Saturday 2 March 2024

Turn 42: The Thrappled Lemmings Make A Decision (Five Leagues from the Borderlands)

 As the Thrappled Lemmings were sitting around in the Dirty Robber, Volstad the Smith approached their table.

"Thank you for all you have done for our community. This is a gift that I have been working on for you. I hope you will find it useful."

He presented them with a good quality short sword and helped cover their bar tab so their food bill came to only 1 Mark. After breakfast, Lysanthir and Drogo trained, while Onesipe headed off to the market to sell Volstad's gift. A merchant was there selling diverse rare goods and Onesipe picked up a map-making kit. He figured it would come in handy if they needed to travel regularly between two places.

Later, as they drank their dinner, the group conferred about their plans. Lysanthir led the discussion.

"So, we have found the Temple and all the wealth that should entail will be ours, but I there is a monster lair north of here that might also contain treasure. On top of that, I have heard rumours of a Macguffin of Indescribable Usefulness that could help us take the treasure out of the Temple. We could seek that out to make our lives easier in the long run. I've heard of other delves in the area too, so we rescue the treasure from those. The Cartographer's Guild is keen for people to map unexplored areas of the wilderness, but I really don't fancy that. Sounds like too much camping in the rain for my liking. What do you reckon we should do?"

"So, this Macguffin," queried Sir Thiebault, "Why do you think it will be useful?"

"Umm, did you not hear the bit where its usefulness is indescribable?"

"Oh ..."

The discussion circled around as it usually did with the Lemmings. Drogo was all for clearing out the monster lair to the north of Fikaby and recovering all the treasure he was sure would be there. Lysanthir and Fulrad felt that the Macguffin of Indescribable Usefulness was a quest worth following, but the other three were unconvinced by its indescribable nature and preferred the very much more describable feel of gold in their hands. With a small majority of the party favouring this last course of action, the Lemmings chose to head into the mountains to raid the Temple. No doubt the Macguffin and the monster would still be there to be plundered later.

The journey north was utterly uneventful thanks to the patrols led by local warlords and it was not long before the Lemmings stood before the gates of an ancient temple. The map-making kit had come in handy on the way. They had used it to chart a safe passage between the Fikaby and the Temple. This could come in handy if they needed to return to Fikaby for supplies. Meanwhile, wealth beyond the dreams of avarice awaited them. All they had to do was defeat its current possessors and get back to civilisation in one piece.

The current possessors turned out to be Orcs, robed cultists and robed cultist Orcs. The Orcs and cultists were clearly up to something. It was a given that they were aiming to summon unspeakable horrors. But what more might they be up to? The Thrappled Lemmings were all agreed that they needed to look into this. Their first task would be to storm the small village over the entrance to the delve. It was built up around an ancient stone circle that glowed with eerie, eldritch light. The area had clearly been warped by the cultists' activities because weird fungi had sprouted all over and strange crystal formations had erupted through the roads. Reality was being twisted into an insane elder god's dreams.

As I have built this delve up in my head as a Temple, I am going to use the Whispers from Beyond lists for the bad dudes in here instead of using the Lurking Foes table which is the usual list for generating dungeon monsters in Five Leagues from the Borderlands, but the cultists are working with the Orcs, so the first part of the delve will feature Orcs instead. I'm stepping away from the rules as written for this because it suits the story better.

As usual, Fulrad was tasked to scout ahead. He moved out a short distance ahead of the rest of the party. After surveying the scene for a moment, he waved the others forward.

"Ok, looks like we found a quiet route in. There's Orcs and some nasty-looking Cultist with a massive, great sword. They seem quite pally. Reckon the Orcs are working with that big dude."

The big dude was a be-robed cultist with a massive sword who was standing on a mound in the centre of the stone circle. As the Lemmings sneaked slowly through the narrow streets of the village, the Orcs pursued their everyday tasks, unaware of the approaching fight. Fulrad was the first to be spotted and let fly an arrow that wounded an Orc. A cry went up as the Orcs spotted Fulrad, Lysanthir and Drogo. Meanwhile, Onesipe, Sir Thiebault and Wido were sneaking around behind the Orcs.

"Hey, I think I found something," hissed Onesipe to his two companions. He leapt over the low fence beside the largest structure in the village and promptly fell into a huge midden. There was a loud crunch and he lay still.

Fulrad cursed as he realised that he had forgotten to fill his quiver. He had only one arrow left. Drog leapt past him and crushed the skull of the wounded Orc. Fulrad took careful aim at an Orcish archer and wounded it. Lysanthir cast a Fog spell to obscure the Orc's line of sight.

The Orcs howled! There was magic afoot and they hated it. Several Orcs charged towards Lysanthir. Fortunately, Drogo was in the way and blocking a narrow alley. As the Orcs charged he cut one down and drove another back.

Sir Thiebault then raced up and attacked that Orc from behind. It fell lifeless to the ground as Wido shot another Orc, wounding it. Fulrad and Drogo tag teamed the Orc archer and another Orc, both of whom were cut down. Meanwhile Lysanthir cast Meekness on the Ruthless Killer leading the Orcs. The carnage was too much for the Orcs, one of which fled.

Weakened by the spell, the Killer was no match for Drogo whose axe cleaved the person in two. He did not even break a sweat doing so. As the others fought, Lysanthir wandered off to investigate something of interest that he had spotted. He triggered a trap and loud bells started ringing. This distracted the remaining Orcs and Wido and Sir Thiebault were able to defeat them quickly. Wido shut off the alarm trap and the Lemmings began their exploration of the village after pulling Onesipe out of the midden and checking him over. He had only been knocked out, which was just as well because he stank and none of the others was going to go near him until he had taken a bath.

The haul of loot was satisfying and the Lemmings settled in for the night while Onesipe bathed and scrubbed himself until he no longer stank worse than usual. Meanwhile, unknown to the Lemmings, the Orcs had moved their hideout and had set up a new camp near Fikaby, where they were gathering weapons in readiness for assaulting the village.

The dice are cooperating in the story for a change. The Orcs are the remnants of a warband and they are led by a unique foe, the Ruthless Killer, whose goals apparently align with those of the Orcs.

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