This is the tale of Team Zero Comp’s Pathfinder adventures. We play every Monday and it’s a blast! We’re part Lord of the Rings, part Monte Python and 100% fun. If you’re curious about joining in on an RPG jump in and give it a go! We sell all Pathfinder (and D&D) products at 20% off, so even if you don’t see something you want in the online store, we can most likely still get it so feel free to shoot us your order! Orders@FrontlineGaming.org
Also, while I strive to learn as much as I can about the setting and rules of Pathfinder, I am sure I get some details wrong here and there, so forgive my changes to cannon because we don’t worry about it at all as we’re too busy laughing and having fun =)
We use fully painted miniatures too, and 3D terrain to make it more immersive. If you want to have any of your miniatures painted by us, drop us a line at Painting@FrontlineGaming.og and we’re happy to give you a quote!
Recently inducted into the Lastwall militia, we find our heroes about to embark on a new chapter of their lives.
Hailing from disparate corners of the Inner Sea Region and each for his own reasons, these young men have come to join the ranks of crusaders of Lastwall. Young men and women like them have made the journey to Lastwall over the past eight centuries to both keep watch over the Whispering Tyrant’s resting place, and to hold the line against the ever aggressive Orc threat from the Hold of Belkzen.
Lastwall is the first and best line of defense against these threats, and its military is comprised of volunteers: individuals who believe in their cause, and fight because they choose to.
With the appearance of the infernal Worldwound to the far north, and the Mendevian crusade formed to combat that dire threat, the stream of recruits to Lastwall has slowed over recent years. A force already stretched thin, finds itself stretched even thinner. The Orcs, sensing this weakness, have become more aggressive, and ambitious Warlords begin making moves to increase their power and deal a deathblow to their hated enemies in Lastwall.
The fight to hold the borders against their vast numbers begins to become an ever more grim proposition….
“Fresh meat for the grinder,” First Ranger Jason said. “Times must truly be tough for you lot to make the cut.”
He paced in front of the party, eyeing each of them in turn.
“How is it that a fancy Elf boy, ugly Dwarf bartender, Half-Orc swamp dweller that talks to a slug, a lunatic woodsman tree-huger and a Deep Gnome come to join the Lastwall Militia? You lot are a sorry sight to see, indeed.” He stopped in front of Damien, “and you. You’re too pretty to be a soldier. You were a merchant, from what I hear.”
“I was,” Damien replied.
First Ranger Janson spit, “a copper counting, pretty boy. We’re buggered if this is the best of what’s coming to walk the wall. At least your comrades here have some combat training, you’ve spent your life with your nose in a ledger or coming that woman’s hair of yours.”
The First Ranger shook his head in disbelief.
“Well, I suppose you lot can die on an Orc’s blade as well as any men. Perhaps one or two of you will live long enough to prove your worth.”
Not a man known for his loquacity, the First Ranger led the recruits away from the freshwater port city of Vellumis without further ado. They traveled across the fertile plains of Lastwall towards their post at the frontier fort, Castle Everstand. Castle Everstand stands at the very edge of the civilized world, the barbarian hordes of Orcs held back by its defenders courage and skill at arms.
“A little trivia for you boys,” Janson said as they rode, “Castle Everstand isn’t a normal castle. Well, it is, but it’s origins are a tale worth telling. Years back, in one of the endless Orc attacks on the wall, we got caught with our pants down. A brave, maybe foolhardy, Sargent decided that he’d risk the fickle fates and take a pull on a Deck of Many Things. Fortune must truly favor the bold for the lucky bastard managed to use his pull to magic up the Castle. Ha! Must have been something to see the look on those Orcs’ faces when all of a sudden, a Castle stood full of Lastwall’s fiercest where none had been a moment before.” Janson laughed at his own joke.
“At any rate, you boys are joining a long and proud tradition. Do it justice and show your worth with your deeds.”
As the group approached the northern edge of the feared Fangwood Forest, they could see a disturbance on the road ahead. A group of farmers were attempting to right an overturned cart, its contents scattered across the road. Women were weeping, and several men were injured.
“A ranger of the Wall,” one of the Famrers said upon spotting the group, “please sir, we need your help!”
The party stopped to listen.
