The Wild March, Session -1: Slayers

We continue following our small group of adventurers as they track down rumors of a wyvern terrorizing the countryside in lovely, scenic Harmark.

  Fun fact; there are four Werwolves in this picture alone!

Fun fact; there are four Werwolves in this picture alone!

Galapas, Bruzlea, and Kobach slog their way up along the overgrown roads as best they can, making for the Rasdan household. They see that they've arrived when they round a bend in the road to see a barn with its top two thirds smashed to matchsticks, and a modest farmhouse a few dozen feet away. There are signs that repair attempts have started, but not gotten very far. The group looks at each other, then wordlessly climbs the hill to the farmhouse.

Galapas knocks first, to no answer. A second knock brings a shout from inside. "Mama!" bellows a deep voice "Somefolk's knockin' at the door!"

"I hear it, I hear it!" comes a woman's voice. "Summat the matter with your arms, Burgan? Let 'em in!"

With a creak, the door opens to reveal a man in his mid twenties with shoulders as broad as the lintel and a mouth that gapes in seemingly perpetual dumbfoundedness. He shouts back up that they've got weapons and they look mean, at which point Bruzlea interjects that they don't mean any harm, and they just want to talk about the wyvern. An older woman, thin as a rail, saunters into view and invites them in with a gap-toothed smile.

Her name is Olivette. She lives up here with her two hulking boys, Burgan and Murgan. She offers them a thin porridge, which only Bruzlea takes her up on, and they sit down to discuss the monster. 

Apparently, the wyvern got especially bold after a couple of timid but prosperous farmers in the area decided to start leaving tribute out for the creature, since legends say dragons won't bother those who pay homage. Instead, it seemed to clue the creature in to the fact there there was juicy prey around, ripe for the picking. It was worst in the winter, but the attacks have only barely let up now that spring is coming in.

About a week ago, the creature came sweeping in from the north and tried making off with one of the cows. Murgan, apparently, gave it a wallop with a fence post, and it flailed for a minute or two trying to get its bearings, mostly smashing the top of the barn in the process. Burgan and Murgan both gave it a couple of lumps, before it finally managed to take to the air and scramble back the way it had come. After that, Olivette asked around among their neighbors, and she thinks that it's probably nested up a the Teeth, a cluster of tall spires of rock jutting up from the crags a bit to the northwest of the farmstead. 

They thank Olivette and her boys, and gather up their things to set out. They hope that they can find the nest, then lay in ambush nearby, hopefully to catch it when it comes back from a hunt. Overland, it's a couple of hours to the Teeth, and the sun is starting to cast deep shadows across the land by the time they catch sight of the rocks, looming out of the mists. The ground is rocky and uneven, but eventually they discover a cave that was once occupied by a bear, now abandoned. They set up watch, and begin resting for the climb they have in the morning. In the night, Kobach hears shrieks and cries echoing through the canyons, but doesn't manage to catch a glimpse of the monster.

The next morning, Kobach unwinds his rope and passes it off to Bruzlea along with a sack of pitons. The elf leads the way up one of the teeth, clambering up the rock in a pretty astonishing feat of athleticism. As he goes, he loops the rope around outcroppings and pitons wedged into crevices, providing a path for the other two to follow on their way up.

After a solid two hours of inching their way up the rock formation, they find themselves on a flat-ish outcropping near the top of one of the "teeth." gazing around, they think that they see another outcropping with what looks like an oversized nest on it. They briefly confer, and decide that Kobach will hurl a grappling hook across the chasm between them and the nest, and they'll shimmy carefully across. 

  You know. Basic adventurous stuff.

You know. Basic adventurous stuff.

It's a gap of about sixty feet - hair raising, but manageable, and the nest provides plenty of grip for the rope, assuming it remains stable. Bruzlea is able to scurry across with little difficulty.

Kobach elects to go last, since he's not exactly the most spry member of the group. However, when Galapas is about twenty feet out on the rope, swaying uncertainly in a sea of fog, they hear about the last sound they were hoping for. An uinhuman shriek tears through the fog, and Galapas swivels his head left just in time to see the batlike silhouette emerging from the fog.

A rough battle ensues. Galapas manages to make a couple of miraculous dodges to avoid the claws and poisonous stinger of the creature before scrambling across to the other side, where he begins peppering the wyvern with arrows. It makes a number of flybys, and somehow the monk ends up clinging to its back, suddenly conscious of the three hundred foot plunge to certain death. 

Galapas perches on the wyvern's nest and peppers the beast with arrows as Kobach frantically attempts to weaken it with magic. It takes a couple of bad hits, but refuses to retreat. Galapas discovers that the nest has several eggs in it, and uses them to goad the monster into a charge. The wyvern comes screaming out of the fog with Bruzlea clutching at the end of its tail, poises to strike...

And Galapas nails it with an arrow in the jugular. It tumbles from the sky, and Bruzlea just barely manages to grab a rope thrown by the archer before being dashed on the rocks far below.

I absolutely should have killed "Bruz" here. Having he and Galapas pull off this acrobatic shenanigans undermines the tone and stakes of the setting, especially this early in the campaign. Even from a logical perspective, how does Galapas first loose an arrow, then grab a rope from his pack and throw it down in time for the monk to catch it? I strongly feel that I should have been stricter here. Bruzlea decided to act recklessly, his companions then did something that should have gotten him killed anyway, and he got off with some rope-burns and a gold payout.

I'm not super broken up about it, since it was a one-shot and folks had fun, but I still regret that.

Galapas strains as he manages to pull the rope up, until the two of them fall back gasping into the nest. In the stillness after the fight, the three of them share an exhausted and painful laugh that echoes between the Teeth.

Its a relatively simple matter for them to pick their way back down the Teeth and find the shattered remains of the monster in the ravine below. Kobach saws its head off, and they set off together back towards Norkall's Drift, soaked, tired, bloodstained, and happy with a job well done.