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 and have some friends that are interested, 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!
We use fully painted miniatures too, and 3D terrain to make it more emmersive. If you want to have any of your RPG miniatures painted by us, drop us a line at Painting@FrontlineGaming.og and we’re happy to give you a quote!
For all previous chapters of the story, PC bios, and the Rogue’s Gallery, click here!
Previously, our heroes found themselves immediately in the action upon enlisting in the Lastwall Militia. Before even reaching their first post, they had already tested their mettle against wild beasts. With little time to recover, they were quickly sent on a dangerous mission deep into Orc country to rescue missing Rangers. They found the missing men, all dead save one, only to discover themselves in a trap! Fighting through the Orcs, they raced home to Castle Everstand but the safety they anticipated was false and the Ranger they had rescued had been infused with dark magiks. The body exploded upon their return, killing First Ranger Janson, and spreading a cloud of great, black flies through the Castle…
Lance Farstrider was quivering with anger, “it was all a set up. The entire thing, from the beginning was nothing more than a ruse to get that body to Castle Everstand. Orgug sacrificed our men and his just to deliver that foul magik into our midst.”
“This is the enemy we face,” Sandor said, “He is merciless and so must we be if we hope to defeat him.”
“No. The men of Lastwall stand for principal. If we sink to their level, we become no better than they are,” Lance answered.
“Then you dig our graves,” Sandor said and stalked out of the room.
Lance turned to the party.
“Rest. You all have been through much tonight. We must all mourn the loss of so many of ours and prepare to strike back at Orgug. I swear by the gods that justice shall be done!”
As they made their way to the barracks, the party noticed the fat, hairy flies buzzing all around the camp. The annoying pests seemed to go straight for their eyes and mouths.
That night, while laying in the barracks, all of the party, felt a terrible queasiness. Many were afflicted with a stomach malady and the privy was soon overflowing with men emptying their bowels or puking nosily. By morning, it was evident the Castle had been stricken, as no part of it had been left untouched by the sickness. Durbag also succumbed, and was feverish.
The party was summoned to the keep…
“It appears Orgug has not yet finished striking out at us through the dead,” Lance said, his face pale and covered in a sheen of sweat, “we are laid low with this sickness.”
Shayleesta stepped forward, “This sickness is magical in nature, and resistant to any attempts to stop it. Even the power of Iomodae has been insufficient to cure it, I have only been able to ease the symptoms.” She glanced nervously at Lance.
“There is some silver lining to this disaster though,” Lance said, “Bones has been able to penetrate their magical protection and spot the source of this malady. Our thanks to you sage, I know you worked through the night to gather this information.”
Bones nodded at the compliment, “indeed, at great cost I have located the general location of this curse, but the information I gathered may prove our salvation. It is powerful magic the Orcs had conjured indeed, and of a profane nature. The Orcs have been able to hide so far, but this dark magic is too difficult to conceal, and last night I remotely viewed it. I have marked upon this map where I believe it to be.”
Lance handed the party the map, “You all have proven yourselves to be resourceful, brave and competent. I know you are but fresh recruits, and this is a heavy burden, but we have need of you to go deep into enemy territory again. Orgug will surely have planned that this sickness would weaken us, and will be waiting to strike when he thinks us most weak. I will not sit and wait for that to happen. I will lead every one of my knights that can sit a saddle to draw Orgug and his Blood Riders away from their camp. You all will travel with Sandor, find the source of this curse, and destroy it.”
“This is an enormous risk for us. We will be exposing ourselves and if this plan fails, Castle Everstand will be more exposed than it ever has been. You must not fail,” Lance Said.
The party gathered their supplies and made ready to ride.
“I brook no weakness,” Sandor said to them as he saddled his horse. “Know this, I am your commanding officer and I will be obeyed. If any of you turns his back to the enemy, I will kill them myself. We will succeed in our mission or die in the attempt.”
The party exchanged concerned glances with one another as they finalized their preparations.
The party set out with all haste, heading towards what they hoped was the source of Castle Everstand’s torment. The land became ever more harsh the further into Belkzen they traveled. Frugeon’s skills as a tracker again proved to be invaluable as he directed them through the badlands.
