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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Heroes of the 13th Age: Part 4-Out of the Fire and into the Dungeon

Just a week ago we spent the whole 13th Age play session on a huge combat.  Last Sunday we continued where we left off, with combat between the adventuring party and a band of brutal Orcs raging.

The adventuring party again consists of
Cerise, the Spirit-Touched Cleric
Indigo the Gnome Cleric
Zephyr (note again the name change), the Half-Elf Rogue (this game Z’s player had to leave early, but the group carefully ran her character for the rest of the session)
Legolis, the High Elf Ranger
Hey Watchit, the Half-Orc Fighter
Lief, the Human Bard
Delthen Eversoar, the Human Paladin
Rolen Stillwind, the Wood Elf Sorcerer, and
Yoshi Antien, the Samurai flavored Half-Elf Fighter (Yoshi’s player could not make it to the session, so the group determined his actions)

At the start of the seventh round of combat a good portion of the ruined fortress was on fire.  Socerer Rolen Stillwind had started the fire with a fumbled roll with his Scorching Ray spell.  The beams and supports that had held up much of the inner fortress, still retaining some of the magic of the Elves, were being rapidly consumed by the wildfire of Rolen’s infernally infused flame.  While the flames rose unnaturally higher and higher, the bold adventurers battled the last of the Orcish invaders.

Lief the Bard called out his Battle Chant, striking with the thunderous power of his voice the Orc Berserker who acted as rear guard for a retreating Orc Shaman. 

Down at the bottom of the dry well, the Owlbear continued to stir, but not yet emerge.  Indigo, intrepid Gnome Cleric, climbed down off the roof of the old stables and determined that the broken stone well cover could be jammed over the top to discourage the Owlbear from coming up to eat them, but he did not yet have time to invoke his strength and place it over the opening.

The Orc Shaman and his other Orc bodyguard fled into the back tower of the fortress and opened a secret door to flee down into the dungeon chambers deep beneath the fortress.  Further covering their escape, and Orc Overseer and his six Kobold slaves (driven forward by his whip) steped out of the tower entrance.

Spirit-touched Cleric Cerise once again summoned the power of light and cast her Javelin of Faith, further staggering, but not yet killing the Orc Berserker who seemed determined to sacrifice himself to buy time for the Shaman’s escape. 

Around the corner, Delthen, the Dark Paladin of the Crusader’s Inquisition took a moment to vow that no demon loving Orcs would vanquish him and he rallied, taking a recovery.

Yoshi, stranded at the edge of the burning roof shifted from the inspiration of Akira Kurosawa to that of John Woo and leapt off the roof in an amazing acrobatic flip, in the middle of which he fired his bow in mid-air, transfixing and killing the wounded Orc Berserker and then landing safely.

Not to be outdone, Legolis the Ranger took a similar leap off of his roof, firing his bow sideways (Gangsta style) into the mass of Kobolds and the Orc Overseer.  His leap was perfect, but his aim was off, and his fumbled roll meant the arrow careened off the stone door frame to rebound over to nearly strike Lief the Bard in the head (fortunately his second attack roll was not much better than the first) [the target of the “friendly fire” fumble had the added advantage to be played by the younger brother of Legolis’ player].  Legolis landed with body intact, but pride injured.
Oh his turn, Rolen Stillwind the Sorcerer noticed that the cursed mark on his hand (his One Unique Thing) was pulsing and possibly even feeding (somehow) the fire that was growing at an alarming pace around the perimeter of the fortress courtyard.  Unable to do anything other than note it, however, he turned and cast Scorching Ray on the band of Kobolds.  The Kobolds were, on the one hand, screaming out in the common trade speech “don’t kill us!!!” but also wildly swinging their digging tools, picks, shovels and sharp sticks, at anything that moved and was not the Orc whipping them from behind.  Rolen’s ray set the group of Kobold mooks aflame.

Zephyr (a name taken this session since Z’s player had to come and go like the wind) stepped out of the shadows in the room with the secret door in time to see how the mechanism worked as the Shaman and his bodyguard closed it behind them.  She then took aim with her crossbow and shot the Orc Overseer in the back (‘cause, ya know, Rogue . . .):  20 points of damage.  The Orc is not dead, but not feeling well.  Zephyr also attempted to lob a loose brick to block the close of the secret door, but failed to wedge it in with a toss that fell short.

