A really great day and gaming session! Being just before Christmas, my wife and I prepared lunch and dinner , while the guys brought dessert and snacks. The group has wanted to go back after the orcs for some time. Having gone up 3 levels since their first fight here, they are in a much better situation to fight large numbers of organised opponents. Since the majority of the group require light to see, they almost never surprise anything. (A dwarf fighter with -1 Stealth close behind the rogue and monk doesn’t help either!) Invisibility and flight at least did get them across the cave and barricade quickly.
I’ve mentioned using fumble and critical cards before. This was one of our more amusing sessions with the cards. I think I got two confirmed critical against the party over the session, and I recall at least two against me. They were all forgettable… but not the fumbles! The two main fights with the orcs (over about 18 rounds) included so many fumbles we were keeping count of who hadn’t had one yet. In the end, every player rolled a ‘1’ in combat, and only the Monk was able to counter that with a held crit card and turn it into a miss. Two broken weapon cards allowed a save which the players made. None of these had any serious impact on the game for either side, except for the spell fumble which probably turned out better for the players than a critical! Here’s the fumble cards in the order they played out (if I’ve matched them up correctly):
Broken Blade – Lanliss nearly destroys his sap.
Punt – Hardaz throws his dwarven axe 10′ behind him.
Tiring Attack – Summer is fatigued
Eat Dirt – An Orc falls prone
Parry! Dodge! Spin! Thrust! – An Orc is dazed 1 round.
No Way – An Orc hits but for minimum damage.
Tied Up – An Orc is entangled in his gear.
Unexpected Blast – Seldrel’s spell affects all targets in 30’ except himself.
Pointy end goes there – An Orc takes minor CON damage.
Broken – Winter nearly breaks her bow.
Wait! What? – Merxif is confused one round.
= = = = = = = = = = =
(4th Ready’reat) Searching the caves links up all the passages with no sign of the cloaker. They return to the large cavern and head for the northern end. A cluster of winged shapes is gathered at the door, and another group flies swiftly over the group heading south. Seldrel detects magic, and believes the cloaker is using mirror image again. He dispels the magic with his wand leaving the space before the door completely empty. He then suspects the creature has used a different illusion at the door, while it fled south. There it no sign of it, so while some keep watch Lanliss and Bacon climb up to the door, and Hardaz flies up. Lanliss and Hardaz have to smash the rusted door open, and the unfinished chamber within contains rubble, bones and many corroded tools. A ghostly hound attacks them. Like the previous ghosts, it is destroyed before causing any real harm. One set of bones is that of an animal wearing a collar, and Bacon observations that the ghost hound had the same collar. They locate no treasure.
Heading out of the burial caves, there is no sign of the cloaker. Having climbed back into the earlier set of caves, they hear some muffled voices and are attacked by a group of living orcs. They wear gear similar to those encountered before. The combat is short and Merxif’s healing is required. The group head up to the Hall of the Gods to rest.
5th: The group chooses to activate the statue of Flandal Steelskin (Gnomish deity of mining and smithing) mostly because they have a gnome and a spare warhammer. Merxif, Lanliss and Hardaz (the latter have mining skills) all gain a blessing for the day; at a chosen time their mace or hammer will burst into flame for a short time. The party head back down stairs to the halls near the cave complex. They head east and enter the northern tunnel that leads to the orc complex. The cleft in the mountain is still mostly full of rubble and smoothed rock, with possible signs of recent use. Everyone has much less trouble with the sections that require climbing than the last time they came here, which they realise was about seven weeks ago.
The cave with barricades looks much as before. Seldrel makes Lanliss invisible, and he creeps up hearing sound at the back of the caves. Merxif uses a wand to strengthen many of the group and Seldrel grants them flight and invisibility. Then they rush the barricade and most land to attack the eight orcs waiting. Merxif stays atop the barricade and casts prayer. They hear more orcs in adjacent rooms and Seldrel casts haste. While not a complete surprise, they are well placed to cut down most of the warriors quickly. Bacon pushes east, with Lanliss and Hardaz close behind. Many of the orcs seem of similar strength as those fought here the first time, but they soon encounter clerics and shamans (they presume) using magic against them.
Most of the group is magically webbed and silenced – preventing communication, and casting by Seldrel. The dwarves break free of the web through Hardaz using alchemists fire, and Merxif (unaffected by the silence) is soon able to grab Seldrel’s wand and dispels the webbing. Steadily they engage the second group of orcs and fight their way out of the silence. Merxif channels energy to heal his friends, and one of the orc clerics does the reverse to harm them. Winter fires arrows at the clerics, and Seldrel tries to cast searing light at one of them. He miscasts the spell in the chaos around him; beams of burning light shoot in all directions! Remarkably, the beams miss all of the party except for Merxif and damage nearly all of the orcs. The combat is over very soon after this. The group loots any high quality gear and anything magical and quickly scouts the eastern rooms. There are no more orcs found there, so they head north. Shortly afterwards Lanliss is ambushed by three orcs, and a few rooms later they encounter a slightly larger group. Thankfully, there are no more casters. They have now reached the secret door and enter the hidden tunnel leading into the second part of the orc area.