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Princes of the Apocalypse (Chapter 1)


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The town of Red Larch, in the Dessarin Valley, has recently been rocked by a series off disasters, both natural and otherwise.  A long, prolonged drought has damaged their local agriculture, while a sudden upsurge in banditry has cut off the trade routes running through the town.  No one really seems to care too much, but several local churches pooled together to send a small relief effort to the area.  It wasn't a particularly important mission, so rather than dedicate one of their unfortunately rare clerics to the task of overseeing the caravan to its destination, they pooled together and hired the job out.
You and your companions hired on, each for your own reasons.  Perhaps you need coin, or perhaps you see the charitable act of escorting the wagon as worth doing in it's own right.  Whatever your purpose, your goal is in sight.  Your martial array has scared off the banditry, allowing you to travel without significant opposition, and Red Larch has come into view no more than a mile up the road.
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Zerris Gorba gives a sigh: the dwarf-like human was fine by himself, thank you very much.  Away from the dregs and pettiness of humanity.  Surely, the holy men have the best of intentions, but the druid adheres to the time-worn maxim: "Give a man a fish, and he eats for a day.  Teach him how to fish, and he eats for a lifetime. "  This charity work is just about tantamount to distributing fishes to the town of Red Larch.  The cynical Zerris wonders whether fostering a sense of dependency is step one in the churches' plan to secure more followers.  


His traveling companion Zozo is considerably less taciturn.  The young human, still in his adolescence, is animated where Zerris is not.  He peppers "Are we there yet?" with exclamations about how exciting it is to be escorting a relief caravan to an entirely new town.  Zerris would just about smack him upside the head, but was afraid he'd damage the delicate little thing too much.


"Are we there yet?" Zozo calls out again, for the seventieth time in their trip.

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"Praise be to Tyr," Orsik sighed as the town came into sight.  "Zozo, the answer to your question is still no, but you can see our destination up ahead."


"That is the town of Red Larch," Orsik let his voice fall into lecture mode.  "An unusually long drought, combined with an upsurge with raider activity, has left it on the ragged edge of collapse.  Reports are that the town guard has been badly weakened and forced to withdraw behind their walls, unable to maintain any order in the region.  The local farms are barely producing enough to keep themselves fed, much less the town."


"That is why our caravan is so important.  We're providing relief in this time of disaster, and will hopefully keep the town going until conditions stabilize."


The dwarf left his own concerns with their mission unvoiced, settling for checking the fit of his war hammer and shield one more time.  Calling this an unseasonably long drought was accurate, but so was calling an ocean a 'large body of water'.  Neither phrase caught the full impact of the event in question.  Multi-year droughts happened, but two years without any rainfall inside the valley was more than simply unusual.  And the way the drought had followed a near flood, going from a prolonged heavy rain to a sudden and complete lack of any rainfall at all...


Orsik, like many of his fellows, was convinced something was going on.  Unlike the rest, he thought it was an important matter worth paying serious attention to, not just lipservice.

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Ignaciden didn't care why the town needed help; it just provided him a means of earning some coin after being made to leave his village. He didn't even set that last fire although he had caused plenty of others but he didn't purposefully try to hurt anyone or damage their property. He just liked to see things burn.


Myles could tell something wasn't right. As a paladin who had taken the Oath of the Ancients he knew when people were in distress. This drought was not natural and it caused people to lose sight of the Light. The caravan gave him a reason to come to Red Larch to be a Light and bring some joy.  

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"Hey, I see it!  We're almost there, woo!  Say, what happened to it?  Why was there a drought?  What causes droughts in the first place?  And why would people raid someone who has nothing?  And why don't they just move away to where there are no drought or raiders?  Why do they live in a place with droughts anyway?  Say, do you know what we're carrying?  Can we keep some of it if they don't want it?!"

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Ignaciden scowled at the irritating boy. Okay at 19 he wasn't that old either but he wasn't going to get all giddy over reaching a drought ridden town.


Myles laughed at the boys antics and questions. "This town needs these supplies too much to turn them down, kid."

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Orsik sighed.  "Keep your attention on the road.  If I were a bandit, this stretch of road is where I'd strongly consider placing any attacks.  Far enough away that the town can't immediately respond, close enough that the travellers might feel safe."

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Zerris heaves a sigh of relief as little Zozo falls silent.  From experience, he knows that it is a silence that will not last.  No, oh no.  It wouldn't take much for the little fourteen or fifteen year old human chatterbox to start up again, much to his secret annoyance.  How someone so young managed to get himself hired as a caravan guard, he would never know.  Certainly, it's not the young boy's physical ability.  No, he must be some sort of magical prodigy, not that it's any of Zerris' business.


