The Life and Times of Orik Vancaskerkin (Spoilers)

Rise of the Runelords

1 person marked this as a favorite.

So in my RotRL game, Orik surrendered to the PCs and was a general font of information about Thistletop (at least what he knew) for them. I played up "just a regular merc who fell in with the wrong people/made poor decisions" angle, particularly where it came to Nualia and Lyrie. They decided to spare his life after swiping his magic armor.

Keeping that angle in mind, when the party just recently made it to Magnimar in pursuit of those behind the Skinsaw murders, they ran into Orik in an inn, dressed in the guard uniform of a minor noble house. Orik informs them about the Sihedron murders in Magnimar and they have everybody on edge, with some nobles among the victims prompting every house that can afford it to beef up their security. Hence his new job. He then informs them that he has it made, and that he even gets a "special bonus" from Lady Rinova, wink-wink, nudge-nudge.

The two Maginamarians in the party (the alchemist used to supply "discrete" services to assorted nobles and the human fighter is the disowned member of a noble house) recall rumors about Lady Rinova having flings with her hired help, and then said help disappearing under mysterious circumstances.

The two of them allude to this history, but don't flat-out say it. I figure Orik is going to somehow survive by the skin of his teeth and flee West, eventually ending up in Turtleback Ferry and being one of Lucrecia's favored customers.

Should he survive that, I'm at a loss as to any further hapless situations he'll find himself in. Maybe I'll just leave it there and have him move onto Korvosa. (I haven't read CotCT yet, but if I end up running it at some point down the road, I'm sure I'll find an appropriate cameo point for poor, foolish Orik.)

FWIW, his brother Verik Vancaskerkin appears in the first installment of the Crimson Throne AP, as a member of the Korvosan guard who turns out to be similarly luckless despite the best of intentions. Maybe Orik meets up with him and finds himself hooked into that little fiasco, too?

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Orik and Verik's dad appears in Second Darkness. And HIS misfortune is directly related to Orik's little problems with a certain alchemist. ;)

I've seen several games decide to have Orik join the rangers at Fort Rannick. I think THAT would be the icing on the cake (in having him be a fourth survivor of the hillbilly ogrekin).

Tangent101 wrote:

Orik and Verik's dad appears in Second Darkness. And HIS misfortune is directly related to Orik's little problems with a certain alchemist. ;)

I've seen several games decide to have Orik join the rangers at Fort Rannick. I think THAT would be the icing on the cake (in having him be a fourth survivor of the hillbilly ogrekin).

This is what I did. But they won't find Orik until they encounter Lucrecia. She's using him as a plaything, both sexually and just plain torture. I still haven't decided whether he's going to be totally brainwashed or not.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Also he has a sister introduced in Shattered Star

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Hah. Apparently the Paizo writers like to have fun heaping misfortune on the Vancaskerkin family.


In my campaign Orik actually did join up with the Black Arrows right before their little accident. Poor guy.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

We should keep an eye out for further appearences by the Vancaskerkin family in future Paizo products ...

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Poor bugger just got cut in twain by the Dwarf Barbarian's critical hit. Never even had a chance to get a word out. One moment, he was fine, little bit of damage, nothign serious, fight was just starting - then the next, 30-odd damage and splat.

Could have saved myself the bother of reading his background before the session, really, for all the good it did him...

Did not realize his family was in so many APs. He survived the first encounter with the party, and accompanied them to Fort Rannick. He died to the shocker lizards along with 1 PC, but they paid to raise dead him, so he's with the black arrows now.

It's pretty cool that his family keeps sowing up, my players will think it is funny, as we are running runelords now, and some of them also play in a crimson throne campaign.

If you like having Orik around, have him show up at the festival at the beginning of FotSG. He arrives in Sandpoint just in time to be kidnapped by stone giant raiders.

In the campaign I'm running, my PCs actually ended up taking the "backdoor" into the lower levels of Thistletop, bypassed entirely the first level and chased Lyrie (who was right at the bottom of the stairs) down into the second level. They never got to explore that level or meet Orik.

They ended up facing off against Nualia, Lyrie, Bruthazmus, and Tsuto (he escaped the Glassworks unharmed thanks to one of my players casting reduce person on Tsuto, making him nearly impossible to hit). Orik didn't hear the combat so he never joined in. After that battle and then running into the shadows in the crypt, they decided they would be better off returning to Sandpoint rather than risk any further danger, since they had all been STR drained down to near death by the shadows and were having a difficult enough time moving, let alone fighting. It was very nearly a TPK.

