Dark Squad in the Forge of Fury
Session #014 Inconceivable!
Dark Squad (in alphabetical order, no egos here).
Buggles (played by Stu) Male Wood Elf Fighter Lvl 1/Rogue Lvl 2
New Tricks (played by Bear) Male Tabaxi Warlock Lvl 3
Ramshambo (played by Kev) Male Half-Elf Rogue Lvl 3
Vincenzo (played by Haggis) Male Shifter (Wildhunt) Druid Lvl 3
Garumn Male Mountain Dwarf Paladin of Moradin Lvl 3
This is session 14, and another cracker.
This was a glorious session- towards the end the players were screaming for Buggles’ skeleton friend, Gwen, to hit- they were that caught up in the fray- every attack roll mattered, but we’ll get to that...
This is the Forge of Fury proper then, although just to recap the Dark Squad have been peppered (mostly misses) by orc archers en route to the Mountain Door, and then (most of them) have rushed on through the undefended portal into a chamber containing two small ledges bisected by a yawning chasm, spanning which is a treacherous looking rope bridge.
So, first the dash by the slowest members of the PCs (et al) to get to and then through the Mountain Doors, and hopefully to catch up (a bit) with the more express adventurers.
Only one injury sustained in the rush- Gwen, Buggles’ skeleton companion is hit by an arrow firing orc, she’s already wounded, and so reduced to just 1 HP- this is significant.
However, instead of waiting for his colleagues to catch up Newt decides to press on ahead, this after Buggles’ pointed aside- “if a cat can’t cross it [the rope bridge] we may as well just go back to Neverwinter and retire.” All the goading New Tricks needs.
Halfway across the rope bridge the tabaxi suddenly sees an orc dodge out of cover and onto the very edge of the ledge ahead, his destination. A moment later the javelin the orc was formerly hoisting slices across Newt’s side and he has to hang on to the ropes for dear life.
But that’s not enough to deter the tabaxi with his feline agility, the warlock rushes over and makes landfall- meantime Buggles shoots the newly revealed orc (with a readied action), while Newt finishes it off in an instant with his hellish rebuke (for 25 fire damage).
Ramshambow follows the tabaxi across the bridge- it’s easy for the agile rogue, he spots and charges into the second orc on the far ledge, and leaves the brute mortally wounded.
Note Ram is a swashbuckler- he gets his sneak attack once/turn every turn- more or less.
The foul brute retaliates and swings its greataxe, but the rogue is much too quick.
Buggles also traverses the bridge, and again with ease, the wood elf also makes it to the action.
A third orc, in the passageway beyond the ledge, hears and sees his compatriots fighting and falling, and so skedaddles sharpish, alas the lone brute is spotted by Newt who is still moving fast. The orc is dashing off to get its friends- the warlock eldritch blasts it, and the now the terrified fellow is running very quickly indeed (and down to 2 HP) it races out of sight.
Ram meantime finishes off the second orc on the ledge, the way forward is now clear…
Garumn, Vincenzo and Gwen follow on, taking it in turns to safely traverse the rope bridge, the trio can hear the bow-wielding orcs- now well behind them, shouting to each other from their respective arrow slits, they seem to be a little upset- their targets have escaped them.
However, as the last of the Dark Squad make it across the rope bridge and to the far ledge, a pair of secret doors grind up and open, this back on the Mountain Door side of the great chasm. The bow wielding orcs that peppered the adventurers earlier step out of the gloom and decide to join in the fun.
Lots of orc bow attack rolls, all misses, later.
Buggles shoots one of the orcs, but the newly revealed quintet shoulder their bows, and one by one begin the scramble to get over the rope bridge, and to the Dark Squad.
Meantime however Buggles, Vince and then Garumn have continued to race on ahead, the trio spill into a rough-hewn orc sleeping chamber- a natural cavern with a myriad exits, also with a wooden fenced and barred prisoner compound. At the bars are Geradil, a 50-something small fat wheezing human who for the next two-and-a-half hours will shout “Inconceivable!” at nearly every instance (see his token for the joke). Also trapped here is Courana- a terrified and screaming, early 30’s, human maid. It gets loud in here, even when Garumn uses Shatterpsike, his magical blade, to cut the wood stave prison open.
