Session 1: March 19, 2008 – Each of the party members responds to Cliffport’s desperate pleas for the help of heroes to solve their problem of kidnapped citizens. They travel to Cliffport but are intercepted just before reaching the city, for some entertainment…
As this was the first session, the bulk of the first hour of the session was dedicated to completing the creation and outfitting of the party’s characters.
These four intrepid adventurers met by pure chance along the road to Cliffport, each looking for help to claim the reward of 20,000 gold pieces offered by the mayor of Cliffport. After getting acquainted at a roadside tavern, they decided to join forces and march on to Cliffport. The session opened with the group following the Seaview Road, heading west with the brooding ocean to their left and the rolling woodlands of Hanoria to their right. Forward and back the well-tended stones of the highway painted a ruler-straight line to the horizon.
The trip was uneventful until they drew near to Cliffport, where the Seaview Road curved inland away from the looming white cliffs. The great white cliffs reared up from the ground like great ramps reaching into the sky for miles along the coast. From the sea the white cliffs were blinding landmarks visible until they disappeared behind the horizon as ships left the busy port. Dark spots speckling the face of the white cliffs were all that betrayed the fabled White Caves of Cliffport. From the land the rearing ramparts of earth simply rose into the sky hiding the ocean beyond.
No more than a half-hours walk from Cliffport, the group heard the frantic pounding of iron-shod hooves on the hard stone of the Seaview Road. As they watched, two galloping horses carried their mounted riders forward, while three snarling blood-dripping wolves chased from behind. Orophin noticed that one of the two was clad in mail but was bleeding heavily on his left side and was barely able to hang onto the saddle. The other, dressed in leather armor, called encouragement to his comrade. It was apparent to the group that the horses would ride them down if they stayed on the road.
Just as the group hurried to the side of the road, the wolves vanished abruptly, as if they had never existed. The two horses flashed by in a spray of sparks and rock chips, the two riders taking no notice of the vanished wolves. In a few moments the horses and riders were a puzzling memory.
“I don’t see how two obviously well-appointed men-at-arms could be running away from three wolves.” Orophin noted. Tyrrvanus replied “Those weren’t normal wolves. If I’m not badly mistaken, those were summoned beasts. It was likely not the wolves that drove those horses.”
This comment caused the group to pause and consider their own vulnerability. After a while the group, having no other practical options, continued on down the road, with their senses on full alert. Soon they came upon a tree which had fallen across the highway. Orophin immediately became suspicious of an ambush. Trees across major roads in Hanoria were usually quickly cleared away, and with the fleeing horsemen so fresh in his mind, Orophin smelled a rat.
As they approached the fallen tree, the group paused to consider their options. Beyond the tree they could see a small but deeply carved stream, and the only bridge across the stream was on the road, just beyond the fallen tree. Muddy patches on each side of the road indicated poor footing if there were to be a battle. Unwilling to leave the road, but also unwilling to head heedlessly into an ambush, Orophin made a careful study of the area, searching for any indication of foul play, but he saw nothing.
Krush, on the other hand, thought he heard someone speaking softly nearby, but there was nobody to be seen. Just as he was relaying this to the group, with a sudden popping sound, three wolves appeared in the road directly in front of Euha at the front of the party. Before the party could react, all three lunged forward and sank their fangs into Euha. Euha was badly hurt by the sudden attack, but luckily he avoided being tripped by the wolves and kept his feet.
The party reacted swiftly to the wolves. Krush and Orophin stepped forward to engage the wolves while Euha stepped back behind them. As Krush and Orophin met fang with steel, Euha called forth to his deity for healing power, and some of his wounds closed up, restoring some of his vigor. Tyrrvanus did not step forward, instead he stepped to the side and aimed a bolt of arcing lightning at the middle wolf, stunning it instantly. The remaining two wolves directed their attention to Orophin and Krush, but did little damage.
Just as the sizzling smell of ozone reached the group’s nostrils, a female halfling suddenly appeared directly behind Tyrrvanus, her bloody dagger caught in the act of plunging into his back. The halfling was an odd sight, she wore no armor, just simple brown and black leggings and a blouse. She wore several daggers in sheaths on her belt and thighs. Her red hair flashed in the sun and her green eyes twinkled as she gracefully removed the bloody dagger from Tyrrvanus’ back. As she did so, she shouted wordlessly in obvious bloodlust, sending a spray of Tyrrvanus’ blood into the air. Again Krush heard the strange nearby low-voiced mumbling, and suddenly the halfing sprang forth again with a second attack on Tyrrvanus, but this one somehow did not find its target. Her glee turned to anger and frustration as Tyrrvanus had somehow twisted just enough to avoid her second attack.
