Quest: Feast or Famine
Level: 13 (normal), 14 (Hard), 15 (Elite)
I’m going to do what I can to fit into the Crypt Crawlers. I was just recruited into the guild recently by the guild’s leader, Erdrique Hauksness. We’ll see if any of the aspects of strange and violent past will have any effect on this union but I’m hoping not. For my first assignment, Erdrique task me to investigate the issues surrounding the recently located ruins of Gianthold. Evidently this area was a major and important cent for the ancient and powerful giant empire. It appears to have drawn quite a bit of attention especially from the dragon of Argonnesson. The rumors I have heard about the Stormreaver and this Prophecy have also peaked my curiosity as well.
After I made my travel out to the ruins I decided to scope out the encampment and to learn what I could. I noticed right away that the encampment location, which was at the base of the ruins called the Tor, was quite busy with activity. A number of different races were present here trying to discover relics and the secrets that might lie in the ruins and in the surrounding landscape. There were also quite a large number of different giant races as well including hill giants, fire giants, sky giants, and stone giants. It appeared that the giants divided their troops and followers into three separate categories called the Stormfist, Stormeye, and Stormheart. Many of the smaller races were actually part of these categories. What is interesting is that many of these smaller races seemed to be fighting against each other to increase their status in these categories.
In either case, I decided to mill around and see what I could find out. I learned that the orcs and hobgoblin troops in the area seem to dislike each other even though they both belong in the Stormfist Encampment. I decided to explore the landscape a little bit and hired a mercenary cleric to come and help me. I must say that the landscape was quite impressive and immersive. All around the area, we could see a large number of crystallized giants and dragons, who appeared to be an endless form of battles. The area was quite barren and scarred with a number of rock formations and lava pools As soon as we entered the area, we crossed a natural bridge over a ravine and headed off to the south. After we followed the path along its winding route we came into the territory of the Stormfist encampment.
As we entered the area we noted a special teleporter zone. I had learned previously that a farshifter in the public area could transport as to the various encampments if we were able to locate these special zones. So now we can teleport safely to this location if we feel it is needed. I then spotted a large tent and soon realized that it was full of gnolls. The gnolls didn’t notice us right away but it didn’t take them long to smell us out and they quickly started firing. I immediately went on the offensive and attacked the gnolls. It didn’t take long to take them out, although they did fight quite savagely.
After the gnolls were defeated and we left the tent, I noticed that the tent was overlooking a few smaller tents on the bank of a lava river. I also noticed that a few hobgoblins were making some rounds along the banks and the one noticed me. I quickly jumped off the ledge and floated down to engage these enemies. There were a few archers among their ranks and as well as a loremaster. I also happened to notice a gnoll archer among them as well who was quickly trying to get his weapons together to start firing. However, unfortunately for him, he never got that chance.
Following that skirmish I noticed another set of tents and markers just above the ones where we took out the hobgoblins and gnolls. As I started to make my way to them I noticed in the distance another hobgoblin scout sneaking in the opposite direction. It appeared that he didn’t notice us but I wanted to make sure and quickly ran over to intercept him. Needless to say he was quite surprised that I noticed him and that we were there. We quickly dispatched with him.
We then proceeded up the road along a different path that the scout was following. I noticed two distinct features to the particular area. One was that a path went up side a hill and looked like it ended near a low summit and the other was a path that lead around a barricade. As soon as we approached the barricade we noticed that there were a couple of gnolls at sitting at a fire and we also came to realize that they noticed us as soon as we noticed them. We then rushed to the other side of the barricade and engaged the gnolls before they had a chance to gather their thoughts. We then moved up along the opposite path and quickly saw a few hobgoblins and then noted that a large stone giant was thundering toward us.
The stone giant was able to see us coming as soon as we started to make our way up the path. The hobgoblins didn’t take notice of us right away, but they caught on as soon as the stone giant hurried out of the camp. The path we were on actually ended in a small camp where the hobgoblins and stone giant were gathered around another fighter. The ensuing fight was anything short of simple. We had a number of hobgoblin attacking us from all angles and the stone giant doing what it could to destroy our resolve. However, after I took down the stone giant, the hobgoblins lost their moral and then quickly became less of a threat. We quickly overwhelmed them. I then peaked over the side and took note of the original tents we saw before this skirmish. We then left the small campsite and headed back towards those tents.
Once we made our way back to the tents we found yet another surprise waiting for us. Standing sentry over the tents facing just off to the side and away from us was another huge stone giant. He was accompanied by another gnoll and hobgoblin archer. However, once the stone giant fell the other two enemies were easily dispatched of. We then followed the path away from the tents and came across another patrolling gnoll.
