The setup for our game goes like this:
For who-knows-how-long, the world was divided among the elves and their twisted cousins, the orcs. Nobody knows how or why the orcs ended up such a ruined vision of their glorious elven brothers. Five great nomadic tribes of orcs grew and spread across the open lands all the way to the sea, while the elves kept to the inland forests. A tenuous peace was achieved.
Humanity arrived on the shores of the world a couple hundred years ago -- recent enough for many elves and some orcs to remember the world before their arrival. More ambitious and better organized than the orcs, humans quickly spread along the coastlines and inland. The nomadic orc tribes were hunted, penned into reservations, or chased into the forests. The ancient elven protectors did not let them pass into their forests. The orc tribes warred among themselves because they could not war against the humans or their elven cousins.
Finally, in what the human governor had hoped would be the killing blow against the nomads, the Great Orc Lord, the most potent and cunning warrior from among the five tribes who had single-handedly enforced a truce among his brethren, was hunted and slain. Representatives of the human governor claimed this was to free the orcs, that the Great Orc Lord had kept the tribes from entering the modern age. Now, without the Great Orc Lord there to enforce the truce, the remnants of the five tribes are again set to at one anothers' throats.
The Servants of the Dark know better. They've had visions of the last of orc-kind being crushed between encroaching humanity and implacable elves. Their dark god has whispered the orcs' fate, and demanded the brethren reunify. The Servants now wander among the tribes, seeking the leader who will become the new Great Orc Lord.
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So that's the setup. Getting the game going has been dicey for scheduling reasons, but we finally had our first session last week. The character breakdown basically goes like this:
The Master of Blood -- an un-Named Orc shaman seeking worthy leaders from amongst the tribes. Totally batshit, barely able to keep it together, and as prone to backstab his prospective next leader as he is to nurture and protect him.
Muel the Troll -- a clever old Bellower enslaved in service to the Black Hands, one of the five orc tribes. He dreams of freedom, but is also loyal to the Master of Blood for a past kindness.
Gralak the Great One -- the very senior, very pissed-off leader of the Black Hands. Way, way too hateful to be considered for tribal unification, but he may prove useful if his rage can be aimed the right way.
An as-yet-unNamed-six-LP-orc -- we're wrapping this guy up this Friday. The basic sketch is that he's a 6LP orc, unNamed, who will become the most likely candidate for tribal unification. He hasn't been introduced to the game yet.
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The first session featured only the Master of Blood and Muel. The Black Hands had just gotten word of the death of the Great Orc Lord and all hell had broken loose. Gralak (played as an NPC for now while the player figures out his schedule) grabbed the nearest willing warriors and hauled ass into human territory, abandoning his tribe on a quest for vengeance. In the aftermath, the Master of Blood begins skulking around those who haven't left. He's looking for an orc with the wits to understand that a suicide mission isn't the path to freedom.
The Master of Blood's player Circles up a high-ranking, potent Black Destroyer as his first prospective leader. Amazingly doesn't botch a tough roll, so he gets an orc willing to hear the pitch. The Black Destroyer has already begun gathering his allies to discuss his own plans for striking back at humanity. He needs muscle, so he sends the Master of Blood to collect the best troll in the ranks -- Muel. Okay, so our players are pulled together.
The Black Destroyer doesn't like the troll, not one bit. Can't be trusted. Looks weak. He demands a test of loyalty and prowess, and sends his best warrior in to test the troll. One quick versus test later, and the troll has bested the warrior, leaving him badly wounded. The Black Destroyer breaks the warrior's neck and tears his throat out. "Fuck that guy. Fucking weakling. I tell you to go beat a troll, that's what the fuck you do," he says. The troll has won him over.
The Black Destroyer seeks counsel in where and how to hit the humans. The Master of Blood swears -- swears! -- he knows the schedule and route of the humans' richest caravan. Let's hit 'em where it hurts! MOB player makes a human-wise roll, totally whiffs it. So we're off to the races!
In preparation, the troll gathers an entourage of chattel to drag along -- fails the Circles, I give him enmity clause, and this chattel gang ends up being a huge, annoying, and loud distraction that he constantly has to beat into submission on the trip.
A ways into their trip into human lands, the Black Destroyer and MOB come to understand they're nowhere near the humans' "richest caravan." Nope, they've wandered smack in the middle of a heavily fortified border region. Forts and armored patrols scour the countryside. Daylight's coming, so they find an abandoned old fort to hide in.
The Master of Blood has a hangup about pretty clothes -- he'll either be clothed in the nicest finery he can steal, or goes naked. Right now, he's naked and it's pissing him off. So he starts scavenging in the fort in search of pretty clothes. (This is my first good test of trait-driven complications). As he searches, the Black Destroyer's men start following and laughing at him. Laughing, laughing like hyenas at this ridiculous naked shaman poking through human ruins. The MOB's player fails his scavenging roll, and his naked hatred flares! He spins and hisses at the soldiers, who take this as a threat and begin closing in on him with clubs and broken weapons. The MOB howls a ritual, and brings the roof down on the soldiers -- also flooding the fort with wicked, searing daylight. All hell breaks loose, and the MOB goes racing outside to escape the soldiers while the soldiers remain trapped inside.
The Troll is very protective of the shaman, but he's also utterly unable to enter sunlight. So he goes about intimidating the soldiers into leaving the shaman alone. As he chases them through the ruins, his massive bulk gets trapped in a passage and he ends up looking more ridiculous than intimidating. The soldiers taunt him with rocks and jeers.
Outside, the Black Destroyer has followed the shaman. For a variety of reasons, the two of them are no longer seeing eye to eye on things (actually, the way the orc stuff is spun, animosity just sort of naturally bubbles to the surface -- it's hard to win someone over in-game when your best weapon is a poisonous platitude!). The Black Destroyer draws his sword, intent on murdering the shaman. We do a quick versus (sword vs. some nasty spell, I forget which), and the shaman ends up melting the Black Destroyer. He sups on his bubbling flesh and the BD's soldiers see him doing so. They immediately submit to his rule.
The next night, they decide to observe a human fortress and determine if there's a weakness. Tactics/strategy is not an orcish strong suit. The MOB sends the soldiers he's just won over in to explore. He hears a battle somewhere, and an hour later the humans have spiked the heads of his soldiers and placed them at the fortress gate. The shaman is enraged! (He went from G4 to G6 in one night, IIRC -- now he's super-scared he'll play the shaman right out of the game.)
The Troll helpfully suggests maybe they can just take out one of the patrols and call it a day. They lie in wait, trying to be stealthy along the road while they plot against the humans. Finally a patrol arrives, the leader clad in glorious plate mail and surrounded by well-armed and -armored minions. The Troll successfully (!) remains hidden, dropping an enormous boulder on the patrol just as the shaman casts some other spell. He's using Abstraction to try and "control" "earth", basically creating a whirling dust storm to distract the human. Holy shit, he totally whiffs the Ritual roll! So instead of a dust storm, he DESTROYS ALL THE AIR IN A MANY-MILE RADIUS. An explosive thump later, every living thing within several miles takes a B6 wound. Every fire is snuffed. Horses panic and bolt. Blood pours out of ears and eyes.
The evening wrapped up with the troll's player asking for a scripted combat. Hot! He ended up burying his mattock into the guy's chest on the fourth volley, and I totally whiffed the armor roll. Meanwhile, the pain-in-the-ass chattel take the troll's distraction as an opportunity to escape, and the Master of Blood is unable to catch them. They're left in the middle of fortified human territory, alone.
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Not bad for a first session. Next session, we'll finally find a worthy leader in our third player.