Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Orcs 1 - The Awakening of Arak-Hur - Part I

The Awakening of Arak-Hur is the first chapter in Akkei's two-part Orcs series, followed by Return to Al-Dha.


Thirty years ago, a terrible war took place between the troops of Lord de la Vigerie and the orcs of the Grazath Clan. Defeated, a handful of orcs fled into the depths of the southern mountains and founded the underground village of Arak-Hur.

As a baby, you were adopted by an orc of this clan. You were raised by the
Grazath Clan as if you were an orc. You are now a young adult and it is time for you to serve the clan... - DM Akkei.

For this adventure I'm going to "role-play" a female Half-orc Fighter (2) of Neutral Evil alignment. Neutral, to branch into Barbarian after gaining Weapon Specialization; and Evil, because I've been raised by orcs as an orc, since infancy. That would sort of shape one's world outlook, being butthurt about "humies" since day one. I, just like the orcs, refer to humans as "dogs".

Let's skip ahead to a question I innocently pose to a senior orc, just to set the tone for this module:

What do I do if I meet a dog, do I kill him?

Yes, Charisma is my dumpstat - how'd you guess?

13th Dimension

This first area is reserved for setting the language (the author is French) and asking the Game Master - in the form of a Rakshasa - a little about the module, after which I'm transported to Arak-Hur to begin the actual adventure itself.

Arak-Hur - Urok's Hut

I'm now bumped up to Level 2, taking a second level of Fighter and the Weapon Proficiency (Exotic) feat. The build is unimaginative to say the least, my intention being to take two more levels of Fighter for Weapon Focus and Weapon Specialization (Bastard Sword) before branching into Barbarian for Rage.

Urok is the orc who raised me, my adoptive father. We speak like simpletons only when speaking common - the language of humans, demi-humans and many other "civilized" races. Orcs don't normally speak common, but Urok taught me everything he knows (which isn't much) so that I might be an asset in their vengeful attack against the humans. Thankfully, we speak Orcish in Arak-Hur village (conveniently translated into normal English for the player).

When you were a baby, you were adopted by an orc named Urok. You grew up in Arak-Hur, an underground village populated by orcs, which was carefully hidden from the outside world.

You are now a young adult, duly trained by the orcish community of Arak-Hur. You have been summoned by the Clan Chief, Bosnauk, for your ascension ceremony. Clan Chief Bosnauk may be found in the Ancestors' Room, in Arak-Hur.

I now exit the hut and find myself in the village center.

 The Underground Village of Arak-Hur 

Unsurprisingly, the village is populated by orc-kind, including orc females and orc children (added by haks, I believe).

One orc can't help but give me some kind advice as I pass him by:

Half-orc, do not let yourself be corrupted by the surface dogs. - Orc.

The underground village sprawls out before me..

First things first, I march eastward to the Ancestors' Chamber to answer my summons.

Bosnauk is now waiting for you. - Guard.

The guard opens the gate to the chamber, revealing Clan Chief Bosnauk seated staunchly on his throne, flanked by his halberd-wielding bodyguards.

I approach the throne.

The heavy-set Bosnauk stands up slowly and steps forward - ever the orator - to deliver his speech.

Thirty years ago we were driven out of our ancestral lands by the rotten humans of the surface.

These dogs have also abandoned you while you were just a baby.

The time for revenge for our clan is close.

Today, you have reached the Age of Ascension.

You will therefore have the honor of participating in our clan's revenge, but also to punish those who have abandoned you.

Remember, notwithstanding your appearance it is quite clear for all the Grazaths that your heart is ORC!

From now on, consider yourself as a warrior of the Grazath Clan!!!

I assign you to serve Thauk, our clan's arms-master. Go and find him, he will inform you of your duties. 

Bosnauk retakes his seat, after which I turn and leave the chamber.

The guard closes the gate behind me (ending the fully-scripted segment).

You have finished the ascension ceremony. As a Clan Warrior, you have been assigned under the command of Thauk, the arms-master. Thauk may be found in the Warriors' Room.