Several days later, the party came to an area of heavy foot traffic and the tracks split off in two directions.
“Many Orcs and beasts traveling in both directions,” Frugeon said, examining the tracks.
“We split up,” Sandor replied, “I shall follow the trail heading West, you all follow the trail heading East. If you find the source of the plague, do not act without me. I am the only one with the power to destroy it. Come back here and we will plan our attack.”
Without another word, Sandor rode down the western tracks.
The party made their way along the eastern path, stalking through the badlands, nerves on edge. In the distance, just over a rise of hills, they could see smoke.
Craxis snuck ahead of the party, disappearing into the shadows.
On his belly, he topped the ridge-line and saw a group of Ogres in a valley, with a pot over a fire. Next to them was a pile of Orc bodies in various stages of dismemberment. Craxis noted that they all bore the markings of the Murdered Child Tribe, Orgug’s warriors. The Ogres were alternatively tearing Orc limbs off of the bodies and either eating them raw, or tossing them into the pot while one of them cooked the macabre stew.
Craxis also noticed the unmistakable glint of sunlight on gold and gems, which sat in a chest close to the brutes. Craxis could see that the lock has been smashed open.
He slunk back down the rise, and set several bear traps in concealed positions.
Craxis told the party of what he had seen, and of the bear traps he had set. After a brief discussion on whether they should try and negotiate with the brutes they decided that would only result in violence and them losing their tactical advantage.
Frugeon stalked silently through the wood, and positioned himself between the Ogres and Craxis’ traps. He carefully took aim, and let loose an arrow. An Ogre howled in pain and jumped to his feet, clutching at the arrow sticking from his back.
“Dey’s shootin us, boys!” Shouted one of the Ogres, pointing to where the arrow had come from, “A fancy Elf boy! More meat for the pot!”
The Ogres let out a battle cry and charged after Frugeon. Frugeon smiled coldly and backed away, firing arrow into his assailants, stepping carefully over the traps to avoid them.
His comrades lay in wait, watching as the Ogres barreled over the ridge line.
The lead Ogre stepped right into a trap, its teeth biting deeply into his leg and sending him crashing to the ground.
“It’s Hammerfist time!” Dimak shouted as the party sprung their ambush.
Lazerous, the mad woodsmen, and Dimak’s axes tore chunks from the Ogres as Frugeon continued to pepper them with arrows. The Ogres fought back viciously though, and their clubs were deadly weapons.
Daemion conjured up a magikal sleep, and 2 of the Ogres fell into an unnatural slumber. Dimak used the opportunity to delver a Coup de Gras, severing the head from an incapacitated Ogre.
Durbag cast a hex on another Ogre, putting it into an unnatural slumber as well, and that Ogre was dispatched shortly!
The last Ogre was shortly overwhelmed by the party, and cut down without mercy!
“Craxis has the chest, it’s full of glittery gems, and clinking coins!” the little Gnome said, “and this note, looks like Orcish.”
Daemion read the note aloud, “I pledge to you half of all spoils of war, maidens, and lands in your honor in exchange for your aide. Take these treasures as a sign of my good faith.”
“What do ye think it means,” Dimak asked, scratching his head.
“Perhaps Orgug was trying to recruit the Ogres to his aide, and the Ogres decided to eat the messengers and keep the gold instead,” Daemion said.
“Slugo says their may be a traitor at the castle,” Durbag said, stroking his slug.
“That would be a disaster if true,” Frugeon replied.
“I like wood,” Lazerous said, but no one paid attention to him.
The party loaded the chest onto their loyal Pony, Bill, and made their way back down the trail to reunite with Sandor.
“What did you find,” Sandor asked.
The party showed him the note, and told him about the Ogres.
“Well done. Ogres are filthy beasts, better dead. If this note was meant for a traitor, then blood will be spilled. If it was meant for the Dragon, Zedoran, then it is very possible they may have found his lair. Both of those possibilities are dire. We must move with haste.
