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GREYHAWK, THE GOLDEN ERA CY963: CHAPTER THREE

Aust Thale

Explorer
Vale Engages The Orc

~ Round 1 for us. ~

"That was a tolerable fight!"

Vale's dwarven sense of exuberance after battle is immediately tempered by concern.

~ Where did the golem go after falling down the hole? And what could possibly be going on that would inspire a red orc to surrender? ~

Approaching the kneeling orc with his axe in his hand, Vale addresses the orc in his native tongue, "Well now , Flower, why would you simply give up? Are you a goblin in disguise? Come now, orc, you'd be better off answering the question. Your demon-bitch lasted what, about 10 seconds? Your golem? Even if he returns, he'll be put down the hole again..."

GM:
The Orc looks at Vale with a puzzled expression on his face, and responds IN DWARVISH, "Goblins are scrawny, and they lack mettle. You're simply trying to rile me. You get an A for effort, but not all of us are raging, reckless morons who crave nothing but glory. That's why I was the Sergeant. As for the whatever-she-was and her walking statue, I care not. Our service to her was obtained forcibly, through the use of magic. I resisted the compulsion, but I played along, because I knew that fighting her alone would be futile."


"...It's daylight still, so no undead to help you. (and getting closer to him to whisper) And we appear to have one of our own anyway...maybe you'd like to become acquainted?" , motioning toward Respen's visage of Margull.

GM:
The Orc looks confused. "Huh? What undead? Are you mad, Dwarf? And why are pointing to the pale-faced pie eater? Do you think I don't recognize an Elven Wizard when I see one?"


He watches carefully for a reaction, growing impatient that the party has stayed in longer than preferred. Unless the orc responds in a satisfactory fashion, Vale addresses the party in common, "We need to strip him buck-ass naked and leave his stuff. Somebody somewhere is scrying this wee one." Again, watching for any reaction, Vale addresses the orc again in Elvish "Say, orc, where's the spider? I have something for her. "

GM:
IN ELVISH, the Orc replies, "You are mad, indeed. What spider? What in the Nine Hells are you talking about?"


Vale's comments are designed to elicit reaction, giving away little rationale for how the group entered the area undetected, and mixing half-truths and lies such that if the orc is truly surrendering, he'd find the comments very unsettling and give away that fact. Again, Vale searches for reaction. If the orc reacts, perhaps the surrender is legitimate. If he doesn't, then Vale immediately asks in Orcish and then again in common, watching again for reaction, "Your wee golem is coming back isn't he? You have another entrance?"

GM:
The Orc sighs heavily, and then replies, in Orcish, "Please, kill me now, and save me from the rantings of this idiot Dwarf."
 
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Diarmadhim

Explorer
Standing still for a moment, I calm myself with a few measured breaths. Securing my greatsword in place, I bring my greatclub to bear - always best to have the right tool for a potential job out and within easy reach.

"I am fluent in Orcish," I reply to Respen. Moving closer, I whisper, "I am now diminished to about two-thirds my propensity for battle today. I feel it's important to warn you. I'm still a force to be reckoned with, but my frenzy has been spent."
 

MacConnell

Creator of The Untamed Wilds
Lathir aids Tam-Tam as he needed. He listens to the discourse between Vale and the Orc as he looks about the battle site, finally deciding to interject a thought. He speaks in Dwarven as well.
"The behavior of this captive is far too rational for normal Orcish fodder. A great battle general during the course of a surrender was once noted to have said to his aide. 'I fear that by releasing these foes that I shall soon meet them on the field of battle once more, but such is the nature of a soldier. None the less, it is my desire to release them, as I too am a soldier, not a butcher.'

While I personally have no proclivity to an overly benevolent nature or a malevolent one, I say that we should either release the Orc with his clothing or kill him swiftly. Though I am no soldier, I am no butcher, either. None of us should become the malevolence we are fighting against
."

GM:
Lathir casts Cure Light Wounds. Tam is down by six (6) points.
Roll = 1d8+5 = 6 (+5) = 11 pts.
Tam-Tam is completely healed, and feels refreshed.
 
