It was a solemn greeting at the Northern gates of Thundertree. The first snows had fallen, an the white veil had already covered a great deal of the land. In the not-so-far distance, a great black mass peaked over the horizon. The orcs were upon them.
According to scouts, the army was great in number, heavily fortified, and well-supplied. There were a few ogres and other creatures among the group, but their exact number couldn’t be distinguished. They were less than an hour’s march from here.
As the meeting convened, and the officials began delegating how the groups would be formed, there was a great gust of wind as powerful wings flapped above. As the villagers looked up, terrified, a blue dragon descended upon the town square, nearly toppling buildings as she did so. Women and children screamed, and the men took up arms.
The mayor of the town shouts, “Dragon! What business have you with us?” He trembles, and it is obvious he is close to wetting himself. The guards stand in front of him to protect him, but anyone who knows anything about dragons knows that it is futile, for the guards are not built to withstand the might of anything stronger than an owlbear.
If the players do not explain, the dragon booms, “Silence! How dare you disrespect me. I, who have come to save your wretched lives! You should pay me tribute, not stand there quivering.”
Baaza interrupts, saying, “The dragon is with us.”
Here, a guards interjects, “Sir! The orcs will be here in a short time! We must hurry!”
Eyeing the dragon, the mayor shakily clears his throat. “V-very well.”
The dwarf master from the Blue Lionshield Guild approaches the dragon, and dares stare straight into the beast’s eyes. The villagers catch their breath collectively, and for a minute, it is tense. The blue beast squints at the dwarf, expecting some form of aggression. Instead, the master dwarf puts his hands on his hips and says, “Well met, dragon!” He laughs heartily.
The dragon blinks, and a character with a DC 18 Perception check catches a glimpse of the dragon’s smile. Adalina reaches a claw forward and blows her head slightly. he dwarf grabbed the massive talon with both hands and shook it in greeting. “Well met, indeed, dwarf. My name is Adalina.”
“Aye, so it is then! But we be concerned, dragon. What possessed a creature of your grace to assist us with our problem? Do ye’ expect a payment afterward?”
“I am simply returning a favor,” Adalina says, her eyes flashing to Raven’s Watch. This does not go unnoticed by the dwarf, and he, too, glances at the party. He grins, and looks back at the dragon before him.
“Or might be you don’t think we need help, but ye’ just wanted to bash a few orcs, eh!”
This brought a cheer from a majority of the crowd.
“You are a strange one, dwarf. I would very much like to trade stories with you once this is over,” Adalina said smoothly.
“Aye, but the meetin’ ye asked for can wait until a few orcs are killed!” the guild master agreed. Adalina nodded, and put on a curious face as he looked past the dwarf to the formally retired guard captain.
The old man was just beginning to don his armor. With every piece he put on—the greaves, the breastplate, the pauldrons—he grew more confident. He strapped on his sword belt and breathed a sigh of relief. “Even if the orcs attacked now, I know that if I fall, I will die a warrior.” He slipped his helmet on.
And after proper greetings, promises of friendship, eternal alliance, and no small amount of ale, the mayor called the crowd to order and turned the proceedings over to the guard captain.
“The orc army approaches,” the captain said, his eyes sweeping over the crowd. “And I’m no good at speeches. This is our stand. Here, we fight! I beg you…help me keep this town safe!”
And the cheering began anew, and the somber council quickly became a cacophony of hooting and cheers. “Now go! Man your stations, and fight to the last man!”
The villagers part, and King decides to ask the guild master, as well as the guard captain, if the party can delegate where the troops will be stationed. With some convincing, they agree, and King sets out to plan the formation. In the meantime, two figures approach the party, seeking to join them in their fight. One was known by the name Oren, a gnome thief who was traveling with the adventuring party that Vain had gained the aid of. The other, strangely enough, was Dante’s own brother, Skamos, who wanted revenge on the orcs. On his way to find Dante, Skamos was slain by the orcs a few days ago, and was brought back to life as an undead knight by the party’s friendly Necromancer. They take the two in, and station them up front.
Oren joins the party.
Skamos joins the party.
As the troops move out to their stations, on the horizon, the mass of orcs appears.
Seemingly unaffected by the snow, the forces were ready to march on the settlement They carry siege weapons, and several ogres stand tall above the crowds. The groups of orcs closed ranks, brandishing swords and spears as if they would attack any second.
With the party and fifty adventurers at the formations chest, mages on the horns, followed by guild members and then archers at the loins, they stand against a force three times their number.
The orc forces split into three parts, with the middle heading straight for the party and guild members. The other two parts break off to go around the formation. The Thundertree forces started off with a volley of arrows, which were swiftly returned. While Thundertree forces unleashed fireballs from their spellcasters, the orcs loaded their catapults and fired them off. As the catapults began to decimate some of the mages, Adelina destroyed one with a flyby lighting attack. After a few similar exchanges, the leader of the orc forces, Axe-Biter, shot Adelina down with his magic bow. The dragon plummeted and crashes hard, remaining still for some time.
King called forth his Dire Wolf and rode it into the horde ahead, and the others clashed head-on with the orcs. Dante flew into a blind rage, cleaving orc after orc in an unstoppable flurry, while Baaza and Skamos go back-to-back, and are later joined by Dante, making them a three-pronged killing machine. The others are locked in their own respective bouts, slaying orc after orc as they begin to even the odds. The Necromancer thunders through the crowds on his undead steed, and when Oren finds himself against the orc leader, Vain picks him up and carries him to safety. A heavy fog falls on the battle in an instant, and the cries of men ring out through the area. men are sent flying by an unseen assailant, and as this chaos erupts, Aunnie transforms into a Dire Wolf and grabbed hold of Kushula, fleeing to the nearest line of trees. As the two climb the nearest tree, they try to see if they can catch a glimpse of what is happening.
