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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Heroes of the 13th Age: Part 5-Fire and Dark for Dark Business

Several weeks ago we concluded our 13th Age play session having completed one huge combat, and then almost immediately jumping into another one.  So, this latest play session started with Round 2 of combat. 

The adventuring party still consists of
Cerise, the Spirit-Touched Cleric
Indigo the Gnome Cleric
Zillo (once again the name changes), the Half-Elf Rogue
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 (due to a communications break down, which really was unfortunate, Yoshi’s player could not make it to the session, so the group determined his actions)
There were several notable things about this play session.  First, I was able to use my flashing Critical Hit D20, produced by Think Geek and generously donated to Labyrinth Games & Puzzles for their Table Top Game Day raffle a few weeks ago.  That die did some serious damage to the player characters.  Thanks Think Geek and Labyrinth!  You helped keep things tense for the players.
Second, the players had some really terrible rolls during this combat.  It was sad and amusing and wonderful in ways that only RPGs can be. 
Also, at the start of the game, Lief's player informed me that his Bard had chosen his second Feat: Linguist.  Suddenly, anything language wise that would be interesting or difficult was going to be his shtick.  More fun!

So, without further ado, let me plunge back  into the narrative:
The adventuring party had entered the dungeons underneath an ancient fortress called Jawarl Avignon.  They entered the dungeons to seek an ancient Orc weapon forged long ago and used by an Orcish Chieftain, Mondru Fourth of His Name, to ravage the countryside and take the fortress some 500 years ago.  However, the spear seemingly never left Jawarl Avignon because the Orc invaders were struck down by a plague after they executed the last Elf defenders.  The Priestess and the Elf Queen both fear the spear can be used to strengthen the power of the resurgent Orc Lord.
After a small bit of exploration, the party had charged into combat against a strong force of Orcs in a large pillared chamber.  The initial attack was not as surprising as they had hoped and at the end of the round Delthen, their paladin, was unconscious on the ground.  Leading to . . .
Round 2
Lief the Bard shouted his Battle Chant, striking one of the Orcish Soldier/Sentries for thunder damage and also activating one of his Battle Cries (Move It!) which allowed the Cleric Cerise to freely disengage from her attacker so she could rush to the aid of the downed Paladin.
Legolis unlimbered his axe and struck another of the Soldier Orcs.  Yoshi also attacked with his katana, but failed to connect.
Indigo, engaged with one of the berserkers, set aside a Trick Die roll of 17 for later use and then made a mighty swing with his hammer.  It swung wide however, and only nicked the berserker for "miss damage."
Sorceror Rolen succeeded with an Elven Grace roll.  He took his two actions to gather power and then unleash his Burning Hands of fury with which he flailed about uselessly hitting nothing.
Cerise quickly moved to Delthen's side and cast a quick heal on him.  She then cast her Javelin of Faith at the Orc Chief, who, due to Indigo's Trick Die, essentially stepped right into the holy bolt.
The Orc Soldier/Sentries made coordinated attacks against Lief and Legolis.  Lief was hit and Legolis took some significant "miss damage."  These Orcs were not mook pushovers.
Zillo then stepped around a pillar and stabbed the Orc attacking Lief with a sneak attack.  The Orc fell dead.
The Orc Bodyguard/Berserkers went next.  The first attack was a critical hit on Gnomish Cleric Indigo, which definitely hurt, but he kept on fighting.
The other Berserkers missed Rolen and Zillo respectively.
Delthen, having been raised up by the healing power of the House of Light, notwithstanding his devotion to the House of Shadows, pulled a quick manever that allowed him to go for the Orc Chief's knee with his mace.  He barely landed the blow, but managed to inflict another 17 points of damage to the Orc leader.  In response, the Orc Chief . . . missed :-(
Half-Orc Fighter Hey Watchitt concluded the round with a maneuver of his own.  Using his Reach Tricks feat and his handy Tree, he fended off the three Orcs nearest him (who were also attacking Legolis and Zillo) and he managed to knock each Orc back with some token damage such that they became unengaged, leaving Hey's companions the freedom to move and maneuver in the next round.
Round 3

Human Bard Lief let loose with his Battle Chant againt on the Orc Bodyguard/Berserker who was continuing to attack Rolen the Sorcerer.    His voice struck like thunder, this time with a critical.  He also used a Battle Cry to improve Rolen's armor class.  Yoshi then stepped forward and struck the same Orc using Deadly Assault and his Katana.

