How much fun can one person have with a ship full of orcs?

Just giving someone a ship ful of orcs may not make the best adventure, an interesting fight maybe but not an adventure. So what can you do with them to make it an interesting challenge for the players.

I would suggest just making the characters aware of their existance at first. If the characters are already on one adventure and in a tavern just have some locals arguing about whether there really was an orcish armada that invaded the southern lands. If they are pressed then they say that is what they had heard from a merchant that passed though. Others in the tavern will confirm that is what they have all heard. Now just leave that at that. The locals don’t know any more and cannot confirm or deny anything else.

Some of the things the orcs like to do is sail into harbour, launch fire arrows at every boat they can reach and sail out again. It doesn’t do them much good but they do enjoy the power trip and the thought of the destruction. It isn’t all senseless violence though. If a ship puts to sea in pursuit then the orcs will lead it out until it is isolated and then turn on it. When it comes to hand to hand fighting then the orcs are a savage and effective crew. If they capture a ship in this way but it is too big for them to crew then they will either scuttle it in the mouth of the harbour it came from (towing it along) to serve as a grim trophy or if the wind is blowing right they will set it on a ramming course back into its home harbour to try and wreck another ship. They will hang some of the crew from the spars as a grisly bit of theatre. When the ship collides with another vessel or the harbour wall the bodies will dance and swing on the ends of their rope.

It is after a ‘wrecking’ like this that the orcs have tried to demand a ‘tribute’ from the port to be left alone. Failure to pay will often mean that the orcs will moor their boat in a cove or bay near by and then raid from the landward side burning farms and out lying homesteads. The orcs like this as it provides them with fresh provisions, coin, odds and sods of equipment and a good fight on solid ground. They will often kill and raid in an arc from their hidden ship in land but not burn. They will attack and press on all though the night. At the first sign of pre-dawn they start to torch their victims properties and retrace their path burning each site as they go. This tactic means that men sent out to investigate the first plume of smoke are heading in the wrong direction to find the orcs. The orcs can also stash the booty from each raid rather than carry it with them as they know they are coming back the same way.

If the characters need to take ship at any point in their adventures it is a great time to introduce the orcs by having them come upon a town that has been treated to the orcs attention. From the landward side the characters discover the remains of burned farms and when they do reach the port they discover the wrackage made of the harbour. Everyone will be able to tell the characters that all this happened because the town council refused to pay the orcs their tribute. There will probably be people who blame the authorities and those that support that decision.

The orcs are not above a bit for piracy and in particular they like to take captives for ransom. thse plans often don’t work out too well as they have been known to eat the captives regardless of whether the ransom has been paid or not. They once managed to ransom an entire ship and its cargo back to the owner as it was to big for the orcs to sail and the cargo (grain)  was no use to them at all.

A kidnapping is a great way to have the orcs and characters cross paths. It is simply the heroic thing to do to rescue the victim. You should bear in mind that the orcs have not survived this long because they are stupid. If the characters rock up and are obviously more powerful than the orcs then they will do whatever they can to distract the players long enough to make their get away. Things like dropping the victim over the side with heavy iron manacles in their feet so they disappear under the waves like a stone. Launchig fire arrows at the characters vessel to cause a distraction and positioning their boat so that they have the wind to make their escape whilst at the same time robbing the characters boat of the wind. If the orcs end up in a chase as they flee the characters the sorcerer will attempt a ritual to control the weather (a boat chase can last for many hours) and make good their escape that way.

What the orc will not do is make it obvious that they have a spell caster with them. Nor will thye all fight to the death in the first opportunity for battle. They are all greater orcs and they got that way by surviving many battles and schemes in the past and they want to again. Do not make the mistake of killing them off too soon as there is a lot of potential here either to be an enduring pain in the side of the characters but also as a part of the local culture and as use as a plot device for your characters.

avavk Dovkov avuvk Kukiav – An Adventure

The title of this translates to The Black Pig and is the name of a sloop raiding the northern coastline of the Melos peninsular. It could of course be any coastline in any world. The language is Aioskoru Orcish courtesy of Ken Wickam (check out his blog for all things Aioskorunian).

