The most recent map is in Round 7, but there is little else to show. You can see into the tower. Rubble has fallen inside of it as well as outside. There is a stair that starts to your right and winds up along the wall. You cannot see the Orcs from your position, but you are prevented from moving within by the stinking cloud (unless you want to test the saving throw!)
Takashi - Listend to ATACIUS, and nods. "Beware the top, my friend." (to Claudia), "Well done, Claudia! Keep calm and stay centered. Be ready for a counter attack." What will you do now? TAKASHI will stay ready at the doorway in case an orc tries to wade through the cloud of noxious fumes.
Atacius - He rushes to his comrades. "TAKASHI it's done. I can climb the tower with a rope and secure it so you can go up." Is that what you intend on doing? (Yes, climb and secure a rope so Takashi can climb too)
Callin - "Good to have you at our side again TAKASHI, CLAUDIA has done well in your stead! I don't wish to explore that nasty cloud, how should we proceed?" CALLIN asks while looking up the tower looking for possible attackers from windows/arrow slits.
Graian - "I think there are only a couple left, I only hear one chanting in the tower, assume another is blowing the horn, however, more will be coming." What will you do?
Claudia - nods in a shaky, but grim manner. "T..th.. thank you, Master. What do we do now?"
PCs: Michael S (chgowiz) rolled 1d6 for a total of 1
DM: Michael S (chgowiz) rolled 1d6 for a total of 6
"Good to have you at our side again TAKASHI, CLAUDIA has done well in your stead! I don't wish to explore that nasty cloud, how should we proceed?" CALLIN asks while looking up the tower looking for possible attackers from windows/arrow slits.
"Well done, Claudia! Keep calm and stay centered. Be ready for a counter attack." TAKASHI says. He stays ready at the doorway in case an orc tries to wade through the cloud of noxious fumes.
Claudia nods in a shaky, but grim manner. "T..th.. thank you, Master. What do we do now?" She stands ready next to TAKASHI, mimicking his readiness.
"I think there are only a couple left, I only hear one chanting in the tower, assume another is blowing the horn, however, more will be coming." GRAIAN warns.
ATACIUS rushes to his comrades. "TAKASHI it's done. I can climb the tower with a rope and secure it so you can go up."
TAKASHI listens and nods to ATACIUS. "Beware the top, my friend."
ATACIUS scrambles up the side of the tower, the broken and old stones sticking out make it easy for the nimble thief to get to a point where he can peek in.
ATACIUS, you are roughly where the the second floor of the tower used to be. Anything above this floor has fallen away. There are pieces of the second story floor still attached to the sides of the tower, but the majority of it has fallen to the first floor. You can see an Orc blowing his horn, just where the stairs come to the second floor. Another Orc is right behind him, with his sword. He's muttering a prayer that you catch only words from: "Moloch..." "die..." "blood..." You start to attach the rope to what seems to be a sturdy piece of the wall. (@Gabriel Perez Gallardi please roll a d6).
Something about what ATACIUS is doing alerts the Orc blowing the horn to his presence.
ATACIUS rolled 1d6 for a total of 3
"They are coming over the wall!" he grunts, pointing to the littleling. "We are surrounded! You know what we must do."
They look at each and nod. The Orc holding the sword strikes out, slashing the throat of the horn blower. It slumps to its knees, dropping the horn. The horn rolls down the stairs, making a hollow tink-tink-tink sound.
The Orc then glares at you. "Moloch curse you, soulless one. You will not imprison and enslave the free. God will embrace me in death and I will feast on your bones in Heaven!" It then plunges the sword directly into it's chest. It groans in pain, and then slumps over.
ATACIUS leans over the ruined battlements and shouts "They've killed themselves! It's over!" He then carefully approaches the dead Orc.
To do that, you'll have to roll over the ruined chunk of the wall and come down into the interior. Let's see what the dice have to say about this... if you want to do it. Your thief/spidey sense might be tingling that this wall is secure, but you're starting to wonder now just how secure it is...
