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RP: Winter's Valley-Chapter 1



  • mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,113
    edited August 15
    Colden takes a meaningful step towards the direction of the mountains and the rest of you follow. Then, quite confidently, he abruptly turns and takes a step for the lowlands.

    It’s not even noon, but it feels like a full day. Nareth, Colden, Garta, Sus’Ann, and Lagrord all feel extremely tired, but they’re not sure why. The march digs into you and you’re very glad that you’re not hiking in the mountains.

    The lowlands are where the summer runoff from the mountains gathers together into a multitude of streams. You assume that further down in elevation, the minor streams must all converge into one or two very large rivers. The going is rough, but there is plenty of water here for you to all the quench your thirst. The water is tainted by the black dust, which swirls around within it completely undiluted. But your water sources are often contaminated like this, and so none of you think twice about it.

    The storm, which has mostly blown over at this point against Garta’s predictions, gradually changes from snow to slush to rain to a slight drizzle and mist as you descend in elevation. You are all soaked to the bone, and your legs and boots are covered in mud. The going is particularly hard on Garta, with her broken leg, and Lagrord, who is supporting her. The exhaustion on you is extreme. When you break for lunch, it feels as though you have been marching for weeks. You are all in a heavy sweat, including Nareth, a veteran of many such campaigns. You notice that Jirt and Kefto are hardly winded. They are both watching you with interest.

    FG-11 takes the time to look around for some food while you eat. He finds some dirt and sticks and places them in a bowl with some muddy water. “Here’s a delicious meal!” he says to Jirt in a peace offering, handing him the bowl of sticks and dirt, now a congealed mud. Jirt looks at the golem like he’s crazy.

    “I thought you said you could cook??” spits Jirt angrily.

    “I... uh... I lost access to my recipes when I was cast out from the collective...” he says apprehensively. “Is this not satisfactory?”

    Jirt looks at him incredulously. “No! I don’t eat sticks and dirt!”

    FG-11, his plan at reconciliation an utter failure, looks more depressed than ever.

  • mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,113
    edited August 15
    After lunch, which thankfully does not consist of sticks and dirt, you head back into the lowlands, crossing streams and mud. The signs of orc activity increases, and then you stumble across a recent battlefield. It is comprised of dead orcs and barbarians. Many of the barbarians are missing their heads. It appears they lost their heads after they were killed.

    “We are certain to come across a patrol of orcs before the end of the day,” spits Garta as she kicks one of the carcasses with her good foot, causing Lagrord to lurch. “These bodies are not even two days old. These are members of the Bloodeye Clan. It appears that they must have been sent out from Warne Harsard-Wast as a scouting group. I doubt their clan even knows they are dead.”

    What do you do (or do you do nothing and continue on)?

  • SkatanSkatan Member, Moderator Posts: 4,586
    "Nareth, what do you propose? You have the most battle experience of us. If Garta's predictions are true, I guess we should try to avoid running into a band of orcs when we are fatigued. My thinking is that since Jirt and Kefto are not affected, we who were inside Warne Harsard-Wast must have been tainted by the site and have lost energy from it. Those ignorant barbarians inside will be weaker and weaker the longer they stay there and Astorwind can defeat these orcs should have less trouble also defeating the weakened tribe if it ever comes to that."

    Colden makes a mental note of this effect, to be written down in his adventure journal before bedtime.

  • ashafetovashafetov Member Posts: 186
    edited August 15
    The captain answers the Colden, briskly striding with a luggage on his back:

    What can I say, it will be easier for a small detachment to slip through the orc raiders in these lands. They hate the Bloody and Astorwind equally, so we will have little chance of meeting them. I don’t see any reasons to separate the group and send the scouts ahead. We must hide from other curious eyes as quickly as possible. I think we need to stay close to the rock ridge, since there we have a chance to take cover and move on. Maybe Lagrord can pretend he captured us? Does he speak orcish?.. Aye, I know this is stupid idea, but I had to try! "

  • lolienlolien Member, Moderator, Translator (NDA) Posts: 3,060
    Sus'Ann feels much relieved when the group stops for a short rest at last. She was bothered by the unnatural fatigue for some time now, and she must agree with Colden's assessment of the situation.

