Tuesday, January 12, 2016

(Hackmaster) Burning Trogs Rule! #22: The Redrock Cohort

When we last left our gnome titan posse, they were en route to the gnome titan legions ready to assault the orc-held Frandor's Keep.  How did they end up in their favorite bar in Mirros to run into Gwen.  Let's go back a bit, shall we?

Zorin Redrock - Gnome Titan fighter, veteran of the Legions of the Gnomish City States.  Leader of the Burning Trogs.
Janus Redrock - Gnome Titan priest of Pangrus, cousin of Zorin.
"Whitey" Smallfoot - Badly maimed and deformed Halfling Cleric of Yondalla.  Sidekick of Zorin.  Coreena Ruddledater - Nine year old halfling torchbearer.  She had been given to the Trogs by her parents the last time they were in Frandor's Keep.

29th of Undec, 1134, Celsior
A few more drinks into the night, Zorin admits that he, Coreena, and Whitey decided to join the Gnome Titan Legions heading to Frandor's Keep. Control of the Trogs was transferred to Cecelia Darkspruce.

30th of Undec, 1134, Celsior
Zorin and Company bid farewell to the other Trogs.

2nd of DuoDec, 1134, east of Califon
Zorin had been told that the staging area for the gnome titans had been Eltan Spring, a druidic grove that the Trogs had visited early on in their career.  With the stream of refugees heading east towards Celsior, it was no surprise that gnome titan military camps were set up about two miles east of Califon.    The Karameikan military that had been sent to retake the Fort had been routed, and the only thing keeping the orc hordes from descending out of the mountains was a thick coating of ice and snow, and an utter lack of supply lines that were making the orcs more cannibalistic than normal. Even if they could reach the Keep, there would be no survivors to rescue.

The Legator of the gnome titans was Lanicor Thunderhammer, aged warrior-priest, one arm wielding the legendary Endless Warhammer, the other arm ripped from it's socket by a barbarian decades before on the Plains of Galmar.  His military organization was oppressive even to the gnome titans, but he organized the volunteers into a single Legion, and procured enough supplies from Baron Sherlane of Califon, and the assistance of ten of the King's finest humans, the Order of the Griffon that resided in the region.

3rd of DuoDec, 1134 Gnome Titan Base Camp
Zorin was given a rank of left sergeant of his cohort.    Whitey returned to his old job as a cook in the army, and although Zorin was pushing to make Coreena the standard bearer of the unit, cooler heads prevailed, and she was assigned to help Whitey.

5th of DuoDec, 1134 Celsior
Janus leaves the Trogs in Celsior, heading up to join Zorin and Company.

6th of DuoDec, 1134 Califon
The bravest, the luckiest, and the most frost-bitten of the Marakeikan 1st Army reach the Gnome Titan scouts on the western outskirts of Califon.  They are exhausted, but still conducting a fighting withdrawal against an ever-growing orcish advance party.  Half the scouts shored up the line.  While the others pushed the humans out of the way and into the town to rest their fragile bodies.    The scouts hold the orcish scouts, but the main legion is called up to prepare for battle outside the makeshift walls that had protected Califon for decades.    The orc scouts are overwhelmed by such a disciplined force of gnome titans and are slaughtered to the creature.    The Legions do not not take refuge in the town, rather setting up an advance camp two miles west of Califon.  Since the base camp wasn't broken up, soldiers when relieved for the rare hot meal, required a three mile march through a foot of snow.

9th of DuoDec, 1134 - Gnome-Titan Advance Camp
The scouts caught the orcs unprepared and the legion jumped upon the unsuspecting humanoid mob.  Zorin's Cohort Captain, the aptly named Zedridge Quickbolt, dashed forward of his men and was cut down in seconds.  With Fromm Tyre in hand (the only one in the entire Legion), Zorin rallied the men and they made quick work of the orcs.

11th of DuoDec, 1134 - Gnome-Titan Advance Camp
Zorin is promoted to Captain of his Cohort within the Legion, one of ten reporting directly to Lanicor.  The Legions begins its march north to Frandor's Keep in the midst of a raging blizzard

14th of DuoDec, 1134 Gnome-Titan Base Camp
Janus and a few other stragglers reach the main camp and are quickly integrated into the medical corps attached to Zorin's cohort.

32nd of DuoDec, 1134 Western Marakeikos
After a week and a half in the Marakeikan frontier, slaying orcs and foraging for food, the Legion was nearing Frandor's Keep.  Constant skirmishing was the norm.  Zorin was a merciless commander of the enemy and his own men.  He relished having completely competent men to order around, compared to the Trogs and made them exceed their abilities as young men back in the real Legions.

The walls of Frandor's Keep had a few breaches, but an ungodly number of orcs where holed up in there, desperately avoiding the harshness of the winter.

For Legator Thunderhammer, it was time to build siege weapons and eradicate the orcs either by starvation or devastation.   The Knights of the Griffon disagreed with this strategy and promptly headed back to Califon.

