crippled Ilin, master bowman and one of the special, simple straightforward types.
Oruro: spectacularly ugly ilin canon fodder
Tyralandi: red dress Weeeejas [Wíjas] priest. Mission accomplished. Still around to sort out Tealpick’s stuff [and might have to have a chat with Tûd about the stuff he's got shhh]
Valarwen: Grey elf with red hair (green dress). Looking for speaker.
Thranduil: some kind of monk elf, with a newly discovered daughter called Helleth
Hagar the dwarf: agoraphobic tin can.
Fat Mexican Ryzaim and his imp Burrito. ("What? My name's Burrito?! You bastard!"). Self important.
Kamilata: long suffering professional soldier turned prime minister and civil service and water board.
Chita: Ilin canon fodder junior
Anar: Wordsmith Greyrobe.
Forgileill: mad bad princess chaos. Recently drow'ed but getting better - popped in on the way to school. Expecting drow for interview without biscuits.
Shalbai: ilin canon fodder, square and squat
Erlini: shape-shifting Greyrobe
Forg is rather hacked off about Tûd’s demon-taint. "It's these amulets" well take them off and Ryz get rid of them - "OK" says Tûd, she's the boss. Shame, they were quite shiny "What? I'm not going near them!" says Ryz. Just do it. Can we destroy them? Not sure. Put them in this lead lined box away from all the buildings just now we'll bury it in the morning.
An excellent party / reception, so good in fact (00+52) that Gwedhion bursts in - one of Forg's many Gwathló cousins. Looking a little haggard (no he's over here in the armour). Comes in with a big iron black scimitar and drops it in the middle of the floor ("Hey that looks like a black sword" stop it I'm monologuing "Cup of tea?") There are some orcs in the southern Hant, been exiled in the early Perren Empire but they're back. With some stone giants.
Inscription on the sword: Anar will pronounce it and Val understand it. Except that Anar can't work it out ("Try using magic!" oh yes). They translate it as "Forged by the breath of Graumsh, shaped by the smiths of Hant, powered by the chieftains’ blood (Dür a'cel)"
You're an expert on swords, Thranduil; tell us more about this big black sword? He picks it up and drops it. Ow! That hurts. Do you think it hurts humans? Oruro picks it up, no problems. Tap tap. Forg tries to perceive power and fails, staggered and stunned.
Hmm. Gwedhion is off to talk to t'kings, time to muster the army, this is an invasion. "Invasion? Why?" Ah well, that's a good question. Why don't you go find out? "Ah yes good idea".
Gwedhion takes a horse and rides off. "Oi, that's my horse", Forgileill the absentee landlord is making the most of her short stay. Don't worry I'll bring it back - tell you what, we'll meet at Glordin's tomb.
Private interview between Thranduil, his icy lover-in-law Laconfir, daughter and Forgileill. "How have you been?" Hot. The rest obviously is private. Laconfir returns to the mountain to look over his niece. Thranduil sends a raven to his father (embarrassing) to ask for someone safer than anything within 100 meters of Tûd to bring up the child.
Some talk about Thranduil's wife who he taught, and turned to single-minded killing. Always happens to you - take on an apprentice, they go mental, return in twenty years to kill you and tell the youngster she's the parent.
Dawn breaks and Val and Nym head into the woods to find the wood elf speaker. It takes a day to find the spot and it's very quiet. Ranger marks are left that Val can read - "Gone South to War". They head off to catch up with the others who...
...have loaded up the horses with stuff such as rope 40', grappling hooks, biscuits, food (flour, tea, etc), blankets, wire, tarred torches, 3 lanterns, 6 vials lamp oil, Nym's lightest travelling chemistry set, a selection of Ryz's books, water, filters, clothes, soap, soap making kit, kit for making soap-making-kit, weapons oil, bowyers kits, arrowheads, fletches, bowstrings, potions, etc from last adventure (handed out), hair tonic, pitons, hammers, tinder, tarred cloth, sewing kits, 6' chain link, a small anchor, bedding, a strong silk blanket, half a rabbit skin, wine, women and song.
Meet Fireflower, an Asrai wood elf coming the other way; apparently the orcs or something have taken out a 'grace' of unicorns, a powerful nymph, and a young golden dragon. He's come to guide us. Hmm we say. We might not be coming after all. We think we left the gas on.
(Back at base, Tûd eyes the lead-lined box left in the centre of the lyrond courtyard. He's in charge now...)