“I found the Orc camp,” he continued, “it is an hour’s ride from here. Lance’s ploy to lure Orgug and his men into the field worked, the camp is defended only by a rear guard. For all of his weak-kneed policy, I must admit he has a head for strategy.
“The Orcs have the advantage at night, we ride at first light and attack with the rising sun. Rest now, I will take first watch.”
After resting briefly, the party made for the Orc camp. Still dark, they made their way through the broken landscape, following Sandor who moved with an uncanny silence despite his heavy, Iron armor.
In the greying dawn, they could see a massive Orc effigy, humming with dark magik. Around it, over a dozen Orcs were on guard.
“Now’s the time to strike these bastards down,” Sandor said, unsheathing his sword, “You all will hold the vermin off while I destroy their filthy effigy and end the curse on Castle Everstand. For Gorum!”
He charged forward out of the treeline, the rising sun behind him.
“Craxis thinks a sneakier plan would have been better!” the Gnome said as he moved into firing position, his crossbow felling an Orc with a thrum.
The fighting was fierce, the Orcs not giving up a step without shedding blood. Sandor cut his way to the effigy, and began the rites needed to sever the link from it to the Orc’s brutish god, Rovagug.
Dimak and Lazerous clove their way into the Orcs, axes gleaming red. Durbag and Lazerous focused their magiks, causing swathes of Orcs to drop into an unnatural slumber, reducing the effectiveness of their numbers.
The Orcs were not without magic of their own! A shaman on the effigy sent his Wolf down into the fray, and conjured up a sphere of fire, casting it down and searing Dimak and Lazerous badly.
“Death to the bleedin Shaman!” Dimak yelled as he rushed the effigy.
The Orc summoned up a wall of wind, buffeting the Dwarf violently and causing his wounds to bleed profusely, but Dimak would not be denied. He clove the Orc in two with a mighty blow form his Waraxe!
The party was heartened by the victory, but were caught unawares by an Orc Berserker charging into their flank and felling Craxis with a single, devastating blow!
“Craxis!” Durbag called out, and in his anger summoned forth a terrible spirit, sending it after the Orc who fell from his berserk state at the horrific spirit and fled from it! He was easily cut down with arrows as he ran.
With their leaders slain, and half of their number in a magikal sleep, the Orcs were defeated shortly.
Sandor summoned forth a great surge of Divine power, and with a mighty cry, sundered the effigy in a deafening crack of shattered stone. A great wind burst forth from the effigy, filling the party’s ears with an angry cry before the scene settled.
“It is done,” Sandor said. “Strip these bodies of any valuables, and burn them. I will be back.”
“Follow him, quietly,” Daemion told Frugeon.
Frugeon crept stealthily after the Battle Cleric. Sandor made his way into the Orc village and gathered the Women and Children, pulling them by the hair, and cuffing any that disobeyed him. In rough Orcish, he commanded all of them to gather in a circle. When one woman tried to run with her babe in arms, Sandor swiftly pulled a javelin from his back and threw it, spearing both woman and child.
Frugeon ran back to the party, telling them what was happening.
The group rushed back to the crude village to see Sandor standing among the women and children, his arms raised.
“What is going on here?” Daemion shouted.
“Stand down!” thundered Sandor, “I am your commanding officer and I order you not to interfere. I am doing what must be done!”
“He’s going to kill them,” Daemion said.
“Yes, and every one of these boys will grow to become a warrior that will try and kill you, every one of these women would stick a blade in your belly given the chance. They are not men, they are beasts! Dangerous beasts and I am going to put them down!
“You’re a monster!” Durbag cried out.
“No, half-breed, I am a man. You are the monster, look at yourself! Cross me and I will destroy you!” Sandor said.
Durbag ran and hid behind a rock, “Slugo, the mean man is going to hurt us!”
“Should we stop him? He’s our commanding officer!” Dimak said.
“The wood does not approve of killing women and children,” Lazerous replied.
“Sandor makes a good point,” Daemion said, “those Orcs are our enemy and one day they will be trying to kill us.”
