Defenders of Stormfast

Into the Mountains
A Prayer Circle, Yodeling, and Extremely Long Encounter Distances

As the party heads into uncharted territory, in the hopes of brokering a peace with the half-orc tribe led by Keth Neega (pronounced exactly as you would expect). Keth sends the party into the mountains (with a horde barbarians) to fight a neighboring tribe of Goblins. The small army was led by Snoop Lion (Adrik’s Badger). Snoop Lion was MIA for the rest of the encounter.

In the foothills of The Ridgewall Peaks the party encountered a group 3 of orcs. The first kill was dealt by Pētor, who killed him with a powerful war hammer attack. The party’s half-orcish companions threw their spears at one of the orc, said orc attempted to run away and was killed by Pētor (attack of opportunity). Norixius killed the final orc

As the party ventured farther up the mountain they were set upon by 4 goblins. The encounter began with Norixius dropping the first goblin with two successful handaxe attack. Berrion misses an attack with his short bow. Then, Delmirev uses Magic Missile and Pētor’s Sacred Flame attack misses (DC 13 Dex Save). Adrik goes ham with his handaxes and drops another goblin, severely wounding another. The final goblin deals a devastating long sword attack against Pētor (critical attack with longsword). Another goblin attacks Pētor and misses, Pētor kills the goblin. One of the half-orc companions throws his spear at a goblin. Keth misses his attack and is stabbed. Norixius drops a goblin with a blow fatal from a greataxe. Berrion shoots a goblin and kills it. A goblin awoke after being knocked out (success on a death saving throw) and is promptly executed by Keth.

The party sees a goblin captain, riding a warg, eyeing them atop a hill. As the captain rushes towards the party, the group prepares actions. Everyone (excluding Adrik, Pētor, and Delmirev) attempted to hit the warg with their various ranged weapons. Adrik punches himself in the scrotal area (attempt at rage continuation), Delmirev attempts to cast sleep on the warg and fails. Finally, Pētor deals a devistating Guiding Bolt attack against the Captain. The party sends another barrage of weapons against the warg and captain, effectively killing the warg and sending the unconscious captain flying into the snow. Pētor grabbed the semi-conscious goblin and killed it using a Sacred Flame spell, which burnt off all the skin on the captains face (unable to make Dex save due to lack of consciousness). Pētor gives the skull of the fallen captain to Keth and holds a traditional half-orc funeral (complete with traditional yodeling) before returning to town. The two groups broker a treaty to help each other fight in times of war and trade wares in times of peace.

Dungeon 1: Gnoll's Hideout
A Sea of Hyenas and The Rogue Can't Pick Locks

Two months following their tumultuous first night at Stormfast, our brave heroes must venture into the forest at the request of Captain Dramsson to find a cave that has been reportedly been commandeered by a band of gnolls. They are joined by one of Stormfast’s minstrels, Romero Romando. After a brief run in with 3 swarms of bats and then an even briefer fight with a bugbear, the party finds the gnolls’ leader, along with one of his compatriots, with a group of 4 hyenas. Bravely, Norixius surges forwards, only to be swiftly defeated by the wall of fur and teeth he encounters. Romero kindly heals him, and they rejoin the fray, eventually routing the tangle of hyenafolk. Recouping, the party declares the area safe, and settles in for the night.

The next morn, however, they are rudely awakened by the remainder of the Gnoll family discovering their relatives’ shared demise, and attacking the adventurers they find in their stead. The party, still groggy, defeats the two gnolls and their pet hyena, then turns their attention to the door to the next room. Berrion sets to work disarming the trap he discovers there, and promptly receives a falling scythe blade to the face. After repeated attempts to disarm the trap fail, the noise attracts a nearby pack of blink dogs. After a prolonged struggle with the teleporting canines, wherein one of Norixius’ beloved handaxes is teleported away, the party eventually succeeds at opening the door without getting themselves killed.

Through the doorway, they see mounds of glittering coin…and an animated suit of armor, wielding a flying sword. After a moment’s hesitation, the party launches themselves at the constructs. Pētor utterly destroys the sword by holding it down and melting it down with holy fire, converting it to a lump of pooling metal. Romero, not to be outdone by the Defenders, arms himself with a crossbow from Pētor, firing upon the advancing suit of armor. When his bolt goes wide, the wearer-less suit is quickly taken down by Norixius, promptly set upon by the remainder of the party, and dealt a brutal end to its existence. The party gathers up the treasure horde and returns to Stormfast.

