Four wanderers descend upon Port Cullis, tired and weary from their travels. The northern sun beats down a steady warm pulse despite the wintry season. Things are finally looking up for the adventurers.
Between the simmering brine pools and the pungent fish markets, the squawk of seagulls and the background chatter from open alehouses, the “dock” part of town is a welcome reprieve. Of course, safety comes first, and the majority of the adventurers bunk up in the fortified part of town. The bard enjoys the bayside views and the barbarian visits his port of call: the fighter’s guild.
The next day, they get down to the standard business of any adventurer – selling their destructive capabilities to the highest bidder. Unfortunately, before anyone can get so much as a shake of hand from the many merchants milling in Avandra’s square, what do you know, the wall explodes.
About 30 seconds later, no thanks to the slow reaction of the town watch, the four adventurers had dealt with the goblin forces that poured through the breach. The shaman, not up to scratch on normal etiquette after bush bashing the length of the continent, gleefully waves her prize of a hexer’s rod. The ranger also notices she has stashed a note in her pocket. After a less-than-diplomatic start, the two work together to track the goblins to their camp.
A surly halfling with a green cape, Djunkar, meanwhile invited the bard and barbarian on a patrol to guard the corpse-bearers of the dead noobs (from the raid) to a nearby church which is frequented by a legendary healer of this region named Rose. The ranger and shaman are also recruited on their return with the valuable information contained in the note.
Hours later the patrol sans stretcher-bearers rolls out of the southern breach, although Djunkar is silently fuming at the governor’s decision to send out the corpses immediately. The patrol turns up at the church ready to relieve the guard, but they find them slain, and signs that Rose had been ambushed while visiting the church.
Djunkar, now furious, charges the party with tracking the kidnappers, with permission to use deadly force. Yeah, like they needed a reason, Djunko. The party follows the goblin tracks to a campsite in a clearing which they attempt to stealthily infiltrate. Unfortunately for them, wolves have +9 to perception. The ambush turns on them as wolves and goblin guards descend from the parked caravan in an attempt to scare them off. Fortunately they turn out to be just babysitting the campsite and are overpowered easily.
After freeing the shackled humans who tell them they were all captured by these goblin slavers further inland, the party picks up the tracks again heading towards the coast. One slave warned “You gotta get out of here! The rest of the slavers, they’ll cut you up!” And so when the party found a moonlit plain where 4 figures, 2 human pirates and 2 goblin slavers, were meeting, they executed plan A and proceeded to shoot them up.
“Man, that slave doesn’t know what he’s talking about. We can take these guys!” the shaman and ranger joked as they lobbed their spells and arrows at the goblins from in the cover of the woods.
Suddenly the boss goblin, who appears to take long-range punishment in his stride, calls out to his forces. The party suddenly detects muchos movementos from their right flank in the woods. The pirates have also rallied their considerable (hidden) forces and are charging across the plain.
The party, with the familiar taste of fear in their mouths, outvote the ranger in their plan of action and execute plan B – grab the dwarf and haul ass.
The party, once safe in the haven of the fort, rendezvous with Djunkar and together they report to governor Bale himself. In his own dapper way, he tasks the party to find these slavers and the town’s beloved Rose. He twirls his musketeer moustache thoughtfully as they leave.
Having been a hair’s breadth from becoming slaves themselves, they decide to track the slavers more cautiously the next morning. Going on the one piece of info they have, they work their way back to the meeting place of the pirates and slavers. After some mountain-goat agility by the barbarian and an almost successful ambush of the pirates’ lookouts, the team gets caught in a melee with a pirate ship’s crew in a narrow, sheltered cove.
With the ranger zipping arrows from a tree overlooking the cove, the shaman’s walrus wreaking havoc in the back lines of halfling sailors, and the barbarian (supported by the bard) taking out the berserker pirate leader, things were looking bad for the sailors. Just when their morale was about to break, Avandra must have taken pity on them, because the barbarian suddenly went for a swim, and the ranger fell from his tree and almost died. Rally cries rose up from the pirate ranks, and the captain rose once again. Quick AoE from the shaman once again crippled their back line and victory was assured.
With pirate prisoners in tow, the party headed back to town. The captain revealed (under duress) that the slavers indeed have Rose, and that the pirates had a tiefling mole in the docks telling them dates and times of outgoing rich merchant ships to raid.
The party headed down to the docks taverns to try and eke out some information about the mole, but the mole was apparently not walking around with a sign on his back saying “It’s a-me. Mooooole”. Anyway, the party had no time for sleuthing! Rose had to be recaptured. Too bad Djunkar took matters into his own hands and raided Lt. Teffron’s office (the dockmaster) and caught the mole red handed. The tiefling (Iados) apparently talked immediately and tried to cut his sentence by revealing a possible Sahuagin attack coming from the headland…
When the party gets to the base of the headland, it looms ominously. The ranged members don’t like this. The barbarian saunters in while the rest of the party stealthed around the various roper—-I mean stalagmites in the cave mouth. It’s dark, and it’s wet, and oh my god it’s a crocodile.