After we took care of the patrol, we continued up the path and came to an intersection with three distinct directions to go in. Two branches went to the west and the other brank went to the east. One of the western branches scooted alongside the hill while the second branch climbed up the hill and around a bend. The eastern passage led off to a bridge/overlook a ways up. We decided to take the western path that went up the hill and rounded the bend.
As we rounded the bend we came across another makeshift camp. This time it was composed entirely of orcs. There were about four orcs sitting around a small fire. It took them a minute to realize that they had some company. By that time it was too late. I was upon them very quickly and before they knew it I and my cleric hireling had over run them. As we were fighting this small band of orcs, another orc sentry was coming up path on the other side of the camp. He was stumbling around but soon realized he had some company. He then started in to do battle.
As we engaged with the sentry, the commotion we created drew the attention of yet another small band of orcs. These orcs were rummaging around a makeshift gate that had these barbaric totems topped with spiked bones. There was a totem on each side of the path delineating this small gate. This particular band of orcs had maybe around 3 or four more combatants. I started to wonder how this territory was split between the hobgoblins, orcs, and gnolls. But I couldn’t stay focused on that at the moment as the battle was quickly going on. The battle there was pretty fierce and invigorating at the same time. I could just feel the malice and evilness of these orcs wanting, thirsting, to destroy us. To bad for them they received that chance.
As we passed through the gate and took out the remaining camp inhabitants, we noticed that the gate was guarding a larger encampment that was composed of three or four large tents. The tents were located in a small crater along the side of a lava river. The camp was crawling with a variety of orcs, ranging from warriors, shamans, and archers. In the middle of the camp appeared to be large fire giant. It stood out among the smaller orc troops. There was one orc that was patrolling along the ridge just above the camp that led to the gate. As we took out the last orc that was guarding the gate, he noticed us and sent out a small alarm. How unfortunate for everybody.
A ferocious battle then ensued. The camp of orcs started to run around gathering their weapons and trying to determine the source of the invasion. I waded into the thick of things and wasted no time battling anything that came within my path. The first to be destroyed was the huge fire giant, who never realized what hit it. This seemed to do nothing but to infuriate the fellow orcs who tried to rush me. Unfortunately for them, they were highly unorganized and they didn’t form any semblance of defensive structure and decided to attack me one on one. This wasn’t a wise idea, for the orcs. After some intense battles, all of the orcs were slain.
Slightly off to the northeast of this large camp I came across a shrine like area just in front of a cave entrance. There was another orc just waiting by the shrine. He indicated that he wasn’t an enemy and also mentioned to me that a large raiding party has just left the Orc Lair and that now would be a perfect time to take out the leader. I was curious about this orc and asked him why he was providing me with this information. He mentioned that he didn’t agree with his clan being here and wanted to force the Wyrm Cult out of the Gianthold and felt that killing the current war band leader would be the best way to handle this.
Although not entirely trusting the orc, we entered the Orc Lair. We figured his motives were questionable but we didn’t see any reason not to look into the situation. As soon as we entered the lair we could hear the hoots and hollers of the numerous orcs inside. I began to wonder on how wise it was to actually come into this cave.
Just inside the cave entrance, there was a torch on the wall. The light it gave off was minimal but there was quite a bit of lightning from a number of ever bright stones. The entrance to the lair was like any other typical cave. The walls and floor were solid rock and loose dirt. I also noticed a number of wooden stakes or poles in the distance. Of course I had no idea where the wood came from. As we started to make our way into the Orc Lair it didn’t take us long to come across a roaming patrol of orcs. This particular party was actually talking to two sentries who were obviously slacking on their guard duty. They appeared to be a little surprised at our approach which we used quickly to our advantage and quickly dispatched of these four unprepared orcs.
We then made our way back into the lair. In the distance we could see a solid door and as we got closer we noticed a few more orcs standing guard. Another thing I noted was that were some huge mushrooms in this area which I thought would create perfect platforms for archers. I could almost guarantee that we would encounter some sooner or later. In any case, our direct threat were the orc warriors glowering at us as we approached the door. They weren’t nearly as unprepared as the other group and we quickly saw the gleam of their mighty blades as they approached us recklessly thirsting for blood. Too bad I’m warforged and don’t have any blood to shed. Also too bad that they didn’t quite prepare for our counter assault. After a quick burst of attack sequences, the orcs where laid out and we were at the door.
There was a heavy metal lever just to the side of the door which was the obvious opening mechanism. I pulled the lever and just as I started forward a nasty set of large blade like spikes protruded from the floor in the doorway and then alternately around the frame of the door. Definitely not something to take lightly. However, we could easily see some timing in its rotation and we were able to slip past it, although having a rogue would have been nice here. As soon as we made our way into the new room, we noticed that the cave here was divided into narrow passageways but some polls and that there were a number of orcs milling around.
