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Times are always hard in Deep Mote. Held snugly in the arms of the high mountains, and delving deep beneath their bulk, the wealth of the earth flows forth from here like water... But you cannot eat gold, or iron, or even mythril.
Trade with the above ground cities has made Deep Mote more than prosperous, bringing trains of grain an cattle, and moutains of gold, in trade for dwarven steel, mythril, and ore... But the narrow mountain passes are difficult to traverse in the best of weather, and when winter comes, trade slows to a trickle, and it falls to the mushroom farms to keep the clans fed.
This is hardly a stumbling point, however. Dwarven heritage all but thrives on such hardships, and you can scarce recall a day when your meals had not been rationed.
News of the Noraten coup is troubling, but hardly surprising... The rife intrigue between clans both 'allied' and 'opposed' hardly ever allows for a dull moment, and with the circle of power in Mythril Keep being as small as it was, it was only a matter of time before one moved to annihilate or assimilate the rest... Were it not for your defeat and exile, you might well have done the same one day...
But treachery... Treachery demands vengeance... Justice for the blood of your fallen clansmen, your shattered halls, and the honor of your ancestors...
The rumor comes from a source of dubious reliability, but makes your blood boil, none the less...
You make your morning patrol along the high wall, the air biting with the first breath of the coming winter, arguing quietly as to what action to take, the hot stone fuming and thirsting for blood, the cold stone the steady voice of reason, when a message runner approaches along the parapet, and hands you a sealed envelope.
"Orders from the Ironjaw." he states, before turning on his heel and departing.
Turning from his brother he thanks the messenger while calmly taking the missive, afterwards turning back to Taalkar "Calm yourself brother, we must find something to substantiate these rumors coming from that treacherous place. For all we know this is a plot from those foul Iron-Whores to lure us into a trap"
Leaning against Sid for a moment, his stalwart if practically mute companion Karazi slowly works the wax seal loose as he takes his time with the note.
"No, I think we need to see if Ironjaw can find out a little more involving this rumor and in the meantime ...well, we've got to take care of business after all" As he gestures at the note in his hand before reading it out loud.
To take command of a Hammar Company, and reinforce the standing guard of Citadel.
Report to me personally once supply arrangements are made.
Hammar Companies are standby groups of one hundred soldiers, used as quick response troops and reinforcements. Like watch duties, their members are drawn from neumerous other forces by drawn lots, and change daily when not commissioned.
Also, you are unaware of any trouble brewing in Citadel, though it's a rough town, and the watch always needs more men.
The Quartermaster looks over your orders, then rings a bell three times.
"That's a fair trip. Citadel's about a week's march... You'll be taking D company. I can provision you for a month by the morn, but if'n ye need more'n that, I'll need more time... Or you can get gold from the higher-ups, and buy supplies as you need them."
You find the Ironjaw at his desk in the command post, busily mulling over a mess of parchments.
"Ah, Karazi, Taalkar, come in." He shoves a sheef of papers aside, making some room on his desk, before sitting back with a deep sigh.
"The book keeping they've got me doin' is going to drive me to an early grave. I can hardly remember the last time I hit somethin', either with an axe, or a pick, Ha!" He laughs heartily for a moment before growing serious.
"Listen, I know yer gnawin' the bit about this Noretan business, and believe me, I am too. But we 'aven't a stone to stand on yet, so I'm sendin' ya out o' town before ye do somethin' rash. Citadel's always got an excess of skulls that need smashin', so ye can burn off some steam. Hells, I'm jealous." He spits, before continuing,
The rider 'at came in said they were gettin' more pilgrim's tryin' to head south o'r the 'Way (which is right weird for this time of year) than they could easily deal with, an needed the extra men. So I know it ain't much, but I need you two to go solve all their problems, cuz they're too pissant to deal with them themselves, an' while yer at it, I'll try and come up with somethin' solid to pin on the Noretans. He leans forwards, pointing a thick finger at the both of you, "An' I swear, by all that's holy, and half o' what isn't, if you shirk this order and gallop off back to Mythril Keep, the Council will have your heads, and there won't be a lick that I can do about it. So get yer rations, and be gone by morning."
He picks up a thick sheef of parchments,
"An' get out o' my hair! Lest I make you fill the bleeding ledgers!" He shouts, dismissing you.
Plopping down on a chair in Ironjaw's office. "Well I'd like to think you know I wouldn't rush into something like that...but this hot-head over here..."
