After a little discussion about how ACKS works and is different than many other games a party formed. I am basing this campaign off of B2, The Keep on the Borderlands, but with some changes – notably, making the wilderness much larger than the tiny area in the original adventure.
The players have typical luck rolling up their initial characters and do not have much in the way of HP…
Voletta Palestalker – Assassin (Level 1). Str 13, Int 9, Wis 9, Dex 13, Con 7, Cha 9, 1 HP
An exuberant young woman of 19 wearing black leathers and fighting with twin swords.
Bruellyn Giantsgrave – Dwarven Vaultguard (Level 1), Str 15, Int 10, Wis 7, Dex 7, Con 13, Cha 10, 6 HP
A proud female dwarven warrior, she adventures to destroy the hated goblin-kin. Takes trophies from her kills.
Jym – Elven Enchanter (Level 1), Str 9, Int 16, Wis 8, Dex 8, Con 9, Cha 15, 1 HP
A mysterious elven magic-user from the south, his mystic aura impresses all he encounters.
Jarek – Thief (Level 1), Str 5, Int 9, Wis 9, Dex 16, Con 9, Cha 14, 2 HP
17 and lusty, Jarek wants to survive and get rich. Relies on his bow to keep enemies at a distance.
4th of Saltis, Year of the Brazen Youth (53rd year of the Realm)
On a fine spring day, meeting on the road to Fort Gar (the Keep), the players meet the Watch Corporal and are recorded into the keep’s book. They wandered the keep for a while, checking out the fountain statue dedicated to Lord Gar – who pushed back the wilderness – and met Emil the Provisioner, Gavrin the Trader, and Floria, the owner of the Smiling Griffin tavern. While at the tavern, they also met Fane, one of the Trader’s sons, and hired him as their first henchman [I ignored the hiring rules here as this developed organically during play]. Deciding to waste no time, they left Fort Gar to push north. From their nosing around, they had discovered that the Trader was paying for furs and that there was a bounty being offered on kobolds. They also learned that a mighty ogre was somewhere nearby in the wilderness.
Bruellyn, the dwarf, was so heavily loaded with gear that she moved very slowly – especially in the hilly terrain surrounding the keep. So much so that the players were barely able to explore a single hex in a day. Very close to the keep, on an old cart trail, the party met a group of bandits who demanded a toll. The dwarf had little interest in giving in to their demands and a fierce combat ensued, quickly ended by the arrival of 4 fearsome berserkers (elven Stormkin) summoned by Jym’s magic. It was not a good day for the bandits.
Pressing on, they continued to push through the wilderness when they began to feel they were being stalked. Voletta slipped quietly from the path and moved into the woods to attempt to see what was upon them and got up close with a fearsome mountain lion. Rather than flee, the exuberant Assassin cried out, “Mountain Lion” while drawing her twin swords and attacking!
It was over quickly for poor Voletta. As she expired, she saw her companions take down the beast with a combination of luck and missile fire. After looting her body, the party buried Voletta but was unsure of her beliefs and unable to give any last rites. They also saw a shadow of something fly over them and caught a glimpse of what looked like a lion with dragon wings. Wanting nothing to do with whatever that was, they veered off in a new direction.
Despite their loss, the party was still feeling pretty good about their chances against the wilderness. After a quiet night of camping, they ventured northeast and came upon a group of goblins with a captive. Collectively, they dispatched the goblins (saving one as a captive) and Bruellyn made a monument to the battle by mounting the goblin heads on the hilts of their own swords, which she left stuck in the ground. Interrogating the little guy, he told them that if they were hunting kobolds, they’d need to head “that way” and pointed them to the south.
The goblins’ captive turned out to be a Paladin of the Summer Lord, and introduced herself to the party. She was grateful for their rescue but it took a little persuading to convince her to join the party rather than strike off on her own again. With this new addition, the party decided to return to Fort Gar and improve their chances by hiring henchmen, arriving back at the keep on the 7th of Saltis.
On their earlier trip, Jarek had made overtures to Gabinne, one of the barmaids at the Smiling Griffin, and after impressing her with tales of his adventures, the two retired to a private room in the Last Rest Inn to share the night. The next morning, as he attempted to slip away before she awoke, he was surprised to find her already trying to do the same, admonishing him, “I start work early!”