Tuesday, June 14, 2011

An Elf, His Bow, and an Ogre Mage

This session begins with the companions on the hard-pack dirt floor of a converted stable within the crowded walls of Grodek Keep. Ademar, bothered over having to surrender his weapons at the gates of the keep begins his day as he ended the previous night, with an open bottle of wine. Raell, unable to do anything other than shake his head at the elf, invited Gareth to go go on a quest; in search of breakfast. While the prospects looked grim, the pair wanted hot food instead of another morning of trail rations. After finding their way to the ‘chow’ line that the soldiers were waiting in Gareth and Raell were soon approached by Lt. Bancroft. Apparently the highest ranking officer in King Darius' Royal Army to grace Grodek Keep.

After introducing himself to the pair, Lt. Bancroft inquired about the group and what they had planned. Raell knowing when he is being baited, asked the lieutenant what it was that he needed? Bancroft told Raell and Gareth about a group of scouts that had been ambushed a few miles west of the keep and asked if we would be willing to scout the area that the lone survivor came back from. Raell told Bancroft that he would need to consult with the rest of the group before he could commit. Raell and Gareth hurried back to the stable where they had spent the night before to talk with the others. Finding Ademar deep into his earlier bottle of wine, Raell only spoke with Cor’Nal. Cor’Nal agreed to the task and with a map from Lt. Bancroft in hand, he changed into a bird and flew to scout the area himself. What he found there, he did not expect.

After the druid took to flying away, Raell and Gareth returned to the task of finding food.

Meanwhile, Cor’Nal had little trouble finding the area that the lone scout had spoken of. While he was able to find the body of a single soldier, it was the devastation of this acreage of forest that insulted the druid most. A widespread grove of ironwood, hickory and oak trees had been hastily ripped down and clearcut. Leaving only the shattered, misshapen stumps behind where the once-tall and proud timber had majestically prevailed. Looking at the broken and destroyed remnants deeply affected the druid, who required a moment of quiet serenity to temper his rage. With a clear head, he looked down at the scene of slaughter and began to follow the deep trenches that were made in the earth when the majestic trees were hauled away. While Cor’Nal was able to follow the trail from the air for some time, eventually he was forced to take the shape of a wolf and follow the rest of the way on the ground. Cor’Nal tracked the tree killers over several miles before being discovered by a stealthy Orc patrol in the forest. Believing they had found a forest bounty of which they would roast and eat this evening, the orcs moved to fire their crossbows into the wolf's flanks. Cor'Nal, feeling much more substantial than Orc-fodder, chose discretion over slaughter and hid in a nearby shrubbery. Unfortunately the shrubbery did not hide the druid-wolf well as he was seen by his hunters, and they fired upon their prey, striking him twice in the flank. Before the orcs were able to loose a second volley, Cor'Nal transformed into a squirrel and scaled the nearest tree, watching his assailants from above. Eventually, the orcs that hunted him gave up their quarry in puzzlement, moving onward to continue their scheduled patrol. Cor'nal, once he felt it was safe, came down and found another tree, this one closer to the battlement camp in order to get an accurate assessment of what he and his companions were up against.

Looking down at the camp, Cor’Nal saw the fate of the trees that had been slaughtered. They were being used to build machines of war. The druid studied the camp long enough to get a count of the number of enemies milling about, as well as what types. All the while plotting how these Orcs and Ogres would pay for the crimes they committed against nature. Once he was sure that he had all the information he would need for a later assault on the camp, Cor’Nal prepared to take flight. It was then that he noticed a strange looking fog that had settled near the camp. Even with the mid day sun hanging overhead, this strange looking mist, akin to a heavy fog, persisted in lording over the forest like some ill omen. Unable to spend the time to investigate this fog, Cor’Nal took flight with one thing on his mind. Justice for the fallen trees that he felt beholden to avenge.