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Aust Thale

Explorer
Respen Continues and Vale Eases Up On the Orc

RESPEN:

~ Vale and Dewydd seem to have the orc tongue; perhaps they can make heads or tails of this fellow. ~

Respen collects the wand and ring in the sack as previously stated, and he picks up a short bow and two quivers of arrows. He is a decent bow-smith, but it indeed has been a long time since he has held a bow in his hands. The staff he carries has precluded carrying a bow at the same time, something that has frustrated Respen; it's a small, but strangely abiding comfort adding these mundane items to his gear, even if it's for a short term.

He then examines the runes on the nearest totem, standing away from it so as to not set off any magical alarm or trap. His examination confirm they are a magical perimeter, but he doesn't completely understand them.




VALE:

~ Snarky attitude notwithstanding, the orc may indeed be earnest. ~

Vale sees Respen looking at a totem. Vale can tell straight away what they are, as well as what they mean.

OOC: Rolls made on Rolz and results reflected in post


Directed to Respen across the way, but acknowledging the orc in front of him, "It's a cage. Whoever did these runes on these totems were not simply alarming the place; it's a pen, and the demon-bitch and these blokes were the animals. Guard dogs."

Vale addresses orc more directly now, with mild antipathy, but with considerably more respect, "Your kind isn't easily waylaid. What on earth happened? Did ashes over there get to you, or was there more at play? This place is supposed to be teeming with undead, a giant spider, the clay giant down there, and a host of other nasties. "


RESPEN:

~ Vale, be QUIET! ~

Respen does not care for Vale's conversation with the orc. Given the seven (7) or eight (8) he has encountered have all been combatants and nasty creatures anyway, Respen doesn't care for them.
He'd be more inclined to show the orc the business end of the well. But he holds his tongue, contemplating Vale's explanation of the totems. Wizards, at least those he had encountered or learned about from reading, frequently alarmed areas. It replaced the need for guards, and if done properly, it could be relied on as a first line of defense. In this case, the revelation that it was as much to keep these orcs and succubus in as others out was significant.

GM:
DM HINT / CLARIFICATION: The totems are separate from the trees which bear the alarm runes; the alarm runes are to alert the absentee wizard of anyone coming INTO the area. The totems are to prevent the demoness (and ONLY her) from LEAVING the area. She was clearly gated here, rather than summoned, thus there was a need to have these totems in place, to prevent the demoness from simply leaving.


"What is down that hole?"

He walks again toward it.

"I'd really like to find out. Do you all think we are in a position to do that? Unless the big one comes again, or we have tipped off the absentee wizard who created this cage, we appear to have a couple of hours before we should contemplate checking out of here. "
 
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MacConnell

Creator of The Untamed Wilds
Lathir, still poking around and examining things, comments to Respen.
"Whoever made this area is far beyond our skill. The undead should be particularly attuned to night. I am at a loss as to how to proceed or if we even should. I have no desire to rabbit down that well."
 

Waynan

Adventurer
Supporter
Tam-Tam, after thanking Lathir again, easily climbs the well since it is not a wall (much more difficult to do). He peers, with an ever so slight lean, into the hole.

If all he sees is darkness (what he expects to see since the golem has made no noise in awhile, now), Tam-Tam will pull his silk rope out of his pack and says:


"Anyone got a grappling hook? If not, we could tie an end of this to one of those nearby trees. If it's a typical well, I should be down, give a quick look, and be back in less than 20 minutes."

He looks around at his new found compatriots, "Pardon the pun, but --- "Well?", he eagerly looks to Respen, Vale and Lathir who seem to be the closest, at the moment.
 

Aust Thale

Explorer
Respen Replies to Tam-Tam

Tam-Tam, after thanking Lathir again, easily climbs the well since it is not a wall (much more difficult to do). He peers, with an ever so slight lean, into the hole.
If all he sees is darkness (what he expects to see since the golem has made no noise in awhile, now), Tam-Tam will pull his silk rope out of his pack and says:
"Anyone got a grappling hook? If not, we could tie an end of this to one of those nearby trees. If it's a typical well, I should be down, give a quick look, and be back in less than 20 minutes."
He looks around at his new found compatriots, "Pardon the pun, but --- "Well?", he eagerly looks to Respen, Vale and Lathir who seem to be the closest, at the moment.