Anyway, back to Orik: since Nualia and Lyrie are dead, he has little reason left to stick around Thistletop. I think he's going to have to go off to Magnimar for the PCs to run into later, or perhaps become a member of the Black Arrows. I haven't yet decided if he's going to resent the party for sending him once again into unemployment.

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yup, I had plans for Orik, but similar to Aotrscommander, Orik died pretty quickly once the party encountered him in Thistletop. Poor fella didn't get a word in.


IMC, the party let Orik go after relieving him of his weapons. He'd played the "just a mercenary and this gig has gone way past maximum weird" card. He spilled the beans on his employer and departed on pretty much neutral terms.
However the party had missed the harpy's dagger in the entrance hall so I figure Orik grabbed that on his way out by way of having something to defend himself AND some money to get by on.
He's headed to Sandpoint, since he kind of liked the place and his luck "in the big city" has been terrible. However, my plan is to have him periodically show up doing shady work for bad people (e.g. Jubrayl) because he's down on his luck. But he'll never really fight the party since they're the nearest thing he currently has to "friends".

Awesome to hear his family has showed up around the place. Sounds like there is enough evidence to support a kind of family curse :-)

In my game , Orik met the party while they were reeling away from the temple. He helped them leave thistletop and in exchange , they surrendered an unconscious Lyrie and her equipement to him :)
So I would say his luck had changed :)

In my game, Orik became a PC.

The party barbarian, Port, managed to fall off of Thistletop while trying to bull rush a goblin off the edge of the cliff. The bridge had been cut behind them, and despite some exceptionally heroic maneuvers by the other PCs, Port perished.

That left me trying to think of some way to introduce a new PC with the party stranded on Thistletop island. Also, the player is good with mechanics but has trouble with backstory. He said he wanted to play a fighter. He said he'd be okay with using a bastard sword and a shield, so I let him take Orik as his new PC. He got to build a new statblock for him, which wound up being pretty similar to the published one.

He also got a ton of useful intel for the party, plus a massive dossier I compiled on Orik's background and known family members. He's level 7 now and doing fine despite the near-TPK with Xanesha.

Orik was captured in my game and went to trial in Magnimar. Before Jusice Ironbriar, of course. He was sentenced to life with the Black Arrows, and escorting him was my lead-in to book 3. Once there, he helped infiltrate the fort and stayed on, having a major change of heart/life altering moment when he sees what happens to Kaven Windstrike, a guy he easily could have wound up as. Now he's a proud member of the most recent generation of rangers as Fort Rannick.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My party was able to convince Orik to turn over a new leaf, and he's currently the newest member of the Sandpoint Guard. Hemlock keeps a close eye on him, as the Sherriff doesn't completely trust him just yet.

I'm also currently running a trial scene for Lyrie, and one of the ways the PCs can get her convicted is to convince Orik to testify upon what he saw at Thistletop. This would have the side problem of bringing up Orik's past. If they want Orik to testify (and I've written things that they don't need to), they need to both convince him to talk and convince Justice Ironbriar to take pity upon him. If they do the first and not the second, then he gets sent back to Riddleport and dies a terrible death. If they do both, then he gets assigned to Fort Rannick, and his terrible luck continues.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

In my game, the PCs are going to find him as one of four captives of the Graul Family. Yes, much as many others, I'm having him join the Black Arrows - though he did this of his own free will after the party let him flee Thistletop with his equipment. He'll probably have a level or two of Ranger, and was part of the ill-fated patrol. No doubt this will help throw a red herring into the mix (though it depends on perception checks of Kaven's tattoo) as Tongs at least is suspicious of Orik and wanted him dead (and his equipment distributed/sold).

I realized I just borked my own plans. The PCs ran into Orik still working as a guard for Lady Renova, and then a few days later heard a rumor about a gambling barge sinking in Turtleback Ferry. Oops.

7 people marked this as a favorite.

So I corrected my mistake by saying Orik went to Turtleback Ferry first after being hired to help the human fighter and cleric wipe out the remaining goblins at Thistletop, then blew all his earnings at The Paradise and was forced to go back to Magnimar to find work, which brought him into Lady Renova's employ.

The party has also developed a refrain of someone saying "I'm so glad we didn't kill him" every time they encounter Orik and/or hear tales of his misadventures.

Last session the party presented their evidence of Justice Ironbriar's guilt and Xanesha's activities to Lord Justice Argentine, and then had dinner with the Lord-Mayor, getting hired to investigate what's happening at Fort Rannick. (Well, 4 of them do. The players of the human fighter and the cleric decided they wanted to change characters, one to a barbarian, the other back to his original "creepy old woman" halfling Oracle of the Dark Tapestry.)

