"Um...Gritte says hi," Roman said, "and then he's blinking the hell back through that wall."

"The orcs don't quite get over their surprise before you slip through," Emerald said.

"'They know we're here,'" Roman said in his in-character voice.

"That's not good," Mercury said in his out-of-character voice. "I don't suppose we can stop them somehow? Maybe Roman could take us through the wall one by one, and we'd fight them?"

Emerald flipped through the Player's Handbook, looking for the description of the spell blink. "...It doesn't specifically say. I'll say that if another PC is light enough that he or she doesn't put you over your maximum carrying capacity, shoot."

"Lagon has a Strength of eighteen," Adam said, "and can hence carry three hundred pounds."

"Me too!" Neo said.

Adam looked at the character sheets. "If Gritte gives one of the fighters the ring, said fighter can take Gritte and then Artemis through the wall before going through himself."

"I'll say it takes a round to get someone through the wall," Emerald said. "Care to start?"

"Yes," Neo said.

"Neither of us can take the other through," Adam said. "At this point, Neo is a more effective combatant than Lagon. It makes sense to have her go through."

"Neo's carrying Gritte through the wall?" Emerald said.

"Yes," Roman said.

"Yup!" Neo said. She rolled a twenty-sided die.

"...You didn't need to roll for anything," Emerald said. "Gritte is dropped off just north of the wall. You see orcs turning towards you; you're guessing they were leaving the room when you came back. Roll initiative."

"Eighteen," Roman said.

"Six!" Neo said.

"Nineteen and thirteen. Orc Number One decides to hurry over here," Emerald sid as she moved a miniature towards the players' miniatures, "and throw a javelin at...Roman. Mm, that's a miss."

"I'm going to shoot the one that hasn't moved yet," Roman said. "He's still flat-footed, presumably, and that means a sneak attack."

"It does," Emerald said. "Roll?"

"Nineteen," Roman said.

"That hits. Damage?"

"Ten, with the sneak-attack," Roman said.

"The orc goes down limply. Neo?"

"Merc!" Neo said, moving Mercury's miniature.

"Roll initiative, Merc."


"It's a new turn, and the orc goes first. The orc is moving here, to attack the pesky archer. And a six misses. It's the pesky archer's turn."

"Pesky archer will withdraw," Roman said. "That means I just move, but the first space doesn't provoke attacks, right?"

"Essentially. Mercury?"

"Shortspear of doom. Does a sixteen hit?"

"It does. Roll damage."

"Three. Minimum damage."

"The orc takes a spear through the gut but stays standing up. Neo?"

"Sword! Nineteen! Twelve!"

"Neo takes another orc's head. That's another encounter killed, another seventy-five XP each. Care to search the room, you three?"

"Can't we bring Lagon through first?" Roman asked.

"Lagon is too large to be carried by anyone," Adam said.

"Could we knock down the wall?" Mercury asked.

"That would be noisy," Adam said. "Take anything of note and come back. Bring the bodies, too, we don't want anyone knowing we're here if we can avoid it."

Emerald rolled a die behind her screen. "Oof. An orc comes in, saying something in Orcish—"

"I speak Orcish," Roman said.

"He's saying, 'Dench, it's your turn to guard—' Then he's cut off by seeing you guys...well, looting the place and moving bodies."

"I shoot him," Roman said. "Surprise round, right? He sounds surprised."

"You aren't expecting him, either," Emerald said. "Roll initiative."

Roman cursed. "Four."

Neo cheered. "Fif-teen!"

Mercury coughed. "Five."

Emerald cringed. "The orc has twenty, and seeing that you've apparently killed two orcs before, shouts for help."

"How far do the shouts travel?" Mercury asked.

"How would you know?" Adam retorted. "Actually...can Lagon hear the orc?"

"Listen check," Emerald said.



"Lagon will hurry down the corridor here," Adam said.

"Let's have you move at the end of the initiative order," Emerald said. "It's simpler. Neo?"


"There's too much stuff in the room," Emerald said.

"...Walk. Here." Neo moved her miniature next to the orc.

"My turn?" Mercury said. "I'll order Black Wind to move and attack. Wolves are faster than half-orcs. Em, don't you think I'm right?"

"It says so in the book," Emerald said. "And...the wolf hits. Three damage plus no trip. Roman?"

"I'm going to take that melee penalty and shoot the orc," Roman said. "I rolled a nineteen, which means I might crit, right?"

"Right. Roll to confirm."

"Natural one."

"You still hit, roll damage."


"The orc goes down, fifty XP for the three of you. But your trials aren't over…"

"Lagon continues moving," Adam said. "He should go past this branch we didn't go down."

"Go past as in go around," Emerald asked, "or through?"


"I see. Might as well roll initiative for you."


"Excellent. You and Neo roll off."



