The siege of Ostenhofen pt3

A Savage Worlds Warhammer Fantasy Battles mashup.

Brief Summary: In the previous part, the Ostenhofeners managed to repel the orc assault on the inner city walls. The supplies are dwindling, with only one week of supplies at full rations, it’s a matter of time before things get even worse for the defenders.

Right now I realize that I could have been using additionaly, my Background Surprise Events Oracle, but I totally forgot about it. On the other hand, it’s best to playtest one system at a time, so, little harm done.

Also, I realized that it would really spice things up if I used the animosity rules for when the orcs don’t move at all in the battlefield. I missed it at the two rolls in the beginning, but if it happens again, I will roll on the animosity table. Orcs don’t like to sit around doing nothing.
So if I roll for the orcs to attack a hex that is already conquered, then I will roll directly on the animosity table. On a roll of 1, the orcs fight among themselves. A battle will erupt with 500 orc points on each side for 1d3+3 turns. On a roll of 2-5, the orcs squabble and bicker among themselves, losing the round. On a roll of 6 they wanna show they’re the best, and perform an attack to the adjacent highest numbered hex. This is aligned with the Warhammer Fantasy Battles orc animosity rules.

Another thing that I realized I was missing, was some sort of clock to give the defender a chance to win this out. I doubt the Empire would leave the orcs alone for so long. So, from now on, I will be asking the oracle if there is a relief army coming to save Ostenhofen. On a typical oracle question, the answer will be interpreted as follows.
6: Yes, and, they’ve just arrived at full strength. The battle ensues.
5: Yes, the next week, they will be at Ostenhofen
4: Yes, but it will take them around 2 weeks
3: No, but, word has reached the ears of the Emperor. Next oracle question will be likely.
2: No, there are no troops available to commit to Ostenhofen.
1: No, and the orc patrols have slaughtered anyone nearing Ostenhofen. Noone at the capital knows about the attack.

Q: Is there a relief army coming to save Ostenhofen?
A: False Presupposition. A relief army was coming to Ostenhofen, but the Orcs ambushed them on the way. A battle ensued.
Q: Did the Empire win the battle?
A: False Presupposition. Noone won the battle. The casualties were heavy on either side, and a terrible storm erupted, turning the battlefield to a moat. Both sides withdrew, having lost (1d3+3)X500 = 2000 points worth of their armies.

Remaining Empire Points: 2381
Remaining Relief Empire Points: 3000
Remaining Orc Points: 8986 – 2000 = 6986

Q: Will the Prince issue rationing? (Likely)
A: Yes
Q: Will the troops be given ration advantage over the population?
A: No
Q: Ration Half, Third or Quarter?
A: Half. There will be now two weeks worth of rations, with a morale penalty of -1.
Q: Are the party’s deeds known to the prince? (Likely)
A: Yes
Q: Does the prince have a mission for the party?
A: No, and, he doesn’t believe outsiders should have such a say in things.
Intervention!: 3: Entity negative. Who: (1. Prince 2-5. Party in alphabetical order 6. Orc General): 6! The Orc General.
Something bad has happened to the orc general.
Q: Was he challenged by another contender?
A: False presupposition. There are no contenders. The orcs are united for good under one banner.
Q: Was he wounded in the battle against the relief army?
A: No, and he’s at perfect health.
Q: Did he lose a valued lieutenant?
A: No, and they’re all expendable
A lot of No’s and False presuppositions. I’ll go to a portent instead.
The third attempt gave this: Starrier Hearsay.
The Orc General has a Doom told to him by his shaman. Thy body shall break after thy spirit is crushed. He is truly worried an imperial mage will turn him to dust.
I know this goes against my Solo Metagaming rules, but since I added the Orc General in my list of NPCs for the intervention, I have no choice but to go with it.

Battlefield Roll: 3,3=6->11: Defensive perimeter with wooden stakes.
Event Doubles: 2,6=8-> Fire! The supplies are in danger.

Unaware of the Imperial relief that was locked in battle with a third of the orcish force, Rudiger watches from the tall defensive towers, as the orcs set up defenses on the outskirts of Ostenhofen, near the pass to the city.
“Why are they not attacking? why do they rearrange their battle front?” Evie asks Rudiger.

