Tuesday 16 January 2024

Solo Play Session 4: Orcs!


Proving Grounds Level 3


Sadly I've fallen behind with documenting my solo adventures with the Evil Elf Gang. After success in Session 3; the two new Assassins, Neldor & Zeno, were training along with the Fighter Magic User Fingar. Meanwhile, Voldar the Fighter reached level 2 not long after Beldroth, Morthil & Ilphar also reached this milestone, and they decided that the four of them were sufficient for another delve.


This session took place on 01/10/2023, and the Characters adventured for 5 days.

Characters Present

Beldroth (Level 2 Elf Magic User)
Ilphar  (Level 2 Elf Assassin)
Morthil  (Level 2 Elf Assassin)
Voldar (Level 2 Elf Fighter)


Beldroth worked her charms on the captured Celadyde (Fighter/Cleric/Magic User Level 1), trying to get him to join their cause. He eventually agreed to exorbitant terms (and will remain an NPC).

Session Report

The party arrived at the Proving Grounds of the Chaz Overlord dungeon without incident.

As they methodically explored and mapped level 3 they found the place to be fairly empty, the biggest threat being a pit trap that caught Morphil for 1 hit point. Finally a one-way door led into a room with 10 Piercers (A). Given the way this party is travelling silently in the dark and using infravision, I figure they would have a good chance to spot the piercers in a normal dungeon room; however, my rule of thumb in solo play is that they have to encounter a situation at least once before they can develop counter measures, so, in this case, they went forward until a piercer dropped towards Ilphar. It missed and now they could look up and find the others (which I had randomly allocated to each of the 4 squares in the 20' by 20' chamber).

Beldroth dropped Sleep on the ones between them and the nearest exit so they could move out and take up a position to wipe the slow creatures out. They expended quite a few arrows, but the party prevailed before the slowly moving monsters could reach them. 

A thorough search revealed a trunk hidden behind an illusion, with thousands of sp and cp inside. Too heavy for this crowd to bother collecting. A poisoned arrow trap in room (B) hit Voldar for 3 hit points, but he shrugged off the poison on it, and finally they found 3000 more copper pieces at room (C). So this level, with the exception what might be over the river (and there could be little beyond that feature given the configuration) seemed to be a bust after mapping just a quarter of the page.

Proving Grounds Level 1

They returned to level 1 and in room (A) run into group of 8 Orcs; disaster, the Orcs surprised the elves for 1 segment. It could have been worse; since Voldar and Morphil have high dexterity, they were not surprised (they were in front for precisely this reason). Since it was orcs vs elves I didn't roll for the monsters' reaction, they were in for a killing spree.

Now I had some thinking to do (this was probably the most interesting thing to happen this delve). Since two non-surprised characters held the entrance and were standing between the surprised characters and the orcs, I ruled that only missile weapon attacks to the surprised characters at the rear could happen during the surprise segment. Using the Monster Manual entry percentages I worked out that three orcs had crossbows; which now could fire 3 times each in the segment. So they could fire nine shots at Ilphar and Beldroth, really bad news for the magic user in particular. 

However, again, since the non surprised guys were in the way, I wanted to treat them as partial concealment, I could also treat them as cover; but then that would imply that misses would count as hits against them, which makes no sense since they cannot be targeted in the surprise segment. 

On the other hand, it also makes no sense that the non-surprised PCs can effectively block the surprised ones without the possibility of getting hit themselves. So, in the end I decided that the Orcs could only choose to aim at Ilphar and Beldroth, but who they actually targeted would be decided randomly as per DMG p.63. 

On the other hand, the two unsurprised elves could have just jumped clear and left the other two at the Orcs' mercy, but I didn't think of that at the time.

Ilphar had 50% cover so a +4 bonus to AC and Beldroth, behind him, had 90% cover, so a +10 bonus to AC. Note that these benefits do not help mitigate against the weapon vs ac modifier of light crossbows (+3 vs the two PC's AC types of 10 and 8 respectively). Beldroth was then hit once for 2 hit points and Ilphar hit twice for 5 hit points. Voldar and Morthil also caught a hit each for 3 & 4 hp respectively.

Maybe this could be interpreted as the Voldar and Morthil using their dexterity to try and deflect the orcs crossbow bolts?

The surprise segment over, Beldroth went for broke and began casting Sleep, the others were going to lead with Fingar and the assassins using bows. The party then won a crucial TPK preventing initiative, and the sleep spell effected all 8 Orcs, whew! The party killed and looted the Orcs then called it quits, making it back to Elf Town safely. They rested for 5 days and then returned for delve 5 on October 7th.

Treasure and XP

Monetary Treasure
60 EP

10 Piercers
8 Orcs


Monsters Total:  670XP
Treasure Total:  30XP

XP & GP Assignment 

Fingar (Level 2/2 Elf Fighter Magic User) 190 XP &  8GP
Neldor (Level 3 Elf Assassin) 190 XP & 8 GP
Voldar (Level 2 Elf Fighter)   127 XP & 6 GP
Zeno (Level 3 Elf Assassin)  190 XP & 8 GP


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