Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sertorius Campaign: Orcs of the North

We started a new Sertorius campaign a few weeks ago, set far to the North in the region around Atroxis. The game is being run by Bill Butler with 6-7 players. I am going to attempt to describe the campaign events but because I am a player I am going by memory and do not have access to the GM notes. People have asked what a typical session is like, so hopefully this helps give them some idea. 

The game began in Neoda, a settlement under the control of the orc King Malka who has united all the orc tribes in the area. Malka and his followers worship Ozias, who resides on the isle of Atroxis and can raise the dead. Our group was called to Neoda to help the King acquire two ancient crowns believed to be on a small island further north inhabited by giants and trolls. 

The party was mainly Orcish, consisting of the following Sertori:

-Enos Ozihel (my character), an Orc who worships Ozias.

-Poro, a Kobold tradesmen. 

-Shillek, a Halfling from the Shahr Republic who has business in the North. 

-Orto Turanus, a one-armed Orc scholar from Caelum. 

-Aetos, an Orc Tribesman.

-Ah-Sri, a Hasri raised by Humans in Ronia. 

-Varia, a Human from East. 

In Neoda we met with one of King Malka's grand-daughters who had a number of soldiers under her command. She told us the King needed Sertori to retrieve the crowns and it would involve a long expedition to the north through troll and giant infested lands. The rewards were plentiful and generous so we agreed and set out by ship with the King's grand-daughter and about 12 soldiers. 

We arrived on the Northern Island, where Malka had a small outpost of men. They gave us food and shelter for the night, then we continued north through the snow following a map the King's grand-daughter had obtained prior to meeting us. 

It was only hours to reach the spot where we believed the crowns were located, but it was dangerous. We were nearly engulfed by an avalanche but were mostly saved by the quick thinking of Shillek who used an earth moving spell to redirect the snow before it engulfed us completely. Still many men were injured. A few hours later we came upon a band of giants, but managed to hide ourselves and they trekked around us. Later we found a village of giants. Before we had set out, I had performed a divination and had a vision of a friendly village of giants. Thinking this might be it, we entered the village. 

The village elder offered us food and shelter. We learned about the other local giant tribes from him (most of them were hostile and enjoyed Orc meat). We also learned that the spot we sought was a tomb, with a strange curse upon that killed anyone who entered. 

We then set out and made our way to the tomb. Poro used the spell Servitor to create a scout and sent him into the tomb after we had torn down the entrance. He traveled far, about seven miles and eventually found a door we believed was significant. However when we went in ourselves we quickly learned that just being in the tomb drained out bodies, making us ill. We spent a while strategizing, thinking of ways around the problem. Eventually it was agreed two of us would go in to toward the door where the Servitor had reached regardless of the consequences. Aetos and Enos both agreed to go. Before descending, Ah-Sri cast Taiboon's Magic Emblems (a spell from the first Book of the Archon which should be out in the next couple of months) to grant us Beast Strength. 

We ran as fast as we could to the door, thankfully both rolling 10s on our Endurance rolls. However the journey drained us, depleting our health permanently the further we went. It was as if something in the tomb was sucking the life from our bodies. We reached the door, but greatly weakened. The Servitor was still there and the three of us smashed down the entrance. Inside we saw two crystal sarcophagi that contained trolls, surrounded by walls with ancient writing and symbols that vaguely resembled images of the god Ramos. Clearly it was quite ancient, possibly from before the time of the Ogre Kingsoms. One had a crown of gold. We could sense this was where our life was being pulled. 

The Servitor smashed the first sarcophagus open, and I took the crown from the troll. It awakened and immediately attacked. Aetos used Bolt of Fury and despite blasting a hole through its chest, the Troll continued to smash the Servitor. I stepped back and fired an arrow (not having any combat spells) striking the Troll. The servitor then set to work smashing open the second Sarcophagus. The Troll then pounded Aetos with his fist. Aetos cast another bolt but missed. I struck with another arrow. 

The Troll grabbed the Servitor and crushed him against a wall, breaking him up into bits. Aetos cast another bolt, but this time at the crystal sarcophagus, which caused it to shatter. I saw a small crown of smoke around the second troll's head (this one apparently a female) and grabbed it as well. As the second troll awakened, the first slammed its hands into Aetos caving in his ribs and killing him. I ran as fast as I could toward the entrance to the tomb. 

The first troll was injured and stayed behind, but the newly awakened female troll chased me down the tunnel for about a mile. We resolved this through several Speed rolls and one Endurance roll. I managed to just stay ahead of the troll and tired her out enough that I was able to escape. But I had lost much of my health. 

I told the others what happened and we agreed we should go back in to kill the trolls, get Aetos' body and hopefully find a way to restore my health. 

Once inside we realized that destroying the crystal sarcophagi eliminated the life draining effect of the tomb. Orto cast Cold Furious Gaze on the female troll, which held her in place while the soldiers finished her off. The second troll we surrounded and speared. 

Several hours later my health started to return. Before setting back to the ship with the two crowns I decided to cast a spell called Awakened Death (also from Book of the Archon) on Aetos' body. This brings back the recently departed as undead and sends them against one enemy of your choice. Not having any enemies of my own, I asked Malka's grand-daugher if the King had anyone he needed destroyed. She mentioned an impending invasion of Caelum, so we raised Aetos as a ghoul and commanded him to kill General Brogustu. 

This measure might seem a harsh way to deal with a fallen comrade, but where our characters are from, the local god is a Lich, and raising him as an undead to perform one last task for the King was a kind of honor. 

We then returned to the friendly village of giants, where we talked the Elder into migrating his people to our lands, where they could serve as elite soldiers for King Malka and be given good land. After that we set sail for Neoda. 

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