The nature of these orcs is very much raid and move on. They are not interested in pitch battles but they pick on weak and defenceless coastal vilages where they can run amok. Occaisionally they will hide their sloop in a cove or natural harbour and raid in land. This is where the characters are to first encouter them.

How big an adventure you want to make this is rather up to you. If you want one pitched battle and done then allow the orcs to be caught easily and quickly, if you want to taunt your characters then they can be much more elusive.

The Rolemaster Creatures and Treasures book gives standard stats for a lesser and greater orc but also the rules to easily shift the creatures up and down in level and this is what I have done to create the crew. The orcs of the Kukiav are all greater orcs and one of them is also a spell caster (a 7th level sorcerer).

So first of all lets look at the crew of the Kukiav.

I am not going to name them because they are orcs and orcs exist to be killed not for their conversation.

First up is the sorcerer. There is one major consideration for the GM here. I use the optioal rules for Ritual Magic. If you allow this then This orc can call upon much more powerful weather magic, scrying and illusions at not much risk given enough time and preparation. The ship will have ritualistic markings on the deck where these rituals take place and the sorcerers quarters will be protected using waiting phantasms. the scale and magnatude of these are very much up to the GM. I now use the RMU ritual rules but the original ones were from Companion III. If you allow the use of rituals then this orc will have made his foci (a harpoon) and should be considered to have a +60 skill in ritual magic taking into account he skill, level and stats.

This orc is 7th level and has the following spell lists Fluid Destruction (1-10), Soul Destruction (1-10), Weather Ways (1-10), Essence Perceptions (1-10) and Lesser Illusions (1-10).  He has 40hits, is AT1 and has 21 powerpoints.

The orcish captain is also 7th level is AT18 and has 92hits and an OB of 120 also with a broadsword and an OB of 80 with a Harpoon (thrown). He carries a +5 non magical large shield to give a DB of +45

Subordinates. There are two greater orcs with the standard RM stats (4th level, 70hits, AT17, 40DB) What makes these two stand out is their armour and shields. They killed a pair of soldiers once and both have matching bronze breastplates and large black shields embossed to look like screaming faces.

The crew. This is another five greater orcs armed with broadswords and bucklers and harpoons as back up weapons.

The entre crew are competent sailors now, having raided successfully for a coupleof years. This has often been added by the use of illusions such as a barn fire away from town that draws all the men folk away before the orcs pull in to the harbour. The ship looks well cared for and in good condition, work carried out by captives before tey are eaten. The orcs are also partial to a bit of piracy if the opportunity presents itself and will use any advantage they can get. They will given the choice fight on land as they are all wearing metal armour and are fully aware that they sink!

The Kukiav

Sloop Deck Plan

  1. The Wheel Deck. The Orcish leader is here when active otherwise one of his subordinates will take the wheel.
  2. The main deck. The ritual circle is bewteen the masts in fron of the hold hatch. These are normally performed looking back down teh length of the ship.
  3. The Sorcerers quarters. These are pretected by a pair of waiting phantasms that will attack once before their ‘touches’ are expended. One phantasm is of a wicked axe swinging down from teh ceiling into the doorway and the other is of a trap door opening in the floor to reveal a trapped crocodile rushing up to attack. Both will attack with a 60OB on the MA Strikes Rank 1 table for x4 concussion hits. These take the sorcerer days prepare so to protect his privacy he has create a neurosis in all the other orcs making them too scared to enter his quarters.
  4. The subordinates quarters. These two orcs share these quarters in an uneasy truce. They are never on duty at the same time and if they are forced be in here and off duty then they normally duel for the right to use the bed with some kind of feat of strength such as all out wrestling or by gambling for it wth dice. The rest of the furniture in here is completely wrecked due to their vioolent life style.
  5. Captains quarters. This cabin is in surprisingly good shape considering the ocupant is an orc. Our orcish leader considers himself a bit of a master and commander or pirate king and consequently likes to live like one. All of the furniture is miss matched as it has been stolen piecemeal from coastal towns or other ships up and down the coast.
  6. Below decks. The rest of the raiding party have their hammocks hung here. The floor is strewn with leavings from meals past and the general detrius of a orc raiding party.
  7. The hold. This is where the raiding parties spoils are kept as well as spare weapons and armour. The hold holds 5000tp, 350bp and 60sp. In addition their are coils of rope, barrels of pitch and bundles of sail cloth.

