Yup ready to go!
Dasur looks up from his blotchy scroll, still trying to magically clean the sheet off. He comments in DwarvenL "He seemed strangely friendly for a Drow. I suppose they just pick good diplomats. I suspect they have to, given their reputation for betrayal and enslavement."
Did he... did he really pick up none of it?
"Dasur, they were not friendly." Snorri whispers to the scholarly dwarf. "There were insults hidden within his words, and I'd wager he was the one who spilled ink all over your book. Speaking of which, I suggest we check that inkwell for poison, and we shouldn't trust anything he says as well. Their reputation for betrayal is well deserved, we haven't found a friend."
Dasur furrows his brows and looks at Snorri with momentary incredulity. "Truly? He knocked over the inkwell? If he is a practioner of the Art, it could have been telekinesis I suppose... I certainly didn't feel the table move. I can use the residual ink in the bottom of my well until we have alchmeist inspect the gift. I did not hear any insults, but I noticed his inability to pronouce your name, which I found odd."
He sighs, placing the snail-shell inkwell in his pack with a hint of disappointment.
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After the drow leave, Glenda says in a low tone, "He should be less worried about running across us here in town and more about running across us again out in the Darklands."
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Ukrim snorts at Glenda's words, grinning widely nudging her in the shoulder.
"Yer richt aboot that, Glenda. A've ne'er heard o' a drow wi' a kind hert while thay crept deep underground." His attention turned towards Snorri, giving a little nod to him with a look of approval upon his face. "Ye handled yersel' weel, m' laird. Thay offendit wi' petty wurds bit ye remained as solid as stane. Thay wull break against ye lik' a cheap pick upon a diamond."
The young monk looked over his group with a smile, they had all remained calm despite the danger and the temptation to get into a fight with the Drow. Their enemy would make a mistake eventually and then, then they'd learn the tenacity and the danger of insulting Dwarves.
As you finish your repast and, perhaps more importantly, before you finish your drinking, Iverna returns, grabs a mug, and comes to your table.
"I've arranged for you to sleep at Sheriff Gunther's house. His widow was so torn up about his death that she is going to stay with her sister for a bit, so you will have the house all to yourselves. She was grateful to you for returning his body and effects and for saving the rest, and so she is happy for you to have the use of her place. It is nearby here, so we can head there when you are ready. I'll stay there with you, but in the morning I will need to gather some supplies for our trip and you wanted to talk to Tammar. After that, we can leave whenever you are ready."
She leads you from the Blue Bat and across the town common toward the lake. Near the lake, she takes you into a small two story home that is tidy and simple. The place has obviously just been tidied.
"Here in the kitchen you'll find hot water and cloths. Use it before the water cools off too much. You won't likely fit in the beds, but there are rugs here you can use to soften the floor if you want to sleep in the common room or there is the one bedroom. Gunther didn't have any little ones, so at least there is that. There is clean water in this pitcher and your slops go in this basin, someone will be by in the morning to collect your night soil and take it to the groves. Dasur, if you want to spend some time closer to the flowstone, you have the run of the place as long as you don't cause trouble."
"And the vial you found is full of Gnomesblot, which any gnome could have told you who smelled it. It is an alchemical concoction that kills gnomes who drink it and gives others who drink it a resistance to our gnomish magic."
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Dasur bows his head in thanks to Iverna as they arrive at Gunther's old home. "We owe you much for your hospitality. All will be repaid in time."
He is curious about the Gnomesblot, stroking his beard. "The hidden cache contained a concoction used against gnomes, under a Skis'raal lair, and the Skis'raal went out of their way to kill Sheriff Gunther. Whomever was using that cache has it out for gnomes I'm afraid."
The wizard leaves most of his possessions in the house, taking only his spellbook, writing tools, and his jeweler's kit. "I will return after I have sufficiently studied the flowstone." He proclaims before taking leave of the house and heading directly to the magnificent lights on the terrace.
Snorri smiles brightly at Glenda and Ukrim's words. "Thank you. We can't allow ourselves to be distracted by the first uppity beansprout we find underground. But they were lucky indeed that we are guests under Fasturvalt's roof."
Once at the house, he drops his pack and readies a rug before freshening up. "I'll stay here in the common room, I'm used to sleep on the floor. Do we want to take a stroll in the rest of the town? As wicked as the Drow may be, I doubt they'd sneak in while we're out and poison our beds." He pauses for a moment, pondering the words he just said. "Or would they?"
Dagmar will take a patch of floor closest to the kitchen.