They see a shadow zip across the battlefield and zero in on King, who now fights against a horde of orcs she keeps at bay with thunderous wave. The figure lands before King, frightening the orcs, and when King realizes who it is—her own father—she gives a witty retort. He explains his utter fury at her for sending a dragon to the family castle, and when she claims she knew it would be handled, he choke-slams her into the ground, which craters on impact. He leaves, giving King news of her missing mother. With this, he zips through the crowd again, slaughtering more men to sate his anger.
King calls out to him, and says that she will come back to the family. Putting the bloodshed on hold, he returns, and agrees to let her in if she finds her mother.
The fog clears as the vampire leaves, and the battle returns to normal.
Baaza and King rush to heal Adelina, and the others continue on.
Dante slays fifteen orcs in a row, and Aunnie rips into some of her won in her Dire Wolf form. Oren dips in between orcs, using his small size to topple those towering above him. Kushula attacks one after another without relent, using her superior fighting skills to overwhelm her slower enemies. While locked in combat, they see the dwarf guild leader taking on the orc leader.
The dwarf felt his shoulder pop out as he crashed into the tree, but he came right up and threw himself hard into the tree again, jamming his limb back in place. He ignored the waves of nausea and the dimming consciousness. He had no time for that.
Indeed, he had no time at all, as he learned when he looked back up to see the large and deadly figure standing in front of him, looking quite amused.
The orc general raised his meaty, gloved hands and began to clap.
“You did well, urchin,” the orc growled in harsh common. “A most worthy fight, considering my opponent is nothing more than a dwarf.”
The guildmaster glanced around, expecting to see some orc archers or an ogre holding a boulder above it’s head. All he saw were the members of Ravenswatch fighting against a wall of orcs nearby.
“It’s just me,” Axe-Biter assured him. “Why would I need more?” As he finished, he held out his arms.
And the dwarf leaped at him, axe cutting for the foul orc’s head.
But up came the orc’s forearm, armored with plated steel. The armor and masterwork greataxe clashed with a loud clatter, and out came the orc’s pike, so fast that the dwarf didn’t register the movement, or hear the magic-filled blade slide free of it’s strap.
He felt the bite of the tip, though, as it expertly slipped past the chinks in the small warrior’s armor and pierced his thigh. The dwarf grimaced and fell back into a defensive crouch, his axe slicing out sidelong to keep his enemy at bay. But the orc leader wasn’t advancing. Instead, he moved easily, circling the dwarf, just out of reach.
“Fight,” the orc said. “There is only me. I’ve no friends to help me. I ordered them to stay their ground against you, this town’s mightiest man.”
“Ye think this a sport?” the dwarf spat at him, and he rushed and chopped with his weapon cleverly—he thought—pulling up short and breaking his momentum to stab straight ahead, with the spike atop his weapon.
“Is it anything less?” a laughing Axe-Biter said from back the other way. having somehow dodged the attack so fully that he was no behind the diminutive warrior.
Aunnie and Kushula can see the dwarf lick his lips and cringe in pain, his leg spasming. There was a great deal of blood leaking through the plates of his armor.
“Just me,” the orc teased, circling back the other way. The dwarf, too, began to circle, studying the area to see if he might find some advantage.
Baaza spots a corpse that is out of the dwarf’s line of sight, beside a large boulder. On the corpse is a vial of alchemist’s fire, 30 feet from the knight. Baaza lurches forward and snatches it up, tossing it to the dwarf. The toss misses, and it splashes onto the ground. This catches the orc in the blast, however, and he tries to bat the flames away. As he does, the dwarf attacks, but the flames have already been extinguished, and the orc keeps up his assault.
“Is that not a fair game, dwarf? My archers were trained on you earlier. I held their shot. I gave you a chance. And an excellent one! All you need to do is defeat me, and you may stand a chance at saving this shithole of a town!”
His voice never strained, never lost its composure, even though the guildmaster came on in midspeech, ferociously chopping and stabbing, pressing ahead, trying to simply overwhelm the immense orc.
“Though I admit you are a bit slow,” and the last sentence spoken was from behind the dwarf, as the orcs pike slashed across the warrior’s calf, tearing a painful line.
The dwarf turned and slashed with his blade, and staggered, hopping up on one foot as fiery agony filled his other leg.
Ahead sprang the orc, his pike poking forward and turning subtly to avoid the desperate parry, slipping past to prod the dwarf in the shoulder, in the crease between breastplate and pauldron. The blade came again, stabbing a second time in the same place, and this time, as the dwarf tried to protect that burning shoulder, he twisted on his torn leg and fell, slashing in an effort to keep the orc away. Except the orc was standing where he had been, not pressing the advantage.
The party finishes off their orcs, and head in to aid the guildmaster. As they do, he parries many attacks, but sustains a lot of damage. As he gets ready to deal the death blow to the dwarf, however, Adelina swoops down and gobbles up the orc in one fell swoop. He struggles to keep from being swallowed, but fails. With the orc leader eaten alive, King and Baaza climb onto the dragon, and together, augmented by Dante’s thaumaturgy spell, their intimidating voices boom across the battlefield, announcing Axe-Biter’s defeat.
The orc forces, fearful of their own demise, retreat, with the promise of never returning.
With this resolved, Adelina and the Necromancer go on their way, their debts paid.
Thundertree celebrates, and the town is saved by Ravenswatch.
Party gains 2 renown with Thundertree.