First Watch
Adrik Tries Echolocation and The Party are Dicks to Redshirts

At this point, it is getting late, almost dusk. The party rides into base camp, beat up and tired. Lieutenant Fireheart tells them to take a break, and take a later shift on rounds. After a peaceful evening spent playing cards and meeting various members of the Stormfast Guard, it is the party’s turn to take watch. Some time after they take their posts, they hear the distinct sound of a screaming human coming faintly from the forest. Following the sounds into the forest, Adrik decides to use a neat trick he’d seen bats use in the past: echolocation. He begins to let out high-pitched yelps, in an attempt to track down the source of the pained cries (critical failure on a Perception check).

Before Adrik can successfully echolocate the screamer, however, the party stumbles across a tangle of thorny vines, inside of which lays a lone Guardsman, pinned to a tree by a two-foot long thorn, screaming for his life. Pētor rushes to the man’s side and delicately extracts the spine, diligently staunching the bleeding. The man continues to whimper, until the party yells at him to shut up. Shocked at their rudeness, the man complies. Norixius sarcastically thanks him, asking him why he was “crying like a little baby.” Affronted and more than a little terrified, the man responds that “the trees are alive,” at which point the vine the man is resting on begins to move. Pētor quickly tries to pull the man away, but he is too late. The not-tree stands, taking a humanoid shape (Twig Blight), and crushes the man’s head beneath it’s foot. Norixius quickly lunges after it, shocking it with his Skyfire (Shocking Strike). His teammates pitch in, pummeling the Blight, and Berrian steps in with rapier to deal the death blow. Unfortunately, a single Twig Blight is the least of their worries. Hearing a rustling behind them, the party turns to face a mixed group of Twig and Thorn Blights.

The first to move is Berrion, who charges the nearest Twig Blight, slashing at it with his rapier, dropping to the ground. Next is Delmirev, who blasts another with a Fireball. A Needle Blight, standing towards the back, skewers Berrion with a thorn, launched dart-like from its own body, and Berrion goes down. The lightly charred Twig Blight launches itself at Adrik, raking him with its claws, but it does little to faze the Dwarf, who beats him down with a mighty yell. Pētor goes to Berrion’s side and channels positive energy into his body, healing him (Cure Wounds). Now, Adrik charges the second Needle Blight, throwing his handaxes as he goes, killing it. Norixius enters the fray, diving at the other Needle Blight. Despite the grievous wounds to his hands, he successfully grabs the Blight’s head and fires a blast of Skyfire down what passes as the beast’s throat. The bolt blasts the Blight into the air, where it quickly disintegrates (critical success on a Breath Weapon attack). Boldly, the last of the Blights rushes at Norixius, who turns the heat on him, burning him to a crisp where he stands (critical success on a Breath Weapon attack). Yet again, the party trudges into base camp battered and bloodied, and falls quickly asleep upon reaching their beds.

The Caravan
Angry Man, Angry Bear, Angry Natives… Who Isn't Angry Here?

Welcomed Klee Torres, fought a Brown Bear, defended the caravan from 5 Tribal Warriors.

We open with a stormy, but mostly uneventful voyage across the Hindrun Sea. Along the way, Pētor analyzes the remaining barrels of Shifty’s stock, attempting in vain to determine the secret production method thereof, Adrik “tests” the Devilweed, with some “help” from Snoop, and Delmirev must help his Pseudodragon contend with horrible seasickness. Ultimately, our heroes arrive safely upon the shores of Bakarria.

Landing in the coastal town of Helmport, the party follows Captain Dramsson to the residence of his Lordship Everbranch, where they are to be introduced to their employer, Marwanner, Lord Stormfast. As they arrive at Lord Stormfast’s bedchambers, they pass a much-vexed Lord Everbranch, who expresses his relief to Sir Dramsson that the Stormfast settlers are leaving that day. Tentatively, the group enters the room, just in time to witness an armor-clad dwarf woman pleading with Marwanner, “Get out of bed, it is well past noon and the settling party departs within the hour.” From under the bedclothes comes the dignified reply, “Gerroff, Iron Tits, and gimme a drink.” Discreetly herding the Defenders from the room, Dramsson apologizes, explaining that, while certainly a man of honor and descended from noble blood, his Lordship is still a mortal man, and as susceptible to drink as any other. He directs them to help with loading the wagons, and then scout the woods ahead of the caravan.