"Eyes front.  Until we arrive, you never know what might happen!" the druid snaps.


Note: Zerris has passive perception of 20.

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"Strange," Orsik mused aloud as they grew nearer to the town.  "I know we're a hefty escort, but given the recent raider activity, why haven't we been attacked?"  The dwarf looks up and down the road as they near the gates.  "The complete lack of attack is rather unnerving at this point."


It's at this point that Zerris notes a weather-worn sign on the edge of the road, knocked over to lie in some weeds right next to the palisade gate.  'Red Larch - 5 miles'

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"I don't think he wants to be attacked." Myles interjects. "But with the recent events the fact that we haven't been is unusual therefore of concern. Everyone stay alert and be ready." Myles looks pointedly at Ignaciden and Zozo.


Ignaciden rolls his eyes but he is very alert and is ready to burn any attackers.

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Orsik sighs as the gates in the palisade begin to creak open.  "Precisely Myles.  Only the most heavily armed groups have been getting in and out of the area unmolested, and with just five of us to guard the wagon, we don't qualify.  We should have had at least one probe by bandits, or even an outright ambush."


"By the way, anyone else think the town is smaller than it's been made out to be?" he adds thoughtfully, looking at the palisade.

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Hey, we're going faster. Why are we going faster, are we going to be attacked, huh? Why would anyone want to attack us anyway if we're delivering relief goods? Are they really that bad? Say, what's an ambush anyway? Do they disguise themselves as bushes and trees and yell SURPRISE when they surround us and then attack us? Can we survive an ambush? I've never been in an ambush, so how is it like? Do you get scared? I know I won't get scared, Í'll point my finger at them and they'll go SPLAT!!!

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Note: The Unseen Servant site didn't seem able to handle doing a large number of initiatives simultaneously, and it's annoying to do this many rolls through it, so I rolled initiative by just using a javascript RNG program to get the following D20 rolls:


Adjusted Initiative Rolls:

Bandit 1: 2, Bandit 2: 11, Bandit 3: 18, Bandit 4: 15, Bandit 5: 19, Bandit 6: 3

Bandit 7: 7, Bandit 8: 16, Bandit 9: 9, Bandit 10: 2, Bandit 11: 21, Bandit 12: 12

Ignaciden: 12, Myles: 5, Orsik: 3, Zerris: 20, Zozo: 19

Initiative Order:

Bandit 11, Zerris, Zozo, Bandit 5, Bandit 3, Bandit 8, Bandit 4, Ignaciden, Bandit 12, Bandit 2, Bandit 9, Bandit 7, Myles, Orsik, Bandit 1, Bandit 10, Bandit 6

You hear muffled cursing, then suddenly the walls slam outwards, flattening the shrubbery in front of them.  You see thick ropes fly, apparently cut to release the palisade walls.  The gate itself still stands, but the people opening it drop what they're doing to grab weapons tossed their way.


Four individuals approach the party from the gates with their swords out, while eight more level their bows. All of them are equipped with poorly made leather armor and worse swords, but their bows actually look halfway decent.

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Bandits, right.  How quaint.  Zerris is absolutely not impressed with their poor excuse for an ambush.  He gives the sling a couple of twirls, and looses a smooth pebble at one of the swordsmen.  The druid then abruptly pulls on the reins while jerking them to the side.  The effect is to bring the horses to a sudden stop, and use the wagon as a barrier between the horses and the bandits.


Zerris Gorba Rolls: That's a big fat miss.

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What's happening?  What are you doing?  What do they want?  Hey, careful there Zerris, I almost fell off!  Oh, okay, battle time!  Hey, what's the matter, you look a little slow.  Take this, you malevolent miscreant!  Nya ha ha, can't catch me!

Hex (bonus action) Bandit 5's DEX checks, followed by Eldritch Blast (action) against the same target.  After attacking, Move behind wagon.
Zozo Rolls:
Eldritch Blast: 20 vs AC.  Damage is 6.
Hex damage is 4.  Total 10 damage.

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Finally, thinks Ignaciden, some action. He raises his hand and releases a fire bolt while expending a sorcery point to twin it sending two firebolts (one each) at the two bowmen on the right end.


Myles hefts a javelin and hurls it at the bowman on the left end.