It was the bard’s turn to learn what it is to take point, and so spent most of the encounter in a croc’s mouth while the backup got held up in the forest of stalagmites by two pesky stirges who also grabbed the nearest foes. Nevertheless, the party showed their professionalism and quickly dispatched the cave inhabitants. Then they looted the crocodile for any +3 rings of protection it might have been wearing. These are professionals, people.
A long swim down a murky tunnel later, and the party emerged into a lair devoted to a demon shark. As devoted guardians, the two inhabitants of said room attempted to beat them back into the watery exit, but to no avail. No amount of invisibility or poison was a match for their constant +10 saving throws. The iron cobra guard slinks off into a narrow underwater passage way to escape their rolls.
Showing the peak of their tactical mental faculties, the party decides to not investigate the wide, non-flooded passageway up the stairs, but instead to follow the iron cobra down the narrow, murky waterway, with the tank at the back, the DPS at the front, and no sentry in the main chamber. What’s the worst that could happen? As if in foreshadowing, somewhere in the depths of the cavern, a trap is sprung and the party hears rushing water.
It can only get better from here, right? Hm. 3 tridents later, the ranger is almost dead, and there is a lot of muffled, bubbly cursing going on behind her in the waterway as the party tries to rearrange its order to something resembling tactical. Well, it didn’t matter anyway, since there’s a badass sahuagin coming up the rear now. Go, tactics!
Thankfully, once the ranger was revived and the barbarian was in melee, the sahuagin were mincemeat in no time. They high five while angry bubbles surface from the dwarf and half-elf as they attempt to fend off a resolute attacker and his ranged lackey. The party quickly realise that this guy means business and have the goliath and shaman take the rear guard while the bard and ranger scout out the hallway that leads into… a sacrificial chamber with no way out except through the afterlife. Awesome.
The rear guard have more than a little difficulty in containing the aquatic sahuagin in their native submerged environment. Sensing the barbarian’s bloodied status, they make quick work of him, but are taken out with the very last remaining powers of the shaman and ranger. After coming up into the sacrificial chamber which is now chest-deep in water, they make a frantic search of the room. Locating the control panel for all traps, they work at break-neck pace to figure out what triggers what. Just as the water flows over their heads, they open the portcullis blocking their escape to non-waters-ville.
Phew! Now that that watery nightmare is over, the party heads back to Port Cullis, carrying the unconscious barbarian between them. Even the bard and the shaman are out of teh healz. When the party is rested and recovered, they decide to track their original quarry down the SE road to Brinn.
Travelling all day under stormclouds, the rains finally break in a dramatic fashion as they near the final 10 miles to Brinn. “Hey, what’s that? Is that the slaver’s caravaaaaAAAN” the dwarf yells as she is carried by the sprinting goliath towards the most interesting thing he’s seen for miles. Admiring his axe’s gash in the side of it, the group gets sprung. But at least the tank is at the front this time. Oh crap we’re surrounded by goblins.
The barbarian, shaman, and bard made quick work of the weak little dudes with shortswords who swarmed from the roadside ditches and onto them. With just the hexer shooting spells from the caravan doors and the gash, and the goblin boss and his pet wolf surrounded, it looked like the jig was up. But two rampaging skullcleaver goblins with battleaxes burst out of the caravan! The boss chews on a toothpick at this turn of events. Give the bum’s rush to the feisty Joe—put a bruise on that tomato, see?
The feisty Joe, A.K.A. Fredrik the Barbarian, goes down in a barrage of battleaxe fury. The hexer joins his meatshields as the boss goes down to a maximised barrage of arrows from a furious ranger who keeps getting blinded. In a close battle, the skullcleavers and the hexer finally go down, but on the hexer the party remembers to deal non-lethal damage.
The hexer proves to be useless since he’s a new hire, but the party does find an interesting note from one “L.L.” who promises to be in Brinn for the Winter Solstice. Oh, and they also find Rose. That’s kind of important. She amazes them with her healing prowess, and she humbly accepts to help them find L.L. in Brinn before departing for Port Cullis once again. The hexer also accepts, but more out of fear for his life than any kind of humility.
The party headed into Brinn after nightfall, and it turns out to be not the warmest town in the world. People are afraid of rumours of undead in the area which were previously ousted by the town’s ruler, Ber… Bang… Blerk… something beginning with B. They didn’t get a chance to inquire because the hexer began shouting that he had been enslaved by the party against his will. The hexer turns out to be quite charismatic and wins over the onlookers. In a bout of quick thinking, the party decides to go with it and pose as slavers to get the attention of L.L.
They keep up the image by intimidating an innkeeper into giving them room for a night. Oh, those crazy kids! Nothing bad can possibly come of this.