As the party rides through the woods, they enter a clearing and spot a lone bear, lumbering through. It stops, sniffs the air, and turns towards searchingly towards the group. Spotting them, it stands on its hind legs and roars. It slams down, paws at the ground, and snorts wildly. Berrion’s immediate reaction is to scamper up a tree and draw his rapier, poised to attack. Next, Delmirev—still mounted—launches a Fire Bolt at the bear, angering it. Adrik, then Norixius, hurl their handaxes, making solid connections each time. The bear charges Adrik, futilely gnawing and clawing at his chest. It then swipes heavily with its paw, crashing into Adrik’s chest and knocking him backwards, bloodied. Petor launches a beam of holy light at the bear, wounding it slightly (Sacred Flame). Taking a moment to orient himself, Berrion dives from the tree, skewering the bear’s skull on his rapier, ending its life. Heroically, the group returns to the caravan to heal up and soldier on.

Delmirev → Fireball → Warrior 3 → Drop
Warrior 1 → Spear (ranged) → Adrik
Berrion → Dismount + Climbs halfway up tree
Petor → Dismount + Warhammer → Warrior 5 → Drop
Adrik → Dismount + Handaxes → Warrior 2 → Drop
Warrior 2 → Revive
Norixius → Dismount + Handaxes → Warrior 4
Warrior 3 → Revive
Warrior 4 → Spear (melee) → Norixius → Handaxes → Drop
Warrior 5 → Revive
Delmirev → Dismount + Fireball → Warrior 1
Warrior 1 → Spear (melee) → Berrion
Berrion → Climbs halfway up tree + Shortbow → Warrior 1
Petor → Crossbow → Warrior 1
Adrik → Warhammer → Warrior 1 → Drop
Warrior 2 → Spear (melee) → Norixius → Handaxes → Kill
Norixius → Handaxes → Warrior 3 → Kill
Warrior 4 → Revive → Norixius → Handaxes → Kill
Warrior 5 → Stands → Petor → Pistol (Crossbow) Whip → Kill
Adrik → Warhammer → Warrior 1 (unconscious) → Kill

A Week in Wharfstead
The Prequel

After the surprise pre-prequel, we now welcome to the table:

Also joining us today are:

For this session, the role of Pētor Palagog will be played by the Dungeon Master.

Having arrived in Wharfstead, our heroes must answer the gate guard’s riddle: “who are you, and what is your business in Wharfstead?” Understandably puzzled by this complicated request, the party begins to debate whether they should murder the guard and lay siege to the gate in order to gain access to the city. While Norixius and Adrik attempt to intimidate the guard into letting them pass, Delmirev decides to set his mind to unraveling the immensely difficult mind game that the guard has lain before them. Before Adrik attempts to scale the wall, Delmirev has a stroke of brilliance. “We are merely travelers, just passing through town on a long journey!” he tells the guard. Miraculously, the guard opens the gate.

Having finally gained entry to Wharfstead, our party sets their hearts to starting a bar fight. Towards this end, they decide to begin their exploration of Wharfstead by visiting the slums. When they query a local as to the drinking establishments of the neighborhood are, they are given the names of three bars. Disappointed at not hearing the name of Shifty’s, a chain of inns that they have frequented in the past, the party members elect to visit The Slutty Dwarf, a nearby dive bar. On their way, they pass a burnt-out hulk of a building, near which a lone sign stands, reading “Here Lay Shifty’s.” Dismayed at the destruction of their favorite culinary establishment, the party decided to find whoever burned down Shifty’s and exact their revenge. They leave a few coins in the “Rebuild Shifty’s Fund” and continue to the Slutty Dwarf. Once there, they demand of the patrons any information on the whereabouts of the (now surely doomed) arsonist. One drunkard by the door informs them that Shifty’s demise, along with that of the proprietor—who was locked inside at the time—was the doing of one Old Pete. Happily, the man also informs the party that another member of clan Shift is due into town the following week, and also tells them how to find Old Pete, directing them to “go two blocks that way, and take a right on Schermerhorn.”

