After sleeping on it, the party decided to go to the town of Blasingdell and help them out with the orc raiders that have been pillaging their farms.
The party members that chose to go on this mission were:
Vanisia (Ivanka) Padran
On their journey to the town of Blasingdell, the party encountered a small group of 4 Giant Wasps that attacked their camp during the night. The first wasp managed to drop Rad’dan with it’s first attack, but got brought down by the rest of the party.
The three other wasps then closed on the party, two from the same direction as the first, and one from the opposite direction. Gann was ready for the one that attempted to flank the party, using his animal empathy ability to calm it down, and eventually convince it to leave without attacking at all.
The other two wasps did persist with their attack however, and one of them managed to take down Rascal, and was attempting to pick him up and fly away with him when the party took it down. The other one was dispatched shortly thereafter. Thistleknot was able to harvest one of their stingers for use in making a poison with it later, while Rad’dan cracked their exoskeletons open, and proceeded to try his hand at cooking them.
A couple of days journey later, and the party arrived at Blasingdell, a small mining town at the base of the mountain range known as The Crags. After visiting with the town mage, they were able to learn what he discovered from the dying orc he had charmed, which was captured in one of their raids. This provided them with a map to the mountain known as “The Stone Tooth”, which is serving as the base for the orcs raids. They also learned that the orc mentioned ancient dwarven ruins, which the mage believed might be the remains of Durgeddin the Black’s stronghold, which although it was looted long ago by orcs, is rumored to still contain some of the old dwarf smiths greatest creations hidden away in deep vaults.
Armed with this new information, and map, the party proceeded north from Blasingdell into the mountains. Eventually, they happened upon an ancient, worn trail, which led up to the base of the Stone Tooth. Ivanka noticed some humanoid tracks coming down this path and headed into the forest, but lost track of the trail after roughly a mile. They chose to make camp here, and send Thistleknot on ahead with explicit directions to write down anything that he saw. 8 hours passed before Thistleknot returned, and when he did, he reported that there were two orcs standing guard at the top of some stairs which led around, and then back in to the mountain.
The party used what was left of the daylight to sneak up very close to the base of the mountain near the stairs, and set up camp in a cave there. They spent most of the night observing the orcs, in the hopes that they would eventually fall asleep. Unfortunately, before they could fall asleep, they were replaced by two new orcs, evidently relieving them of their watch.
The party then chose to employ a different tactic, and this time had Rad’dan yell out in Orcish that he had caught a kender, and needed help “peeling” it. He didn’t do very well on his bluff check, but the orcs were so hungry that they decided not to question it, and came down to help. As they rounded the corner down to the cave, the party quickly dispatched them.
This done, the party once again decided to send Thistleknot ahead to scout. This time he climbed up the stairs, followed the path around the rock face, and approached the giant wooden doors of the dwarven stronghold. The door was slightly open, so Thistleknot proceeded inside, discovering a great chasm with a 30ft long rope bridge spanning it.
At this point, Thistleknot decided it would be a great idea to cross the rope bridge, and even after hearing a sound on the other side of the chasm, proceeded to do so. Once he was roughly 2/3 of the way across the bridge, two orcs opened fire on him with arrows. He narrowly avoided death by arrows (and by falling from the rope bridge), as he scrampled his way back across the rope bridge, and out the door.
Thistleknot ran screaming for his life back to the party, who came rushing to his aid. A great horn bellowed from within the stronghold, and Seraph noted that the horn was definitely a dwarven warhorn. Reconvening around the corner from the stronghold entrance, the party tried to decide what to do next. It was at this time that Ivanka noticed some peculiar slits in the mountainside, and boosted Thistleknot up to look in one of them. He was almost knocked out by the stench of orc breath, as he came face-to-face with an orc preparing to fire arrows on the party out of these defensive arrow balistraria.
This led to the party hugging the cliff face, and rushing towards the doors as a hail of arrows rang down on them. Rad’dan noticed the door was closing, and charged forth to stop it, making it there just in time to wedge his greataxe in the door, and prevent the orcs from closing it. He then proceeded to win the feat of strength against the orc inside, and slowly pried the door partially open. This gave Seraph enough room to charge in the opening and kill the orc inside (at which point Rad’dan threw the door the rest of the way open).
