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An Arrival at Farshore - Savage Tide Story Hour


Savage Tide Adventure Path


A couple of sessions ago my group arrived at Farshore at the start of Tides of Dread. With the pirate assault in full swing I switched away from our usual tactical map and instead worked toward a more cinematic "tell me your intention" sort of play. I thought it worked marvelously and the resulting battle inspired me to write it out as a piece of short fiction. It's mostly for my group, but I thought some of you in the community at large might also enjoy it.

I have adapted the path to Eberron, so there are a few references to Eberron gods and whatnot in the text.

Dramatis Personae

Spoiler:
Daneth - Aventi duskblade and moral compass of the party
Lylia - Half-elf cleric of The Whirling Fury {taking Keith Baker's suggestion making the church a cult worshiping an amalgamated form of Dol Arrah and The Fury}
He - Male personality Warforged fighter/ranger moving toward the Leviathan Hunter prestige class
Alasdair... the Amazing - Swashbuckler/rogue. Ex "preemptive oceanic salvage technician" and nattily dressed man about town
Hej - Feral Aquatic lizardman fighter/barbarian; recent replacement character for the Drow rogue, Xyrx.
Lorenda - DMPC halfling healer.

An Arrival at Farshore

Spoiler:

Lorenda sat quietly in the center of the dugout canoe, the ocean breeze on her face a welcome change from the oppressive heat of the island’s interior. The terror and loss of the last several weeks were fading to memory, and the hope of finally reaching Farshore buoyed her spirits.

“But just then her husband burst in.” Alasdair continued regaling Daneth with a story from his past. “I barely had time to grab my small clothes before jumping out the window. Thankfully there was a carriage passing underneath – the fact it’s occupant was a lovely lady only sweetened the deal.”

Lylia smirked a bit in spite of her disapproving glare. Lorenda suspected the story was a bit embellished, but at this point she did not care. The jungle was behind them, and the promise of a real bed and regular hot meals lay before them.

In the other canoe, He rowed methodically in time with their native guides. Looking more than a little out of place with his granite crown and silvery body, the only sound he made was the clattering of his various grisly trophies. Behind him, the Maelstrom’s newest companion sat stock still, eyes half closed behind scaly lids. With his snout pointed into the air and his neck outstretched the giant lizardman looked for all the world like a common garden reptile sunning itself on a rock. Lorenda had only known Hej for a little more than a week, and he had so far shown a strong noble streak despite his apparent ferocity. Still, the lizardman made Lorenda feel uneasy. There was something unnerving and unsettlingly ancient in his cold gaze.

Lorenda shivered in spite of the tropical heat. Turning her head from the other canoe, Lorenda watched the shoreline of Temute roll by.

“There is no way she was the Mayor’s daughter,” said Daneth

“Hand to the Host,” Alasdair replied. “Fortunately for me she had a rebellious streak and apparently liked the cut of my jib.”

Lylia shook her head, rolling her eyes as Lorenda looked back at her.

“If you were half as charming as you think you are, Alasdair, I’d be afraid for the virtue of all the women of Khorvaire,” said Lylia.

“And some of the men too,” added Daneth.

“Can I help it if I’m irresistible as well as amazing?”

“You seem pretty resistible to me, fleshbag.” Everyone’s head turned sharply toward He. It had been so long since He had spoken, it was easy to forget he was listening to the conversation from a few yards away. Daneth and Lylia burst into laughter. Stopping mid-row, He turned his head slowly gazing at the giggling pair with what Lorenda imagined to be puzzlement. Alasdair looked over his sholder toward Lylia.

“It wasn’t that funny.”

Lylia began laughing even harder. A smirk crept across Alasdir’s face. “Well, All right. Maybe it was that funny.”

With a derisive grunt, He shook his head and went back to rowing. Lorenda eyes rolled heavenward. Host help her – if she ever saw the cardinal again, she must remember to have words with him about sadling her with this misfit group.

Suddenly, Hej turned his head toward the island. His nostrils flared twice.

Hej’s gravelly voice cut through the mirth. “Smoke.”

The laughter stopped abruptly. Looking to the south and east, Lorenda saw a dark smear rising above the island. Daneth turned his head, looking back at Alasdair.

