Session 1 Recap?

The Dwarven Imperative.
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NukeHavoc
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Session 1 Recap?

Post by NukeHavoc »

Bob (or anyone else) -- could you post a recap of Session 1 for those of us who weren't there (and so we can post saga notes to the Wiki?

Also, do you know the start date of the campaign?
"Oh, I'm so sorry. Forgive me. I'll try and be a tad more quiet as I desperately struggle to break free -- and save all creation!" -- Doctor Strange
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EvilGenius
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Post by EvilGenius »

Haven't put it on the wiki yet, but here it is. Warning, it's a bit long at 8 pages in Word. :)

A New Threat

The recently reclaimed dwarven stronghold of Khelez-Mar is several days travel beyond the borders of the Domain of Obsidian Bay, in the dangerous Drachensgrab Hills. A new ally of Obsidian Bay, they have become an important supplier of war material, especially precious mithril armors. The dwarven weapon and armorsmiths are busy deep in their stonghold and have thus far relied upon secrecy to stave off further threats until they can rebuild their defenses and reinforce their reclaimed home.

However, tensions between the Domain of Obsidian Bay and the Empire of Mak have been building towards war. Frontier settlements like the Cathedral of Liberty, Mogelsville and Khelez-Mar are facing grave threats as Turrosh Mak sends more orcs to harrass the Domain and test their defenses.

Obsidian Bay is somewhat short on regular army forces, but have sent a contingent of Knights of the Shield to Khelez-Mar to aid the defense. In addition, there are several powerful adventurers who now live in or frequent Khelez-Mar, including Duklar Ironforge, Dwarf of Renown and Hero of Obsidian Bay, Sven Kildare, the Terramancer of the Order of the Broken Staff, Luc Krolnochak Baron of Geoff, Hero of Obsidian Bay and Moraim, Reverend Father of the Faith of Ulaa, Liberator of Geoff.

But there are more and more orcish forces in the Drachensgrabs. It is only a matter of time before Khelez-Mar is found. And though they are strong in their Halls, a concerted effort by Mak would at the least cut off a vital supplier of war material to OB, and possibly overrun the stronghold again.

So the dwarves of Khelez-Mar are seeking allies who can thin the number of orcs in the Drachensgrabs, and help with the defense of their home.

The Call

In Obsidian Bay, word is spreading that the Dwarves of Khelez-Mar are seeking allies against the Orcish threat of the Empire of Turrosh Mak. The call is put out surreptitiously, through trusted allies and some of the lawful churches. Many of the dwarves of Irontown have been seen back in Obisidian Bay, talking to old friends, after a prior mass relocation to Khelez-Mar.

The call goes out to the Orcslayers, The Knights of the Fist and Knights of the Sword, the Invincibles and the Church of Hieroneous, The Griffons Guild, the Church of Cuthbert, and any dependable, competent adventurer who wishes to lend their sword.

Among those who respond to the call are:

Heydrich, sneaky crossbow sniper returned from spying missions within the Orcish held Ulek territory
Sir Ottomar of the River Valley, Knight Commander of the Sword
Sir Rencor, shining devotee of Hieroneous
Manansi, Touv master enchanter

A Gathering

Travelling carefully and in moderate strength, most of the party has come to Khelez-Mar with a relief patrol of Knights of the Fist. Arriving in the small box canyon, many look at the surroundings confused, expecting to see a large and impressive fortress. Instead, they see steep walls of stone on either side and ahead, a smallish cave opening.

Keeping a wary eye on the ridges around them, Heydrick nudges the Knight riding next to him, “we resting in that bear cave up ahead?” With a bemused look, the lead Knight let out a short laugh, “only if you want a soft bed, warm meat and cool ale!” Heydrick’s look of confusion melted away as a dwarven sentry stepped out of the cave entrance, waving to the party. They had arrived at Khelez-Mar.

The band led their mounts up a wide path cunningly worked into the stone so as to be almost unnoticable from the front of the box canyon and through the low cave opening. Inside, only a few yards away there was a deep chasm over which stood a low arched stone bridge. On the other side was a wide level staging area, overlooked by a strategic watchpost high in the cave wall, with arrow slits allowing defenders to assail anyone breeching the cave.