A few days later we come across a track and follow it briefly to find wagons burned scattered, gnome sized, no trade goods etc left. Bits of dead horse. Looks like the raiding party headed off towards those mountains over there- just so happens to be also the direction to the Gwathló family crypt at Serpent Hill. We move on a bit and camp. Nym and Val catch up with the main group around midnight.
Marching order: Trackers at front, ilin, Greyrobes, ilin and armour at rear
We head off, plenty of orc tracks, backwards/forwards left/right, all over the shop.
Thranduil hears a small scouting orc group; obviously getting cocky as we're quite loud and easy enough to follow. Clank clank. "Did you hear that?" What? "Listen!" That sounds like 5 orcs,
He and Shalbai sneak quietly off the path and hide by a tree. Five snaga (small) orcs are bimbling casually up the path, intent on the clanking dwarf as the party carries on blithely up the path.
Shalbai and Thranduil step out and loose. Shalbai hits and it stings, Thranduil shoots the next through the leg and it drops bleeding.
The remaining orcs turn as the two hit ones scream; one heads off and the other two nock and pull. Shalbai aims at the one running off but only nicks him; Thranduil also tries the same and a solid hit to his side and he goes down.
The two orcs loose; one shaky misses Shalbai, the other more steadily hits her calf (15 + 2/round).
Up front Val picks up the sound of the orcs cries past the dwarf’s clanks; cries 'contact rear' or the equivalent and heads back with the ilin. Kamilata moves to the side off the path. Anar dives off. Nym looks after him "where are you going?" looks up and sees the front ilin closing and dives off too. There's some confusion and points are lost for style and panache.
Back at the combat Shalbai properly pings one just below the collarbone and it drops like a sack of orc. Thranduil's hits with the blunt end of the arrow but well enough to take down.
Search for secret drawers! Yeuch no not Orcish underwear!
Shalbai tries to staunch her own bleeding and it stops - mostly because Tyr has stopped flow. Tyr tries first aid herself to tie everything off, but it's Oruro who properly patches these things up (where's the femoral artery? Noo! Leave it alone!).
Val is still a few tens of yards away in the woods, and sees more Orcs coming in; she screeches once like a barn owl. Several people in the party look up puzzled; the fight must have disturbed a barn owl. Forg moves up to the left of Val, Thranduil looks up and moves up to support her on the right (clowns to the left, jokers to the right...), Under Forg's parting instruction Kamilata gets the rest of the party organised into some kind of line. Val stalks forward, at one with the forest, suddenly cloaked in leafy armour, followed at some distance by Forg and Thranduil ("Where did she go?")
Stalking skirmish lines, Val shoots one sneaking orc. Unknown to her, a skilful Orcish stalker lines up on her from the brush, but his bowstring catches and the arrow goes flying overhead. Forg preps a fireball but several little voices in the back of her mind tell her it's a waste and not very subtle. She fires an arrow instead just skimming the orc, who flinches and bangs his head against the tree. Whew, that was close. You have no idea.
Thran from another angle sees him and hits him, close call for his groin, and he lies down quietly.
Up ahead Val takes a shot but misses. Forg moves up alongside and misses too. Thran closes with the half dead goblin with the arrow up it's arse and then (-130 on MM) spectacularly falls over himself trying to draw his weapon on the move, hurls it into the top of the tree, and smacks his head on a bit of forest which gets the initiative next round. The orc laughs and leaves. Thranduil lies on the ground, stunned.
Ahead one of the orcs sees this attack failure and misinterprets it, launching a running attack at Valerie. She sets to receive the charge, drawing her sword. She might use one hand. Or two. If she can work out which she knows.
Forg (99+) shock bolts (23 + numbs, slowing down) the laughing leaving orc and drops it.
The charging goblin completely fails to come anywhere near Val. She's not so careless and smacks it a few times while it tries to hit her. Another is charging in, sword overhead, and its head bursts into flame and it ploughs into the ground (shock bolt from Forg and rolling 00...)
It's quiet again. They come back to the skirmish line where everyone is settled out brewing up and chatting. Nym looks at Val in her leafy dress, and remembers he's in a forest and all his foresty skills come flooding back.
We collect Thranduil together from across the forest. My head hurts. And my thumb hurts.
Tomorrow we need to reach the tomb. We forge ahead (but I don't want a head) this time in two teams with Nym and Val as outrider scouts, but first we plan some standard responses.
We make camp, etc. Forg tries to arrange stuff but we ignore it all - in her best interests - digging in defensive latrines.
Forg hunts around at night but fails to find anyone.
