Friday, March 13, 2015

Continuing Defense of Herdis - Day Three, Part One

ooc: These notes are an overview, not a session play-by-play...

ooc: Note that Jeff was not present for this session.

The previous evening, after defeating forays by large numbers of orcs, the defenders of Herdis had posted  twelve (12) night scouts to watch for possible enemy action. At approximately 5 am, only TWO of these scouts returned to the town's walls - and one had a broken leg. The cleric, Cedrik, tended to his injuries.

During the next several hours the defenders watch the Orc army attempting, and for the most part failing, to cross the smaller river bordering Herdis in two separate attempts, both of which were out of bow range of the defenders. The orcs attempted to place eight separate bridges across this river. The orcs were pathetic in their crossing attempts. Eight bridges (probably built to serve as both bridge and ladders for scaling the town's walls) were used. Three were destroyed by their efforts, two being destroyed and dislodged when the orcs dropped a large battering ram into the river. This battering ram was soon stuck in the muddy river bottom a ways downstream. The remaining bridges were left in place by the orcs, to allow the rest of their army to cross, though slowly.

The orcs did manage to get several groups across the river, though in small numbers. Rather than grouping for a massed attack, these orcs came at the town walls in groups of about 100 or so. Three waves of orcs rushed the walls. Lacking ladders, their attempted 'barrel-of-monkeys' approach failed each time, and they were easy pickings for the defenders on top of the walls.

During the middle of this third attack wave, the cleric Cedrik spotted a strange sight; he notices a group of flying orcs, grouped in a ring and wearing feathers! He sees them heading for the sacred tree in the center of Herdis. These orcs are also lugging a circular object, who's purpose is unknown. However, it looks nefarious. Fortunately, Cedrik noticed this sneak attack just in time, allowing the town's remaining archers to take the orcs out with a well-aimed volley of arrows. Because of their heavy load, the orcs are sitting ducks (almost literally!) and easily taken down. Once the carried ring crashes into the town, it is quickly destroyed.

Until around mid-morning, a total of eight orc waves have attempted to storm the walls. Each is beaten back with heavy orc losses, and minimal casualties for the defenders.

Continuing Defense of Herdis - Day Three (Continued)
ooc: all five players were present for this session!

It is mid-morning in the embattled northern town of Herdis. Eight waves of orcs, and one sneak attack, have been repulsed by the valiant defenders of Herdis.

At this point a massive storm is beginning to brew over the center of the town. Creos, with his excellent vision, has spotted a small group of Orcs near a swamp, across the smaller river near the town. To his vision, they appear to be engaged in ritual magic. Are they the cause or source of this storm? Creos informs Torleik, heir and representative of the Northmen King, of his findings. And though he seems to detest magic, Creos heads out to investigate.

Creos makes a stealthy approach to the smaller river, easily avoiding any orc sentries (the brewing storm is very distracting!), and makes it across the river, which is not too difficult for him. Spotting where his target is, Creos is within bow range of them. However the wind has been steadily increasing, and is now strong enough to make a shot from this location very difficult, at best. Using the intervening swamp for cover, along with the storm, Creos sneaks across the swamp, and still is unseen; the brewing storm is very distracting! Once he is much closer, Creos determines that the orc shaman (or whatever he is) isn't calling or causing the storm; he appears to be very frustrated, and it soon seems this orc was attempting to stop the storm (and failing). It appears likely to Creos the storm was actually interfering with the orc shaman's efforts, based on the orcs rage.

Creos also determines that getting an arrow shot off against the orc is nearly impossible - the wind from this new storm has really increased - so he returns across the swamp, then back to the river, remaining undetected (as far as he can tell) the entire way. Fearing the increasing storm, Creos makes a herculean leap across the river, covering a full one-sixth of the river's width (25 feet!), then swimming through rough, choppy waters the rest of the way. Once on land again, he runs straight to the city walls (which seems suicidal, when you consider the storm center is directly over the town). Still running, he vaults the wall in one leap (a twelve-foot high wall on an eight-foot earthen berm...), and safely returns to Herdis.

Meanwhile, this storm has been brewing and increasing in intensity; it spans the horizon, covering the entire visible sky! The ferocious winds rip off parts of one long hall, injuring several people inside (but no deaths), and causes other minor structural damage in the town.

This storm (which is definitely not a normal storm!) finally crashes, sending a spiralling black cloud into Herdis, touching ground in the central grove, near the sacred oak tree. The storm dissipates very quickly after this apparently-magical tornado touches the ground.

Where this tornado hit lays a single individual, a human male. He is barely conscious, dripping wet (soaked), and covered in seaweed (!) and bloody gore. He is dressed similar to the Norsemen present, though in a differing manner, and he is clutching a vicious-looking, well-used two-handed axe.

This new individual, Ragnar, is a human male, a Viking from the original Earth, originally from Norway or Sweden around the year 850-900 CE. Only one person present is able to speak his language, though it is a much-older (original) variation of the region's Norse tongue, the rune mage Hrolfr, who is also from that region of old Earth, but from a slightly older time period (around 800 CE). Over the remainder of the day, Hrolfr shows this newly-summoned character around the town, explains the military situation, etc. Ragnar the berserker (for that is what he is) finds himself trapped in this new world, having been summoned/brought here by some magical force. He is a skilled fighter, and is also well-trained in the martial arts (warfare, siege works, etc), having travelled extensively across old Earth. Seeing few other options, this berserker offers his sword to the commander Torleik, at least for the duration of this military campaign.

The orc army near Herdis has already been decimated by this point. The storm's appearance has (at least temporarily) demoralized them, and there are no more attacks on this day. The remainder on this side of the river are scattered, but cannot get across; the storm has destroyed what was left of their bridges! Torleik leads a cavalry sortie, and drives the orcs back towards Herdis, where the defenders easily pick them off with arrow barrages.

The Defense of Herdis appears to be over, at least for the moment. Torleik's father, leading his army, is due sometime in the following day or two.

However, the defenders notice what appears to be a lot of activity in or behind the swamps located across the larger river (on the east side of Herdis).

Torleik, Creos, Hrolfr, and Ragnar, accompanied by 13 other Northmen, make their way slightly south of Herdis. There, they convince a sea captain to launch a boat with a crew, so the party can investigate what is occurring on the east bank. The captain agrees, and with seven other sailors gets a long-boat launched. The group quickly crosses the river. Torleik and crew head out through the forest and to the swamps.

Arriving through the woods, the party first kills several alert orc sentries, barely in time to avoid their alerting other orcs in the area.

At this point the session ends.

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