March 2014

Campaign Journals for the Characters. Hey, one can hope this gets used...

March 2014

Postby Theylan » Fri Apr 04, 2014 9:12 am

Sleep came fitfully but it came. The prospect of the next day’s battle was too much I woke with a start, alert and ready to go. Food was brought to us, it was tasteless but warm. These poor souls had endured confinement too long. We made our way to the bulwark and witnessed and immense crowd of Trolls, orcs, and the like. We decided we needed to get word out of the keep and seek reinforcement. Being completely surrounded we decided to stage a diversion and then launch our gnome and the Keeps ranger over the wall by means of the Trebuchets. Exiting through a sally port we raced across the open ground toward an orc stronghold and caught them mostly unaware. We hit the guard post hard and the orcs barely lasted 30 seconds. We took a few casualties among the dwarves and guards, next time they should follow our orders more closely. Their zeal and hatred has a price but I can condone it. The outpost decimated we raced back to the keep. I took a moment to glance upward and saw our owl/gnome scouting about has he flew back. Mission accomplished. Now it was just a waiting game.
We didn’t have to wait long. A couple of hours after our raid the horde grew restless. Perhaps concerned that we could race out and take them out piecemeal they decided to force us to stay put. The Horde pressed to the front gate. Hundreds of orcs, trolls with a battering ram, three ballistae and some robed figures at the back. Arrows flew in both directions, rocks were hurled at our fortification knocking men off the rampart. It was organized chaos. We rained down fire upon the horde. They countered with casting us in complete darkness. Some of us could still see so we countered the darkness with blade barriers, forcing them to break off the attack. Realization hit me. They weren’t breaking really, this was a softening attack. They wanted us to use up our resources before they made the real onslaught. It was going to be a war of attrition and we didn’t have the resources to last. I decided we needed to hit them hard while their backs were turned. I grabbed those who were around me and teleported to the battlefield below. It was a bold and dangerous move not all my group was together and so we were short the gnome. We appeared at the back of their lines and struck the commanding giant. The dwarf hit first and effectively but the giant was too strong and withstood his blows. I next quarantined part of the battlefield with a wall of force and Solaster did the rest with a blade barrier. We’d boxed a large contingent in and cut off the other half from our position. We would have a few brief moments to take down a couple of trolls and the Giant. I thought we had the upper hand but then Malgrim went down, I’d made a huge mistake. I stepped in to provide the dwarf some cover knowing that I could teleport away from the giant’s first attack. Solaster pulled Malgrim free and healed him. Things were a blur from that point on I think I hit the giant, Malgrim hit the giant Solaster warded off a troll. Somehow, someway the giant fell. I teleported everyone to the other side of the wall, somewhere in that retreat Malgrim managed to take some of the Giants wares. The Trolls were still coming. I teleported to the other side of the wall of force then burned a troll with a fire burst. The rest of the party was racing back to the front gate skirting the blade barriers. I looked back to see the horde was now headless and indeed retreating in earnest. We had won the day.
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Re: March 2014

Postby Boric Glanduum » Fri Apr 04, 2014 3:31 pm

<translated from the Dwarven>

I fear – no, ‘fear’ is the wrong word – I suspect that my all-too brief visit to the All-Father’s Forge yesterday had an unexpected effect. It may have made me more susceptible to death. Never before have I come so close as yesterday. Today I heard the ringing of the All-Father’s Soulhammer once again and saw the light from the Forge. But I am tempering before the steel is ready. The story must be written down as it happened.

After a few hours of sleep, we were summoned to the Earl’s presence once more. He reports that the army of orcs and giants has been strangely quiet while we slept. He also introduced us to a scout named Hebsten Barr and a fair dwar lass named Odarf Tarric. Odarf is a sub-chief leading a contingent of other dwar on a trading expedition. “20 more of us, there are,” she said, turning to face me. When she saw my face, saw that I had no grim on my face, she turned cold.

Earl Vorinso and his scout tells us that we’ll be facing more War Trolls and an unusually large fire giant wielding a massive greatsword. This sword, he says, burns with an inner fire. Sounds intriguing. By all estimates, we have five days left to us. After that, it is unlikely that any here will survive. There is a garrison of troops that could render aid, but they are nearly 120 miles away and out of communication. We are out of oil and can muster little strength to protect the walls and gate from assault. Trident suggested that we dig ‘fire trenches’ – trenches filled with lumber and combustibles – into which we could drag the trollish corpses to burn and destroy them. The Earl agrees and sends word to have excavations begin.

