Borderland of Adventure #30: Slaughter & Death

At the end of last session, we left our heroes arguing about their next course of action. Klara (along with Maban) eventually stomped off believing attacking the fortress was suicide. Without Klara, the discussions continued and eventually the party decided to storm Xul-Jarak in a desperate attempt to free the trapped adventurers and disrupt the Bloodspear Ceremony.



However, this would require careful planning; Krorz in particular was worried that the wyvern would prove a difficult foe.

Thus, the party decided to despatch Sidal with all their oil and tindertwigs deep into the woods to create a diversion in the hopes of drawing the wyvern away. While it was thus engaged, the party would attack through the breach in the wall.

The diversion was successful. About an hour later, a plume of smoke rose out of the forest to the north and shortly thereafter the wyvern took wing to investigate. After a few minutes the party attacked – climbing up the cliff surrounding the fortress and bursting through the wall’s breach into the courtyard. As they did so, orc archers on the battlements called a warning and starting shooting (ineffectively) at the intruders. Orc warriors burst into the courtyard from several directions and in his bloodlust Krorz completely forgot the plan and charged forward. At that moment, an incredibly muscular and tough-looking orc emerged from the keep. Carrying a halberd he seemed a formidable opponent. Strangely, he looked exactly like an older version of Krorz. At the sight of the rogue, he shouted “Ha, one of my bastards has returned!” He challenged Krorz to a fight – a challenge Krorz declined – and shortly thereafter Krorz was almost surrounded and cut down by orc warriors. Amazingly, he made it back to his friends who formed a shield wall in the breach (as had been previously planned).

As pressure grew on the wall, the party retreated through a door into a narrow corridor, forcing the orcs to attack one at a time. Behind the party a staircase rose up to the battlements to the left another corridor led further back into the complex. From this second corridor more orcs appeared and an archer started shooting down the stairs.

However, the party’s tactics began to tell and the bodies of several orcs now lay in front of them. However, then the powerful orc – Vhazror – bullied his way through his troops and calling for the “the bastard” laid into Gwendar. Quickly, Gwendar fell and when Vhazror advanced what had been a slow orderly retreat up the stairs turned into a more disorganised affair.

As always, Hemgor stayed behind to cover his companions’ retreat and was cut down by Vhazror. However, shortly thereafter the orc seemed to become fatigued by his efforts. On the roof, Glynt also fell to the orcs, but not before giving Adoven – who had bravely stayed behind to heal Hemgor – time to barely escape with his life.

As the party retreated into the woods under cover of an obscuring mist (Adoven only making it through Belivar’s intervention) they counted their losses: Hemgor, Glynt and Gwendar had all fallen and the three survivors decided to make it back to their campsite to hopefully link up with Sidal. Of Klara there was still no sign…

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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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