Borderland of Adventure #20: Fall of a Hero

At the end of the last session, we left our heroes in the midst of a pitched battle with the orcs of Khundrukar. The party had dodged into a secret door and discovered a corridor at the end of which another secret door enabled access to a barracks.

BoA

 

However, at this point the party decided to retreat as magic resources (particularly healing) were running dangerously low. Decision made, they retreated from the complex without further battle. Continuing their retreat down the mountain, they eventually returned to their lair – the abandoned tomb they cleared on their initial exploration of the area.

Their night was uneventful and the next day, they returned to Khundrukar intent on crushing the orcs infesting the dwarves’ ancient halls. Again, the orcs had barred the front gate of the complex, but again Klara forced it open. Within, the rope bridge leading further into the complex remained down, but two orc archers yet stood across the chasm it once crossed. They shot at the adventurers, but their arrows went wide. Quickly, the party gained the secret door discovered last time and went through it. Moving quickly, they reached the second secret door and opened it.

Beyond, stood the barracks but this time four orc warriors and another much more muscular orc lingered within. The orcs leapt up and moved toward the intruders. The adventurers wisely stayed in the corridor and fought the orcs one at a time. However, seeing this the large, muscular orc ordered one of its fellows to fetch Ulpe and it ran off. The battle raged, and two of the orcs fell to Kemmo’s blade. The larger orc moved forward and struck Kemmo several times with its falchion. Badly injured, but continuously healed by Adoven and Klara, Kemmo fought on and forced the champion and his one surviving companion back.

As Kemmo advanced into the room, another orc entered through the barrack’s other door. This orc was as muscular as the warrior Kemmo had forced back. He was accompanied by two wolves and carried a massive greataxe. Moments later two orc archers appeared and the battle raged throughout the room. As Kemmo advanced further, his companions moved to support him and the orcs hurled themselves at their foes. Krorz engaged the archers in a deadly duel, but after a few shots he had to cast his bow aside as the huge orc – the party now thought of him as the tribe’s chief – climbed through the room’s bunk beds to get at the mongrel before him. With one might blow, he almost slew the hapless rogue and only Klara’s intervention saved Krorz from certain death.

By this time, the other orcs and the wolves has started to turn the party’s other flank, slipping through bunk beds to almost surround Kemmo and Adoven. Both fought on bravely, but it quickly became apparent that this was an unwinnable battle and that to stay was to die.

Seeing his friends in danger of certain death, Kemmo ordered them back while he alone stood to face the tide of orcs. As he retreated – narrowly avoiding being decapitated by the orc champion – Adoven expended the last of his protective magics on his friend.  Belivar to, from the corridor, used the last of his magic to coat the chief’s and champion’s weapons in grease, but sadly it was not enough. In the chaos of the retreat, Belivar’s eidolon was destroyed and the party’s last view of Kemmo was the warrior nearly surrounded by enemies battling the tribe’s champion.

When the sound of battle abruptly ceased and the orcs raised their voices in victorious battle cries, Kemmo’s companions knew he had fallen. With sadness in their hearts they fled the complex. It had become apparent to them the dangers of Khundrukar were too great and they decided to retreat to Blasingdell.

Their three-day journey was without incident except for another encounter with the hill giant hermit, Brax. Brax seemed overjoyed to see them and happily took most of their food. Although the party had no alcohol to spare, Klara received a near bone-crushing hug when she presented the giant with his food.

Arriving in Blasingdell, the party took rooms for the night and talk inevitably turned to when to do next. It was decided that the terrors of Khundrukar were indeed to great for the party to overcome and so they decided to head east back into Ratik to finally take up the six-month old invitation they had received from the Sword Lords…

Creighton is the publisher at Raging Swan Press and the designer of the award winning adventure Madness at Gardmore Abbey. He has designed many critically acclaimed modules such as Retribution and Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands and worked with Wizards of the Coast, Paizo, Expeditious Retreat Press, Rite Publishing and Kobold Press.

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