The Overseer, more than distracted by the crossbow bolt, hefted his axe and charged Zephyr, who easily dodged his attack.  This left the Kobolds unsupervised (and on fire) and they broke and ran wildly into the courtyard seeking to escape, and to hit anything that got in their way.  One succumbed to the fire.  Sidebar: lessons about Kobolds; Kobolds do not understand the concept of “stop, drop, and roll” End Sidebar.

Hey Watchit the Half-Orc fighter takes a moment to check the room behind him, unfortunately disturbing a big Hunting Spider that had made it’s lair there.  He is able to step back and throw a rock at it.  The last of the human workers, Nuri, an apprentice who had hidden under debris and excavated pottery, etc. comes out in time for him to recognize non-combatant Monk Crommard and for Nuri and Crommard to be potential victims of the honkin’ big Spider that Hey bothered.

Round 8
Lief the Bard moves in to assist Zephyr and casts the thunderous voice of his Battle Chant against the Orc Overseer. 

Meanwhile, outside in the courtyard, the Spider pounces and hits Hey, poisoning him.  Indigo, the Gnome Spider Specialist and Cleric identifies the breed of spider and shoots it with his crossbow.  He then advances with his warhammer.  Cerise launches her Javelin of Faith for a solid 10 point hit on the Spider.

Delthen the Paladin, with renewed strength, charges in and strikes the Orc Overseer with his mace. 

Yoshi draws back his bowstring and lets go with the killing shot on the Spider.

Legolis, concerned about the Kobold infestation, particularly that they are spreading small fires around the courtyard, succeeds in activating his borrowed Elven Grace and takes two shots with his longbow, killing three Kobold mooks.

Zephyr, bobbing and weaving against the murderous axe-wielding Orc Overseer slashes him with her dagger.  Rolen follows up with a blast of flame using his Scorching Ray, but only does miss damage.

The singed Orc takes a big swing at Zephyr with his axe and once again misses.

Hey pulls Monk Crommard and Nuri away from being too close to the well that contains the Owlbear and then quickly caps the well with the broken stone lid.  He then saves against the poison harming him and ends its ongoing damage.

Round 9

Short and sweet: Lief shouts his Battle Chant once again and the Orc Overseer falls down dead.

End of combat.



Despite the growing conflagration beginning to engulf much of the structure of the fort, the party was able to do a Quick Rest, and they then interrogated Nuri as to what happened.  He narrated that after Crommard left to go to town, his research partner, Seth, continued to keep work crews cleaning out around the suspected secret door and sorting through debris to find artifacts for Crommard’s examination.

When the crews were deeply involved in their work, Seth suddenly bellowed something out in a harsh foreign language and the courtyard suddenly filled with dozens of Orcs who put everyone to the sword.  They had with them an Owlbear and an Ogre with them as well.  Nuri had been sorting in a storage room when he heard the commotion.  He saw the attack begin and hid himself in a panic.  He heard the screams and conflict, and then it was more quiet.  The Orcs did a cursory search of the rooms (missing him) and then set up their own camp.  He could hear Seth’s voice from time to time.  He was gone for a long stretch and then returned and seemed to take a large group in the direction of the ruined tower where Monk Crommard claimed there should be a secret door.  Nuri continued to cower under piles of debris in the store room until he heard the renewed fighting and the roof of his room caught fire.

Nuri asked if he and Crommard might wait with the horses away from the fort, but the adventurers insisted that both men accompany them into the dungeon.

Zephyr easily opened the secret door, having observed the working of its mechanism.

The party proceeded into the dark, with small lamps lit for the aid of the two for humans with them (Lief, Delthen, Crommard and Nuri).  The quickly came to a very steep set of stairs (one of the players joked that they were probably like descending into the Washington, DC metro stations, which suggestion I immediately adopted.  Part way down these steep steps, they came upon a trap sensed by the Ranger and the Rogue.  Zephyr determined that the trap collapses part of the stairs down into a slippery ramp lined with poisoned blades.  She attempted to jam it, but only managed to jam it open, so that now there was a long part of the passage they would have to traverse that was slippery and lined with sharp blades.

The party decided the best way to “safely” cross was to quickly recover some of the Orc bodies from above and toss them down to line the trapped section.  Delthen also tried rolling a barrel down to see if it would catch on the trapped area, but it (and the next one he tried) just continued down the stairs to crash at the bottom in the darkness below.

