Welcome, dear readers, to the adventure log for my group’s Pathfinder campaign! We are a small but dedicated bunch of graduate students and their significant others who are based out of Waco, and since we saw acting and cooperative storytelling as such a wonderful way to give us relief from the the rigors of research and academic writing projects, we decided to form this group. We saw great promise in the structure of both the world and our party, so we appointed a chronicler to record the group’s adventures for posterity. As such, I will strive to do justice to the likes of Devan Lochees and other great record keepers of actual and fantastical history, and I invite you all to follow along as my group’s tale unfolds.
Before I begin the chronicles, allow me to introduce the members of our group and their personae.
Adam: The diligent Game Master. Responsible for building the world, playing all of the NPCs, and creating the Westengard Wiki. His character is Aleric Thendt, a human ranger.
Brittany: One of the players. Her character is Esmerelda “Ezzy” Rumiel, a half-elven Arani cleric.
Andy: One of the players. His character is Albricht Welkheim, a half-elven paladin.
Rachel: One of the players. Her character is Himani Alanna Anorak, a human rogue.
Devin: One of the players and the designated chronicler of the campaign. His character is Peter Goldschmidt, a human rogue.
Session #1: February 9th, 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.
This session mainly consisted of discussing the logistics of the campaign and walking through character creation. Both GM and players had a hand in creating the world, with Andy’s suggestion that the campaign take place in the aftermath of a great war proving instrumental to many of the decisions that followed. We tentatively laid out our characters’ backgrounds: I would play a lowborn treasure hunter with aspirations of becoming a noble, Brittany would play a nomadic priestess who wanted to avenge the slaughter of her clan and spread the word of God, Andy would play a noble warrior who wanted to found his own country, and Rachel would play a noblewoman who learned thieving skills from her nanny and fled her home to escape an arranged marriage. The party would meet up aboard a ship to the New World, to which we were all drawn for gold, God, and glory. Some of the finer points of our backgrounds changed during character development, but the basic concepts were solid.
We used the 4d6 method for determining ability scores, and were allowed to roll three different sets and choose our favorite. I went with my first set, which consisted of an 18, a 16, a 15, a 12, a 10, and an 8. The 18 went straight into Dexterity, and since the the rules we were using allowed humans to give themselves +2 to an ability score of their choice, I boosted the 16 to an 18 and assigned it to Intelligence. The 15 went to Wisdom, the 12 to Strength, the 10 to Charisma, and the 8 to Constitution. It didn’t take long to determine that Peter was not suited for the front lines, so I invested in a shortbow and a rapier and took Weapon Finesse and Dodge as my feats. Albricht became a heavily-armored warrior who used a sword and a shield, Himani carried two short swords (“long knives”) and a shortbow for ranged combat, and Esmerelda chose to rely on a longbow and her priestly powers.
While distributing skill points and choosing languages, Peter established himself as the party’s linguist. He and Himani both learned thieves’ cant, a mixture of slang and gestures that they could use to communicate discreetly among themselves and with other rogues. Brittany was excited to learn that Peter and Esmerelda were the only characters in the party who spoke Sylvan, which led to the passing of several notes and the exchange of many phrases that sounded like gibberish to our companions. I also won a favor for successfully completing a challenge from her, though she has yet to reveal when or how it will be repaid.
Our homework consisted of finishing our backgrounds, buying the rest of our equipment, familiarizing ourselves with the rules of Pathfinder, and finding miniatures to represent our characters. I started a trend by adding Peter’s bio to the wiki, and the rest of the group followed suit. Despite my best efforts, Peter’s gear amounted to a medium load for him, and I came up with the simple but inelegant solution of having him remove his backpack right before or at the beginning of combat. I bought two different miniatures before deciding which one to use, saving the other for possible use later in Peter’s character arc. Let it never be said that I’m not a planner.
