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OH! WHEN THE ORCS... COME MARCHIN' IN...
Author: Steven Kudolis
Requirements: New Players
Orcs are marching into the PCs home country's outlying regions (nearest the PCs town). They are moving slowly and secretly. They are not attacking everything in sight, but they have attacked several farms, butchering the citizens and livestock found there. The local militia is sent to appraise the situation and put an end to the orc threat. The militia is under the leadership of Sir Laridine a young knight of 20.
This module is designed for a group of players who are unfamiliar with
the Gurps system or are all starting new characters (100 - 120 pt PCs).
The PCs in this scenario have little/no starting wealth and should be of
common birth (status 2 or less). It is not necessary to have the PCs know
each other at the start of the game. This module will get all of your PCs
together so they can later form their adventuring group.
THE PREMISE OF THE ADVENTURE:
Orcs are terrorizing the PCs hometown area. The local militia is called
upon to scout/stop the orc invasion. The PCs will be part of this group
based on their "classification".
1) PC warriors are members of their town's militia (or
are pressed into service).
2) PC thieves are sent to spy on the orc
uprising so they can keep the guild informed of the government's involvement
in the area.
3) PC spell casters are hired as private citizens to help
with the mission.
THE BASIC PLOT:
Orcs are marching into the PCs home country's outlying regions (nearest
the PCs town). They are moving slowly and secretly. They are not attacking
everything in sight, but they have attacked several farms, butchering the
citizens and livestock found there. The local militia is sent to appraise
the situation and put an end to the orc threat. The militia is under the
leadership of Sir Laridine a young knight of 20.
THE ORGANIZATION OF THE MILITIA:
1) The government requires each local village to supply
1 man out of 10 from their militia (Warriors) to the scout/assault team
(all PCs will be chosen).
2) The mages guild will hire out PC spell casters (Mages)
to aid the cause.
3) Healers (Clerics) will also be hired as physicians.
4) The militia is lead by a Sir Laridine, a young landed
knight. He has little combat experience, but is a good strategist. However,
he has poor leadership skills.
5) Members of the militia are supplied with their choice
of...crossbow + hand weapon...or... shield + hand weapon...or...just spear.
There must be some members in the militia with each of these 3 weapon choices.
6) The militia will be paid ¼ of the normal monthly
pay for militia duty, in advance, plus room and board. They will be paid
the rest of their wages at the end of their service.
7) The assault force will number about 20 total. They
are all from simple peasant stock (with the possible exception of PCs).
They are very disorganized and complain about everything. They do not follow
8) The troops are drilled by a sergeant Balto, under the
watchful eye of Sir Laridine. When the training is complete, Balto will
9) The young knight, Sir Laridine, seems to have little
control over his troops. No one disobeys any of his orders, but they grumble
under their breath about them. An old veteran of many campaigns, one of
the members of the squad, seems to be the person everyone looks to for
instructions. (Treat him as a noisy, but persuasive man.) However, he has
no tactics skills.
THE START OF THE ADVENTURE:
The townspeople have recognized their attacker as the young half-orc they
banished years ago. They do not see that it was their mistreatment of him
that brought about this attack, instead they think that they were right
in ostracizing him. They cite his violent disposition as their justification
for all the ills they did him in his youth.
1) Each party member will probably be from a different
town and it will take a few days to organize the entire troop.
2) The troops will train each day under sergeant Balto
until the entire force is assembled. (Use these weapon training sessions
to introduce the combat system to new players.) During these sessions,
it becomes evident that Sir Laridine has little control over his troops.
Instead some old soldier, a veteran of many campaigns, seems to be the
one the troops look to for leadership.
3) The morning after the entire force has been assembled
and trained, they will head out in search of the orcs.
THE ORCS ATTACK:
1) Sir Laridine decides that a scout will not be used.
He fears that a single man would be too vulnerable a target if he were
to encounter orcs.
2) Early in the day, the troops will receive word from
a local farmer that some orcs were spotted a few miles away. The troops
will head in the indicated direction.
3) The squad comes upon a vast plain, sparsely dotted
with trees. At the far edge of the field is a dense forest. Moving closer
to it, the troop sees orcs camping at the border of the forest.
4) The knight organizes the troops into three rows. All
crossbowmen (5-10) are in the front ranks followed by the spearmen (5-10).
The rest of his forces are arranged behind and wide of the spearmen. The
squad advances forward at a march.
5) The noon-day sun beats down upon the field warming
it. The knight informs his troops that orcs don't like bright sunlight.
6) When the squad gets within 50 yards of the forest,
the orcs suddenly rush out. They advance with voices and weapons raised.
There are only about a dozen orcs in the charge, but no other orcs are
seen in the area.
7) Sir Laridine gives orders to the crossbowmen to aim,
but hold their fire until he gives the word. He also tells the spearmen
to advance until they are in line with the archers. The rest of the troop
are left in rear guard as before.
8) When the orcs reach 15-20 feet of the crossbowmen,
they are given the command to fire, then told to retreat behind the spearmen.