"I'm all for a-wanderin' a wee bit. Plus Mee suggested I check out the mushroom glens for some more learnin' on which be edible vs those for makin' rope 'n stuff. Should probably check up on which may be toxic so we can avoids them.
Oh by the by, them elfs, they dun eat any of the gnomish food. Only raw fish or mushrooms then be bringin' themselves. Not sure if'n it's important, but it's curious none the less."
Smiling at Iverna, "Thank you again and please pass our gratitude on to the poor woman."
Peering around the house. I could come out if you take the room. No you could not. Once we leave and you promise to be nice to all of them then you can. Flinching at the growl in her mind and picking a spot on the ground in a corner.
"I should be able to copy the maps tomorrow though that does take time and might, depending on what maps I get a hold of, take up the whole day. And if someone could get me some rope I would be grateful since provisions were mentioned." Looking over at Iverna, "How early would I be able to start on the maps? And is there someone we could talk to about the various creatures we may find down here?"
"Most of the folk here don't leave, so I probably know as much about local creatures as anyone. It's a lot of what you would expect, lizards, amphibians, bats, rats, fish, spiders. 'Course in the Jungle you have all sorts of fungi and slimes. As for maps, I suspect you are going to be disappointed. Like I said, there isn't much call for travel except to Kladdenvalt, which is back the way we came, or the same direction to the pyramid and the troglodytes that live there. None of that is the direction you want to go, I think, but Tamar will have more to say about that, maybe. I can show you what maps are available in the Armory whenever you are ready in the morning."
"As for the drow, Snorri, I don't think they will try to kill you in your sleep. That would be a little too obvious when they are trying to seem all friendly, like."
"The drow haven't taken our measure yet and don't know how far they can go," says Glenda. "So they won't act rashly until they think they can get away with it."
As another dawn fails to appear, you wake to the smell of fried fish and potatoes. That can't be right though. There aren't any potatoes here. In fact, Iverna is frying fish and some sort of lima bean sized pods. Sitting at a table nearby is a tall gnome (maybe 3' 2") whose gemlike eyes are more clouded than most of those you have seen. His back is bent with age and hard work, but his face remains intelligent and his smile kind.
"Welcome back to the land of the living, dwarf fellows. 'Tis a miracle thy snoring did not bring down the cavern above us. I have breakfast coming and I thought it would be easiest for Tamar to break his fast with us, maybe get you on your way a bit faster. Tamar is the chief stone cutter here in Fasturvalt. He runs the quarry, as did his father before him. Tamar is the last gnome who remembers the founding of the town here, and he has been present at every cut of the marble that comes from the quarry, so he should be able to answer what questions you have. After that, we can get Nalnera to the Armory to copy any maps that are useful."
Tamar nods his head as Iverna introduces him. We haven't seen any of your kind here for a very long time indeed. Yesterday, when word rippled through the town that Iverna had brought a bunch of slaver dwarves, I wondered what was up, but now I see that you are the other kind. Iverna says you are looking for a mine, but she don't know which one?"
After a respectful bow, Snorri addresses the venerable gnome. "Thank you, Iverna. And I thank you for your assistance, Master Tamar. The place we are looking for is called Zaraketh. We believe that it might hold ancient lore of our people. Would you have memory of such a place?"
Tamar bows his head even more than age has. "Zaraketh. The 'River of Silver.' You have come here to find Zaraketh? I am afraid that you must turn from this path. Long ago, when I was a little boy, two of your kind came here. Some great calamity had befallen them, and their friends had died on the road here. They came from this place, Zaraketh. They were miners, I think, but by the time they came here they were bone and beard, hardly any flesh left. We fed them for a time before they went on their way. They told stories of the horrors of the Lower Azathyr. Those stories are like boogie stories to our children now. But you cannot get to the Lower Azathyr. There is only one way down. We cal it The-Great-Jumping-Off-Point. And it is held by a fortress known as Vothys. All passage through is controlled by the dark elves."
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Dasur had returned late, and all the blank scrolls he left with were now covered in precise drawings of refraction patterns collected from examining the sacred flowstone.
He woke from his not-so-comfortable spot in the corner with nary a complaint, instead stretching and briefly scratching at the base of his tightly woven, if slightly greasy beard.
The wizard pulls up a chair at the table across from Tamar and listens intently to his words. Vothys is where that drow from yesterday hailed... "We cannot turn from this path, Tamar, no matter what danger lies in our way. The stone whispers our destiny in our ears, and our blood runs hot with the urging of our noble ancestors seeking lost heritage. The fact an ancient enemy stands in our way is no coincidence, but instead gives further legitimacy to the prophecies that drive our quest."