Back at the lyrond, Tûd is eyeing up the box in the courtyard. It's sometimes tricky to tell what his lyio is actually after; she is about as consistent as wind, and even when she's trying to fill her lyio responsibilities her Gwathló schemes are well beyond his rather more simple approach to life. Did she leave the box out deliberately, so that she was seen to get rid of them, but actually wanted him to use them? Had they just forgotten? Had they been left for some other more favoured agent to take and use? Was it a test?
Sighing, he gets a spade and heads off into the woods with it. Buried things can always be unburied if, or rather when, she changes her mind.
In the morning Fireflower visits the Asrai army, and he catches up with us as we continue on to meet Gwedhion at the Serpent mound mausoleum. The elvish army has formed, ready to fight. We intend to split up: Forg and one other to meet her cousin, and the rest of us to support the main army. All the same we support Forg to the foot of the serpent mound, in a sizable clearing.
Coiled ridged hill to top where there's a hole, the tunnel coils down, burial points along it, big cavern at the bottom of tunnel. At the top however is a rather large orc camp - profanity!
We prepare Kamilata for flying (Anar) invisibly (Ryz) to spy on the camp. It takes some time. He floats up stylishly but nobody can tell. Five minutes later he returns, but nobody can tell.
He tells us it's a major camp on top; two chimera barracks, more mount stables, hundreds of troops, perhaps a thousand. Scary. Let's not go there.
Val considers the orcs we've seen - and realises the snaga have been a bit more heavy infantry in tactics etc than normal. Which makes no difference for killing snaga, but will be more interesting when we meet heavier duty orcs. Of course, Tûd knows things about orcs too, but he's not here... He's sulking at the lyrond, and has managed to ruin two good pans trying to set fire to the kitchen, as he'd left some new experimental war-biscuits cooking while he headed off into the woods.
Gwedhion turns up. Keen to sneak in and secure the tomb. Forg and Thranduil and he and Kamilata attempt to have a 'private' meeting to discuss tactics. With the others who know some Gwaithor listening in.
Forg resists the idea completely - let's wait for the elvish army. Oruro shares a glance with the other ilin; if only Gwedhion had turned up and calling for delay she'd be all for an immediate night raid...
Nym and Val head back to the elf army to tell them what we've seen. They speak with the boss and exchange pleasantries and plans. This evening/tomorrow morning the 600 or so elves will dance, and attack the Hant position day after tomorrow. Four days east is the 600 ilin that could be got together at short notice who may wait for the jalee due in a week or so.
They head back to the serpent hill where Gwedhion is reminding Thranduil that he's bound by religion etc to clear the tomb. Halfway back Val remembers she hasn't spoken to the speaker. Well, she had, but not the right topic.
Much discussion of options; go irregular and hassle the camp and its patrol, or try and take the tomb or sneak into the place and cause trouble. Gwedhion when he was hiding next to the entrance ("What? How were you doing that?" Well I'm a sneaky Gwaithor [Gwathló?] fucker) said the boss was dressed in pretty impressive armour with batwings. Lots of magic oozing from the forge.
The orc patrols are six snaga with a Hant captain, or 4 Hant orcs on a chimera. Around 10 chimeras. One out and one ready at all times, larger force generally ready 5ish minutes. 2 hour patrols. No checkpoints on return.
Prepare plan for diversions, while one or two groups strike at the head chap, another at the forge, need an exit strategy.
Split into sneaky types and non sneaky types. Not many sneaky types.
First we need a disguise. We leave a trail and a secluded dwarf as bait. The orc patrol dutifully finds it, form up into two groups of three and move in a classic pincer movement. The dwarf swings his small visor from group to group; the captain still in front of him, so the dwarf charges the captain (94) in full armour at speed. The captain is left somewhat back-footed; despite a poor attack (07) that misses the captain’s body, the battleaxe takes off the captain's hand, the one holding his hand axe.
The Hant though are well disciplined and charge. As they step out the ilin ambush; Oruro (23 +1/rnd), Val drops one to soon die, Shalbai (25ish) hits another, Thranduil (20ish + 5/rnd) drops another, Forgileill shock bolts, Nymraith uses his wand to do the same, both hurt (14, 11) but nothing serious. The three remaining orcs reach the dwarf and attempt to put the boot in; very little damage makes it through the armour and past the axe, and while the damage done would hurt the wizards he doesn't notice.
