The plan: spend about a week re-equipping the militia and working up the new troops before advancing on the unfortified town of Harbuck and (hopefully) the major garrison at Swartun.
The Resistance spent a week reorganizing the army and recruiting more forces. A group of Tzavarim, minor nature priests, came out of the Virten and offered their aid.
Having recruited a significant levy of (mostly) pikemen and infantry and equipped many of them with orcish gear, the Resistance leaders decided to march on the town of Harbuck. Unfortunately, giving the orcs even that week to prepare turned out to be a mistake and the advancing Resistance army ran into an Orcish cavalry detachment halfway there. Thanks to a recon win from Greex, the Resistance was able to force a pitched battle that was mostly one-sided: Trahaern held the left with his pikemen to try and funnel the attackers into an enveloping attack from Aisling in the center, while Himmel's force launched aggressive attacks at the enemy's left flank (pikemen charging cavalry! A lunatic with a wooden bat knocking orcs in the head left and right!) and after about an hour of pitched battle the orcs managed a retreat, having taken significant casualties. The Resistance force held the field, taking no casualties at all.
Post-battle, local peasants and our scouts informed us that the orcs were holding Harbuck with multiple companies, having brought in the garrison from Swartun. On the bright side, this meant that we wouldn't need to figure out how to trick the Swartun garrison into a sortie. On the down side, the idea of fighting our way across a 15'-wide bridge into the teeth of multiple companies of orcish infantry didn't really appeal. We decided to split our forces into two major elements, with the bulk of the infantry marching off-road towards a ford some ways upstream while a smaller force (composed mostly of pikemen and archers) was supposed to hold the bridge while the infantry force came at Harbuck from the west.
Unfortunately, this plan got fairly neatly countered when the Harbuck force came out to try and take the bridge before our infantry were in place. Trahaern - expecting to be able to hold a narrow bridge against his opposition - moved to counter them, and we ended up with two widely separated battles: Trahaern at the Harbuck Bridge, and Aisling and Himmel several miles to the west, fording the river in the face of a small cavalry detachment.
Greex once again won the recon contest; while there was some confusion over whether it would turn out to be a pitched or encounter battle, the situation was such that the only way the Orcs could gain a defense bonus was by giving ground via mobile defense, and the Resistance battle plan was to exploit this.
Greex the kobold has been worth his weight in gold. I mean, he doesn't weigh a lot? But he's been worth it.
Himmel's significant action streak continued: he didn't fail many over the course of the three battles in the session. His streak of All-Out Attacks as a strategy also continued, and he gave the orcish force a serious bloody nose in exchange for significant losses of his own. Aisling was a bit more conservative: using a strategy of 'raid' and 'indirect attack' she was able to maul the force facing her without losing any men. The cavalry detachment broke and ran, having suffered approximately 75% casualties; the Resistance fighters pursued but weren't able to wipe them out.
Meanwhile, at the bridge, Trahaern's battle had a mixed outcome: he barely held the bridge against a slow and careful orc attack in the first round, and then successfully feigned retreat in the face of their all-out attack in the second. He inflicted 80% casualties on the orcs, but engaged in melee with orcish knights a couple too many times and was knocked out, nearly dead. His second in command took over, but the orcs managed to flee in the confusion.
An hour or so later, the fleeing remnants of the orcish cavalry ran through the side of town, following their retreating brethren toward the village of Donnes in Otern. A few hours after that, Himmel and Aisling came into town with their commands.
The Resistance leaders did some recruiting in Harbuck, and then prepared to face off against the remaining orc forces in Harbuck.
Visions of an alternate futureEdit
The Tzavarim druids had divined what would have happened to the Resistance had they not been there: Trahaern's forces would have been overwhelmed by the destructive magic of the orcish priests. Uncountered by the Tzavarim, the orcish war wizardry would have torn huge holes in Trahaern's formations. His defense would have failed, and against superior Orcish position and numbers, his feigned retreat would have turn into a real retreat, especially after he was knocked unconscious.
Himmel and Aisling would have been forced to hide in the area around Harbuck. They would have recruited in Fiddler's Ridge, and even managed to stage an ambush against overconfident orcs, but again the weight of orcish numbers and orcish sorcery would have told over the Resistance.
Fortunately, the Tzavarim were at hand to avert disaster, and this never came to pass.