Playing the Kukiav and its crew.

This could easily be a single one off encounter or a device for giving the characters a boat if the greater plot calls for it. i think it works better if the orcs are allowed to out fox the players. Let the sorcerer use rituals to spy on the characters once they know they exist and maybe over hear plans and then take advantage of that knowledge. If the characters have no way of following the ship out to sea then allow the orcs to escape on their ship and taunt the characters. If the characters try and use magic to attack then the sorcerer will try and use spells like neurosis to create an irrational fear of orcs or of water. If he is able to possess a character and start an in fight that way then that will serve. He will resort to throwing waterbolts as an absolute last resort as he knows he does not have enough power to last in that sort of fight.

If the characters become a major threat to the orcs then they will do their best to be where the characters are not but at the same time will try and taunt the characters by leaving a victim alive and then saying the raid is retaliation for the characters actions. remember the sorcerous orc loves fear and deception and with soul destruction and illusions both are very very real!

All of my Aioskoru content is made available under the Open Gaming License.

Where Next in 2016?

The problem I have is this. I want to write about Rolemaster in general, the games I am running (Rolemaster Classic), the new Rolemaster (Rolemaster Unified), the Forgotten Realms, the new world of Aioskoru and I want to produce more actually playable adventures. I try and publish two posts a week and right now I am even failing to write that much. There is such a thing as being stead too thin and that is me right now.

I have recently bought both HARP Fantasy and HARP SF and I would like to get into those as well. I also have a face to face game weekend come up.

I think I am going to slow down a little and commit to producing one post a week but try and make it more substantial. The RMU side of things should go quiet for the time being as they are producing the final draft. That alone make all the current discussions in the Beta forums irrelevant as they are now discussing rules that will not exist.

The game I am running (Rolemaster Classic) and the Forgotten Realms side of things are pretty much one and the same for me and Aioskoru is game independent as it is purely a setting.

The single most useful thing I can do is produce the playable content. All memebers of the Rolemaster community can use that and there is very little of it out their on the web. If I make it fit in nicely with the Aoiskoru region I am working on I can tick more than one box at once with that.

I think you can also expect a bit more of a nautical theme going on as I am quite interested in seabourne adventures. So that is it. 2016 is going to bring more adventures. Next time (I am already working on this) I will share a ship with deck plans that will become the basis for a series of adventures. So until then have fun!

All of my Aioskoru content is made available under the Open Gaming License.

An exciting New Year for Rolemaster

I just read Nicholas Caldwell’s directors briefing January 2016. Is really exciting to see that RMU won’t be going to a third beta but rather straight to a draft edition of the final rules. The draft edition should be there just for us to catch any missing tables spelling mistakes typos that sort of thing. It will be cool to see how the final rules I’m sure they will not have satisfied all of the people who are not happy with how the rules frankly I don’t think that was possible anyway, we have all modified our own versions rolemaster and no new edition that ever satisfy everybody.

I am interested to see how RNU stacks up against HARP. I’ve been really impressed with HARP so far as the criticism of the entire system is that the critical tables a little thin, the same critical, again and again. But it is not difficult just to create your own alternative criticals..

