Many interesting things to think back on today. This is turning out to be more interesting than I anticipated.
After making a basic assessment of the situation and making the appropriate plans, I went to sleep in a bunk graciously offered to me by the guard captain, with one given to Mot as well. Upon rising, I was happy to see that a map of the area was tendered, which will help with planning and recon later. I was also given information about a hunter’s lodge outside the town walls that would be useful for implementation of the various traps. All the help we can get is excellent, and I have full confidence that professional hunters will build a much better set of traps than I, so that the plan will have the least chance of failure.
Trent was invaluable today! I had the man pegged all wrong; not only did he manage to garner support and volunteers to help with the traps less than a day after formulating the plan, but he also helped with the building of the fortifications himself, as well as personally tending to the wounds of some poor villagers who were injured in an unfortunate, ah, incident in town. I always enjoy working with a man of the cloth, but being with one who isn’t afraid to get the cloth a little dirty is a rare treat indeed.
Trent and I went to the lodge later, and were not disappointed in our search for aid. We were steered to a particularly skilled hunter, one Fain, who has proved himself to be quite valuable and capable as well. More on him later.
On our way back to town, we heard an explosion. Anticipating the worst, I ran back and started looking for Mot. As(unfortunately) expected, Mot was at the center of a fairly moderate disaster of his own making. Somehow, he managed to explode the town’s flour mill. Considering he was carrying around an open flame, I’m not too surprised. I managed to talk down the captain from putting him in irons or expelling him from the village, but I’m still not entirely sure why. He’s proving to be a greater liability than anything else, although my suspicions about his intelligence seem to be at least partly founded. He proposed several ideas around attacking the orcs, not the least of which involved using flour as an explosive means, and actually dropping the town wall(!!) on the invaders! He seems to have no concept of the efforts of people other than him, or how his actions might harm others. No, more than that: he just doesn’t seem to care, which is far worse. I fear I may be working with a madman, and a dangerous one to boot. Any more incidents, and I will wash my hands of him.
The assault came a little earlier than hoped for, but the results were, to be honest, mixed. We successfully killed all invaders that assaulted the walls, with only one casualty on our side, but the victory isn’t what sits poorly with me. I have underestimated the enemy, I think.
The first thing I noticed is that they didn’t use standard orcish tactics of main force entirely; we spotted a few of them actually flanking the front, which is highly unusual for a band like I was anticipating. These orcs know a bit about tactics, which leads me to believe that they are being led by either a veteran war leader, or possibly a fairly influential shaman or caster of some sort. It seems most likely the latter, since I noticed another thing: they weren’t generally impressed with magic. I used an excessive amount in the fight, hoping to gauge a reaction regarding such an expenditure, what with is being so uncommon, especially out here in the sticks. Instead, they were completely unfazed. Finally, after looking at a map of the region, it seems as though these orcs are set up in the middle of the spheres of influence of a few different towns. Orcs generally aren’t in the extortion business; they just destroy everything around them and move on, which I expect these beasts could easily do, if Cajem is to be the standard. What’s keeping them here? Knowing what I do now, I worry that perhaps WE were the ones being scouted as well. I’ll have to change strategies and start treating this like an organized enemy of mercenaries.
I have great respect for both Sharn and Fain after the battle. Sharn threw himself head-first into the fray, using a spear to great advantage. I mistook him for a warrior; after hearing his battle cries, I can safely say he’s a holy warrior, a Paladin, instead. I’ve never worked or trained with one, so this will be interesting to see how his tactics and mine can work together.
Oh! And Fain! The man never misses! He spent the fight constantly peppering the enemy, taking more than a few down, all while sustaining a huge axe blow to the torso. I have a lot of respect for the man as a fighter, and hope I can work with him more.
More to come later, but for now we need to recoup and regroup.