After crossing the bridge, the party’s mounts were taken to the stable opening into the mountain while the party was led into the stronghold proper.

A leathery skinned, tough-as-nails dwarf greeted the party, introducing himself as Ovkonar, directing them to the feasthall for a hot meal after their travel. The new arrivals joined the various adventurers already in the feast hall, and were quickly brought an excellent meal.

Looking around the sturdy and efficient hall, Rencor nodded to a passing dwarf, “Sir dwarf, this is a comfortable and sturdy hall, but you need some tapestries on the walls. It would brighten things up a bit.” The dwarf looked a little shocked, then shook his head, replying “but then you would be covering up all of this beautiful stonework!” To illustrate his point, the dwarf ran his hand appreciatively over the the expertly constructed wall behind him, then turned reflective for a moment. “I suppose we could always commision tapestries showing the construction of a dwarven stronghold, or dwarves at work crafting. The problem is that you need a master weaver who is also a master crafter, otherwise all of the details that he would depict would be wrong. What dwarf would want to gaze upon a tapestry depicting their favorite crafts if all they could pick out would be the imperfections in the crafts shown?”

Rencor listened intently, and wisely choose to nod in mute agreement, allowing the dwarf to continue on his way, still shaking his head.

A short time later, an important looking dwarf approached the dias, calling out “The War Council is going to begin soon. Finish your meal, honored guests, then retire to the Council hall”.

Quickly finishing their food, Ottomar and Rencor, rose to leave the hall. Ottomar remarked in low tones to Rencor, “you know, in any inn or eatery in Obsidian Bay where adventurers gather, you cannot help but notice the presence of an unsavory element. Not necessariliy evil, but those who just give the air of being undependable and dishonest. But I’ve not seen a single soul here who does not look forthright and trustworthy.” Rencor quickly scans the room and replies, “the dwarves recruit well”.

The Council

Following several armored dwarves down a well lit corridor, the adventurers pass into a largish chamber, much the same size as the feast hall, though every bit as impressively opulent as the feast hall was utilitarian. Expertly worked marble columns march down the sides of the hall, reaching to a vaulted ceiling. The beautiful tile mosaic floor depicted the Anvil and Hammer of Moradin, the crossed Axes of Clangeddin, and the Gem under the Mountain, symbol of Dumathoin.

At the far end upon a slightly elevated dias, several important looking dwarves stood around a sturdy wooden table think with parchment and maps. From time to time they looked up at the assembled adventurers, apparantly waiting for the gathering to be complete.

Manansi observed the quite murmering around him as the rest of the dwarves guests arrived. An old adventuring companion of his, Durin “The Deathless” stood next to him. “My kinsmen were very discriminating with their invitations, Manansi. I believe they’ve gathered a strong, reliable group here.”

“I do hope you be right, Durin. Da tought ov facing a stong foeman again with brothers you cannot trust is a tought I do not relish. I still wish you were coming on da missions wid me instead of lending your crafting skills here.”

“Ah but then to where would you be able to retreat if things go badly, lad”, replied Durin.

At last an authoritative dwarf in shining armor, tinted with gold stepped forward on the dias, his booming voice quieting the hall. “I am Thror Du’Bak, High Hammer of Moradin, clan leader of Khelez-Mar. I welcome all of you to the hospitality of our halls.”

“You have been summoned here to assist us against the Orcish threat from the West. As you know, the Empire of Turrosh Mak and the Domain of Obsidian Bay are in a perpetual state of war. Even so, have been fairly stable along their borders until recently. But now more and more orcs have started testing the defenses of the Domain. It is only a matter of time until our stronghold is discovered here, and we are not yet ready for that day.”

“It is for that reason that we have summoned you, the most dependable, competent allies we could find. Each and every one of you has been vouched for by someone we trust. You should all be proud of your invitation here.”

