We're getting a bit more sneaky and perhaps to the outside observer a bit tepid and fight-shy cowardly about encounters but this last weekend it all paid off with undeniable proof of WHY our sneaky ways have been correct. Cowardly? NO! We just don't like flushing fatepoints and blood (ours!) down the drain for no good reason.
We now have a rough outline of the entire underground complex, and I think I can roughly patch some directions to it. From the "village" complex we left last time we found a secret tunnel leading to a watchtower overlook on the SOUTH side of the mountain ridge, and from there a secret tunnel leading to what we've labeled the "Hall of the Mountain King" (aka "Throne Room"). Fancy words, but definately a throne room and definately designed from the get-go for formal audiences, not just retrofitted by Orc junk heaps. From the throne room, a relatively short path to Orc barracks-rooms with sub-100 Orcs each (half-dozen or more rooms, so LOTS of Orcs), and from there a direct shot to a 90-degree ramp and a main entrance/exit (complete with closed gate, guard rooms, and a dozen-plus guards. This exit is to the SOUTH side of the ridge, so I'm tentatively labelling this entire side of the underground complex as SOUTH.
Backtracking from the SOUTH we go through the village and up a mile-long hall to the "Roundabout", this being a circular central hub in the middle of a several-mile-long main thoroughfare hallway, and heading off in the opposite direction out of the Roundabout we find another village (this one thrashed) which I tentatively label NORTH. In the North Village we uncovered a building collapse, recovered a bunch of useful weapons, and reburied a bunch of Dwarf skeletons. Nice work; minimal haul. The North Village edges a little closer to the "chasm" end of the main thoroughfare, now tentatively labelled West End.
The West End, as you may recall, is the chasm end. Which makes it the end where all this underground busines started. The extreme of the West End is where we find the steam vent entrance, the food room, the original underground city complex, barracks rooms, the prison, the classic chasm-full-of-giant-spiders, and Reuben's Love Shack. All that jazz. My theory is that the north-facing front door that we found oh-so-long ago connects out of the West End complex.
Thus it isn't entirely accurate of me to be relating this in terms of cardinal directions. Or maybe it is, but the mountain range isn't purely east-west. The West End entrances are on the north side of the range. From the Roundabout to South Village to the South Lookout we actually seem to go SouthEast and edge closer to the East End of the complex.
The East End is where we found the barricade, and after leaving the Throne Room we fought through a room which appears to connect up to the backside of the Barricade, thus looping South Village all the way around through East End. We'll need to open a set of doors and confirm that this is indeed the link we theorize it to be, and we'll have a pretty solid map.
1. Center the map on the roundabout with the wide long hallway east-west and the narrow hallway north-south.
2. West End is the complex around the Chasm, including the underground city on the water side of the chasm. My theory is that the north-facing gate we discovered from the "outside" is West Gate, exiting into a north-facing canyon.
3. South Village (SouthEast) is the "more intact" one of the two, connecting to South Lookout and to the Throne Room. Throne Room appears to link to East End and the main gate is tentatively labelled East Gate.
4. East End is the barricade end, which we believe connects to the "guard room" and from there to the hallway full of barracks and then to the outside (East Gate). This gate opens to a south-facing canyon.
5. North Village (NorthWest) is the "more thrashed" of the two and is where we picked up vital (albiet "low grade") weaponry.
I'm guesstimating 500 Orcs in the East End barracks, and there was definately barracks space for about half that at the West End barracks. Trolls have only been encountered at the West End and then only on the water side of the chasm. Something to think about. The vast majority of the square footage of this underground complex is toured only by us and dust.
We're going to have to kick it up a notch, folks. We've advanced 4 levels in the last 12 sessions (hit 5th after the 10th session) and at this rate (2500/session) it'll take another 6-7 sessions before we advance another level. We're looking at an XP goldmine with all of these Orcs (500+/-) if we can only figure out a way to cash in (500 kills @ guesstimate 100XP/ea would be 50,000XP and a couple levels). Anyone have any creative ideas? WMD?
I think we need to find a way to lure out, isolate, and eliminate the Shaman Boss. That would be good.
I also think that we almost have the entire East, South, and North sections fully explored but back in the West section is the main city complex that we've totally ignored (except for a brief scouting foray while trying to stage a prison break-out).
The spider webs probably have some nifty treasure.
The spiders might be herded up magically and used against the Orcs.
The webs led to one tunnel. There might be more.
Where are the big spiders? Do they have loot? Are they good for XP?
Main complex: we found a kitchen and a bathhouse; where is the Royal Armory? Where is the Treasury?
Apartment complex: we left this almost totally un-looted.
Here's a thought, and its a crazy one, but we know of TWO ways across the chasm: the prison bridges, and a stone bridge up-chasm from them. Is there a third? Regardless, we're in a good position to permenantly cut the prison connection and clean out the complex on the steam-vent side of the house. This includes the entire main city complex, the underground tunnels, the mining, etc. There could be 100-200 Orcs in all of this if my count of the barracks rooms is any good. But that sets us up with a good base of operations. Somewhere in this region should be a main gate leading to a north-facing valley/canyon BUT BUT BUT we don't know which side of the chasm this gate is on. My guess: its on the steam-vent side of the house. So this might be a bigger mouthful than we can chew all at once.