    She tries to find the source of their condition with her herbalist and magic skills as soon, as she'll have time for it.
    "Refiner, shine your holy light upon your children and remove this curse from us."

  • mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,113
    Sus’Ann casts a spell granted to her from The Unblighted that allows you to feel a bit better, though you are not up to your full strength yet.

    You follow Nareth’s direction and head closer to the ridges of the mountains, taking effort to hide from any prying eyes or potential scouts. The day passes drizzly and wet. Against Garta’s predictions, you do not run into any orcs today.

    You do, however, come across two more battlefields where orcs and barbarians met in battle. The Bloodeye Clan was slaughtered by the orcs, and they are missing their heads.

    The most recent battle you came across reveals something that gives you all pause. There is a footprint the size of a man in the mud. You only find one. But nearby, a small, scraggly tree had been ripped up by its roots, leaving a big hole in the ground behind. The tree is on the other side of the clearing, possibly 20 feet away, having fallen upon the battle chief, as Garta identifies him.

  • mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,113
    edited August 20
    You decide to leave the battlefield behind you and make camp on the other side of the ridge, far away from the gruesome battlefield.

    You can still remember the chewing of the scavengers as they ate the flesh and picked the bones of the dead. Animals rarely eat well in such a forlorn world as Winter’s Valley. They were viscous and protective of their meals, despite your large size. Rats, crows, and several other animals you didn’t recognize had scurried in and out of the corpses with their starved young.

    FG-11 eagerly follows Kefto around as the soldier prepares your meals. Kefto teaches him the basics of what humans eat, and FG-11 thanks him profusely. Calmly, Kefto gives FG-11 responsibility over preparing a mild broth to keep the chill away. He promptly ruins it by ignoring what Kefto said and taking a large handful of mud and smashing it down into the pot.

    FG-11 falls into another one of his bleak depressions. “I shall never get this right!” he whines. “I’m worthless! Sarge was right, I’m nothing without the collective!”

    “Calm down, friend,” says Kefto amiably and seriously. “We all have to start somewhere. It’s ok, we have plenty of water. We can just use these bones here to try again...” he rinses off the bones and then proceeds in showing FG-11 how to properly place the bones in the pot. It should be an easy task, but FG-11 has significant problems with it. It takes enormous concentration for him to just place the bones into the pot. Even Kefto’s patience is strained as FG-11 spills the pot for the 4th time.

    “Damn it, Kefto, we don’t have time for this!” spits Jirt angrily. “Let the thing just watch. I’m so hungry I feel I actually could eat mud and sticks!”

    FG-11, not picking up on the sarcasm, looks at Jirt with hope. He picks up a pile of mud and moves to place it in Jirt’s bowl. Jirt nearly loses his top and bats away the golem’s hand. FG-11 looks very confused.

    The night ends in sullen silence between Kefto and Jirt.

    Do you read the journal tonight or are you too tired?

  • mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,113
    Sorry guys real life has thrown me a curve ball this week. I’m heading to the FDA next weekend to give a speech. Wish me luck.

  • SkatanSkatan Member, Moderator Posts: 4,586
    While looking at the scene in front of him, Kefto and FG, Colden finds the most comfortable place he can, wraps his cloak around him as tight as it gets to keep out the cold, and opens the director's journal. He reads it slowly, not having read for a long time, he wants to savor the moment. He gently, almost with revere, turn the pages one by one and thoroughly read word by word. Reading a book is, according to Colden, like making love to a sweet lass. You gotta take time, carefully caress the book and put effort into it to get the most out of it. In between reading he swipes a mouhtful of old stale ale from his ale pouch. Not much left, but he has kept a few swigs for this particular moment.

  • mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,113
    The first page begins like this:

    “I have started a new chapter in my life. To celebrate the occasion, I have started a new chapter in a new journal. Writing has always calmed my mind and helped me to focus. Mother never understood my ‘obsession with ink,’ as she was illiterate herself. She always told me my writings would get me no where. How wrong she was!