~ Impetuous hobbit! I like him! ~

Respen laughs and walks near the edge of the well, and he speak quietly to the Halfling. "Wait a moment, my new friend. Let's settle the orc's fate before we rush to our own." Respen winks. " Besides, I think our woodland friend has a point. What awaits us down there isn't for the faint of heart. Our dwarven companion's cousin nearly met his end here once, and others did meet their end. Whatever is down there, it isn't good. "

Respen listens down the well to detect sounds, grunts, groans, or gasps; sounds of undead or souls not happy to be alive, and he peers into the murky darkness.
OOC: Listen Check = 19; Spot Check = 20


Respen speaks quietly again, "After we decide what to do with the orc, I have an idea. Clearly, you appear able to climb down the well. Before you do so, I can illuminate the well from where the sun currently ends down to the bottom and back again several times. If it appears safe, we have the means to climb down for a look. Or perhaps the others can offer an alternative. There is still the rest of the village ruins. Do you know anything of it? It's to our south just a bit. "
 

Waynan

Adventurer
Supporter
Respen speaks quietly again, "After we decide what to do with the orc, I have an idea. Clearly, you appear able to climb down the well. Before you do so, I can illuminate the well from where the sun currently ends down to the bottom and back again several times. If it appears safe, we have the means to climb down for a look. Or perhaps the others can offer an alternative. There is still the rest of the village ruins. Do you know anything of it? It's to our south just a bit. "

Tam-Tam replies:

"I had just started having a look at them when I saw the movement over here. So, no, I really don't know much about the ruins...yet."
 

Diarmadhim

Explorer
"I fear we are overlooking something vital... He," I state, gesturing to Tam Tam, "was inside the alarm. Chances are,
he has already tripped it unknowingly when he first entered the area."


Turning to face the red orc, I continue, "As far as what to do concerning the surrendered individual, I am a warrior - not a butcher. The tone of one's skin does not dictate the state of one's heart and honor."

"I am decent at climbing."
 


Tellerian Hawke

Defender of Oerth
Dewydd said:
"...[Tam Tam] was inside the alarm. Chances are, he has already tripped it unknowingly when he first entered the area."

GM:

Tam was inside the totem area, but OUTSIDE the alarm area when Respen yanked him through the mirror. He did NOT set off the alarm spell. This is easily verified by looking at the runes. When an Alarm spell is triggered, the runes disappear.



Respen said:
Respen listens down the well to detect sounds, grunts, groans, or gasps; sounds of undead or souls not happy to be alive, and he peers into the murky darkness.

Respen, you hear a lot of moaning, groaning, grunting, and shuffling from down below. The cavern below must be HUGE, to produce such a loud echo. You estimate that the well is about 60 feet deep, and you hear nothing among the echoes which sounds even remotely like the shuffling of a golem.
 

Aust Thale

Explorer
Respen Illuminates the Situation

GM:
Tam was inside the totem area, but OUTSIDE the alarm area when Respen yanked him through the mirror. He did NOT set off the alarm spell. This is easily verified by looking at the runes. When an Alarm spell is triggered, the runes disappear.

Respen, you hear a lot of moaning, groaning, grunting, and shuffling from down below. The cavern below must be HUGE, to produce such a loud echo. You estimate that the well is about 60 feet deep, and you hear nothing among the echoes which sounds even remotely like the shuffling of a golem.

~ It's time to shed a little light on the subject, but before that happens... ~

"My friends", addressing Lathir and Dewydd without saying their names, "The Halfling did not trip the alarm. I recall that I moved him from outside to inside in the moments before we engaged this rabble. We should be alright in the short term. I will illuminate the well down to the bottom to give us a better bearing. We should not tarry, however. Being here after sunset does indeed concern me. But before we go about this business, I have a question or two for the surrendered. "

Respen calls to the red orc in a normal voice, "Orc, what is your name?"
 