The spearmen form a wall protecting the crossbowmen while the swordsmen
(the rest of the troops) guard the flanks. The strategy is effective. Most
of the orcs that started the charge are injured and many are down. None
of them will manage to break past the squadron's lines.
9) The orc charge has been stopped and many of their number
felled, the remaining orcs retreat as quickly as they attacked (you need
to have about 4-8 orcs survive to retreat). Many of them throwing down
their weapons as they retreat. It appears to be a rout.
1) The knight yells orders for the crossbowmen to reload
and for everyone to stand their ground and prepare for another charge,
but the old veteran runs forward charging after the retreating orcs yelling,
"Com' on men. We got 'ose smelly beasts on 'na run. Let's wipe 'em out."
2) The troops, caught up in the intoxication of utter
victory, follow the old veteran. They ignore any orders Sir Laridine shouts
as they charge forward massacring any orcs along the way who cannot outrun
them. PCs will have to decide if they will follow after their comrades
or stay behind with the knight.
3) The orcs run into the woods and are quickly lost to
sight by those who stayed with the knight. Only the shouts of the squadron
in pursuit of the fleeing orcs mark their progress.
4) After only a few moments, your comrades shouts of victory
turn into screams of fear and pain. Every character who entered the woods
has been led into an ambush. Each person will be attacked by 3 orcs, and
even more orcs may be encountered before a PC can escape.
5) Sir Laridine, mounted on his horse, stands his ground
with any PCs who stayed behind with him. He will have his few remaining
troops regroup on him, missile weapons at the ready. He is hoping that
some of his troops will come out of the woods alive and make it back to
6) Within a minute of the ambush, the woods grow deathly
silent. No cries can be heard by friend or foe anymore. Then without warning,
a squad of orcs (20) breaks the cover of the woods. They stand at the edge
of the forest and draw back bowstrings. The knight identifying the danger
orders a retreat.
TO THE AID OF SIR LARIDINE:
1) A volley of arrows rain down. (PCs who retreated will
not be struck.) Some of the arrows strike Sir Laridine's horse, downing
it. A loud whump sound can be heard close behind the fleeing PCs.
2) Only those PCs who turn around will see that the knight's
leg is pinned under his horse. The horse has an arrow sticking out of its
neck near its head. Another arrow is buried deep in the shoulder/chest
area of the knight. The horse is not moving and the knight is struggling
to free himself from the horse, but cannot seem to be able to do so.
3) The orcs begin to charge forward. If 2 or more PCs
rush to the aid of the knight, then he can be freed before the orcs reach
him. The knight can run if aided to his feet. NOTE: If the PCs do not aid
the knight, he will be captured by the orcs and you will have to write
a new ending to this adventure.
4) The orcs will only pursue the knight's group until
they reach the fallen horse. Here they will stop and begin to tear into
the horse's flesh with their teeth. If the knight and his saviors are within
bow range, they will be fired upon.
5) The knight is badly hurt. Running only aggravated his
wound. He needs to be taken to a physician right away.
6) The PCs can fashion a litter to carry the knight to
the nearest town (a small village called Thanic).
7) Sir Laridine will be very grateful to the PCs for saving
his life. He is upset about the loss of his troops, but he feels that although
they died because they failed to follow orders, at least they were able
to partially complete the mission. Laridine has gathered a lot of information
about the enemy.
8) Sir Laridine will be a mild ally to the PCs as long
as they show that they are worthy of his friendship. This will cost the
PCs no points since he will only be an ally if the PCs are near his home
AFTERMATH OF THE AMBUSH:
1) Dead PCs can be replaced in Thanic.
2) PCs and NPCs who were captured are being held in the
woods. They are badly mistreated. Roll a d20 to determine what happens
to them each day they are alive.
1 - 2 = Eaten
3 - 4 = Molested by orcs
5 - 9 = Beaten (possibly to death)
10 - 20 = Beaten and a NPC is eaten/molested/or beaten (possibly) to death
3) PCs that were caught in the ambush but
escaped, will make their way to Thanic (or are free to go in any direction
they wish). If Sir Laridine finds out they are in town, he will press them
back into his service.
4) Any PC or NPC that doesn't stay with the knight will
be considered a deserter and will be brought up on charges if caught.
5) The knight's forces were the only troops in the area
hunting the orcs. No word is heard about the orcs for 3 days. The knight
is using this time convalescing in the town physician's care. He is waiting
until he is well enough to travel back to his commander to make his report.
6) After 3 days, the orcs attack the village of Thanic.
THE ATTACK ON THANIC:
1) Three days after the ambush, the orc leader marches
on the city of Thanic.
2) The orcs number 70 warriors strong. The remainder are
dead, wounded, or guarding prisoners back in the woods.
3) The orcs make no attempt to hide their presence. The
outlying farmers will quickly spot them at dusk marching towards Thanic.
The farmers will flee to the village with exaggerated reports of hordes
of orcs destroying everything in their path, which is mostly true. Farm
houses are being burned and livestock killed, but the farmers had the sense
to get out of the area before the orcs could capture them.