The dwarf drops his axe to quick draw his favourite experimental weapon - the war bola - and squishes one of the orcs in several different ways at once. Val takes out another, Chita smacks another in the face leaves eyes crossed. Oruro takes down another through the heart. Making four. The lie in front of Hagar who kicks them all in the face.
Forgileill realises she's not wearing anything. But we've got all this orc armour. It's a bit icky. Of course, if Tûd was here he would point out the right moss to use for cleaning it, with the rough and smooth sides, and some natural soap. But ho hum, he's sulking and poking around at Nym's chemistry set.
The sneaky types spend some time disguising and illusioning themselves as orcs.
They head up into the camp in a scattered group. As there's some prevarication Oruro goes for the Fur-covered hut. There are two on guard. He reaches for his bullshit potion ("We're here to clean the pools") but realises its bull strength. Mental note to tell Nymraith.
He heads for a watchtower and climbs up - as he sticks his head up he sees three orcs. One spits, collects some stuff and stands waiting. He climbs in and it climbs out. Oruro leans over and waves discreetly twice. Valerie and Forgileill come up and the remaining two guards grunt and leave. It's quiet. We have a view of the back of the Fur-covered tent - plus points to Oruro for an amazing plan and lots of careful planning etc. To its side is a caged wagon - that might contain something friendly. But we look like orcs. If a little short.
Thranduil approaches the cart innocently, walking past. It's heavily secured, barred, tiny hands grip the bars. Who let the gnomes out...? We think about sending the fox (Gwedhion) as he doesn't look like an orc. The fox says "Open the door, walk in, lurking here makes you look like someone lurking" he looks around and for a moment he starts as he sees several orcs watching them then realises its Kamilata and the others. He steps in.
Forgileill has a good look around and leaves the tower.
Inside the cart are eight gnomes. Quite upset with not only being locked in their own safe but that other people have got in. Seems they managed to persuade the orcs they're worth more alive than dead.
They tell us what they know: The one with the fancy armour is General Grouse. In cahoots with orc druid Caybic. Doesn't know much about gold but they defer to King Bog, he's a giant toad. No he's a giant. And a toad. No, the toad. Is he here? Not just now...
Kamilata makes his way past the pavilion. There are a few orcs hanging around including some druidic looking thing with a skull and cape and everything.
Forgileill cuts her way into the bank of the tent through the eight skins of unicorns (eight in a grace). Framed are the golden teeth of a dragon but not the dragon jaws. Silver urn, Silver mirror. No one else there. Under the bed is a necklace of ears. What appears to be a dirty bundle of clothes but is the unicorn horns. She takes those. A small chest with some docs but needs someone who knows more about orcs - she tips out the heavy coins...
Thranduil tells the gnomes he'll leave the door unlocked but shut - but don't leave until anything kicks off. He leaves quietly. The gnomes pull their braces in appreciation.
Forg drags the chest over to the watch tower and we manhandle it up. Val & Oruro work their way through it to pick out the useful things. Apparently they're expanding the defiled Glades and they intend to grab a load of the forest to include. There should be a tipping point where the area starts to get easier and faster to expand. A device below in the Serpent Mound should aid this expansion, supposedly hidden in King Bog's throne room. The Bog Room.
Oruro: Let's set fire to this watchtower as a diversion. No ‘cos the gnomes will get clobbered. What about the chimera barracks? NO.
Dammit. Oruro produces a pipe he's pulled from one of the dead orcs and some evil hunk of tobacco and proceeds to be very, very careless with his matches on the way to the serpent. Unsuccessfully.
Up the steps to the serpent mouth. Water feature on tongue. Three Hant heavy infantry at the mouth, one Hant with skull on, and two winged vulture things. Small vrock?
We attempt to talk our way past, but our patrol leader can't speak Orcish and the one who has can't persuade him; no bullshit potion. Oruro stabs the cleric 13 + stunned for two rounds. Kamilata bundles into the orcs and batters a scimitar over his head (33 + stunned for 12 rounds). Forgileill tries the same but bounces off. Val clips one (5), Thranduil drops the same one (16 + stunned 3 rounds).
The unstunned orc strikes back but Forg is quite hard to hit. Oruro strikes again and the cleric vibrates, still on the back foot (+25). Val slices hers again (7). Kamilata smacks his to the floor; he's even more badly off. Thranduil turns to the winged thing and with a massive strike smashes it's chest through it's heart. Vicious. Forg attempts to tackle her orc again and bruises his finger (8 hits) but sets him back to parry.