Sylvar B.

Explorer
Sylvar concentrates on the Orc and cast detect magic in his direction for 24 seconds. After he detects magic on the Orc he is going to continue concentrating and slowly pivot so that he scans the immediate 360 degree area.
 
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Tellerian Hawke

Defender of Oerth
What's In A Name? A Spear By Any Other Name Would Hurt Just As Much...

Respen said:
Respen calls to the red orc in a normal voice, "Orc, what is your name?"

The Orc seems surprised that Respen is addressing him directly; only moments before, he was being barked at and threatened by the Dwarf, and talked about as if he were absent by the Druid. "I am Thallok Oakspear, son of Mallek The Bloody. I am a Sergeant in the Army of the True Believers of Gruumsh, under the guidance of Gurrok Mak, the one, true, favored king of He of the One Eye."

Sylvar said:
Sylvar concentrates on the Orc and cast detect magic in his direction for 24 seconds. After he detects magic on the Orc he is going to continue concentrating and slowly pivot so that he scans the immediate 360 degree area.

GM:
There are no magical auras on the Orc.
None of the Orcs had magical gear.
However, both the Wand and the Ring that once belonged to Dorinda, glow BRIGHTLY, brimming with power.
The only other magical auras come from the trees (the Alarm spell) and from the small totem poles (the Binding spell.)


RESPEN: Do you want to speak further with the Orc? Or do you want to go ahead with your intention to light up the well's bottom?

EVERYONE: What do you do?
 

MacConnell

Creator of The Untamed Wilds
Lathir Searches His Memory

The Orc seems surprised that Respen is addressing him directly...
"I am Thallok Oakspear, son of Mallek The Bloody. I am a Sergeant in the Army of the True Believers of Gruumsh, under the guidance of Gurrok Mak, the one, true, favored king of He of the One Eye."
Recognizing one of the names, Lathir searches his memory to determine the significance and by such make conjecture about the nature of this Orc.

GM: Lathir does not recognize the Orc's name, nor the name of his father; he does, however, recognize the name of Gurrok Mak, the current ruler of the Pomarj. In fact, Lathir knows quite a bit about the Pomarj Orcs, thanks in part to his own experiences, and also in part to the conversations that the party has had with Maxwell Silverhammer (Vale's cousin.)

Orcish Empire Info.jpg

BACKGROUND INFO:

The Pomarj - The Orcs of the Pomarj are the main body of Orcs who remain evil; however, two things have changed their society: First, Gruumsh's epiphany has split Orcish society, and turned their whole belief system on its ear. Secondly, the after-effects of The Great War have brought changes as well.


The Orcs who renounced their old ways, and took up the mantle of Marek, thereby becoming non-evil aligned, have all fled the Pomarj, into other territories. This event was known as The Great Schism of the year CY 904. The followers of the True Gruumsh, along with the minority faction known as The Truthseekers, left the Pomarj, leaving it in a weakened state. That was 59 years ago. The current population of The Pomarj is 394,000.


The Followers of Marek can be found in Dyvers (Tolerated, no temple), The Barony of The Five (Accepted; medium-sized temple in Orctown, and large temple in Muldash), Greyhawk (Tolerated, no temple), Littleberg (Tolerated, no temple), Kron Hills (Tolerated, Independent settlement of Marekville, medium-sized temple), and...

Lortmil Mountains (Accepted, Independent underground Kingdom (City-State) of Vaddekk, occupying the ruined / deserted Dwarven city of Kalimbar; this is the largest Orc settlement dedicated to Marek, hosting some 74,000 Orcs within its vast halls. This is because the vast majority of the Orcs who fled The Pomarj fled to the West, looking for caves to occupy high in the Lortmil Mountains, in the middle of the mountain range, above (North of) the Duchy of Ulek.


When they got to the mountains, they found the abandoned Dwarven city, and found that it was infested with undead; not ones to shrink from a challenge, they organized themselves, using scavenged materials from the Dwarven remains. Over a period of 25 years, from CY 904 to CY 929, they destroyed all of the undead, who (as it turns out) were the personal army of the Dracolich who had destroyed the city in the first place, Uuldmaa.