“I think maybe you should tell them to row faster.”

* * *

Rounding the promontory, a sheltered harbor came into view. Immediately Daneth could see the value of the harbor as a port. Well protected to the north and south by cliffs and a relatively deep approach into the harbor itself made this a perfect location to dock large trading ships. Unfortunately the Vanderborens had more of an eye for commerce and less of an eye for defense. The small town before them - not much more than a village really - was overrun. Even from this distance Daneth could see several figures running amok amidst the burning buildings. A large vessel bearing a red flag with a black silhouette of a shark’s jawbone sat anchored in the harbor at the end of the longest dock. One of the Olman guides spoke rapidly over his shoulder to Alasdair.

“What did he say?” asked Daneth.

“They are willing to take us to the northernmost dock – no further,” Alasdair replied.

“Fair enough.”

With the commotion on shore, no one seemed to notice the native built canoes gliding silently up to the dock near the shoreline. As the Maelstrom hit the beach, Daneth swept his gaze over the chaos. Choking, thick smoke filled the air. Colonists screamed as large, scimitar wielding men ran through town setting fires and looting at will. Near the docks, high pitched screams poured from a burning storage building. A bit to the south, an older man lay sprawled on the beach, broken glassware strewn about him. Deeper into town, a larger concentration of pirates worked with a makeshift ram to break down the doors to what appeared to be a chapel. Past the church a handful of young colonists with swords were doing their best to fight back a group of pirates, but even at this distance Daneth could clearly see they were outmatched.

“I’ll help whomever is trapped in the building over there. Lorenda, do you think you can get the man on the beach on his feet?”

“I think so.”

“Good – get him out of there. The rest of you, help them in the plaza.”

Before the canoe came to a halt, Daneth was on his feet and running toward the burning shed. From the corner of his eye he could see the rest of his companions running full tilt into the chaos. Daneth’s focus narrowed – someone was trapped and needed his help. More than enough innocents had died recently – he wasn’t going to let there be another one.

Running at full speed, Daneth studied the building as he approached. The main door was shut and even at this distance he could see smoke curling around the edges. Looking to the side of the building he noticed a broken window some six feet off the ground. Without another thought Daneth lowered his head and pushed as much power into his stride as he could. Committing everything to his forward motion, Daneth leaped extending his arms over his head and willing his body as thin as he could make it. He felt a momentary flash of heat as he passed through the window, but as gravity completed his task, Daneth tucked into a graceful shoulder roll and felt a moment of elation realizing he had come through unscathed.

Daneth’s momentum brought him to his feet. He stood, quickly surveying the scene. The dry, hot air baked his skin, and his gills opened and closed reflexively. A thick haze of smoke swirled about his head and assaulted his lungs. The acrid heat pressing past his throat started Daneth coughing. Blinking away a thick curtain of tears, Daneth saw only one occupant. A young woman overcome with a fit of coughing knelt near the back wall of the storage shed as far from the flames as she could move.

Daneth looked to the woman and reached out a hand. “I’m here to rescue you. Trust me.”

She looked at him, then to his outstretched hand. She nodded, and reached out, taking Daneth’s hand in hers.

Saying a short string of precise arcane syllables, Daneth focused his will to moving this woman out the window he had come through. In the blink of an eye, she was no longer in front of him, and instead was outside the window, falling unceremoniously the six feet to the ground. His throat burning, Daneth took only a moment to scan the room for anyone or anything else to save. Fighting back another urge to cough, he once again recited the same precise syllables, this time focusing his attention inward and willing himself through the window. A momentary tingle sped through his body as the world around him wrenched in an odd swirl. As soon as it began, the sensation was over and Daneth was falling. Landing lightly on his feet and absorbing the shock with his knees, Daneth gazed across the burning town. A dastardly half-orc chased a pretty redhead between two buildings. Daneth narrowed his gaze and began to run.

* * *

Before Lylia could stand both Alasdair and Hej were already far onto shore – Alasdair with his casual, fluid grace and Hej exploding into motion like a taut spring. Gripping her Zulaat, ready for anything, Lylia muttered a quick prayer under her breath.

“Mother of Righteous Wrath, grant me the strength to see this through.”