Geradil presses the Dark Squad for an answer- how are they going to escape this hell-hole? Vinnie’s explanation, of course, proves to be “Inconceivable!”
Somehow, Newt and Ram have got left behind in the mad rush forward, and are therefore the first to face the now greataxe wielding (formerly bow-wielding) orcs that are making their way over the rope bridge. One of the quintet almost falls off the treacherous span, but manages to grab-a-hold and hang there for a while, before finally hauling itself back up and making it to the action.
A little help! Guys? GUYS?
Newt hits the first of the charging orcs to make the ledge with his burning hands, but for not much effect at all (both orcs save, and low damage rolls), Ram however cuts one of the wounded orcs down- which just leaves four furious orcs heading their way.
The pair start yelling for help.
Garumn hears his comrade’s shouts and races to the rescue, note the NPC paladin of Moradin (played by the energetic and virile DM, that’s me) prefaces every one of his attacks, in his lilting Scottish tones, with something like- “dinnae fret fellers, I’ll tek care of these”, and then rolls something below a ‘5’. Then the dwarf calls immediately for… “a little help, guys? Guys? I’m struggling here… yer ken? Guys? Guys?” That kind of thing.
Two maps into one- Garumn the Tank, and the rescue of the prisoners.
Garumn’s dice have a mostly shocking night.
Back to the action- Garumn swings heartily at an orc and misses by a mile.
Newt to the rescue, the tabaxi eldritch blasts the already wounded orc now swatting at Garumn- and it’s dead.
However the next orc off the rope bridge smashes Garumn down, with a greataxe Crit for 24 damage, the brave paladin is left slumped on the floor and bleeding out.
Time for Ram to save him, the rogue gets close and then glugs a potion of greater healing down the paladin’s throat, Garumn blinks open his eyes. The remaining three orcs however close in for the kill- therefore with an inspiration point the rogue spins out a dagger with his off hand and critically wounds the nearest.
Back in the rough cavern ahead, and there’s plenty of noise coming from the northern passage, suddenly another gaggle (actually another quintet) of screaming orcs hove into view. Vinnie reacts in an instant and fills the passageway with his deadly spike growth. The lead orc rushes on regardless, screaming in agony as its feet and legs are shredded. The brute almost makes it to the adventurers, Buggles shoots it in the face just as it gets clear of the passage- it’s dead.
A second orc caught in the spike growth attempts to rush on towards the beckoning (and grinning) Vincenzo, seconds later and the brute is hurt badly, it therefore turns and attempts to flee back the way it came- the foolish sod dies just as its about to emerge from the spikey terrain terror.
Back at the bridge and chasm Garumn levers himself back to his feet just in time to employ Shatterspike to gut the orc leering over him.
Just two of the brutes left standing.
There is much in the way of cheering, the Dark Squad are managing to hold their own, just.
Newt eldritch blasts the next orc over the bridge, it manages to stagger to the Dark Squad’s side of the chasm, however the last orc in the gang rushes past its colleague and… buries its greataxe in Garumn.
The paladin flops to the floor for the second time- and gets back to dying, Ram arrives just in time to critically wound the orc, and then to stand over and defend the re-sprawled dwarf.
Newt eldritch blasts one of the wounded orcs dead, the other slams its greataxe into Ram, and now the rogue is just about bloodied- payback time, the rogue skewers the beast and the orc threat here is ended.
Moments later Ram grabs a potion of healing from Garumn’s belt and forces it down the paladin, his eyes flick open- the dwarf grins and thumbs up the rogue.
The trio rush to catch up with their comrades, with Garumn glugging down another (his last) potion of healing, and then casting a cure wounds on himself en route.
Back in the rough cavern with Buggles, Vincenzo, Gwen (the skeleton) and the newly released prisoners- the orcs are now approaching from a different passage, having abandoned the spike growth route. Buggles fires and arrow into the first orc to come screaming into the chamber, Vinnie hits it with his produce flame, and it falls.
Garumn dirt-naps, while the rest of the guys clear out the orcs.