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Bandit 11:  

Attack (vs Orsik), miss
Zerris:  Misses
Zozo: badly injured bandit 5
Bandit 5: Attack (vs Orsik), miss
Bandit 3: Attack (vs Orsik), miss
Bandit 8: Attack (vs Zerris), Miss
Bandit 4: Attack (vs Orsik), miss
Ignaciden: Firebolt, Twinned.  Bandit 12 10+5, hit; damage 9. Bandit 11 10+5, hit; damage 5
Bandit 12: Attack (vs Ignaciden), miss
Bandit 2: Attack (vs Orsik), 16+3 = 19, hit.  5+1 = 6 damage
Bandit 9: Attack (vs Orsik), 19+3 = 22, hit.  8 +1 = 9 damage
Bandit 7: Attack (vs Myles), 8+3 = 11, miss
Myles: Attack vs Bandit 5, 2 + 5 = 7, miss.
Orsik: One miss, one hit for 4 damage on bandit 1
Bandit 1:  Attack vs Orsik, 16+3 = 19, 2 damage.
Bandit 10: Attack Vs Zozo, 9 + 3 = 12, miss.
Bandit 6: Attack Vs Myles, 19 + 3 = 22, 2 damage


The chaos of battle is no place for the unprepared.  Orsik charged forward, prompted by Zerris's warning, only to be met by the flashing steel of four bandits.  They clashed together and Orsik came away bloodied, with a nasty cut on his ribs and scratch on his cheek.  In return, he'd managed to stop the four from approaching the rest of the party, and one of them nursed a minor cut to his left arm.  Unfortunately, he could do nothing as the eight crossbow armed bandits leveled their weapons and fired.  Most of the shots missed their targets, but one managed to catch him in the meaty part of his thigh.


Zerris tried to attack with his sling, but totally whiffed.


Zozo on the other hand snapped off an Eldritch Blast that blasted into it's target, nearly knocking the bandit over.  The bandit lived, but the wobbly way his head tracked to his target suggested he wasn't exactly in good shape anymore.


Ignaciden fired off a pair of firebolts that severely burned one of the archers, and caught a good chunk of the arm of a second.


Myles threw a Javelin, but his aim was spoiled as a crossbow bolt nicked his arm.

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These bandits may be poorly equipped and untrained, but Zerris is no fool. He's seen it happen before in nature: pack tactics always grant victory to superior numbers.

Ducking behind the wagon, The Druid mutters an incantation that bathes most of the attackers in green light, to improve the aim of his allies.

Meanwhile, whooping from his earlier success, the wunderkind warlock continues to harass the seriously-injured bandit by popping up, firing an eldritch blast at his hexed target, and ducking back behind the wagon.

Rilbur, you can now see my characters' rolls in your


Zerris uses Faerie Fire against the biggest cluster of enemies, all the while avoiding any allies. To avoid granting advantage, targets must success on a DC13 Dexterity save. Area of effect is a 20 foot cube.

Zozo duplicates his previous actions. 18 should hit, and the combined 16 point damage should either blow the guy's head clean off, or knock him out.

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Bandit 11:

Attack, vs Zerris, miss

Zerris:  Faerie Fire against Bandits 3-8.  3 fails.  4 fails.  5 succeeds.  6 fails.  7 fails.  8 fails.

Zozo: Kills bandit 5.

Bandit 5: Dies

Bandit 3: Attack (vs Orsik), miss

Bandit 8: Attack (vs Orsik), 20 vs AC, 4 damage

Bandit 4: Attack (vs Zerris), miss

Ignaciden: Scorching Ray!  Attack 1, hit 11, damage 7. Attack 2, hit 12, damage 7 (fatal). Attack 3, hit 1, damage 6.

Bandit 2: Attack (Orsik), miss

Bandit 9: Attack (Myles), miss

Bandit 7: Attack (Ignaciden), critical miss.

Myles: Attack (Bandit 2), 19 vs ac, damage 5

Orsik: 6 damage on bandit 3.  (That's a crappy crit :( )

Bandit 1: Attack (Myles), miss

Bandit 10: Attack (Zerris), 16 vs ac, hit.  Damage 8.  Concentration Save: passed (by the skin of your teeth)

Bandit 6: Attack (Zozo), miss


Zerris lashes out with his magic, lining many of his foes in green light.  The sudden distraction of the magical flames throws several of the enemies off stride before they realize the fire is harmless, while Zozo wipes out the only enemy in the area of effect that managed to dodge the magical energies.  The sudden magic drew the bandit's attention to Zerris, as one of them took careful aim and clipped him with a deadly bolt.


Ignaciden fires off a sudden barrage of fire rays, injuring several of the enemy and killing another.  Myles closed in and struck out with his longsword, catching one of the enemies in the side and drawing some of the attention off Orsik.


Orsik took advantage of the opportunity to strike out at one of the fire-lined foes, striking out with his warhammer even as he invoked the power of his god to protect himself from further attack.  Unfortunately the spell took effect moments too late, as another arrow managed to catch him in the shoulder, the impact ruining what would have been an otherwise lethal blow with his warhammer.

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