Hmmm... guess I'll just shout without the leaning over. :)
It's not the leaning over. It's the crossing over the top of the ruined wall, and climbing down the other side to check the Orcs. You didn't see how unstable the wall was from the outside, but you can see it from looking inside. It's enough that you'd be leery of it, unless your life depended on getting away...
I'll just climb down then.
Just as you get to the bottom, the piece of wall that you had been at, and attached the rope to, goes crashing down on the inside. The rope end near TAKASHI goes flying up and disappears into the tower. A cloud of dust and small rocks comes rushing out of the tower as well as rising through the open top, with a loud rumble. Bits of stone continue to rain down for a minutes after.
Claudia looks at ATACIUS with her mouth open wide. "Did that... just... did you...?"
"Yeah... well, you know, that's how littlelings deal with these orcs." he says dusting of his clothes. "Or I was just lucky!" he adds with a broad smile.
Claudia looks at TAKASHI and CALLIN, her face clearly asks the question "Is he kidding me or not?". Then she sobers up and gulps. "Did you mean it... they .... took their lives? Why?"
TAKASHI: "To avoid giving us any further information about their force, no doubt. They are dedicated to a cause, that much is assured."
END OF COMBAT
TAKASHI: "While I would love to spend more time here, I think it would be best for us to be on our way now, and quickly. If any others are around, they are surely heading this way after hearing the call."
ATACIUS: "It will be dark soon and there's nowhere to spend the night but this place."
Indeed, ATACIUS is correct. The bottom of the sun is touching the horizon. The plaintive horn call still seems to echo and roll through the footfills to your northwest, north and northeast.
The fires that the orcs had in the courtyard near the keep's buildings have stopped smouldering smoke, only little puffs and small wisps can be seen now.
ATACIUS: "If we're staying here we need to bring in the mounts, bury the bodies and rekindle those fires. It's going to be a cold night." He will then search the dead orcs for anything useful.
TAKASHI: "All right. Let's get moving, then. I'd also like to move some of the defensive works to fortify the entrance a bit, if we have the time."
@Joseph Schnurr - were you about to do something? I'll hold off pending anything you want to do.)
CALLIN: "Yes let is prepare for nightfall. TAKSHI should we move the prisoners deeper into the keep? Perhaps we can use them as bartering chips should we be laid seige"
TAKASHI casts his eyes down towards the courtyard, avoiding the priest's gaze.
TAKASHI: "There are no prisoners, brother. You do not know these beasts... like I do. They have destroyed my world once already, and I will not allow them to do so again. You saw with your own eyes in the abandoned hamlet what they do to those they defeat, and they deserve none of your sympathy nor compassion. The gods they follow are dark, vicious, and ever thirst for more blood."
GRAIAN: "Indeed, Orcs are beast, there is no room for compassion where they are concerned. I will take watch, I fear that horn will bring more." He looks for the most advantages spot to watch from among the ruins.
Claudia remains quiet, glancing back at the tower and then over to the bodies of the Orcs in the courtyard. "Master." she says softly. "Do we have to stay here... with them?" her voice trembles a bit.
ATACIUS after searching the bodies will start piling rubble to bury them where they lay.
ATACIUS, close to where they are laying, near one of the fires, you find a small, crudely built, iron banded chest. Obviously orc-made, looking very strong, with a lock on it of Orcish design.
ATACIUS will check the chest seizing the last rays of sunlight.
This chest looks as secure as any chest you have seen before. Orc craftsmanship is reknown in weaponsmithing, but they clearly also have a mastery of blacksmithing.... and of imposing looking locks! This lock has what looks like an intricate interior. This is going to take some work to get open.
ATACIUS: "Hmmm... we better take it as it is and try to open it later, with better light in a more comfortable place."