The other vrock-like thing attacks randomly, reaching Kamilata. If Ryz were here he'd be taking notes and running ("I've never seen one do that before - look at how it rips the arms off") Now if only Tûd where here with his demon taint he'd make friends with them and we'd all be fine.
Kamilata tries to get out of the way but (08) doesn't quite make it. The vrock tears into him, both claws and jaws (27 hits left and stunned, at -50 to all activities).
Oruro slices the cleric’s guts open (+17) but the cleric is still up and will fight to the end.
Thranduil does a kung fu flip across the combat space and this time it works. He strikes and with a 66 on critical hit beats the vrock's head in. It collapses, very dead. Excellent strikes there. Forg sweeps her orc down pinned and stunned in a leg breaking hold. Val gets a better strike in on her target, slicing its nose and its bleeding.
Kamilata drinks some poem shun and somewhat recovers. Thranduil turns and batters the remaining orc infantry, breaking his head and it goes down. Oruro continues to batter the cleric (12 + 1/rnd). He goes down.
A brilliant smooth run for the Lominlindi.
Gwedhion turns back into an elf. Val heals up Kamilata to his normal cheery self. We get into the serpents mouth and shut the blast doors and take a long sigh of premature relief.
We head down the spiral, archers supporting the tunnel, torch flames, murals. Burial niches; empty for the first few hundred yards, more commonly filled later. Named. Probably Grouse and Cayban.
Some of us throw our armour off. Not Oruro. Or Kamilata. Forg & Gwedhion at front, Oruro gets to the back, bow out, the rest swords ready.
A screech owl sounds. We're puzzled about why a screech sounds in front and we realise the Gwathló have disappeared ahead. The sounds of confident steps approach. Most of us fade into the shadows - except Kamilata and Oruro who have no idea how. Kamilata stands to attention as an orc statue, Oruro lights his evil pipe and looks non chalet. Thranduil checks his fade and it's not too good; he's sharing an alcove with a skeleton. He looks at what he can cast (dispersions?). Oruro and Kamilata take their lead from the others and hide.
The marching feet arrive in the person of the Commander in full fancy armour. He passes us and we follow him up the corridor. Lots of whispering - why didn't you kill him? Well you didn't kill him! That's ‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘‘cos I was too close to the other orcs, I thought you would! Well a bl**dy owl hoot down here doesn't help
Forg closes to try and silently kill him, and we hang around in confusion. She rolls low and he does too so good oh, but it's a silent attack rather than a silent kill. Only 4 damage and knocks his helmet off; he leaps off, unstunned, and whirls faster than a normal orc ready to strike. We continue to argue about what happened.
Where's Forgileill? Oh she must be something to do with that clang from up the corridor. We duck and cover our ears.
"Is that all you've got?" he says, ready to kill her.
She lets loose a Lightening bolt - the fancy armour fuses to his skin, 18 + burning 3/round, savage impact breaks bones +50 HP and he dies, lower leg breaks into flame +10.
Forg steps back and goes "That's how you do magic". And throws up.
Thranduil heads up - the others are facing down tunnel, preparing for The Help to arrive.
General orc is lying on the floor, on fire and sparking. Forg looks to finish him off, but can't get close enough to do so. Thranduil arrives. Forgileill asks "Do you think he's dead? Should I kill him some more?" Well he looks pretty dead to me. Spark. Burn. "Hmmm" He looks closer. There's an odd snaky amulet around his wrist; Thranduil pulls it off and the hand twitches - they leap back ready - and it collapses.
Up the corridor march more orcs come to investigate. They pass Val’s alcove and she slips out behind them; Val does the sneaky stuff and a muffled blow to the armpit, crushing internal organs, dies in 3 rounds, 39 hits. 40' up the corridor Kamilata finishes the last drops of his Red Bull strength.
Four orcs notice that one of their number has its guts around its feet, a single figure standing facing it, and run off, past the one who didn't notice. As they come past, Kamilata strikes one, Oruro steps out and shoots - heavily armoured - 19 + stunned for 2 rounds + 3/round.
The one still facing Val - who is parrying - clobbers Val, cutting her leg tendons 19 HP, He's making the most of his last few seconds.
She continues to parry. Kamilata strikes again - the one he stunned has shrugged it off! Kam gets 30 in and makes it angrier. Oruro is now facing his who has also shaken off its stun, turned and is now one big shield and charging. He changes for a sword. These look a lot nastier than he and his peers. If Tûd were here obviously...
Erlini sneaks up to Val's attacker and takes his sword off him. He looks vaguely puzzled and dies. At last.
