Sword Coast Guard, Episode 17 – The Siege of Gauntlet Hall, Part 1

Session Date: December 3, 2017

28 Eleasias, 1367 DR

When we last left our heroes, they had just rescued the true Lady Nellabee Tharmar from the clutches of a succubus and her demonic offspring. Shortly thereafter, they learned that Gauntlet Hall – the castle they annexed from the White Knights – is under siege.

Following the instructions of the courier, the Sword Coast Guard heads to Castle Waterdeep to meet with Tzarrakyn the Younger about a supposed siege on Gauntlet Hall. It being late at night, the heroes wake him from his slumber in his quarters.

Tzarrakyn tells them that news came in that morning that orcs and giants had laid siege to Gauntlet Hall two days ago. He doesn’t have any more details and asks them if he can count on them to break the siege.

Iantornin loudly proclaims that they will indeed do that and Elodin mumbles, “Yeah, I mean it is our castle after all.” Tzarrakyn tells them to meet him on the morrow and one of the War Wizards will teleport them to Gauntlet Hall.

29 Eleasias, 1367 DR

After taking their rest in the Safehaven Inn, the heroes meet Tzarrakyn and Linar of the War Wizards in the morning. Linare explains that because she is only familiar with Gauntlet Hall, there are risks involved with teleporting there. Namely, they might not end up at their actual destination. He heroes accept the risks, and Linare casts her spell.

The Sword Coast Guard then finds themselves at Gauntlet Hall — but outside its west wall. Worse, to the west, they can see a whole mess of orcs swarming behind a fortified ditch and embankment.

The heroes head to the wall where they are challenged by the Waterdhavian soldier in charge. Despite explaining who they are, the soldier doesn’t seem to believe them.

Nigel attempts to persuade the soldier with music — it fails — and Elodin complains under his breath about the indignity of being refused entrance to their own castle.

Ultimately, the soldier tells them to go around to the gate and he’ll get Civiliar Casey who’s in charge. Casey meets them at the gate and the heroes are immediately allowed entrance through the sally port.

Xavier loudly begins to file a complain against the soldier who challenged them, but Iantorin silences him. “Later! There are more important matters to attend to at this time.”

The heroes and Casey go to the war room where other Waterdhavian officers are gathered and receive a summary of the situation.

Orcs and giants have set up fortified lines — ditches and spiked embankments — to the west and east of the castle along the ridge that the castle is built upon. A couple hundred orcs are behind each line. Then, to the south lies the main encampment of orcs, some five hundred of the foul beasts.

That morning catapults manned by teams of giants were set up behind the west line, and to the south they’ve spotted a massive battering ram covered by an iron roof. Currently the orcs are preparing to assault the castle, likely waiting until the catapults and battering ram have opened breaches in the castle walls.

Bjoern, an experience officer who’s much more competent than Casey, tells them that the orcs are operating with precision and coordination completely alien to their race. The heroes immediately suspect someone (or something) must be leading them, and Bjoern tells them that specks of fire have been spotted in the night sky above the castle the last two nights.

After a period of speculation, the heroes determine it’s possible that the leaders of the besieging army have access to nightmares, fiendish horses from the Abyss, and ride them over the castle at night for reconnaissance.

One of the men in the room, Mizela Faust, is no solider but a War Wizard. The obese man explains to them that he can cast a spell on them that will make them appear as orcs — or anything for that matter — for the next eight hours.

The Sword Coast Guard spends some time strategizing with Bjoern and Casey, trying to determine how to defeat the siege without fighting the entire army gathered outside. They believe that striking at the leader is definitely needed, but they also need to sow enough discord or defeat in the army to cause them to abandon the cause.

Then a soldier enters the room, out of breath. “It’s begun,” he says. “The battering ram has begun its approach.” And at the moment the entire castle shakes and there is a thunderous sound from the west.

“And those must be the catapults,” Bjoern says.

Frantic, Casey turns to the heroes. “Can you stop the battering ram?” she pleads.