One of the Earl’s rangers proposes to try and make it to the garrison; he thinks he can make it in only two days. This would leave three days to get the reinforcements back here; I question the ability of the troops to make it in that time. Earl Varinso is willing to try: the Keep is out of oil, out of magic, and running out of food and water. Odarf recommends a diversion to get the ranger out. “Often times one must follow a worthless vein in order to get to the full motherlode,” she said. I nodded my approval and got naught but a ‘sniff’ in return.

After much discussion, our path is clear. Foolhardy, but clear. Trident will take my Cloak of the Owl. We’re going to use the trebuchet to get the gnome out to the enemy camp to scout about in disguise. The Earl tells us of a sally gate that will allow us to get out and attack the enemy to distract from the gnome’s arrival behind their lines. Solaster begins to pray over us, giving us various spells and protections. Eli, Solaster, and I will be taking Odarf and three of her dwarves, as well as four townsmen. Arahana will also accompany us.

It is time. Run. RUN!

After several rounds of running, a curtain of crossbow bolts begins to rain down. Initially, behind the low wall, I can see one war troll with two lesser trolls supported by nearly a score of orcs. The war troll moves out to meet us head-on, attacking Eli. Eli vanished and re-appeared behind the troll. What an amazing ability he has to dodge attacks. The dwarves charge the wall and attack the orcs. Out of breath, I manage only a weak slash at the war troll; I cut him, but he just laughs.

Two of Odarf’s dwarves go down, almost immediately. They are traders, not warriors. Their steel has grown soft from a lack of heat. They are still dwar and will be avenged. Two of my four attacks find their way through the war troll’s defense; my first hit finds his leg and my last finds his gut on a backswing. He still looks relatively unscathed. Unscathed, but angry.

Solaster calls out something in a language that makes my head hurt. A wall of spinning blades appears atop the line of orcs and turns them all into sausage filler. Arrows start flying in from Arahana’s bow. One slams into the war troll’s eye, right through his helm, and explodes into flame. The massive beast fell to the earth, his head and face burning brightly. The trolls take their toll, however; I watched as the third troll slammed Odarf’s last dwarf to the ground, turning him into a reddish paste.

This same troll followed up by smacking Odarf; the lass took the hit and returned it with one of her own. I was distracted watching her graceful attack; the second troll struck me a glancing blow with his sword. My war cry was drowned out by human shouts: the city guard appeared, running, and hacked the Odarf’s attacker to pieces. I took advantage of the distraction and cut down the troll. As he fell, another of Arahana’s arrows found his heart. Looking around the field I saw Eli keeping the war troll burning and Solaster – Moradin bless him! – Solaster was tending to the fallen dwar. I think he felt my gaze then, as he looked up and met my eyes. He shook his head. They had journeyed to the Forge; there was naught he could do. The fact that he attempted to help them? It warmed me a bit.

After dragging the pieces of the trolls to the burning pits, we walked back to the Keep. We were only allowed a brief two-hour rest before the beasts were back, attacking in earnest. They’d brought catapults, three of them, each manned by trolls. From my vantage point on the wall above the gate we were looking at fourscore orcs, several trolls, and another war troll. Several more trolls were advancing with a battering ram. Nearly 200 feet away, near the rear lines, were three hill giants; they already had a pile of rocks next to them and began heaving the stones as I watched. Far behind the giants were three human-sized figures in cloaks and an enormous fire giant directing the battle. This last beast was easily the largest giant I’d ever seen. Slung over his shoulder was a greatsword that matched his size.

I looked up and down the line atop the wall at my companions and the brave townsmen. These are brave folk. Should I die in their fellowship, I will die well and content. I drew my crossbow as the giants’ first stones began to strike the Keep walls. My bolts fly out into the closest fist of orcs; three bolts and four orcs fall. The final bolt struck an orc in the throat, traveled straight through, and buried into the heart of the orc behind. From the corner of my eye, I see Arahana’s hands moving in a blur. Arrows rain down and an entire fist of orcs falls.

Still the rocks fall; one finds the top of the wall, to my left, and one of Ordaf’s dwarves disappears in a red mist. Another rock struck the wall beneath me, dirt and rock fountained up into the air. I rode the shaking and shifting, and fired another pair of bolts, striking the orc sergeant in the closest fist. Solaster called out and a wall of blades appeared parallel to the Keep wall, taking out a line of orcish crossbows and a troll; a second troll is trapped on the far side of the barrier carrying the battering ram.

Arahana’s arrows took flight again, soaring gracefully to the far ranks of the force. One of the arrows burst into a ball of fire, encompassing one of the cloaked figures, a troll, and the fire giant. The latter, obviously, laughed off the damage. My crossbow was empty; it would take too long to reload, so I settled it around my shoulders and drew my axes, Morir and Jarral. Eli called to me; he was going to use his magic to move us to the rear ranks to close with the spellcasters and the fire giant. I nodded eagerly and moved to his side. We were joined by Odarf and Solaster.

