Help me defend a pass. (My players go away!)


maybe the orc's have made a pact with a fiendish dire catfish in the lake. and have agreed to feed it the bodies of some of the dead.

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That's Latin for "cool"
Help me defend a pass.

Just tell the gentleman that you flattered by the offer of a drink, but that you'd rather not. Be polite, but firm.

... wait, that's not what you're talking about is it?

I agree with Ryltar. A Motte and Baily type castle is your friend here. Start with an existing hill. Now tear down all the trees like they did in Lord of the Rings and use that to build a fort. This forces the PCs to attack uphill and gives the orcs cover. That should be good for some bonuses for the bad guys.

They don't really have the time or the man power (orc power?) to get terribly fancy. They might dig a ditch around the hill and put some sharpened sticks in there. But I think their time would be better served building small, covered shelters. If the players bypass the fort, they can send out runners to harrass the players with hit-and-run attacks. When the players chase the attacker, the orc can run away and jump down a hidey-hole for a nice bonus to his Hide check.

Happy gaming!


First Post
BardStephenFox said:
They might swim it. Or just walk it through the lake. The Druid has access to Water Breathing. At this point you are counting on them to forget that. Even if they have to hang out and wait a day so the Druid can prepare the proper spells, it is quite possible that they will choose that rather than assault a heavily fortified position. You might be able to dissuade them if the environment of the lake is hostile enough.

All posibilities. The fighter is on a mount that will not swim. Period. It fears the water.

And there are reasons that people do not travel by water much. Reasons that are 70 feet long, have tough shells and look like snapping turtles! :)


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First Post
BiggusGeekus said:
Just tell the gentleman that you flattered by the offer of a drink, but that you'd rather not. Be polite, but firm.

... wait, that's not what you're talking about is it?

Happy gaming!

And here I was, waiting for Randy Moss jokes. :p

You kill me BG.


Breaks Games

Here's some random thoughts.

If they can pick their spot, then somewhere the players have to come up to get at them. Possibly building it themselves if there's nothing like that.

Given the steep sides to the pass, could they sap the hills/cliffs(?) to cause an avalanche? If the big rocks don't squish them, the small ones would make moving tricky...

Mini 'irrigation' system to turn the dirt in front of their fortification into mud.

Big logs with pointy bits. Roll down hill. Laugh at the jumping humans. The ogres can give them a push to get them started.

Catapults. Range them into fixed points on the approach to the fortification. Ready actions to fire when someone crosses that point. Area effect would be best. Caltrops or alchemists fire might be interesting choices?

Depending on how much experience the Orc has with flyers... Some sort of weighted net based weapon: Perhaps one or more 'light' aimable balistas with some cleverly made bolts - release nets on impact. An Ogre to reload it. It wouldn't be very accurate, so a 1st level sorceror with True Strike to fire it? Even against ground based opponents they'd be useful. If I were feeling nice, I'd give them a chance to malfunction and hit a few of the orc warriors. A bit high tech, but is it fun?

Or the advice I wish someone had offered in Morrus's thread - replace all opponents with unarmed blinded kobolds.


First Post
alsih2o said:
In my campaign the players have recently passed between 2 large lakes with a strip of land 1/4 mile wide between them. This strip of land rises on both sides of the lakes and is about 2 miles long.

When they try to come back they will find that and orc lieutenant and his 49 orc warriors have been left to dig in and defend this pass. They have the services of 1 troll and 2 ogres.

The orc lieutenant is smart (int 16) and has 9 ranks in siege engineer/sapper. He has had 6 days to dig in and make sure noone comes from the other side of the lakes.

Any ideas?

Well, to ensure the PCs are, um, 'interested' in attacking the orcs and not avoiding them, maybe the orcs have kidnapped some fisherman from the lake, or just raided a small village near the lake & have hostages from there.

If there is a small fort, as said above, it could make things interesting. The PCs have to attack uphill against a strong defensive position that is also elevated. The fort provides cover from PC ranged weapons, and the elevated attack position for the orcs, I believe, gives them an attack bonus as well. Going uphill may slow movement a bit, as well trying to break down the gate to the fort, or to climb the wall - 30 arrows from the walls each round at the PCs while they try to power down the gate is going to wear them down hit point wise.

