The Dungeon Crawl Classics game wound down to a close during this week's session. I really do enjoy running the game, and its a lot of fun, but I had previously promised to run a Star Wars Edge of the Empire game around this time, and, well, long story short, something had to give or change form.
Our adventurers had just survived the exploration of an elven outpost from the previous age of the world, when elves had taken over from the dragons, and before humankind was particularly important. Chad, paladin of Gozer, had pretty much converted the entire party to Gozer worship, and a minion of Gozer arrived to warn the party that their talents of wanton killing and destruction were needed . . . the elves had decided to rally their mercenaries and slave armies to attack Calas Port, greatest of the human free cities.
Gozer wanted the PCs to rally the orcs in the Northeast to take out the elven army before it arrived in Calas Port, not because Gozer cared if the human survived, but because rallying the sleeping giant of the orc clans against a huge elven force would cause untold destruction and bloodshed. The PCs were all in.
Before the group could use the handy portal in the elven fortress to head to the orc lands, Osborn loaded up on hallucinogenic plants and dragon meat from the dungeon that the group had just explored. So armed, the group headed to the orc lands.
It didn't take long before the group ran into an orc patrol, consisting of orc warriors riding wolves. Since none of the party spoke orc, I was prepared for this encounter to either turn deadly, or resort to epic pantomime, but instead, Groot realized that he spoke wolf, and as such, Groot used the orc's mounts as translators to explain why the party had ventured into the orc held lands.
There were some translation issues. Things turned out mostly fine.
The orcs, seeing Krazag-Hrodoz in the hands of Chad the paladin, decided that there was a prophecy that might be in the offing, which would mean speaking with the tribe's shaman. On the way to said shaman, the group found out that the gathering of orcs had grown huge due to the orc chieftain Rulrek bringing forth one of the largest hordes in the current age. Rulrek was still not sure what target to strike out towards, and his horde was growing restless.
Krazag-Hrodoz's return to the orcs was to herald the beginning of the Age of Orcs. The shaman, however, determined that just because the humans had brought the sword didn't mean they had anything to do with the destiny of the orcs, and recommended killing them and taking the sword. At least he did until Osborn handed him a brownie laced with the elven "happy plants." Then he began giving a lot of advice that was long on cosmic and short on logic.
Rulrek told the group that they would be considered part of the tribe if they could survive the Pits of Morglash, the traditional coming of age ceremony for young orcs. The group agreed, and they entered the pits. Groot carried the wyvern's stinger on his arm as a weapon, coated in in pitch, and lit it on fire, to act as a torch and a weapon. I waited for him to roll a 1. He didn't. Sadness ensued.
The party survived parasites, a swarm of scorpions, rapid chute into a really hard wall, a the bones of the orcs that had failed the test, the Pit of Courage, which could kill them or make them stronger, and the Spiky Climbing Challenge.
Before the group entered the pits, the shaman, still a bit "enlightened," handed each of them an egg to carry with them through the test. Zardock and Groot both put their eggs in the Pit of Courage, and upon emerging from the pit, both of their eggs hatched to reveal full grown War Chickens, large enough to be ridden into battle.
Fully members of the tribe, the group decided to have another stab at the carousing rules, this time seeing what "orc flavored" carousing would look like. Osborn and Tom (the halfling intern from last session) ended up with epic hang overs, and Groot joined a secret society of wolves that wanted to push the orcs towards doing something important before the horde could break up.
Tom also took one of Rulrek's daughters as a wife.
Groot convinced Rulrek that the best, most obvious way to show the power of the horde was to hit the elven army, as it was only a few days away if they left immediately. The group set out, suffered no major setbacks, and engaged the elf army and it's general.
The party zeroed in on the general. His wyvern mount took out Zardock, and the general dropped Tom. This left Osborn and Groot to destroy the elf general. Before going down, Tom managed to score a critical on the elf general that caused him to go deaf, which is bad when you are a spellcaster. The elf was sticking to swordplay. Osborn attempted to sneak up on him and attack from behind, but failed, and Groot took the elf on directly. Eventually Groot was successful.
Both Zardock and Tom survived the battle, as did the mystically catatonic Chad (his player not being able to make the session). When given the option of sneaking away from the orc horde or helping to direct it, the party gladly steered Rulrek to Calas Port themselves, for the greater glory of Gozer, and to help usher in the age of orcs.
In the mean time, Groot sent for his wife, potted her outside of the elven fortress, and turned the fortress into a training ground for adventurers. Since he was training adventures to eschew the ways of man and become more tree like, he called this his school for Ex-Men.
Thus did the Age of Man end, and the Age of Orcs begin.