The party decides to take a boat to Turtleback Ferry. On the docks they encounter Shalelu and are thrilled at the idea of her joining them. Once in the boat, they encounter the Oracle, who claims the stars told her she needed to be on this voyage. As the boat is pulling away from the docks, they hear a man yelling for the boat to wait, before he makes a desperate leap off the docks, catches the stern railing of the boat and hauls himself aboard. The party finds themselves looking down at a very winded Orik Vancaskerkin, who grins up at them sheepishly. "Oh, it's you guys. So where are we headed?" (At this point, the player of the alchemist declares that if his character dies, he wants to play Orik.)

Once they find out what he's doing there "So Lord Renova invited me on a hunting trip, and Lady Renova started acting funny and I remembered what you guys said to me about her and realized I should probably be on the next boat out of town. This was the next boat." they inform him they're on their way to Turtleback Ferry. Orik's eyes light up. "Turtleback Ferry? Oh, they've got this pleasure barge over there called the Paradise. Puts stuff in the Dockways to shame. They've got anything you want. Cards, dice, drinks, fantastic whore..." Orik looks at the women in the party and coughs. "Derves. Um, hore-derves[sic]. Anyway, Lady Lucrecia runs a great establishment. Way better than you'd expect to find in some backwater like Turtleback Ferry."

Half-orc fighter: "I'm so glad we didn't kill you back in Thistletop."

Orik: "Me too. Go figure."

Orik then proceeds to regale them with tales of the Paradise between bouts of sea sickness during the week long trip to Turtleback Ferry. There's also some jokes about "the pleasure bard" due to one of the players mishearing me saying "pleasure barge" which, after riffing back and forth, I finally decide that one of Lady Lucrecia's top employees is nicknamed "the pleasure bard".

Needless to say, Orik becomes a bit distraught when the village comes into view, but with no sign of the Paradise. He's completely heartbroken upon learning from the locals that the Paradise sank with all hands

"Even 'The Pleasure Bard?'?" asks one of the party members.

"Even her." Several local men hang their heads in a moment of silence.

The party rogue starts buying Orik drinks to console him, and as the night wears on, he eventually pulls up his sleeve to reveal the Sihedron tattoo, bemoaning how it's worthless now. The party immediately jumps all over him, asking where it came from and why. Once Orik explains that it signified he was an elite customer at Paradise, the party explains that it's the same symbol that was carved on the Star Murder victims, and that as far as they can tell it's a symbol of arcane evil, and then proceed to berate him for having it tattooed on himself willingly, resulting in Orik throwing himself at the party wizard, begging that he removed it. The wizard sadly informs him he doesn't know Erase, but he'll try to pick it up at first opportunity. Orik then tries to plead with the creepy Oracle, but she tells him they'd probably have to take his whole arm off just to be safe.

Orik then proceeds to drown himself in ale before passing out and having to be hauled up to his room.

I realize giving them the information now kind of spoiled things for them finding the tattoo on Daven Windstrike, but it certainly made for some entertaining role-playing.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I think you just made Orik epic. :)

1 person marked this as a favorite.

It is a rare pleasure as a GM when you can make an NPC so epic. I applaud you, sir (or madame, as the case may be).

In my campaign it was the little-known Mayor Shreed. I decided that as a cleric of Erastil, he would be willing to sacrifice himself to save the children and schoolteacher from the church flood. On seeing the tableau, my party's sorcerer just said, "Oh, hell no! He is NOT dying today!"
Leading to an epic confrontation with Black Magga where the sorcerer could not stop blowing through her SR with his fireballs, and (almost) single-handedly forced her to flee due to low HP. (Yeah, the Smiting Evil paladin filling her with arrows didn't help.) So every time they get to Sandpoint, they ask, "So can we replace Zantus with Shreed yet?"

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I was planning on having him move on to Korvosa after Turtleback Ferry, but I may have to come up with a reason (once again due to poor choices on his part) for him to head back to Sandpoint in time for the giant assault just to keep him involved.

NobodysHome wrote:

It is a rare pleasure as a GM when you can make an NPC so epic. I applaud you, sir (or madame, as the case may be).

In my campaign it was the little-known Mayor Shreed. I decided that as a cleric of Erastil, he would be willing to sacrifice himself to save the children and schoolteacher from the church flood. On seeing the tableau, my party's sorcerer just said, "Oh, hell no! He is NOT dying today!"
Leading to an epic confrontation with Black Magga where the sorcerer could not stop blowing through her SR with his fireballs, and (almost) single-handedly forced her to flee due to low HP. (Yeah, the Smiting Evil paladin filling her with arrows didn't help.) So every time they get to Sandpoint, they ask, "So can we replace Zantus with Shreed yet?"

