A SYMBAROUM MINI-CAMPAIGN*
Our adventure begins in the fortress of Ochi Vanat, a remote outpost on the northern frontier of the Amroth Empire, on the border of the former Urgench Dominion.
Exiled to this cold, harsh province, the party members find themselves recruited into the Black Guard: a battalion of malcontents, commuted military convicts, and political dissidents tasked with patrolling the border and hunting down bandits, runaway slaves, cultists, escaped criminals, and anyone else desperate or mad enough to try and scrape out a living in such a dark, unforgiving place.
The player characters are an Alchemist, a former Witch Hunter, a Goblin pit fighter, a Woodsman with dubious mystical affinity, a former military surgeon, and a disgraced Dwarf Cleric.
The group’s first mission is to determine the fate of a border patrol that has gone missing near one of the watch towers west of the fortress. According to Ochi Vanat’s Commandant, the troops were carrying important correspondence in one of their dispatch bags, which must be recovered at all costs.
A quick march five leagues through the dark forest finds the group confronted by a choice: do they continue up the trail in search of the patrol? Or do they veer off and inspect the watch tower first?
The decision was made to continue on the trial. As a precaution, the group formed up in a circle and proceeded at half-pace, on the alert for a possible ambush.
Sure enough, 2/3rds of the way up the trail, they came upon the remains of the overdue patrol. Every one of them was dead, their bodies mutilated and dismembered. Still cautious but intent on locating the dispatch bag, the group began searching the bodies. Suddenly, a pack of six brutish Gnarl (demonic half-wolves/half war hounds) lead by monstrous Alpha surged out from the underbrush on either side of the path. Ambush!
The group’s vigilance paid off; only two of them were taken by surprise. A brutal and bloody fight ensued. Small, Gnarls are nonetheless extremely fast and dangerous. Every one in the group suffered wounds. In fact, the Woodsman was severely mauled and hovered on the brink of death for several turns.
Despite seeing their largest member fall to fangs and claws, the party fought on and finally prevailed. It was a combination of the Alchemist’s mystical powers and the Goblin’s fighting prowess that finally brought the Alpha down.
Bleeding and bruised, the group located the dispatch bag, (it was in the watchtower) salvaged what gear they could from the bodies of the previous patrol, then cut the head off the Alpha as proof of the attack.
They returned to Ochi Vanat just as the gates were closing for the night.
The fortress commandant, Captain Omor Raducan, while pleased to recover the dispatches, played down the attack and attributed the other soldiers’ deaths to savage but random incident.
The players were rewarded but subtly warned not to speak against the official incident report. Exhausted and injured, the group retired for the night. Their first day in the North March was finally over.
To be continued…
*we’re using the character creation and rules from Symbaroum, but this not the official Symbaroum timeline or Davokar setting.