D&DEnc 17 – Scourge of the Sword Coast – Session 6
A full table this week for me down at Tabletop Tyrants, while our 2nd table was missing a body.
- Sunyi – Mal, dragonborn cleric (Light domain).
- Adam – Gedrick Gladomain, high elf ranger.
- Tanis – Langar ‘Lan’ Shadowweaver, wood elf rogue.
- Oliver – Kaemri, dragonborn rogue.
- Heather – Fudwick, gnome barbarian.
- Tilly – Harrold ‘the halfpint’ Hopson, halfling rogue.
Meeting up with Darfin Floshin the party begin heading north along the trade road, passing the few refugees still heading in to Daggerford. After a couple of hours travel they notice smoke coming from a farm building about half a mile off to the west, and despite Floshin insisting that it wasnt their business the heroes decide to investigate.
They approach to find a large barn with a stack of hay bails out front that have been set alight. Fudwick and Gedrick both identify recent tracks in the area as belonging to Gnolls and being only a couple of hours old.
Lan and Kaemri approach the barn, its door slightly ajar, brushing aside the cloud of buzzing insects to peer inside. Even with the poorly lit interior they could see the four bodies hanging from the rafters and once they were sure nothing lurked within the whole group entered.
The bodies looked to be a farmer and his family (wife and two teenage daughters) and all showed signs of being brutally hacked with bladed weapons before being left dangling on their ropes. Halfpint and Kaemri climbed up and cut them loose while Gedrick looked for further clues within the barn. He found a concealed trap door and called the others over. The rogues determined that it wasnt trapped and Fudwick tugged it open, as he did so he noticed movement within and dropped the lid back down, stepping back and holding his morning star at the ready. Cautiously they re-opened the trapdoor and revealed a small boy of three-four years old cowering in the shallow cubby hole. After assuring him they were here to help the discover his name is Bruce and he had been playing hide and seek with his sisters while their parents bailed the hay when the dog-men had attacked. They asked if he had any other family nearby and he told them he had an aunt and uncle on another farm about five miles away. The heroes wanted to take him there but Floshin insisted that they couldn’t spare the time and instead offered to take the boy to his estate and arrange transport for him from there. They agreed on the compromise and Mal said a prayer while they used the burning hay to cremate the corpses.
Carrying on back up the road they come across what looks like a group of large dogs lurking in the bushes ahead, they quickly realise that it’s a gnoll ambush and despite approaching with caution the gnolls open fire with their bows. One arrow strikes true at Floshin but is stopped by a magical barrier before it pierces the elf lord. Bruce isnt lucky enough to have such protection though and an arrow strikes through his little frame, he’s dead before he hits the floor. The heroes rapidly close with the gnolls as Lan provides covering fire from a vantage point up a tree. Fudwick, angered that the enemy had dared try and shoot his pony, charged his mount forward and leaped off at the last-minute to stab his helmet spike into a foe. The gnolls fought with such ferocity that even as they died they struck out at their slayers, but the heroes were angry over the death of Bruce and quickly stood triumphant.
Not wanting to leave the boy’s body with gnolls, Floshin took it with him vowing to see it returned to his family as originally planned. When they reached the point where Floshin needed to separate he offered the heroes a map of the ruins of Harpshield Castle and advised them to check that out first. Taking Bruce’s remains he bid them farewell and good fortune.
The heroes continued up the trade road until the light began to fade then chose a camp site off the road where they could still keep an eye out for trouble. Gedrick and Lan volunteered to split the watch, needing only minimal sleep thanks to their elven blood, with Gedrick taking first watch.
It was barely an hour after his companions had settled down that Gedrick spotted a handful of figures walking south along the road. As they got closer he could hear them speaking orcish and identified them as an orc patrol. Quietly he roused his allies, but the orcs hadn’t noticed them and passed on by. The heroes decided to leave the orcs be and settled back down, the rest of the night proving uneventful.
Next morning they continued north and as they neared the end of the woods that would give way to the hill upon which Harpshield stood they spied a lone orc stood facing a tree unaware of their approach. As the others advanced with caution Gedrick strode forward and greeted the orc in orcish, this obviously surprised it as it turned to see the newcomer while still relieving itself (Gedrick managed to step back before getting “splashed”) and began screaming “Argh! Elf!” but before its shouts could alert any others nearby Kaemri surged forward and smashed the orc in the head with his warhammer, knocking its head clear off its shoulders (using his assassinate ability and scoring enough damage to kill it outright, twice!).
The party spied the tents of an orc camp through the trees and Fudwick used his illusion cantrip to recreate the scene of the sentry’s demise on the far side of the camp and distract the handful of orcs milling around. This allowed Kaemri and Lan to kill another pair before they realised what was happening. As the remaining orcs grabbed weapons, the heroes charged into the camp.
And that was where we left it for the evening, time having defeated us once again but we’ll begin the next session with the initiative rolls. With attacks on the orcs being such a surprise (and the resulting damage being enough to easily kill in one go) they didn’t get a chance to use their Relentless ability, and earlier I had forgotten the gnolls blood frenzy until the third one died. Oh well it didn’t alter the fun of the session and to me that’s the main goal.
Looking forward to next week I think I might have a tactical map for the orc camp, re-using one of my pre-drawn ones from another campaign (or maybe digging out my wilderness dungeon tiles set, we’ll see), before they continue on to the castle ruins themselves.