“Of course we can!” proclaims Iantorin. “We’re the Sword Coast Guard.”

“Sword Coast Guard!” the other heroes shout, fists held high in the air.

After the wizard Mizela casts his spell, making them all appear as orcs, the heroes leave through the sally port to find the battering ram — a massive iron contraption covered by an iron canopy — slowly plodding along toward the castle gates, pushed by three giants easily twice as tall as a man. Behind the giants are half a dozen orcs bearing tower shields.

Elodin immediately casts a spell, turning the ground in front of the battering ram into a pit of mud. The front third of the siege weapon dips into the mud, and the two lead giants fall in and begin floundering about.

As the orc guard begins streaming forward, Nigel casts entangle with his fancy new magical bandalore — courtesy of the “real” Lady Tharmar — and stops five of them cold as roots wrap around them.

Belwar (supposedly a necromancer) polymorphs into a brontosaurus and charges into the fray, stomping and tail swiping the foes before him. Xavier follows and brings his enchantyed blizzard sword to bear against the entangled orcs. Iantorin, meanwhile, sticks close to Nigel and Elodin to protect the more vulnerable members.

One of the giants hits Elodin with a hurled rock, dealing severe damage to the frail human. However, things mostly go in favor of the heroes, and in short order they dispatch their foes.

With the battering ram crew dead — only giants would be able to move machinery that massive — and orc worg riders streaming at them, the heroes retreat back through the sally port into the castle. But not before Belwar creates four orc zombies from the corpses.

Finally the necromancer has arrived!

The orc army seems to take a collective breath at the loss, but soon the catapult crews resume their assault on the walls.

The Sword Coast Guard briefly discusses their next move and finally determines that they must take out the catapult crews, otherwise the western wall will come down within a few hours. So, they travel through Gauntlet Hall’s crypts and exit from a secret entrance half a mile to the north. There they begin to move around to the rear of the orc lines where the catapults are.

However, they run into an orc dire wolf patrol on the way. The heroes, still appearing to be orcs, try to bluff their way past the patrol as they are inquiring as to their injuries. They are doing quite well until Xavier opens his mouth and ruins it all. The orcs become increasingly suspicious until finally Iantorin, having tired of the charade, attacks them.

The battle is short; the orcs stand no chance against the powerful Sword Coast Guard. Xavier attempts to claim one of the dire wolves as his own, but Belwar’s zombies, unable to understand the eldritch knight’s intensions, rip it to pieces.

The heroes then arrive to the rear of the orc lines and begin discussing their plan for getting past the orcs and disabling the catapults. The conversation drags on for about ten minutes before a group of orcs approach them.

“What’s this?” one of them growls. “The Boss said everyone was to be at the front for the assault.”

“We just came from the north,” Iantorin says in orc. “We were ambushed by the enemy. We defeated them, but there could be more.”

The orcs’ eyes go wide. “Damned weakling humans! Come on. We got to tell the Boss about this.”

The orcs insist the heroes go with them, but Nigel feigns having been poisoned during the ambush and begins vomiting all over the ground. The orcs, disgusted and thinking it might be contagious, allow the bard and Elodin to remain behind.

Interesting how the two characters who CAN’T speak orc remain behind… Also the two squishiest characters… All alone… Hey, I’m the DM. I don’t question such fortuitous turns of events…

The Xavier, Iantorin, Belwar, and the latter’s four orc zombies, are then escorted to the Boss who turns out to be a towering frost giant, easily twenty feet tall. Two massive winter wolves, beasts purposed to breathe cones of cold and be raised by frost giants as pets, lounge nearby. But a few yards away are four gigantic catapults manned by ogres.

The orcs push the heroes forward. “These ones say the humans ambushed them to the north.”

The frost giant glares at the Sword Coast Guard for several moments, looming over them as he sizes them up. “Well, give your report then!”

The Sword Coast Guard

the adventurers formerly known as the Heroes of Gold, Glory, and Girls

Not photoed: Iantorin Mournsoul - Half-Elven Paladin of Helm

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