Nice. We just played through part of the Graul farm (outside and the barn) and the "dice" (ie RNG) were really hot for Kibb, with the firepelt critting and tripping things like crazy. After Kibb took Crowfood to the ground with a crit, followed by a trip, allowing the party to beat him into oblivion before he could stand back up, the oracle's player asked if they could trade their trip-focused half-orc fighter for the cat.

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I actually was thinking of having the party roll a perception check to notice Kibb is prowling around the barn, not the house. They already want to burn the house down. ;) The "finger food" really got to the normally-not-fire-happy cleric. ^^;; And the loot-happy Eldritch Knight is nearly at the "screw the loot, let's burn the place to the ground" mood as the player reviews movies (especially horror movies) and is genre-savvy. ;)

When you get down to it, Kibb should make a beeline for the barn. His sense of scent would let him realize his human is in the barn, not the house. Yet few GMs seem to think of this or at least describe it to their players.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

LOL. You made me go back and check my campaign journal. I made Kibb make a simple Perception check to find his master -- and he failed it three times in a row!

Hopeless cat!

My players decided to try the barn first, but I was going to have Kibb beeline for the barn if they were indecisive.

I have to say, playing in a VTT like Roll20 adds an extra element to the Graul Farm as the players are getting to see all the crazy hillbilly names the ogrekin and their pets have.

It also made for a fun moment when the party made their Perception checks to spot Biggin' (they figured there was a spider in their somewhere because of the webbing on the map) and I revealed him filling up most of the "pit" area. Oracle's Player: "Well, at least it's not too big or anything."

The rogue in my part is currently on the run from a crime lord named Drago. I had him recognize Orik as someone who also worked for Drago at one point. Orik rolled a natural 20 to recognize the rogue, and called him by his actual name (not the moniker he introduced himself to the party by). The rogue then tried to kill him after he surrendered (failing miserably, and needing to get bailed out by the ranger). They ended up deciding that, since Orik was unconscious, they would tie him up with Bruthazmus and leave him while they dealt with Nualia.

They've kind of forgotten about him at present, with having to run back to Sandpoint to stop a second raid by the goblins, and chasing Nualia back into the Catacombs of Wrath.

I imagine, currently that he's going to wake up and kill Bruthazmus. After that, I think he'll head off towards Korvosa. I could easily have him picked up by the Graul family (further adding to the incredible bad luck of Mr. Vancaskerkin). Or I could have him make it to Korvosa and sell our not so lovable rogue out in order to get back into Drago's good graces. The rogue did try to kill him. Any thoughts?

1 person marked this as a favorite.

If the guy tried to kill him, I'd say he'd totally sell him out to the crime lord.

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

As long as it's not in Riddleport, I agree - Orik has no interest in showing his face back there any time soon.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Send him to Magnimar. he'd be wasted in Korvosa if the PCs aren't going there any time soon. There's an open question of whether he's still working for Drago; given his luck, he might not be.

I actually had a player with a character with a background remarkably similar to Orik, bastard sword and board fighter on the run from something dumb he did in Riddleport. The group snuck up an Lyrie and the ninja knocked her out and tied her up, so they were able to negotiate with her to get information. When she mentioned Orik, I told the player he recognized the name as a merc he ran with in his younger days. At the confrontation, they made nice and Orik decided to meet up in Sandpoint. The ninja told him he'd want to stay at the Inn not owned by Ameiko, his childhood and current crush.

When they got back to town, Orik helped them on a few sidehooks that tied into personal stories. One game, the fighter couldn't make it, so Orik had left a note saying he had gotten Jax (the fighter) and himself a job escorting a Caravan. They actually robbed a caravan and he sold off all the goods and with his share, spent a week renting out the entire Pixie's Kitten.

He's going to end up in the Fighter's band of anti-Hellknight warriors.

Are you thinking of Davargo from Curse of the Crimson Throne or someone totally different named Drago?

It would be awesome to have different PC groups running in parallel (as mine are, as I kept a detailed timeline) and have Davargo mysteriously "vanish" in a sea of burning boats so the RotRL PC is free.

Seriously. If you've played CotCT, does anyone NOT burn Eel's End once they've explored it?

Drago was the name the person playing our rogue came up with. Neither of us has played Curse of the Crimson Throne, but now I will definitely have to research it.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder Adventure Path / Rise of the Runelords / The Life and Times of Orik Vancaskerkin (Spoilers) All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in Rise of the Runelords