Rudiger: Knowledge-Battle (d4-2): 4: Success!

“Sometimes they squabble among themselves, but this seems too specific to be a random plan by an orc boss. I believe they expect an attack from the outside. Maybe we’ll have help soon.” Rudiger deciphers the orcish strategy.
“If that’s the case, then we must warn Prince Ingmar. I don’t care if he wants to listen to us or not. A coordinated attack from Ostenhofen and from outside could easily route the orc troops. We must tell him!” Evie says with vigor.

Bianka: Notice (d6): 8: Success with a Raise!

“This will have to wait. The warehouse is on fire. Look!” Bianka interrupts them, and shows to them the starting flames and black smoke rising from the inner city. “Ring the bells! We’re on fire” She shouts to the soldiers, who start sounding three rings, then one, to the distinct fire warning.

Since Bianka had a success with a raise, I decide that she noticed the fire just as it started, giving the firefighting a bonus to put it out.

I will be using the Quick Encounters rules.
First Scene:
The whole party: Agility to get there in time.
Bianka: Agility (d8): 7: Success.
Evie: Agility (d6): 9: Success with a raise.
Rudiger: Agility (d6): 4: Success.
Gustav: Agility (d4): 7: Success.
Second Scene (the entire party has arrived, Evie gets a +1 bonus):
Evie: Persuasion (d10): To persuade bystanders to help: 9+5=14: Success with two raises!
Bystanders reaction table: 9 Neutral -> Helpful.
Bianka: Run back and forth with water buckets: Agility (d8): 4: Success.
Gustav assist Rudiger in firefighting: Vigor (d6): 4: Success.
Rudiger: Firefighting the flames: Vigor (d8+1): 8: Success with raise.

Number of Successes for Second Scene: 6

Without wasting a moment, the four companions rush to the fire. The people around the fire are startled. Was it the orcs? was it the forge? how did it start? how to stop it.
The flames start licking the warehouse. The precious food supplies that the defenders of Ostenhofen gave their lives to save are now in peril.
Bianka runs back and forth with water buckets throwing them to the point of the fire, while Rudiger has got a shovel and throws dirt on top of the flames, while Gustav helps him as much as he can.
“Ostenhofeners! these are our food supplies. Stop wasting any time, and create a human chain to the water well. Bring buckets of water fast so that we can stop it!” The civilians quickly understand the danger, and form a line to the well. Water buckets come back and forth so fast, that the fire is quickly put out.

Evie: Investigation (d6): Critical Failure: Benny: 11: Success with a raise.
Q: Was there an accidental reason for the fire?
A: Yes, and the blacksmith’s shop is right next to the warehouse.

After the firefight, Evie, with dark smudges from the smoke all over her face, talks a bit with the people. It’s not long before she finds out what happened. Some sparks from the blacksmith’s furnace flew away to couple of hay stacks outside the warehouse, and the fire erupted quickly. There was no ill intent involved.

Q: Does the Prince arrive to investigate the scene?
A: No

The party goes to the keep to notify the prince of the orc movements observed.

Q: Is everything as expected?
A: No
TWENE: 10: Wild Negative
The party is met with hostile relations from the officers.

Gustav stands in front of a weary halberdier guarding the entrance to the keep. “I would like to announce lady Evie Vogel. She has some important information for Prince Ingmar regarding the orcs strategy.”
A man laughs a few steps behind. “The orcs have no strategy! They just rush burn and kill. This is a time of war, not a time for machinations.” Says the man who laughed out loudly.
A gray haired bearded man wearing imperial army colors. The feathered hat indicates a rank. Probably captain, Evie thinks.
“Then why would they set up fortifications in the northern approach, facing outside? Mr…?” Evie says quickly.
“Helmar Kneson. Bailiff.” He replies. “It’s you isn’t it! Who were involved in that unholy scene? The wardens told me everything. Quite convenient how you appear here as the orc assault rages. You want us to divide our focus and slaughter us like the men in the Hooded Man?” He makes a move forward and the halberdiers lower their weapons, pointing at the party.
Evie is taken aback by the surprise. “Never! We’re all loyal to the emperor. We have fought alongside the guard from the start! You can ask anyone who will attest to this!” Evie answers almost yelling.

