Saturday, March 4, 2017

The Lone Orc

Normally, orcs are too busy warring over the remains in the Spaceship Graveyard to come down to where the players are.  When orcs come down to the lands of men wizards must put aside their differences, enforce a mass levee and march their horrific abominations and red men to war.  

For a wizard, this is an opportunity to show off their latest creations, striking fear and envy into the hearts of their wizard neighbors.  It's kind of like an academic research conference, a wargame and a teenage bragging session rolled into one. If you don't show up to wizard prom with a new and horrific discovery, everyone will assume you're too weak to hold territory and start fucking with you once they get back. The orcs are always completely obliterated by the wizards.

However, it's been more than a few decades since the orcs came en mass.  Not long in the life of a wizard, but longer than average.  (The Iron Fist sends frequent expeditions to the spaceship graveyard on combination treasure hunts, diplomatic missions and age of empire style pure exploration. )  

These days, an orc wandering south is a rare sight, more likely a defeated warlord or a mad prophet wandering the orcish equivalent of the wastelands.  A single orc does not require an army, and can be defeated by as few as 20 armed men, assuming it doesn't have the traditional orcish pressure suit or a chaingun.  

Recently, there have been reports of an orc haunting the road between Louisburg and Chemsfordshire, taking heads and attacking caravans.  Trade and travel between the two villages has stopped.  

It's fairly common knowledge the orc emerges from the woods at a particular point on the road, since he drags all his kills back there and has arranged a small pile of skulls near the entrance to a wooded path.  The ruined remains of a trade caravan are broken into pieces nearby.  "Come and find your death" is scrawled in charcoal on a broken wagon wheel nailed to a tree.  A small trail leads into the woods.  

Players don't read past this part

Far: The trail is INSANELY trapped.  

Pit trap, snares, the thing with the big log that rolls down towards you, bear traps, the works.  It also runs close to the cave of an actual bear.  1/4 chance the bear is caught in the traps, 1/4 chance bear is sleeping. 

The trail doesn't actually go anywhere, certainly not to where the orc lives. The orc made it so people will walk down it and get killed trying to find him.  He knows he's in hostile territory, and he knows humans are stupid.  It's like Orcs Must Die, but flipped.  It just winds through the woods, passing by tons of easily ambush-able spots and places where the orc can take cheap shots.  The party should start hitting traps very soon, and if they don't figure it out that the path is a decoy they just keep getting hit with more traps.  If they're really stupid, just run them through until you run out of traps, then have the orc attack.

If the party recognizes whats going on, and gets off the trail, they can use woodcraft or just be intelligent about searching the woods for the orc.  That gets us closer. 

Near: The orc camp has groups of skulls arranged in sets of 9.  They are smeared with red ocher, and there is a huge drawing (charcol on cloth) of a spaceship above the camp.  The orc's damaged red pressure suit lies against a log.  If the orc is there he's sewing it, or working on his drawing, or arranging a wooden inclined plane up above the treetops, or jumping off that plane while making rocketship noises (1/4 chance each) 

The pressuresuit is worth something if repaired, and any mcGuffins are in the camp.  If the orc is there, they can fight him.  Use hard stats, and run it as a mix of cunning and brutal.  He has little money but is wearing plate armor.  

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