The Orcs destroyed the Dracolich, having located her primary phylactery which lay inside a demi-plane whose portal was deep within the mountain, and having figured out (through divination) that her backup phylactery was a fist-sized, perfect diamond, hidden within the sarcophagus of the last Dwarven king, where Uuldmaa believed that no one would think to look.


The new Orc King, Bregmar, used the hammer of the last Dwarven king to shatter the diamond on the lid of that same sarcophagus. From the years CY 929 to CY 963, over a period of 34 years, the Orcs rebuilt the city completely, dividing it evenly into two sections (Vaddekk, and Kalimbar); each section has its own series of mines.


The current Orc King, Mardrog, son of Bregmar, then invited the Dwarves of Kalmir (the new settlement in the Southern Lortmils)
to return to their ancestral home, on the condition that they agree to share it with the Orcs. When the Dwarves heard of this, the Dwarven king of Kalmir accepted the offer, having knowledge of the "new" Orcs who follow Marek. He and about 23,000 of his most loyal followers accepted the Orcs' offer to return to the ancestral cite; this required the Dwarves who remained behind in Kalmir to elect a new king, since their bloodline no longer occupied the Kalmir throne. The new king's name is Edelrand, son of Vallendor.


Thus, Kalmir has gone from a population of 54,000 down to population 31,000; and the newly-restored Kalimbar now has a population of 23,000. The current population of Vaddekk is approximately 77,000 Orcs. The two cities are now known as The Twin Mountain Kingdoms.)

 
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Aust Thale

Explorer
The Orc seems surprised that Respen is addressing him directly; only moments before, he was being barked at and threatened by the Dwarf, and talked about as if he were absent by the Druid. "I am Thallok Oakspear, son of Mallek The Bloody. I am a Sergeant in the Army of the True Believers of Gruumsh, under the guidance of Gurrok Mak, the one, true, favored king of He of the One Eye."

GM:
There are no magical auras on the Orc.
None of the Orcs had magical gear.
However, both the Wand and the Ring that once belonged to Dorinda, glow BRIGHTLY, brimming with power.
The only other magical auras come from the trees (the Alarm spell) and from the small totem poles (the Binding spell.)


RESPEN: Do you want to speak further with the Orc? Or do you want to go ahead with your intention to light up the well's bottom?

EVERYONE: What do you do?

~ Surely the orc knows something. He's military. Likely observant. ~

Respen, to the Red Orc with the respect a soldier would appreciate, even an orc: "Sergeant, I can appreciate being forced into service. I have no quarrel with you. What do you know of this place? The succubus was clearly tasked (and you conscripted) with guarding this place in some fashion. Can you offer us any insight that might benefit us all, given that my intent is to explore this hole?
I think we would all appreciate anything that would benefit all of our welfare in this regard. After all, you are a soldier, and soldiers, if nothing else, are genuinely appreciate for being observant, no matter what cause they serve.
"

Respen is respectful, and his innuendo is not generated as intimidation. It is a subtle acknowledgment of the truth, persuasive more by the facts of the current moment than any implied threat.

Respen intends on casting Dancing Lights down the well, allowing the light spheres to travel in a ring whose diameter is a foot from the walls of the well with one in the middle. He will do so after the orc answers, with only a whisper and motion of his hand to spread the spheres. He will examine closely what they illuminate.
 

Tellerian Hawke

Defender of Oerth
Respen said:
"...Sergeant, I can appreciate being forced into service. I have no quarrel with you. What do you know of this place? The succubus was clearly tasked (and you conscripted) with guarding this place in some fashion. Can you offer us any insight that might benefit us all, given that my intent is to explore this hole?"

