D&D 5E Two vs. thousands

merwins

Explorer
What ONE or TWO characters (class builds) would you choose to go against thousands of orcs for the purpose of rescuing several dozen hostages?
Assume the expected hierarchy, tension, and hangers-on implicit in a horde that large.

I'm arbitrarily capping character level to 18 or (preferably) lower.
For the purposes of this exercise, assume NO magic items, but spellcasters may choose spells.

Yeah, there are a few other characters (i.e., PCs) involved -- they'd probably be more of a diversion or complication -- they may not take a central role in rescue unless circumstances change.

I don't expect anyone to do all my heavy lifting. Just looking for general ideas and inspiration.
 

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Bardic Dave

Adventurer
A hunter ranger can one-shot up to 16 orcs every round at will from 600 feet away with volley and the sharpshooter fighting feat. Seems like a decent place to start.
 

jaelis

Oh this is where the title goes?
Gotta figure a high level bard with the right skills and spells could convince a bunch of orcs to give up the hostages, one way or another. Glibness + polymorph + can be quite a combination, with mass suggestion for help :)
 




aco175

Legend
I was thinking a caster may be capable of killing more basic orcs than a melee type. Not as cool as the picture in my mind like something out of 300 movie.
 

I'd guess slipping past the orcs, quietly dealing with any that get in the way, and spiriting away the hostages would be a good way to go. A rogue or ranger or shadow monk might pull that off if built specifically for it. Obviously could do that with magic, too, the right Sorcerer or Warlock build for instance, or a Wizard with the right spells prepped...
...with, of course, big guns as back-up should it not work perfectly.


Of course, my favorite 5e class is Druid, and being able to infiltrate the camp in an inconspicuous animal form, and bust out blasting & AE control spells if necessary, could make it pretty good, too... oh, and, if high enough level, one could Wind Walk a number of hostages to safety... yeah, I may be biased, but put the Druid down as a good candidate, too.
 
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Prakriti

Hi, I'm a Mindflayer, but don't let that worry you
As long as R.A. Salvatore is writing the adventure, it doesn't matter. Those orcs are as good as dead.
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Supporter
It really depends on the terrain surely. Is it an open plain with the orcs between the PCs and hostages or are the options? Without more details on the setup it seems hard to say?
 

OB1

Jedi Master
Thinking some combination of Shadow Monk, Assassin and Bladelock. Not sure of the exact level mix, but looking to Disguise self as an Orc, blend in with the Assassin feature, shadow bamf past the guards, Pick the lock and then fly away.
 

Oofta

Legend
Are you going stealth or frontal assault?

Because the issue I see with wizards/ranged fighters and so on is that wizards will run out of spells, ranged fighters will run out of ammo or be overrun. Yes, they can kill a lot of orcs, but once you get a dozen or so orcs grappling/dog-piling you're over.

Meteor storm could take out a bunch of orcs, but how are you going to find the remains of the captives under all the other burned corpses?

I'd go the stealthy/enchantment route. An enchanter could polymorph himself and dominate/charm to get the hostages. Probably take a trickster rogue along for support in case you need to remove anyone inconvenient.

Or just have a high level wizard. Turn invisible, fly in. Get to where the hostages are, wall of fire/force/stone around the location. Cast teleportation circle handy to get away. If there are orcs with the hostages, bring a bard to charm them.
 

A couple of wizards (and maybe some simlacrums) sneak in to the hostages, either astrally or etherally or in cloud form or similar.

They teleport themselves and all the hostages out.
They open a planar gate and rush all the hostages through it.
They polymorph all the hostages into mice and carry them away.
They polymorph all the hostages into velociraptors and tell them to fight their own dam way out. :)
 

merwins

Explorer
Are you going stealth or frontal assault?

Good question, hinted at earlier.
The story would support either approach, so for the moment I'm flexible. The PC party leans toward stealth, except for one armored, slow member.

If the high level NPCs went in loud, the PCs could go stealth, or vice versa.

The terrain is light forest and low rolling hills.

And as far as the hostages, they are expressly helpless noncombatants. The orcs are alert for teleport circles, and casting time may present a complication. .
 

steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
Epic
I'mmmmmm gonna say...hmmm...if we're talking let's just arbitrarily say 15th level...

Gonna need a rogue...I'm going to say an Arcane Trickster because a little extra distractionary/disguisey/disappeary magic certainly can't hurt...

...annnnnd...I'm gonna go with land druid. Large scale terrain and crowd control as necessary. Shapeshifting for scouting and/or packing a punch if needed.

Mostly, it's going to be an "infiltration." Fight/kill-to-keep quiet when necessary. Obviously the guards will need to be dealt with. But generally speaking, other than where the hostages actually are being held and the escape should be where all of your fighting needs to happen.

This is, of course, assuming you're talking about a thousand orcs in an established base/habitat (for 1,000 of them, I would assume so).