Evie Persuasion (d10+4) vs (d8): 6 vs 7: Fail

“I won’t risk it! Arrest them!” Helmar orders the guard.
Rudiger draws his blade, without waiting for Evie. A dark cloud over his gaze.
“Touch us and you die.” He growls.

Rudiger’s impatient corruption characteristic triggers.
Rudiger: Intimidation (d6): 5 vs 2: Success.

With Rudiger towering menacingly,
the blade straight out, fury in his eyes, no one moves.
“Let’s go.” Evie tells her companions calmly, and they withdraw.
They are in a safe distance in an alley before the pause.
“We must leave the city! We cannot stay here any longer! I won’t put my life in line for those unappreciative pigs!” Bianka says.
“As much as it pains me, I must agree with Bianka.” Gustav says.
Evie nods. “How do you propose we do it?”
“The walls and the gates are going to be watched, by both sides.” Rudiger points out.
“The sewers.” Bianka pitches in. “I used them to escape from the granary. I don’t know if they meet up with the inner city, but it doesn’t hurt to try. If we’re lucky they will connect out and all that prevents us from the outside will be a few bars.”
“And if we’re not?” Evie asks.
“Then they will be walled in. In that case we can hide it out until the next orc assault. Then we can try to escape during the fray of the battle.” Bianka replies.
“Sounds like a plan!” Evie says, and the party moves as one to the next sewer grate.

Q: Is there a sewer entrance nearby?
A: Yes
Rudiger: Strength (d8): 5: Success

The company goes down in the sewers, out of sight. They light up a torch and start moving in one direction.

I will be using a simple deck of cards to run the sewer crawling.
Hearts is a fork in the path.
Clubs is an obstacle that needs to be overcome to proceed.
Spades is a dead end.
Diamonds is a regular path.
Faces are encounters.
Aces are the exits to the outer city.
Jokers are treasure.
Aces and dead ends in the first 4 cards are disregarded and drawn again.

The party has torches of a d8 resource die. Each card drawn requires use of a torch.

J♠️ , redraw.
K♣️. Encounter, obstacle.
From my custom encounters table I resolve that it is giant spiders. According to the bestiary there are 1d6+2: 5 giant spiders!
This makes also an excellent obstacle, I don’t even need to ask the Oracle. Spider webbing blocks the way out.

I decide that the order of the party formation is as follows. Bianka as a rat catcher in front, followed by Evie, Rudiger and Gustav who is the weakest in combat, in the rear.

Bianka: Notice (d8): 4: Success

The stench of the inner city sewers is overwhelming, covering their senses. Evie has already regretted her choice to follow Bianka down this hole, but now she can’t turn back.
Bianka is leading the way, her experience of hunting rats down imperial city sewage lines, allowing her to navigate with a moderate amount of sense.
Rudiger’s heavy footprints echo through the long winding tunnels. Suddenly, Bianka comes to a stop. She notices a set of interweaving glimmering lines in front of her and to the floor.
Before Evie has a chance to ask what is going on, Biank illuminates in front, with her torch. The passageway in front of them opens up to a large room. A sickening amount of spider web covers the walls, and the floor. But then, they notice that the floor is made entirely of spider webs. Maybe the true depth of the floor is hidden by the webbing, but they can’t tell for sure unless they find a way to destroy it.
Then they hear it. A barely discernible clicking sound. And five sets of dozens of eyes shine out in the darkness. Huge spider beasts, similar to the ones that the goblins rode in the battle they fought, have sensed the slight tingling of their webs, and are moving towards their prey – the party.

Round 1:
B: 10♦️, E: K♦️, G: A♣️, R: J♦️
Spiders: 5♣️
Bianka attacks S1 with her hatchet: Fighting (d8): 8/6: Hit: 7/5: Shaken.
Evie attacks S1 with her sword: Fighting (d8): 11/6: Hit with Raise: 19/5: Killed.
Rudiger Sweep attack against S2,S3: Fighting (d12): 2: Benny: 4: Benny: 0: Benny: 8/6: Hit: 11/5: Wounded, 16/5: Dead.
Gustav attacks S4: Fighting (d6): 4: Benny: 5: Benny: 4: Benny: 3: Miss
S4 attacks Gustav: Fighting (d8): 7/5: Hit: 4/5: No damage
S5 spits webbing on Rudiger, Gustav and Evie: Shooting (d10): 4: Hit.