I normally try to play with rules as written but with a completely new set of what none of my players have played this would be really good time to try a customised game. I have always been tempted to play again based on a mix of rolemaster hero system and runequest to create a level-less experience-less classless system. I think the way that RMU does the character skills is perfect for what I have in mind.

I think I need to buy a couple more HARP rulebooks and build some of the key NPC’s first and then try and recreate the using the RMU rules when they are available. Hopefully the comparison will tell me if my hybrid idea will work. If it turns out I wanted to it should look and feel exactly like rolemaster but with a damn sight less hunting through pages of books to find 1,000,001 obscure tables.
This is one of those things that HARP does so well with the entire core system coming in at well under 250 pages. I’ll be amazed if RMU comes in under 2 1/2 thousand pages just for the core books. Admittedly they are different beasts but at the end of the day they are both only frameworks but all GM’s can use to create their own worlds, adventures and tell the story.

What I do need to do first of all is buy HARP SF.

Putting Melos on the Map – Aiorskoru


This map was created by Kwickham, the prime driver behind Aiorskoru, of the Melos peninsular. You can hopefully see three little red dots on the far east of the land mass. These are (from North to South) Danusos, Melos and Man’s Head.

The hill giants are occupying the grass lands between these three villages and the woods in the centre of the peninsular and to the north of the woods. As I mentioned on Monday the north coast is harried by raiding parties of sea orcs.

On the map each Hex is approximately 200 miles. The scale also highlights that Danusos is about 30miles north of Melos and Man’s Head about the same to the south as the crow flies and further by the coast road that joins them. This land is populated sparsely with farms, and small hamlets comprising just a scattering of houses. These hamlets are at particular risk from the hill giant threat as they do not have the man power or resources to fend off a giant family or gang. It is in these inland communities that Demelza Wrong‘s reputation was made. Many of the residents here will not hear a bad word said against her.

I have mentioned that Danusos particularly is built aroudn trade. Their primary trading partners are the islands you see scattered of the coast and to the south. I will start to fill these out for you over the next few posts and how they interact with our three villages. I also want to give you more on hill giant culture.

Personalities from Melos

This follows on from last week’s post on Melos.

I mentioned two personalities, Allair Trewaint & Howe Gothnan last time but I thought I would flesh out the people a little more this time.

Jack ‘The Slayer’ Dormer

The militia are an adhoc group but when they are needed the most common leader elected is Jack ‘The Slayer’ Dormer. The monicker comes from his experience in giant killing. In his younger days he lead several successful defences against giants and his place in peninsular life was assured. Now Jack is nearly 40 years old and although solidly built he is a little thicker around the middle that he was in his youth. He has dark curly hair, greying at the temples and a dark mediterrainean complexion. He favours a leather poncho with woollen sock and leggings. His favoured weapons are the spear and sling with sling being the one that he truly excels at. He is an enthusiastic man that loves the wild landscape where he lives and knows almost every game trail, village and villager within 60 miles of his home.

Bill Newlander

Bill is a ‘retired’ fisherman. A grizled old seadog his frequently found on the beaches watching the fishing boats load and unload. He is a preeminent source of wisdom on boat craft but he is also one of the closest friends to the Morimanus. Although no one knows how old Bill is it is rumoured that he has live well beyond the normal span for a human. This is sometimes ascribed to his association to the Morimanus. Local myth says that as a young man Bill fell in love with a Morimanus girl who took him under the waves to live for many years. Eventually he become homesick for his family and desired to return to the surface world. He did return to his family home only to find hat so many years had passed for his family that they had all died or moved on. With nothing to hold him to the land he wanted to return to live under the waves but he found he was locked out from the undersea world. The magical change that allowed him breath below the surface was a one time only change and he had used it and broken it when he had returned to the surface. The truth of all of this is a closed secret and Bill will never talk of it and locals do not mention the stories within his hearing. Bill now serves as a general adviser to the fishermen and has a wealth of knowledge on fishing, tides and the Morimanus.

