The doors slammed behind the stalwart human Paladin as he wearily stepped forward into the Moon Hills Inn. He was Jesus (Brett), a lost warrior of the light seeking answers to his own past and the future of his father. Brushing the wet, Fading (September) snow off his face, he shuffled through a desk covered with a ledger of papers and books bearing many quests and hidden messages for the numerous adventurers that find themselves heading towards the Winterspire Mountains. After reading many complaints and warnings of an Ogre blocking the Northern Road, the Paladin’s thoughts were immediately interrupted with the squealing noise of a didgeridoo. He quickly looked upwards towards the inn-keeper, Brutus, whom was preoccupied in conversation with an eclectic looking bard.
This mustached bard was ‘the Prick’ Rozzo (James), a dark-haired human who frantically swung his rapier about as he ordered a drink for the nearest northern wild woman at Brutus’ bar. To those who asked, he was operating under the pseudonym of “Richard Waggler, Baron of Merrittonia”. Miserably assaulting Rozzo’s didgeridoo in the far corner of the inn was the young gnome named Steeb (Steve), apprentice wizard-librarian extraordinaire! It appeared, to the tired onlooking Paladin that if he was looking for adventure, he came to the right place.
Yet, before he could even finish his thought, a vehement outburst of a nearby dwarf sorcerer, attempting to snuggle himself a short rest upon Brutus’ antiquated bear-rug caught his attention. This sorcerer was none other than the elderly dwarf known as Farin the Woodwalker (Corey). He was bitterly offending a nearby copper-scaled Dragonborn, who quickly brushed him off – only leaving Farin to waltz his way into presence of Tirlonde, a local elven Paladin of Tyr seeking out adventurers to bring righteousness in a chaotic land. To the fellow Paladin Jesus (Brett), this was the just the sort of folk he was looking for. To Farin, who bitterly scorned Tirlonde dearly held faith, it was the sort of folk he tirelessly hoped to avoid.
Meanwhile, Rozzo (James), having fed his flagon of ale to the red-haired wild woman, gave a sneering grin and spouted his best charming words. The result got him (and Steeb, within a gnomish earshot) the introduction to Brunnhilde, arctic Druid seeking balance in a land overrun by marauding knights. Realizing Rozzo’s veneration for her, she proposed both Rozzo and Steeb with a task; find the lost Ogre that feeds off civilized men on the Northern Road and convince it to return north. If they do so, she will gracious reward them with nature’s gifts.
And yet, as if to contradict her very words – Tirlonde, speaking with Jesus, offered him a similar task; to avenge mankind’s children of justice and rightfully slay this savage Ogre. In doing so, the elf Tirlonde would award Jesus’ with holy gifts. Their allegiance was further solidified after collectively conquering an arm wrestle with a local half-orc strong-man who mocked the strength of mankind.
However, Farin (Corey) had a much different objective. He found himself in conversation with Argeist the Contact, a brutish half-orc rogue who sat alone with many papers and parchments scattered across his table. Argeist was the Moon Hills’ local connection to the criminal and malevolent underground. He offered Farin an opportunity to make some quick cold cash; drive the Ogre off the North Road and bring him its two biggest toes – a rare commodity among Waterdeep’s smugglers.
It became clear to these four unlikely adventurers that their paths have crossed, whether through destiny or mere coincidence. Briefly introducing themselves, they paid for their modest rooms and took a long rest into the night, waking on 2nd day of The Fading (September), 1214 at the crack of dawn to head along the Northern Road.
Using their collective knowledge in tracking and with Farin loudly beckoning in the language of Giants, they continued northwards. Having traveled for 6 hours, Farin’s dwarfish nose perked upwards with the scent of what seemed to be boars and canines. The party quickly prepared for an ambush on these creatures, having recently learned that this Ogre uses his pets to track down its prey. As two savage boars covered in white-paint and two mangy wolves burst out of the forest, Jesus let loose an arrow from his long-bow, piercing the side of one of the boars. Within seconds Rozzo quickly unleashed words of slumber, putting the charging wolves into a deep sleep. Farin and Steeb, as if in arcane symmetry, unleashed rays of frost and bolts of fire, blazing the hunting animals into burning and frozen dust.
After a few moments, the adventurers heard exactly what they thought was coming next, a massive marauding Ogre by the name of Grog exposed himself from the edges of the forest. Grog was bitterly hungry and angry at the loss of his friends at the hands of ‘righteous knights’. Steeb, quickly opening his spell book to unleash a spell of Charm Person and managed to convince the Ogre he was one of his pets. Friendly to the gnome, the Ogre stepped forward towards Jesus and Rozzo who gazed upwards at its gigantic girth. As each of them attempted their very best to talk the stubborn Ogre out of devouring them, they eventually slipped in their words and angered the hungry monster.
Raising its massive tree-trunk club, it charged forward. As the adventurers scattered in all directions, Rozzo spat insulting words towards the Ogre, who responded by hurling the nearest boulder at him, bludgeoning him backwards. The wild sorcerer Farin dashed forward heroically, unleashing a jet of flame from his hands. Ducking the sizzling burst, the Ogre smashed Farin into the ground with its great club and set its eyes on the nearby chain-mailed Paladin. Smashing its way towards Jesus, the Paladin picked up his recently dropped great sword and drove it into the Ogre – unleashing a radiant divine smite deep inside of it. All the while, Steeb pelted the Ogre with as many fire bolts he could sling. As the Ogre attempted its final retaliation, it slipped disastrously, falling forward on its perturbing stomach. It was here that the creature met its demise, as Rozzo evoked final words of vicious mockery, causing the once great Ogre’s heart to stop dead in its tracks.
The Ogre was slain. As the adventurers carved the creature’s eyes, fingers and toes off, they headed an hours walk to Ogre’s den. Here, they four humanoid skeletons and and a small treasure hoard. Inside, in addition to some gold, potions of Healing and Frost Giant Strength as well as scrolls of Magic Missile and Protection from Undead were found. Notably, the gnomish Wizard Steeb looted a set of bone-carved pipes that seemed to have a history of their own. Heading back to the Moon Hills Inn, the adventurers patiently awaited their awards after a long rest.
From the deer-horned Brunnhilde, Steeb was granted twig off her Mistletoe and Rozzo was given her scroll of Animal Speaking, an opportunity to engage the wild’s children. Rozzo, fearing her disappointment, coerced her into believing that the Ogre’s life was spared and nature’s balance remained preserved.
From the elf Tirlonde, Jesus was granted a pair of carpenter’s tools and a dagger made of bright, shining silver. Despite working with Tirlonde, Jesus stressed his reluctance to slay the beast, demonstrating his compassion that sets him apart from many vigilant Paladins.
Lastly, Argeist the Contact handsomely paid Farin his sum in gold in exchange for the two toes of a giant and assurance the Northern Road remains welcoming to smugglers and travelers alike. Seeing the shine of gold drop within their ally’s hands, Rozzo, Steeb and Jesus quickly introduced themselves to Argeist, hoping to gain similar favour from a half-orc strangely willing to part with his gold.
What they didn’t know, however, is that taking a piece of Argeist’s pie always comes with ‘strings attached’. It was then, on the 3rd of The Fading (September) at 8am in 1214, that each of their names began to be whispered up and down the roads leading towards Waterdeep’s criminal underworld…