The party follows the drunkard’s instructions, and finds, in the middle of the city no less, a field of Devilweed, a drug similar to marijuana. They creep through the field, leaving the animals to…entertain themselves…among the Devilweed plants. In the middle of the field, the party stumbles across a small shack, with a door guard fast asleep on duty. The party stealthily approaches the shack and, while Norixius checks the windows, Adrik attempts to behead the guard in his sleep. His axe, unfortunately, slips from his grasp (critical failure on a weapon attack), and does little to the guard but startle him awake. Quickly, Delmirev summons his Pseudodragon to his side, and directs it to sting the guard, knocking him out. Adrik, meanwhile, has his pet badger, Snoop, scout out the interior of the shack. The badger reports that there are three thugs within. In an attempt to reduce the risk incurred by a frontal assault on the cabin, the party sets about gathering bushels of Devilweed, lights them on fire, and tosses them in the door. The ensuing cloud of smoke fills the cabin to the point that one guard passes out.

While the rest of the party takes advantage of the guards’ weakened state, Pētor begins to circle around the back of the house in order to find any alternative exits. Norixius begins the combat by breaking down the window, as well as most of the wall surrounding it (critical success on a weapon attack). Adrik rushes into the breach, and immediately assesses the situation. There are two thugs equipped with maces (one of which is passed out on the floor), and one larger thug wielding a warhammer. Delmirev summons a spray of acid from thin air, gravely wounding one of the mace-users (Acid Splash), and Adrik hurls his handaxes at the same one. Warhammer charges Norixius, wildly swinging his weapon of choice, but only succeeds in smashing down the rest of the wall (critical failure on a weapon attack). Norixius responds by channeling his inner power to the point that his body begins to spark with energy (Shocking Strike). He bodily lifts the man out of the wreckage of the shack and throws him to the ground, releasing the electrical buildup in a stream of pure power (Breath Weapon (Bronze)). The thug, unfortunately, seems unperturbed.

While all of this has gone on, Pētor has reached the rear of the house, and discovered what appears to be a locked outhouse, attached to the back of the shack. He doesn’t have long to investigate, however, before a familiar voice bellows in pain. The two mace-wielding thugs have attacked Adrik, and in a flurry of blows from all directions, have gravely injured him. Delmirev was trying to hold them back, but the large thug has broken free from Norixius’ grasp and smashed him aside. It is not looking good for our heroes. Pētor rushes in, healing Adrik, and Norixius squares off against Warhammer, both dealing punishing blows that would have dropped lesser men. Adrik resumes the fight with the other thugs, aided by Delmirev, and holds them at bay. At long last, with a combined attack from Delmirev and Norixius, the head thug is finally dropped. Seeing their leader down, the other thugs turn to flee. Adrik gets a shot off of one as he passes, dropping him too (opportunity attack), and then heaves his handaxes at the last, rapidly fleeing thug. The first throw goes wide, but the second one connects with a wet squelching noise, severing the thug’s leg at the ankle (critical success on a weapon attack). As the thug continues to crawl away, Adrik gives chase, and Pētor tends to the gravely wounded Norixius. Upon reaching the desperately crawling scrabbling thug, Adrik coldly severs the man’s other foot, stopping him in his tracks with a boot on his back. Adrik leans over the mutilated form of the thug, and questions him about Old Pete’s whereabouts. It is not until he has finished hacking off the thug’s hand that the man desperately yells that Old Pete is back at the building, around back. Adrik thanks the man, then has Snoop gouge out his eyes before dumping his—blessedly unconscious—form in the street.

