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IMG_1124After clearing out the dungeon of the defeated Naga queen the party limped back to the village and overwintered. Conscious that they were at risk from marauding goblin bands they decided to mount defences. By walking around the place and talking to everyone they came to understand who was where and their condition. There were 57 adult male villagers, 24 women of various ages, and 11 kids. There were also 14 ‘special’ types: retired adventurers, people who were clearly mercenaries in pay of the former cult and so on.

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Using the big map the party marked out the location of these people and considered how they would go about defending. The conclusion was reached to defend from the temple. The villagers were requested to relocate: not all did. A few hold outs stayed in their cabins. The owner of the Slumbering Serpent, who never really disliked elves anyway (sneaky little buggers), stayed, while all the guests left. Everyone at the Gold Grain stayed barricaded inside that former cult haven.

 

Some time later the warning bell atop the temple sounded as a goblin warband approached. The ragged groups approached from the fields behind Ramne the retired wizard’s house. These goblins, led by a hobgoblin chief, descended on the nearest houses, looted and then burnt them. Then they moved on to the Slumbering Serpent where they made quick work of the racist proprietors and settled in to gorge themselves.

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The elvish boys hurled abuse at the goblins, who approached the temple, but then retreated in good order with their loot when caught in lethally accurate bow shots.

Time went by and the party settled into that complacency that they usually have in any adventure: of being untouched and untouchable. They took no damage and were easily able to repel the invaders. Anyone who refused the sanctuary of the temple deserved what they got, they figured. The other group at the Golden Grain had engaged in a stout fight with the goblins at the east bridge, and presumably they were feeling pretty pleased with themselves.

In the meantime the two elvish agents that were already in the village at the very beginning approached the party and congratulated them on their defeat of the Naga and her cult. They knew what the heroes had found in the form of a canopic jar that radiated evil magic, and offered to ‘take it to a safe place’. All the heroes knew about the strangers was that they were agents of ‘a foreign power’. As (mostly) loyal servants to Parsantium they refused the offer. The agents departed on friendly terms but reports from around the town suggested they were searching for the jar. This put the wind up the party as they had buried it near Ramne’s cottage. So they disinterred it and instead installed it at the temple (but where, and what effect did it have on that place? – that’s the question…)

Thinking carefully and consulting their memories the heroes suspected that the agents were a different breed of elf altogether. Their inability to appear in daylight and their monotone complexions suggested… dramatic music… Shadow Elves. Who were of course legend and it was silly to even think it… But if they were, may be the old legends were true…

Anyway, one night the watchers on the platform were surprised by a sudden stench and then one of them squawked and was plucked over the side to his death. Troglodytes were climbing the embankment!

IMG_1127IMG_1128IMG_1129IMG_1130Without retelling this titanic battle blow by blow we can compress it to these key highlights:

  • Successive waves of increasingly stronger groups of troglodytes approached from the lake
  • More entered from the tunnels below the temple. This attack had been anticipated but it was still hard going for the villagers. Arrius the monk dashed down and led the defence
  • Both Storm and Octavius became ill from the Troglodyte stench but battled on. Piles of bodies, both trog and villager began to build up, and Storm unleashed ever more impressive pyrotechnics from his sorcerous mind. Cassius made good use of cover in the columns surrounding the temple, as did Ghath, and picked off an uncounted number of foes with their crossbows
  • But still the enemy kept coming
  • Reserves were brought to the fray to stem the tide
  • As the group was concentrating on one quarter, another group of enemy made it to the walls. This group had a Lake Troll with it. And there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth…
  • Because the party had thought they’d used an awful lot of their magic and had taken wounds, and now there was this guy (CR7, 125hp, regenerate). Such malicious joy for the DM to watch them fret
  • Ghath considered sneaking off and leaving the rest to their fate
  • AND THEN… coming up the road was the Naga herself, rejuvenated, seeking revenge, searching for her stolen treasure of the canopic jar
  • The troll pushed the party to the limits, carving his way through the villagers and pummelling Octavius. The extra help from an old crone with a magic ring who finally brought him down, but the sigh of relief was muted because the Naga was smugly climbing the stairs..
  • She blasted Octavius, who was standing n front of the main doors with a necrotic ray, inflicting him with that most hateful of conditions because he had gerontophobia
  • But then, as spell slots were empty, and hit points were bumping along on near-empty, a heroic villager called Trent brought her down with an arrow to the eye.

And so ended the siege of Orlane with an incredibly narrow victory to the boys who had never had to face a real challenge before.

But the victory was in many ways hollow. Only 19 adult male villagers remained unscathed along with 29 women and children. The village was no longer viable as a community, much less defensible. True, the canopic jar reputedly containing some remains of the Rahkshasa Raja had been prevented from falling back into demonic hands. But Spirit Nagas were effectively immortal, and she would rise again. She would never stop until she got her revenge.

The last act of the Mayor was to rename Orlane to Troll Bridge, or Trobridge as it now appears in official Parsantine records.

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