He draws in a breath, steeping his fingers and leaning backward in thought. The weight of destiny presses down on his shoulders, the importance of the moment pushing him into a clarifying focus his companions rarely see. "In your many years, you have certainly seen what stories the stones hold. Here you see one of those stories in the making, and Zaraketh is the next chapter. Thus, we implore you- we wish to know the way to Vothys, and if there is any way around it."
Tamar scoops salt from a salt cellar into his small knobby hand and allows it to trail from his palm onto the table, drawing tiny lines that represent tunnels.
"To reach Vothys, you must travel to and cross the Fungal Jungle. To the north you will find a heavily guarded cavern that leads to Vothys, and beyond the gates of Vothys is a great shaft. To reach the Jungle you have some options, across the Lake of Diamonds or around it. But there is only one path to Vothys, and only one way down to your mine. Of course, none of us have ever been to Vothys. I think the Lord's grandfather went there once. I imagine it isn't the kind of place a gnome should be."
Link to updated map
This map shows you the information you can gather about geography talking to Tamar and looking through the maps in the Armory. The gnomes are pretty insular and sedentary. Only the most adventurous of them would even go so far as the vast cavern that is the Fungal Jungle.
"Yes, we surely did not assume it to be easy. And for it to be under the control of the Dark Elves... Yes, we will need a plan. But first we will need to face what's in front of us, well spoken, Glenda. We shall worry later."
"Let me have some words, companions, friends, brothers. We knew the travel would be ripe with danger, we knew we were alone against a world. This world has forgotten us, and we have more enemies here, in our ancestral home, that we could have found above ground."
"I shall not tell you what is at stake, I know there is no need for that. But even if we should dive in the maw of every Hell, there is no one, above or below the surface, I'd rather be with. You will not hear me telling you that we may succeed. And you won't hear me telling that we must succeed, because together, by the Immortal Land, we will succeed!"
Perform(oratory): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (19) + 7 = 26
Dasur feels pride well up within his bosom at Snorri's speech. One day Dammerhall will echo with this voluptuous voice over the din of hundreds of dwarfs. The stones have chosen a rightful king for our future.
The wizard gives a nod full of reverance. "The songs they will write of you Snorri- the vibrations will cause the caverns to hum along for eternity."
Dasur begins to engage Tamar about the surrounding stone and it's properties- he has many questions about the flowstone in particular after his observations the previous night. The wizard swears he was able to see crude images of gnomeoid-like shapes in the refraction patterns of the minerals, and begins asking about the physical appearances of some of the town's ancestors to see if he can match them to the images.
After they have collected their information from Tamar and the armory, Dasur scans the lines of the parchment. "We can circumvent the lake... ford the lake... or brave the Jungle. The cavern around the Lake of Diamonds, though it be road, will surely be held by those wishing to take advantage of travelers avoiding the Lake and Jungle. The lake is doubly unwise- we are children of Torag's stone and could keep our feet close to His creation to recieve the stone's boons."
He traces a stubby finger over the path through the fungal forest, represented by many capped structures. "We can find food easily here, but also and danger. Yet we have an advantage." Dull brown eyes turn to their guide gnome. "Iverna, you have been to the Jungle before, correct? Could you guide us through its tangled mycelia and blue bats?"
Dasur nods, and rolls up the parchment. "Then let us collect supplies and be off. How long will it take us to reach the edge of the Jungle?"
Each of those hexes is 8 miles across, and the terrain is uneven and counts as rough. So your move at 20 ft gets you one hex a day. Even though their is only one winding tunnel depicted, it is really lots of off shoots and winding options, so it is easy to get lost. It isn't just marching through 1 solid tunnel like coming down the big road that the wagon was on.
"The westernmost tunnels will take us 15 days. If we can push harder, 10 hours a day or so, we could make it two weeks. Those tunnels are infested with vermin, insects and the spiders that prey on them. Near the lake giant crickets and beetles. And something else that no one sees. From there another 15 days or so through the Jungle. More if we explore or stop to hunt or gather food. There are cows in the jungle, among other things, that make good eating and are worthwhile trade goods. But what will you do when you come to the Vothys Road. You can't just fight your way through a drow fortress."
Ivernas massive eyes are shrunk nearly to slits. She seems more suspicious than afraid, as if perhaps you are hiding some great power.
"About us, my friend, songs about us."
