Dungeon Nights: Into the Crucible
Clovis and Rook took the “demons” back to where they were found – they had no interest in getting in the middle of an elf/orc war. Before they left they asked Tsafnur if he wasn’t scared that “He” would come after his book (which they recognized with some revulsion and fear). Overheard during tonight’s session, “if only we had a thief” and “we miss Clovis.”
After feeding a bunch of the (non-vegetarian) elves with the Pig of Prosperity, Enkirash summoned a spirit and asked “who is the leader of the orc army?” The spirit answered, “there is no orc army.”
Genesa, in her full battle armour, has gone to the tent of the council of elders to represent in place of her dead father. There is a huge debate going on, whether to attack the orcs now while they are hopefully bottled in underground rather than waiting for further reinforcements and/or seeing what the orcs and humans are going to do. The strike-first faction is ahead, but it is not yet a done deal.
Enkirash turned Tsafnur invisible and he went to the town to scout out the situation. He saw a couple of wagons arrive and go to a large barn. Following them, he slipped into the barn and saw orcs being unloaded from the wagons, but they were not soldiers they were slaves, shackled together in groups. The only orcs he saw who weren’t shackled were the slave drivers, with cruel barbed whips. The orcs were driven down a tunnel deep underground, but Tsafnur couldn’t follow too far because he had no light source. Back above ground he sees that people are coming and going from a town-hall looking building and sneaks in. There is an obvious war room crowded with people, mostly around a large map of the area which clearly shows the elf warcamp. He sees Rovnik there talking with the human commander, who seems pissed at Rovnik. Rovnik, for his part is dismissive and haughty. He is making an excuse for plans running behind but promises that he will have the council convinced by evening because he has something special planned. Then Rovnik gets his horse from the stable (rudely) and rides off, presumaby to the elven warcamp.
Tsafnur returns to the camp, cutting through the woods in an effort to beat Rovnik there, but the elf is faster. He reports to the others and finds Genesa in the council tent to tell her the news. Genesa has had something bothering her about Rovnik and finally figures it out, Rovnik isn’t his real name, he is her cousin Alberge, who she has not seen since childhood, but whose father is her evil uncle Devrik (who sold her into slavery and is now undead). They present this news to the council and are beginning to convince some of the need to wait and not rush into things when there is a commotion outside.
A large contingent of lizardmen have arrived, accompanied by giant lizards. The elves have been heating oil in giant cauldrons, and these are harnessed to the giant lizards, with two lizards carrying each cauldron between them. All around the camp the elves are putting on armour, grabbing weapons, mounting horses and generally getting ready to ride out to war. A few are still arguing, mostly the local farmers, but the with the reinforcement of the lizardfolk most of the elves have decided on the first strike option.
Talisa had left Mija in their tent to guard the painting and anything else they didn’t want to carry with them. She feels that Mija is sensing strangers outside the tent and hurries across the camp, but is too late. Several lizardmen and chameleon women had entered the tent, subdued Mija with nets and clubs (no permanent damage) and taken the painting. Mija has a good scent of them if there is time to track them later, but for now they want to head off the army somehow.
Tsafnur takes his gear, including two scrolls from the mushroom people, into the woods seeking mushrooms with spores that can put people to sleep. One of the scrolls allows hime to tap into the communal mushroom knowledge, and the other allows him to consult with the Great Mushrooms. He does find the mushrooms with sleeping spores and is given permission to harvest them, filling his crucible with the spores, but he passes out from exposure to the spores. While in a mushroom-induced sleep he continues to commune with the mushroom consciousness and asks who is in charge in town, getting the answer, “Arakgnash”. The others find him and he wakes up to Mija licking his face. He quickly (but carefully) finishes gathering the spores and seals the crucible, which begins heating up.
They manage to reach the town just before the first wave of the lizardmen and elves. The few humans they see guarding the town shoot a few arrows at the army before retreating into the barn. Enkirash summons up an invisible spirit to carry the crucible through the ranks of the army, putting most of them to sleep, and leaving the rest staggering incoherently. One of the giant lizards screams as it tips over the cauldron while falling asleep, burning itself badly. There are more waves of the army approaching, but they will have to get around the sleepers blocking the road.
The party hurries to the barn, finding it deserted. They set it on fire in multiple places. The tunnel has been expanded since Tsafnur saw it, it is wider and arched, more obviously an entrance to the underworld. They head down it. As they come to a place where the steep passage levels out before another archway, they see two huge orcs with barbed whips. Tsafnur yells a bardic challenge that staggers them and charges forward with his rapier.
Two more orcs with whips come through the archway as Andrew follows Tsafnur into battle. Talisa fired arrows and Enkirash send bolts of magic into the fray. Tsafnur took out the two he’d staggered with his rapier. After a few arrows failed to pierce the orcs armour, Talisa closed in with her spear instead. Together they put the last orcs down and passed through the archway into a huge cavern. They were high above the floor and their light did not reveal much beyond the ledge they were on, about two meters wide and stretching around the cavern to the left and right. Above them, back up the tunnel, they could hear shouts as the next wave of the army tried to get through the burning barn.
Full disclosure: The lizardfolk image was used on a number of wikis and other sites without credit, I wasn’t able to track down the original or the artist.