Two more of the brutes however rush in to action, it gets to melee- Gwen even gets in on the act with her rapier, but its Buggles’ scimitars that are the stars of the show- snicker-snack.
Then the other members of the Dark Squad make an appearance, Newt eldritch blasts an orc- at which point the PCs are suddenly aware that a large snarling, growling beast is rushing towards them from the north passage- through the spike growth, this bastard must be tough.
It’s a massive dire wolf, and it almost makes it, five feet away from the Dark Squad the multiple spike growth hits take its toll- the ferocious beast falls.
Seconds later and more growling and shouting is heard, there’s a second dire wolf it seems- and someone or something in charge of the hound(s).
Note there are still two orcs in the chamber, both swinging and missing- Buggles cuts one down and then with his off-hand leaves the other critically wounded (with a Crit), Vinnie’s produce flame finishes it off.
Just to say the Dark Squad have accounted for twelve orcs and a dire wolf so far in this session, nice work.
At which point the second dire wolf comes rushing into the chamber and the PCs (and players) start to panic a little, particularly as something large and loud- and shouting threats in a tongue they don’t understand- giantish, seems also to be approaching.
Make ready for some hot wolf-on-wolf action.
Great Ulfe the Ogre switches to common and turns the air blue, he- it seems- is not at all pleased that the guys have killed his dog.
Gwen fires an arrow into the racing, snarling, snapping dire wolf- and it’s a Crit.
The show stops for more rousing cheers, never have I witnessed a skeleton so wildly celebrated.
Newt hits the wolf with a hefty eldritch blast, Buggles leaps out of his hiding place- behind a stack of crates, and slices the beast- and now the second dire wolf is critically wounded.
Furthermore the dire wolf is looking in a mirror, well almost- Vinnie is now Vincen D. Wolf, the wildshaped druid dashes in and tears the throat out of the beast.
Alas Vinnie, or if you like- Vincen, has had to cancel his spike growth spell in order to transform into his new form, and so at this point a bunch more orcs come rushing into the cavern from the northern passage.
My but its busy in here.
Garumn hits the first orc with a flung hand axe, it doesn’t stop the brute, however the orcs prove not to be the Dark Squad’s primary concern.
Great Ulfe the ogre arrives, and wades into action- shouting, swearing and making threats about who he’s going to eat first. His opening attack, with his massive greataxe, is a Crit for 28 damage which leaves Vincen D. Wolf a mewling wreck, and the other players gasping- and littering the thankfully just post-watershed VTT with a string of profanities.
Great Ulfe- my but, he's a looker.
Gwen skewers an orc with her rapier, Buggles finishes it off- what a team, and then with his off-hand scimitar the wood elf rogue stabs Great Ulfe in the rear.
Vincen D. Wolf bites the tough ogre, but fails to shake the brute off his feet.
Newt hits Ulfe with an eldritch blast, the warlock used up all of his spell powers by the third turn of this fight… that was thirteen rounds ago.
Meanwhile still more orcs are joining the fracas, this is getting real nasty, although Ram guts the next orc brute to rush into the cavern.
Note, there are a lot more attack rolls happening here- mostly orc attack rolls, but also lots from the PCs (particularly Garumn- see later)- but I’m only telling you about the hits.
A moment later Ram critically wounds yet another orc, while the roaring Great Ulfe decapitates Vincen D. Wolf, which instantly transforms back into the badly bleeding Vincenzo.
Gwen stabs Great Ulfe in the back with her rapier, and the ogre is bloodied at last.
Buggles goes to work with his twin scimitars, and now Great Ulfe is heavily wounded- thank the gods for sneak attack, eh boys.
Vincenzo recovers slightly, gets clear of the mess, while Newt uses an inspiration point to reroll a miss- and Ulfe gets hit by yet another eldritch blast.
The orcs in the cavern continue to swat and swing their greataxes, note I have missed with six attack rolls so far- and the PCs are not that well armoured (save for Garumn).
There’s a pocket of silence around the VTT every time I announce that, “Orc N swings heartily at [insert name of good guy] and… misses”, followed- always- by a collective sigh of relief.
