D&D groups take a while to gel. Not every friend you have is going to fit at your table. It’s acceptable to try people out and maybe see if it’s a good fit or not. My daughter and her friend have both admitted they would like another person at the table but I have heard them both also grow frustrated that the 3rd person they invited doesn’t take it as serious or with the same gravitas that they do.
So when they found out that we were going to do a game on Spring Break, and I would let them play later and longer, they were excited at the opportunity. But I was then consulted by my young one that they would not be telling or inviting the 3rd back for this meeting.
My advice was to at least let her know, because it sucks when your friends get together and you are not invited. I was assured it’s not a problem and she would take care of it, but the voice inside my head tells me that the two of them didn’t let the 3rd person know.
As for the game, there was much LARPing at the table for the first part as we dug through the problem the group has had the last few meetings and what our plans were to get into the orcish area.
From my side of the screen, the game was much better, tighter, coherent, and focused. So perhaps they know what they’re doing regarding their third. I hope they can find a better third to sit with them in the future.
Write up follows:
The party arrived back at the Keep a bit after the 2nd bell on Airmonth the 4th and made our way wearily through the front gates. The guards were happy and surprised to see us so soon but on seeing the foul expression on Loq’s face, they backed off and let us continue our way.
Loq had calmed down some, but the party knew the cleric was right. We had to focus and really plan out our next move. Randomly wandering the caves and hoping it all works out was a recipe for disaster; coupled with the party’s lax attitude and lack of concern at times. We assured him we’d be ready tomorrow at 8 and we’d see about hiring a few locals to come with us.
Proserpine just sort of wandered away at the end of the conversation, telling the party she was going to find some of the other elves here at the keep and reconnect with her own kind for a day. Too much “human” drama.
William and Charlotte sighed and then the two friends made their way to the inn where they took a central table and ordered some food and ale. From there they talked about the group, the loan they owe the Lord, Loq’s complaint, and Proserpine. They discussed for a while but admitted they needed to do something different and that the Cleric was right.
So then it was a matter of choices – continue in the orc caves and find some pay off there, head back to the goblin caves (which they swore they would do at some point) and get revenge, or head further into the complex of caverns and try their luck at what had been referred to as more difficult terrain. After weighing all the pros and cons, they wanted to stay with the orc caves.
The issue was there were two orcish caves, from two different tribes (according to local lore). And it was known that these two tribes do occasionally raid each other. Perhaps there was a way to incite one tribe against the other? That would mean they would have to go and find the 2nd tribe, try not to get into a fight, make their way to the leader/chief/altern and propose a mutual joining of forces.
This all sounded great but it was fraught with many dangers and concerns. But since the two friends were talking quite a bit and loud enough for normal conversation which attracted the attention of two men at a nearby table. We went over to talk to them and learned that they were willing to go with us after any orcs we might be interested in hunting. They appeared to be in their late 20’s or early 30’s, and had a hard angle to them. One was named George and the other didn’t identify his name, wanting to be referred to as “Sir”. They were both adherents to Zeus and were willing to come with us only if our target was the orcish caves. Otherwise, they were willing to pass.
We left and returned to our table, discussing their merit before shelving it for now. We wanted to see about maybe finding any other fighter types and maybe someone who doesn’t set off our “creep” radar. The innkeeper said he would set the word out and by dinner time, we had three fighters willing to go out with us the next day. The first one we discounted immediately as it was obvious from his bearing and demeanor that we was fairly well experienced and would cost more than our depleted pouches could afford.
So we interviewed the two remaining fighters: an early 20’s chainmail wearing swordsman named Hanken, and a younger 16 year old neophyte named Luis. After talking we were happy with Hanken (concerned about his lesser armor, but he did admit that his last group did not fare well and this was all he had – hoping to find another group and rebuild his fortunes) but not so comfortable with Luis’ experience (he was very honest about his lack of formal skill and that this would be his first foray anywhere, plus he spoke often about Poseidon and how the god guided him it was giving us a ill-feeling). Hanken was willing to take a normal pay and cut but Luis was so earnest and willing that he cut down on his initial outlay if we would just take him with us.
So we agreed, we’d hire them both for tomorrow and see how it went.
