Arden set to the grisly task of sawing the chieftain’s head off. The hobgoblin had many features of smaller goblins he had encounter, but much larger. The brute was taller and heavier than Arden and certainly stronger. Sgt. Tenning and his men were reliving the moment they pincushioned the hobgoblin leader. Arden thanked the soldiers for the good work and made it clear that the leader had been wounded by his company moments before. He promised each man additional silver for finishing the job. (Then he quickly took the hobgoblin’s gem studded belt for the company!)
The chieftain’s head was placed on a spear in front of the hobgoblin’s entrance to the Caves of Chaos. Arden wished this didn’t need doing, but the message would be plain for all to see. Hopefully the remainder of the hobgoblin tribe will move back into the mountains.
The remainder of the day was spent in searching the hobgoblin lair, moving any valuables and guarding the operation. They encounter no hobgoblins, but Arden knew that as the sun went down, the company had best be out of the area. They were taking a great chance now that Corwin’s spells were exhausted, but much was gained today.
A large trove of armor and weapons were found in the lair. The company made several trips in and out of the Caves. They tied as much as they could to their horses and hid the reamaining weapons in the forest near where Egg Barkley quartered the horses.
The evening found Arden and Company many miles from the Keep and in need of making camp. A decision was made to set watch and build several fires for a short rest.
Martin heard the noise first. A movement through the woods on the north side of the Old Trade Road. Quickly the men retreated back a dozen yards from the fire as out of the forest poured a large war party of orcs! The horses whinnied in fear as three score of orcs slowed at site of the fire and then fanned out.
With the river at their back and the orcs in front of them. Arden commanded the company to fire at will. [Question-is the moon full tonight? FU die roll=6 yes! I rule -1 to hit with missile fire, but no penalty during melee attacks.]
Some of the orcs carry shortbows but will be at a disadvantage due to long range for the first round. The company have longbows, so Arden’s men will have no penalty for range.
Round1 The orcs volley first with shortbows. They have darkvision, but still are a fair distance from Arden and Company.
I rule that 1/3 of the orcs have shortbows…so 20 shots are fired with target number of 10 to hit (-1 for range). The orcs score two hits, but one is a critical! The critical hits Goat Bentley in his leg. He will be -1 to attack for the remainder of the battle. The other arrow strikes Martin’s armor (-2 pts).
The company returns fire…attack roll needed is 10 (-1 for darkness but nothing for distance due to longbows)
Sgt. Tenning and 12 archers fire…wounded a lone orc.
The rest of the company fires but all miss.
Question-do the orcs charge this round, FU result=1 No. They will fire again.
Round 2 One orc breaks his bow string! Ha! But three of his brothers hit. An arrow hits a soldier and cuts his bow string in the process. Meklin and another soldier are hit.
Arden and Company return fire. Soldiers hit with four arrows but Arden and his comrades miss. One orc is hit in the leg. In total, five orcs are wounded.
Round 3 Orcs will volley once more! Three orc arrows find their mark!
Catamont takes an arrow, Handsome Brune takes another, and a soldier is hit for second time! [I statted the soldiers as 4/+2 hit points]
Corwin is wishing he had one spell point left!
Arden and Company return fire scoring six hits (two criticals!) Three orcs have taken mulitple shots and lie dead! [57 remain!]
Question-do the orcs charge now? FU Die=5, yes!
Round 4 As the orcs move forward, the company lets loose more volley. Six orcs are hit! One orc is killed! [56 remain] As the orcs approach, Arden orders swords drawn!
Reroll Initiative….Orcs=1, Company=4
Round 5 Arden looks for the chieftain…can he spot him in the moonlight? FU die-1 modifier=4, yes, but he has some orcs in the way! Arden screams a battle cry and wades towards the orc leader! Catamont is right behind Arden, and Martin and Thane are on either side. Corwin prepares oil and torch and stays back. Arden hits an orc but only wounds him. Egg Barkley kills a wounded orc! [55 remain]
The soldiers attack with handaxe or sword. Three orcs take wounds and one more orc is killed! [54 left]. The soldiers bunch together and are surrounded. [I rule that each of the company will be attacked by two orcs and the orcs gain +1 to hit for this. They now need an 8 to hit.]
The orcs are quite efficient in close combat. They wound Arden, Thane, Egg, Corwin, Catamont, and ten of the soldiers. One of the soldiers has fallen! [He will bleed out in two rounds due to his chainmail.]
Round 6 Thane kills an orc and Arden kills another opening a path to the leader. Catamont, Martin, and Meklin also dispatch a foe. Corwin throws oil on an orc, dousing him soundly. Sgt Tenning wounds one and his soldiers wound two more. [49 remain]
Orcs continue to gang up on the company. The orc leader has moved towards Arden. He has two burly bodyguards flanking him. All three wield heavy two handed axes. Arden is slashed by one of the bodyguards. Meklin is battered by an orc and falls! [He has two rounds before bleeding out.]
Thane receives a wicked cut but stands strong. Egg is slashed but not beaten. [Sorry, I couldn’t resist.] Sgt Tenning and five of his men take wounds.
Arden and Martin focus their attacks on the orc leader hoping to break their morale.
Round 7 Arden and Martin both spend luck points to hit the orc chieftain. They manage to cut through his armor and begin to bloody him.
Corwin throws a torch and luckily finds its mark, setting an orc ablaze. (He had to spend one luck point to hit!) The orc runs off to die!
Handsome hits an orc and wounds it. [48 orcs remain and the leader is injured]
The chieftain and one of his bodyguards both cut Arden. Martin, Catamont, Goat, and Thane are all wounded. Egg takes a serious cut that lays him low! [Egg has chainmail and will die in two rounds].
Two more soldiers fall and six more take wounds.
Round 8 Arden and Company attack, hopefully for the last time!
Arden misses and is out of luck. Martin spends a luck point to do extra damage on the leader. The orc staggers back, reeling from the blow, but still has a little life in him.
Thane throws his magic handaxe at the leader…[roll=8! +1 magic=9!] The chieftain is hit hard by the dwarf’s handaxe and falls dead! [He was a level 3 orc with chain and large axe, 7/+1 hp]
Catamont and the soldiers wound four more orcs. With their leader slain and 12 of their tribe killed, the tide turns! The orcs retreat, howling back to the forest!
Meklin is tended to by Corwin, barely saving him. Egg and two of the other soldiers are bandaged and will survive, unfortunately one soldier has died.
Considering the situation, they are very fortunate. Another lesson is learned…Corwin needs to have some magic in reserve. He doesn’t know what magic the wand holds but will examine it closely in the immediate future.
One horse snapped his lead and ran away. The remainder are safe. Arden and Company set a watch and tend to their injuries. Martin will look for the horse in the morning.
In the morning, Arden and Company break camp. Martin finds fresh tracks of the missing horse, but it leads off into the woods. Returning to the Keep is the most important thing to do now. Wounded and weary, the company begin moving west to the Keep.
More to come…