“There are many missions of importance that we wish you to undertake. Some of you that come to us are already brothers-in-arms, or have worked together in the past. We value those bonds of trust and brotherhood. It would be best if you take some time to form small strike groups amongst yourselves. Seek those whose skills completment yours and whom you trust. Though several of our most trusted allies, Duklar Ironforge, Luc of Clan Krolnochak and the terramancer Sven Kildare are not present, Our Reverend Brother, Moraim of Ulaa will be heading an especially important mission, and may be recruiting some of you. Moraim is a trusted advisor and highly ranked among the dwarves of Khelez-Mar, so to accompany him is a high honor indeed.”

“Also, you should all know that we do not ask that you put yourselves in danger out of a sense of altruism, or merely for hatred of orcs. We offer much in return for your bravery. All those who put themselves in harms way for Khelez-Mar can be assured of receiving a warm welcome here, as well as a base of operations. You’ll all be assigned your own secure quarters here, and can call upon the hospitality of our Hall, and the aid of our priests and craftsmen. In addition to our general bounty on orcs, we will also typically offer individual rewards for particularly dangerous missions.” Thor DuBak pauses and smiles, “Of course, they carry additional risks as well.”

As the gathered adventurers looked around and started introducing themselves, a grim looking dwarf descended from the dias, working his way through the crowd. Stopping first by the dark skinned wizard Manansi, Moraim greeted Durin. “This the wizard you were telling me about, brother?” Durin noded in agreement as Moraim assessed Manansi. “You cast Fireballs?”

“I do cast dat sort ov magics, but do prefer to assault da minds ov dose that oppose us”, Manansi replied.

“Humph. Whatever you like, mage. Just keep a few fireballs handy if you don’t mind. You’re in.”

Manansi shot a quizical look at Durin, who only shrugged as Moraim stumped off through the hall.

“Ay, you! Fancypants!” Ottomar turned to the tug on his cloak. “I see you’re one a ‘dem Knights of the Sword, arencha? You any good with that blade?” Ottomar considered how best to respond to the abrupt dwarf. The clan leader had proclaimed Moraim to be a dwarf of high rank among them, so he could respectfully be considered an equal, even though his manners were atrocious. Ottomar decided it would be meet to extend the courtesy of overlooking Moraim’s disrepect in addressing a Knight Commander of the Sword.

“I am indeed compentent with the Blade, honorable dwarf. I am Sir Ottomar of the River Valley, Knight Commander of the Knights of the Sword. And this is my brother-at-arms, Rencor, of Hieroneous. We are stalwart allies of all who oppose evil”.

Moraim endured the small speech, only grumbling once and gripping the haft of his weapon. “Ya talk to much fancypants, but you’re in. Let’s go”. Moraim stumped away from the slightly bewildered pair, stopping to look at some other adventurers in the hall, grunting to himself and moving on.

“Ahh! You there! A crossbow is a fine and deadly weapon! You any good with it”, Moraim asked the grizzled vetern leaning against a pillar.

“You decide, friend dwarf,” the man replies. “Here, toss this apple high in the air.” Moraim threw the apple high, watching as 4 crossbow bolts flew, one after another through the same hole in the fruit, bouncing harmlessly off the vaulted ceiling.

“Ha! Good trick, that! What’s yer name, human?” Not waiting for an answer, Moraim continued on, “Nevermind, yer’ in! Let’s go!”

Moraim stumped back toward the front of the hall, waving his new recruits to join him. As the new party headed toward the front of the hall, several dwarves carried out a largish rolled tapestry and started to hook the top into place on posts to the right of the dias. Securing the top, the dwarves stood back, allowing the tapestry to unroll with a rushing snap, revealing a finely woven and detailed map of the surrounding area of the Drachensgrabs and the Western Domain of Obsidian Bay.

The Mission

Thror DuBak nods to Moraim, looking at each of the men recruited in turn. “Brother Moraim, for you I have a dangerous task. A small group of Knights of the Fist returned here a few days ago. They had encountered two bands of orcs on their foray into the hills. Though they were successful in battle against the orcs, they suffered many grievious wounds in the process. On their way back to Khelez-Mar for healing, they saw a third such band from a distance, but could not engage them.”

