In Arabel, the second largest city in the kingdom of Cormyr, the regent is holding an arms tournament on the day of the Shieldmeet. The winner is to lead the crowns men on an expedition to reclaim the Stonelands, a region of Cormyr that has become home to tribes of orcs and goblins that fled after being defeated in the war. The Purple Dragons, Cormyrs military, is organizing a group of volunteers accompanied by a small armed force, to be led by whoever wins the tournament. If the expedition is successful in establishing a foothold in the Stonelands, the territories will be given to the settlers themselves, under the rulership of the expedition leader.
The characters all arrive in Arabel for the big day, some to fight, some to volunteer, and some just to enjoy the spectacle.
Saeyir Veluthriel has traveled all the way from Evereska to participate, hoping to help claim the region and worm his way into some land grants.
Teryon arrives with his master, sr. Edwin Harlock, a paladin hoping to lead the expedition to further the cause of his god. Teryon acts as sr. Harlock’s cohort and advisor, and is basically the simple paladins substitute for a brain.
Cromweld Hardtwerk has hoped to open a business in Arabel, but his life is made difficult by criminals, and the city is looking less and less like a viable place to settle down.
Horst Tappert has traveled from the Western Heartlands to seek his fortune, most often finding it in the bottom of a bottle. His newest idea is to join the expedition to erect a monestary in the wilds, as far away from the huzzlebuzzle of the city as possible.
Saeyir and sr. Harlock have both signed up for the tournament, while Cromweld buys tickets to watch. Horst gets drunk and tricks money from some lowlifes at the local bar.
At the first round of the tournament, the warriors fight side by side with training swords, to eliminate the hopeful and desperate without unneccesary killing them. Renowned warriors are not subjected to this kind of scrutiny, but since Saeyir comes all the way from Evereska, he has to cross wooden blades with amateurs before the real contest begins. Luckily, he knows his way around a weapon, and plows throught the competition with ease.
Further rounds are fought with whatever equipment the warriors need. The only exception is magic, which is forbidden to minimalize casualties. Saeyir chops downs a few opponents, before he meets his match, a sleek looking dual wielding human. When the human is about to win, Saeyir tries to cheat using a suggestion spell. Unfortunately, a pair of wizards are overseeing the tournament, and penetrates his clever ruse. So does Cromweld, but Saeyir gets discualified with or without him shouting that ‘the elf bitch cheated!’
Meanwhile, sr. Harlock goes undefeated throught he whole thing, and is hailed as the next great Carmyrean champion to be. Good times are had by the clergy of the Red Knight.
Cromweld strolls back to the local watering hole for a quiet dring, but hears from the bartender that Kru, a half orc loan shark, is looking for him. Given Kru’s gruesome reputation, he decides to skip town. He sees a notice looking for volunteers for the expedition into the Stonelands, and applies.
After he arrived in Arabel, Cromwelds horse died from thirst, leaving his portable home noticably less portable. To be able to move without leaving all of his belongings and his dog behind, he decides to buy a new one. Unfortunately, he cannot afford this, so he settles for a bull, and gets a goat throuwn into the deal for good measure.
The characters all congregate at the headquarters of the Purple Dragons the next morning. In addition to each other, they meet a raggedy band of hunters, farmers, builders and mercenaries, all eager to serve their country and build a new life in the winderness.
The group is granted six wagons full of food and supplies, and enough horses to drag the whole mess past Castle Crag, over the Storm Horns, through Tilverton and finally into the Stonelands. They also get accompanied by a dissapointing force of ten Purple Dragons.
And so, thirty four people, twenty two horses, six wagons, one portable home, a bull, a dog and a goat start crawling north, toward an untamed land, a new beginning, and for most of them, the worst years of their lives.
After two days, the caravan train reaches a small mining village called Whitedeep. The players decide to try and recruit some of the villagers to their expedition, and start talking to the community. They also send five soldiers ahead of the caravans to recruit people from One Horse, a town further north, a little off their route.
They manage to start some serious civil unrest in Whitedeep by taking about a fifth of their tiny community with them to certain death, and the soldiers return with a family elves from One Horse.
When they reach Tilverton, they are stopped at a Purple Dragon garrison on the outskirts of town. Apparently, a magical mishap has unleashed a plague on the town, and the whole are has been quarantened, cutting off the expeditions first choice of supply line. The caravans are led safely around the quarantene zone and through the mountain pass leading into the Stonelands, where the garrison forces leave them.
They make camp on the other side of the pass, near a brook flowing out of a small forest. After setting up tents and starting a large fire in the middle of the camp, sr. Harlock oraganizes a group to scout the forest for threats. The group consists of himself and, of couse, the PC’s.
They stroll around the woods for a few hours before being predictably assailed by orcs, bearing wooden spears and animal skins. After putting the orcs to sleep, they follow their tracks deeper into the forest, and see another duo of orcs. They fill the first orc with arrows and set it on fire (along with the undergrowth), but the second one flees into a clearing. Eager to do his part, Cromweld draws his sword and charges. He is immediately hit by the javelins of six waiting orcs, and falls in the grass like a rotten plum.
Teryon casts bless, and gets ready to heal stuff.
Horst sneaks between the bushes to ambush the ambushers.
Sr. Harlock draws his sword, while Saeyir holds the enemy back with his glaive.
After a few rounds of whupping and a well placed acid breath from Horst, all the orcs are defeated. One of them is still alive, and they bandage it up and takes it hostage. They get Cromweld back on his feet, and go back to camp to lick their wounds and plan thier next move.
Note: The party did not start at lvl 1, and some of the javelins aimed at Cromweld missed. Had either of these not been the case, Victor would have had to make a new character for session two.
Note number two: Sr Edwin Harlock started out as sort of a safety net for the characters, but degenerated into a punching bag pretty quickly. He is too dumb to make good tactical decisions on his own, but they do occationally respect his authority as expedition leader, and this has a tendency to lead to disaster. It’s nice to have someone to blame, I guess.