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Down into the Dark

For almost a year already, the mountain town of High Skoro has been plagued by a sudden increase in orc raids. Villages have been plundered, trade caravans pursued and captured, travellers savagely attacked and killed. Local militia has verified that an orc tribe has settled the dungeons beneath the ruins of an old temple. Squads of militiamen have been sent to stop the orcs but all have disappeared. In desperation, the town council have hired a party of adventurers – men and women of more martial skills than their militia – to venture beneath the temple ruins and stop the orcs from mounting more attacks. 

Fram Flamhammer has been a veteran of many battles and the battle-scarred dwarf, together with his loud and boisterous friend and right-hand man Hannu the northerner have been lending their arms in exchange for coin for many a year already. Their band includes the stoic and dour elf ranger Adaun Silentdraw and his young charge, the reticent Brehana the half-elf magic-user. Rounding out the group is the congenial but deadly rogue, Alistrae Twoblades.

After studying what little information the townspeople of High Skoro had on the area, the temple as well as the dungeons themselves, the adventurers set out to rid the town of the orc threat.

Adaun the ranger led the way as the band cautiously made their way into the underground dungeons. They were surprised to see the walls dimly light with phosphorescent moss, making it possible to travel without torches. The wide anteroom they had descended into shrank into a one man-wide corridor. Suddenly, as the corridor led to an archway, the elf ranger signaled a silent halt. 

Gesturing with his hands, he let the band know that their first enemy was in sight and to get ready. After taking a deep breath, the elf silently lunged into the room, already drawing his bow.

Troll! Immediately, Brehana and Fram jumped behind the elf, the half-elf casting a magic missile as Adaun's arrow bounced off the troll's thick hide. Both missiles push the troll back, giving the dwarf an opening to charge in. His hammer blows are blocked by the furious troll and a vicious backhand throws the dwarf down onto the hard dungeon floor. The troll lunges after the dwarf but is blocked by Hannu. 

With a wild yell, the northerner swings at the troll as Alistrae dives behind the monster, her knives flashing in the dim light of the dungeon. Adaun draws another arrow but cannot shoot lest he hits any of his companions in melee with the troll. Fram gets up and with an upward strike, hammers the monster away from Hannu and Alistrae. Brehana sees the opening and lets loose another magic missile that knocks the troll to the ground -- a perfect opportunity for Alistrae to plunge both her knives into the monster's temples. With a violent spasm, the troll dies. 

No sooner had Alistrae drawn and wiped her knives clean when Adaun shouts a warning. An ambush! Orcs had entered the room from the other side together with another troll!

Two orcs burst into the room, knocking down Adaun to his knees. Fram engages the other orc as the troll lumbers into the room at the rear. Hannu blocks the first orc charging the stunned Adaun but is pushed back, away from the ranger.

 Alistrae enters the fray but is also knocked down. Meanwhile, Brehana sees the threat of the troll and fires a column of flame, searing the monster and driving it to its knees. She unleashes another magic missile and kills the orc standing over the fallen Adaun. 

Fram kills the orc he was locked in combat with and lunges at the troll. With a mighty swing, he kills the troll as Hannu plunges his sword into the last orc. 

After tending to their wounds and collecting some treasure, the companions continue their way along the dimly lit corridors of the dungeon. Adaun signals that he sees opponents in the next room and the band silently creep their way along the narrow corridor into a wider chamber. Inside, two orcs are keeping watch over a large chest. The orc guard has his bow drawn and arrow notched while his stubbier but more heavily muscled companion carried a huge warhammer. 

Silent and fast, Adaun races into the room, burying an arrow into the orc archer's skull even before it could raise its bow. The companions burst into the room behind him, expecting an easy fight.

Hannu swings his broadsword over his head, only to be blocked by the heavy hammer of the orc. With a counterstroke, the orc bashes Hannu to the ground instead, the barbarian blocking the ranger's line of fire. But Alistrae's knives draw blood and the orc staggers to the ground. Fram finishes the orc off with a powerful strike of his dwarven warhammer!

The companions find more treasure as well as a few items that may be of a magical nature. A roar from beyond another passage way alerts them to new danger. 

Their recent battle with the orcs have aroused another troll and it lumbers towards them, its malevolent eyes glowing red in the dark! Hannu rushes to meet it, sword gripped tight as the companions ready their own weapons.

Hannu and the troll lock in combat, sword versus claw! But a vicious swipe of the troll's claw send Hannu crashing to the ground. Alsitrae rushes to the northerner's aid!

Her furious knives confuse the troll, giving Fram and Adaun the chance to rush into the fray. The troll jumps away from the whirling knives of the rogue and straight into the dwarf's silver hammer, sending the moster crashing against the wall. Given enough precious time to recover, Hannu jumps up and drives his sword deep into the troll!

Spent, the companions decide to make camp and rest nearby as Brehana tended their wounds and Adaun took first watch. 

Among the trolls treasure chest, the companions find more gold and some seemingly magical items.
After an uneasy night's rest, companions set off again thru narrow corridors. 

Some corridors led to wider chambers, others to paths blocked by fallen rubble. unknown to them however, a trap was about to be sprung and they were the target!

As soon as the companions turned the corner, they were met by the bellows of a charging ogre! Hannu was struck by an arrow and crashed into the ground. Adaun managed to dodge another arrow aimed at his throat but was unable to notch and loose an arrow in return.

With a thunderous warcry, Fram rushes to the front, forcing both the ogre and the orc archer away from the fallen northerner. Brehana follows after him and launches a magic missile at the ogre, forcing the monster further away from Hannu. 

The ogre deals the rogue a mighty blow that sends her recoiling to the ground, just as Hannu gets back to his feet. 

Adaun sinks an arrow in the ogre as Fram dispatches the orc archer. Hannu charges the fallen ogre and kills it. Brehana fires a magic missile at the remaining orc as Fram pulverizes its head.

In the aftermath of the battle, the companions find Alistrae alive, but just barely. they decided to return above ground and bring their friend to the town healer first before resuming the dungeon clearing -- without the rogue though.

Now just a few notes. I played the game solo as i was trying to learn the rules. Encounters were rolled for with random white tokens spread across the map. Whenever the lead figure -- usually Adaon -- got into "long range", I'd roll a 1D6 on an encounter table and replace the token with the called for figures. Monsters always attacked the nearest opponent, not the biggest threat. 

Black tokens were used to represent treasure which were again rolled on a treasure/magic item table.The magic items wont be usable this scenario but once identified back in town, they can be equipped in the succeeding ones. 

I noticed that the adventuring party always had the upper hand especially in enclosed areas where they can gang-up on the enemy while encounters that had them fighting singly made the fight more equitable. Even with strong opponents, once the adventuring party starts ganing up with multiple melees, a knock down will almost certainly spell death the next turn if the figure doesn't get up soon enough. 

About half of the map was explored until I had to stop the game. Manny Pacquiao was about to fight Timothy Bradley and here in my country, everything stops when its Pacquiao. :)


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