“We was attacked by Goblins! The little bastards stole our food and took me boy!” one of the farmers said, frantically, “They ran off into the Fangwood, please sir, go after him and split their ugly little skulls! They cut me badly, and me brothers’ arm is busted, we’re no good.”
First Ranger Janson turned to the recruits, “Well boys, what’ll it be?”
“Justice must be done, we go for the boy!” Dimak said.
“You may be ugly, but I like your spirit, Dwarf,” Janson said, smiling. “You all go after the boy and bring him back if possible. I will stay here and tend to the wounded, keep an eye out for any more of the filthy creatures.”
Using the skills taught to him by his father–a great Ranger of Lastwall in his day–Frugeon followed the tracks of the Goblins into the Fangwood. As the party made their way further into the dark wood, his keen Elven eyes spotted the thick strands of spider silk moments before stepping in them.
“Halt comrades, something is wrong,” Frugeon said. “Most of the tracks end here, and I see evidence of spiders in the area. Big ones.”
As if on cue, two of the giant vermin spring from their hiding places in the trees and attacked the party!
The party–prepared due to Frugeon’s warning–met the Spiders head on! Now was the time to put their training to the test, and they sprang to the offensive with the zeal of young men eager to prove themselves!
Dimak clove one in two with his mighty Dwarven War Axe, while Frugeon let loose with a deadly accurate arrow, slaying one of the beasts in a single shot. With both of the vicious predators dead, the party shared a proud moment, having faced combat for the first time and coming out the better men!
The party made their way through the wood, following the tracks of what was left of the Goblins to a dark and dank cave that smelled of evil things and dark deeds.
“Slugo is scared of dark holes,” Durbag said as he stroked his familiar: a big, slimy slug.
From within the cave, the party could hear the feint sounds of someone crying for help.
Dimak grabbed his family stein and swiftly poured a draft of ale into it from his skin. Holding the stein aloft he shouted, “By my Ancestors, it’s Hammerfist time!” and threw back the ale in a single pull, some of it’s contents spilling down into his beard. An odd look came over the Dwarf’s eyes and with a goofy smile he raised his axe above his head, bellowed a war cry and charged into the cave!
“Wait you idiot!” Daemion shouted, too late.
As he barreled in, the Dwarf noticed the giant spider webs laying on the floor of the cave just in the nick of time. In a feat of astounding agility, the Dwarf high-stepped his way through the trap and came face to face with the residents of the dank hole!
“By Torag, they’re great, ugly beasties!” Dimak shouted as he bore down on the Giant Black Widows.
The battle was fierce, and the great beasts fought viciously to defend their lair, but the party didn’t balk in the face of danger! Lazerous charged bravely to the front, brandishing his two-handed woodsmen’s axe, only to be bitten by one of the great vermin!
“[ach, by my wood, they’ve poisoned me!],” Lazerous cried out in a strange tongue.
“What in the hells did he say?” Dimak shouted.
“It was Abyssal. He said he’s been poisoned” Damion replied as he killed one of the beasts, calmly plunging his short sword into its head. “He must be cursed to speak in tongues, or mad. Maybe both.”
“I’ve got the last one,” said the diminutive Deep Gnome as he deftly vaulted between the Spiders legs, rolling and coming up behind it, crossbow in hand and expertly sunk a quarrel deep into its abdomen.
“Yes! Craxis is a deadly shot!”
The spider then bit Craxis.
“Craxis immediately regrets his decision!” he said clutching his wound and slumping to the floor, spasming from the poison coursing through his body.
Before the Spider could do any more damage to the now vulnerable Craxis, the party pounced on it, killing the beast in a hail of axes blows and arrows.
“Next time, don’t go rushing into the jaws of the trap, Dwarf,” Daemion said to Dimak, “a little forethought could have averted what likely would have been a disaster.”
Dimak laughed, “all’s well that ends well. The beasties be dead and Dimak led the way!”
Daemion shook his head in consternation.
After aiding their hurt comrades, they searched the cave, discovering the source of the cries for help they’d heard earlier.
“A filthy little Gobo!” Dimake spat. “We should split him in two!”
The little Goblins eye’s went wide, “No hurt Biter, he help you!”