13th of TriDec 1134, Frandor's Keep
The orcs had tried to breakout numerous times, but the Legion had kept them in the confines around the keep.    With the Fort on the high ground, atop a waterfall, with a icy deathtrap of a road.  Two Cohort Captains offered to lead the initial charge up the hill after a siege barrage had ended.  Vignus Lavamattock came back on his shield.  Macleod Bonjaw was last seen face down in the icy river.

18th of TriDec, 1134, Frandor's Keep
Without even prepping his men, Zorin volunteered his cohort to lead the charge up the hill and take the fort.  A short trip back to the base camp in the rear (which had finally made it near the front) netted him some glass bottles, oil, and cloth.   Janus used all her spellcasting for the day on blessings and wards.    With Fromm Tyre in one hand, a Dagger of Flesh Reaving in the other, and a backpack full of Redrock Specials already lit (!), he marched up the hill towards Frandor's Keep... alone.   Arrows, slings, and even rocks thrown by trolls had no effect.  The orcs formed a defensive formation around the nearest breach, just as they had before.  Within seconds,the front two lines had been gruesomely murdered, and Zorin was scaling the wall to a portion of the surviving parapet.  The flammable bottles were tossed at anything burnable, and while Zorin viewed the pyromaniac display with his usual catatonic glee, his men saw the flames and began to charge the Keep.

20th of TriDec, 1134 Frandor's Keep
Let us not be boastful, Zorin and his men were ultimately repulsed from the Fort, but a repeated attacks led by the Redrocks would gain them access

The ruins of Frandor's Keep were in gnome titan control.

In fact, it was in far better shape than previously thought, and it's defenses were shored up over a few quick days.

It was rumored that Ahk-Tang was stuck in the Keep with his men, but he was never seen in combat, and must have retreated with a small group of survivors. .

25th of TriDec, 1134, Frandor's Keep
The base camp was finally moved up to the Legion.  The Trogs were happy to see everyone was still alive.  The first onion sprouts of Spring were seen peaking through the snow.

1st of QuaDec, 1134
Zorin Redrock is formally named Prefect of the Gnome Titan Volunteer Legion of Marakeikos, third in command to only Lanicor and his assistant.

20th of QuaDec, 1134 Frandor's Keep
When word reached Califon, Baron Sherlane sent his youngest member of the militia, and the lieutenant of the Marakeikan 1st Army who tried to hold back the orc horde to formerly secure the Fort in the name of the King.  Control of the keep had been formerly turned over a few days later. The Legion was dissolved a few days later, as most planned on returning to the homes in this adopted land.  A day into their march from the fort, they encountered the first elements of the Marakeikan Army, infantry and engineers, to garrison and repair the keep.  Pleasantries were exchanged, but plenty of trash talking from gnome titans was intermixed.

31 of QuaDec, 1134 Celsior.
The Trog Quartet arrived to find the headquarters nearly empty, only Nina, Mutumbo, and their child residing in a step up from squalor.  Mutumbo explained that Cecelia and the rest left for a fancy festival in Linnard shortly after the gnome titan side of the Trogs had left to join the legion.  No word had been heard

3rd of HepDec, 1134  Mirros.
Run into Gwen at Debbie's Mighty Singing Keg!   Gwen did her best to catch the rest of the crew up with their tale of slavers and woe. The group was very sad to see Brother Thomas pass, pretty much all agreed that the Marek character was a total jerk, and all were concerned that Cecelia was still unaccounted for.  Godfrey and Terval were welcomed as friends of Gwen/friends of the Trogs.

15th of HepDec, 1134, Still in Mirros...
After a week to get a new banner, a new signet ring for Gwen, and matching cloaks for the current Trogs,   After the chaos of the battles with the Ahk-Tang's Orc League, it was nice to have found rumors of opportunities in foreign countries.  In Vlachia, north of Marakeikos were some dungeon clearing adventures, and south, in the Barthey Empire, they were hiring mercenaries and adventurers to solve a problem with Yarbay raiders on land... and some possible piracy along the coastline.

Given Gwen stress level, they decided an overland trip to Barthey was in order, rather than a ship voyage.

Truth be told, none of this up until the 3rd of HepDec was actually role-played.  My players have great trust and faith in my ability as a GM to make something exciting happen while their characters are force to go on hiatus.  Orc legions, gnome titan units, and a winter counterattack sounded like a great reason for the Redrocks and company to not stick around Celsior.    The gnome titan benefits or attacking at a level higher, plus the +1 bonus for attacking beside another gnome titan meant that the orcs and other humanoids barely stood a chance.  

The gnome titan penalty of earning half-xp meant that most of retirees from the Gnomish City-States military that resettled in Marakeikos were still 2nd or 3rd level.    Zorin's skills and enthusiasm meant he easily advanced the ranks to replace his fallen commanders.  The Redrock Brigade would hold a particularly heartfelt place in the grateful citizenry of Marakeikos, and a legendary place in gnome titan lore.    And ultimately, is wasn't even close to his greatest military victory against overwhelming odds.

Fromm Tyre would be pleased, nevertheless.

Next:  #23 Slaughterhouse Indigo

No comments:

Post a Comment