Up ahead the remaining 3 orcs run into Forgileill and Thranduil. He's going to 'lead them on' the tease to the door, then loop back. He leads them on very well though they're uncomfortably close.
Back down the corridor, Kamilata takes off his foes ear - through the helm - stunned and unable to parry and bleeding. The orc's simultaneous strike breaks Kamilata’s leg - minor fracture. But not stunned.
Oruro and his orc charge each other. His head is smashed by the charging shield and he is thrown against the wall, dropping in a crumpled heap to the floor, taiken skittering across the floor.
Erlini patches up Val. The two crouch looking up the corridor at the fight. What's happened to that Gwedhion bloke? Don't know, is he good at anything? Hiding. Where is he? Well...
Up the corridor Forgileill looks down at the scene. She sends a lightning bolt down at Kamilata’s opponent, engulfing the orc's weapon and leaving it stunned and the arm smoking for a few rounds.
Up at the top Thranduil runs into and up the door and back over the ceiling. Two nearly run into the door in proper comedy moment.
Kamilata backs away from his smoking opponent and in a heroic attempt to save Oruro sets over. He has no chance in a stand up fight anyway he chucks his scimitar at the other orc in a GM-inspired attempt at a dramatic moment. And in an amazing Roll Master moment he gets 99 and smashes him down, scimitar shaped dent in the back of his helm.
Val limps over to Oruro to take out the orc now lying on the floor.
Forg takes a scroll out and wall of fires across the corridor between Thranduil and the chasing orcs. One goes aaaargh and runs through. The other two pause looking at it.
This should give us some time to regroup.
No sorry there's no grouping around here, we're all past grouping.
Kamilata grabs a taiken from the floor and batters away at the smoking orc.
Erlini heads over to help Oruro, Val tries to first aid herself and her bandage go rolling down the corridor. Dammit.
Thranduil turns on the orc that made it through the firewall and he back-flips over it to backstab it - breaks its hip and it drops. Another smooth Lominlindi moment.
Summary: Val is at the bottom patching herself up. Oruro is under an orc with a dent in its helmet, Erlini looking to under it to find a way of patching Oruro up - doesn't look good. Kamilata with a half broken limp is beating slowly up a smoking orc. Thranduil is fine and standing over a badly injured orc. Kam keeps stabbing away.
Val calls in the current situation on her vambrace- the guys outside talk incoherently about moving for a rescue including distraction involving fireballs etc. Given who is out there it's not reassuring. (dramatic uncertainty for what's really happening...)
Erlini pours and Extra Healing potion into the various holes in Oruro's head, who will now only be in a coma for 3 weeks. They pile him into an alcove. Opposite is Val, finding a comfy spot in hers.
Some discussion over any air down here. Presumably magical fire doesn't consume oxygen as it's not burning anything or you could put it out with a bucket of water. But if you set fire to orcs by toasting them in it, they will burn air and set off the fire alarms and everything.
Eventually Kamilata gives up and pushes the smouldering orc over. It stabs itself in despair and boredom. He limps over to Val they heal each other up a bit.
Take stock. Thranduil and Forgileill are alright, Kamilata is ok-ish but limping. The rest are out or about to be. They cut off the heads of the orcs and chuck them over the fire wall to encourage the remaining two to stay on the other side.
The wall has another 9-10 minutes. Quick hack of bodies to tear apart as if scary monster might have caught them to discourage the two on the way down. We hope.
Attempt to attune to snake amulet that might be the big artefact. Erlini succeeds but there's nothing there. Kamilata: well it spangles dunnit.
They head down.
Forg in front recognises the ambush by the dust and bits of flying gravel. Ahead is an apparently dead man-high frog with pointy teeth - wearing an animal and the smell of chaos. (A grey salad? green salad?)
There is a big fight and they kill it.
Kamilata takes off the froggy bangle and wears it - all the bad guys are wearing these, it must be good.
Look, the guy is a frog. Must be something to do with King Bog. Apparently though it's the Knights who say Ni and Paint. aha! Red Herring. Nothing to do with the big bad toad.
Gwedhion was attacking them too and has been subdued. Forg dispels the possession; he thinks he's mostly taken out. We stand around a bit faffing. Kamilata, fed up, prepares for heading down and stabbing the frog. Forg casts the scroll protection from chaos on Kamilata and everyone feels the need to tidy up. But it protects her not him. Bl**dy scrolls. Thranduil casts another on himself. They head down the corridor - Val is most certainly not going and stays with Erlini.