Emerald rolled a die. "So the current turn order is Adam, Neo, Kragg the Mighty, Artemis and Black Wind, Roman."

"Wait," Mercury said. "Kragg the Mighty. The ogre?"


"The CR 3 ogre."


"When we have one party member dead and one on the wrong side of a wall."


Mercury swore like a sailor who just stubbed his toe on the corpse of his wife.

"Calm down." Emerald drew a section of corridor further from the room. "Kragg's carrying a weird mechanical thing, with a handle, a round jagged blade jutting out from one side, and a trailing chain. It's covered in jutting gears and dangling tubes."

"It's important, then?" Mercury said.

"A bit. Luckily, he's still squeezing through the hallway. Adam, what's Lagon doing?"

"Moving, and opening this door."

"On the other side is what looks like a tomb for someone important, covered in unrecognizable religious iconography, covered in symbols recently painted everywhere. The room has been converted into a dining room."

"Lagon will continue moving." Adam moved his miniature a few squares into the room.

"You can now see two goblins, working in what looks like a shrine-turned-kitchen. They notice you. Neo?"

"Moveer, 'tack!"


"Move-here-uh-tack. Fif-teen."

"Your sword sticks in the thick hides the ogre wears. And now it's Kragg's turn."

"We get to see just what that thing does," Mercury said.

"Kragg grabs ahold of the chain and gives it a mighty pull. It gives off a rumble. Neo can just hear fluid swishing through the device, but it's drowned out by a grinding noise. The blade starts spinning."

"It's a chainsaw," Mercury said.

"Chainsaws are terrible weapons," Adam said. "I know one brother in the White Fang, Lieutenant Delany, who uses a chainsaw. Clumsy, poor reach, the blades get gummed up whenever you hit something without Aura, and it doesn't handle being dropped well. Tried to teach him to use a sword, but he's too used to the chainsaw."

"It's not a chainsaw," Emerald said. "It's more like a buzzsaw-axe. And that's just the head, the rest is basically unrecognizable."

"How much damage does the not-chain-saw deal?" Mercury asked.

"You'll see next round," Emerald said. "It's a standard action to get it running. Merc?"

"Sending Black Wind to chase the ogre, and moving here."

"Black Wind attacks the ogre," Emerald said. "And hitting. Four damage, and...twenty versus twenty-four, Kragg is still standing. Roman?"

"I'll be moving here," Roman said. "That lets me see the big boy fine?"

"Yep," Emerald said. "Firing into melee, but no cover. And back to the top, rolling for goblins. Thirteen and fourteen, right after Neo. Adam?"

"Lagon will move right through the kitchen," Adam said, "and through this door."

"The goblins are still flat-footed," Emerald said, "so no attacks of opportunity."


Emerald sketched another section of hallway. "This area looks lived-in. It's probably where Kragg lives."

"Lagon will move here. That is all of my turn."

"Indeed it is. Neo?"

"Sword! Twenty-one!"

"Blackjack!" Mercury said.

Neo looked at Mercury, confused.

"That hits. Damage?"

"Eight," Neo said, disappointed.

"Twelve damage and counting," Emerald said. And Kragg will attack the threatening warrior. Does a thirteen hit?"

Neo smiled and shook her head vigorously.

"Almost forgot, he's squeezing. A nine hits even less. Kragg swings his strange blade and notches the wall over Neo's head. Merc?"

"Moving here," Mercury said. "Can I see Kragg?"

"Yes, but he has cover."

"I'll cast produce flame, and end my turn."

"Black Wind attacks," Emerald said. "Black Wind hits. Black Wind deals six damage and...definitely no trip."

"Eighteen and counting," Adam said.

"Correct," Emerald said. "Roman?"

"Nineteen to shoot," Roman said. "That's seventeen total."

"Hits and roll to confirm."



"Shot through the heart," Roman half-sang, "and you're to blame. You're taking twelve damage, bad name."

"Thirteen," Adam said.

"Tee," Neo said.

"Excuse me?"

"Thirty," Emerald said. "The shot to the heart takes Kragg down. Before he actually hit any of you." Emerald sighed. "Well, well, well. You don't get more XP for bad rolls, you don't get more for good ones. I'll deduct some for the circumstances, though—if he didn't have a penalty to attacks and AC, he'd probably have done something. Let's say every PC gets two hundred XP."

"Lagon will continue hurrying to the others," Adam said.

"What about the goblins?" Roman said.

"What about them?" Adam replied. "Lagon thinks the rest of the party is in danger. He'll ignore some kitchen goblins to deal with that."

"But they'll get away!" Roman said.

"Lagon weighed the risks," Adam said. "He doesn't know you downed Kragg. Besides, what could the goblins do?"

"Warn the rest of the orcs, maybe?" Mercury said.

Emerald smiled.

"That's only a little less scary when you know exactly why you're doomed."