Here you’ll find synopses of the games we ran to introduce the characters to the 4e system, the world, and each other.
Introducing: Yaffa and Melthos
Yaffa, an Eladrin wizard of noble birth with an affinity for ice and frost spells, set off to find her way in the world. Her travels led her to the village of Secomber, in the Gray Vale, where she stopped by the local inn for a meal and some reconnaisance. Melthos, a seasoned monk with a focus on healing and protecting the populace, happened on the same inn one night. There, they were both engaged in conversation by a charismatic yet possibly slightly off-kilter sorcerer with a head full of dreadlocks and a small, adorable sugar glider familiar named Posket.
Just as they were starting to warm to each other and sense a common purpose, the general righting of the world’s wrongs at the very least, they noticed in another corner of the bar a group of brigands threatening an acolyte. Pel considered seeking a diplomatic resolution to whatever the conflict might be, but as soon as Melthos saw that the acolyte wore a symbol of Chauntea, a benevolent goddess of nature, he sprang into action. Not wanting to be left out of a good bar fight, Pel joined in. Yaffa, not wanting her potential new friends to meet an untimely end before she had found out whether they were worthy of her company, stepped in, as well. The three dispatched the riff raff — a large, burly thug and two foxy femmes fatales — with little trouble.
The acolyte thanked them, and told them he’d been sent out from the nearby village of Loudwater to seek adventurers who might help them with a problem they were having. They’d had a resident party of adventurers who helped with a trade route problem some time before, but they had dispersed and he heard one of them went crazy. His orders, from Sister Linora of the Loudwater Temple, were to try to find those previous adventurers or, for that matter, any adventurers who might be willing to help out, and of course there would be a reward. The crux of the problem was that winter keeps coming earlier, and the locals are afraid it will start to seriously interfere with the crops or worse.
While they’d just met, the three adventurers now felt somewhat familiar to one another. Bar fights bring people closer. So, they set off together to Loudwater to see what the problem was and meet with this Sister Linora.
Yaffa, Melthos, and Pel have an uneventful trip to Loudwater. As they settle in and begin conversing with the local authorities about the early winters, they learn that in recent weeks, goblins have been sporadically attacking trade routes. This wouldn’t be that uncommon, but the goblins are funny looking: their skin is ice blue.
The following morning, Pel awakes with a cold. It’s decided that Yaffa and Melthos will scout the trade routes, just a cursory day trip, and return with any information. Pel promises to get some rest and Melthos gives him some healing herbs.
Midmorning, Pel hears a terrible commotion downstairs. Feeling somewhat better, he decides to investigate. The patrons are flooding into the cellar, and when he asks what’s the matter, one of them shouts, “Goblins! They’ve breached the walls!”
Pel proceeds cautiously. He peeks around the door into the square. He sees six goblins attacking fleeing villagers. Pel wrestles with the question of whether he should act boldly or cautiously: he doesn’t think he could take all six by himself. He could wait for the town patrol, but how many lives might be lost if he hesitates? Suddenly, he sees something unexpected. A dwarf steps out of the shadows and engages the goblins. He decides that, with what appears to be a competent although unknown ally, he has a chance of victory, or at least of surviving until the patrol arrives.
After leaving his home in East Rift, Beef swore off fighting for a while. He wandered between towns, doing odd jobs in exchange for food and lodging. Eventually, he returned to fighting; although he couldn’t deny his skill, his heart was no longer in it. He fought in underground pub leagues, and took contracts from local nobles to fight off bears or kobolds who were molesting villagers. When he arrived in Loudwater, he was prepared for it to be one more town for him to pass through on the way to wherever he was going. He hadn’t yet figured out where that was, but was about ready to give up hope. A dwarf without a clan is no dwarf at all.
As he wandered into the town, he started exploring, making his way toward the inn on the south square. Just as he entered the square, however, the south wall exploded and came tumbling down, and a band of weird looking goblins streamed in and began slaughtering villagers. Beef’s old instincts kicked in. He knew he was outmatched, but maybe he could get the goblins to focus their attacks on him and save the villagers until the town patrol arrived. Even if he went down, he knew this would be an honorable death.