The universe tilted and turned.

Appearing on the grass, I took a step forward and swung Morir; the cloaked figure let out a cry and shuddered with my blow. He did not fall, though. Remarkable. An arrow arced over my shoulder and laid the spellcaster on the ground. I turned to glare at Arahana, though I’m sure she could not see me. Darned reckless! She could have hit me, by Tel! To add injury to the insult, Solaster called out again. A dwar could get a serious headache staying too long around that man and his spells. In spite of the pain, I have to appreciate the effect: another wall of blades appeared, this time perpendicular to the first wall. He’s boxing in the trolls. Brilliant!

I ran toward the fire giant, preparing myself to be hit at any time. Next to me I see a hill giant; he moved in and struck at Odarf. His first blow struck her shield and the sound was deafening. She stepped forward into the attack and his next swing missed. She took another step inside his reach and struck out, shattering his face. Eli called out some elvish words; the air shimmered for a moment, blocking off the retreat of most of the giants and trolls. This was the third side of the box. The fourth side appeared quickly as Solaster summoned another blade wall.

I knew no more.

I should not have watched Odarf; this was the second time it had cost me. This time, it was a dear cost.

From what my companions told me later, the fire giant roared (what sounded to them like obscenities). He struck down at me with his massive sword, sundering my helm and driving me down. His sideswing also slashed across me, cutting through me, and, I have said, I do not remember any of this. One moment I was admiring Odarf’s technique and the next I was walking towards the Soulforge.

Suddenly I was pulled away from the Forge. Again. I opened my eyes to see Solaster standing over me, one hand on my head, the other on my chest. My helm was next to me, a shattered, mangled pile of metal. Fury overtook me. I pushed Solaster to the side, and rose, swinging Jarral over my head. Solaster related to me later his surprise at my ability to move, let alone attack so quickly. He said I yelled...well, he told me what it sounded like to him, as I was screaming in Dwar, and I suppose I yelled something like, “The Noble Axes have come! For the honor of the All-Father! For the memory of the Fallen! And for thy Doom!” I do remember burying my axe directly into the fire giant’s groin. He immediately doubled over and fainted forward onto the ground, barely missing me.

Eli yelled to me, telling me to ‘run!’ and to slide under his invisible wall. He moved to attack the war troll, who swung at him instead. Again, Eli’s magic forced the troll to miss him and he retaliated with a ball of fire to the troll’s head. Solaster rose, grabbed the fire giant’s massive sword, and followed Eli’s instructions.

I turned to do the same and heard a sound; I’d kicked the remains of my helm and the shards of metal rang across the rocky ground. I looked up and noticed the giant’s chest moving, breathing. He was still alive. I heard Eli and Solaster yelling at me to ‘Run, damn you! Run!’ but I could not leave such a foul beast to live, especially not a foe so vile, so cunning, so evil. I brandished Morir and Jarral and quickly struck the giant’s head from his shoulders. I grabbed his helm (with his head still stuck firmly inside) and turned to run with my grisly trophy.

I turned directly into the path of a war troll’s sword. The blow nearly felled me again. I stumbled and fell forward, barely catching myself and remaining on my feet. The troll was knocked backwards from me as one of Arahana’s well-placed arrows slammed into his chest. Eli motioned to me, and suddenly I was standing next to Solaster, with Eli standing next to the troll...right where I had been. He vanished again and appeared on the near side of his forcewall, and cast a spell. Fire erupted around the war troll, and it fell, dead.

Seeing our chance, Solaster, Odarf, and I made a laughable picture, I’m sure, as we sprinted toward the intersection of the blade walls and toward the Keep. I looked over my shoulder in time to see Eli threading the fire giant’s belt off the corpse and then disappear. I felt a strange tug as I also vanished and reappeared with the others on the Keep side of the blade walls.

We entered the Keep to a torrent of shouts, cheers, and war cries. We had won the day and driven the horde from before the Keep. They quit the attack, demoralized. In the distance, their command tent was stricken and the various beasts streamed away from the Keep, away from the town.

And for myself? I look forward to sinking into my cot. Perhaps in my mortal slumber I can still catch hold of a bit of that immortal dream.
"Ah, the life of an adventuring cleric. I remember it well. A perpetual struggle to maintain the hit point totals of four or five nigh-suicidal tomb robbers determined to deplete them at all costs."
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Boric Glanduum
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