The orcs were definitely not happy to see us and were surprised that we were invading their lair. Within seconds, our blades were flashing about blocking and attacking the large and jaded blades of the orcs. There were also an orc perched on a large mushroom who was taking aim at us with his bow whenever he got a chance. It didn’t take long for us to dispatch of the initial guards, including the ranged sentry, and then we ran across a particularly vicious orc. We heard some other orcs in the distance calling out his name and rallying towards him. He was called Noguk. Noguk was some type of caster, a divine caster to make things worse, which mean he had the ability to heal himself.
After the battle with Noguk, which wasn’t a simple fight, we continued on down into the Orc Caves. It didn’t take long for me to encounter more orcs which were posted around a bend that was descending further down into the cave. Along with the orcs, were a number of worgs as well. It looked they were guarding, or were at least posted, at a make-shift canopy that served as a small encampment at a bend that continued further down into the cave.
After we dispatched of these enemies we made our way further down the cave. This led to another long and winding path. It seemed like around every corner we found more and more orcs. I wondered how many orcs actually composed this hunting party that was supposedly out and about. In any case, it was quite clear that the Orc lair was still quite full of these strong enemies. As we made our way through these enemies we came across two doors. One was closed and locked with a key mechanism while the other door was shut and operated by a lever. I assumed the key for the locked door was being held somewhere close so we opened the other door instead, and I must say, I wasn’t quite surprised to see what was behind the door.
It looked like a small raiding party of orcs. Right away I picked up fighters, casters, and rangers along with worg pets. To make things worse, they were quite prepared and ready to battle me, as they must have heard the commotion from the other side of the room. Shortly after I entered the room, I had arrows raining down from archers on top of tall and thick mushrooms and it didn’t take long for melee and caster orcs to charge as well. The room inside was quite spacious. It also had four other doors, which were all sealed.
My first order of business was taking care of the immediate threat, the orcs and worgs that ran in on me shortly after I opened the door. The worgs were particulary annoying, as they tended to trip me up more often that I would like to admit. In the end all of the enemies were slain and were laying down at my feet. I then had to decide which of the first four doors to select. I decided to pick the door in the back of the room that was pointing towards the south. I hoped to find the key to the locked door simply laying on a table so I could continue on my way. Of course I wasn’t that fortunate. Instead I found a room with four orcs who seemed quite surprised at my presence. Evidently this group of orcs are accustomed to fighting noises. In any case, the room had a ranger, a caster, and some melee fighters who came at me quite furiously. However, they weren’t strong enough to stand to my blows so I moved on to the next room.
The room just to the north had what I was looking for. However, instead of the key being nicely laid out on a table, it was instead in the hands of pretty fierce orc named Ruzek. Ruzek wasn’t alone and he had two casters with him as well as another melee combatant. The fighting that ensued was quite fierce. I took out Ruzek first and then I immediately hit the casters. When I defeated Ruzek I saw the key clamor to the ground and I picked it up when we walked out.
Once I obtained the key I continued on by unlocking the barred door. The cave continued to wind further down into the earth. I came across another band of orcs and worgs and quickly made my way past them. After I defeated that patrol of orcs, I came across another patrol. This made me think that I was getting closer to the main lair.
As I as making my way past the most recent patrol I came across something odd. A raiding party of hobgoblins had borrowed into the orc caves from the opposite direction. They quite surprised to see and to run into me. I used that surprised to my advantage and immediately attacked. The hobgoblins were taking aback at first but then quickly recomposed themselves and the ensuing battle was quite substantial and brutal. The strike force the hobgoblins had sent in was quite sizable and it made me wonder just how much completion do the giants foster in their ranks out here in Gianthold.
After I defeated the hobgoblin raiding party I continued further into the orc lair. I came up to another door and pulled the lever to open it and then across a makeshift tent that was surrounding another ladder that led to some lower tunnels in the hideout. Guarding the tent and the ladder were a few more orcs. They weren’t a problem.
I climbed down the ladder and came across a serene spot with a nice laid out shrine. It looked like the area was kept quite clean, which was a new thing for me when it came to orcs. They must have been afraid to keep it littered. In any case. The cave kept on winding further under the ground. As I continued down the path, I came across another two orc sentries and took them down swiftly. This was fortunate because I came across another small band of orcs that happened to have another shaman with them. I began to wonder if I was ever going to find the orc leader and if the orc raiding party had returned. This particular band of orcs seemed to be guarding a room that was sealed with a locked door. I didn’t have any way to enter the room and I wondered what was in there. So I continued forward and found another small band of orcs. Like in the other tunnels, this band of orcs were guarding a two doorways, one that led into a side passage and another locked door. I assumed that the key to the locked door was in the room off to the side like in the other areas of this cave. So after I defeated these orcs I entered the room off to the side.
