The Grande Army

DM: Geokhan
Players: Tohil, Naal, Uzza, Chemist, Ja

This is a small recollection of events that have transpired some time ago.

We heard many a tale of the recently resurfacing Gnoll Issue, harassing adventurers and laying waste to the surrounding environment.
The more troubling of signs of this was interaction between the Kobolds to the south of WMC and their Dragon overlord, one Grimmys, or some such self-proclaimed god. A small selection of higher ranking adventurers decided to see if we could strike out to put an end to at least some of their antics.
A strategic strike to their headquarter, we thought, would prove an effective measure to shut down their chain of command.
So we set out to try and locate this place, we had some vague ideas from reports we read and our fellow adventurers.

On our way there, we passed by the Jubjubs, they seemed to be building heavy fortifications and they were rather on edge, quite glad that our group decided to set out and deal with the Gnoll menace. We also heard more reports of the types of tricks the gnolls were employing, Subterfuge, Sabotage, Surprises of all kinds, Ambushes, Assassinations, Attacks on important people and locations.
Truly they seemed to be getting more wise and tricky every encounter they had. Learning from the adventurers in our towns.

As we set out further down the hills, towards their territory, we carefully approached, knowing of their penchant for ambushes.
We didn’t have to wait long, as we encountered a patrol not very far in. We had a little talk with them, which seemed fruitless as they were just attempting to lie and buy time, perhaps for reinforcements? regardless, once we had caught on their lie they went on the attack, which we easily dealt with.
We found a set of instructions on one of them, talking about a method of observation and a strategy of attempting to convince our adventurers they were the ones who were at fault, and the gnolls innocent.

We investigated the bag one dropped, which set of some kind of smoke signal, probably to signal some nearby force?
Not fans of sitting still and waiting for the inevitable, we moved on further into their territory.

We set up camp in a relatively secure location, a bit away from where we encountered that group of gnolls.
During the night we were woken multiple times by the sound of drums, which the gnolls seem to use to communicate over long distances, which isn’t unique, but I hadn’t encountered it before on Katashaka, this kind of messaging I’ve seen before back on the mainland for some larger organized armies I worked for as a mercenary.
Still, this definitely meant we shouldn’t underestimate how organized the Gnoll army was, not in the slightest.

The following morning, as we traveled further, it seemed the gnolls had anticipated our arrival, who had gathered a large force, and set up hasty fortifications, and presumably also dug pitfalls and other traps on the fields.
Not being entirely stupid, we decided to move the field further west, as fighting on enemy terain where they had time to set up is just plain fucking dumb (pun intended). The small army of gnolls and some kobolds followed us as we pushed westwards.
While we marched hard west, they set a steady pace to keep parallel to us. More and more other troops gathered to their already large force. Seeing their numbers rise, we decided to do something probably pretty fucking stupid, and just… charge their group.

There must’ve been about 300 of them, large packs of Gnolls, split into different platoons, Gnoll archers, gnoll heavy infantry. Kobold archers and Kobold light infantry. They formed into smaller squads to take us on. Fortunately one of our own had some magical pixy dust or some such that turned us all invisible, which seemed a good way to throw their ranks into confusion.
Unfortunately for us, they had some Dwarf worshipers of Talos, some evil entity, that had ways of seeing us while we were invisible. Which wasn’t…great once they started slinging spells our way. I was intent on remaining invisible, while our more… area of effect oriented members used their magical abilities to thin the horde.
My specialty is fighting big strong bastards, not a lot of small annoying bastards, so I attempted to flank their dwarf commanders, in a ploy to disrupt their battlefield cohesion.

It had been quite a long while since I last was on a batttlefield of this scale, though I must admit the last few times I had significantly more allies on my side. The fighting was hard pressed, our clerical wunderkind, one lightning-fanatic by the name of Jax, tore into their ranks with some magical ghost armies. Our good friend Chemist unleashed various spells their way, fireballs streaking though the air.
They apparently had a few squads of Kobold casters I hadn’t seen before, who replied in kind. I watched as several fireballs flew out at about the same time, streaking towards their target, some of my allies and Chemist’s skeletal armies.
The resulting conflagration turned a fair number of them into nothing more than piles of ashes and soot.

As we turned more and more of their platoons into no more than piles of meat for the carrion birds sure to be hovering nearby, plus dispatching several of their dwarven leaders, the drums beat a retreat.
We had no intention of letting many, or any, escape our grasp, we pushed forward only to be met with a sudden earthquake, presumably of magical origin. We managed to get out of the area before large fissures opened up and swallowed some of Chemist’s remaining ghouls. unfortunately this …distraction, had allowed some of the gnolls to escape.
Still, we had significantly thinned their numbers, and this was something they would have to spend some time recovering from.

We quickly scanned the battlefiend for any loot of value, you know, the usual for adventurers. They were carrying around a decent amount of magical items plus a number of golden coins. Especially those dwarven bastards.
This loss was probably also a strong blow to their pride as well, which too might need some time to recover. or so I hope.

Unfortunately we didn’t have the resources to push on for another assault, as we had burned through a decent amount of our magic, food, potions, water, and other such vital resources. We retreated back to Jubjub territory. Found a dwarf who was ambushed by the Gnolls on our way back and returned him to his kin. They were pleased.
We also informed them of all we encountered and saw. they seemed distraught but pleased we made a dent in their fighting forces, hoping the respite that would ensue would give them enough time to finish fortifications.

All in all, it was a decently successful campaign against the Gnolls.

Should anyone be reading back on the Gnolls, I hope this provides some useful information.