CALLIN: Nods at TAKASHI in understanding, his eyes are sad "I understand your pain brother. But we are not Orcs...We are men, and better men than they are. My heart hurts for you my friend. Let the LIGHT guide you, let it wash away your pain. Let it cast away the darkness in your heart." Callin then steps forward and places his hand upon TAKASHI's shoulder. "Raise your eyes brother. I still stand with you. You have shown me that I must help you heal the pain in which the darkness has caused you...." CALLIN pauses "Now let us prepare for the night."
TAKASHI considers CALLIN's words carefully, and reflects on their meaning.
TAKASHI: "I will always try to do good by your beliefs, CALLIN, though I will often fall short. Know that when I do, it is only because I am taking a different path than you."
He looks towards Claudia, and notes her concern.
TAKASHI: "These will no longer harm us, nor those we care for. We will bury them where they lie, and then be done with it."
(If ATACIUS chooses to investigate the chest, I'll assume it's before you begin to deal with the orc bodies unless Gabriel wants to do it differently.)
Claudia nods and, although green around the gills, goes to help ATACIUS pile rubble over them.
Just as sun is about to fully dip below the horizon, a sound rolls from the northwest.
It rolls low through the hills but the echo is clear.
TAKASHI, you have heard this sound before. However you remember it, in your nightmares, in the memories darkest, you have heard the sounds of Orc war drums before.
Claudia looks at ATACIUS. "That's not good, is it?" she asks in a low voice.
ATACIUS: "Unless it's the sound of thunder, it isn't. Looks like we've disturbed the wasp's nest." answers the littleling in the same tone.
TAKASHI: "Are you all sure you wish to remain here in a known location? I do not like the sound of those drums."
CALLIN: "Indeed it sounds as if their bretheren are coming. And by the sound, a lot of them. I wonder if attempting to confront an army is the wise option."
The sun slips below the horizon, but the drum does not let up. The foothills echo the drums well enough that at some point, the sound seems to be all around you.
Claudia shivers and stands next to TAKASHI. "Master... what do we do if we're going to stay? Do you wish me to go to the entrance with you and help you?"
TAKASHI looks to ATACIUS, GRAIAN, and CALLIN.
TAKASHI: "I think that if we stay here tonight, then we will not be able to leave tomorrow. If we make our best time now back towards Appleton, we should be relatively safe. Otherwise, we risk getting surrounded in the decaying walls and this will be our final standing place."
CALLIN: "Agreed, are the Orcs good at tracking? I would not wish to lead them back to Appleton....perhaps we lead them to Anthenum and let them deal with the slugs and various other creatures of that pit"
GRAIAN: "We should leave quickly, while I am OK, you cannot compete with the Orcs at night. As for tracking, like us depends on who is with them, We should not go directly to Appletone, I agree, but not sure about leading them to Athenum, that may put Apsuna and family at some risk. We also want to go back there.Let's leave and we can work on the details as we go, we should get as much distance between us and the Orcs as possible."
OK, which direction do you want to go. You have less than an hour of enough light to move by. At the end of 6 turns, you'll be at 1/2 your normal move rate to avoid any problems... and you run the risk of getting lost. There is no moon in my campaign. The starshine is enough to see about 10 feet at max around you.
ATACIUS: We take the chest with us. Also we know roughly where the sun set, so we can set our direction S-SE to reach the Appleton area. "Let's ride in a single file to hide how many we are."
You leave the ruined keep and set off in the SSW direction, that you can see in the waning light.
After an hour, darkness has taken over. TAKASHI and CALLIN are finding it difficult to move quickly, as they can only see about 10' ahead while moving. To see further, they have to stop, wait for their eyes to adjust and focus, then look ahead. GRAIAN and ATACIUS have no problems, but they have to move as fast as the humans (and horses) can in the dark.
The drumming stopped shortly after the sun set beyond the horizon, but the rolling echoes can be heard for a little while after. The cold wind begins to be felt on your faces and hands as the Winter night sets in.
TAKASHI: "Tonight will be a long and cold night, but I think it may be better to keep moving if possible. Claudia, how are you faring?"
Claudia looks exhausted, her teeth chattering and her battleaxe and bow forgotten behind her in favor for the thin blanket she's wrapped herself in behind you.