The orcs, if they have the service of horses (or something else to ride...), may have a few mounted archers that can be outside the fort as scouts to harass the PCs - especially spellcasters. If 6 of them are outside the fort and fire an arrow each round, chances are at least 1 is likely to hit per round, unless the PCs have great AC.


First Post
alsih20, what is your ultimate goal for this little scenario? Do you want your party to find a way to DEFEAT the enemies guarding the lake exit, or to find a way to sneak past them and continue on? I think that four 7th level characters would have an impossible time defeating this encounter, especially if they're dug in with catapults, caltrops, fire and ranged weapons. On the other hand, defeating this encounter would acquire legendary status as it is possible with some luck and planning. I think the druid and his/her spell access and wildshape can turn the tide of battle.


Inconsequenti-AL said:
Or the advice I wish someone had offered in Morrus's thread - replace all opponents with unarmed blinded kobolds.

He didn't like the idea of kobold monks with blind-fight. Something about it being a common stereotype to lull players into a false sense of security. :lol:

Alsih2o, never underestimate the power of a Druid in the wild. The mount will have to be pretty impressive to avoid being persuaded by the Druid. Ditto with the turtles. Though, 70' is pretty hefty. That might give it enough HD to resist charms and the like.


First Post
Narfellus said:
alsih20, what is your ultimate goal for this little scenario? Do you want your party to find a way to DEFEAT the enemies guarding the lake exit, or to find a way to sneak past them and continue on?

I am not sure I have a goal. :)

I have placed a few encounters that were almost unpassable in front of the characters and they have ALMSOT always gone around or negotiated. They are pretty good at reading things with little meta-gaming and I do give hints to power when they face somehting tough.

I want the players to react. I want the orcs to know that their lives depend on letting NOTHING by them.

They can go around, over, through, under or into. Matters not to me.

There is a war about to rage in their land and orcs and tribal humans on bison mounts are working to seal off the little country they are from. These lakes mark a boundary. The boundary is largely mental. Like the boundary between russia and Europe. Hmm, that may be a bad example. They are in a noplace between places. :)

I want the encounter to be insanely tough. I want there to be no way to bash their way through. What I guess my goal is is to have the players get creative and face a tough choice. :) I want to show just how serious the enemy is.

Mounted orcs are a cool idea, but are out. Mounts are rare outside one tribe. I really like the True Strike/Ballista combo. :)

There are plot devices all around...and if they go out of their way they CAN get aorund. They are within a couple of days ride of the one of only two humanoid groups that know the secret to safe nautical travel.

All of this is greatly appreciated. :)


Liquid Awesome
I don't know what suppliments you're using, alsih20, but I know how my group would have addressed this situation when the Druid was 7th level: He'd have cast Feathers on the entire party, turning them into small birds and they'd have just flown over the whole situation.

If you're using Masters of the Wild then I'd beware of that. I'll assume not since that'll be an encounter-wrecker.

If the Druid can cast spells while wildshaped, he might approach as a burrowing animal and then Flame Strike the hell out of any clusters of exposed Orcs. Nuking the troll and his handlers this way might also be worth doing, particularly if it kills the handlers and then lets the troll eat a bunch of orcs before they have to kill it themselves. God help you if the Druid can cast Briar Web.

I guess I'll disagree with Narfellus and say that I don't think that this is an impossible encounter at all. But the Druid will want to soften up the defenses a lot before the other PC's can get in there to mop up.

I know that the advice I'm giving is more geared to "help me destroy this fortification" rather than "help me defend this pass", but I'm assuming that the orcs are not just defending against the PC's but against anybody who tries to get through. If that's the case then I think the PC's will have a fairly easy time rooting out these Orcs, particularly if they don't get hung up on the idea that they have to do it all in one go. If the Druid goes in, blasts away with ranged attacks that kill a pile of orcs and burns down half the fortifications and then goes back to camp for a nap, they can rinse and repeat until they've whittled the force down to something manageable by the fighter types.

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