Guy Hydroc

Guy is the Constable or the elected upholder of the law. He normally has two or three sheriffs in his employ. Guy is about 30yrs old and is normally dressed in a rigid leather breastplate when on duty and has a dark suede jacket that he wears off duty. He is an accomplished horseman which is unusual for the local population. He constantly travels from village to village as the visible symbol of he law. Most minor crimes he will act as police and magistrate but for anything more serious the village elders will sit in judgement. Guy carries a spear and on his hips are a pair of hand axes.

Guy is very popular and respected both as Constable and as a barritone singer. When in a vllage he is often drafted in to male voice chiors (a popular past time).

More next time!

Melos, a contibution to Aiorskoru

I have been working on one little part of Aiorskoru. I thought I would share what I have so far.

Coastal Villages – Human Settlements

These coastal villages are many in number and are strung out along the coast, mostly near coves or river estuaries that offer safe landing for fishing boats. Each village supports only 100 to 200 people most of whom are subsistence farmers, sheep herders and coastal fishermen.

These settlements are frequently threatened by Hill Giant family groups (one male with a harem of females or lone wandering males) This gives the villages a reason to cooperate and work together.

The village of Melos is one of the most substantial and successful because of their relationship with the Morimanus. The Morimanus guide fishermen to the exact location of the fish shoals and have a greater understanding of off shore weather. In return the Morimanus young are not endangered by fishing nets and the morimanus kelp beds are not damaged by dragging anchors.

Population: Almost entirely human with a vary rare half giant sub group
Political Structure: Gerontocracy (ruled by village elders)
Strong Influence: brawn
Popular Issue: The weather
Stability: very stable
Personal Freedoms: free
Scandals: infrequent
Foreign Relations: few

Main Export: Fish, fish oil, wool, cloth
Main Import: metals
Main Resource: fish, sheep
Trade: minor surplus
Strength: weak
Wealth: evenly spread across all classes

Main Climate: temperate
Ocean: on all sides
Mountains: none
Frequent Trouble: tidal surges, storms
Wilderness: 30%
Wild Animals: dangerous
Natural Resources: ample

Highly Values: seamanship
Known For: giant killing
Popular Entertainment: music and dance
Respected Profession: fisherman
Discrimination: physical stature based
Major Taboo: adultery
Major Social Ill: addiction (alcohol)

Strength: weak and fragmented
Focus: defence
Main Unit: militia
Soldiers: volunteer, all able, only when required
Main Use: defence
Rank: earned through social standing

Occurrence: only a very few
Source: spiritual
Major Use: healing, divination
Viewed: respect
Enchanted Items: very rare

Type: elemental Wind/Water spirits
Focus: elements
Worship: Public services
Associated Artform: song, dance
Prevalence: followed by all
Holidays: weather dependent (following storms or events)

Urban: 3%
Rural: 97%
Literacy Rate: 5%
Gender Ratio: 1.35 male(s)/female
Fertility Rate: 1-2 babies
Life Expectancy:45

Melos is the largest village in a chain that follow a coastal path around a peninsular. With a population of nearly 800 it is considered by many to be a town or even the regional capital. Immediately off shore from Melos is a Morimanus (Merfolk) settlement and surrounding that a submerged petrified forest. The existence of the submerged forest is well know and can be seen by fishermen below the surface at particularly low tides. This forest has lead to a local legend that the Morimanus and the people of Melos are distantly related and that the land inhabited by the Morimanus sank below the waves. Those that did not flee the catastrophe were blessed with fishes tails so they could continue to farm their old lands.