Session #2: February 24th, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
After asking last-minute questions, displaying our miniatures, and filling our bellies with lasagna, we officially started the campaign. As The Astral Gale sailed toward Arim, Adam recapped the events of the Crownwright War and the campaign against the orcs that set the stage for Damien Rand to become the governor of Westengard. The ship soon arrived at Westengard’s port, where a greeter furnished the party with maps that helped them devise a plan of action. While Esmerelda and Himani set out to find lodging, Albricht and Peter went to the White Keep to seek employment with Lord Rand. The women met with Rendar Bladehawk and reserved rooms at the Setting Sun Inn for 5 silver pieces per night. In spite of Albricht’s best diplomatic efforts, the men were unable to get an audience with Lord Rand, though an administrator told them that Fort Horizon was in need of able-bodied militiamen. The party reunited at the inn, where Rendar told them that the local militia had been unable to respond to requests for assistance from Farmer Harrow and the crew of a cargo ship. The party ate dinner and turned in early, resolving to investigate these problems the following day.
Early the next morning, the party headed to Harrow’s farm on the outskirts of the city. He told them that a swarm of bats had taken up residence in his barn and offered a reward if they could clear them out. Albricht insisted that doing a good deed was its own reward, but Peter and Himani were more than willing to accept payment from the old man. The party entered the barn cautiously and unleashed arrows on the bats, though only Esmerelda’s struck true. The swarm surrounded Albricht and inflicted a deep, bleeding wound on him, but Peter landed a blow with his rapier that distracted the bats long enough for the paladin to disperse the swarm. Esmerelda staunched the bleeding and healed Albricht’s wound as Himani investigated the corpses; although they were larger than normal bats, nothing about their diet or behavior seemed unusual.
Farmer Harrow was grateful for the party’s help and rewarded them generously with gold. He also mentioned that a wolf had been preying on the cattle from nearby farms. None of the party members were sufficiently skillful trackers to find the wolf’s den, so they visited the Rangers’ Guild of Westengard to hire someone who could help. Lord Ranger Jonneleth Cole told them that the novitiate Aleric Thendt would be well-suited for the task, and the young ranger was all too eager to complete his initiation and become a full member of the guild.
Aleric tracked the wolf into the foothills north of town, and Himani and Peter scouted its cave while the rest of the party waited outside. Finding it asleep, Peter beckoned for the others to enter, but a misstep by Aleric woke the wolf and cost the party the element of surprise. Himani narrowly avoided being bitten by the wolf as the rest of the party fired arrows at it or closed to melee range. None of the arrows hit, and Peter was particularly discouraged by his missed shot, but once the party had the beast surrounded, Himani lopped off its head with one well-placed slash. Aleric skinned the wolf, agreeing to let the others keep the profits from its pelt, and returned to the Rangers’ Guild to report his success. The party sold the wolf’s pelt, fangs, and claws, and gave Peter the role of party treasurer. Albricht spent the early afternoon spreading word of the party’s deeds among the townsfolk, who were already beginning to view the newcomers as more reliable than the city militia.
After a brief intermission to watch the 8-Bit Theater reenactment of an iconic Dead Alewives skit, the party returned to the port to aid the crew of the cargo ship. Its hold was infested with dire rats that attacked anyone who tried to unload the cargo, and the captain wanted the party to dispose of them. Albricht, Esmerelda, and Peter took the stairs into the hold while Himani prepared an ambush from above, and Peter took point and fired an arrow at one of the rats. He missed, as did his companions and all three of the rats, but he backed off and wounded one of them with another arrow. Himani leaped into the hold and killed one of the rats in a flurry of blades, and Esmerelda shot the tail off the wounded one. Peter drew his rapier and ran another rat through, and the remaining one disarmed Himani while Albricht bent his sword on a support beam with a powerful but poorly-aimed swing. Finally, Peter skewered the last rat, and the party collected and distributed their reward from the captain. Part of it paid for the repair of Albricht’s sword, and the captain told the party about an ancient settlement called Lost Arathia, which both Peter and Albricht took a keen interest in exploring.
Experience was distributed, and March 16th was set as a tentative date for the next session.