Once the druid returned to Grodek Keep, Cor’Nal found his companions and reported his findings to Lt. Bancroft. After drawing out a rough sketch of the camp the companions, minus Ademar, drafted out a plan of attack to hit the camp the following morning. Ademar was still in the stable enjoying his wine, concerned over the presumed temporary loss of his weapon and perported Elven relic, Est’Perolyne. Cor’Nal, knowing his friend's concern over the weapon's cultural, personal and literal value in coin sought out Captain Herschel. Hoping that if the good Captain returned Est’Perolyne to Ademar, he might allay the rogue's rightful concern. After all, a weapon of that value, in the wrong hands, could potentially be used to fund the services of an entire army alone. While the companions tried to explain to Captain Herschel that Ademar would not harm, or attempt to harm, a soul and there was no risk in returning the weapon to him, Captain Herschel made it very clear he didn’t care what the elf's, or the entire party's concerns were, he would not have the bow in his possession until the party left Grodek Keep. It was then that the companions decided that leaving the safety and warmth of the camp was a better proposition than remaining within weaponless. Collecting all their weapons at the gate, the group started marching towards the enemy camp, choosing to sleep in the woods overnight.

The group spent a quiet night in the woods several miles from the enemy camp. Two hours before the first light of day appeared, the companions set out. Gareth, Cor’Nal and Besali headed towards the east side of the enemy camp, while Ademar and Raell headed towards the west. Once the first light of day appeared over the tree line Cor’Nal began his assault, shouting at the Orcs that they would pay for the crimes they committed against nature. It was then that Cor’Nal hit the camp with an entangle spell, snaring most of the creatures in the camp where they stood. At the same time, on the west side of the camp Raell and Ademar began to move tent to tent, to hit the enemy from behind. The battle was fought at the edges of camp and the writhing mass of plant life that Cor’Nal had animated. The Orcs and Ogres that were able to escape from the druids spell, quickly turned to attack the group in vain. The majority of the creatures did not stand a chance against the wrath of Cor’Nal and his companions. As the group continued to slaughter the Orcs and Ogres, Cor’Nal couldn’t help but notice the fog from the day before, still hanging in the air, just north of the enemy camp.

With only a handful of creatures left alive, Cor’Nal watched the mist start to move towards the camp. As the Mist started came over the camp, heading ever southaward, it shrank in size until it became a solid mass only a couple dozen feet in front of the druid. It was then in horror that Cor’Nal watched an Ogre Mage appear, levitating fifteen feet in the air over the center of the camp. Quickly casting defensive spells on himself, Cor’Nal waited for the magical assault that was to come. While the group was certain of victory only moments before, Raell looked on in stunned surprise as a cone of cold spell emanated from the Ogre Mage's fanned, outstretched hands. While he had remained, luckily, outside of the spells deadly touch, (apparently unnoticed by the monster) he could feel the frosty cold only inches from his face. Cor’Nal and Besali were not so fortunate, taking close to the full brunt of the frosty blast. Cor’Nal fearing for the life of his wolf companion sent the animal away and began to strike back at the floating Ogre Mage, calling down a flame strike on the creature. Raell, believing that he could not help the druid with this fight, went to assist Gareth in finishing off the last of the Orcs who had moved into position, guarding what looked to be the camp leaders tent.

Ademar seeing his friend in mortal danger from the spells of the Ogre mage unleashed a full barrage of flaming arrows at the creature, each one causing the beast great harm. Between that and the druid's spells, they were able to defeat the Ogre Mage. While the druid looked to begin healing himself and his friends, Ademar fell upon the body of the Ogre Mage, frantically searching for any riches he may find. As Raell and Gareth cut down the last Orc, just off to the North. After which they began to search the tents for any creatures that may have been hiding. They found none. It was during this time that the Ogre Mage once again stood up. Ademar, being caught off balance with a hand still in the Ogres pouches, took a crushing backfist blow to the face which sent the already scarred elfreeling back into a tent to the west, ironically the very tent he had fired the supposedly killing arrow from. Ademar landed in a heap. Cor’Nal seeing his friend hurt as well as the beast standing again renewed his magical attack. Yet it was once again Ademar, Est’Perolyne in hand, who ended the fight after recovering from the wicked crack to the jaw. Sinking an arrow into the head of the Ogre Mage, the elf killed him for a second, and final time.