The people of Melos and the surrounding villages worship the elements and those of Air and Water above all. These two elements constantly war over the village and command respect. The town of Melos is home to two priests of power, one for each element. The Priest of Air [Allair Trewaint] preaches that it is the air that breaths life into every one of us and can revive a drowned man, it can whip a sinner off a cliff top just as easily as it can rip up trees and smash down buildings, cut a man off from the air and he dies. It is the air that allows birds to stay aloft and can power ships across the sea. The Priest of Water [Howe Gothnan] says that tears are the water of life that accompany our moments of greatest joy and sadness, water is so powerful it can smash cliffs of stone into pebbles and sand, without water the blood that runs through us and gives us life is just a blackened scab. Just as water flows from trickle to stream, to river and then into the great unknown oceans so a man’s live flows from birth, through his days until death and that is the greatest unknown ocean of all. These two priests have a lively relationship that goes from good natured banter to late night beer fuelled table thumping arguments over which element is the greater. The people of Melos are as likely to pray for rain when the crops need water as they are to prey for calming seas when their men folk are caught in a storm. The religious feast days are generally celebrated and involve kite flying and singing on the beaches. These beach choirs are often accompanied by Morimanus who come into the shallows to listen and join in.

Village Life

Not everyone lives off the sea. Many farmers breed sheep and inhabit the landward interior of the peninsular. These support spinners, weavers, leather workers as well as craftsmen that work horn. Other farmers grow turnips, sugar beet and cabbages over the winter and barley during the summer. Apples are another popular crop and most farms have an orchard with some farms making it their main crop and cider production their industry.

Despite the apple orchards the peninsular does not have a great deal of wooded land. Because of this most buildings are built from dry stone walls and topped with turf. Their floors are below ground level, construction starts by digging out the rooms until they find bed rock and only then are walls built up just enough to give sufficient head room. Most floors are three to four feet below ground level. The walls are made up of a great many layers of thin slate stones collected from the foot of the cliffs. They are normally two to three feet thick with very few windows, if any.

Hill Giants

The people living on this peninsular are constantly threatened by Hill Giants. Hill Giant family groups are fairly static, they inhabit one region until they have consumed all the easy game and then move on. These families comprise a single adult male, several females and their children. When a male child reaches maturity it will be driven out of the family by the male leader.

Often gangs of males will form for short periods and these are marked by the amount of infighting that goes on as they attempt to establish a pecking order of dominance and once a dominant male has emerged attempts to usurp that position by dominated members.
When a gang encounters a family it can get violent as the dominant gang male will often challenge the family leader to a duel for supremacy. If in the duel both combatants are seriously wounded then what normally happens is that the gang members will attempt to carry off females and their young to form their own new families. If the gang leader is victorious and has the strength left over then he can and will become the dominant male and will drive off his former gang members.

Duels often start with hurling stones at each other until the two get close enough to start hand to hand fighting. Stone hurling skill is greatly prized amongst giants.

A giant family moving into an area near a village can destroy the village. The giants will eat livestock and once they are gone, start eating people. If a giant is spotted or even suspected then a militia is raised to try and drive off the giant(s). Militia membership is voluntary but to decline the call to arms is considered very bad form or even cowardice unless there is good reason to do so. Driving off giants does not always involve killing them. In a tale that is told on many cold nights one village was beset by two giant families at the same time. They could not fight them off so they started leaving barrels of beer and cider out in fields where the giants were known to scavenge. Each night a new barrel of beer was left out but moved slightly, from top of a field to the bottom, from one side of a hedge to the next field. Each night for a week the giants were treated to free drink until at the end of the week each family spied a great stack of barrels and another giant family about to steal it all away from them. Another giant was tempted into chasing a wagon loaded with barrels of cider. The villages took shifts in hauling the wagon as fast as they could to stay ahead of the giant until they crested the last rise and the horizon was the straight line of the cliff top. At that point the wagon was left to roll under its own momentum and both wagon and giant crashed over the cliff edge to be smashed on the rocks below.

A mixed bag of thoughts

Rolemaster Unified Character Law Cover

I am still trying to come to a happy solution about the Aioskoru wiki. The problem is not the content but the navigation and guaranteeing the continuity with the other sources.