    “I was just promoted to President of Cora’s Sugar Manufacturing! I can’t believe it! I’m so thrilled. Lilee said she always knew this day would come! I have to confess I had my doubts. But she never did, Aurithandil Bless her.

    “I’m not the first orcish president of this company, but that doesn’t make my victory any less sweet. I can’t believe my humble beginnings on that pig farm. My deadbeat orcish father, wherever he is, probably would wish he stayed around now.

    “At least Herti will never know the horror of abandonment from her father. I’ve done this for her, so she can have a better life. She can attend academy and not have to work her way up from the bottom (maybe lower than the bottom) like I did. She needs that head start.

    “Joruth was rooting for me, he said. It surprised me to see tears in his eyes when the board made the announcement. Who says a dwarf doesn’t get emotional?

    “I have an early start tomorrow. So much to learn, though maybe not. Joruth says I’ve been doing the job already, it’s not like there’s anything I don’t know. He’s such a good friend, I couldn’t have made it here without his tutelage.

    “Thank Aurithandil for my success. Without Him, I know I couldn’t have pulled myself out of the slop into a better life. He gets the credit, not me. I was just in the right places at the right times.”

  • mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,113
    edited August 20
    You stay up late into the watches devouring the journal. Gork Blaggo, the author of the journal, details his approach to management, his concerns for the company, and other technical details he needs to remember that you don’t particularly understand, but nevertheless find fascinating.

    He is clearly a humble, gentle man. He gives regular credit, in nearly every entry, to his god, Aurithandil. Every good decision he makes he credits to the teachings and grace of Aurithandil. He takes almost no credit for his own personal strength and wisdom which you can see is considerable. The way he handles delicate situations is quite unique, in your experience. He is gentle and calm, using reason and humor to to persuade those who disagree with him. He also admits several times in the journal how he was wrong about something.

    He’s not an angel, he does have his flaws. One of which is his ambition, which seems to take him away from his family, that he professes to care so much for. He regrets this, and laments that he couldn’t spend more time with his daughter, Herti, and his wife, Lilee. He rationalizes his decisions and makes excuses and false promises that you can easily guess he never keeps.

    About halfway through the journal, it takes a different tone. He keeps speaking about the so-called “Lifegivers.” You can’t glean much about them because he assumes that his reader (himself) already knows about their purpose and goals.

    You do gather, however, that Gork is not please with them and perceives them as a threat, but he’s a little confused by them as well. He seems to find something about them alluring, but you can’t quite figure it out. There is one reference about the Lifegivers that stick out in your mind as you read it:

    “I don’t think they truly understand what they’re doing will bring upon Bladenfire. They’re misguided youth, I know I used to feel that way, too. But Aurithandil showed me the way. I know He will see us through just as He always has. May His light shine upon them and show them the error of their ways.”

  • SkatanSkatan Member, Moderator Posts: 4,586
    Colden contemplates a bit whether or not Aurithandil can be the same god as the Refiner under a different name and then continues reading.

  • mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,113
    Near the end of the journal, he begins to write a little about what you assume must be, from his perspective, the upcoming Darkening. He doesn’t quite understand what is about to happen to Bladenfire, and keeps believing that things will sort themselves out. He talks about how his sales of sweets fluctuate erratically. He attributes this to the ups and downs of something called “demand” which he says is altered by the effects of riots and violence in what he says are far away places.

    Then the factory shuts down. This, he assures, is merely a safety precaution, temporary. He puts the golems on auto-pilot and he will continue to come in with Joruth and a few others he names to check on them. He continually assures himself that everything will work out and that Aurithandil will see them through. At one point, he brings his family with him to the factory.

    He talks about how bringing his family is just a safety precaution and that their home will he just fine. He says the Lifegivers can’t possibly accomplish their goals anyway. It’s just a fantasy. Besides, this will finally be that chance for quality time with his daughter that he’s always wanted. This is a blessing in disguise from Aurithandil.