“What help could a weasly little stinker like you be?” Dimak asked.
“Wait, let me speak with it,” Daemion said, pointing his Short Sword at the little creature. “Are there any more of your kin in the area?”
“No, only Biter left! Nasty spiders eat Biters’ friends!”
“Where’s the boy?”
“I’ve found him,” Craxis interjected, “here in this cocoon. He’s barely alive, but he can be saved if we act swiftly.”
Durbag rushed over to the boy who’s face was pale and turning blue. Durbag jumped from one foot to the other, shaking various bags and totems that hung from his body and flapping his lizard skin cape around, chanting and speaking to Slugo.
“Slugo says he can save the boy!” Durbag said, and smeared his beloved slug on the still boy’s face, “feel the power of Slugo’s great healing magics!”
“That’s disgusting,” Daemion said in revulsion.
Slugo must have contained great magic indeed, for the boy coughed weakly and moaned, color returning to his face.
The party smiled at one another and shared pats on the back in relief. They’d saved the day, it seemed!
“I can’t believe that worked,” Furgeon said in disbelief.
“That Slug is magical,” Lazerous said, a look of awe on his wild-eyed face.
Daemion turned back to the Goblin, who was slack-jawed in wonder at the magic he had just observed.
“You were about to tell me how you were going to help us and why we shouldn’t just kill you now.”
“Biter has a great treasure, and sees many things! Things that happens in the darkness!”
“Such as?” Daemion asked.
“Orkses sneaking about in the night! Coming and going to the Fangwood!”
The party shared worried glances with one another for they knew that no Orcs should be this far south of the wall.
“Biter tells the truth, he does! Look in Biter’s pocket, a treasure he has!”
Daemion pulled a large, green scale from Biters’ pocket.
“This is bad. This is a Dragon’s scale; an adult Dragon at that. Probably very old. The only great Wurm in the Fangwood is Zedoran. If the Orcs have found him and sway him to lend them his aid, this could be disastrous,” Daemion said.
Biter thanked the party for their mercy, promised to start a new life as an honest little Goblin and ran off into the woods.
The party made their way out of the cave with the wounded boy in tow, and a high quality Emerald they found among the bodies of the Spiders’ victims.
Outside, they returned the boy to his overjoyed family. They were offered a reward by the farmers–all the money they had saved to pay for the new farm they were building–but the gallant heroes refused it. The farmers wept in joy, and proclaimed them all heroes that would make great names for themselves, which pleased the young men a great deal.
First Ranger Janson nodded in approval, “Seems like I may have been a bit premature in my judgement of you lads. Might be some character in you, after all. You did the right thing, that reward was all those people had to start their new life with.”
Daemion and Craxis shared a sarcastic look, rolling their eyes while the rest of the party smiled and shook hands with one another, pleased with their performance in their first real fight and their decision to take the path of morality.
Upon seeing the Dragon Scale, Jasnon was greatly alarmed. He commended the party on their investigative ability, and ordered everyone to mount up, and make all haste for Castle Everstand. The Great Green Wurm was a potent monster, one that could swing the delicate balance of power sharply in the Orcs’ favor.
The party shortly arrived at the castle and acclimated themselves with their surroundings. They were summoned to an audience with the standing commander of the castle: Lance Farstrider, of house Farstrider. Captain Gauntwood had left to the capital of Vigil to petition the Watcher-Lord for more soldiers to deal with the increased Orc raids.
In the audience chambers of the castle’s keep…
“First Ranger Janson tells me you men have already proven yourselves to be of great value to us. I commend your valor and initiative,” said the tall, handsome Lance.
First Ranger Janson stepped forward, “aye, you have the right of it, Sir. These men looked like not much more than grist for the mill, but they’ve got some mettle in them.”
“Excellent. We’ve need of brave, able men. The Orcs have become more active of late, and better organized,” Lance said. “They have a new leader, a cunning Orc. Bold, and uncommonly patient for one of his kind and ruthless. His name is Orgug, his men call him Orgug the Brutal. He is a dangerous foe and this news that he may have made contact with Zedoran is dire indeed.