"Anyhow, we'll take care of this matter..but I don't need to tell you how important finding that information is to us, We'll only be put off for so long"
"We'll take care of this though, I spoke with the quartermaster and the supplies aren't an issue, we'll leave in the morning. I presume the Hammar company is ready to move at a moments notice, so we'll pick them up."
"We'll be on our way then" bringing up his fist in a sloppy salute he heads out the door.
"Aye, I know you woudn't, an' I know 'e would, an' I know you'd follow 'im if'n ye couldn'a talk 'im down from it. So that's why I'm sayin', Ha! But I'll get to the bottom of this rumor, and send word to you as soon as I do, I promise you that.
The next morning, the quarter master has the company's supplies loaded onto a train of wagons and the company is ready to move out.
The trip to Citadel is uneventful, save for the flurries of early autum snows.
Citadel is a sight sight to see... Dark and forbidding, the hulking fortress sits forlornly on the cliffs over the Ancient's Way, it's scarred and stained walls tower over the roadway as you approach, and a dense cloud of smoke hangs over the area.
Bells are ringing out across the city, and for a time, you figure there must be some celebration going on... But something isn't right... The gates are closed, and the walls unmanned but for a single watchman high in a guardtower who dissapears at the sight of your banner...
A few moments later, the gates creak open, and the watchman runs out to meet you, shouting as he goes...
"THANK THE GODS YOU'VE COME!! WE'RE UNDER ATTACK!! ARE THE REST OF YOU FAR BEHIND?!!"
Slow to react to the paniced shouting of the lone Gate Guard he comments almost to himself"Hum....Under attack you say. Well that's not good at all, nope...not at all."
Turning and looking behind him at the Hammar Company and wagons for a few moments before replying "Well, that appears to be all of us...no, I don't believe anymore will be coming at all"
Thinking to himself for a moment, glancing over at Taalkar quizzically before commenting after a moment "Well, I guess we ought to see what this attacking fuss is about, don't go charging off too far ahead though...you remember what happened at the Sandy Creek raid that one time"
Now we're talking! Taalkar shouts, rather enthusiastically, to no one in particular.
Get on a move on brother, there's heads to be bashin' He starts to charge forward a minute but remembers he is missing a crucial detail. Turning to the watchman, his impatience clearly evident, Who are we fightin' anyway and where are they? Quickly man quickly!
The watchman nods, and motions for you to follow him.
"You'd best meet with Captain Bejal. He'll appraise you of the situation." He says, hurrying back towards the gate.
Through the gates, you find the city barren and desolate, save for a four man gate crew, and a few rats.
The bells continue to resound throughout the empty streets, and the watchman urges you and your company to move faster, north down the city's main street.
As you proceed, you encouter others, clad in piecmeal armors and simple weapons joining your progress towards the northern gate... These are not soldiers, but simple people bearing arms.
The further north you travel, the more people you encounter. Soon, more professional troops of soldiers and mercenaries become apparent, as you reach the square before the inner wall of the Northern gate.
Here, you order your company to halt and wait, while you follow the watchman up a winch cage to the top of the wall, and Captian Bejal's command post.
High atop the wall, the captain's tower holds a commanding view of the Ancient's Way, the wall and towers defending it, and the insane cliffs, plummeting down a thousand feet, upon which the fortress sits...
The sky is dark and stormy, and the sharp wind bites through your heavy furs, but that is not what chills you to the bone... The northern hordes have massed... Thousands of them... The beating of their drums and the blasts of their horns are but far off echos for the moment, but with each passing moment, they draw closer... Men, Orks, Trolls, Giants, and who knows what else, the barbaric forces of the Northern Reaches are marching on Citadel... And you only brought a hundred men...
After a moment, the Captain waives you over. He's tall and thick, even for a human, with long, salt and pepper hair, and a rough beard.
"Curse the gods, I was afraid my riders weren't making it through. Thanks for coming, none the less... I take it you haven't heard the news then, eh?"
Taalkar stands near the edge of the wall, looking out over the horde that was assembled. I don't know about any riders, Taalkar scratches his head thoughtfully, But if I had gotten an invite to this party, turning to the captain and pointing a thumb over his shoulder towards the horde, I woulda been here sooner. A sudden grin spreads across his face.
