Come, sit by the fire, and listen to a tale. A tale of a young band of adventurers known simply as The Eight. This is the story of how they came together, forged the bonds of friendship, and stormed out to change the world, but first this is a story about how they met. Grab a mug of ale and a bowl of stew then make yerself comfortable, cause what ye hear this evening, ye will certainly want to tell yer companions on the morrow.
Every great epic starts in a small town. This was the town of T’craedon, a border town between the Valorian Empire and the Kingdom of Jaghund Geist. An uneasy truce had settled between the two nation and T’craedon was celebrating profitable trade between the two kingdoms. It was a cold Brendum morning and the town had begun settling in fer winter. The winters snows would come soon, and the pass would close leaving those to burrow in fer several months.
Charter for Adventure
Right here in this very tavern, the Demon and the Shrew, is where The Eight began. Drinking and discussing what adventures to go on. Now, they were not known as The Eight yet, they were simply adventurers sharing stories, when a very drunk, and very merry drow elf suggested they get a charter and go on an adventure. The group argued back and forth, until all but the taciturn dwarf refused to join, but his companions would not relent and on the next day they traveled to the guild of the White Stag to purchase a charter.
Now a charter is no cheap piece of paper, if yer willing to form a band, then ye have to pay fer it. And the adventurers of the eight spent every last copper in order to obtain the special writ that allowed them to adventure. Since each member spent the last of their coin, each wanted to be the one to name the group, and they argued fer a full day.
With no end to the arguing in sight, it was finally the halfling barbarian, Homart, that suggested they simply call themselves The Eight. The party was too tired to argue and thus, The Eight was formed.
The Dwarf Ruins
With a charter firmly in hand, the Merry Drow set forth to obtain employment fer the group. Luckily, as it were, The White Stag Guild had a notice board where potential employers post jobs. So he only had to walk like ten feet. It was on this board, amongst the inane calls fer cleaning the rats out of basements, rescuing fair maidens, and hunting of foul beasts that the group found their calling. A short, but straightforward message that simply read; “Seeking adventures for danger. Will pay.” This was indeed in the language the group spoke and they hurried off to the Mercenary District to find their employer.
A shrewd business man and avid dabbler in the arcane. Master Vyncis of Cattlebrock met with the group to travel to some dwarven ruins. ye see, Vyncis had recently acquired the deed to an abandoned fort, one of the many that littered the Bloodsteel Mountains. Rumor was that this was a simple dwarven outpost that fell during the ‘War of the White Mountain’. But Vyncis had studied many ancient dwarven tomes and knew that when the outpost fell, it hid a great artifact. Vyncis promised the group untold treasure that had been hidden away there before the outpost fell, and all he wanted was the artifact. He also said he was going to be accompanying them.
Attack of the Griffins
And so the group set off fer an arduous four day journey through the mountains. The skies still looked clear, so it was good that they headed out immediately. Once the winter snows set in, travel in the high mountains is deadly. There was some argument with the party about shift watches and when to travel, but this is to be expected in a new group. After a day the party settled into their routines and spirits were high, except fer the dwarf.
Snow, wind, and sheer cliffs are just some of the dangers traveling so high in the mountains. There is also another danger known as gryphus nixus, or more commonly, Snow Griffins. These griffins nest high in the mountains, immune to the cold and are larger than their forest dwelling cousins. Snow griffins have been known to carry off an ass in each of its claws at the same time, both the pack animal and the type that just yells at ye, oblivious that there is a griffin about to snatch him up. The ranger Münish had no sooner pointed out a nest, when two of the gargantuan beasts dove down at the group from the cover of the sun.
Münish, fully expecting the attack, reacted first, firing a crossbow bolt(14 dmg 9) and wounding one of the beasts, while the Merry Drow took cover behind some rocks while singing a rousing song of the Battle of Qagogh. Homart, the halfling barbarian threw a javelin at the large beast flying true to it heart. But snow griffins are not simple beasts and at the last second, the griffin batted the javelin aside. The two griffins landed, casting large shadows over the fighter Cyrus and Homart. One griffin clawed Homart, raking its talons across his chest (dmg 9/2), while the other snapped (dmg 6) and clawed (dmg 5) at the vampire hunter Cyrus, biting deep into his flesh. The cleric Malvus saw the deep cuts in Cyrus’ skin and prayed to Indrindis. A soft glow enveloped Cyrus and his wounds closed (cure 7). Vinwick, the youngest and most inexperienced of the group knew he could not hope to best the griffins out in the open and fired haphazardly(8) while he sought cover. A large flaming bolt sailed through the air at the beasts head, but the griffin saw the flame from the side and ducked out of its way.
Quickly reloading his crossbow, Münish fired again (17 dmg 10) at the griffin hitting it in its flank. Tr’yanna, the half-orc scout, found an old tree in which to brace herself and fired (7) at the griffin. The arrow deflected off the griffin’s tough hide even though the arrow was true to its mark. Cyrus, finally able to gain his footing, unfurled his ancient whip and lashed out (18 dmg 13) at both the griffins, cutting deep into their haunches with one blinding flash. The Merry Drow unleashed a string of vicious retorts aimed to confound and enrage the griffins, but even the cold air seemed to deaden his words as the griffins paid no head (save 16). Homart, enraged at the griffins attack, pulled his vicious rapier and swung with all his might (18 dmg 9) cutting deep into the griffins wing. Assailed from all sides, the griffins lashed out again at Cyrus and Homart, but they were too slow fer the vampire hunting duo to be hit. Malvus began reciting a prayer to Indrindis, shouting his goddesses blessing over the din of battle (Bless Homart, Cyrus, Münish). Vinwick cheered as he watch his firebolt (12 dmg 1) sail across the field of battle and hit one of the griffins in the tail. Vyncis, having been watching the battle the entire time, started cawing loudly from the back of the group; ‘Cacaw tooky tooky; Cacaw tooky tooky’ in an attempt to frighten the beasts.
