- +Annette plays Snowfall, a Human Paladin whose family owns an apothecary in Stormhaven.
- James plays Angus Arrowbeard, a Dwarven Archer/Rogue from a hold to the North.
- Michael plays Novim, an Elf Ranger who has sworn fealty to the local Lord.
- Sasha plays Kae Swiftfoot, a Monk/Rogue who owns a corn farm North of Stormhaven.
- Shane plays Typhus, a Wizard who seeks to make his fortune.
A week or two after dealing with the necromancer, Kae is awoken by his guard rabbit. He sees shadows moving through the corn, and heads out into the fields with a torch. He comes face to face with an orc, and tries to scare the brute away - they end up fighting. Two other orcs attempt to join their comrade, but the Dwarven archer Angus Arrowbeard has been tracking them since they came through the Last Pass, and manages to take one out with an arrow he never saw coming. After a brief skirmish, the orcs are defeated. Angus and Kae introduce each other, and Angus explains that the orcs have attacked the Dwarven city of Targan's Forge. He'd been following a group who struck out South and headed through the Last Pass.
The pair travel to Stormhaven in the middle of the night, finding everyone else still at the Green Dragon inn. Angus tells his tale about the orcish army, and the group decides it's in the best interests of the realm for them to head North and investigate what's going on beyond the Last Pass.
* * *
As they travel past Kobold Hill, Snowfall spots an orc sentry atop one of the half-ruined towers, and also notices that kobolds have returned. The group attempts a stealth approach from the road, but the bald hillside doesn't offer much in the way of cover and the sentries spot them. The group attempts a frontal assault, and the orcs shove the kobolds out front to bear the brunt of the attack. Meanwhile, extra orcish archers appear on the two mostly-intact towers, and several emerge from the towers wielding swords. They are followed into the fray by a tough war-boss wearing better armour than the rest.
In a long slog, the heroes finally manage to defeat all of the kobolds and some of the orcs. However, the withering fire from the archers on the towers takes its toll, with Typhus and Angus in particular suffering serious injuries. Snowfall falls back to heal the wounded, but unfortunately Kae is still on the front line and quickly becomes surrounded and overwhelmed. The group has little choice but to withdraw and regroup, vowing to return and liberate the captured Kae. They withdraw to Swiftfoot Farm, and spend the night recovering their health and magical power.
* * *
The party returns to Kobold Hill the next morning for a dawn assault. Now that there are fewer orcs, the place is not as well defended - one archer on top of each of the two standing towers, plus four orcs and their chief inside one of the towers, along with the captive Kae.
The group launches a multi-pronged assault. Angus sneaks up one of the towers and stealth-kills the lone orc archer atop it, then goes on to use the roof to shoot at other orcs as they come into view. Novim takes cover in one of the shattered towers, and takes pot-shots as various orcs emerge from the tower they're using as their base. Snowfall and Typhus conduct a frontal assault on the tower door, although Snowfall is forced to duck against the base of the tower to avoid arrow-fire from above. Typhus uses the Staff of Skulls to raise some of the dead orcs to attack their leader. While engaged with the zombies, the orc commander also suffers concentrated missile fire, and finally succumbs to Snowfall's blade! As the orcs abandon their guard duty to join the fray, the heavily-wounded Kae finally manages to slip his bonds. By the time he joins the fight, however, only a couple of orcs are still standing. Kae claims the leader's giant battle-axe.
The last surviving orcish archer surrenders, so the group captures and questions him. After discussing whether to let him go (suggested by Angus) or slit his throat (Typhus' suggestion), they decide on Novim's advice to instead return him to town so he can face justice. With that done, they head off once more towards the Last Pass.
After passing through the narrow gap between the mountains, the party finds themselves in a dry country. Yellowed grasses cover the hillsides, and a scraggly forest can be seen in the distance. In front of them lies the farming village of Dryfield.
The place seems deserted, although they can see that many feet have passed through recently. The mournful plucking of a lute is the only sound they hear, so they head towards it and meet the young bard, Timpany. She tells them that the villagers are all working the fields. She came into town yesterday, some time after a large group of orcs raided the village and sent groups off in various directions. The orcs apparently came from the Witherwood, which jibes with Angus' information. Timpany tells them that this is an ancient land filled with ruins, and sings a song of the fall of the Elves of Witherwood. The group decides to head into the forest to explore Elven ruins and perhaps find the source of the orcs.
The woods are dry, with twisted and gnarled trees clawing at the sky. The party spots and manages to avoid several orc patrols, and eventually discovers an old Elven shrine, now occupied by half a dozen orcs. The heroes move in and fight them, using cover and ambush. The orcs fall after a brief skirmish, and the party discovers they were guarding a large amount of food and other supplies. The day is getting late, so they decide to set up camp in the shrine.
This session went for five or six hours, and we got quite a bit done! The first fight took a long time to resolve, and taught all of us a lesson about tactics in Savage Worlds. I probably threw in a few too many orcs, plus a frontal assault in the open while being harassed by missile fire, plus discovering the death-spiral of wound penalties... well, it could have gone better. In fact, the regroup went much more smoothly, in large part due to effective tactics and positioning.
I did get some feedback from this session - James requested some puzzles and things to solve, which I agree would help take the focus off combat a little. I also felt that I'm not giving out very good treasure. I was going to write up a series of magical item tables, but then I discovered that the Fantasy Companion already has a most awesomely comprehensive set, which saves me a lot of work! It doesn't have anything in the way of tricks and traps though, so I've also purchased a couple of "10 Fantasy Traps" booklets to start me off.
Travelling to interesting places, meeting unique characters, fighting monsters, solving puzzles, finding treasures... I think if I can flesh the game out to cover all of that, then I'll feel like I'm providing a much more substantial gaming experience!
>>> Session 3