As the companions searched the camp, Ademar found a locked chest in what appeared to be the commander’s tent. Unfortunately he did not find the trap on the chest until settting it off. A foul yellow cloud filled the tent. Undeterred, Ademar waved off the yellow mist and went to work on the chest, popping open the lock in short work. Checking behind him once to see if he was alone, Ademar quickly pocketed a small bag of gems. Hazard pay, he would tell himself. He also found a set of Elven Chain armor, five odd arrows that were wrapped up in cloth and a message scroll whose seal has already been broken. Deciding that was something better left to Cor’Nal, Ademar left the tent. Never even noticing the look of horror on the faces of his companions. Something in that foul yellow smoke had changed his physical appearance, especially facially, and not for the better. As Raell and Cor’Nal read over the scroll, Ademar wandered off to inspect the small bag of gems he had just claimed as his own.

Raell was distraught while reading the scroll. It was an unsigned letter to the commander of this camp, someone by the name of 'Kildigg', presumably the now-dead Ogre Mage. Detailing what actions they should take and telling of an impending massive attack on the Eystlund Army's Eastern front. The letter read as follows, in common:

Kildigg,

Rip the ironwood and hickory trees down and have the orcs do the work of manufacturing the trebuchets and catapults. Once built, you will move them frequently, for the reasons we discussed previously. Never remain in the same place for consecutive days!

The shapeshifter will prove invaluable to me later, so see to it that he lives, as I will hold you personally responsible if he does not.

I expect that a secondary front will be moved north by the end of the month to accommodate the Arcadian forces that I assume will be here sooner rather than later. The Kromwell whelp has been chomping at the bit to get here in order to rescue his homeland, and I think he will make an attempt whether his king grants him leave or not. All the better as he and I have a score to settle anyway. Another dead hero suits me and will do well for our troop morale, but I digress.

An assault on what is left of Darius’ external forces to the east will commence on the First of Divinder, it is there that we will take and hold the eastern road to the capital and cut off eastern supply lines. With the northern roads held by the Turbans at The Forks, and the eastern roads cut off from supply, the true siege can begin. Eystlund will receive no relief from the west, as her cities there will soon be cut off at The Great Forest Road. If your assistance on the eastern front is needed, you will be summoned.

Darius still hides like the coward he is, but my spies grow ever closer. The Beast’s Hand is at his neck and it has begun to squeeze.

Soon he will be ours.

Raell tried to push everything about the letter that seemed to include his half-brother to the back of his mind as he realized that the proposed attack date in the letter was for the following day; The First of Divinder. Raell told Cor’Nal that he must leave everyone behind and carry the letter to Captain Herschel as fast as he could and warn them of the impending attack. With all the speed he could muster Cor’Nal flew back to Grodek Keep to deliver the letter to Captain Herschel. As expected Captain Herschel was grateful for the warning and told Cor’Nal to see him once he and the rest of his companions were able to return to the keep. By the time Cor’Nal had returned, Ademar had stuffed the large commander’s tent into his bag of holding, not even aware that his physical condition had continued to grow worse. Apparently ugly, it seems, is not painful.

When the group returned to Grodek Keep, they were not asked to check their weapons as before. Captain Herschel instead gathered the companions and asked them if they could assist the troops on the Eastern front. Determined to do anything they could to win the trust of the Captain, and in turn, aid Eystlund and her King, the group agreed that they would travel as quickly as possible to the East to warn the front and assist in holding the line.

End of recap...

9 comments:

  1. Thanks go primarily to TOWJ for the timely recap. He submitted it to me this morning and I had the pleasure of editing, polishing, correcting what few mistakes I found and finally publishing it here. So, essentially, I'm taking credit for all his work by stamping my name to it since no one is likely to read this stupid comment anyway.

    Unless of course you, like me, have all comments automatically emailed to you, in which case, please ignore the last statement and have a great day!

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  2. Sir, I read every single comment posted.

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  3. Poor Ademar, all those whores are gonna start charging you double.

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  4. Wohoo! A recap! Thanks to ye TOWJ. It would figure that Ademar is deadly when I'm not rolling the dice. Perhaps I need a designated die roller...

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  7. I'm fine with being charged double because I am in charge of the party funds!

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  8. Honestly, half way through the fight at the camp...we decided that you are not allowed to roll for attacks any more. Gene will roll for you from now on.

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  9. Speaking of which, I have not gotten paid the last two games...

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