To launch our next campaign we decided to do some smaller group adventures. Our table typically has 6-7 players so it’s a largish table for an ongoing campaign. Here’s the run-down of how things went:
Gax: Human Sorcerer with the Divine Soul Origin. He’s a massive human being standing nearly 7′ tall, think a big loveable Andre the Giant who casts spells and loves animals. (uses Speak with Animals as often as he can find a reason to- took the Magic Initiate feat and went with Druid spells for the feat)
Sidron: 1/2 Hobgoblin. Sidron is the illegitimate son of a beloved character from our last campaign. He lived with his troop further south until the death of his mother when he was forced out of the troop. He’s a spell-slinging wizard.
Torrik: A young dwarf exiled from his clan and home-town. He carries a dark secret with him and whenever he uses a weapon an uncanny dark energy seems to ripple from it.
These three strangers are thrust together as they each pick up some side-work helping an established mercenary group provide security as a noble from down south wants to brave the icy wilds to get a jump on the competition and set up trade deals with the elves of the Northern Reach while the Reach is snowed under. Three days out of NorthWood the group is attacked at night by wolves. They fend them off and in the morning find that Gax and Sidron’s horses have been killed. Traveling through the icy wastes on foot in the dead of winter is a slow and dangerous endeavor so the leader of the caravan taps Torrik to dismount and using Torrik’s mount (provided by the mercenary guild) as a pack animal sends these three contractors back to NorthWood.
The journey there is perilous. The party looses Torrik’s horse on their first night heading back when an Owlbear stealthily snatches it from the edge of their camp. They try to recover their provisions bravely but in vain and are forced to continue on the next day with short supplies.
The encounter some wild-life and with Torrik and Sidron frozen to the bone (technical details we built for that at the bottom of this post) they spend a day warming up. Then they continue to head back East towards NorthWood.
On their journey that day they come upon a spot in the forest where the trees are burnt and the snow is melted. Investigating this odd occurrence they find themselves set upon by a trio of Mephits; Magma, steam,and smoke. It’s touch and go but they manage to fight them off. They elect to take advantage of the warmth of this place to get a short rest in. By the time they’re done it has cooled off and the falling snow is sticking to the ground in the once bare circle again.
The other five days they’re out in the wilds are treacherous. They encounter a wounded Sabre-Toothed Tiger, hole up for a day as a blizzard rages, wisely avoid a snow covered crevasse, and discover a hunters trap before Gax steps into it.
Back in NorthWood they report to Company Black, the mercenary group they were contracting for and discover that instead of getting paid they’re all being billed for horses and gear lost. The three find themselves in debt to the tune of 160GP each. Tempers flare, blows are thrown, these three (now companions) are tossed in the slammer…
Featuring the first three: Gax, Sidron, and Torrik.
Magnus: a lanky, blonde-haired Brethon (post explaining the Brethon culture to come soon, just think a sort of Norse culture until you get the details. Brethoni are human.) artificer. Tossed in jail for stealing food. A youngish man with a bad cough from some sort of recent injury.
Zattera: a wiry olive skinned sailor who originates from a region far south (think fantasy Mediterranean area). He’s worked as a sailor and a pirate/privateer for a while and finds himself in the Northern Reach. He’s in the slammer for stabbing an employer that didn’t pay him.
After sitting in a cell for a few days as the press gangs eye them and work out a deal with the magistrate to take them off his hands in a few days when they load the new conscriptions into a boat and head south for battle. The magistrate offers the gang of now five adventurers a deal. He’ll write them a temporary-writ that will allow them to do work for the city for a few days if they’ll solve the mystery of what’s happening to the crab-traps in the harbor. They’re being smashed by something beneath the surface of the icy waters and the fishermen don’t know what’s doing it. The gang sets out to solve a mystery with a time-table of 2 days.
They spend a day poking around the docks, asking questions, and lining up resources to head out into the bay the next day. That night as they’re sleeping (in the back of a blacksmith’s shop as they are all broke) two ruffians sneak and and before anyone can wiggle out of their bed rolls Zattera is beaten into unconsciousness. The rest of the party springs into action and after getting one spell off Gax is also down. The other three scramble and manage to kill their attackers. The rest of the night passes without any other incident.
The next day they head out into the bay with a boat-for-hire, 5 crab-traps, and a big hook they bartered to have the blacksmith make for them. As they’re watching their pots they hear a tearing sound nearby and then a splash. Seeing a humanoid struggling in the water Gax risks his life and dives into the icy sea, pulling the figure back to their boat. Once the figure is on-board they find that it’s a Githyanki warrior, he’s in pretty bad shape from being in the icy waters and has lost his weapon. They attempt to communicate but are unable to. As they try to question him another tearing sound, a small rift opens in the fabric of reality below the Gith and he falls into it, disappearing…
As they’re scrambling to sort out where he went Torrik sees the bouy on one of their traps go underwater. It happens to be the one they’ve outfitted with the hook as well. Jumping into action the party grabs the line and begins to hoist the trap into the boat. Pulling, Pulling, Pulling… they see a reddish-gray shape near the surface of the water. Then with violent force it dives, they are all pulled and wind up on their faces in the bottom of the boat, rope is everywhere and entangling them.
As they’re attempting to stand back up over the edge of the boat crawls a gargantuan crab! (We took a Giant Crab and buffed it, made it bigger and gave it a few more abilities, like the ability to summon Giant Crabs to it’s aid and to crush grappled creatures in it claws). Battle ensues. Gax is snatched up, Magnus is snatched up. Magnus blacks out from the pain. The others try to stab and pummel the crustacean to little effect. Zattera makes a well placed attack (nat 20 with sneak attack) as Gax manages to stretch out and touch Magnus healing him. More ineffectual stabbings are attempted, Gax and Magnus wind up being down and out, Sidron leaps atop the crab, it attempts to retreat into the sea with it’s two snacks… Torrik manages to grapple the crab and stop it’s escape (and likely save three of his companions lives). stabbings and beatings and pinching continue. Death saves are made, tensions are high, but eventually the crab is vanquished.
The gang returns to shore to reap their rewards. Unfortunately in the days that follow the captain of the boat-for-hire files damage claims against them (Sidron had set fire to part of the boat when his firebolt missed a crab) and they find themselves in even more debt (an additional 503GP of debt for each of them).
They return to a life of scraping by and avoiding the Press Gangs (except Gax who goes back to performing in taverns and avoiding the Press Gangs…
That’s it for our marathon opening session. Two more characters to introduce coming up. Also, here’s our (VERY brutal) mechanics for dealing with the super cold weather and freezing water that we used (to some player grumbling):