Haven: Mercenary Deserters in the West Hill March

On April 17th, Year 12, adventurers respond to reports of Union of Schek army deserters potentially making trouble in the former West Hill Match:

  • Gorg (HuS): Level 6 Orc Thief
  • Snass (TrS): Level 3 Kobold Monk
    • Irsshdanish: Level 2 Wolf Animal Companion

They first make their way to Edsserish to speak to Teldissha who informs them that he has heard about the deserters occupying an area near the head of the river east of the reoccupied city. They stay the night and prepare to set out toward the river in the morning.

On the 18th, they come to their first village an hour outside of Edsserish and find an ogre riding goblin holding the citizens at crossbow point. While they approach, an orc emerges from one of the cottages with a statue to throw in a basket. Snass charges on wolf-back.

After a spirited round, Snass has wounded the ogre and disarmed the orc and Gorg has wounded the goblin, but the goblin is casting and more orcs are emerging from houses while the residents cower. Snass keeps hitting the ogre and Gorg misses the goblin, who casts a fear spell on Snass, causing him to flee. As he does, the ogre strikes him, wounding him badly. The many emerging orcs close in on him, but have to rush and their attacks miss.

Gorg shoots the Goblin again and Snass scrambles away toward a copse of trees, leaving the orcs to close in on Gorg. The ogre carries the goblin into cover behind the building after he takes a shot at Gorg and between him and three orc archers, Gorg takes some damage.

Snass manages to get a grip and sneak around behind the ogre, bringing it down and knocking the wounded goblin unconscious. While Gorg fends off three attackers, killing one and taking arrows when the opening presents itself, Snass creeps among the archers, soon knocking them all out undetected. With his help, Gorg finishes the two orcs confronting him.

They loot the raiders and allow the kobolds to pick through the raiders’ basket of loot to get their goods back before taking the remainder with them as Gorg tracks the ogre and orcs back the way they came. Soon, they pass through a village whose inhabitants take over half of what remains in the basket. They continue on to the village at the river and bridge where the rest of the raider loot is taken. The kobolds there indicate that the raiders came from the north, as did a kobold who was sole survival when the raiders burned his village for resisting.

They follow the river north, passing another village that was raided two days before by a larger group. The group seems to have camped nearby and split to send the group they fought that morning south while a second group crossed the river to go east. Rather than follow the larger set of tracks following the river north, they ford the river and follow the tracks up into the mountain where they find a village that was visited, but discover that the raiding party doubled back through the woods.

With an ogre and a large party, Gorg easily tracks them back to the river where the charred remains of a village stand. Dead and blackened kobolds are bound in a kneeling position, prostrate on the ground, in the midst of the wreckage. Snass is incensed and determined to wipe the raiders out. They continue north, following the tracks into the mountain passes.

Soon, they see a crude watchtower on an outcropping of rock ahead and smoke rising from beyond a mountain ridge. They send Gorg ahead to look around. He sees lookouts on the tower in the failing light and makes his way to the smoke, seeing a camp with multiple fires: a score of orcs, several ogres, and a handful of goblins.

Gorg returns and reports this to Snass and they decide to try to pick off a few of them during the night and rest well into the morning. Snass creeps to the tower while Gorg moves back to the camp. With sundering punches, Snass breaks the watchtower’s lashed beams. Seeing the tower fall and hearing the cry, Gorg opens fire, sniping three orcs before withdrawing and meeting Snass.

They make a hidden camp, but Irsshdanish wakes Snass and he notices a band of orcs approaching their camp, tracking. Snass and Gorg climb trees nearby while Irsshdanish waits for Snass to attack. When the orcs arrive, the leader sees Snass and commands him to ‘obey.’ Snass feels himself command Irssdanish to remain calm and climb out of the tree at the orc’s mental commands.

Gorg takes the opportunity to take a powerful shot at the leader that nearly kills him. While the orcs fire into Gorg’s tree blindly, Snass runs toward it. The lead orc ducks into cover in the brush and Gorg chugs a plant control potion and orders a bush to grapple the leader before dropping from the tree.

With the bush taking the leader by surprise and holding him fast, Gorg loops around while Snass starts climbing his vacated tree and the orcs keep loosing arrows. Just as the leader breaks free from the bush, Gorg arrives and takes him down with another powerful shot. With the leader dead, Snass is freed from his control and they quickly take down the other orcs. The leader has a book of power and they burn it.

They move their camp and get the rest they need before Gorg moves out again in the afternoon. He sees the camp in disarray with dead ogres there and goes back to get Snass. As they move toward the camp again, they find a handful of orcs killed by an ogre in the woods near their original camp. The ogre apparently got away.

In the camp, they find that ogres rampaged there, killing a number of orcs and having to be put down. They find some graves, some marked as having died from disease. It seems that a contingent with a couple ogres and still a dozen orcs and goblins departed to the north. They track them to a ridge where they can see the Great Road below, an area too paved and trafficked to reliably track them further. They decide the quarry has escaped and return to Citadel via Edsserish, reporting that the raiders have been ejected.

They divide loot and Snass levels up. Snass takes Irssdanish to Randall’s Grove to request he be bestowed with intelligence as other creatures have been.

I didn’t expect the raiding party to be the real threat on this mission, but fear spells can really change a fight. They were expected to come at it sideways, not so directly. Sneak strike demolished the powerful leader who was supposed to give them trouble.
Find the prep for this session over on Patreon.

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