But the Dark Squad are stoically ignoring all enemies except for Great Ulfe.
Ram skewers the ogre, and rolls more or less max damage on his dice- including for sneak attack, the great brute staggers and then slowly collapses.
There are several hissed “YES!”s from the crowd.
The killer rogue than flings a dagger with his off hand and leaves another orc critically wounded.
Just to note, Garumn is still missing with all/most of his attacks- he has the best to hit and damage in the group, and he’s wielding the only magical weapon the gang possess- Shatterspike. He, of course, is still making speeches prior to every one of his attacks, he’s doing this so often- and missing so often, that the players are trying to persuade me to cease and desist, they figure that somehow my little Garumn speeches-
“Dinnae worry fellers, I’ll tek care of this orc scumbag”, attack roll and a miss, “… a little help here fellers.”
Are cursing/hexing the paladin.
It’s also worth noting that throughout this fight, and as stated earlier, Courana is still screaming on her turn every round, and Geradil is still proclaiming that various things are “Inconceivable!”
Remarkably this gets a laugh every turn- there’s a lot of nervous tension it seems.
Buggles critically wounds yet another orc, there are still three of them left swinging and constantly missing in the busy cavern chamber.
Vincenzo kills a badly wounded orc with a little more produce flame.
Newt eldritch blasts another- it too is now critically wounded.
Garumn (a miracle) heavily wounds the last.
Ram finishes both of them off- it’s what he does, he’s a stone cold killer.
And suddenly, oh so suddenly- the Dark Squad are alone, and unassailed (at least for a bit).
Buggles and Ram take a corridor each, get into hiding, watch the way and ready their attacks- as does Gwen, the skeleton has survived for just shy of fifteen turns (and six orc attacks) on just 1 HP.
Meantime Vincenzo and Newt are clearing the prisoners out- which Geradil finds “Inconceivable!”, note Courana stops screaming. The Dark Squad pair discover a sprawled, badly beaten but still breathing, gnome in the dark recesses of the prison chamber.
Vincenzo glugs a healing potion down the gnome’s neck, and seconds later Spandwick the Magic Gnome is back in the land of the living.
“Bel? Where’s Bel?” Spandwick wants to know.
Vinnie and Newt quickly ascertain that Bel is Spandwick’s gnomish wife, and that she was captured with him but… is very obviously not present here.
[Death to lots of orcs, two dire wolves and Great Ulfe the ogre 1950 XP]
Alas the rest of this discussion is for another time.
“What do you want here?” Old Yarrack, the platemail wearing orog wants to know- and before coming to the fight the veteran fighter has rounded up a few more orcs (five of ‘em- all that’s left in the complex), and Burdug the shaman (eye of Gruumsh).
Note the Dark Squad are not aware of any of the above, only that someone is shouting at them.
Newt and Vinnie shout threats and replies for a short while, the rogues however stay silent and remain hidden.
It’s a short back and forth- the PCs are not for leaving, and Old Yarrack is not for letting them stay where they are.
Note while this is going on Garumn makes use of his lay on hands, and also dishes out a bit more healing (particularly for himself- he took a beating earlier and has been on less than 10 HP ever since).
Then the chatter peters out, and once more the enemies rush in.
Ding-ding, round two.
The first charging orc is caught in Vinnie’s entangle spell, courtesy of his wand of the same name.
Newt eldritch blasts it- the tabaxi needs a new trick, it seems.
More orcs race into the cavern chamber.
Surely they can’t keep missing the PCs.
As it turns out- no, they can’t.
Garumn gets hit by a pair of orc greataxes, and reduced to 4 HP, so much for all of that healing.
Buggles dives out of hiding and slaughters an orc.
Ram repeats the trick, but with an additional stab to yet another orc, with his off-hand dagger.
Garumn slices an orc with Shatterspike, and then rolls minimum damage.
Which, as it turns out, is “Inconceivable!”
Old Yarrack, he's a big tough bugger!
Spandwick the Magic Gnome reveals himself to be a user of magic- alas he misses an orc with his fire bolt, at which point the Dark Squad get to meet Old Yarrack, the v. tough orog. The pantomime villain proclaims his dislike of all things dwarven, and then throws a javelin into Gwen- and shatters Buggles’ skeleton companion.
