Deirik, Eirik, Ygvard, and Boldulf all have a meeting with Lord Krogan, for whom they’ve been working for a short time. He informs them of their first “big” assignment. They are to go to the town of Halderton, to the East, where there are rumors of an active resistance underway. This town is in the territory of another legate, Lord Voldash, who shares a border with Krogan. The latest word is that Voldash is headed to Highwall, the Shadow Capital, to requisition more troops to stomp this rebellion and best estimates put him returning in approximately 2 months. Krogan wants the Men of Mjarn to ensure the rebellion wins and Voldash is embarrassed.
In addition, between Alucard and Halderton is the Forest of Randencs. Supposedly, there is a large troop of hobgoblins that has taken up residence there and Krogan would like to enlist them to his cause. Krogan informs the men that if they have time to facilitate that recruitment, he would grateful.
The men share a brief look of confirmation before agreeing to take on the task. They waste no time in gathering what they’ll need for the journey and venture into the Forest of Randencs, which is the most direct and fastest route. A few days into the forest, the men encounter a dire wolverine on the verge of starvation. It savagely attacks them, damaging Deirik to the point of unconsciousness. Ygvard jumps in to use his magic and heal Deirik while Eirik and Boldulf finish off the beast. Afterwards, the men make camp while Eirik skins the wolverine with the intent of making a cloak of its fur. Ygvard happens to notice a falcon swooping lazily overhead, as if it’s waiting for the remnants of the wolverine the men will leave behind.
The men continue deeper into the forest, and after a few more days they hear something crashing through the forest to the north. They all ready their weapons just in time to see a large grizzly in a frenzy headed straight for them. As the men all brace for combat, some of them notice the grizzly is already injured and has arrows sticking out of its side. As the bear turns and starts running off to the west, the men realize it’s not running towards them, but away from something else. Mere moments later, a large group of hobgoblins comes racing down the path the grizzly made. They all notice the men, but most of them continue on chasing the grizzly. Five, though, stay behind.
Eirik, not the most charismatic type, uses his limited knowledge of the Orcish language to speak with the hobgoblins. The messages get lost in translation though, and Eirik ends up challenging the largest of the hobgoblins, who eagerly accepts the opportunity to establish his dominance over these Dorns as well as his hobgoblin comrades. The fight begins and the hobgoblin lands a solid hit on Eirik. Not to be outdone, Eirik counters, deeply cutting his foe. The hobgoblin, now weaker, has a hard time following up with his initial strike, and is struck down by Eirik in short order. The remaining hobgoblins are impressed, and leave the men to their camp as they follow the bear’s path.
The next night, just as dawn is about to break, a large contingent of hobgoblins approach the men’s camp and in no uncertain terms indicate that they are to pack up and follow back to the hobgoblin base camp. The men all do as they’re told. When they reach the hobgoblin camp, they realize there are approximately 150 hobgoblins here and know they’re not fighting their way out of this one.
The men are taken to the center of camp where a large tent is placed in a small clearing. Out from that tent, walks a large ogre, who gives a big stretch, grabs his greatclub, and comes towards the men. In Orcish, the ogre asks which of the men killed one of his hobgoblins, and Eirik steps forward without hesitation. A brief conversation ensues where the ogre and Eirik do their best to communicate through a non-fluent language, ending up with Eirik insulting the ogre and the ogre issuing a challenge to Eirik.
The large size of the ogre and his weapon deal incredible damage to Eirik. Within three rounds, Eirik has taken two hits that have greatly injured him. However, as much as he’s taken, Eirik is also dishing it out. As the fight goes on, it reaches a point where both Eirik and the ogre are a single hit away from death. Luckily, Eirik lands that blow and the ogre falls to the ground dead!
The entire hobgoblin force erupts in chatter as they discuss something, likely “what to do with these humans now”, in their own language. After the discussions die down, four hobgoblins step forward, seeming to be the sergeants of this army. They approach Eirik and one of them, speaking in orcish for Eirik to (mostly) understand, conveys that these 150 hobgoblins are now his to command. Player Commentary: This was one of my favorite sessions, as a roleplayer. See, in Midnight, you have different levels of knowing a langauge--ranging from "barely" to "decent" to "fluent." In none of the discussion did my character speak fluently. On top of that, Eirik has, at best, an average Charisma (he has a 10, with a +0 modifier). So, I kept honestly TRYING to talk my way out of dangerous situations with an uncharismatic character who barely spoke the language. And someone who, despite his recent setbacks, had a way over-inflated sense of his own competence. A side effect of his Heroic Path, which lets him heal pretty fast from any wound. So, each time we talked, I would say things like "look, fellas, I really don't want to fight you. My boss gave me orders, and I'm not supposed to...um, what's the word? Murder? It's 'murder,' right? Ok, I'm not supposed to murder anyone, so let's just leave things as they are, you go your way, we go ours, and none of you have to die. Sound good" Yeah, not the best way to talk to a bunch of Hobgoblins. So, despite wondering in the woods and facing random encounters, this session really forced to learn how to TALK like my character, which was something I really hadn't confronted before. Plus, you know, I got to do a solo duel against an Ogre. That's just fun.