Beef threw himself into the battle. It wasn’t looking good, but at least the goblins were no longer attacking villagers, giving them time to escape from safety. Beef didn’t know how much longer he could stay alert, but he was determined to keep fighting. Suddenly, a bolt of lightning shot past him, searing the goblin leader. He glanced over his shoulder to see a mage of some sort with wild dreadlocks, staring down the goblins with a crazy gleam in his eyes and readying another deadly spell.
Thus ensues a prolonged battle. Both men act bravely, and work cooperatively to defeat their apparent common enemy. As they speak to each other in brief, pointed shouts to coordinate the battle, the dwarf starts referring to Pel as “Dreadlocks.” As in, “Nice shot, Dreadlocks!”
During the fray, two goblins escape and run towards the magical curiosities shop. After a brief respite to heal up (though not a rest), they manage to intercept the thieves before they make it out of town with their ill-gotten booty.
Just as the last goblin falls, the town patrol arrives, ready to save the day. When they see that the battle is over, they begin cleaning up the corpses: both those of goblins and the few unlucky citizens who could not escape.
The dwarf introduces himself as “Beef.” Curious. Pel introduces himself as well, but the dwarf continues to refer to him by the synecdochic nickname. Pel also very briefly fills Beef in on how he and his companions came to Loudwater. They go to retrieve the stolen goods from the head goblin, and find a note written in the goblin tongue. They decide to hold onto this as it might hold clues to what’s causing the early winters.
They return the stolen items to the magic shop and find that Garwan, the eponymous proprietor, was out for the day and the shot was being guarded by his son. The boy survived mostly unscathed, and Beef bandages his minor cuts and bruises as Pel helps clean up the shop, as much as he can.
Pel decides that Beef is acceptably trustworthy and asks if he’d be interested in meeting his companions and joining them on their quest. Beef says they should talk it over in the tavern, and Pel agrees. As the men sit down at a table with a strong ale, Yaffa and Melthos walk in the door, looking rather surprised.
Immeral approached Loudwater, thinking it to be like many other average towns that he’d visited. Upon talking with townsfolk about the existence of interesting magic or ancient artifacts, he was informed of Krasus, who had attempted a ritual to attain godhood, and of Draigdurroch who was also somehow involved. Thinking that Krasus had probably failed spectacularly and left behind helpful items, Immeral decided to investigate further. Maybe he would catch up with another party that had gone that way previously. Immeral wondered why Draigdurroch–a warlock–would be investigating Krasus, but decided that he’d either find out or not as things progressed.
Immeral was directed towards the Dire Wood, where he noticed an unseasonably cold winter (especially considering that it wasn’t wintertime). Upon investigation much of this seemed to be illusory, leading Immeral to believe that he was on the right track. The magic was Fae in origin, which piqued his interest. He came across an old abandoned guard tower which had signs of a recent battle, and continued onward.
Immeral came upon an area with three plateaus and an obviously magical tower some distance beyond them. A gnome made entirely of blue mist popped out of thin air and ordered Immeral to stop and leave the area. Curious, Immeral asked for an explanation and was repeatedly told to leave. The gnome insisted that even though there was probably fantastic treasure or magical artifacts in the tower, Immeral should turn back immediately. Finally the gnome disappeared to be replaced by a group of writhing ice worms. Immeral was able to defeat the ice worms. While resting he came to the conclusion that the warlock had unlocked some kind of dangerous magic that annoyed the gnome and his friends, and the gnome had responded by warding the tower with this unnatural winter.
Continued study of the surroundings was interrupted by an attack from an icy blue hob goblin. Immeral was able to bloody the goblin, but was eventually knocked unconscious. He awakened in a goblin camp to find himself bound and unable to move. Immeral waited for a better chance of escape and developed an intense dislike of goblins.