For the time being as and when I have time over the next few weeks I will transpose everythng from the google site to the wiki.

I am still working on Melos for that game world as well.

I also need to write up 5 taverns in graphic detail for a group of friends. This weekend i think I contributed about 12 words in total so I am not really pulling my weight there!

Over on the ICE Forums Beta 2 still rumbles on but it strikes me that very little play testing is actually happening. It is mostly the same old voices grumling about their personal gripes. This does not help pick up flaws in the system.

I have not managed to actually play test the rules myself so I cannot criticise anyone else for not doing what I didn’t do. I have introduced as much of the RMU rules into my RMC game as I could fit and what I have noticed is that they have improved the game. These include RMU experience, the vocational skill, rapid skill development and Skills as Lore.

the promblem facing me at the moment is that I am already stretched for time and I want to run a HARP game and a RMU Beta game and I cannot see where I am going to fit it in.

I think that Beta 3 is needed or at least an update to Beta 2 to reflect the changes that have been announced so far. If we had that update then the motivation to start a test group would be strong. If we had that it would pay me to go back over the rules and see how much more could I inject into the current game to test. My PBP group are all still first level and it would be worth suggesting converting the characters over to the new rules. That would kill two birds with one stone of getting a play test group going and not increasing the demands on my time.

All of my Aioskoru content is made available under the Open Gaming License.


I have spent part of today trying to figure out the best way to help with the Aioskoru project. The main driver behind Aioskoru is Kwickam from the ICE forums. He has set up a Google site as he was finding using a forum thread too cumbersome but I feel that any static website will suffer the same limitations.

My first thought was for a wiki. I can of course host a wiki here simply by installing a wiki plugin and it would be up and running in minutes. I did this today but I was not very satisfied with the results. I am thinking that maybe using wordpress pages is the answer and allow the public to comment below them. We could then have any number of editors to take the comments and build them in to the pages. I am not sure if that will offer any advantage over what the Google site can offer. It will also men that there is one version of the world on Google and a second on the blog and the two will diverge. You really want to keep all your development happening in one place not split over two or more sites.

I have been working on a region of Aioskoru to be added into the world. This is a human village community called Melos that lives in partnership with the Morimanus (merfolk). The whole thing is based upon the village of Zennor, not far from me, which is famous for the legend “The Mermaid of Zennor“.

I will continue to build up this little corner of Aioskoru over the next couple of weeks.

All of my Aioskoru content is made available under the Open Gaming License.

How do you like them odds?

The party in my table top game, you probably know, are a cleric, sorceress, warrior mage, elemental warrior and a mystic. In game terms the best fighters are actually semi spell users plus we have two hybrids and a pure spell user. The cleric and mystic are at present fulfilling the role of healer because they have no dedicated healer as such. The cleric can do magical healing and the mystic is the best herbalist.

In the last weekend the party had the option of taking the safe way around the woods or the dangerous way though the woods. No the party would not be real adventurers if they took the safe route would they?

Only a day in to the forest they came across the burnt remains of a wagon caravan and a little way off their slaughtered horses. They also managed to alert a couple of scouts looking for fresh victims. The party killed one but another escaped.

The banditry this time was being done by kobolds. I rather wanted to see how the party would fair against superior numbers. As characters they have not had much time to gell together and work out decent tactics and they had not really done much fighting yet either.

So half a dozen kobolds started to match pace with the party to the left of the road and another six to the right of the road. Seconds later two kobolds mounted on wolves broke cover ahead of the party and faced them down the road. The kobolds at this point had every intention to negotiate. Pitched battles were not their thing and being paid off to not fight suited them down to the ground.

Negotiation was not on the parties agenda. The lead kobold did not even get a chance to give his ultimatum. The warrior mage fired a sleep spell up the road. The cleric summoned a large crocodile and dropped it in amongst the kobold file on the left and the sorceress case vacuum amongst the kobolds to the right.