Legolis, having been freed from being engaged by Orc Sentries charged forward and unleashed his Acid Arrow spell at the Orc Chief.  This, however, was a miss, though it inflicted ongoing acid damage to the huge Orc.

Gnomish Cleric Indigo quickly healed himself, allowing some recovery from last round's critical hit and then he swung his mighty hammer . . . for another round of doing "miss damage."

Wood Elf Sorcere Rolen succeeded in his Elven Grace roll.  He fired off a quick burning hands, with which he fumbled and, forced to roll a second attack, he lit up his companion Half-Elf Samurai Yoshi.  With his second action he simply missed with his burning hands.He was, at least, keeping his part of the chamber illuminated.

Cerise summoned her Javelin of Faith and cast it at the Orc Chief, but missed.

The Orc Soldier/Sentries attacked Hey Watchitt, landing one blow.  Meanwhile, Zillo attempted to walk into the shadows, but, failing that, simply launched a new sneak attack on one of the Orcs fighting Hey.

The Berserker/Bodyguards then launched their counter attacks.  One hit Indigo, one critically hit Yoshi and the last charged up on Zillo, but his axe swung wide, missing her.

Delthen then stepped up against the Orc Chief again and took a mighty swing, which completely missed.

He took aim with his tree on one of his opponents, but missed, though he was able to boost his miss damage to cause a bit of extra discomfort with his glancing blow.

Round 4
Lief continued the rolling thunder of his Battle Chant, again damaging the Berserk Orc attacking Rolen.  His Battle Cry this round increased Yoshi' armor class. 

Legolis unlimbered his bow and smoothly shot an arrow into the chest of the Orc Chief, who promptly died.

Lief, observing this, attempted to dampen the moral of the Orcs by shouting in perfectly inflected Orcish (hey "Linguist"!) "The Chief is dead!"  This had no appreciable effect on the battle enraged Orcs.

Yoshi lunged with his Katana on the Berserker still attacking Rolen, but failed to make a solid hit.

Indigo once again healed himself, and invoked Trickery to make odd rolls misses for the Orc on him.  He then struck the Orc with his hammer, landing a Befuddling blow!

Rolen's Elven Grace failed him this round, but he was able to hit with Burning Hands finally, continuing to wear down the Orc who had been blasted with thunder and slashed with steel since the beginning of combat.  The Orc was still after him though.

Cerise stepped around a pillar and cast her Javelin of Faith at Indigo's opponent, but missed. 

The two Orcs fighting Hey suddenly surged forward with a furious attack.  One landed a solid blow, and the second hit him critically (I was seeing a battle axe cleaving into his helmet--ouch!).  Hey went down.

Zillo, however, quickly ducked passed the attackers and had a healing potion into Hey in a trice!

The dazed, tricked and befuddled Orc fighting Indigo missed.  Yep, just missed. 

The Berserker who had been trying to kill Rolen decided that Yoshi was actually more of a threat and pivoted to strike with his axe.  He swung, however, where Yoshi wasn't.  Miss.

Delthen charged around a pillar and Cerise to land a solid blow to the chest of the Berserker fighting Indigo.

Hey then stood up, refreshed from his short bout of unconsciousness, and killed on the the three Orcs in front of him with a tremedous blow from his tree.

Round 5.
Legolis shot first, trying to aid Zillo and Hey, but that went badly.  In the end, his arrow clattered to the floor and his bowstring broke (attack against Orc, rolls a 1; I ask "what happens" he says, "my arrow might hit Hey," I say "roll for it," he rolls another 1; okay, the bow is out of commission).

Lief sings out with his Battle Chant again, and his Battle Cry allows Legolis to draw his axe and to close on the knot of Orcs fighting Hey and Zillo to be able to attack next round.

Yoshi, is able to draw his bow and shoot Rolen's Orc at short range, leaving a lifeless Orc on the floor.  He pivots to take a second shot at the remaining Orcs, at hits one of the Berserkers.

Indigo lightly grazed (with "miss damage") his attacker.

Rolen attacks the Berserker attacking Zillow and Hey with Scorching Ray and sets him aflame.  The Berserk Orc continues his bellowing attack.

