Hear ye! Hear ye! Wacky Crew save Highdelve!
Yup! That’s right. Our weird and kooky crew of eccentric Pathfinders have completed their first mission! We played, we laughed, we triumphed. Oh, yeah, and WE RODE A DRAGON!
Who? What? Why?
Read on and be enlightened!
A while ago my family and I were gifted some boons as part of a delightful contest run by the overly generous Hmm. With them we made a team of goofy eccentrics! (Cause what ELSE should we have done with them?). An exiled aquatic elf magus struggling to adapt to life on the surface, a hyperactive grippli ranger who always looks on the bright side of life, a wise stump-tailed vanara shaman with hair growth issues and a pet pig, and a ratfolk shifter who gnaws on everything he can get his hands on. For more detailed information on our characters and their creation you can check out my previous blog post: Character Focus: Wacky and Weird.
Not long after creating these delightfully fun characters we were offered the chance to play an adventure all together via play-by-post: the incredibly hard to find Heroes for Highdelve! Our kooky characters took the time to think of a reason they were in Highdelve, and then we got cracking! They arrived just in time for the annual Brightbloom Festival. In addition to exploring the festival, stuffing our faces (and our pigs) with carnival food, riding barrels, competing in sack races, and assisting a puppet show, we each had specific goals we were trying to achieve.
My daughter’s grippli Croak was on the hunt for some stuffed rabbits she had recently purchased and misplaced on a wagon. My son’s vanara Pinesong Rippleroot was looking for some pet pigs he had accidentally sold to a merchant instead of a loving home. My husband’s ratfolk Lomo was in the market for a crafter to repair his father’s magical necklace that Lomo had chewed on. And my aquatic elf Sereia who was trying to track down a coral idol sold by an antiquities smuggler. Their efforts were hampered by the festival, but they had fun and found some promising leads.
Suddenly, the festival was interrupted by screams! The teenaged flower collectors for the festival (known as the Bloomgivers) came back to town wounded! They had been attacked by a pair of young troublemakers. In addition to being beaten up, they were robbed of their protective amulet, and their wagon of Brightbloom flowers was broken. The people gasped. Some called for the village’s legendary draconic protector Aurelliax to bring justice to the wayward youths, but she strode out of the crowd in human form and declined. She had promised the founders of the village long ago that she would protect them, but not interfere in village politics and citizenry. If someone was going to retrieve the protective amulets, gather the brightblooms, capture the teens, and save the festival, it was going to have to be someone else.
Obviously my kids hopped at the chance to volunteer! Their characters announced rather boldly that we would handle it, and once again my aquatic elf was roped into some spontaneous adventure. My daughter’s character Croak assured everyone that this would be the perfect grand adventure! Sereia was unsure.
Still, they were nothing if not true to their word, so the band of outcasts set out from Highdelve, through the hills and wilds until they reached the brightbloom meadow. There they found a field of flowers as far as the eye could see (along with the Bloomgivers’ broken flower wagon). They also found an old cabin, a recently used campsite, and a cave. The group split up, with Lomo and Pinsong checking out the cabin, Croak hopping right into the flower field to pick some brightblooms, and Sereia examining the campsite. But after only a moment the two teenaged hooligans hopped out from behind a rock and started attacking Croak!
What kind of dastardly villains would attack an innocent grippli who was plucking flowers?
Ahhh! The horror!
Croak leapt into action, tossing a net at the girl. Much to my daughter’s glee the enemy was stuck in the net the entire fight. (She laughed about this endlessly!). Everyone else rushed over to the meadow while Croak battled the remaining teenager with her blowgun. Pinesong arrived on the scene next, alongside his pig Cutie Pie. While Cutie Pie hid behind a rock, Pinesong clambered up on top of it and formed magical stormclouds around the enemy, making it difficult for them to see. Lomo arrived next and tore into the guy with his claws — dealing less damage than you might imagine since he’s a Dexterity based combatant. But before Sereia could arrive another enemy showed up on the scene! A tiefling who had hired the teenagers to steal the protective amulet from the Bloomgivers. Why? It was a mystery!
The trident wielding Sereia was the last to arrive, but as the character with the highest damage potential she turned the tide of battle pretty quickly. With the tiefling dead, and the two teenagers prisoner (but conscious) the quartet set about questioning the kids.
They learned that it was the tiefling who had something horrible planned for the town. Apparently he was keeping a monster in the cave, which he was going to unleash upon Highdelve! And the amulet? It would keep the monster protected from Highdelve’s gold dragon defender!