Forg hears a whoosh-thud behind her and turns to see Gwedhion collapse under a morning star. Behind, Thranduil sees a froggy thing materialise and strike - and he strikes in turn (97+81 roll) and a very good critical, cutting the strings that were controlling it from the other planes. Lominlindi rules.
Back up the slope, Val shakes off an attempt at possession. She looks about for the power blast source but gets clobbered again - and just about fails... brains....!
Everyone stands around looking at the mostly dead frog which Thranduil beats up again.
Val comes walking past in a zombie mode heading to the crypt. Kamilata tackles her - but
doesn't take her down - she carries on with Kam attached. Erlini has a go but can't get a grip. Forg pours a CSW down Gwedhion's throat. Thranduil continues to hack badly at the Slaad, it bleeds some more.
Kamilata and Erlini continue trying to drag Val down. Now if Tûd were here... oh no, he'd accidently kill her, so it's probably best he's not here.
They all turn to pile into Val or cutting up the still conscious and somewhat dismembered salad frog. Kam breaks away and finally breaks it into unmoving bits.
But Val is still going. So everyone properly piles onto her just as she throws off the possession "What are you doing? Get off!”
Restock. Communicate with outside. Check hit points. Of course, Tûd has 90 odd HPs, if he were here...
Still got the protection chaos up. Val casts one on herself. Up the slope are two heavy duty orcs ready to head down the corridor as soon as the wall fails in minutes three... two...
Time to rush 'em.
Gwedhion points out there's still the block trap ahead. He's not very well.
We approach it. Thranduil points out that the apparent escape alcoves on either side are illusionary.
Val disables the trap (184) of course if Tûd were here he'd disarm it alright... no, she's descended from the right priests, etc and knows the right terms.
Down into the cathedral cavern. Lots of mushrooms and columns and flickering torches and spluttering and stuff. Throne other side under big skull. Worktable. All very well carved. Images of bat-winged demons etc. All slightly out of place - brought in. At the other end, squished into the end of the cavern is King Bog - a large toad with one eye. It's very grunty. Also down there is Caybic, carrying a quarterstaff and a gold serpentine medallion on his chest.
What you need now is a warning shot... oh no Tûd’s not here...
"You are under arrest. Step forward and place yourself on the floor. We are the lew"
"Size of the sun dew!" cries the priest and turns into a giant melon. Or a big snappy carnivorous plant. We resolve to add a net to the standard packing list.
Forg lightening bolts him and magnetises him (Kamilata holds hard to a twitchy taiken - oh, it might have stabbed him if he'd dropped it), bruised, battered but it is a large planty thing and doesn't seem bothered.
Val heads back up to collect Oruro’s bow and some arrows. As she leaves the big bright light further up the corridor goes out. She runs before the orcs arrive, staying just ahead, saying the prayer quietly (and generally) as she passes the block and hopes it will deal with the remains.
Nothing seems to have changed. We're all looking at this big plant going "what?!"
Kamilata approaches the frog - tentacles come up from the plant and block him. He attacks them and stabs it a bit. The return strikes from the plant miss.
We look at range attacks. Now of course if Tûd were here.... Shut up!
Val fires at the toad a few times. The arrows go in but there's a lot of blubber and nothing effective happens.
Forg has been preparing a lot. And manages (03) just about to miss a fumble. 193 and causes some ordinary sort of damage (24-ish). Bit pants but good given the roll!
Thranduil leaps passed the tentacles and is immediately attacked by a rabid boar out of nowhere. Which gets him in the arm, stunned but he's on the ball.
Val shoots the boar and slows it down.
Forg lightning bolts the plant- 66 on electrical but the plant form keeps the priest from the full effects. The burning crit has it wilting and steaming but it's still moving. Kamilata attacks with a big pointy thing feeling a bit silly but you have to. Clobbers plant some more and it eventually lurches to one side and collapses. The boar disappears.
They all look at the toad. It looks back, apparently disinterested. But what do we know about Toads? Behind them the orcs pause on the other side of the trap. They know about that big pulvery thing, all except how to get past.
To the right is a workbench, further down is a Big Bad throne, and at the very end, wedged into the end of the hall, is King Bog, the toad. No sorry, King Bog the giant toad.
We attempt to communicate with the toad. It monologues about taking over the world, ancient sacred forest, etc.
We continue to stand off.