“This band was heading with some speed in the general direction of Moglesville, the community of gnomes on the edge of the Drachensgrabs, and the farthest western edge of the Domain of Obsidian Bay. However, the orcs have not been seen near Moglesville. So we know they’re nearby somewhere but we don’t know where or what they’re up to. We need to find them and find out what they’re doing.”

“The part that makes this mission so dangerous is the nature of the orcs we’re seeing from the west. Usually, orcs are wild, undisciplined warriors. They don’t work together, they don’t use tactics and they’re not too bright. But not these orcs. They’re tough, smart fighters. They use coodinated, effective battle tactics. Sometimes they have wicked humans helping them, sometimes tamed beasts. One of the more disturbing developments though, is that some of the warbands encountered are apparantly mixed tribes! That’s unheard of for orcish warbands!”

“We need to know what all of this means. We need to get more assessments of their fighting strength and how they’re led. But most importantly, we need information on this symbol.” Thror DuBak holds up the remains of a splintered shield bearing the device of Three Mountain Peaks above a spear of fire.

“Several of the strongest warbands we’ve encountered in the last few months have borne this device. We haven’t been able to capture any of the orcs to find out what it may mean. They’ve all been fanatics, fighting with a dangeous fury. They’re not with every group of orcs we’ve seen or encountered out there, but when there’s a mixed tribe, these Three Mountains orcs are there. We want to know why”.

Thror DuBak pauses, almost in disbelief over what he’s about to say. “We even have some reports that many of these orcs do not fear the sun, and can move at speed in daylight. If so, this is a most disturbing development.”

“That’s it Moraim. I trust your judgement in recruiting your band. All of you are on an important mission for us. You have our thanks and our trust. I look forward to your return.”

The newly formed party retreated from the dias as Thror DuBak called up the next group. Exiting the hall, Moraim turned to his new allies. “We leave in the morning. I’ll show you all to some quarters. They’re nothing fancy, but they’re comfortable.” Moraim looks at Rencor, “Maybe ya can bring yer own tapestry for next time.”

Looking them all over, Moraim growls, “Get some rest and meet me in the cave outside the front doors in the morning.”

The Hunt Begins/Requiem for the Fallen

The next morning, the party assembled in the cool cave outside the hidden fortess. They decided to travel on foot through the treacherous terrain, and start out through the hills.

They decided to head toward the Cathedral of Liberty in the Domain, three days away. The Cathedral was the stonghold of Kalib Ironfist, high priest of Trithereon. That would allow them to pass west of Moglesville, and hopefully they would be able to find the trail of the orc band they were hunting.

Heydrich expertly led the party through the hills, noting the tracks of various beasts that they crossed, keeping an eye out for the crude tracks of orcish boots. On the second day, in the morning, Heydrich discovered the tracks of an armored man, trailing a lot of blood. Signaling the party to follow at a distance, Heydrick followed the trail for several miles in the rough terrain, finally discovering the collapsed form of an armored man.

Approaching cautiously, Heydrich confirmed that the man was dead, having suffered a grievious wound in the belly. The man was also wearing the insignia of a Knight of the Fist and his armor was adorned with the symbol of St. Cuthbert.

As the party joined Heydrich around the fallen Knight, Ottomar and Rencor knelt to array the body and perform a blessing on the departed. Moraim grimaced, walked up to the fallen man, drawing his axe. Ottomar startled in protest as Moraim held up the man’s hand, ready to sever it at the wrist.

“What? Ya only need a part of the body to summon him back from the dead, doncha?”

Ottomar composed himself before replying, “Sir dwarf, while that is indeed true, tis not befitting a Knight who fell honorably in service. There is a better way to transport the fallen from battle.”

Rencor stood, motioning his companions back from the body, calling out “Join me, steed!” A pure golden light burst forth with a resounding crack and a magnificent steed stepped forth, shaking his mane and neighing a welcome to Rencor.