    The last passage in the journal sends new chills down your spine as you read it with new perspective:

    “They’re finally coming, have to get out. Perhaps they don’t know what their actions will bring?
    My family is waiting. To whoever reads this, please respect my legacy. I’ve devoted my life to Cora’s. Maybe it will survive the coming weeks and everything will return to normal. Until then, if you are a Lifegiver reading this, please”

    You don’t know who he was talking about, but you assume it is the Lifegivers. You can’t know what message he wanted to tell them.

    It is after midnight when you finish. The darkness surrounding you is like the Darkening itself.

  • ashafetovashafetov Member Posts: 186
    Good luck at the FDA @mashedtaters ! I am sure, the speech will go well.

  • ashafetovashafetov Member Posts: 186
    edited August 21
    Nareth suffered from insomnia. A series of recent events, the revelation of the Refiner, endless anxiety and this very failed King's mission did not let him to fall asleep normally. Thoughts could not leave his head, and he tossed and turned in a dream, trying in vain to find a comfortable spot, although he was familiar with the travel conditions under these circumstances. The only way to have a night's rest was still to exhaust himself during the day.

    The future as well as his own fate remained unknown. They must reach main king's forces, the army is the place where he belongs to. However, it is not going to be the same again. Since he has left his domain betraying his former commoner's life.

    Post edited by ashafetov on
  • mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,113
    edited August 23
    It is early morning when the war-screams awake you.

    “Orcs!” screams Garta, waking you all in the predawn light. “To arms!”

    It seems they had snuck up on you during the night, but Garta spotted them in her watch. As she moved to wake you quietly, they charged before she could limp to you, hoping to take you by surprise.

    There are 5 of them, possibly scouts. You’re not sure why they attacked you in such small numbers. Perhaps they figured they could help themselves to whatever spoils you carry without reporting to their superiors their plunder. Whatever the case, they quickly descend upon you, shadowed blue in the twilight.

    They’re wearing the front half of recently decapitated and hollowed out skulls. You guess they formerly belonged to the barbarians. Their eyes peer evilly through the skull sockets. Their mouths, red and drooling, open wide in feral howling beneath the front teeth. In a sort of detached clarity, you can still see the original owner’s blood and flesh clinging to each skull. One of the orcs tongues lathers up the front teeth of the skull he’s wearing. They wield their customary crude, but effective, weapons. One carries an axe and shield, another carries a giant sword, another carries a sword and shield, and another carries two daggers. The fifth in the back is wielding a small bow, aimed for your ranks.

  • mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,113
    edited August 23
    Thankfully, Garta’s warning gave you all enough time to stand and draw your weapons. However, none of you are wearing your armor except for Garta, as you have all been asleep.

    Kefto is the first to meet the charge, faithful and steady as always. He leaps into the fray in his comfortable nightclothes.

    Jirt is not far behind, and assists his friend in staving off the great swordsman and axeman. Their weapons clang out loudly in the first second of battle.

    An arrow fired from the archer sounds out a loud PING! as it ricochets harmlessly off of FG-11’s chest. The golem lets out a squeal of fear, and falls to the ground, trembling in horror at the violence. He covers his face with his hands and shakes uncontrollably in the fetal position.

    Garta, snorting in disgust, throws an arrow at the archer, but misses.

    Both the orc wielding a dagger in each hand and the swordsman dodge Kefto’s and Jirt’s frontline and meets the rest of you head on just as you are standing up.

    The dagger wielder, a feral orc with madly gleaming eyes, bowls over Nareth just as the captain reaches for his weapons. The orc, drooling and biting, has grappled the captain on the ground and tries to stab him frantically. Both Nareth and the orc are lying down as the orc tries to finish the job quickly.

    The swordsman takes a swing at Colden, but misses as Colden ducks back down flat. Colden feels the air whistle over his head as the sword cuts a tuft of his hair.

    What do you do?

  • mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,113
    edited August 23
    Welcome to your first battle!

    Here are the basics:

    Your turn consists of you describing what your character tries to do. Success will be determined by a secret method I have developed called the DM screen. See the first few posts of this discussion.