Knowing that they had a monster to defeat but unwilling to risk their prisoners escaping, the group transported the two teens and the tiefling back to Highdelve. After turning them in to the guard’s custody they headed back out to the cave and went right in. It was time to go monster hunting!
The caves were dark, but they could hear strange bellows echoing down the tunnels. In time they found the source — a massive ettin with strange markings carved into its flesh! Tangled in its fingers was the amulet!
When my kids looked at the battle map and the picture of the creature my kids both stopped and said: “Uh oh… That looks strong!”
Despite their fears we waded into battle with enthusiasm.
Now… When you’ve got four players who make characters always intended to play alongside one another, chances are good they’ll make a balanced team. And we did. But… we also aren’t exactly based around damage. We’re more like… a swarm of gnats that flits around the enemy poking it and causing it minor hinderances. Lomo is a melee guy, but his claws do 1d3 damage. No strength bonus. Pinesong is our healer but for damage? Well, he usually uses his storm burst ability to make the enemy treat Pinesong and his pals as if they had concealment. He’s got a crossbow but he’s not a very good shot. My daughter’s little grippli Croak? She fights with nets and poisoned blowgun darts. Considering the ettin beat every single saving throw against her poisons she dealt a whopping 1 damage per shot! Oh, yeah! And Sereia? She’s a magus, so she can deal some solid damage, but she also has to wear a lot of hats in the party. She’s the spellcaster, she’s the second melee character, she’s the academic, and she’s the trap finder. That’s a lot! As a result her attack rolls are good, but not amazing. They’re fair at best if she’s using her spell combat ability. So when she hits she hits hard. But she wasn’t hitting all the time. Meanwhile, Lomo and Croak hit practically every round! (My daughter was very proud of her consistent one damage darts. Haha.
Anyway, the battle was great fun! It lasted quite a few rounds without dragging on too long, we hindered him enough that we rarely got hit, and we bottlenecked him in a tunnel so he couldn’t reach our squishier team members (Pinesong and Croak) with his massive, skull-crushing flail.
We spent a little time gloating when we finally defeated the ettin — okay, mostly it was Croak mocking the dead ettin for looking like a giant plucked chicken with all those darts sticking out of him. Then we looked around, collected the amulet, and left.
Outside we found a dragon.
Not just any dragon.
A freaking HUGE dragon. Thankfully it was gold.
Pinesong and Cutie Pie hid, Croak gave it a chipper hello, and Lomo froze like a character in a Jurassic Park movie who’s squaring off against T-Rex. Cause a dragon can’t see you if you stay still, right? RIGHT?
….Yeah, not how it works Lomo. But hilarious!
Sereia made the connection between the gold dragon and Aurelliax, guardian of Highdelve, and soon they spoke. The dragon thanked them for their aid and offered them a ride back to town.
My kids were flabbergasted. Literally amazed. My daughter squealed in delight (“UH, YEAH! OF COURSE!”). My son started singing a song from Teen Titans Go! all about riding a dragon (literally).
“We’re gonna ride that dragon! THAT DRAGON! We’re gonna ride that dragon! THAT DRAGON!”
He was so excited he insisted on sending our wonderful GM a link to the exact song and episode. You’re welcome! Haha.
Anyway, we rode that dragon all the way back to Highdelve and learned that the townsfolk had banded together to help us wrap up our tasks! Lomo’s necklace was being repaired, Pinesong’s piglets were being given new homes, Croak’s missing rabbit stuffed animals had been found, and the name of the client that the antiquities smuggler had sold the coral idol to had been found. Soon Sereia could track it down and return it to her people.
My kids were amazed! Big smiles all around. And then they settled in for a feast and dance as the guests of honour. Aurelliax gifted them a magical statuette which turned out to be a super cool boon! Both of my kids transformed the statuette into a magical creature: Pinesong used it to make Cutie Pie covered in golden scales, and my daughter used it to create a pet flying squirrel with giant golden bulging eyes called Roadkill. My husband and I are going to hang onto it to use one of it’s other cool benefits.
We got our chronicles just the other day and the adventure came to an end. And what a good one! Particularly for kids! It had such a nice feel-good ending. Both of my kids said it was among their very favourite adventures they’ve ever played! (My son said he had two favourites: this run of Heroes for Highdelve, and his play through of Signs in Senghor, which was written by my brother and I wrote about in a previous blog post: Signs in Senghor: Part One, and Signs in Senghor: Part Two).
In short, we had a blast!
And if our wonderful GM happens to be reading this: a thousand thanks!
I’m not sure what’s next for our weird and wacky crew. Finding a game all four of us can get into can be tricky, but I do know that whatever we play, we’re going to have fun.
Thanks for sharing this experience with us!
Until next time,