The paladin patted the stallion’s neck, “This is my holy steed. He will help us transport the fallen.”

The party hoisted the Knight onto the saddle, allowing him to slump over forward, and securing his hands with a rope passing around the horse’s neck, while Rencor spoke softly to his steed. “He understands his duty. The Knight will be borne safely along with us until we find a suitable resting place.”

Heading again toward the Cathedral, the party continued their hunt. Towards dusk, Heydrich picks up the trail of several booted creatures. They had found their quary!

Heydrich remained hunched over the tracks for several minutes, glancing back and forth on the scant trail. “This is strange. The orcs are doing their best to walk over each other’s tracks to obscure their number. It also looks like they’ve been trying to hide their trail.” He looks up grimly, “I may not be able to follow this trail for long in the dark”.

Moraim looks about, “we rest here then. We can’t risk loosing the trail in the night. We’ll continue on in the morning.”

After a cold camp, the party woke up, eager to continue their hunt. Heydrich climbed to the top of the ridge under which they sheltered, scanning the horizon.

“Moraim, come here and look at this”, he called down. After Moraim marched up the ridge, Heydrich pointed out two wisps of smoke back to the west. “We came from north-northwest. Those plumes are west and southwest. That can’t be friendly. Gotta be orcs. A lot of them for their campfires to be visible 12 miles away.”

“Great”, Moraim growled. “We’re following orcs, orcs are following us. Let’s warn the others.”

The party quickly set out southeastwards, following the trail they had found the previous night. Heydrick warned the party that the orcs were moving at speed. They would have to force march to catch up. Determined, the party hustled as fast as they could through the rocky terrain, ever watchful for signs of their enemy.

To Arms!

After nearly a day, Heydrich spotted the still form of a watchman some distance ahead. Running back to the party, Heydrich warned them of the sentry ahead. They have found their quary.

The party approached slowly and cautiously toward the orc, wary for other watchers. The orc was facing them, standing next to a small spire of rock, where two small ridges intersted in a V pattern.

The party moved slowly into position, with Heydrick poking his head above the ridge line, some two hundred feet away, carefully sighting the orc in his crossbow sights. “Just tell me when”.

Sir Ottomar formed up the rest of the party in the depression behind the ridge. “I shall charge into battle, holding the line until you can reinforce me. Seek the leaders and deal with them. I shall hold them off of you.”

With that, Heydrich fired four bolts in rapid succession, all thudding home against the surprised orc. To Heydrich’s surprise, the orc was not slain, but merely fell back around the other side of the rock spire, calling down to others below the ridgeline.

“To battle, brothers!” Ottomar charged forward toward the enemy. Another sentry stood up, loosing a few ineffectual arrows at the fast approaching knight. Almost before the orcs could do anything else, Sir Ottomar was over the crest of the V-shaped depression in which the orcs were resting. The sight of nearly a dozen orcs greeted him, and several powerful orcs charged the Knight, surrounding him. Two orcs start shouting orders and the rest of the orcs jumped up, prepared for battle. Sir Rencor quickly joined Ottomar in battle, as Heydrick pepperd another orc with crossbow bolts, Manansi floated above the fray assulting the orcs with lightning and Moraim grimly charges into melee a few moments later.

The orcs fight hard and well, but in the end were no match for the overwhelming prowess of the party. After the quick but bloody contest, the party decided to continue on to the Cathedral of Liberty, to warn the Trithereonites of the new threat, and to lay the body of the fallen Knight to rest.
Last edited by EvilGenius on Tue May 29, 2007 2:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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NukeHavoc
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Post by NukeHavoc »

What's the date? I'm figuring something in early 592.
"Oh, I'm so sorry. Forgive me. I'll try and be a tad more quiet as I desperately struggle to break free -- and save all creation!" -- Doctor Strange
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EvilGenius
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Post by EvilGenius »

Its running concurently with Maure Castle. Let's put the start date as Flocktime 20. So it's Flocktime 23 when they roll into the Cathedral of Liberty and Flocktime 24 when they are deciding on what to do next.
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