The largest concentration of attackers seemed to be in the plaza before them. As she and her warforged companion hustled through the chaos, Lylia caught sight of Lorenda as she knelt beside an injured man bleeding on the beach. Even at this distance Lylia could see a pale nimbus grow around Lorenda’s hand as she touched the downed colonist. With a sputtering cough, he sat up.

“Can you walk.” Lylia could just barely hear Lorenda’s words over the din. The man nodded.

“Then move!”

Lylia returned her attention to the fight before her. Alasdair and Hej had split. Alasdair was almost to the largest group of toughs while Hej was bearing down on the group assaulting the church. As she watched, Hej lowered his head, his clawed feet pumping hard against the packed earth of the plaza. Putting his entire body behind one fluid motion, Hej thrust with his greatspear catching one of the pirates just as the raider turned to face the threat. The broad point of the spear caught the invader just below the sternum, the point sinking deep and the force of the blow lifting him bodily off the ground. Hej dropped his spear and the now quite dead thug to the ground. Turning toward the next nearest foe, Hej let forth a mighty roar.

Gauging distance quickly, Lylia adjusted towards the chapel just a bit more. Focusing a small sliver of her Mistress’s divine power, Lylia intoned a ritual recitation she had been taught from a young age. As she completed the invocation, she gestured subtly. Next to one of the pirates assaulting the church a translucent, double-bladed glaive coalesced – the very image of her own zulaat. The divinely conjured weapon swung at the nearest buccaneer, the ghostly blade harder than steel at it bit into flesh.

Turning back toward the cluster of raiders at the north end of the plaza, Lylia took account of the situation. Eight ragged sailors with curved blades were slicing into the ranks of the Farshore defense. At the center of it stood a taller man thrusting with an elegant rapier as his primary weapon and a lashing out with a triangular punching dagger in his off hand. Thick twists of hemp rope wrapped up his arms; around his neck hung a raggedly cut noose accentuating a livid scar around his neck. With a cruel grin flashing yellowed teeth, the leader dropped another of the town’s defenders with a well placed thrust of his punching dagger. Alasdair was almost upon the rabble, yelling insults and challenges as he ran. Lylia knew Alasdair could handle himself in a fight, but he was woefully outnumbered.

“I’m on it,” said He, as if reading her mind. His silvery body reflecting the morning sun as he charged across the intervening distance.

Lylia turned her attention back to the church. Now weaponless, Hej made a quick adjustment to be closer to two of the remaining pirates. With one vicious swipe of his clawed hand, he ripped through the neck of the nearest pirate. A spray of arterial blood arced over the plaza as the gurgling assailant dropped his sword and clutched the crimson bloom at his throat.

With one continued motion, Hej swung is second claw at another nearby pirate leaving a ragged gash across the blackguard’s chest. Shifting his weight slightly, Hej extended his head toward his opponent’s face, snapping down with powerful jaws, his bite missing by mere inches The remaining pirates blanched – the two not currently engaged with the towering lizardman dropped the ram, turned from the fight and fled.

Lylia continued moving toward Alasdair and the pirate captain. As she watched, Alasdair gracefully slid between two pirates with ease, moving with such speed and confidence he left the pair looking the wrong way as he ran up to their leader. With a flourish, Alasdair thrust his rapier at the pirate scum. The blow was true, and the pirate grimaced with pain.

“Not quite as tough in a fair fight, are you – you motherless son of a sea urchin.”

The pirate captain snarled “I’ll show you fair, you ponce! Slice ‘im up boys!”

Lylia redoubled her effort to reach her friend. As Lylia moved, a red haired woman ran screaming past, pursued by a slavering half-orc. Lylia stopped short, turning to help the woman, but from the corner of her eye she saw Daneth running full tilt toward the woman’s assailant. As Lylia watched, Daneth gracefully drew his sword, then swung the slightly curved blade in a perfectly timed upward arc. Electricity danced from his hands and crackled up the blade. As he completed his sweeping motion, Daneth’s blade bit deep into the flesh above the half-orc’s hip. As the powerful sword blow struck true, the magic charged blade released the coruscating energy into the body of his opponent. A powerful burst of electricity ran through the pirate, charring the wound and leaving a smoking ruin as the corpse fell free from Daneth’s blade.