“We must act at once if we are to avoid what could be a disaster. We have sent scouts out to try and locate Orgug’s base camp, but so far we have been unable to do so. He stays on the move and never sets camp in the same place twice. His shaman, Wurzagg, has managed to keep them hidden from Bones’ scrying magics as well.”
“Yes, he must be using some form of Orcish blood magic, or making great sacrifices to their foul gods to stay hidden from me,” said a particularly creepy looking old man.
Lance nodded, “If Bones can’t find them, they’re well hidden. If our scouts can’t find them, they’re exceptionally well hidden. Once you have rested, First Ranger Janson will lead you out on another mission. We sent out a patrol of veteran Rangers and have lost contact with them. We fear the worst. You will go out and track them, determine their fate and bring them home, alive or dead.”
Janson stepped forward, “was Bill with them, sir?”
Lance nodded, a sad look on his face.
Janson face turned dark, but said nothing.
“In the meantime, you may use any of the facilities you find here. We have churches to both Gorum and Iomedae, as well as the armory where you may resupply as you need. The cooks also can provide you with a hot meal. You all leave at first light.”
A beautiful Half-Elven woman to Lance’s side stepped forward and smiled at them, “I serve our Glorious Lady, Iomedae, and I would be honored to tend to you should anyone have need of my abilities.”
A stern man in vicious, spiked iron plate to Lance’s other side crossed his arms and starred at the party, “Our Lord in Iron offers nothing. The strong make happen that which they desire. If you’re fighting men and worth a damn, I will aid you. If not, to the hells with you.”
At first light, the party mounted their steeds and set out on the trail with the First Ranger.
“The land turns harsh the further into Belkzen we go. Tracking becomes more difficult. I will let you lead,” Janson said, indicating Frugeon, “but if you make a mistake, I will show the way.”
Frugeon nodded and used the years of teaching he had received from his father and grandfather to follow the tracks of the missing patrol of Rangers, “you know one of the men who’s missing?”
Janson snorted, “I know them all. Not so many of us on the wall that one goes unknown. But aye, one of them I know as well as a man can. Bill. He’s my brother.”
Frugeon nodded, “then we shall find him.”
Following the trail was a difficult task as the terrain went from grassy to increasingly rocky and the day grew to dusk. After many hours and many miles, the party came to a narrow, rocky valley, where in the failing light they saw a terrifying sight. They had found the missing Rangers.
“Bill, no!” Janson cried as he spurred his horse to a gallop.
The party followed the distraught Janson to a scene straight from one of the hells. The 4 Rangers had been stripped naked and crucified, with their eyes and tongues pulled from their faces. Dried blood crusted the wounds and a murder of crows worried the corpses, pecking away little chunks of their flesh.
Janson sank to his knees at his brother’s feet, and wept.
He reached up to his brother and at his touch, Bill let out a groan.
“He’s still alive!” Janson shouted. His voice echoed throughout the narrow valley, setting the crows to flight. “Help me get him down, he can still be saved!”
As the party dismounted from their horses to help Janson cut his brother down, they heard a terrible roar and the deep beating of a drum as a band of Orcs leapt from their hiding places and sprang their ambush!
Caught off their guard, the party barely has time to draw their weapons before the Orcs smash into their lines! The fighting was vicious, and the Orcs offered no quarter. The beating of their war drum reverberated down the valley and was accented by the clashing of steel and the cries of the wounded. The party was fighting back to back, with no room to withdraw!
“Fight them off while I get my brother onto a horse!” Janson shouted at the party as he furiously pried at the nails holding his brother to the cross.
Frugeon and Craxis peppered the Orcs with arrows, but wounds that would drop a normal creature to its knees only further enraged the ferocious Orcs.
Dimak and Lazerous bravely charged back into the Orcs, fighting with axes but were overwhelmed by the Orcs’ numbers. Despite Lazerous empowering his wood, it still wasn’t enough! If it were not for the bravery of Durbag, rushing forward to heal the warriors, they would have certainly fallen.
For his courage, the fullblooded Orcs cursed him for a weakling half-breed and stuck him in the gut! Durbag dropped to the ground, his life’s blood staining the ground green.
Dameion dazzled their leader with his magic, a particularly vicious, berserk Orc long enough to allow Dimak to slay him in single combat.
