Session Date: January 14, 2018
Watch the entire game session on YouTube: The Siege of Gauntlet Hall, Part 3
29 Eleasias, 1367 DR
When we last left our heroes, they were in the midst of lifting a siege from their castle, Gauntlet Hall. The besieging army — composed of orcs, ogres, and giants — have the fortification surrounded and a large force, led by the frost giant Big Grin, was attempting to breach the compound through the catacombs. Orog lieutenants riding nightmares — fiendish horses able to travel the ethereal plan — were bypassing the defending heroes’ chokepoint and dropping soldiers off in their midst.
As everything begins to hit the fan, the valiant Sword Coast Guard doubles their efforts against Big Grin’s elite orog strike force. Their battle lines are shattered and the situation looks grim, but their morale and resiliency are as high as ever.
For the sake of a good narrative, let’s just ignore Nigel invisible and hiding in the corner, shall we?
Elodin, beset by three orogs begins unleashing thunderwave after thunderwave, eventually lessening the pressure on him. Nearby, Iantorin dispatches two soldiers — eventually — and then moves to help the wizard.
Belwar, still polymorphed into a T-rex, continues to bite and tail smack the elite soldiers around him to good effect. Their greataxes do dig painfully into his flesh time and time again, but the mighty beast shrugs it off. Until the orc sorcerer appears from the ethereal plan on the back of his nightmare and drops a fireball on top of him and Cora, the cleric.
Cora is the PC of an on-call player who was standing in for Xavier who couldn’t make the session. We just did a straight swap for the game’s sake.
When the waves of fire clear, the heroes notice that the orogs in the tunnels were not harmed at all by the fireball. Not cool.
Eventually Belwar loses his T-rex form, but polymorphs again into a giant scorpion. Cora, meanwhile, frantically throws healing at her comrades. At some point when enough orogs have fallen dead before the efforts of the heroes, Nigel drops his invisibility and starts helping, too.
The bard was helping. I’m just playing up his whole hiding in the corner thing because I think it was hilarious. 🙂
After throwing a few more spells, the sorcerer doesn’t return, and the remaining orog soldiers fall to the heroes’ blades and spells.
Several minutes go by without any more attackers presenting themselves. Elodin sends his owl familiar outside to investigate and discovers about fifty orcs establishing a defensive mound around the tunnel entrance. He can see Big Grin and his personal hill giant guards moving off toward the main orc encampment.
Deciding the frost giant commander has given up assaulting the tunnels — how many loses are too many, eh? — the Sword Coast Guard stations a few dozen soldiers in the tunnels and heads to the castle to rest.
A long rest. Because by Torm’s right gauntlet, they’ve earned it.
After resting, the wizards send their familiars out to scout the orc army’s encampments. They observe Big Grin giving a scroll tube to a lone orc riding a dire wolf who then takes off at full speed to the west.
To the west.
To the Sword Mountains.
You know, where several thousand orcs are gathered and where the great Lord Paxton himself is rumored to dwell?
If you still don’t get it, talk with Nigel. He’ll sing you a pretty song or two.
Anyway, the heroes decide that an orc messenger heading west is a bad thing. They commandeer the squad of griffin riders who fly them out to intercept the messenger. They swoop down on it, easily kill it, and recover the scroll tube.
The scroll inside makes them quite happy they stopped the orc messenger.
“By Helm, they were sending for a dragon!” exclaims Iantorin. “And they were lying about what’s really happened here. That’s not right.”
The heroes have a brief discussion and recall that Lord Paxton’s emissary, Sabastian Venetia, did indeed meet them while riding a massive white dragon.
The heroes fly back to the castle and notice Big Grin in the orc encampment. The frost giant commander is watching their flight back to the castle and cursing them loudly.
Shortly thereafter, the heroes notice a group of orcs guarded by ogres heading to the west. Apparently Big Grin is trying again to send for reinforcements.
Predictably, the heroes catch a ride with the griffin riders and fly to intercept the group. However, as they approach, Elodin — who can now see into the ethereal plane — notices a massive force gathered on that plane: the orc sorcerer, the orc lieutenants, two hill giants, Big Grin, and the orc general who is known as the Hand. The orcs are all mounted on their nightmares, ready to shift the entire force to the Prime Material plan just as soon as the heroes engage the orcs and ogres.
The heroes pull up briefly and discuss their next move. They realize the ambush may very well prove overwhelming for them, but it’s also their chance to take out the frost giant commander and the general over the orc army.
It’s a risk they have to take.
Elodin drops a wall of fire on the orcs and ogres, and Belwar follows that up with a fireball. And then the orcs, nightmares, and giants in the ethereal plane shift into the Prime Material plane, and the fight is on.
This battle lasted for about four hours at the table. I can’t possibly hope to capture everything here, but I’ll try to get some highlights.
First, the heroes discovered the difficulty with aerial fighting. It didn’t take long for their enemies to begin attacking the griffins, dropping them to the ground. (In the end, only one griffin survived.)
Next, many of them — and some of the orc lieutenants — discovered that falling to the ground from a hundred or more feet in the air hurts. A lot.
Iantorin spent much of the battle engaging the ogres and Big Grin. Elodin moved about the battlefield flinging high-budget spells such as wall of fire.
The orc sorcerer was tearing the heroes up with lightning bolts and other nasty spells. Until, that is, Cora paralyzed him with hold person and the companions took him down.
Belwar spent much of the fight as a T-rex, tearing into hill giants and orc lieutenants. It’s worth noting, too, that Belwar lost control of a fire elemental he summoned, and the monster went on a rampage against the heroes.
Nigel, meanwhile was — you guessed it — invisible (greater invisibility this time) and throwing mostly cantrips at his enemies.
Many of the heroes fell to the ground several times, dying, before they were saved by a well-timed healing spell (thanks, Cora) or a healing potion administered by a comrade.
The tide of battle shifted back and forth several times, but mostly favored the enemies. Most of the battle was characterized by the heroes just managing to survive. That is, until Nigel “arrived.”
You see, Nigel is often maligned, criticized, and blamed for a good many things. There’s the whole Lady Tharmar incident and the demon-spawned children, of course. There’s the incident with the hag’s candy and the bard’s odd addiction to it. And the list goes on. However, one cannot deny that he has his moments.
In a move of sheer genius — and, frankly, uncharacteristic bravery — Nigel strides forward into the midst of the orcs, ogres, and giants and unleashes a new spell he’s learned: destructive wave.
And in the flash of an eye, half of the enemies are decimated and their corpses flung to the ground.
Nigel the Savior. That’s what his comrades should call him. (But they won’t.)
In the end, all of enemies are defeated, except for two hill giants who flee to the west. Belwar did die during the encounter, but Iantorin quickly revivifies him. After looting their corpses, the heroes fly back to the castle.
3 Eleint, 1367 DR
Over the next few days, the heroes observe the orc army implode. One clan slaughters another and heads off to the north. Another attempts an attack on the castle and is destroyed. And then the remaining clan retreats to the west.
In the end, the siege of Gauntlet Hall is ended, and the Sword Coast Guard are hailed as heroes once again.
In the remains of the orc encampment they discover a map of the Sword Mountains showing several strategic locations of the remaining orc forces, and several documents giving them critical information that should come in handy.
But those are adventures for another day!
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