"Fff..f...f....fine, Mmm...m.mm..m.Master!" she responds.
TAKASHI looks to the others after hearing Claudia's reply. She is cold and he worries for her health in this weather.
TAKASHI: "What do the rest of you think? Should we make camp here and build a fire to stave off the cold? We should be able to outpace any warband on our mounts in the morning."
CALLIN: "Perhaps stopping to Camp would be wise. However I worry about lighting a fire. It would simply be a beacon to the Orcs. I will happly lend my blankets to Claudia and make due with my armor and cloak this night." CALLIN ponders for a moment.... "No better yet, we will call on the LIGHT to aid us. Find us a good spot for camp. The LIGHT shall provide more warmth than the largest of fires! I will need time for prayer, but we will be warm this night."
Yep, that'll be fine. Keeping two of you together, with one with the spell, that will work. that allows you to switch off, while they sleep snuggled up. Trust me, when it's cold and you're camping outside in primitive conditions (ie, no sleeping bag, only a heavy wool blanket and the clothes you're wearing), you learn that you have no modesty and no limitations on who you spoon with. (Boulder Outdoor Survival School - the 14 day class, if you're interested. Gave me whole new perspective on outdoor adventures. )
GRAIAN, since you will not be sleeping well through the night, you do not recover spells. (It's not easy sleeping like that). But 4 of you make it just fine through the night. CALLIN, you will be at some penalties through the day should you be in combat or need to exert yourself. You are exhausted!
The morning dawns and you see that you indeed did go southeast... or at least in a different direction than the one you came in, when you were by the foothills! The grasslands stretch across the horizon to the south, with the foothills doing the same to the north and the Oreterra Mountains behind them.
CALLIN is in a daze, Obviously exhausted, he will look to follow the groups directions. "Praise to the Light!" he mumbled as he stumbles up to his horse to prepair for the days ride.
So, we struggle through the night in uncomfortable cold, and the dawn breaks.
TAKASHI: "Perhaps we should go to Skalfier and warn someone. Perhaps they could send someone to the keep, if any are there that feel it is still their duty to protect these lands. And if the orcs manage to follow us, at least the city proper has walls and guards."
Claudia thinks hard for a moment, then looks at TAKASHI. "If so, I should go back to Appleton to warn the village and get Tobias."
TAKASHI: "I would not let any of us travel alone here in the wilderlands, Claudia. However, you make a good point. CALLIN, ATACIUS, and GRAIAN - how about you three head to Skalfier and contact those you think might be most helpful. The temple, the guild, others you might think of. Claudia and I will return to Appleton and warn the village, get TOBIAS, and meet you in Skalfier. If Claudia and I pass by the Atheneum, we might also warn Apsuna."
CALLIN: "That sounds like a wise idea."
ATACIUS will take the chest to Skalfier to open it and see what's in it. Maybe there's some clue or something interesting about these Orcs. Perhaps Notebana will know something useful.
GRAIAN: "Be careful, both for yourselves and Appleton. Might be best if you do got Athenum first, if the Orcs are tracking you that maight confuse them a little and Apsuna will be wanred, although she probabaly knows or will before they get there. Come on Callin let's find you a warm place to rest."
ATACIUS, your map shows (although I didn't draw it on the players map) the road that leads from the Keep to Skalfier. Although you believe you have a general idea of where you are in relation to Mount Keep, you can see that no matter where you're at if you head east, you should hit the road. You figure probably less than a day, but it all depends on how travel goes. Do you all wish to stay together to get to the road, or do you wish to split up now? Since this is new to you all, where you're at, there is a chance of getting lost. It's mainly time - takes a bit longer to head east, then south to Appleton/Skalfier, but you'll probably not get lost. But... there's no harm in getting lost! I'm just offering a couple of options - maybe you have others?
ATACIUS thinks it's better to stick together and head SE unitl we hit the road between Skalfier and Skalfier Keep. Then we split.