At the end of June our D&D campaign, Shin High Terror, drew to a close. Our diminutive anti-heroes found a dimension door in a tent, guarded by evil jesters. Steeltoe the dwarf punched an old peasant woman until her jaw broke, and revealed that his stream of daft decisions were actually part of a scheme to die in combat and meet his god, Tyr. Druantia, wood elf druid and most recent addition to the party, shot the peasant in the head. She turned out to be a bystander. Moleslayer suffered terrible visions of a coming apocalypse so slipped off to try to take on the big bad evil guys, and somehow survived ten rounds before backup arrived. Despite all of this, in the end we foiled the Cult of Sargonas’ plot and saved a corner of the world, freeing DM John to roll up a character and join the party.
Enter DM Mike, with his tale of haunted castles, family secrets and witches covens. Terrible things will happen to us…
I’ll miss Moleslayer, but I’d made some really bad decisions during character generation and was keen to try something new. Most of the rest of the party were of the same mind, so we agreed to roll new third level characters, except Ali, who would keep his basic build but swap sex again. He’d been struggling to play a female elf. I decided to try a spot of tanking, and picked a half-orc barbarian pirate: Tcheh’Rul the Sea-Bear, an 18 year old berserker, ready for battle.
There aren’t many female orc minis, although most of what’s out there does fit the barbarian class (The Russian Alternative sell a pack of three). There are far fewer pirates; I’m not keen on Reaper’s, and Black Scorpion’s are all male. But then I remembered Warmonger Miniature’s Monstrous Monarchy range – Bloody Magda the Malodorous Queen has an eye-patch, axe, and puffy jacket – it even comes with a little bonus character, Mistress Murther, and a couple of free gifts (an orcling and a bit of basic detail). It’s a huge mini, too. About 50% taller than most of the old Citadel Miniatures I’ve been painting, and far heavier. They sell loads of ex-Citadel minis and other Oldhammer-friendly stuff, go and support them.
I’m very happy with the paint-job. I modified JewelKnightJess’s orc-skin formula from a comment on r/Warhammer. That’s a 30mm round base, which I’ve given a beach theme. I used real bits of shell, washed with a couple of Citadel Shades for the detail.
Alas, Tcheh’Rul did not cover herself in glory. DM Mike quickly set up a high-stakes environment, giving us consequences for daft decisions and even reducing John’s maximum hit points by three in the first session. John found no small measure of redemption in our second session, killing three guards in a row by kicking them in the balls. But no-one was prepared for what happened to poor Tcheh’Rul. Picture the scene:
A ragtag gang of adventurers tumble through a door in a dungeon, elves and men and orcs all fighting together to face a deeper evil. the room turns icy, and in the midst of their number a ghost appears. It’s horrifying visage inspires terror among the party. The necromancer, monk and druid all pass a wisdom check and join combat, and the ranger manages on her second attempt. But Tcheh’Rul is not wise, nor intelligent. Truth be told she isn’t even very strong – I rolled terribly. She fails her first check and runs to the furthest corner of the room. Next round, she fails again. I roll a two on the D20, and another on the D4, causing Tcheh’Rul to age 20 years on the spot.
My turn comes around again. DM Mike is willing me to pass my wisdom check. I roll a natural one, and have to roll two D4 to see how much Tcheh’Rul will age. Four. Another four. I max out the damage after an evening of low rolls. Tcheh’Rul ages a further 80 years, putting her at the ripe old age of 118. Half orcs typically live to about 75 years in D&D, so she’s ridiculously old for her species. There’s probably a few things we could have done – swapped her strenght for wisdom and played on in a different class? Make up some narrative that half orcs die in their 70s because they never stop fighting, but could live longer? We were so totally blindsided that after a few attempts to heal her, we all agreed that she’d slip quietly into the long goodnight during the next long rest.
I’m seeing the bright side. My new character, a tiefling sorcerer by the name of Sanctus Amicus the completely human, is going to be fun to play (and I rolled much better stats). Tcheh’Rul’s death has really upped the stakes for the party. And John summed it up very well:
There couldn’t be a more fitting end for Tcheh’Rul. She lived fast and died young. While also being very old.
Tcheh’Rul is interred at Undead Live. Pay her grave a visit, and click the arise button to help me build an undead nemesis for a later campaign!