If it's 1,000 orc warriors in an army holding a bunch of people in a camp somewhere...probably keep the druid...but, well, actually, slipping in and out with minimum interactions is probably best. So, yeah. Same team.

If what you WANT (and your players understand) is going to be a toe-to-toe slaughter fest through ranks of fighters to get to the hostages and then, "YAY they're free [when all of the orcs are dead or fled]!" Probably need some serious heavy hitting...maybe a paladin...I don't think a barbarian could really stand their ground for too long...maybe a Champion Fighter...or, really, just use two druids or a druid and a cleric...druid and a wizard....just take out whole swathes of the enemy at a time, while maintaining protective spells or generating additional combatants (woodland beings comes to mind).

Yeah, bottom line, for 2 vs. 1,000 need to rely heavily on magic.
 

A high level wizards with a warlock or sorcerer could do it pretty easily. Cast Scrying to find out where the hostages are, then cast Teleport to them. Wizard casts Wall of Force in a 20x30 rectangle around the hostages while the other starts killing any enemies that are within. The Wizard then begins casting Teleportation Circle to escape with the hostages. Optimally, this should be done while a diversion force attacks the orcs, ready to withdraw shortly after the orcs engage. After a Long Rest, the spellcasters should be able to drop flaming death to clean up the orcs :)
 

Druid turns into a mosquito. Mosquito/druid flies into area with hostages. Mosquito/druid casts Animal Shapes and turns all the hostages into mosquitoes. Mosquitoes fly away. Hooray!

There's not enough details for me to know if this would not work, but if the hostages are near each other it should be fine.
 

RulesJD

First Post
You only need 1 character if level 18 is the cap.

Level 18 Wizard of either Illusion (cheating) or Evocation (hilarious).

Several methods:

1. Evoker casts Arcane Eye/Scrying on the hostages. He can now see them, so he casts Meteor Swarm and Sculpts it around the hostages (both the Evocation ability and by MS placement). All Orcs dead and hostages just fine.

Could do same trick with a Simulacrum. Main Wizard casts Invisibility, Simmy casts Fly. Simmy moves to the hostages and drops a Meteor Swarm, or cast Wall of Force as main Wiz casts MS.

2. Illusion Wiz has waaaaay too many possibilities to list with their level 14 ability. Off the bat, I can think of using Hallucinatory Terrain or Mirage Arcana for a mountain with a pocket of air inside for the hostages to suddenly become real. MS the rest as the mountain protects them, then Dispel Magic the mountain to get to the hostages.

3. Use Etherealness. Walk to hostages. Do whatever Wizard stuff to get them out.

4. Why is everyone using Teleportation Circle? Use Mords Mag Mansion to party in style before teleporting everyone out via Plane Shift. Or better yet, use a prepared (food, water, etc) Demiplane to go to before heading elsewhere. Only takes 1 Action to cast and have your Simmy use Dispel Magic to remove the entrance after everyone runs in.

5. True Polymorph -> Demilich for you and your Simmy. Congrats, you're Immune to nonmagical weapons (assuming just thousands of basic orcs means they can't do crap to you) and can just go around Howling + Energy Draining every Orc to death. Or cast Sending to the hostages and tell them to cover their ears. Then True Polymorph into an Androsphinx (immune to nonmagical) and Roar 3 times. All orcs = dead.


Honestly one high level Wizard has so much at their disposal it really isn't fair. A Moon Druid could accomplish it on their own as well depending on the circumstance (Earth Elemental to earth glide until you find hostages, then use Tree Stride or something I guess?), but a Wizard can do it under really any circumstance.

*edit*

New favorite idea. Illusion Wizard uses Mirage Arcana to make a hole 60+ feet deep and 70+feet in diameter near the encampment. Then use Antipathy/Sympathy on a rock floating above the pit (high enough so that it can be seen from all directions out to several miles), specifying Orcs as the creature type. Within 10 days, every Orc is dead from the fall damage. Or just use the Antipathy and after 10 days every Orc has fled the area so just stroll in.
 
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RulesJD

First Post
A high level wizards with a warlock or sorcerer could do it pretty easily. Cast Scrying to find out where the hostages are, then cast Teleport to them. Wizard casts Wall of Force in a 20x30 rectangle around the hostages while the other starts killing any enemies that are within. The Wizard then begins casting Teleportation Circle to escape with the hostages. Optimally, this should be done while a diversion force attacks the orcs, ready to withdraw shortly after the orcs engage. After a Long Rest, the spellcasters should be able to drop flaming death to clean up the orcs :)

Just FYI, this wouldn't work without a Simulacrum.

Spells with casting times of more than 1 Action (Teleportation Circle) require Concentration to cast during that time, which would drop the Wall of Force. Better off using Demiplane or Mords Mag Mansion then work from there.
 


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