"The fortress is a dilemma indeed. Bargaining with the drow is unlikely at best, I don't trust them further than I can swing an axe. We can't assault it, fun as it may be, but we can try to bypass it somehow? Use a distraction, set fires, make a run for it." Snorri rubs his beard, racking his brains for strategies. "But it's likely a bridge that will be crossed when we come to it. Unless..."
He pauses briefly before speaking again. "If, as we suspected, the giant spiders were in league with the drow, there may be information to be gained. Their lair had a back exit, didn't it? It's a wild shot, and it would set us a week back, but what if we found hints about Vothys, or proof that the drow are behind the sheriff's murder?"
With a sigh, he concludes. "But that might just be wishful thinking. Perhaps it was just the spiders' larder. What say you all?"
Sounds like the tunnels are ripe for adventure! And probably death. We'll need to buy a whole lot of food, but once we make it to the Jungle we should be able to hunt from there?
Dasur listens to Iverna intently, his thick brown brows furrowing into a chaotic mass. "Something else? What is the something else by the lake?" He inquires, easily sucked into the intrigue presented by the unknown entity.
The prospect of deep cows living in a fungal jungle also intrigues him, but leaves that question for another time. The wizard interwines his fingers, lays them on his belly, and stares up at the ceiling while Snorri is speaking.
While it may seem he was not paying attention, Dasur speaks as Snorri finishes. "I disagree. Perhaps we should bargain with them." His eyes turn towards what he considers to be the future the future heir of the dwarven world. "Iverna sas there are a plethora of valuable trade goods in the Jungle. We can discover what the Vothys Drow value, gather it from the Jungle, and pay for our passage. Even if they refuse, there will be among their number vulnerable to bribes. We cannot expect it to be fair, but we can expect it to be possible."
Returning to the spiders does not sit well with him, and he shakes his head. "If they are associated with the Drow they are merely pawns. Comparable to surface bandits."
After another day of fish stew and beer, you pack your kits and leave Fasturvalt behind. Iverna travels light, with only a small pack, a couple of daggers, and a tiny crossbow.
"You big louts can carry the food. Better for all of us if I can be light on my feet. I'll take point as we go. We'll try to stick to the main route where we can, but I would prefer not to run into any Dark Elves or their black orcs out there in the Dark."
You walk away from the quaint gnomish town and into the living caves between you and the Jungle. There is water everywhere here. Often dripping down the walls or onto your head. The stone is alive with formations, straws, gypsum. Water will be no problem. On the other hand, you don't see anything to eat. The tunnels here are small, maybe 5 feet wide at the smallest. In places, the rock has been hewn to allow easier passage, and there is the occasional wide spot, a bend in the ancient river that must have flowed through here. In these you find the remains of camp sites.
You notice that all of your provisions are completely sealed, and Iverna demands that you keep your own food well sealed. Anything that you leave out overnight is consumed by swarms of black ants the size of your thumb.
Dasur is intently focused on the surrounding stone, an he would probably stop to inspect every single formation if given the chance. Despite his previous reservations about going near the lake, he seems perfectly content among the sodden tunnels.
Occasionally a large droplet of water falls on his head, causing the antique iron mining helmet on his head to resonate with the cacophony of a struck gong. Fortunately there was plenty of cacophany to go around.
"The stone lets the water shape it, though it is stubborn. We tread through the path of an ancient pact between two elements, older than even our furthest remembered ancestor's furthest remembered memory." The wizard drones with all the beginning of a lecture.
However, the ashen-faced dwarf appears to be in a distractable mood as they pass another campsite. "Iverna, do any others besides the deep gnomes, the dark elves, and the black orcs use this road? It is simply a matter of time before we meet our light-forsaking cousins, the Duergar, and we would like to be prepared."
Wiping the vermin from his clothes, Snorri listens to Dasur's questions. Although the scholar's thoughts could be erratic at times, his words always hid wisdom.
We are far enough from Fasturvalt, perhaps we may tell Iverna our mission, sooner or later we'll have to...
Dasur walks in silence for a moment as he considers Iverna's response, still making a mental map of the region. "We should fear the Duergar more than the Drow, for Droskar's children would hunt our beards to the ends of Azathyr if they knew our quest. Yes, out of sheer spite alone they would kill us, so jealous are cousins are of our past accompishments."
He clears his throat briefly, and as if he read the dwarf's mind, looks at Snorri. "Iverna has given us her trust. We should return the same, and enlighten her on the gravity of our journey."
