Three adventurers with perhaps more courage than wisdom joined me on Saturday July 26 at the Reaper Game Store. As a note, due to a tournament they had scheduled we were moved to play in the ground floor paint club room; this wasn’t a problem at all, as we enjoyed some back and forth banter with the people who had come in to paint miniatures!
What was a larger problem was that both of the players who had the highest level characters had to give the day a miss due to prior commitments, and everything I had prepared was predicated on having them! Arriving were Don, playing Barton, a half-elf M-U/THF, Joe, playing Polcathir, an elf-orc RGR, and Matt, playing Darthos, an elf FTR. (As another note, Darthos is a new name, as Matt is playing in two separate campaigns and had inadvertently selected the same name for his characters in each of them.)
The group had recently finished driving prehistoric creatures away from a dwarf village on Nabor. With the party’s “big guns” not available, Barton and Polcathir determined that they would attempt to discover the base used by the Red Flag Pirates which they knew was somewhere on the south coast of the island east of Jamsin. Darthos (Matt having arrived a bit late) was dallying with a young dwarven maiden he had met in the village, and (as an explanation for the absence of the other four characters) Anallia, Barlyn, Alex, and Cain had gone off to return to Jamsin to check on the status of the repairs to the Razorwind.
The duo trekked for a couple of days through the forests southeast of the dwarven village until they arrived at a location where Polcathir had recently seen and slain several orcs believed to be pirates. They determined that no one had returned to that location, but, investigating in a sweep to the south and east of that location, found the remains of a campfire which had presumably been left by a pirate patrol or hunting party. They followed a difficult trail until they came upon a drop of at least 100 feet at the edge of the ocean. At this drop they saw a cove with a narrow strip of beach between the sea and the cliffs. Although they saw no ships in the cove, nor any other obvious sign of habitation, Polcathir noticed an odd shimmer between the sky and the sea at the open edge of the cove. After he pointed it out to Barton the pair whirled to see 6 orcish pirates lining up to fire arrows at them!
In the melee that ensued Barton returned fire while Polcathir drew his steel and waded in. Due to his own personal issues, he has a particularly virulent hatred for orcs, and he sated it with great success in the blood of four of the six, before Barton managed to charm the fifth, while the sixth, although badly wounded, escaped into a hidden watch post. Questioning of Barton’s new-found friend revealed the location of two watch posts at the top of the cliffs, which apparently led into a hidden base carved into the side of the cliffs themselves. Barton then advised his friend to return to his group and tell them they were safe, while he returned whence he had come. However, Polcathir stayed behind and added another orc to his tally.
Upon returning to the dwarf village and linking up with Darthos, the group concluded — and not without good sense — that an assault on the pirate base with just the three of them would not be the best approach to the problem, so they decided to follow the other four characters back to Jamsin and share their intelligence. They set off on the roughly 4 day journey across the countryside, highly alert.
[Note: It has been said that, in this campaign at least, my random encounters may be more deadly than the planned ones. I don’t really know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but it does seem to be true in any case.] The first night, while Barton and Polcathir slept on the ground, Darthos kept watch in a tree. Unfortunately, the tree he had chosen was one holding an egg case from a large spider, and the eggs were hatching….the spiders swarmed the group, and before the 12 of them could be killed both Barton and Polcathir were suffering from multiple poisonous spider bites. Taking stock, they realized they were a lot closer to help at the dwarven village than Jamsin, so they backtracked and were able to get some healing assistance from one of the village elders. Unfortunately, since she was not an actual cleric, the healing was slow at best, and it took some 7 days before Barton in particular was healed enough for them to begin their journey again.
They followed the same trail and did not encounter any more spiders, but on the first night they did encounter a large black bear sniffing around their camp for food. After an intimidation attempt failed, Polcathir threw some food to the bear and distracted it while the band made a strategic withdrawal. [Note: The way I prefer to do experience, this counts as “defeating” the bear, since they were able to resolve the encounter to their own satisfaction.]
Finally, as they were on the final leg of their journey they were ambushed by two large carnivorous apes, which fought a sharp battle with the party until they could be slain; the second one attempted to escape, but failed to outrun the arrows fired at it.
At this point the trio arrived back in Jamsin and was able to complete some training and other errands. Next time we get together they will apprise the others of the intelligence they have obtained on the pirate base, and no doubt a crafty plan will be concocted which will destroy my carefully arranged defenses as though they were tissue paper……