“The “Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!” is probably still echoing through time somewhere.
Note, just to make clear Buggles, back in Neverwinter, bought equipment and armour (he carries around with him) to dress Gwen to look like a regular dwarf, complete with full helm- hence Old Yarrack thinking he was attacking a dwarf.
Burdug, the eye of Gruumsh, already has her bless spell running, next she next conjures her spiritual weapon- a ghost-like spear, and then fails to stab Ram with it.
Buggles spends an inspiration point to turn a miss into a Crit- and thus critically wounds yet another orc. Vincenzo wildshapes into Vincen Bear, and then bites the head off the newly wounded orc.
Note, throughout the fight Courana and Geradil continue their usual commentary, although the pair’s signature verbalisations are much less noisy as they’re situated back at the chasm ledge- watching the fight from afar, and not wanting to risk using the treacherous rope bridge.
My point, the players are giggling furiously every time they hear a whispered “Inconceivable!” still.
Newt has seen enough, the tabaxi grabs out a scroll- scorching ray, and then makes a number of injudicious comments about “pulling out the big guns”, he then proceeds to miss the heavily armoured Yarrack with all four of his attacks*.
*Four attacks because he spent an inspiration point to miss again.
Ram kills an orc and then with his off-hand flings a dagger into Burdug, the eye of Gruumsh, and another Crit- she’s not best pleased.
Garumn (at last) gets into the fight, and with Shatterspike and a bunch of divine smite (for 23 damage) he leaves Burdug beginning to doubt the wisdom of coming to Old Yarrack’s aid.
At which point Spandwick flings a fire bolt at her, and Crits, and rolls 19 fire damage- the eye of Gruumsh is very suddenly reduced to 1 HP.
The Dark Squad are cheering furiously.
Buggles adds- “All hail the NPCs!”, and then cuts another orc down.
Note, that was the last of the orcs to fall- there’s just the named orc enemies left here.
At which point Old Yarrack smashes his greataxe into Vincen Bear, but the ursine is made of sterner stuff- he takes it.
But not for long- the orog swings heartily again, after a few more curses, and Crits (for 27 damage)- an instant later and the bear is gone, and Vincenzo is back, the shifter druid is bloodied and beyond.
Just to note Old Yarrack is AC 19 and has not taken a hit so far, he has approx. 45 HP, so- we’ve a way to go yet.
Also note, while the PCs are otherwise occupied Burdug, the eye of Gruumsh (on 1 HP) runs off.
Buggles stabs his scimitar into Old Yarrack, through a join in the orog’s armour- and then sneers at the great brute, and then rolls just 5 damage.
Vinnie meantime scrambles away and shifts into his more bestial form- he needs the temporary hit points.
Ram stabs Old Yarrack and Crits, and then follows up with another Crit with his off-hand dagger, and all of a sudden the brutal orog is well beyond bloodied.
Old Yarrack smashes his greataxe into Buggles, the wood elf is very suddenly bloodied too.
Then lots of N/PCs launch their attacks and continue to miss the orog (he’s AC 19 remember)- including Newt, Garumn, Spandwick and Buggles.
It’s getting edgy as the initiative tracker starts ticking back around to Old Yarrack once more.
Then relief as the hefty brute also misses with both of his attacks, and now Vinnie has a better idea, the druid bathes the orog in faerie fire.
Newt launches yet another eldritch blast… and Crits, and rolls 17 damage, which coincidently is exactly the same number of hit points as Old Yarrack has left.
There follows a lot of high pitched wailing and shouting as the orog falls.
But we’re well over time for this session, already.
The entire session, save for a moment or two of temporary reprieve- between waves of attackers, and except for the five minutes of threat and chatter with Old Yarrack, all of the rest was bloody mayhem and action.
[More orcs, Old Yarrack the orog, and the fleeing Burdug 975 XP]
The Dark Squad need an extended rest, they’re out of everything, and have enough XP for level 4. If I had landed a few more hits with the orcs… but that was edge of the VTT stuff.
Stay safe and well.