The choice was simple, burn all the babies and live, or die. But what led up to this fateful act is the most interesting subject of this game session report, and so now that the burning baby is out of the bag, we shall endeavor to piece together what must surely have been the grisly events leading to that tragic finale.
7 stout zero-to-heroes set out from the Keep on the Borderlands one fine morning with the intent of rescuing a rich merchant from the clutches of a tribe of orc bushwhackers said to lair in the so-called Caves of Chaos. Having defeated the guards at the entry, they tiptoed their way in, with three clanking fighters, two clerics, two hobbits and a wizard discovering a large dining hall, with an immense carved stone table running its length, a stone throne at its end, and benches all around, but the chamber was deserted.
Various exits ran from this central hall, and one set was closed off by hide doorways. Since the dwarves were pretty deaf, they didn’t notice much, until suddenly a babies crying voice echoed through the lair. Te hobbit and the cleric Gnome went to investigate the furs whence the sound came. They heard three more babies crying, then were cooed to silence by a snorting pi-like sound ( oink-snuffle-snuffle) Peeking under,they were staring at an orc guards ankles, and failed to sneak utterly, and were spotted. So ensued a battle with 3o orcs, six of which were babies.
The room lists “up to 30 orcs” so I took that max since it was daytime and orcs were nocturnal, hating the sun, and rolled 3d6 to see how many were babies. Unfortunately for the players it was only six. 8 of the orcs, the females, formed up into a squad of shortbow archers, in a tight-knit group at the back of their lair, while the males formed into two squads of orcs, 8 with spears, and 8 with battle axe.
The whole thing went south when the wizards spell ailed to send any of the orcs to sleep, meaning the orcs had more than 10 hit points. Actually it put the six babies asleep, which was a blessing since their deafening howls were about to cause the players to start chucking dice at me. I know how irritating baby crying sounds can be. Oh yes.
During the first round of battle, the archers spread their fire, but from then on they fired all 8 arrows at a single target,and two or three characters met their end this way, such as the scotchobbit, the wizard, the gnome, and possibly even Big Meat, who sprung up miraculously with 1 hit point, when my sweet daughter (who plays big meat) rolled a natural 20 on her death save. (Note: look up official playtest rules for rolling a nat 20 on a death save. Regardless of findings, use this awesome method.)
The dwarf cleric Dr House was at the front lines with the scotchhobit, and they fought off the initial horde of 8 spear-orcs who came through the main entrance, while the hobbit Zooby zoo and the gnome scampered back. The other dwarf Dex the slay, tried to stem the tide of 8 orc battle-axers flowing through the other doorway. It was hopeless,though each dwarf slew thrice his weight in blood before falling. It was Zooby zoo, hiding under the stone table and stabbing ankles, who escaped alive from the losing fight.
Her and Big Meat, who shook off his death to rise again. The gnome cleric sacrifices herself to give Big Meat a cure light wounds spell, while the dwarf Dr House gave his life to aid the wizard, to no avail. By this point, only Zooby Zoo and Big Meat were the last ones standing, with at least 7 or 8 orcs still fighting. Dr House, Dex the dwarf slayer and the Gnome had all bled out on the floor of the cave, while the Scotchobbit and the wizard clung tenuously to life, though in a coma.
Big Meat was about to fall again, and Zooby Zoo took all she had, a healing potion and a mystery potion and fed them both to Big Meat. He turned invisible, and was about to wade back into the fray against the remaining orcs, but Zooby held him back. “Burn the babies,” she whispered.
So saying The dark skinned warrior lumbered invisibly around the orcs and into the back of the chamber where the six babies lay on their rotten straw pallets, still under the influence of the wizards Sleep spell. The warrior has two torches, lights them, and tosses them into the bunting. It is quick to light up, and son six burning orc babies begin screaming. Big meat exits the chamber and scoops up his dead and dying frineds, oe by one, not forgetting the mountain lion Graymane, whome he drapes over his shoulders. Zooby zoo carries the unconscious form of her hobbit compaion, and as the 8 orcs lose sight of the enemy and hear the wailing of their burning babies, the (ahem) heroes make their escape.