Orophin remained engaged with the wolves, dealing a powerful blow to one of them. Krush, seeing Tyrrvanus in danger, turned and rushed towards the halfling, sending a powerful sweep of his battleaxe at the young, comely female. The humor returned to her face as she easily dodged away from the deadly blade. Euha also turned to help Tyrrvanus, leaving Orophin to deal with the wolves on his own. He raised his bow and sent an arrow directly at her head, but the arrow seemed to encounter something, as if she wore an invisible helmet, and the arrow ricocheted away harmlessly. Tyrrvanus took a careful step away from the little halfling to get behind Krush for protection.
The halfling girl laughed out loud and deftly tumbled through Krush and Euha, rising up behind Tyrrvanus again, where her bloody dagger again found its mark as Tyrrvanus groaned in pain. Again the bodiless mumbling of words was heard and again the deadly dagger flashed out, this time sending Tyrrvanus to the ground, unconscious and bleeding freely. As this happened the three wolves continued to hound Orophin, but were unable to land a blow.
Orophin dealt another blow to one of the wolves, killing it instantly. As he did so the halfling girl turned towards Orophin with a smile. Krush and Euha leaped forward and again their steel blades flashed forward. Krush’s battleaxe dealt a glancing blow to the halfling, but she seemed hardly affected by the blow. Euha’s sword blow failed to find its mark. Tyrrvanus continued to bleed into the soft earth.
With a huge grin the halfling girl darted forward, directly engaging Orophin. As she moved Krush and Euha took the opportunity to swing at her but missed. Seemingly unconcerned about the half-orc and paladin, the little halfling looked directly into Orophin’s eyes and said “Are you a rogue?” as her dagger flashed forth and stabbed deeply.
Orophin ignored the two wolves and turned on the halfling, but was unable to return the blow. As his rapier harmlessly flicked past her green eyes, she flicked her red hair playfully and giggled. Krush and Euha again leaped forward and swung their blades, but she again dodged them easily.
But finally her luck seemed to run out. With a wink at Orophin she began to cast a spell, but her spell was interrupted by both Euha’s and Orophin’s steel as each took advantage of her spell casting to strike deep into her flesh. As her spell faded from her lips ineffectually, the little halfling broke and ran at full speed from the area, her bloody wounds evidence of the near-mortal blows.
Krush gave chase as Euha rushed to tend to Tyrrvanus who still lay bleeding on the grass. Krush managed to catch up to the halfling, but she again mouthed the words of a spell, and avoiding Krush’s final desperate blow, she simply took to the air and flew away over the dead tree and into the woods beyond. Krush immediately returned to help dispatch the wolves, and with one sweep of his axe, one of the remaining wolves was split in two. Just as Orophin was preparing to dispatch the second wolf, it vanished abruptly, leaving no trace of its existence. As this occured a sudden “whoosh” sound from nearby was heard and there was no more danger for the party that day.
Luckily the party had some healing potions that they were able to use to bring Tyrrvanus back to health and they completed the trip to Cliffport without further encounters. As they entered the town they saw the townspeople hauling off three body-sized pine boxes and throwing sand and sawdust on bright red splotches on the road. A few townsfolk asked if they were coming to collect the reward, with knowing looks at the receding pine boxes. One matronly woman told them that a young red-haired halfling female, accompanied by a huge rat-looking thing and three wolves, had taken on a group of five adventurers, killing three of them and driving the other two down the road in a panic.
Once in the town they decided to head to the Cliffport Inn where they argued briefly with the Innkeeper about his exorbitant price of 2 gold per room, with a request of 5 gold to allow the half-orc to sleep inside. Tyrrvanus expressed displeasure about sleeping in the same room as Krush (and perhaps others in the party) and in spite of their argument with the Innkeeper, the party agreed to pay an additional 8 gold pieces for a large suite so they could sleep in two rooms.
The next morning they were surprised to be met by Captain Gank-tzi, the head of the local constabulatory of Cliffport. Captain Gank-tzi was a big man, perhaps 300 pounds, but mostly muscle. His powerful neck was topped by a bronze, bald head which glistened with sweat even in the early morning. He asked the party what their purpose was, and when informed they were there to collect the reward, he repeated the story they had heard the afternoon before, adding that they were the third group to try to claim the reward, and the first two had been killed or run off by the red-headed halfling girl.
Tyrrvanus smirked and informed Captain Gank-tzi that they had run the little halfling off the day before, implying that it had been no effort. But Orophin spoiled the illusion by laughing at how Tyrrvanus had spent the bulk of the battle bleeding on the ground. Captain Gank-tzi nevertheless seemed impressed and said mostly to himself “if you could run her off, maybe you can help.” At this point the session came to an end.