And we're off...kinda.
I showed up 15 minutes past when I said I would to an almost empty flgs. Paul and Kenny were sorting through M:tG cards (which I need to post about sometime) and discussing their characters for the campaign.
That meant that two of the six players who had "signed up (I set a group size limit because Paul's group on Red Hand was insanely huge)" were already there, with word that Ricky Joe was on his way. Sadly, Jeremy got called into work and Josh D. and Dusty were no-shows, so that took us down to 3. We recruited the other Josh, who set about making a character, and shortly after we started.
The game kicked off with the way all games should...those two words that get a player's attention better than anything (other than "Hey, boobs!," I mean)... "Roll init." The guys went a quick couple of rounds against 4 goblins, which dispersed into inky smoke when dispatched...then I flashed back to their arrival at the Tump.
The place is a small island whose only feature is a circle of standing stones..to which the players had somehow been whisked to. The standing stones feature markings which the PCs realized correlated with the various constellations of the night sky and had strange similarities to their birthmarks.
Having learned some about each other and themselves (with some help of a mysterious lady speaking into their minds), they decided to travel off the small island and to the larger landmass, which Kenny's PC recognized as the island "Nation" of Chillhame. They immediately spotted civilization here and made haste to make it to the small town of Bronce.
Once in Bronce, they spoke with many townsfolk, including the local priest, Father Tobais, and the Headman of the town, a man by the name of Goodchild. Through the excellent use of diplomacy (and coin) they learn some of the legend of the ancient hero Starkweather John, and set out to to his tomb to begin their search for his sword...a goal which had been tasked to them by a mysterious voice at the Tump.
At the tomb, the PCs took some time to clear off the moss that had overgrown the thing and were able to read a prophetic poem which the characters surmised somehow was linked to them, since the mysterious voice of the Tump called them "Stars" and the inscription on the tomb said that "Stars" would again be on the world.
Having found nothing in the tomb, they took stock of the surroundings and found that a somewhat large battle had been fought at the edge of the woods. Being PCs, they didn't let this slide and curiosity had them traipsing into the woods and what I thought was their certain doom...a hobgoblin camp numbering a score (with about a dozen of them combatants).
Always the clever player, Paul states that his cleric is stopping far outside the edge of the settlement (right outside the perimeter of traps, I might add) and hails the village. This brings all the warriors of the village out to see what is afoot...at which point things begin to turn grim. Josh's dwarf hurled insults toward the hobgoblins at first, but when the others scolded him, he quieted some, letting Paul's and Ricky Joe's characters try to weasel through a deal to keep the party alive which ultimately culminated (somehow) into....a fight to the death between Ricky Joe's fighter and Split Ear, the chief of this particular tribe, for the leadership of the tribe.
The whole table was a bit quiet as I drew off the map for the contest area and placed my minis, then asked the players to place theirs and called for initiative from Ricky. He won init. Jaymes, Ricky's fighter) crept forward cautiously and swung mightily at the chief, only to swing too wide as the more experienced warrior side-stepped his blow, then came back with a lunge, which was rapidly deflected. The battle was intense with a flurry of parrys from both combatants that kept each other unmarred by the edge of steel. But then, as suddenly as it had started, an open spot in the hobgoblin's defenses was spotted and Jaymes swung a hard arc onto the creature's head...cleaving his skull and killing him instantly with a crit from them there charts I posted before.
As you can imagine, this left things in an awkward state. Not only for the NPCs and PCs, but for me, as well. What was going to happen? Well...I had really been playing up the lawful aspect of the hobbos, so when it came down to it, I just decided that they would honor the agreement made between Jaymes and Split Ear. With the help of some coin and doling out of important positions, little fuss was made, overall and they agreed to do as they were asked for a period of 5 days, in which Ricky will (I assume) know what the heck he's gonna do with a tribe of not so savory characters under the leadership of his LG fighter.
Going back to town after this (with some of the tribe's loot), the PCs decided to get some rest and then begin the sword-search at dawn. This eventually led them back to the church, since it was...in the heyday of Bronce, at least...the most magnificent structure there. With some extensive searches, they finally found what they were looking for...a stone slab in the courtyard of the church shifted and the PCs pulled the stone away.
The session ended with Jaymes reaching down and claiming the gleaming greatsword which lie underneath...the sword of Starkweather John.
I didn't mention many characters by name, because I had forgotten them and was too lazy to cross the room to retrieve my the sheets. Having done so, here you go:
Jaymes (Starborn Human Fighter 1) - Ricky Joe
Fidious Gray (Starborn Human Ranger 1) - Kenny
Veit Granetfist (Starborn Shield Dwarf Barbarian 1) - Josh M.
Ya-ro (Starborn Aasimar Cleric 1 of Old Heakun) - Paul
Next Sunday... I'm set to run again, as Paul is giving up Red Hand, I guess. We'll see!