20 Things to See During an Orc Raid

On the frontier, life is tough. As well as the unending battle to grow enough food, the threat of raiding—either by orcs, bandits or a rival kingdom—is a constant worry.


Use the table below, to add minor points of interest to a raid on a frontier settlement. Of course, many of the entries below can be used for raiders of any ilk; simply change any mention of orcs to suit the raiders’ identity.

  1. A small, snivelling child huddles behind a barrel, trying to hide from the rampaging orcs.
  2. Fire suddenly takes hold of a nearby building and smoke from its burning thatch fills the air. Indistinct screaming comes from within…
  3. Shouts, screams and the sound of battle fill the air. One particularly loud, piercing scream ends suddenly.
  4. A mother dashes across the street dragging one child behind her. In her other hand, she carries an old spear.
  5. The sprawled and bloody corpse of a militia member lies in the street. He has been hacked to death and lies in a pool of his own blood.
  6. A jumbled collection of scattered household goods—clothes, a cooking pot and so on—lies scattered on the ground outside a home.
  7. An orc raider—covered in blood and gore—sits slumped against a wall. An arrow protrudes from his throat and the orc’s face is frozen in a grimace of hate and pain.
  8. Smoke blows across the street, obscuring the PCs’ view of events. Humanoid shapes move within the smoke—and they seem to be running directly toward the party!
  9. A broken barrel lies on its side amid a puddle of wine. A crude, bloody handaxe is embedded in the barrel.
  10. A villager—an axe embedded in his back—crawls down the street. In great pain, he spots the party and loudly begs for aid.
  11. Two orc raiders drag a woman from a smouldering house. Their backs are to the PCs and they do not appear to have noticed the adventurers.
  12. A javelin flashes passed the lead PC’s face and embeds itself in a nearby wall.
  13. With a crash, a blazing outbuilding collapses in on itself, throwing up a cloud of sparks and smoke.
  14. Two children—one clutching a baby to its chest—dash from a side street and run straight at the party. Their soot-stained faces are streaked with tears. Behind the pair lumber two drunk orcs—intent on easy pickings. At sight of the PCs, they turn away.
  15. The frenzied squealing of a horse in tremendous pain breaks through the clamour of battle.
  16. An arrow falls from the sky and lands—quivering—at a PC’s feet. There’s no indication who shot the arrow in question.
  17. A handcart lies on its side in the street—vegetables along with a few hand tools lie scattered on the ground.
  18. A villager—clearly very dead—stands transfixed against a wall by a large spear driven through his chest.
  19. A raider lies dead in the street, his skull caved in. Near his outstretched hand lies a yet burning torch.
  20. The thatch of a nearby building is beginning to smoulder—a raider threw a torch onto its roof moments ago. A villager dashes out of the building clutching a load of possessions to his chest. He dumps them onto the street and then dashes back into the building.

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This article appears in 20 Things #15: War-Ravaged Land. For more free 20 Things lists, check out our Free Resources page.

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4 thoughts on “20 Things to See During an Orc Raid

  1. I love these articles and the published materials they appear in — these little touches have definitely helped me up my game when I’m GMing, whether it’s giving me a hook to build from or an extra detail to flesh out a scenario I had already built.