Cerise then strikes Indigo's attacking Orc with her Javelin of Faith.

The last remaining Orc Sentry/Soldier misses Hey, but has a significant "miss damage power" which puts Hey close to going down again.

Zillo disappears into the shadows using Shadow Walk.

The Berserker set alight by Rolen swings his axe at Legolis, but misses.

Indigo's Berserk Orc swings and would have landed a critical (from expanded crit range), but as the roll is an odd roll, Indigo's invocation causes the swing to go wide and completely miss.

Delthen then hits the Berserk Orc upside thehead with his mace, but the Orc keeps on going.

Hey whips his tree around with trememdous force, rolling a critical hit and dropping the last remaining Sentry/Soldier Orc to being close to death.  Hey then rallies as a quick action to keep from getting nicked and going unconscious.

Round 6
Legolis chops at the flaming Berserker before him, but only scratches him (with "miss damage").

Lief marches forward singing a song of victory and unleashes his Battle Chant at the Sentry/Soldier in front of Hey. 

Yoshi then shoots the sentry through the eye, killing him.  He takes a second shot and lightly grazes the flaming Berserker.

Indigo strikes again with his hammer, but does minimal damage with another miss.

Rolen succeeds again with Elven Grace.  He gathers power for a massive strike, and the Chaos Magic does incidental damage to the two remaining Orcs.  He then unleashes the awesome power of his Scorching Ray!

And he rolls a 1.


In the line of fire is Legolis.

Rolen makes a second roll, hoping against hope to avoid massive collateral damage.



32 points of hot flaming death rain down upon the High Elf Ranger.  His long beautiful golden hair is turned into a military buzz cut.  His armor and weapons take on a blackened cast.  It happens so fast, he does not know what hit him. 

Legolis falls.

Two words occur to Rolen.

"Epic Fail"

He says "Sorry!  I'm really sorry!"

[note, the damage probably should have "only" been 24, as the double damage should have only gone to triple with the critical on top of the empowered spell, but we played it as doubled double damage, and it was funnier that way; really folks, Legolis will be okay!]

Cerise immediately steps forward to heal Legolis, the magic of the Lords of Light soothing his burns, and bringing cool air back into his lungs (his hair, however, is still short).

Zillo then appeared out of the shadows to strike the last remaining Orc.  Sadly, only with "miss damage."

Delthen then bashes the Berserker in front of Indigo, and the Orc that had seemed too mean to die, died.

As Legolis stands up, the last reamaining Orc, berserk and on fire, tries to take off his head.  Legolis fortunately ducked and the Orc misses.  The flames, however, went out on him.

Hey then stepped up to try to give a love tap to the Orc so they could interrogate him later, but he missed.

Round 7
Yoshi steps forward and it broken Orcish demands that the Orc surrenders.

The Orc screams a battle cry of defiance.

Lief then speaking in perfectly inflected Orcish again tries to persuade the crazed Orc to give up.

No go.

Legolis then bashes the Orc with the flat of his axe and the Orc goes down, out, but not dead.

"There, he surrenders," Legolis might have muttered.

End of Combat

[End of Battle Score:
Cerise: 1 (Shaman)
Zillo: 1 (Sentry/Soldier)
Legolis: 1 (Orc Chief) + 0.5 (knocked Berserker unconscious)
Hey: 1 (Orc Sentry/Soldier)
Yoshi: 2 (Orc Bodyguard/Berserker; Orc Sentry/Soldier)
Delthen: 1 (Orc Bodyguard/Berserker)]

Delthen quickly bound the unconscious Orc.

The non-combatants travelling with the party, Monk Commard and Nuri the Apprentice Builder entered the room.  The party took a short rest to recover and explore the room.

The main chamber was originally part of the ancient human fortress that the elves took over many hudreds of years ago.  However, after the Orcish conquest about 500 years ago, the chamber, and this level in general, were remade by the Orcs.  They converted this room to a sleeping hall for Orcish warriors, and very old remains show evidence of sleeping areas, racks of old ruined armor and weapons of orcish make.