Jansons’ horse, its eyes rolling back in terror, kicked out and smashed an Orcs head in with a well timed kick as it tried to strike the vulnerable Ranger.
When the dust settled, the Orcs were put to the sword, but every one of the party was injured, most of them severely, including Janson, and Durbag looked dead.
Janson finished loading Bill onto his horse when the sound of a war-horn sounded and the thunder of hooves could be heard.
“By the Gods of the under-dark, not more of them,” Craxis said, holding his bleeding arm.
“Quickly, we must flee,” Janson said, mounting his own horse, “the Orcs ride boars. They’re as vicious as the Orcs who ride them and will tear a man or a horse to pieces, but they’re no match for the speed of a horse over open ground.”
As the party mounted their steeds, the Orcs crested the nearest ridge and came pouring down the hill, their Boars breathing hard. Behind them, standing tall and fierce, was the most imposing Orc any of them had ever seen. He stood with his arms crossed, watching the scene unfold below him.
“It’s Orgug! Run!” Janson shouted as he spurred his horse to a gallop.
Before mounting his horse, Frugeon nocked an arrow and drew it back, taking careful aim before loosing it. The arrow flew true, but Orgug did not flinch as he watched it fly towards him. Calmly, he tilted his head at the last moment and the arrow sailed past. Frugeon noted that Orgug had not even uncrossed his arms in the effort.
Wasting not another moment, Frugeon vaulted onto his horse and raced away after his comrades.
The Orcs made chase but the party rode hard through the night, pushing their steeds to their limits. Every mile the pulled further ahead, but the Orcs did not give up the chase. With the rising sun, they saw Castle Everstand and the Orcs called off their pursuit.
Upon entering the castle, Janson hastily unloaded his brother and made for the temple of Iomedae, calling for aide as he ran.
In the Temple, they were joined by Shayleesta, Sandor, Bones and Lance.
“Please blessed lady, heal my brother!” Janson said, falling to his knees with his brother held in his arms.
Always a delicate creature, Shayleesta gasped when she saw Bill’s body. She collected herself swiftly, and ran to him, placing her hands on the body and channeling the positive, healing energy of her deity into the body.
Bill let out a long, low moan and his back began to arch.
“Something’s wrong,” she said when she pulled her hands away.
“What do you mean something’s wrong, heal him!” Janson cried. “He’s dying!”
The old Necromancer, Bones starred at the body with a concerned look on his face.
“I’ll try again,” Shayleesta said, flustered.
She placed hands on him again, and again, channeled Iomeda’s healing energy into the body.
Bill reacted violently, his back arching at a bone breaking angle. Something black, and grotesque began to writhe in the recess of his hollow eyes and mouth.
Bones pushed his way past the giant of a Cleric, Sandor and cried out, “get away from it! The body is brimming with dark magic!”
Bill flung himself forward and gripped Janson in a mighty bear hug, wrapping his arms and legs around his astounded brother.
“He’s crushing me,” Janson said through teeth clenched in pain.
“What do I do?!” Shayleesta cried.
Lance and Sandor pulled their blades, as did the party, and rushed towards Janson! Fat, hairy, black flies began to fly from Bill’s eyes, ears and mouth in great clouds.
“Help me!” Janson screamed in pain. Bill’s body began to swell to an inhuman size, all the time his grip tightened and the sickening sound of Janson’s bones snapping filled the room.
“By the Gods, do something!” Lance shouted as he spit flies from his mouth and made his way towards the grotesque scene.
Frugeon, in a moment of panic, let loose with an arrow at the bloated body of what was once Bill. The arrow cut a path through the cloud of flies and struck true. The body detonated in a deafening explosion. Everyone in the room was thrown back, crashing into the ground.
When they recovered and picked themselves up, there was nothing left of Bill or Janson but a meaty, red stain.
Lazerous pulled a fragment of bone from a wound in his arm. Whose it had belonged to, he couldn’t say.
Daemion coughed up blood, having been caught full force in the blast.
Shayleesta wept at the terrible scene before them, her hair and dress coated in blood and gore.
Lance stood silently, staring at the macabre scene, his face dark with anger.
Sandor the Stern turned to the party, a slightly bemused look on his face, “Welcome to the wall.”