The whole party then clambered into the entranceway, where they discovered that there were balistraria inside as well. Still being pelted by arrows, the members of the party who had ranged capabilities attempted to return fire, while Rad’dan, Seraph, and Zaric headed across the rope bridge. Rad’dan was the first to go, and while crossing, the orc on the other side tried to cut the ropes. Before he could do so though, Rad’dan made it across, and managed to dispatch him.
Seraph and Zaric then proceeded across the bridge together, where they faced some very tense moments, and nearly fell off the bridge several times, whilst still being pelted with arrows. Seraph eventually did make it across, while Zaric turned back. It was around this time that Rad’dan was searching for where he had seen the orc he just killed come from, and stumbled upon a hidden dwarven door, which led to the Archer’s Gallery that the orcs were using to pelt the party with arrows.
As Rad’dan started mowing down orcs, Ivanka thought to search the wall on the side of the chasm nearer to the door, managing to find one there as well. She opened this door too, and Rascal, Gann, Zaric, and she headed through and started dispatching orcs as well, eventually managing to slay them all.
Being wary from the intense battle, and recognizing the defensive virtues that the gallery has, the party decided to pitch all of the orcs down the chasm, and make camp in the Archer’s Gallery. 8 hours passed, with the only even of note being a group of 4 orcs returning to the stronghold, and heading across the rope bridge into the darkness.
Now refreshed, the party proceeded further into the stronghold. The grand hall that they followed in started out as an ornate, perfectly carved hall roughly 30ft wide, but eventually transformed into a very beautiful, natural looking cavern, that only trained eyes could tell was still carved by dwarven hands, but made to take advantage of the natural beauties of the cavern.
After a ways, the party reached an intersection where there were 4 different branches which they could choose. Before they could choose one however, Rad’dan spotted an orc attempting to hide in an alcove. He quietly informed the rest of the party, and so Gann cast a light spell on one of his crossbow bolts, and fired it into the middle of the intersection.
This dazed the orc that had been hiding in the alcove, and caused several more to rush in from every tunnel branch, bolstered on by a large Ogre barbarian and his two wolf pets. The Ogre charged Rad’dan, delivering a mighty blow with his greatclub that nearly felled Rad’dan with a single hit. Rad’dan stood his ground though, and returned the favor with a mighty blow from his greataxe.
Zaric then moved up to assist, but was knocked unconscious by a blow from the ogre’s great club as she approached. Seraph then charged a group of two orcs and a wolf that were coming up the rightmost branch of the tunnel, managing to kill one of the orcs. This provoked the wolf to lash out at her, but she dispatched it also. The second wolf then charged Seraph from behind, and managed to trip her, while another orc charged in from one of the other tunnel branches, and attempted to hit Seraph while she was on the ground.
Meanwhile, the battle with the Ogre raged on, with Ivanka doing her best to keep Rad’dan healed, while he stood toe-to-toe with the ogre. That is, until she was charged by an orc. It hit her hard, and she chose to go down to the ground, rather than try to stand her ground with it. Gann in the meantime, kept unloading crossbow bolts at the orcs that were still firing arrows at the party from further back in the cavern.
Rascal came forward to assist Seraph, which gave her the opportunity to get to her feet, since one of the orcs had managed to daze himself, and the other missed her. Seraph then took this opportunity to charge the flank of the Ogre, finally delivering the killing blow. Ivanka then lashed out from the ground, felling the orc that had charged her, and robbing Thistleknot of yet another carefully planned backstab opportunity.
Back in the rightmost branch of the cavern, Rascal summoned up his latent psionic power, and crushed the mind of the orc that had dazed himself earlier, killing him instantly. The other orc and wolf then fell upon Rascal, trying to take him down. Seraph came back then to assist, dispatching the orc, and also the wolf when it tried to retreat.
Still fueled by his barbarian rage, Rad’dan proceeded to charge the last two remaining orcs that had been firing arrows from the back of the cavern, and dispatched them as well.
After the battle, it became clear that Zaric had been gravely injured by the Ogre, and was unable to speak, or otherwise communicate coherently, and did not seem aware of his surroundings.
Rad’dan, having arrow wounds which did not seem to be healing normally, chose to lead his friend Zaric to back to town, there to seek the help of an apothecary.
The party looted what they could from the bodies, and we ended the night with them trying to decide how to proceed from here.