Lylia turned back toward Alasdair, realizing his situation was most dire. Surrounded on all sides, he parried and dodged as furiously as he could, but it was only a matter of time before a misstep or lucky blow would leave him a corpse. In a few more steps she would be in range to cast. Just a few more steps.

* * *

Alasdair was beginning to think that this was perhaps not the best idea he’d ever conceived. He parried another blow with his sword, and moved his free arm up just in time to catch a slashing scimitar swinging in toward his face. The blow deflected harmlessly off the blackened steel destana he now wore. With a half-formed thought, he sent a bit of thanks to his comrade Xyrx, wherever he might be.

Alasdair felt a sharp welling pain bloom in his lower back. The moment of distraction had proven just enough for the lead pirate to take the advantage. He snarled as he twisted the rapier in Alasdair’s back. Alasdair pulled away, freeing himself from the blade. The half step placed him dangerously close to another opponent – Alasdair bobbed his head to the right as a saber narrowly slashed by his ear. Looking past his nearest assailant, Alasdair could see two more pirates moving toward him. He set his jaw grimly – if today was his day, then he’d go out swinging.

Just then a glint of sunlight caught Alasdair’s eye. From beyond the approaching brigands Alasdair saw He running toward the fray, his long strides eating up the distance as he crossed the plaza. Alasdair’s determined jaw softened as a grin spread across his face. The rearmost pirate turned just in time to see He bring his sword down in a gracefully powerful two-handed arc. The unprepared pirate dropped in a heap at the warforged’s feet.

The new combatant entering the fray drew some of the unwanted attention away from Alasdair. Redoubling his efforts, Alasdair continued his deadly dance of flashing blades, subtly parrying and avoiding thrust and slash alike. A narrow miss by noose-neck’s punching dagger brought Alasdair up short. As he turned to once again face his primary assailant, a ghostly two-bladed glaive appeared next to the buccaneer slashing as soon as it materialized. Alasdair seized his moment, shifting his weight he committed to a low lunge. As the rope bedecked pirate brought his blade wide to parry, Alasdair deftly disengaged around the pirate’s blade, leaving his opponent off balance and open to attack. Shifting his momentum, Alasdair thrust his blade deep into the pirate’s chest.

Dropping his blade, the incredulous pirate clutched futilely at the rapier embedded in his chest, a trickle of blood appearing at the corner of his mouth. With a ghastly rattling cough, the bearded cur spat blood flecked foam into Alasdair’s face. His weight dropping, Alasdair let his blade pull free from the bandit.

“The Keeper take you, you bastard.”

Pivoting around, Alasdair watched as Lylia made short work of her opponent, the twin blades of her zulaat flashing in the morning light. Beside her, He dropped another invader, adjusting his swing to catch the final pirate as he fled back toward the sea. Alasdair looked south – one of the largest buildings in town was ablaze. Locals ran into and out of the inferno ferrying books and sheaves of paper to safety. Looking about, Alasdair could see the invading force had been turned aside; without another moments consideration Alasdair ran into the blaze to help.

* * *

Lorenda moved quickly through the plaza, stopping occasionally to check a colonist’s injuries - fortunately none were terribly severe. By this point, most of the fires were extinguished. The largest fire had been the Hall of Records, however the town’s bucket brigade had been able to quell the flames after Daneth and Lylia had cast a few well placed cold spells to halt the spread. Lorenda was no expert, but she was fairly certain without the assistance, the building would have been lost. She stopped beside a young man holding a limp arm at his side.

“Let me see.”

The young man silently moved his good hand as Lorenda examined the injured arm. He winced a bit as she probed, but otherwise he showed no emotion. Lorenda had seen the look before on the faces of the soldiers brought into Flamekeep from the front lines. She recited a familiar incantation and a blue glow emanated from the hand she had placed on the boy’s arm. His eyes widened a bit in wonder as he lifted his arm.

“It might be a little weak for a day or two, but that will pass.”

“Thank you.”

She smiled wanly. It would appear their new home was to be no less exciting than anywhere else they had been over the past several months.

“You’re welcome.”

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