Not wasting any time, Bianka rushes forward, and slashes with her hatchet at the feet of one of the spiders, who is taken aback from her attack. Evie gathers her strength and finishes of the creature with a nice assist, thrusting at its exposed belly with her sharp short sword.
Rudiger charges and with a mighty slash with his longsword he cleaves two of the arthropods in half, sending goo flying everywhere.
Gustav grits his teeth. He knows that he can’t be accused of cowardice and joins in the fight, but doesn’t manage to hit the spider, whose long legs don’t allow him to gain an opening.
The spider strikes back at him, without success.
The other spider lets off a swooshing sound and it spits out thick webs from its thorax, covering Gustav, Evie and Rudiger in the strong sticky substance.

Round 2:
B: 7♦️, E: 9♥️, G: Q♣️, R: 8♠️
Spiders: Q♥️

S4 attacks Gustav: Fighting (d8): 6/5: Hit: 7/5: Shaken
S5 attacks Evie: Fighting (d8): 3/6: Miss

Gustav spends a Benny to soak and attempts to break free: 7/7: Success
Evie attempts to break free: 8/7: Success
Rudiger attempts to break free: 9/7: Success
Bianka attacks S5: Fighting (d8): 18: Hit with Raise: 16/5: Dead

The spider bites again Gustav with its mandibles, pinning him down at the webbing, while the other creature misses at its lash at Evie.
Gustav, Evie and Rudiger break off the thick webbing and Bianka hacks at the spider from the flank, right on its exposed belly, splitting it open, and tumbling the beast on its side, legs towards the sky.

Round 3:
B: 8♣️, E: 3♠️, G: 5♥️, R: Q♠️
Spider: 2♦️

Rudiger attacks S4: Fighting (d12): 10/6: Hit with Raise: 15/5: Dead

Rudiger, now free from the web, takes a calculated thrust to the spider, piercing its head through and through, killing it instantly.

The parry now turns its attention to the webbing covering the room. It looks to be a dead end, but maybe the passage is hidden under the strings.
“We should cut through!” Rudiger proposes!
“Why not burn it?” Gustav counters.
“I don’t know if there’s a gap under us. If we burn it we might fall. These sewers run long and deep.” Bianka counters. “Plus we risk of burning ourselves. I say we cut through, even if it takes a tad bit longer.”
“Evie? What do you want us to do?” Rudiger asks.

Session Background: A completely rpg session, there was no wargaming involved. It made no sense for the defenders to try to fight to keep the outer palisades from orc hands, so there was no battle.
A major twist in the plot. I expected that the party would have to flee Ostenhofen by some means, but not because they would be hunted down by their own! I really liked this part, and it fits so much better than being given a mission to deliver a message or to scout the orc camp, which were the initial thoughts I had in the back of my mind. Sometimes the Oracle gives results that really make the story fit in better.
There was dungeon crawling involved, and for the spider combat,
for the first time in a while I didn’t use theater of the mind, but a battle grid and miniatures. I won’t be posting any pictures of those soon, since they ain’t pretty and I mainly used them for spatial mapping reasons. Maybe in the future.
There’s going to be more dungeon crawling, and if the party manages to escape from the sewers then, the adventure will stop. Nevertheless in that case I will still make a final Hexflower gaming engine roll, and if a battle between the empire and the orcs occur, then I’m going to run it, because I really enjoyed that part!
But who knows? Maybe the party won’t manage to escape from the sewers!
I really enjoyed Savage worlds in this play. It’s fast and easy to run. My only gripe is that the native system without any setting rules, doesn’t give that dark gritty feel I expect from warhammer fantasy.
Overall I find the adventures of this party enjoyable. I’m starting to get attached to them even though I managed to roleplaying them only superficially so far. Running a party has its drawbacks against running a single character.