The morning of the 5th was cool and sunny when we met with Loq, told him of the two new hirelings, and then met with Hanken and Luis. Once introductions were finished we gathered our belongings and headed out to the caves. We talked amongst ourselves and learned some of our past but everyone was on point and ready when we arrived at the caves. We stumbled upon a campsite currently empty, and then kept going to the caves. Was there another group here? Maybe ahead of us? We were going to keep a weather eye out for other adventurers.
We approached the orcish cave and made our way up the slope of the ravine, stopping outside to listen in. Somewhere we heard odd echoes and banging as if combat coming from the cave. Distant though. No one was near, so William lit a torch and we entered with care.
The combat sounds were louder and coming from somewhere else. Orcish voices were roaring and we guessed both tribes might be fighting with one another. We looked in the first guardroom to the right and saw it empty, then we crept to the left and before entering the “dining room” from the other day, went north and to the right – heading to what seemed to be another guard room. Some discarded playing cards and a stool knocked over showed that this was abandoned and recently. There was an alcove to the right covered with a heavy grey burlap curtain where someone could hide and peer down the entrance. That’s how they knew we were here before.
At this point there were more orcish voices and then the sound of retreat and pursuit as some of the orcs were running for the exit with others close behind. We stayed quiet down the far corridor, not wanting to engage what sounded like a damn lot of orcs.
We heard them then return and eventually go on their way back to their places in the complex. But it was a bit surprising when 4 of them came around the corner and stopped to stare at us.
Two seconds later it was spears and swords and arrows flying about.
We wanted Luis to stay back if at all possible since William and Hanken seemed to be the more experienced fighters, but the follower of Poseidon wouldn’t be stopped and instead lunged around and to the left of the alcove, slamming the full length of his sword into one of the orcs and dropping him in 6 seconds flat. Holy crap!
Hanken and William assaulted the next one hamstringing him while a third drove his spear though the gap in William’s platemail. Our fighter was choking on his own phlegm and bleeding when Loq called to Ares and healed Loq back to full with a single touch.
And both orcs turned to run. As they were escaping Luis plucked a spear from a fallen orc and hurled it one of the turning ones, hitting him in the shoulder and the last one was dropped from assaults by both other fighters and Charlotte’s begrudging use of arrows.
Three down, one escaped and calling for reinforcements.
Nowhere to retreat. William wanted us to run for the entrance now but Loq seemed interested in staying but and Luis was shocked at any call to retreat. So we dragged the three bodies into a line blocking the hall and a flask of oil was lit just when SIX orcs came around the corner now – one of them the one we had wounded earlier. Startled at so many orcs coming we fumbled our throw and the burning flask of oil smashed into the wall to our right near the bodies of the stacked up orcs we had killed.
Luis dragged the curtain from the wall and slathered up the oil while the party took up defensive line and Charlotte shot the lead charging orc in the face with her bow. One of the orcs hurled a spear and we thought it was going to skewer Hanken but the chainmail wearing fighter showed he was much nimbler than we expected as he twisted and gyrated out of the spear’s path. The curtain now wet with oil we dragged it on the dead orcish barricade as spears were thudding into it, William flung the spears out of the dead bodies behind us, and then the oily cloth was set alight and blocked the charging orcs from hitting us.
Charlotte wounded another one and the orcs were throwing spears at us through and over the fire – nor hitting more than shields and walls. Luis once more called to Poseidon and AGAIN, his blow caught an orc in the chest killing it in a single toss!
William and Hanken returned fire and the orcish group whittled down as they hit the far end of the barrier. One of them tried to pry a body out of the way to make it easier to assault us but Luis AGAIN single shotted the closest orc. And this broke the morale of the orcs again who tried to flee. We killed one of them, engaged the second in combat, and the last and furthest one, the same one we had wounded earlier, was making his escape when he was shot in the leg and fell over with a crash – but managed to crawl around the corner and continue his call for help.
So here it was, after 11, all the orcs but one who faced us dead, and the lone survivor escaped death twice and was calling for help. We were feeling stoked and wanted to carry the fight forward and into the orc cave while they were not expecting it and hopefully demoralized.