DM Note: This is a writeup of a sample single-room combat I created for Lizzie and Maddie, for the latter to learn the base mechanic and the former to remind herself how it works after four years away from the table!

Somewhere in Tarlanor, Early March, 1626

Tactical Map

Caitlin peered intently at the heavy wooden door, wondering if it was locked, while the irascible elvish sorcerer Yoshin poked and pondered at the far end of the passage, suspicious that it wasn't really a dead end.

The unlikely pair - a dashing, impulsive and beautiful young human warrior from New Tellare and an ancient elf, cynical and jaded, at large in the world after all these years - had found themselves working for the same caravan-master, one Dagaren of Sulis, and had taken advantage of a rest-day to follow up rumours of buried treasure in some ancient Sinvalese ruins nearby. So far they'd found musty corridors and abandoned stonework, but this was the first sign of something more promising.

Dungeon Door

Yoshin looked around sharply as a heavy bang echoed down the corridor. Caitlin, growing impatient with the door, had rammed it with her shoulder, trying without success to smash it open. She backed up a little further and ran at it again, this time breaking it off its' hinges and sending it slamming back against the inner wall.

Glancing in, the pair were a little taken aback to discover four orc warriors, alerted to their presence by the first failed shoulder charge, hefting weapons and moving towards the door, some working their way around a dark and ominous hole in the centre of the floor. To the right, a flight of stairs ran up the wall back towards the wall the door was in, topped by a flat landing with a chest-high parapet. Behind that lurked more orcish figures, difficult to make out in the light of Caitlin's lantern - though they looked to have bows. "Back!" yelled Yoshin, indicating the door, "make them come to us one at a time!"

Caitlin had swung her short bow off her back as the elf was speaking, and sent an arrow across the room to sink into the arm of the nearest orc. It roared at her but showed no sign of slowing down. Yoshin lifted his thin arms and incanted a spell, sending a wave of magical Sleep across all four of the sword-orcs. He grinned as their heads nodded and their shoulders slumped, but the grin slipped as all four shook off the spell and pressed on towards the door. Caitlin glanced back at him with expressively raised eyebrows, dropped her bow, and drew her rapier. Above, the archer orcs could be heard yelling. Neither Caitlin nor Yoshin spoke orcish, but it was probable they were objecting to not being able to get a clear shot at the companions.


The lead orc reached the door, his heavy shoulders filling the portal, and launched a swing at Caitlin with his scimitar. Deftly, she deflected it with her rapier and lunged back, her slender blade skating off the orc's heavy scale armour. As it did, a dart of magical energy sizzled over her shoulder and blasted a blackened wound in the orc's chest; a Magic Missile from her spellweaving friend. At that moment, a heavy black-fletched orc arrow grazed his arm - two of the archers had moved down the stairs to the point they could angle a shot over their fellows at the door and at the elf. Hastily, he moved sideways to where they couldn't hit him, casting a belated Mage Armour on himself as he did so. He was a bit slow and two more arrows nicked him before he reached safety. Meanwhile, Caitlin was having trouble with her orc, and had picked up several minor wounds without putting a mark on him.

DM Note: Maddie's first critical hit, and she rolls a 1. Never mind, still a great moment.

Secure from the missile fire, Yoshin reached to touch his comrade, adding a Mage Armour to Caitlin's already very impressive defences. The orc she was fighting blinked in surprise as its' strike bounced off Caitlin in a shower of magical sparks. The Tellaran took advantage of this to skewer it neatly through the chest. The brutal humanoid coughed up blood, wavered, and collapsed. As it did so, its' neighbor stepped forwards into a stop-thrust from Caitlin that it only barely managed to catch with its' shield. A second Magic Missile blasted past to strike yet another orc. followed by a Ray of Frost directed at the orc Caitlin was fighting. Distracted by this, it botched a parry and she sank her rapier deep into its' flesh. It staggered, but continued to fight.


Another black arrow tore through the battle, and Yoshin glanced around in surprise. The two archers who'd descended the stairs had moved out into the room - across the pit from the fight. They'd been waiting for a clear shot, but one had become impatient with this and loosed anyway. His companion could be heard yelling at him as he reached for another arrow, not sounding impressed. Ignoring this, the twitchy archer loosed again, his arrow bouncing this time off the helmet of a fighting orc, and this drove the second archer into a fury. Dragging his scimitar from its' scabbard, he lashed out at his comrade, carving him practically in half at the waist. Spitting on the body, he began to run towards the fight at the door. His path took him around the edge of the pit, and he cut it just a little too fine. His foot slipped, and he crashed down half over the edge. A futile grab at the coping and he was gone, a despairing scream spiraling up out of the darkness in his wake.

Low on spells, Yoshin hefted his quarterstaff and, picking his moment, lashed out at the orc Caitlin was fighting. The stout wood shaft connected with a satisfying clonk and the orc reeled, clutching his head. Angered by this, the orc retaliated, his scimitar slashing across Caitlin's chest, opening a horrific and mortal wound. Dropping her blade, the young Tellaran staggered and fell, her lifeblood spreading over the stones.

3d Tac Map

Yoshin glanced at the prone fighter, then up at the triumphant orc in front of him. I just know I'm going to regret this, he thought, as he grabbed a healing potion from his belt, flicked the cork out, turned his back on the orc, and rammed the neck of the bottle between Caitlin's dying lips. The human coughed, spluttered and opened her eyes just as the sorcerer felt a blade rip into his back. He dropped nervelessly to the stone as Caitlin grabbed one of her own potions, fed it in turn to her friend and rolled away again as the orc's blade hammered into the paving. Recovering in turn, Yoshin aimed his last Ray of Frost at the orc that had nearly killed them both, freezing his head and killing him instantly.

Caitlin bounded to her feet to engage the next orc, already advancing into the doorway, before it could reach her to attack her on the floor, while the sorcerer rose at a safe distance, to swig down his second healing potion before picking up his staff and casually braining the orc Caitlin was fighting. The last warrior advanced, looking discouraged but determined, and Caitlin made short work of him. The pair paused to catch their breath, the sound of the last two archers arguing incomprehensibly still audible from inside the room.

After quickly going through the dead orcs' pouches for the few coins they could get, the pair returned to their bows and prepared to tackle the two archer orcs. Yoshin cast his last spell of the day - Dancing Lights - to illuminate them, and both sprinted into the room to begin the archery duel. Caitlin's first three arrows bounced off the parapet the orcs were sheltering behind, while Yoshin managed to wound one with his long elvish bow. Finally, Caitlin put an arrow into the eye of her opponent, and the last survivor's nerve broke. Spinning, he began clawing at the door to try and pull it open, but Caitlin sank a final arrow into his back, and the battle was over.

Session Date: 9th February 2013