G40: Hirelings Vs Orcs

This session was played on June 25, 2010, featuring Hamish the Dim, Karvenn, Martin le Black, Pritchard Hood, Vassily the Scout and Zettafra the Barbarian, as well as five hirelings: Gorstag the Mighty, Llevajo, Millipede, Red Marley and Volstaff.

Summary

[Note: This summary was provided by Sternum, the player of Hamish the Dim. Some statements may not be entirely accurate.]

RETURN TO THE CAVES OF CHAOS
in which the Company of Crossed Swords gets back
to killing orcs instead of buying them presents

by Pizlap Bannaburn
goblin scribe and official historian of
the Company of Crossed Swords

Plagued by the threat of a cruel Glantrian winter made more random by the magical energies still warping the land, the Company of Crossed Swords decided against the day's journey to the Chateau of the Ghost Tower and instead headed to Eastkeep. From this stout base, they were free to plumb the depths of the Caves of Chaos and the mysterious Quesqueton without fear of being trapped by snow or sleet.

Our heroes were:

Martin le Noir
Karvenn, the Swashbuckler
Vassily, the Scout
Hamish, the Dim
Pritchard Hood, the Witch-Hunter
… and a berserk who's name this chronicler failed to write down.

In a rare moment of forward thinking, the Company pooled their monies and hired a small army of mercenaries to accompany them on their assault of the Caves of Chaos. Their number included:

Red Harriet, the gladiator
Valstaff, the northman
Gorstag, the mighty
Milipede, the goblin
… and probably a few more that I am forgetting in my…..

[The manuscript is illegible, as if the author had spilled a snifter of brandy or some goat stew onto its pages.]

… and after much thought, the Company descended downward into the topmost cave, supported by two lengths of stout rope. There, they fell victim to a most cunning trap and were swarmed by a dozen or so angry spear-wielding orcs. The berserk waded into battle, his glistening loins covered with a thin sheen of sweat as orc heads began to fly left and right. Much blood was spilled, but it was almost entirely orcish. Of this first wave, only one would survive: a dim-witted fellow that was charmed by Pritchard Hood's powerful catnips cantrips.

Also, Vassily shot one of the torch bearers in the back of the head, killing him soundly. Karvenn mercifully expended some Milk of Trianoma to spare the wretch, who, much to Vasilly's luck, had no idea what hit him.

The berserk, maddened with battle, turned on his comrades…

[Scribbled in pencil: I'm sure no one saw that coming.]

… and cleaved Martin le Noir with a blow that would have shorn the limbs from a mountain yak, but Martin shrugged it off and laid low the churl with a mighty blow.

Another dozen orcs were heard preparing a counter-attack from within the cave. Hamish the Dim took the role of tactician….

[Another scribbled note: When fighting a foe as stupid as an orc, it pays to have a leader that can think as well as an orc. In this, Hamish excels.]

…. Vassily, Martin, and two of the hired mercenaries lured the orcs down hallway while Hamish formed the remaining members of the company into a phalanx. Oil was spread liberally over the floor and on Red Harriet's bulging pectoral muscles. It's uncertain as to whether this strategy was effective, as it led to yet another face-to-face brawl, but once again the Company of Crossed Swords was successful.

Deeper within the cave, the party was surprised by a pair of orc women intent on dumping a barrel of oil upon them. Poetic justice! Torches were thrown and Martin le Noir was covered in flames. Wielding the legendary Fist of the Boss, Hamish splattered both women's brains across the cave wall, much to Karvenn's disgust. Martin le Noir was eventually doused, but sadly Gorstag the Mighty was cut down.

With the help of Pritchard Hood's enraptured orc, who told the Company the whereabouts of the chieftain's lair, the adventure culminated in a general ransacking. This netted the party some weaponry, some armor, a few potions, and a pile of coin. They also looted the cave's armory, the contents of which were sold to the garrison at Eastkeep.

Unfortunately, due to the overhead of having such a high ratio of mercenaries to full-fledged company men, each individual share of treasure was quite low. Furthermore, despite the fact that an entire battalion of orcs was slaughtered, few members of the party felt that much wiser for the effort. Thus, the day ended with Pritchard Hood berating Hamish the Dim for his inability to do a basic cost-benefit analysis of the economics involved. Hamish responded with a vacant stare.

NOTE: For those not there, because we paid 100 GP per mercenary, plus a 1/3 share of gold and experience, we each netted something like 130 GP and 150 XP. That's 30 GP of profit for a fairly substantial haul and a million dead orcs. On the other hand, there's no way we could have survived this adventure or cleared the cave without some serious backup. Therefore, we probably need to find a sweet spot between too many hirelings and not enough.

Losses & Loot
The party defeated sixteen orcs and an orcish chieftain. They obtained a potion, a scroll, a magical shield +1, and a variety of mundane valuables, weapons and armor with a total value of 1,211gp.

For creatures defeated and wealth acquired, each party member received 163xp.


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