Orc Sergeant 001.jpg

The Orc's reply is short and to the point, "The demoness was tight-lipped, and spoke to us in the manner that an adult speaks to a child; nevertheless, she let it slip that the well was very important to some sorceress, who had bound her to this place. I have no idea what's down there, other than the fact that the well has been dry for nearly a century, and is therefore likely to be useful as a secret hideout. There are probably many things hidden down there. I must say, the golem came as a complete surprise. We were told never to touch or go near the tree, and now I know why. I suppose the best way to surprise one's enemies is to keep the trap hidden from everyone, including one's own henchmen. I will say this: if the well is sourced from a cavern, there are likely to be many tunnels down there, which lead to who-knows-where, perhaps even into the Underdark. And nothing good lives in the darkness; there are things there that even my people prefer to avoid."
 

Aust Thale

Explorer
Respen Moves to Explore the Well

The Orc's reply is short and to the point, "The demoness was tight-lipped, and spoke to us in the manner that an adult speaks to a child; nevertheless, she let it slip that the well was very important to some sorceress, who had bound her to this place. I have no idea what's down there, other than the fact that the well has been dry for nearly a century, and is therefore likely to be useful as a secret hideout. There are probably many things hidden down there. I must say, the golem came as a complete surprise. We were told never to touch or go near the tree, and now I know why. I suppose the best way to surprise one's enemies is to keep the trap hidden from everyone, including one's own henchmen. I will say this: if the well is sourced from a cavern, there are likely to be many tunnels down there, which lead to who-knows-where, perhaps even into the Underdark. And nothing good lives in the darkness; there are things there that even my people prefer to avoid."

~ Perhaps, but then again, what's the point of standing around? ~

Respen nods at the orc in acknowledgement of his answers. Given their well-earned reputation, as a practical matter, releasing the orc now was a terrible idea. But Respen's concern was the well and tunnels below; the others could determine the orc's fate. "I think we should let him go, but (looking at the orc) Sargeant, you are, for the moment, stuck. If you leave the confines of this area, you will set off the alarm; we can't have that. Therefore, you remain here for the moment. If you are a model prisoner, you will sooner find yourself among your people again. In the meantime...."

Respen trails off, focusing again on the well. He whispers into his hands and reaches as if for the late afternoon sun, pulling back a ball of light. He stands near the well as the ball of light splits into a necklace of them, Respen's hands juggling them as if they were real balls, and dropping them into the well. He swirls his hands, taking control of the lights, moving them down into the well, adjusting them to illuminate the well walls, and deeper to the floor. He scans the well carefully for any notable features, facets, or especially the signs of the undead. He suspects they are down there. He now wants to see them. When the light reaches the bottom of the well, he has the lights 'dance' such that they are about head high above the floor and are out of the grasp of anything that might try to touch them.

"My hobbit friend, please tell me also what you see. Four eye are better than two."
 

Waynan

Adventurer
Supporter
Tam-Tam answers Respen:

"Well, if you would kindly tie the rope to a stable, and well planted, rock or tree, you can slowly lower me where my vision will not be affected by the day's light so much. In that way, I may get a better "look", as it were, at what stirs below --- alive or dead. However, if you hear me squeak in alarm, as most hobbits do, or yank upon the rope, please pull me up as if it were your dearest, whether mother, love or favorite pet. OK?
 

Tellerian Hawke

Defender of Oerth
OOC: Posted from my phone, minimal formatting.


The well shaft is 10 feet in diameter, and 60 feet deep. Only the first 40 feet of the shaft is paved with brick and mortar, suggesting that at some point, the shaft was deepened, in order, perhaps, to break through the ceiling of the large cavern below. The cavern ceiling is perhaps twenty feet high, making the total drop to the cavern floor a total of 80 feet or so.

Directly beneath the shaft, on the cavern floor, are dozens of iron spikes, of various lengths. Some (but not all) are bent and broken, and there are about 8 or 9 squirming zombies impaled on them. Walking in and out of view are perhaps dozens more zombies and skeletons, all of whom seem oblivious to the light spell, as well as to their 'comrades in distress.' The moaning and grunting is definitely coming from the zombies, while the skeketons are relatively silent, except for the scraping sound their bony feet make as they walk across the rocky floor. A smell of putrid, rotting flesh wafts up from below.

Tam, you are positive that lowering yourself down the shaft would be like dropping a hooked worm into a school of hungry trout.

Everyone: What do you do?
 

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