I am now a warrior of the Grazath Clan, but as yet I have no weapon or armor. Time to see how far I can stretch 50 GP!

From the warehouse storekeeper I purchase a Bastard Sword, Splint Mail, Large Shield, Stag Helmet, Longbow and four arrow quivers for a grand total of... 10 GP.

I waste no time equipping myself of this gear.

Tharb also gives me my daily meat ration which is part of the module's resting mechanic. No meat? No rest.

Before visiting Thauk, I decide to explore the other locations and speak to everyone for more info and flavor convos. In the tavern Potak is more than happy to remind me of what services are within the village; and Kalnor informs me of the need for orcs to hunt in the mountains, so as not to reveal ourselves or our location to the dogs.

In the Healer's Hut are orcs who had been injured hunting in the mountains.

Healer's Hut
I learn from the Shaman, Guror, that the dog-city of Viger-sur-Rive sits on orc-lands and is profiting from them by means of trade routes and farming.

Shaman's Hut
See the storekeeper if you need weapons. I am too busy. - Blacksmith.

The forge and mine, with jail in background

I awaken the sleeping jailer to quiz him on the wolves and elven prisoner.

The jail

I now head west to the Warriors' Chamber to speak with the arms-master, Thauk.

You have been ordered by Thauk, the orcish arms-master, to infiltrate the humans living outside Arak-Hur.

Thauk asks that you report to him from time to time of any relevant information discovered from your contact with the humans.

At this stage Thauk refuses to grant authorization to take a wolf with me on my mission.

Several orcs are training on combat dummies.

Standing behind Thauk is Mokal, the clan's scribe and cartographer.

Mokal has given you a map that can be updated as you explore on your journey. This map will allow you to travel more efficiently and rapidly. This map may only be used while you are in Arak-Hur or outdoors. It cannot be used inside of a building.

By using this map, you will be able to travel directly to a sector that you have already explored, but only once the map has been updated by Mokal.

Two things I welcome so far: the resting restriction and fast-travel mechanics. I guess we'll see how they play out in practice.

Having made my final preparations, I head north to the Arak-Hur exit to hit the tunnel that leads to the surface. I squish a rat on the way (+3 EXP), my first kill as a warrior of Clan Grazath. Classic!

Arak-Hur - Tunnel

At the end of the tunnel sits Karpuk who shows me the trick to moving an otherwise immoveable boulder. He also asks me not to kill the bears in the cave above, as they've been trained to recognize the clan's scent as friendly and act as a defensive measure against would-be infiltrators and invaders.

Arak-Hur - Cave toward the surface

Now in the cave, I stroll past three non-hostile, growling bears - one a grizzly - en route to the cave exit.

The exit leads outside to the Southern Mountains - Western Sector.

I emerge from the cave under cover of darkness, sniffing the air for dogs. My mission is to infiltrate and gain intelligence on the humans in the region surrounding Arak-Hur, the ancestral lands of the orcs. Any relevant info must be passed on to Thauk.

Thauk's words repeat in my mind:

If a dog speaks to me, I pretend to be a foreigner. If I bump into a dog, I may kill him - provided no one is looking. This is hilarious.

I unsheathe my bastard sword and start trudging down the slope..

The adventure opens up now, being of a more explorative and non-linear questing and role-playing nature. I'm free to explore the many sectors as I like, and pretty much do as I wish. The maps are sparsely populated, which I guess is realistic. I don't find packs of goblins dotted around just waiting to be cut down. Instead, I'm looking for people to glean information from, and society to infiltrate. So I'm starting in forests and farmlands on my way northeast to the city of dogs: Viger-sur-Rive.

Next Up - Orcs - The Awakening of Arak-Hur - Part II

1 comment:

  1. Hey Lilura, I found your "suspended" walkthrough of this module and wonder whether you have plans to continue? I am now in Orcs 2 (the next module) and think you could like it, as it really is worthwile. I have just posted a short review of the module on Neverwinter Vault:éveil-darak-hur#comment-18204


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