    Be as descriptive as you can be. If you wish to take liberties with some sort of crazy stunt, just put it in. Your success of crazy stunts will be determined by a combination of your imagination in describing it, your character’s background and ability scores, and the DM screen. If you wish to describe a character flaw, such as how your character is too afraid to do anything, so much the better! Be real and true to your character’s background and personality, and you will be rewarded with success.

    Battle will commence in order of initiative of each poster. Each round will advance after every person has posted. You may post more than one time if you wish, but try to only describe a few actions. (I’m not going to make a set limit.) I will try not to post results until everyone has posted their descriptive actions. If you wait too long, you may miss your turn. That is fine, no worries, real life takes precedence.

    Unlike in normal D&D, battles will resolve very quickly, like in real life. Only sporting fights, like boxing and MMA, last longer than a few seconds. Real life battles are typically over very quickly, with the loser dead or too injured to be a threat.

    Usually once someone has obtained the upper hand, that person takes advantage and ends the fight immediately. Take for example Nareth in the above post. His character is in severe danger right now, because from the description I gave it is easy to see that his opponent has the upper hand: the orc is on top of him and is armed with two daggers, about to stab. Nareth is in danger of dying in the next round unless one of you do something (or unless Nareth can think of an awesome thing to do). One stab wound in the right spot is all it takes in this world. Remember that healing magic works differently here. It’s more like first aid for low-level spells, hence Garta’s leg is still broken.

    That doesn’t mean that clerics are useless, far from it! Don’t worry, @lolien , your character is far more powerful than an average D&D 1st level cleric. In fact, all of your characters are.

    But that power will rest upon your creativity and teamwork, not on numbers. Think real world risk, not D&D combat min-max strategizing.

    For example, Colden, Kefto, and Jirt are all distracted by their attackers and probably can’t do much practically to help Nareth. Just like in real life, they would have to create some scenario where they could break away long enough to assist Nareth, or they’d take a serious risk.

    Post edited by mashedtaters on
  • mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,113
    I’m not going to necessarily describe how each scenario is such a risk, like I did with Colden and Nareth in the spoiler above. It is up to you to immerse yourself in your characters personality and read the situation as best as he/she would—then react accordingly. If your reaction is true to your character, even in a flawed way, (such as FG-11’s cowering in fear), you can rest assured that you are playing by the rules.

  • SkatanSkatan Member, Moderator Posts: 4,586
    edited August 23
    Colden wearing his battleaxe stands face to face with a orc with shield and sword, a clear disadvantage that will surely result in his demise if he cannot think of anything quickly. Luckily, being quite dexterious for being a dwarf, he had time to dodge the first blow and now the orc should be imbalanced as the swinging arc of his blow missed Colden. Colden tries to quickly counter-attack the side of the orc that is not protected by its shield, its sword arm side, with a crude, but simple slash with his axe towards the arm pit of the orc. Colden has read enough tomes on arms and armour to know most armors are less protected in the armpits.

    As he gets ready to strike back at the orc, he opens his mouth and with a thunderous voice he sings out the battlecry of Astorwind, instilling a bloody fury and crazed berzerker rage of defiance in himself and his allies (trying to mitigate his own fear as he is not used to battle!). His adrenaline spikes high as he is for his first time in life in a situation of imminent life or death.

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 9,454
    *Lagrord throws his dagger at the orc pinning Nareth, aiming for center mass. If he can distract the orc, it might give him enough time to reach them and help out*

  • ashafetovashafetov Member Posts: 186
    Tormented by insomnia, Nareth was on his guard, which saved him from a direct blow to the throat with the knife. The sudden attack of the orc emerging out from the darkness, took the captain by surprise. Both together they rolled along the stony ground, and the attack turned into a hand-to-hand brawl. The fighters turned over, turned the camp bowler over and repented further scattering the sparks of the extinguishing fire and things around.

    The orc’s face was filled with mortal rage, his saliva flowed directly onto the captain’s forehead and Nareth began to suffocate. " Aaarggh, ya filthy bastard!.. ", spited Nareth his words direct into the face of gasping orc.

    The captain's sword remained lying aside of his luggage and the captain grabbed the orc's frantically striking hand, trying to keep it from delivering a lethal blow into the chest. The captain tried to push away the attacker at the very moment, when Lagrord threw his dagger to hit the target.

  • mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,113
    Nareth heaves up with all his considerable strength, pushing the orc onto his knees. The orc responds in kind, throwing his entire weight onto the dagger gripped between them, pointing at Nareth’s chest. It is a hopeless position for Nareth, and the orc knows it. He grins hungrily, and...

    ...Lagrord’s dagger strikes him in the side of his chest, under his extended arm. The orc screams in pain and disbelief. Nareth throws him to the side where he squirms in his death throes.

    Colden, meanwhile, having just had a close call with death, retaliated. He swings upwards hard, reflexively, remembering his study of arms and armor. The swing is a powerful one, deliver from a crouching position upwards like a coiled spring. The blade of his axe crushes the bones of his adversary’s rib cage. The orc is dead before he knows what hit him. He flies a few feet to the left, his shoulders mashed together.

  • mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,113
    Garta takes another swing with her dagger at the bowman, managing to get another strike off. This time her aim is true. It sticks in the orc’s forearm, and he screams, dropping his bow.

    Jirt and Kefto fair well against the two orcs they face off as well. One of the orcs is on the ground, a hole in his chest. Jirt and Kefto back the orc against a tree and, with a quick faint from Kefto, Jirt runs him through.

    The orc with the bow pulls the dagger out of his arm. With a snarl, he takes off running from his certain death.

    The dagger wielding orc is coughing up blood and managed to pull the dagger free, but it is clear he doesn’t have much longer to live.

    What do you do?
    Combat is now over.

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 9,454
    *Lagrord walks over to the orc to put him out of his misery. Also, that's a nice dagger and it needs to be cleaned.*

  • SkatanSkatan Member, Moderator Posts: 4,586
    "NO wait!" Colden shouts as he sees Lagrord walk towards the last orc. "Let him live, let's interrogate him first."

    Colden walks past the orc he killed, a glance at its corpse.. he feels a lot less stressed out than he thought he woud, but he also realize he's high on adrenaline and he won't know how he will react fully 'til it withdraws. He adjust his clothing, inspect them for any blood stains and press out any wrinkles in them before walking on towards the hurt orc.

  • SkatanSkatan Member, Moderator Posts: 4,586
    leaving it opening here if anyone want to jump in and take action before Cole has a chance to start an interrogation.

  • lolienlolien Member, Moderator, Translator (NDA) Posts: 3,060
    Sus'Ann wakes up very tired after the exhaustive last day, and while she would start to join the battle, it's already over. She walks to FG-11 and puts his hand on the shoulder of the frightened construct.
    "Ease child, the danger is gone for now."
    After she manages to calm the golem the dwarven women checks the others for injury.

  • mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,113
    edited August 26
    Miraculously, Sus’Ann finds that no one is injured, though Nareth has some superficial scrapes and bruises.

    FG-11 stops shaking and stands up. He looks at the orc squirming in his death throes in fear.

    Jirt and Kefto, still in their nightclothes, approach the orc and secure him so that he is safe for interrogation. The orc tries to resist at first, but Jirt gives him a hard jab in his fatal wound and he goes limp with a squeal. Kefto removes the skull-mask and throws it to the ground.

    The orc is young for a warrior, having barely entered into manhood. His tusks have barely begun to spread his mouth, and small wisps of hair tickle his face.

    None of that changes the gleam of madness and hunger for human flesh in his eyes. His tongue lolls about his lips and his eyes roll.

    Garta looks around, keeping watch in case the archer returns.

    “Dyzrim the Keeper of Ice will eat your spirits for this!” he shrieks, trying to instill bravery into his voice. “Astorwind scum! Your lands will be ours, and your children and women will feed our bellies this winter and many more to come!”

  • ashafetovashafetov Member Posts: 186
    Panting Nareth heavily stands up and moves to wounded orc together with Colden. After orc has finished his speech he grabs his throat with his hand and draws the dagger:

    " What are ya saying fiend? You WILL speak and you WILL answer all our questions! How die ya track us, ya bloody bantling! SPEAK I says! ", the captain shakes the orc holding his head.

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