With the griffins otherwise occupied, Münish stood his ground and continued firing. With rote practice, he fired another bolt (16 dmg 5) in the griffin’s flank, while Tr’yanna pierced the other the other griffin’s shoulder with an arrow (14 dmg 4). Brazen by the party’s success in the fight, the Merry Drow hurled himself at one of the griffins, stabbing with his rapier (7), but failing to pierce the beast’s thick, ice encrusted hide.
Homart continued to pummel(19 dmg 12) the griffin before him, trying to beat the beast into submission. The griffin, in rebuke, bit into Homart (dmg 9/2) clawed the halfling (dmg 6/2) to escape. The other griffin bit deeply into Cyrus (dmg 12) causing the mighty hunter to drop to a knee. The two griffins, having had more than enough, began to beat their mighty wings and lift into the air. The Merry Drow and Homart were not about to let the two escape and both attacked in unison with their rapiers; Homart wailed (20 dmg 5) hitting the animal in its meaty flank, and the Merry Drow buried his rapier (9) into the feathery wing, but neither attack stopped the griffins ascent.
Malvus, stood silently while his soul was prostrate to his goddess, channeling Indrindis’ divinity once again into Cyrus (Cure 9). Venwick fired another bolt (9), emboldened by the fleeing griffins, but the beast dodged the halfling’s spell as they lifted higher into the air.
With battle now fleeting, Münish hastily reloaded his crossbow and fired (10) at the fleeing griffins. The griffins attempted to use the sun as cover and Münish lost sight in the Sun’s blinding rays just as the bolt was freed. Tr’yanna, on the other hand, saw what the griffins were doing and used the tree’s limbs to block out the sun as she aimed. Her arrow loosed (19 dmg 8), it flew strait, burying into the griffins rump. Cyrus, now enraged that the griffins were fleeing, grabbed a javelin from his companion and hurled it (17 dmg 3), clipping the beast on its leg. The Merry Drow kept singing to encourage his companions to strike before the beasts were out of range. Homart threw one more javelin (7), but the beast were well out of range now.
Tr’yanna pulled back her long bow trying to gauge the distance, but strong winds of the mountains made her shot (8) fly wide. Unperturbed, Münish loaded one last bolt into his crossbow. He took a moment to stretch his neck and sight in the griffin.As he did many times before with his military training, he took a deep breath and at the end of the exhale, he squeezed the crossbow’s trigger. Time seemed to slow and all sound fell away. He no longer heard the din of his companions, or the howl of the mountain winds. He watched until he lost sight of the bolt and stood in that moment of when ye know ye hit, but think ye might have missed. And then the great beast pitched forward and crashed into the ground. Its companion let out a loud screech and disappeared behind some jutting peaks.
With one of the beasts felled, the party was in good spirits. They spent the remainder of the day skinning and preparing the griffin to eat. Homart took the beak as a trophy and Münish prepared the hide fer use later. Vyncis regaled the group in how he managed to get the griffins to flee, having read the technique in a book. The group told each other their perspective of the fight and complimented each other on their skill. After a full meal and a good night’s rest, the group set off again in high spirits. It didn’t take long to find the dwarven fortress. Reduced to a number of towers canted at odd angles. The brass roofs of the building were still easy spot even though snow covered most of them.
As the party searched the area, Münish walked northeast to the far tower. Homart, curious as to what the dwarf was up to, followed his taciturn companion. Münish was able to uncover a door and called the others over. The group looked over the door deciding how to open it when Tr’yanna pointed out a rock deadfall. She used her crowbar to jam the mechanism in place and Homart pushed the heavy stone doors open. The troup lead their mounts into front stables of the tower and as the party members secured the animals, the Merry Drow cleaned the mirrors that provided light into the room. They continued down into the depths of the tower until Homart set off a trap that nearly killed him. The group saw that they were in a gauntlet of crossbows, designed to kill any intruders that came through. The Eight decided that they should disable the traps and see if they could salvage any of the crossbows. That is when Homart noticed the door and reached fer the handle.
And that is where we leave our story laddies. Now, now, if ye want to hear more, ye will have to return on the morrow and find out what became of The Eight and what Homart found behind that door. Be sure to give a few coppers to the bard and pay yer tab. Remember, every great adventure starts with a single step, but it dinna hurt to hear someone elses tale before ya take that step.
Symbol of The Eight
This was a game synopsis I wrote for our first game in a friends home brew campaign. The players enjoyed it and asked that I continue writing the Tales of the Eight. I try to keep the rolls in my synopsis, and yes, I write them down during the fights in the game, just to show how the fight progresses. Sometimes I don’t always write the stories exactly how they went, and take some liberties on how things transpired. Some things are down right false, but I try to keep it how their legends spread. Most of the time I up play their actions, but at times some of the bad choices are exaggerated. Let me know if you have any questions, or ideas to make it better.