Reading the note from the General the group realized that they needed to begin preparations for this threat. But what they needed more than anything was information. Where were the Orcs? How many were there? How tough would they be?
It was decided that Fish would stay in Makori to help with the preparations for it’s defense. This should just be a simple scouting mission, find the enemy, judge the enemy, return. And feeling confident after their last few encounters they thought it should all be easy.
After a few days of travel they were moving along when they heard the roar of the Orcs coming. Not sure what they were dealing with the group tried to take cover and hide in the forest next to the road. When they saw 3 huge Orcs, and a number of other large ones coming down the road it was clear that these were not ordinary Orcs. And then the biggest Orc pointed at where they hid and yelled something about Elvish scum, and the whole Orc force charged.
Well, let’s just say that there are times when you accidentally leave yourself no choice but to employ some Deues Ex Machina. I rally thought the party would make short work of the Savage Orcs I put together. Turns out they were a lot tougher than I thought. The buffs I gave them were overwhelming. It was very much touch and go.
Fortunately they boys got into a position where I could come up with a reason for the Orcs to just take off, leaving the party behind. I savaged them so bad, I had to let them recover before the next encounter. Part of it was the absence of their cleric of course, but I think it was clearly an error on my part in overdoing it.
The same thing happened with the second encounter, I again had to maneuver some things so that they could escape near certain death. Of course it will all fit into the overall story though. I wanted them to realize that this threat is very real, that they stand only a very small chance. And I think I made that very clear.
I am also a little unclear about some of the boys ability to handle the new game once this ends. I was giving them a little talk yesterday about things they need to start thinking about and all I got was blank faces. There is a point when it becomes clear that some of your players are having a hard time thinking of their characters as anything besides a collection of spells, attacks and magic items. We will just have to wait and see, and hope that they can surprise me.
Bobjon responded to the charge of the Orcs with a usual fireball. Which scorched the Orcs some, but did not slow down their charge. And when Belial and Kathren moved to meet that charge they were surprised by the power and ferocity of the Orcs. Belial brought forth a great monster to help the group, but it only slowed the Orcs a little.
Belial was the first to fall to the Orcs Axes. Then eventually Kathren also fell. Bobjon turned himself and his monster invisible in defense. The Orcs, caught up in their rage, moved on without pausing to do anything with the dead. Bobjon was able to then revive the other two and get them set up in the woods.
Which is where they were, when, just before dawn a group of bugbears bearing 2 axes apiece leaped from cover and attacked. Kathren was immediately engaged, and soon Belial joined in the fray. And then Teodra made her appearance known with a pair of her own fireballs. Bobjon tried to capture her, but his spell was foiled by the attacks of the Bugbears.
Then Teodra gained control of Bobjon instead, causing him to cast a fireball of his own on his companions and the bugbears. Knocking both Kathren and Belial to the ground. But Bobjon’s summoned monster was able to attack Teodra, dazing her and knocking her down, freeing Bobjon. Bobjon was then able to unleash a spell of Fear to chase off the bugbears who had begun to carry off the 2 warriors. Teodra made her escape, vowing to herself that next time she would vanquish these Elves.
The group stumbled back to Makori, barely alive and reeling from their battles. It was now clear that the Orcs were not the weak ones they had fought when they were young. It would take supreme effort to defeat the invaders, or at least hold them off until the Dragon Clan army could come to the rescue.