"Aye, when I first wrote to Deep Mote, there wasn't much going on. Most of the traffic we get across the 'Way is trade, with a smattering of tribal pilgrims on the road to Beluvah... Beats me why they can't serve their gods from their own lands, but there you have it. With winter comin' on, the flow usually dies down almost completely. About two weeks ago, we started getting a rise in the tribals gathering across the 'Way. Not the usual sort either, more aggrivated and violent... Had a minor riot about a week ago. That's when I sent for more men to help keep the peace...
It was hardly a day later when the incoming trickle became a flood. We had to pull back from the Northern Landing, and I've been calling for reinforcements every day since... Quite a few tribals were through before I closed the gates though, and if they knew this attack was coming, I expect they've been picking off my messengers, as I've had no word from any since they left... And that's not the worst news...
... We know why their attacking...
... They knew before we did, but I didn't believe the stories untill I got word myself..."
He chews his lip for a moment, fingering a charm at his neck... A steel wrought coiled dragon... Bahumat.
"... Beluvah has fallen... They say a great wyrm erupted from the earth, laid waste to the city, and killed the high priestess. They say a great swarm of demons flooded out in its wake, completed the destruction it began, and now occupy the city..."
He looks over the battlement at the approaching horde,
Nodding to himself at the current state of affairs as the Captain fills them in."Very troubling situation indeed...A great wyrm and demons to boot. But the closest crack must always be filled first as my Father used to say. So we shall just have to hold the 'Way as long as possible.
The message for our presence arrived sometime ago I gather, so I'd hope It's still possible a rider got through with information regarding this invasion after all."
Looking at the Company of Dwarves assembled before turning back to the Captain "Just find us a nice section of wall to defend and you'll see why the vaunted armies of the Great Gate themselves couldn't breech a defense manned by Dwarves"
Taalkar didn't feel the cold air as he looked out over the Ancients Way and the army camped in the distance. The heat of impending battle surged through his veins like molten gold warming from fingers to toes. A piece of the conversation behind him caught his attention, though.
Just find us a nice section of wall to defend
Like molten steel plunged into an icy stream, his euphoria ended.
Brother, he turned in a moment of almost panic. I'm hoping you didn't mean that we sit and wait. There's a lot of them, he points his thumb over his shoulder, and a few hundred of us, he stabs a finger from his other hand into the table.
These stones feel as solid as if I fit them myself but have you seen all the heads out there, again he gestures over the wall, I'm no good with numbers, but I bet its a lot.
He rubs his bare chin for a moment seemingly deep in thought. He knew that his brother wouldn't always listen unless he at least appeared to think it through.
Back home if we found a nice den of nasty critters we would send a few in to kick the nest and then lead them back to be slaughtered. Maybe we could do that here? They certainly don't seem organized or disciplined enough to resist it.
He was surprised it sounded so good when he said it. He had made up almost all of it, just hoping not to get stuck behind a wall to wait.
Nodding lightly, he continues to listen to Taalkar's "plan". Just like it always goes, who does he think he's fooling with this, I swear if I didn't keep an eye on him he'd pick a fight with a vegetable vendor for not selling gemstones
"Brother, Calm down...I'm sure we wont just be sitting and waiting around and you wouldn't be helping much to rile that horde up either. Maybe you should go look again, they're plenty annoyed and don't need a pissed off dwarf making it worse"
Barking out a work in Terran only to have Sid slide up from the stonework under him and put one of his giant stone arms over Taalkar's shoulder. "Now then why don't we just see what the good captain has planned for us...I'm certain we'll see action here soon enough. Until then, Sid'll just have to keep tabs on you."
Musing to himself a moment "Who knows, maybe the Captain will like your clearly half-baked plan...but we wont be rushing off without orders"
Captain Bejal smirks as the brothers go back and forth.
"Heh, you two'll do just fine here." He says, looking out over the wall.
"I'm not gonna send a troop out to kick the nest, I'm afraid, as it's suicide. It's not a bad plan, but it's suicide. I've seen these tribals' pull a number of tricks that would end such a maneuver in short and bloody order. What I do need, is a heavy troop to hold the gate, incase they manage to break it. There won't be a whole lot of action there, untill it becomes a real pile of dung, but most my men are skirmishers, and won't do well holding a line. So that's where I'll be putting your company.
As for the two of you, since you'll be wanting some action, I could use extra men atop the wall to repel climbers. To that end, you'll need to stay mobile, and go where the action is thickest. If we lose the top of the wall, our boys in the courtyard will have more to deal with than they can handle. I'd recommend putting yourselves in Point Tower to start, as it'll be the one to get hit the hardest."
