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The Manticore Keep Campaign

Orcs and Bugbears

Douglas Jackson

Cast of characters:
Dwayne - Played by Douglas Jackson
Qonth - Played by Martin Shaver
Funbar - Played by Andrew Walsh
Rodamace - Played by Martin Melhouse

A reading from the Books of Stone as dictated by Dwayne the Dwarf.

In those days we were in the employ of no one but ourselves. I started the day as I had many others, bemoaning the loss of my special legging wax but getting dressed despite the pain. I met the other in the common room for a quick breaking of our fast and we started talking about our homelands.

Afterwards a couple of us went on an exploratory walk around the keep, digging into piles of rubbish and doing some clearing out of brush. While we were at it Funbar came across a strange broken tablet. We dragged it back inside for examination. It seemed to be a fragment of a calendar, enough of it was left for us to make an educated guess that it was for this region.

Here is what was inscribed on it:




According to the tablet, the current date was Broom, Growlmuck, Market Day of the year 5783. Good enough for us.

We spent the whole day deciphering the calendar and figuring out the date. While the exercise was educational I fear that what we did not accomplish that day would come back to haunt us.

I slept through the beginning of it, but I was later told that Funbar awoke to relieve himself in the middle of the night and was the first to sight the besieging campfires. It was the hour of fishhead but Funbar quietly sounded the alarm and woke everyone up. After a quick strategy session we elected to send Qonth out to investigate and get some inkling of who these besiegers were. Qonth returned with an Orkish banner, upon which was emblazoned a skull with a spike through it, a fearsome token indeed.

In the absence of any other decisive action I grabbed the keep's megaphone and hailed the Orkish raiders. After a couple of attempts I heard a faint garbled reply followed by a bout of yelling and cursing from the darkness. Finally a strong voice bellowed forth demanding to parley with the Baron Garstel. By a quirk of Fate that would never happen, we had killed and then killed again the zombie that had been the good Baron. There wasn't enough left for any type of conversation.

Funbar jumped into the fray, he grabbed the megaphone from me and answered "The Baron is Dead, we are in charge!" The Orks had crafted a deal with the late Baron, they would guard the borders of the Keep for the price of ten Bugbears per year. Of course we had no Bugbears and the prospects of us getting any were extremely low. However Funbar kept the negotiation open and even managed to talk them down to seven Bugbears. We now had three days to procure the price, if we did not we dared not think what the besieging cohort of Orks would do.

It was time to make a housecall on our good friend Tara Nightshade. Now Tara had been in the Goblin Town for quite a while, it appeared that she had gone native. When we caught up with here she was negotiating for control of another bar. Tara had even taken a Goblin name in our absence, Glorak the grog queen.

We were in the right place, we still had two days to get enough Goblins for The Machine to process into Bugbears, but we didn't have a plan for capturing the Goblins.

Tara spoke up, by some Amazing Coincidence, the annual Goblin Drinking Week started tonight. We conceived the bug-juice gauntlet, a test of a Goblin's stamina and worth, and we were able to charge them for the pleasure of running it! In the first day alone we had captured enough drunk Goblins to easily meet our quota.

I spent the second day madly processing hung over angry Goblins to create seven Bugbears. The creation of the last Bugbear was a little strange, as it emerged from the machine there was something black stuck to it's back. I prodded it with a stick and off jumped a huge spider right at me. If I hadn't believed in the magic of the Tokens before I did then, it veered off at the last minute and scampered off into the darkness.

That night the Orks approached the front gate and demanded their tithe. I watched from the parapet as Funbar led the confused Bugbears out to the Orks and sealed the deal for another year.

In the end everything turned out well, I had learned some more things about The Machine, we had even turned a profit from our little bug juice endevor. It was with a quavering heart that I called everyone together in the common room that evening though, I had dark news to tell them.

Someone or something had been using The Machine in our absence.