So at the start of the battle the five characters are facing 14 kobolds plus two wolves. Three to one odds in Rolemaster are not good odds to have against you.

I had told the players the wolf riders were about 100′ up the road and Surion the warrior mage announced he was going to cast sleep. (range 100′). I decided the range would be 90+2d10 feet and luckily for him they fell just inside the range. Not so luckily they made their resistance rolls.

The vacuum spell was more effective. It stunned three of the kobolds on one flank. It didn’t take any of them out but the kobolds were armed with light crossbows and it comletely disrupted their volley of bolts turning it into some sporadic fire.

On the other side of the track the crocodile landed amongst the kobolds and that drew most of their fire and certainly upset them.

Now we had the gods turn against the party. The warrior mage and the elemental warrior are actually doing OK. Another sleep spell goes off and takes out a the wolf riders. The elemental warroir is crashing through the undergrowth to engage the kobolds axe in one hand and sword in the other. The sorceress fumbles her spell casting roll but fortuneately only fails to cast the spell but keeps her power points. The cleric doesn’t bother trying to control the crocodile, just lets it do its thing now the kobolds are fighting it and decided to try and summon a second one to fight along side them. Bolts fly into the camp and one buries itself deeply into the clerics chest ad he is gushing blood.

The warriors try and chase down kobolds who are not really up for a fight against heavily armed and armoured warriors. Some of the previously stunned kobolds start to recover and loose off their crossbow bolts. The mystic decides to do her Florence Nightingale act and needs to get that bold out of the cleric so they can stop the bleeding. The cleric had just summoned a second large crocodile directly in front of himself which is now uncontrolled maybe it was the scent of blood or maybe it was a random dice roll but whatever the reason the croc turns on its summoner and starts snapping at the poor old cleric. the sorceress fails to cast another vacuum spell. Fast casting while low level is proving to be a challenge. The next crossbow bolt flying into camp and takes out the mystic transfixing her arm and pinning it to her chest.

The cleric is now losing blood in gushes, he is desperately trying to get control of his crocodile. The sorceress fails to case a third vacuum spell! The croc in the woods is doing terribly as well but it is at least keeping the enemy on that side pinned down. Another sleep spell does off and more kobolds fall and the warriors are fully in melee now. This is where the kobolds lack of armour and physical hardiness tell against them. Finally the sorceress gets a vacuum spell to fire and she stuns and wounds a couple of kobolds.

So the fight went on. The mystic shook off the stun from the hit on her and she managed to get some healing sove on to the clerics wound just before he colapsed. The sorceress gave up trying to kill kobolds, I think due to a lack of power points, and joined the cleric and the mystic. The mystic was bleeding heavily and so everyone was trying to first aid everyone else and the few herbs that were easily appliable were used up. It took four rounds I think for the cleric to finally get full control of the crocodile and at that point the kobolds were pretty much broken. Their tactic of striking from three sides with wave after wave of bolts obviously was not working and fighting what appeared to be heavily armed wizards (from the kobolds point of view) was not in the plan.

At the end of the fight I think only four kobolds got away alive. It cost the party dear in herbs and they were largely drained of magic to boot. It doesn’t hurt to hit the party hard, even in a casual encounter eespecially this early in their careers. It will I hope make them gell better as a team and it helps them figure out their limits. For me as GM the kobolds were on a par OB and DB-wise with the weakest members of the party and well below the ability of the warriors. The kobolds were two levels lower than the party members which should have given the party the edge in terms of resistance rolls. It also set the precident of fighting many foes from many directions which is something I like to do.

All in all I think it was a good fight and a good test of their abilities. The encounter was also converted over from a Forgotten Realms encounter and for once I did not tone down the numbers of creatures.

That was just a causual encounter next time we meet they should be gettng stuck in to their first real adventure!