This is an overview map of the main wall against the Ancient's Way. When we get into actual combat, it'll be more focused.
The Wall is 60ft tall, and 30 ft thick. Built of heavy stone blocks of such quality that you know dwarves must have had a hand in its creation.
Each of the towers is slightly taller (65ft), and boasts a pair of catapults and ballistas with crews to man them. The walls between are manned by archers, skirmishers, and ballista crews, ready to rain death upon the coming horde, and fight off climbers as nessicary.
The gate is heavy oak, bound and studded in iron. 30ft wide, 12ft tall, and over a foot thick. The passage beneath the wall is likewise 30ft wide, and 12ft tall, and 30ft long.
A number of troops man the courtyard, including your own Hammar Company.
Your men are all 3rd lv fighters, clad in dwarven Stone Plate, Large Shields, and weilding Dwarven Urgoshes, with axes and hammars at their belts for closer combat or ranged volleys.
In addition to your fighters, you have 3 mages (2 wizards and a sorcerer), all of whom are lv3. All possess the 'Still Spell' Feat, and are likewise clad in Heavy Stone Plate armor.
Behind the courtyard stands the Inner Curtain Wall. This wall is taller, but not as strong as the outer wall, built for it's commanding view rather than it's strength. Two bridges connect it to the outer wall, to allow for easy reinforcement from one to the other. A number of catapults are placed along it's length, aimed at the area before the gate, but little else possesses the range to be of use.
The Command Tower stands tallest of all surveying all action beneath it. It is here that Captain Bejal sits.
The Inner Gate is larger and flimsier than the outer gate, and stands open incase of need for retreat. It is still well built, and may hold against direct assault for a while.
Thunder rumbles overhead as you take your places atop Point Tower. Beside you the catapult and ballista crews make ready their destructive devices, while along the walls, archers string their bows and footmen ready swords and spears. Many are of professional mercenary stock, just as many are clearly volunteered or drafted commoners lifting sheild and spear for the first time...
Far off, the horde covers the Ancient's Way like a moss. Creeping inexorably forward like lichen over the stone... As they approach, dim, massive shapes become apparent, standing high over the horde like bare trees in a wasteland.
One of the catapult crewmen, a young, sharp-eyed lad, peers out over the battlement...
"... They've got... Siege towers!?" He looks about at the rest bewilderedly, "It's only been two days since we lost North Shore! How could they have built siege towers?!"
And indeed, as the miles are swollowed up beneath the feet of the horde, the great structures become clear, pulled by straining teams of trolls and giants. And for every tower, there are perhaps fifty long ladders, carried on the shoulders of orks and painted men alike...
The wall on which you stand is tall and strong, but if more than one, or even just one, of those towers drops it's bridge over the battlements, you are going to be in a heap of trouble...
... And you have no cannons...
"Hold!!" A sub-commander shouts down the wall...
The beating of the tribal drums grows into cacophony, as the impossible mass approaches... There are just so many of them...
Below, you catch sight of a giant pulling a great cart filled with massive stones...
In a sudden burst of chaos the horde charges, swarming forward in countless numbers, their mad battle cries fill the air in a defening howl...
As one, the archers loose their arrows, balliste release their bolts, and catapults throw their stones... The barbarians die by the hundreds, crashing to the earth like waves upon the shore, their warcries now mingled with the screams of the suffering and the dying... The catapult's great stones wreak devestation upon the multitude, and three of the great siege towers topple to the ground...
... But they are undeterred. One great giant catches a flung stone out of the air and hurls it back, smashing just beneath the battlement into your tower, and rocking the stone beneath your feet, as the horde floods forward over their fallen, and the first of the ladders reach the walls...
If either of you have any big tricks you'd like to open with before close combat begins, now would be the time to use them.
Grimly looking over the mass of enemies approaching he takes a moment to pull a helmet out of his pack, tightening the straps and locking the carved stone faceplate into place.
At a glance he might appear to be a statue if not for the occasional gap in the armors coverage.
Opening his pack he nudges Taalkar "Now's a good time for some Bottled Fun, but just the once ! I'm not having you burn me again trying to hit some thrice damned squirrel because you think it's FUNNY"
After Taalkar retrieves the bottles he quickly tries to cast a few spells while there's time...perhaps he can make a bit of difference. While the Towers are still out there aways he 'aims' his shield and incants some short rough words in dwarven to activate the wand encased in it.