He turns his attention back to the deep gnome. "The mine of Zarakethe is only our first goal. Within, it is whispered a map to a sacred place dwells. Please, tell no one of this- But what we truly seek is to find the long-forgotten secret entrance to the legendary stronghold of Dammerhall, the greatest fortress over constructed by dwarven hands. We will reclaim it and bring back resonant glory to our holdings in the underdark."
"Just another reason to be prudent in our goals," says Glenda. "For now, we have plenty of traveling to do."
Well, he certainly did anticipate the decision.
"I don't like the idea of fighting against other dwarves. But we can't allow the name of our race to be tarnished and soiled by slavery. One way or another, we will have to face their menace. But these are thoughts for another day."
"Dasur spoke truth, Iverna. Dammerhall fell two centuries ago, burning up in black flames. Since then, our race has been waning, most forced to live on the surface, in human cities, slowly losing our culture and traditions. But we have reason to believe that there is a hidden way to the forgotten city, and that a map is to be found in Zaraketh. The doors of Dammerhall have been sealed for too long, it's time we force them open, and the Mithral Throne shall once again know a Tharnhammer king, after my mother's father last sat on it. Then we will rebuild, call back those who fled from the surface, find allies... You may be our liaison with the svirfneblin."
Snorri's eyes rise and his mouth twists into a smile as he daydreams for a moment before sighing.
"But again, thoughts for another day. For now we'll focus on the forest and the fortress. Let's all march happy, for we march towards home!"
With a stentorean bass voice, the heir to the throne intones an old dwarven mining song.
"Born underground, grown inside a rocky womb,
The Earth is our cradle, the mountain shall become our tomb!
Face us on the battlefield, you will meet your doom,
We do not fear what lies beneath, we can never dig too deep!"
You make it five days without a much disruption in the seemingly interminable walking, stumbling, sliding of loose rock, sleeping on stone shelves and in crannies, waking to roaches trying to pry wax from your ears or licking moisture from your nose.
On the fifth waking, Iverna gathers you all at the morning meal. "Today, in a few hours walk, we will come to a place called the Throttleneck. It is called that because for a long time there was a colony of chokers who lived there, but they have been gone for years. However, if there is to be any attack from the Dark Elves, or if they are holding a waypoint in the region, it could well be there. Be prepared, and be as quiet as you might. No dwarf singing, or clapping shields. Sound carries far here. At the Throttleneck, there are no side tunnels around. Our passage meets the larger one there, and we will have to pass in the open."
As you draw closer, Iverna waves you to a halt and goes ahead. When she returns, some of the tint has drained from her face.
"It is as I feared. There is a squad of black orcs. Eight orcs and a drow officer. They aren't being particularly sneaky, just camped right in the junction."
Here is a tactical map of the area which Iverna can sketch out. You would be entering from the blue arrow at the bottom middle. The orcs are camped in the middle room, with the drow using the cavern to the north as his private quarters.
Fidgeting, "Before we go fight them I need a minute and I will explain after we are done with this."
Kneeling down and glancing back at the others, "Just don't attack him ok?"
Pulling out her axe and resting the butt of the handle on the ground and carefully putting her hands on the blades. Closing her eyes and sucking in a sharp breath with a pained expression. Please be nice.
Thin pale green transparent tendrils slowly wrap around Nalnera and then reach out a few feet before whipping behind her. The tendrils keep pouring off her her and start to thicken behind her. Finally coalescing in into the form of a green tinted dwarf.
Standing behind the kneeling Nalnera is an green tinted solid dwarf. He has a thick pale beard that runs just past his shoulder and has a handful of rings tied off in his beard. The rest of his hair is pulled into a thick braid behind his head. Scars run across his face, a thick scar on his nose and one across his left eye. A necklace decorated with claws and fangs hangs around his neck and is partially obscured by his beard. His bare muscular chest is lined with scars. A thick metal belt hangs around his waist.
Stepping around Nalnera and leaving a sticky looking goop where his foot falls. Looking at her companions up and down. A twisted grin forms, "You may call me Regnir and I believe there are some orcs and a filthy drow that need to be killed."
Gesturing forward with a hand, "Shall we get to that. It has been far to long since I have had any fun."
Glenda recoils, then says sternly, "Is that a bound spirit of the dead? A soul that should be resting in the afterlife but is not?"
Dasur thoughtfully takes it Iverna's analysis of the situation.
