This mini-adventure kicks off a new series called Ancient Encounters, culled from my ancient notebooks of campaigns past. The idea came after writing about re-using an old adventure, and I realized these great encounters deserve a little more attention. Hopefully others can be inspired by this series to make their own adventures, or to use elements of these admittedly “brief” encounters as building blocks for great games.
Orc Hillside Encampment History
Around 2008 I decided to get the band back together after a hiatus of… well, since the late 80′s. Our first adventure was called Zagyg the Fogroggen King, and this little dungeon was one of the encounters possible in the outdoor forest exploration adventure.
The dungeon is the plundered tomb of one of the forgotten king’s lieutenants, the Dwarf lord Konnag. Clues to the adventure are hidden, but the characters must defeat the orcs who have made the tomb their forward raiding camp.
In the stony cliffside of a hill deep in the dark forests surrounding King’s Gate, two rock-arched entrances lead into the tomb of the Dwarf Lord Konnag and his companions. One is high up the steep hillside, and a narrow pathway leads up to it. The other arch is at the base of the cliff. Two Orcs stood at guard outside each cave entracne as the characters approached. They were spotted and charged forward in a desparate head-on clash that almost wiped the party out before they had even begun.
The druid and hisdog charged up the hill and engaged the upper orcs, while the fighter and the rest fought the two orcs at the lower doorway, and then even more as they had to contend with the orcs that came pouring out of their barracks. The battle was desparate to the point where the elven wizard had torush up the hill to try and save the fighter by making a long sword attack. It succeeded and the tide of battle was turned.
At this point the adventurers were low on resources and injured, but the pushed on, checking outthe upper chamber first. It lead to a bone filled room. The gnome illusionis was riding the druid’s war-dog, and nearly tumbled head first into the concealed pit. They picked the lock into the next hamber and searched the sundered tombs of the dwarven paladins. In one skull they find a ring rattling around in the skull of a dward and the cleric puts it on. It is cursed and he has a chance of going berzerk in battle ever after.
They opt out of opening the double doors, and go check out the now emptied barracks inside the lower door. The room is full of shabby mats of fur, straw, and cloth. At one end it a stout wooden chest, and it is trapped. The thief pops the trap and is pricked by a needle. A wave of nausea passes through her, but she shakes it off.
The adventurers realize they cannot go on without any healing or magic left, so they retreat to a nearby monestery (see next ancient encounter entry) and come back refreshed the next morning. The orcs have set up a barricade around the entrance to their lair, and the party must use subterfuge to try an gain surprise. They defeat the orcs a second time, and re-enter the barracks. They pick the lock on the same chest a second time, avoiding the trap, and finding it empty. Six of the orcs carry Short swords +1 plundered from Konnag’s companions.
They move into the hall ,but must first disable a crossbow trap set up to fire at anyone who attempts to open the inner door. Once in the hallway, tiny poisonous lizards drop from the ceiling onto them, and they bust through the next chamber to fight the orc priest and his acolytes. The shaman is cut down before he ever gets an action, and the last acolyte escapes up the ladder, and is chased through the store room and towards the shaman’s chamber. The party sets up a flaming oil trap of their own in the store room, and soon defeat the remaining orcs as they counter-attack.
The final chamber in the adventure is the unplundered tomb of Konnag. The door is trapped with electricity. The orcs have not managed to break in. Once the players get through (using create water, mage hand, and something else I forget) they enter the room with Konnag’s corpse. Above his sarcophagus his phantom rises and says something about gotta fight ya for breakin in and corruptin the tomb. Beside him are two large urns, full of holy water, and they are the only thing that can damage the phantom, so hilarity ensues as they all pass around the one cup they have, to dip and splash it in the phantom until he is ‘purified’
Their prize is one of the artifacts of the forgotten king, Flamering +2 Flaming Bastard Sword.