4) Sir Laridine will take command of the village's militia,
which numbers only 45 plus the PCs still in his service.
5) The knight will have his new PC friends at his side
throughout the coming siege.
6) The orcs will have to cross an open field to reach
the town. Since it is dusk, there will be a -1 penalty on missile fire
for lack of adequate light. It will take the orcs 30 rounds to cross the
field. Each round the orcs cover 12 feet (4 hexes). Each orc is highlighted
by the torch they are carrying. The village may launch any type of missile
attack they want in those 30 rounds (note: only about 10 villagers have
missile weapon training).
7) Once the orcs hit the city, they will begin burning
the buildings and attacking everyone in sight. They will attack with killing
blows giving no quarter. They will quickly fall into a bloodletting frenzy
and attack without any organization or strategy. When in this state of
mind, the orcs will fight to their death with no thought to surrender nor
8) Once inside the village, the orcs will split up into
small groups of 3 -10 in number combing the streets setting fires and attacking
people (they have a weapon in the hand that is not carrying a torch).
9) The orcs will lose three warriors for every two militia
men lost. The orcs will attack for 6 minutes and then retreat. Figure the
loss of troops on both sides every 30 seconds. This does not take into
account for troops lost crossing the open field nor losses taken from PC
attacks, but instead when groups of orcs encounter groups of militia.
Note: Somewhere out in this mess is the orc leader surrounded
by his most loyal troops. If the PCs defeat him and display proof of his
death (his head on a spear, etc.) other orcs the PCs encounter will attack
at a -2 from fear of the PCs power.
WRAPPING IT ALL UP:
Now that the threat to the village is
over, Thanic will have to rebuild (most of it was burned to the ground). Sir
Laridine will be blamed by the townspeople for the destruction of their homes,
but will be hailed as a hero by his military peers. Sir Laridine will allow
the PCs who were loyal to him to retain their military equipment (leather
tunic and weapons), and will proclaim them freemen (if they are not already).
He will also invite them up to his home to celebrate their victory and drink
to fallen comrades.
HISTORY OF SNAGGLETOOTH: LEADER OF THE ORCS
The orcs are under the leadership of Snaggletooth. A large half-orc of
high ST and good weapon skills. He has been leader of this orc tribe for
nearly 3 years now, even though he was not born into the clan.
Snaggletooth is the offspring produced from the rape, by an orc, of
a young woman who lived in a village near the kingdom's borders called
Thanic years ago. Life was difficult for young Snag. The other children
despised him and teased him relentlessly. His mother was often the butt
of cruel gossip and treated worse than the village tart. At a young age
Snaggletooth could bear no more and ran away from home to live or die in
He was found half starved by an orc hunting party. They took him back
to their tribe where his strength of arms gained him some measure of fame
in the clan. He was quickly elevated to a position of authority only a
few steps removed from being the ultimate ruler of the orc clan.
Even the passing of several years did not dull the memories of his mistreatment
at Thanic, and secretly, he vowed revenge upon the village of his birth.
He began to form a plan to exact his vengeance. It would require the use
of many of his clans warriors, warriors who would not answer to him in
his present position of power. He realized he must become the orc leader
to fulfill his plan of destruction.
Through treachery, deceit, and assassination Snaggletooth become the
orc leader within a year after forming his master plan. He reorganized
his warriors into the finest fighting unit he could possibly build (given
the mentality and attitude of orcs). Then selecting nearly 100 of the elite
warriors from his troops, he marched upon Thanic.
Snaggletooth is moving slowly and cautiously so that his troops will
not cause widespread destruction, thereby bringing a large military force
against his army. He believes that the military will not organize quickly
enough to stop him before he reaches his hometown. After the encounter
with the PCs militia group, Snaggletooth will wait 3 days to see if any
more troops will be sent against him. Seeing none, he prepares his troops
and marches on Thanic.
Journal entry 105:
My troops have been assembled and we march tomorrow. There have
been no reports of orc activity in the area. We will attempt to locate
them and determine their strength.
Journal entry 106:
Encounter with the orcs went badly. Heavy casualties. Most of squad
Journal entry 107:
Wounds suffered in battle are healing nicely. Should be fully recovered
in a few days. Notes on orcs follows.
*** Very well disciplined. Indicates strong leadership. Must
not underestimate their strategies.
*** Orcs possess man-made weapons. Skilled in the use of missile
weapons. The quality of their weaponry make them dangerous to mounted troops.
*** Orc leader possesses good tactic and strategy skills.
Must be on guard for ambush attempts. We need to maintain discipline in
our units so as to not be lured into a trap.
*** Orcs are moving slowly and carefully. Taking great pains
to not be seen. They must have some goal in mind. So far their objective
*** Orcs are not causing enough problems to warrant sending
an army to eliminate them, which implies they don't desire armed conflict
at this time. They may be on a scouting mission to size up our border defenses.
*** Judging by the amount of livestock stolen by the orcs,
I estimate their number to be between 30 and 50.