Returning to the Devilweed field and meeting with the rest of the group, Adrik informs them about the thug’s message. Norixius is determined to avenge Shifty’s bar, and charges straight through the shack itself, set on smashing through the back wall to kill Old Pete. However, when he reaches the far end of the house, he realizes that the outhouse is a fake. Where the back wall of the outhouse should be, there is an archway leading to a ladder inside an outhouse-shaped extension. The party descends the ladder and finds themselves in a massive underground hall, lined on both sides by moaning or unconscious slaves. Furious at the mere prospect of their captivity, Norixius charges at one, determined to set it free. When he does reach one, however, he finds his progress blocked by a force field around each slave. After Norixius comes in contact with the wall, a door opens on the far end of the hall, and three robed figures dash towards our heroes. The two groups charge at one another down the length of the hall, but the party dispatches their opponents at range, and stop to search the corpses for hints as to where they are. Norixius, overcome with outrage at the horrible treatment of the slaves, begins to beat on one of the robed men until Adrik can pull him off. Delmirev, meanwhile, has searched the other two men, and determined them to be cultists. Their robes are red, with black trim and the symbol of a black skull on the back, surmounting a crossed scythe and sickle. The same skull is branded into the leather of the men’s armor, and various similar symbols are tattooed onto the men’s arms and torsos. After recovering what they can from the three cultists’ bodies, the party discovers that they each have an identical amulet, that of an onyx skull on silver chain.

Continuing down the hall of slaves, the four adventurers approach a massive set of doors, made of what looks like bleached birch wood with a black skull painted on it. Upon closer inspection when the group reaches the doors, it is discovered that the “wood” is, in fact, twisted and gnarled bone, presumably human, and the paint has been charred into the tangled mess of human remains. Smashing the lock off of the door, our heroes enter a room so dark that not even those accustomed to such dim conditions have trouble seeing (darkvision failing in magical darkness). What is visible within the room is a great pyre of what appears to be dead (or dying) slaves, and two cult fanatics, this time dressed in red robes with purple trim, dancing and chanting around the purple flames. Working quickly, Pētor counters the magical darkness with the radiance of Ulaa (Light), and the others attack the nearer fanatic, taking him down. The other one increases the tempo of his chanting, and releases a burst of purple fire from his hands, which Delmirev nearly dodges, but is singed some along the back of his robes. Our valiant foursome dispatch their opponent with ease, and take in their surroundings.

Surrounding the pyre are rows of seats, forming an amphitheater around the now-smoldering fire pit. Lining the top tier of benches, along the walls, are rack upon racks of barrels. Adrik inspects the barrels, and is shocked to discover that on the barrels are placards marking them as “Property of Shifty’s.” Norixius, distraught, laments that “It wasn’t enough to kill Shifty and burn down his bar? They had to go and steal his mead, too?” The party decides that, when all this is over, they will return for the mead and throw a party in memory of the late Shifty. In the present, however, Adrik has discovered a secret door behind one of the barrel racks, and a spiral staircase leading from it. The party ascends, ever wary about what will be around the next bend.

About halfway up the stairs, the party reaches a small landing with a door. When Adrik attempts to smash it down, he accidentally triggers a magical trap, which summons a cloud of ephemeral daggers that swarm him, then dissipate seconds later. Sufficiently shaken, the party successfully breaks down the door. Through it, they see a lavishly decorated room, draped in the finest cloths and filled with sparkling golden treasures, dominated by a large four-poster bed. Adrik and Delmirev, with the sharpest of eyes (success on a Perception check), notice a flutter in the bed’s curtains. Delmirev uses his knowledge of magic to determine that there might be some sort of Illusion magic at work here (low success on an Arcana check). Adrik takes the more direct approach and hurls a handaxe at the bed, but the spinning weapon phases right through the curtain without a sound. Definitely Illusion magic, then. Norixius charges into the room, diving onto the bed. He, too, passes straight through the curtains of the bed, breaking the illusion for himself. He sees the room as it truly is; the room is about 10 feet wide and 15 feet long, the bed is actually a bale of hay with a tarp thrown over it, there’s a desk on one wall, and a door on the far end. One of Adrik’s handaxes is lying on the bed. Adrik follows suit, and joins Norixius on the bed. He and Snoop now see the room as it truly is; the room is about 10 feet wide and 15 feet long, the bed is actually a bale of hay with a tarp thrown over it, there’s a desk on one wall, and a door on the far end. One of his handaxes is lying on the bed. Delmirev, and Petor close behind him, both leap onto the bed with the rest of their party. They, too, see the room as it truly is; the room is about 10 feet wide and 15 feet long, the bed is actually a bale of hay with a tarp thrown over it, there’s a desk on one wall, and a door on the far end. Adrik has picked up the handaxe that was laying on the bed.