Before the party could decide on a course of action, Sandor called on his cruel god, Gorum, and channeled negative energy through his body, sending waves of unlife through the Orc women and children. They cried out as their lives were quenched, falling to the ground, gasping and clawing. One of the Orcs, a young boy, had been protected by his mother, and turned to run for the trees.
“Kill that beast!” Sandor shouted.
Daemion stepped forward, crossbow at the ready. He took aim and fired a bolt, but missed the fleet footed young Orc.
“Damn your incompetence,” Sandor cried, “but you did not hesitate. Perhaps you have the mettle in you to win this war.” Sandor looked through the corpses, spotting a particular woman’s corpse, the same that had shielded her son.
“Orgug’s bitch,” Sandor said, eyeing her tattoos. “I will send him a message.” The Cleric tossed her body against a tree, and proceeded to nail her hands and feet to it.
“An eye for an eye. He desecrates ours, we desecrate his,” Sandor said darkly.
The party gathered themselves, and Craxis’ body, and silently made their way back to Castle Everstand.
The party arrived to cheers!
Lance’s rouse had worked, and nearly all of the Knights had returned alive from their mission to lure Orgug out. The sickness had already begun to lessen in its intensity.
Back at the castle keep…
“You have proven yourselves worthy, once again!” Lance said. “Your bravery is unquestionable, and your actions have saves us all.”
“Your Knights share in the glory, sir,’ Daemion replied.
Lance smiled, “we do, but our mission was a simple one. We led Orgug and his Blood Riders on a merry chase while you all snuck into his camp and destroyed his foul effigy.”
“We have a matter we must discuss in private, sir,” Daemion said.
The smile fell from Lance’s face, but he nodded, and motioned for his advisers and retainers to leave the room.
Once they were alone, Daemion handed him the note they had found.
“This is dark news indeed. I suppose it would be too much to ask for even a moment’s reprieve from danger,” Lance said, frustration showing on his face.
“We believe this could be sign of a traitor in our midst which would explain the Orcs’ ability to pass through the wall. It could also mean they may have found Zedoran.” Daemion replied.
“Neither a good situation to find ourselves in,” Lance said. “You have done well to bring me this. You are all proving to be truly invaluable allies.”
Durbag burst forward, unable to contain himself, “Sandor murdered the women, and the little babies! He crucified Orgug’s mate!”
Sandor whirled on the Half-Orc, “Silence you bastard half-breed! How can you defend the very tribe of Orcs that slaughtered your people?!”
Durbag cowered at Sandor’s angered and hid behind Lazerous.
“You did what?” Lance said coldly, “Sandor, tell me that not even you are capable of such a thing.”
“I did what needed to be done. Our enemy strikes at us with our own dead, using plague and black magik to destroy us and you would have us fight with an arm tied behind our backs! Captain Gauntwood made a mistake leaving you in command. It should have been me!” Sandor shouted.
“I look at you and I look at the Orcs we defend the realm from and sometimes wonder which is worse!” Lance shouted back.
“Another word, boy, and you’ll be tasting my blade,” Sandor said.
Lance’s face went crimson, “you are confined to quarters until further notice, Cleric. Do not forget your place.”
Sandor stood in stark anger for a moment before turning on his heel and storming from the keep.
Lance visibly calmed himself and turned to the party, “Sandor is a valuable tool, and a peerless warrior, but he is also dangerous and hateful. I question at times if he is worth the risk he poses.
“Go and rest now, you have earned it. And Durbag, do not fear, I will ensure you are protected. You did the right thing speaking out. What separates us from the savages is our ability to show mercy. Do not forget that lest we become like them. Murdering Orgug’s mate, killing the women and children, will do nothing but fan the flames of hatred. Orgug will seek terrible vengeance, of this we can be sure.”
Back at the Orc tribe, Orgug and his Blood Riders return to find their tee-pees burned, and their women and children murdered. Upon seeing his mate killed and his eldest son missing, Orgug went into a rage.
“Hear me Rovagug! I will rip the hearts from the pink skins’ chests and eat them, still beating! I will burn their homes to the ground, rape their women and enslave their children! I will salt the earth from which they! I will kill anything that speaks their names aloud, this I swear!”