Monk Crommard explained that old Imperial Records show that only one dungeon level existed during the time of the Imperial occupation of Jawarl Avignon.  However, little is know about the briefer Elvish tenure at the fort.  However, reports gathered by Imperial Intelligence during the Orcish invaision 500 years ago indicate that the Orcs build another level, further below.  Rumors included that the lowest level held the resting place of Mondru, Fourth of His Name, and his mighty spear, Alkarg.  Mondru's tomb became the final resting place for much of the Orc military leadership as the plague struck and crippled the Orcish army.

After hearing this historical discourse from the old researcher, the party continued to explore.

Off to one side of the chamber was a smaller room.  Inside that room was mainly layers of dirt and old bones.  However, inscribed on one wall were Runes of Orcish character and a crude petroglyph (did I forget to mention that at the table? Well next game there will be a handout!).

While Monk Crommard was excited by the find and wanted to discourse on it, Lief, the expert in all things linguistic, quickly translated from the ancient Orcish to the common imperial tongue of the Dragon Empire:

Down to the Pit - Take the Right Hand Path
At the Point of the Speak Alkarg Waits
For the Hand of Mondru's Heir, Mighty Servant of the Orc Lord

At this point they decided to interrogate the prisoner.

Lief began by trying to win the Orc over.  Though his diction was pleasing, the Orc could see that this human speaking his language consorted with Elves, so all Lief got were statements like:

"I Garshakl!"
"Garshak see you die screaming"
"Garshak hate Elf lovers!"
"Garshak tell you nothing!"
"Garshak eat your heart!"

Delthen asked to try a different tactic.

Delthen, clearly a dark scary guy, tried to build rapport of a different kind with Garshak.  His Orcish was much poorer than Lief's, but he had the basic course in "scary Dark Paladin Inquisitor school," so he tried to convice the Orc that it was clear that he was not like the other light loving members of the group.  He was just using them.  "Help me find the spear.  You can live.  I will leave these light-lovers behind and take the speear to the Crusader."

At that, Garshak shook his head violently and shouted (his usual mode of communication), "No!  Crusader is bad!  Fire Lady help us!  You will all die!"

Delthen replied, "Thank you, that was all I needed to know."

He then took out his Crossbow and was about to execute Garshak, but Yoshi and others stepped up and pulled him away.  He tried to explain to them that the Orcs were clearly working with the Diabolist and all had to die.

Lief and Yoshi tried again to coax something out of the prisoner, but he just shouted death threats and obscenities at them. 

Delthen again unlimbered his crossbow to squeeze off a shot, but he did not notice Indigo walk under his line of sight and gently tip up the crossbow as he pulled the trigger, causing the shot to go high into the ceiling.

"We are not executing the prisoner," state Indigo flatly.

They left Garshak tied up in the inscription room.  The party returned to the main passageway and began to examine and explore the aread.  nearby they located a room lined with crude statues of Orcish warriors, all wearing helmets marked with the icon of the Orc Lord.  Ahead, down the main passage, they could see many piles of bones and rusted armor and weapons.  Also, they could see slight movement and hear the clacking of small claws against the flagstones of the passageway.  Signs in the dust indicated that rats, maybe very big rats, tread through the dust.  Also, they could see that suspected Man0Orc, Seth, seemed to have proceeded down the main corridor.

While this exploration was happening, Delthen, playing rear guard, slipped away to have a last chat with Garshak.

He let his dagger do the talking.

[Revised End of Battle Score:
Cerise: 1 (Shaman)
Zillo: 1 (Sentry/Soldier)
Legolis: 1 (Orc Chief) + 0.5 (knocked Berserker, Garshak, unconscious)
Hey: 1 (Orc Sentry/Soldier)
Yoshi: 2 (Orc Bodyguard/Berserker; Orc Sentry/Soldier)
Delthen: 1 (Orc Bodyguard/Berserker) + 0.5 (executed helpless Garshak under the authority of the Inquisition)]

Delthen quickly returned as the party arrayed itself in loose formation to move down the main corridor to pursue Seth and find the way down to the lowest level beneath Jawarl Avignon.

What dangers still await them?

Stay tuned!!


  1. So far I've enjoyed the read. Low-level adventure can be so much fun and with a group as diverse as this I can see the game having plenty of chaos added to the mix.

    1. Thanks Paul. This has been a great experience. The system has been very easy to run and has definitely promoted fun. The players and their characters are fantastic! I am a lucky DM.