[DM recap of the end of Episode 6] The dragon, sensing it has been bested, musters all its strength to perform the remarkable feat of flying away to safety considering its handicap. However the attempt is feeble and it crashes back to the ground a dozen yards away. The swarm of heroes bear down on him and snuff his remaining life. Looking around the battlefield filled with orcs and the dragon corpse, an eerie silence gives way to cheers of triumph indicating the fight is won. The Black Eagle mercs spark a glimmer of excitement in their eyes as they realize the possibility of a dragon horde nearby, with their arrangement giving them a healthy cut. A search of the area and huts fails to reveal any cache of such treasure, either being hidden far away or non-existent for the young wyrm. However one abode displays a piecemeal collection of magical weapons, likely obtained by the various caravan raids the tribe executed. Seven weapons of moderate power exhibited with pride are seized and the discussion on how to divvy them up immediately ensues. An agreement on the mercs splitting the value of one of three offered is reached and the debt is absolved. The remaining nine warriors administer last rites to the departed, and return to town. [end DM recap covered in Episode 6]
The next morning the streets are abuzz with the tale of how the Black Eagle Mercs and some local help overran the Tor’dūk Orcs and slayed a mighty dragon. The party meets with Lord Bartan and General Grattz who bestow accolades upon the group for their efforts. Gratzz quickly prepares the horses for departure and the heroes take their leave to meet with Orgor One-Tusk, leader of the Iron Blood Orcs.
Far from the Golden Road in a valley predominated by a fortified settlement, the group arrives and meets with the renowned Orgor. [Picture attached] His appearance and speech give body to his wisdom due to age and experience. After further discussion of the area and current situations with the Zhentarium, Shadowmasters, politics, and various other threats gleaned no new information, the touchy subject of rehiring orcs arose. Orgor admits their people were paid to remain behind in contemplation of future service, but the departure of ideals and arrangements of protection with the citizens of Phsant have long eliminated the possibility of reemployment, and the Zhents are wise enough not to even consider such. However the Iron Bloods are far from the only orc remnants of the war. Specifically he knows well of three factions which could pose a serious threat if approached and a powerful ally:
The Silvertooth Orcs are a large community of mining orcs located in the mountains and town of Blackhill. They are employed by industrious capitalists of their own kind and others. The mountains are rich with ore needed by the surrounding cities and valued highly by some traveling merchants. These orcs are hard-working, strong, and have large numbers. They are also considered civilized (as much as humans can consider them so). Upon payment they often venture into Phsant to blow off steam in taverns and meet the numerous half-orc females who have established there to seek strong and civilized companions. The citizens of Phsant welcome it to a degree but know exactly how far to push and let themselves be pushed to prevent a tense situation. However recently the number of orcs returning to town regularly has diminished, and there are reports of some going crazy and attacking other orcs and humans, stressing the relationship. Some have reported hearing voices in the mines and many are refusing to work (at least until forced to or financially unable). The cause and scope of this disturbance is unknown without journeying to the mine-town. Regardless they are a large number of financially motivated physically powerful outsiders that could be a target for persuasion.
The G’dok Clan are traditional orcs living in the Forest of Lethyr. Secluded and self-sufficient, they honor their ancestors and the forest quietly within their own society. Highly intelligent for orcs let alone all races, they have developed their own language not based on any version of orcish or other tongue that we’ve heard of. Besides this they’ve further isolated themselves by moving deeper into the forest, until their virtual disappearance according to our scouts. However there are traces of the G’dok still around, and odd events surround them. Abandoned settlements have unusual definitively non-orcish architecture and aspects integrated into their traditional community. Above all else recently a pile of over a dozen bodies were found all wearing unusual garments and notably disfigured. The air of mystery combined with the possibility of outside forces at work could mean this clan has either already teamed with a known mutilating faction (the Zhents) or that they have discovered a place or object of power which could aid the same faction.
The Agaogamon Tribe is a small primitive clan of orcs that have devolved since the war. They formed from the most violent, power-hungry orcs willing to raid any town or passing caravan for both profit and pleasure. Fortunately they are a self-defeating society. Located in the treacherous hills to the east, an Agaogamon member is as likely to be eaten by a predator as killed in a raid or slain by a clanmate for power or rank. However they are known to have dealings with nearly all the major factions in the region, from the Zhents to the Reds to the Hill Giants and many others. They often contract for power or simply for the thrill of slaughter, rarely for gold. We’ve kept a consistent eye of them wary of their intentions. Recently they’ve been seen with outlandish tattoos carved in blood into their bodies, and what appears to be self mutilation. However our few encounters with the participating orcs we found ourselves outmatched, with their power greatly enhanced. Who provided, what was discovered, or how they acquired whatever augmentation that occurred the Agaogamon Tribe has suddenly become a volatile threat in the region, and with their known previous ties to Zhentarium may dictate an investigation.
After further discussion of the location, history, and circumstances behind the target orc clans, Orgor makes a proposal. You should investigate whichever of these tribes sound the most likely/dangerous/intriguing if they were involved in Zhentarium discussions, and the Iron Bloods will send large scouting parties to the other two. Reconvene here if you so choose to hear their results when you conclude your journey.
[Our party chose to investigate the G’dok Clan, living in the Forest of Lethyr. That will be covered in Episode 7.]