After setting up their “Orc balance beam” Legolis tried to dash forward with a rope.  He made it across, but slashed his foot on a blade and was poisoned.  To steady himself, he drank a healing potion and then held the guide rope on his side while Hey Watchit held it above.  The rest of the party, save Hey, easily crossed the trapped area on the squishy Orcs.  Hey then tried to freestyle down, and also was slashed by a poisoned blade, but saved after minor damage.

At the bottom of the stairs, the party found three directions to go.  The underground passages were dusty, but also had been recently disturbed.  Here and there ancient remains of Orcs were slumped against walls or sprawled in the midst of passageways, where they had fallen 500 years before, presumably succumbing to the Green Death.

Reading the signs, Legolis determined that the most recent footprints came from the stairway and went to the left from the stairs.  However, the group that came down the stairs was not just the two Orcs they had seen flee into the passage, but also included at least two or three more.  Two other passageways led off, one to the right and one directly ahead.  The party determined to scout the room where the footprints lead.  Legolis was sure that earlier prints also pointed to another group of likely Orcs were in the room already, meaning that potentially a large group could be waiting for them.

Zephyr handled the recon and very stealthily determined the layout of the room and the fact that there were two high status Orcs, the Shaman and what looked like a Chieftain, as well as several Orc Berserkers and Soldiers guarding the leaders.

Of course the party decided to make a frontal assault.

The room was a very large space, approximately 80 by 60 feet, with huge columns down the center of the room.  The party set a time to simultaneously attack, and the more stealthy characters, Zephyr, Legolis, Indigo, Yoshi (and loudly protesting that he WAS stealthy), Delthen.

Unfortunately, stealth rolls were largely a bust, so, when the fight started, people were not quite in the positions they hoped to be.

Nonetheless, the party did very well in their initiative rolls and largely beat the different sets of Orcs.

Round 1 began with the party letting loose on a group of three Orc Berserkers, three Orc Soldiers/Sentries, a Chieftain and a Shaman. 

Lief, Yoshi and Legolis all attacked first (Initiative 23)
Yoshi did miss damage on the Chief.  Lief did maximum Battle Chant damage to the Shaman.  This also allowed him to use a Battle Cry to give +2 to Zephyr’s armor class.  Legolis fired his longbow.  His first roll was a miss and he used Archery to reroll and unfortunately miss again.

Rolen stepped into the room, raised his wand, and fired his Lightning Fork doing 17 points to the Chief.

Indigo cast his Javelin of Faith at the Shaman and not only did damage, but also used his Gnomish ability to Befuddle the Shaman.

Cerise then cast Spirits of the Righteous against the Shaman.  This did a massive strike of damage (over 20 points) and the Shaman fell slain by Holy light and fire.  The spell also gave Legolis +4 temporarily to his Armor Class (this became important).

The three Orcish Soldier/Sentries charged forward, with two attacking Legolis, but both missing.  The other handily hit Lief.

Zephyr stepped up to the Orc attacking Lief the Bard and did a 22 point sneak attack to the monster.

The Berserkers then charged forward and one each attacked Indigo (miss), Rolen (hit) and Cerise (critical hit).

Delthen, seeing the last Orc, the Chief, unengaged, charged forward recklessly and did a 17 point Smite Evil strike to the Chief.  In response, the Chief thrust with his spear, doing a 36 point critical hit to Delthen.  The Orc screamed as he struck, looking to the fallen Shaman, “You killed my father!!”  As he reached behind Delthen to pull his spear out Delthen’s back, the Chief whispered, “You die Elf-lover*” and as Delthen slumped to the floor, the Orc spat upon him.

*an Orcish insult
And we had to break play there. 

This is the second big fight against Orcs, the second time Delthen has recklessly charged into battle, and the second time his has kissed the pavement having gone below 0 hit points.  He is strong, brave, and a damage magnet.

Surely someone is going to rescue him.

Also, one Kobold did escape and manage to put his fire out.  What will become of him and his newfound freedom.  I suggested to my son (who happens to play Delthen), that perhaps he would go an try to eat the party’s mounts.  He assured me that his Destrier would lethally discourage anything of the sort.  I responded that the Kobold would probably just eat everyone else’s horses and leave a note next to the Destrier that said something like “I dood it.  Kilt them.  Signed Big Horse”, you know, to cast suspicion on someone other than the poor innocent Kobold.  That got me a laugh, but probably that's not going to happen.

Actually, I’m still not sure if we shall hear from the Kobold again or not.

Our next game is next month, so everyone enjoy Spring Break.