The next day, sr. Harlock calls the others into his chamber, what will later be dubbed the War Tent.
They start the meeting by interrogating the orc. According to him, the orc village is situated a bit north of the clearing where they were ambushed. The tribe is about 30 strong, and misogynistic as orcs are, thats not counting women. The tribe is led by a chief named Kurgrek, who helps them survive in the harsh environment in return for complete obedience. The orc says he hates Kurgrek just as much as he hates the PC’s, and apparently, his rule over the tribe is fairly new. It also becomes apparent that Kurgrek is a worshiper of Malar, the lord of the hunt, which marks him as an enemy of civilization.
Saeyir tries to use detect thoughts on the orc to fin out if he is withholding any information. Unfortuantely, Teryon notices the spell, and starts casting detect magic to find out what the elf is doing. Saeyir leaves the tent without a word, and Teryon follows. Well outside of the tent, Saeyir casts charm person on Teryon to make him stop. It works, but not before the priest has discerned the transmutive aura of his alternate form ability.
Saeyir now has a to answer a difficult question, albeit to a charmed inquirer. He tells the priest some bogus story about how his clan has a tradition of casting transmutations on thier newborn to make them prettier. They then go back to the War Tent to a confused sr. Harlock, who gets even more confused when Teryon is suddenly in favour of all Saeyirs ideas.
They discuss plans of action for a while, and explore the possibiliy of createing a throat-cutting device for difficult hostages. After some tugging and coercing by Saeyir, sr. Harlock decides to ‘kill them all’.
Saeyir and Teryon start organizing a militia, finding people to fire every bow and crossbow in camp. They also bring half of the Purple Dragons, leaving the rest to guard the civilians. Cromweld start mixing lamp oil, vegetable oil and tar to make the most unpleasant combustibles possible. Horst talks Ragnar, one of the soldiers, into selling him some booze.
The little green one scouts ahead while the rest of the force marches slowly throught the forest. Including the hostage leading the way, they are sixteen men strong.
Two hours into the woods they see smoke rising from the north. The hostage confirms it as the fires rising from the orc village, and the PC’s execute him.
Horst leads the group carefully through the undergrowth, to the edge of a large open field. In the middle, the orcs have raised a pallisade of wooden logs, with four lookout towers and a large gate. The militia places themselves on a broad line along the edge of the clearing, start distributing buckets of Cromwelds Combustible Cocktail and stick torches into the ground.
The first volley of burning arrows take down the lookouts and ignite a few tents and a little bit of wall. Cromweld lights a bottle of CCC and manages to hit the pallisades gate with it, leaving the orcs only exit a roaring fire.
They keep shooting and throwing bottles of nasty, and Horst gives up his booze to make improvised molotovs of his own. Soon the orcs home turn into an oven, cooking them alive. When Cromweld runs out of things to throw, he breaks rank and start running towards the pallisade, to the sound of the groups roaring protests.
He gets ready to cast burning hands, but hears a loud growl from within the gate, as from some giant animal. A few orcs throw themselves out through the burning gate, and get hit by Cromwelds spell and a volley of arrows. A second group leaps out through the fire, but this time, some of them survive the volley and charge Crom. While they get to work on him, a third group rockets out from the inferno an joins in.
Soon, Cromweld once again lies in a mangled heap on the ground. The good paladin isn’t about to have someone die on his watch, and break rank to save him. It becomes apparent to the players that the situation is becoming very dangerous.
As sr. Harlock wades into the orc masses in a desperate attempt to save Cromweld, a thought hits Saeyir. This kind of leadership will get them killed. He draws an arrow, pretends to aim at the orcs and shoots sr. Harlock straight in the back.
The orcs shout and yell as they charge towards the group. The PC’s and the Purple Dragons draw their blades, while the militia pulls back into the woods to avoid getting slaughtered.
Fortunately, the orcs have been thinned out enough with arrows to allow the PC’s to gut them without too much trouble. A few of the soldiers are knocked unconcious while the PC’s cut off heads and break bones, until all of the orcs lie dead.
Teryon heals sr. Harlock, who in turn get Cromweld on his feet. The rest of the group make stretchers for the fallen Purple Dragons, and they start the trip back to camp.
After only a few minutes, the war party is assailed by a giant wolf. It seems to have been following them from the site of the battle, and makes the same loud growls as Cromweld heard from within the gate. The wolf bites huge chunks out of sr. Harlock and Ragnar (the Purple Dragon), before being put down. After receiving the coup de grace, the wolf corpse turns into a big muscular orc corpse.
‘Looks like the chief decided to show himself after all’ says Saeyir (i think).
Tired of orcs, and exhausted of combat, the group manages to get home without being harassed any further.
That night, before going to bed, Saeyir is greeted by a raven in his tent, bearing a small rolled up piece of parchment. It leaves as soon as he unties the message from its foot.
‘Make sr. Harlock fall from grace before the next full moon, and you will be rid of him forever.’
Note: The full moon will rise on the fifteenth day of the expedition, giving Saeyir just under two weeks to complete his quest.
Note number two: While trying to kill sr. Harlock, Saeyir actually saved him by shooting him in the back. The arrow wasn’t enough to bring him down to -10 hit points, but a power attack from one of the orcs certainly would have been.
Note number three: Saeyir started the campaing as chaotic neutral. When he tried to kill the paladin, I immediately changed his alignement to chaotic evil.
Note number four: Instead of the normal orc stats from MM, I use a healthy mix of orc warriors, rangers and barbarians, most on lvl 1.