Is there anything special about black orcs? If so, does Dasur know about it? I assume it's dungeoneering, but if it's a knowledge: local roll then it's +5 and untrained.
knowledge: dungeoneering: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (11) + 9 = 20
Resolutely, he opens up his spell component pouch and begins to pull out assorted nick-nacks while speaking to Iverna. "Our people despise the Drow, but orcs are another matter entirely. Every dwarf, including myself, is trained from birth on how to kill orcs with mining picks, battle axes, and hammers. If there was ever an enemy we could break through, it is orcs."
The wizard makes a series of complicated gestures, warding himself with invisible plates of force over his chest, back, and head.
Dasur is momentarily taken in by the strange, green dwarf that appears. He stares, brows furrowed, and has the strange feeling he's read the name Regnir in one of the long tomes on Tharnhammer nobility. Or maybe that face was minted on a coin somewhere?
Seemingly unfazed, he pokes the phantom's flank with the tip of the ash dowel he calls a staff. Pulling it back to watch the ectoplasm drip from the wood, then back to the ancient dwarf. "Hmm. You look familiar. When did you originally occupy the material plane? Did you know my father, Grummick Deepborn?"
Although evidently startled, Snorri bows at the spirit. "It's an honor to meet you, Regnir. Shall I assume that you are the spirit of one of our ancestors?"
Knowledge(nobility): 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (4) + 6 = 10 Can't even recall my own family tree...
Raising his hand to stop Nalnera, who just looks down. Looking at Glenda with a frown as his coloring rapidly shifts to a dark blue, "I am bound to her by choice Glenda."
Glancing at Snorri and purple starts to twist with the blue that makes up his form before twisting quickly and trying to knock Dasur's staff away. The blue and violet that fills his form vanishes and is immediately replaced by a vibrate pulsing crimson. Face twisting into a snarl and moving into Dasur's face. "Know this scholar I am only tolerating you because of her." Pointing to Nalnera, "Never do that again!"
Moving to stand between Dasur and Regnir. Pushing Regnir back and growling at him, "You said you would behave." Turing to look at Dausr apologetically, "He is poorly socialized and very moody. Just don't touch him ok."
Turning and glaring again at Regnir, "You are forgetting your manners Regnir. Snorri Tharnhammer was kind enough to greet you. You should do the same."
Dasur blinks as the phantom is suddenly in his face, grasping his staff with two hands and pulling it across his body defensively. "Oh! I have never seen such a lively spirit. Ah, but how do you know I'm a scholar? How do you know Glenda's name? Have you been invisible until now?"
It doesn't seem like the questions are going to stop until battle is joined.
Glenda says, "Many would choose a thin and hollow existence over death, but it is not for them to say - it is for Magrim to give each soul its due and return it to the earth. This is dangerous magic."
She frowns and finally adds, "...but I trust in the judgment of my Lord Tharnhammer in the allies and resources that he selects for our endeavor."
Snorri ponders the matter for a couple of seconds, glancing at Glenda and Regnir.
"I have no right to judge a soul's choices. Should you wish to seek rest, we'll help you, but I'll gladly welcome your help, and I'm glad to know that at least one of our ancestors is literally fighting alongside us."
Axe and shield at the ready, Snorri braces himself for battle. "All ready to go?"
I'll need a standard action to start my Raging Song, so I'd start it right before heading out.
I've set up the battle map with icons. You can establish your initiative however you want.
Black Orc Perception: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (20) + 4 = 24
The orc sentry is going to hear you when you are 100 feet away in the cavern.
You have heard tales of Black Orcs. They are special servants of the Drow, bred for centuries to be the largest and meanest of orcs. They are nearly 7 feet tall, black of skin, and worship the same demon lords that the dark elves worship. The years of selective breeding have made them even stronger than most orcs, and makes them so tough as skin as to shed minor blows completely. They have DR 1/-
Oof these orcs sound extra nasty.
GM, how tall are the ridges around the map? do they take a climb check to get on top of?
Initaitive should be Snorri, Glenda, and Regnir (Nalnera? Do thy go on the same turn?) so they can establish our front line, then Dagmar. Dasur will go last and start moving around the side and laying down battlefield control with greases. When I see an opportunity for a color spray I'll move in and take it.
The ridges are about 5 feet higher than the floor. Getting to the top of them would simply cost two squares of movement, like rough terrain.
The orcs are cocky, so they will wait for whatever sound approaches to advance. They won't pursue you, so their early detection really just gives them more time to prepare.
Regnir/Nalnera (Let's have them go on the same turn for expedience)
Do you want me to bot Ukrim?
If you want to bot Ukrim that's fine by me, though you have enough to do as is! Nalnera can give him Mage Armor.
Dasur will go right before the orcs?