Aiming at the base of the towers hoping to entangle it enough that those pulling might tip it...at the very least slow it down.
As they close even closer he switches tactics, communing with the stone for a moment before gesturing at a tower, generating a sphere of rolling fire inside of it. Controlling it with his gestures he tries burning as much as possible before it winks out of existence.
As the ladders approach he takes a look at Sid standing next to him, nodding lightly he again reaches for his connection with the earth causing a sprout of crystals to grow under his armor, covering the few gaps and protecting him even more. Even as he gets coated Sid starts growing extra crystal plating as well.
Still as a statue he rests for the last moments until this fierce battle gets underway.
Mechanically that's a couple 2 entangles from a wand on 2 siege towers. (if it does more than slow them, he'd do more)
A CL5 flame Sphere DC 15, casting that inside one of the towers and just moving up and down to catch it thoroughly on fire. If another tower is close enough maybe it jumps over (if the first is obviously torched).
And finally the "crystalline" armor is refluffed Barkskin. I just couldn't see my guy wearing stone armor, turning his skin wooden :/
Waiting was never a strength. Taalkar anxiously paces back and forth near where he believes a siege engine would attack, occasionally shouting obscenities at their slow approach. What kind of battle was this, waiting for an enemy that took its sweet time.
I should already be ten heads into this battle he mutters under his breath.
He stops and glances at his brother, noticing him casting spells and plotting. Useless nonsense he mutters and resumes pacing.
He stops in his tracks, studying the speed of the siege engines approach. A slow smile creeps across his face, an eager tint in his eyes. He moves to a wall on the opposite side and lines up with the closest approaching engine.
Brother, it's gully jumpin' time
Basically, when a tower gets within 15 feet I am making a running jump to land on top of it. It will be a DC 15 jump to clear 15 feet and I can tumble if I have to jump down more than 10 feet.
Karazi's spells set one tower alight, and buy precious seconds off another, as the tide of barbarians floods up the ladders, many being staved off and falling to their deaths below, only to be replaced by still more cresting the parapets.
A hail of arrows arcs over the wall, finding homes in the flesh of attackers and defenders alike, and clattering off your stone mail, as the attacking archers return fire...
With a mad gleam in his eye, Taalkar takes three quick steps and launches himself from the battlement, sailing like a stone over the roaring masses below, and smashing into the side of the approaching siege tower, burying his longaxe deep into the wood, and scrambling up over the edge to the shocked faces of the four orks manning the roof...
With cries of rage, the four drop their bows for crude, jagged axes and blades, and charge the lone dwarf.
I'm afraid I'm trapped away from my computer today, so the map is hand-drawn. Hopefully you'll find it sufficiently legible.
As you can see there is a fair bit going on. As such, I'm not going to bother with Initatives. Simply take your actions, and I'll adjust the scene.
Your characters are noted by their first initial. 'T' for Taalkar, atop the eastern siege tower, and 'K' For Karazi, atop Point Tower.
Along the wall, the fighting is fairly pitched, with the guards killing more than they are losing, for now.
Each round, however another barbarian shall crest the wall from each ladder.
If a siege tower reaches the wall and drops its bridge, it will unload 20 troops in its initial round, and an additional 5 troops each round there after untill it is brought down, or conquered.
You've got 3 rounds before Taalkar's tower reaches the wall, and 10 rounds before the other tower reaches the wall.
Readied Maneuvers: Steel Wind, Claw at the Moon, Mountain Hammer, Iron Heart Surge
Active Stance: Stonefoot Stance: +2 to Strength Checks, +2 AC vs. Larger Foes
He pulls himself over the edge and grins at the stunned orcs on the siege tower.
I bet ye dint see that one comin' he nearly cackles in glee. He siezes up his combatants an almost dissapointed look on his face. He yells over his shoulder, Why dint you tell me there was only four up here!
He brandishes the long handled hammer at the end and with a twist, swings the blade at the closest ork. Using that momentum he expertly twists the axe handle to attack the next one.
I am using the Steel Wind maneuver which allows me to attack two enemies. I am also using Power Attack +3 so my weapon now has reach until the next turn. I want to attack B2 and B1 (if in range else B3) I am assuming from the description they are orcs.
ToHit(-3 PA +1 Racial vs. Orcs:(1d20+8)
Damage: (+3 PA) (1d10+9)
ToHit(-3 PA +1 Racial vs. Orcs:(1d20+8)
Damage: (+3 PA) (1d10+9)