Val shoots and hits but again nothing effective. .Kamilata charges limpingly so not at all chargily. Forgileill runs up to him trying to paint him with poisons but doesn't quite make it. The toad licks out spinning him around and to the ground, some bruising. Val reads slow at it. She notices that it has some stones flying around its head and some confusing comms with Nym tells us they're iaun stones. But this doesn't really help as Nym can't remember what they do. So much for that. There's more Toad Bling.
Forg empties out her handbag of magic stuff. There's a staff of stone shaping... We could brick it in...
Thranduil talks about leaping onto the toad and taking off the Bling. We all look at him. Go on then. Val gives him a haste potion and off he indeed goes. The toad reacts really quite slowly. Well it's been slowed. Apparently it worked. Thranduil wanders casually up at double speed, easily dodging its tongue, and leaps up it. Val runs in to hit, fails to strike effectively and runs off again. Forgileill approaches with a handful of poison vials to splosh them over its lolling tongue.
Thranduil grabs at the ion stones and gets one - some clear spindle thing...
Forg splashes poison.
The Toad strikes. Slowly. Bruising Forgileill who sensibly leaves immediately.
Val runs in hits it ineffectively and runs off again. Thranduil grabs the other stone - a pale lavender pebble.
The toads tongue flips back and after a pause, the toad flomps (technical term) to one side. And then disappears. Thranduil finds himself one toad high off the ground and drops like a surprised gymnast, landing with grace and elegance. Lominlindi wins.
Thranduil looks at the throne. It vaguely reminds him of something imperial and probably evil. Something to do with the skulls and teeth. He attunes to the ion stones but he's not sure what they do.
Who’s going to attune to the throne? There's a huge power sucking vortex around it. Now if Tûd were here... whew, good thing he's not.
Forgileill stabs it with a dagger but accomplishes next to nuffink.
We all push it (to see if the vortex is it, or it is placed at the vortex). We're not in the best of condition and nothing happens. We push harder. It doesn't even creak.
We grab some poles and lever it over - just about. The vortex has moved and is still with the chair. Probably sucking the life out of the enchanted glades to make the slough of despondy swamp. Or just Slough.
We look at it. How can we destroy it....?
During the meanwhilst, while the sneakers are sneaking their way into the serpent, Fireflower turns up with the reserve party and tells us the elves are about to attack. Look out for the fire arrows. We are to the east, the main force is to the north, the other pincer is to our left. We shall go in straight up the middle with bags of smoke. Or spells of mist. Nymraith pauses and writes down Bags of Mist on his to-do list.
We head up the middle amongst the bags of confusion and make it to the serpent’s mouth mostly by avoiding fights. As we get there it starts to open. Hagar is first through as he's the shortest. What does he see? Well a small letter box view and a red mist. On the other side two orcs leap on him and batter at him, cracking his ribs. The dwarf's response is to take an orc's head off (00 on crit). Shalbai stabs one lightly. Nym attempts to bleed them but nothing happens. Chita attacks and misses. Ryz enfeebles the other.
Down below the rest are dancing with toad.
The Orc wins the next round and with a very impressive despite enfeebled (245) blow on the dwarf but the dwarf shrugs off most of it, and his return instructive swing breaks the orc's hip and it goes down, and stays down.
We pause at this impressive scene and head on down to find the remainder tipping the throne over. Nym picks up bits of vrock and Slaad on the way down to turn into potions and salaad and things. He searches the workbench; it's a fully stocked chemical lab. There are staffs and an old sword tucked underneath. He rubs his hands over the chemicals and starts loading the good ones into his satchel. Thranduil looks at the corel/ridged sword, probably belongs to the old kings bodyguards.
Ryz walks around the throne head thrown back, hands behind, pontificating "this is obviously as anyone can tell the throne of ... end of the world ... defile the glades... “the imp is striding around after him imitating.”...and if we fail to destroy it, it will continue to expand the defilement area, etc. and the world is doomed...."
We have a potter about it, wondering how to destroy it.
The elves turn up, speaker and entourage, and discuss more about destroying it safely. But first they drag it away on a wooden platform and when it's far enough away from the nexus it stops being effective.
Tidying up. Burying unicorns etc at Forgileill’s early initiative (The ilin are surprised - pleasantly so - is she getting all responsible or something?). Something in the back of Nym's head wonders at the alchemical waste but he shrugs it off. Probably some after effect of Tûd. Now if he were here... Thank goodness.
Jadhrim turns up and is also pleasantly surprised that not only did Forg bury the unicorns with all due care, but didn't join with the orcs.
Some tidying up of the tomb, re-consecration, etc.
We head home to celebrate another successful regime change with tea and medals. If Tûd has left any tea to drink...