Like before, this room had yet another small band or orcs and their pet worgs. Which I must say are more annoying than anything else in the word. The orcs were guarding four doorways and I knew that the key to the locked door that blocked my path had to be in one of these rooms. Each room had a small contingent of orcs, and of course I had to open each door before I finally found the orc leader who has holding the key. The orc leader was a pretty ferocious orc impaler named Zykir. He fought skillfully and resourcefully but my hireling and I were able to get the best of him and his guards to retrieved the key. I took the key from his grasp and proceeded to the locked door and continued on. Shortly after the door opened, I noticed a patrolling orc shaman.
As I made my way after this orc shaman, I began to realize that I was getting close to the primary lair. As soon as I rounded the bend in the path I came across a large band of orcs than I have encountered so far. The tunnel here split off into three directions with side passages ending in dead ends which with a small camp or orcs and worgs. There were also orc rangers perched on large mushrooms that just smiled wickedly at me as they raised their bows. This was going to be a tough battle.
The first thing Arkyn (my mercenary) and I did was to draw as many of the warrior orcs and spell casting orcs around the corner out of the way of the deadly archers. This particular battle was just as intense as the one of the first fights we had encountered when we first entered the Orc Lair when he we fought Noguk. It was a deadly affair. The orcs and their worg pets tried to use their numbers to surround us but we were able to out last them.
As we took out the first wave of orcs, I noticed that the tunnel spilt off in two other directions and that the orc perched on top of the large mushroom was yelling and waving his arms around. I assumed that there were more orcs in both of those alcoves that we couldn’t see. I soon realized how correct I was. Coming around the bend, there was no less than ten orcs coming right at us, and we couldn’t forget about the one orc in the mushrooms. If I had thought the previous fight was brutal, then this one was just downright painful. However, we did get past the warriors and casters, after a number of close calls. The scout in the mushroom didn’t climb down and we couldn’t get to him easily so we left him there for the moment, weary on what he would do behind us.
We continued on, with the scout on the mushroom howling madly. We came up to another large door. I went ahead and pulled the lever next to it and watched it slowly open. Behind the door, a wide cavern was visible with a command tent in the back of the cavern. More large mushrooms were spread throughout the cavern and the room was scarcely filled with orc casters and shaman as well as more scouts. Intermingled with this group of orc were a few warriors as well. I didn’t get notice right away but eventually some orcs spotted me in the opened doorway and they weren’t very happy about my presence.
A short while later an orc warrior came out through the door with one thing on his mind, killing us. At the same time we noticed arrows coming from behind us from that one scout we left behind. I ignored the arrows and focused on the immediate threat, the warrior. I ran to up to the orc and took him on and defeated him to only find another warrior coming through the doorway as well as another orc shaman. At that moment, I heard my mercenary cry out and turn to see him fall with some arrows lodged in his back. Then I turned back around to see more casters coming through the door. Things were not looking good.
I went ahead approached the door, under heavy fire from the scout, and engaged with the two casters, sliding just to the side of the door to get out of the way of the scout’s arrows. Unfortunately, I realized that this tactic wasn’t going to work as the scouts in this cavern took aim and starting firing. I just put faith in my armor and hoped that the scouts weren’t exceptionally good shots. I took out one of the casters and the other one ran back through the doorway with me on his heels. While I was on his heels, I was followed by the orc leader, Rhutha Grimskin.
Up to this point in my adventures, I haven’t couple across a more vile, viscious, and strong warrior than Rhutha Grimskin. As soon as I focused on him, he caught me unaware and before I knew my legs were swept out from under me and I found myself landing roughly on the ground. However, I came back up quickly swinging my powerful greatsword out in front of me. Rhutha then backed out of the way of the sword and drew me back into the range of the scouts and I had arrows zipping in on me from both directions.
With arrows flying around us, Rhuta and I battled back and forth. I have to give the powerful orc some credit. Up to this point, he was most skilled and powerful warrior in this lair. He also fought with a huge and devastating blade. We swapped strokes and parried back and forth for what like hours. Eventually though he began to tire, whereas I did not. The joys of being a construct instead of a weaker fleshling. In any case, he eventually became more and more worn down, a weakness that I took advantage of. With arrows flying overhead, the orc leader was finally slain. As the orc leader fell, I heard the scout from afar shout out in dismay. I took advantage of his grief and scooped up Arkyn and ran into the open cavern and dived into the tent in the middle of the room. In the tent was a portal which I ran forward to and hoped it would teleport me back outside. As I ran to the portal I grabbed what I could. As the portal’s magic worked I saw a number of enraged orcs coming towards me and then I was outside back out in the ruined landscape of Gianthold. I then quickly made my way back out to the camp.