Getting up from the bed, Norixius goes to see what is behind the door on the far end. It opens into a small, broom closet-sized room, obviously used as a toilet. Sitting on the chamberpot is a very pale cultist. Norixius attempts to get a reaction out of him, but there is no response. Finally, he shakes him. The cultist’s body falls over, a dagger buried in him to the hilt. Norixius looks over the cultist’s body and is surprised to find, under the golden skull amulet of the cult leader, a “Welcome to Shifty’s” badge! Shifty faked his own death, but was killed by someone within the cult! Pētor hurriedly searches the desk, finding some odds and ends, including a decent chunk of money, and then stumbles across a packet of documents, included in which are both the deed to Shifty’s and a charter for the first Shifty’s in Bakarria! Taking the documents (and money) with them, the party races to the top of the stairs, finding that they let out through a door disguised a servant entrance to a well-to-do manor house in the wealthy part of town. While Norixius and Delmirev went to get their cart back (it had been impounded by the police, following Adrik’s public torturing of a thug in the middle of the street), Pētor and Adrik brought up a decent chunk of the barrels from the cultist’s amphitheater.

After briefly debating what to do with the Shifty’s charter, the group decided to cash it in, and scheduled a meeting with Lord Wharfstead. He agreed to honor the charter, hired them to protect the party of settlers, and told Delmirev to meet with one Captain Dramsson, down at the port. Delmirev did so, and secured passage with him to Bakarria, while Pētor went to the Church of Ulaa to requisition a place to stay (Shelter of the Faithful), and Adrik got rooms for both Delmirev and himself. Norixius decided to stay among the common people (Rustic Hospitality), and spent the night entertaining children by frying rats with his Dragonborn abilities. The adventurers spent a few more days in Wharfstead, having some minor misadventures, and prepared to sail for the New World.

The Road to Wharfstead
The Pre-Prequel

Having found ourselves with a surprise quorum on Halloween night, we welcome to the table:

Our heroic trio is on their way to the port city of Wharfstead, in order to procure passage to the New World, Bakarria. They have hired a driver and his cart to bring them from Pētor’s church. On Old Wharf Road, they are held up by two bandits, who immediately kill the driver. One bandit then proceeds to fall out of the tree that he is hiding in, stunning himself (critical failure on a Stealth check). The other bandit charges the cart, using his scimitar to stab at Norixius, dropping him with one blow (critical success on a weapon attack). Pētor dives off the cart, healing Norixius as he rolls for cover under the cart bed. Standing, Delmirev grabs at the bandit, attempting to blast him with lightning (Shocking Grasp), but misses. The bandit returns by swinging at Delmirev…and missing. His no-longer-stunned partner follows suit with his crossbow…and misses. Norixius, taking advantage of the closer bandit’s distraction, guts him with a handaxe from below, dropping him unconscious. Pētor and Delmirev join together and take out the other bandit.

The late cabbie’s horses, unaccustomed to having battle waged so close behind them, are (quite understandably) spooked. One attempts to run from the fighting (failure on a Wisdom save), while the other refuses to move. The immobile horse is pulled along by the fleeing one, and gets its leg broken in the process. While Delmirev searches the body of the fallen bandit, Norixius ties up the scimitar-user and Pētor calms the horses. Unfortunately, when he attempts to heal the broken leg, he does more harm than good, dislocating the other leg in the process (critical failure on a Medicine check). Eventually, he relocates the second leg and asks Norixius to cut down a tree in order to craft a splint for the first.

Upon regaining consciousness, the bandit is greeted by the sight of a Dragonborn hacking away at a tree with a greataxe, two dwarves menacing him, and a Pseudodragon flying around the head of a dragon-esque Half Elf who is currently rummaging around the corpse of his brother-at-arms. The bandit promptly soils himself (critical success on an Intimidation group check), telling them about his struggle to feed his family, giving them directions to Wharfstead, and pleading for them to spare his life. Mercilessly, Pētor channels the holy light of Ulaa (Light cantrip), judges the bandit unworthy, and knocks him out. The party quickly buries the cabbie and continues towards Wharfstead.


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