My regular crew is starting a new campaign, and we’re back in Pathfinder this time. So here to make sure I was running the character I wanted, I took my new guy out for a spin solo-style. Here is the background and short solo encounter.
FORGING BY FIRE
Zithembe had been an arrogant youth. Even as a scrawny cub, none dared to bully him for his speed and aptitude with the practice wooden swords quickly became legendary among all the litters. His boastful yet charming personality made sure that everyone knew he was the best. He never backed down from a challenge, never quit, and learned the best way to win a fight was to convince his opponent that Zith had already won the battle before it started.
It was just at his coming of age that the war for Glethemere Forest began. Rapier by his side, newly minted into the Chieftan’s Guard (and the youngest member ever at that), and eager to demonstrate his prowess with a blade, Zith broke formation to take on a troll by himself in one of the first battles of the war. Zith tumbled and dove past the beast’s defenses, slashing and piercing it’s flesh. The troll was clearly no match for his speed and fell to the forest floor bleeding from multiple wounds. Zith turned back to his unit expecting to boisterously lead them further in the attack only to see several of his comrades with flaming arrows notched in bows pointed towards him.
“Move, you dog!” one of them yelled. Not understanding what was going on, Zith argued back with them, saying he had felled the foe. It was then that the regenerated troll struck him squarely on the head and he blacked out. Several hours minutes later, Zith awoke to severe pain and the smell of burning fur. He was on fire.
Embarrassed and dismissed from the honor guard by the Chieftan himself, Zithembe met Starling at the healer’s tent. With the power of Elhonna channeled through him, Starling not only healed Zith’s wounds, but also taught him about the power of faith. Throughout the rest of the war, Zith was assigned to work with the cleric and learned much under his tutelage.
It seemed that the more he learned of Elhonna, the more his martial prowess grew. He began to perform feats of battle that few could even imagine. Moreover, the men he served with started looking to him during the battles. Zith’s booming voice taunting the enemy and emboldening his allies, brought strength to the small band of combat medics that he served with. Zith knew this was a gift from the goddess, and used a smoldering stick one night by the campfires to burn the symbol of the unicorn into his leather armor.
After the war, Zith was determined to make his own way in the world to prove his worth to his exiled Chieftan. He was sure that by earning a name for himself, he could be the way to reunite his scattered tribe and lead them back to their rightful home in Glethemere Forest.
THE CITY OF CAELFALL
Zith always felt that the militia was beneath his station, but as his cousin always told him, “Gold was still the same color, no matter where it came from.” And Zith definitely needed gold.
With his brash personality, he had found his way to Sillaphon’s Gambling House. It was a public gambling house, but the way that Zith could read people quickly earned him a seat in the private room at the Big Money Table. He talked over the card games like he did in his sword fights, but ended up losing the little bit of gold he had scrounged together. Embarrassed yet again, the militia seemed the quickest and easiest route to a meal.
Oh, how the mighty had fallen. The cub who had ruled them all was now a common sell sword. Instead of uniting his tribe, he was trying to find food. Instead of earning the respect of his Chieftan, he was probably bringing disgrace to his tribe.
However, never one to let bad circumstances get him down, he faced this challenge just like all the rest: with a smile, a boisterous retort, and a swift blade.
It was soon after he started a regular rotation with the militia that the assassination happened. A nimble little half-elf was about to take on some thugs when Zith decided to intervene. However, before he could even draw his blade, the arrows took the thugs out. The kid, Arden, was beside himself. He had never seen death that close before, but Zith had. There had been death after death in the Glethemere Forest.
After securing the site and making sure all were as safe as could be reasonable expected, the city militia began investigating. At first, Zith thought this was just another example of bad people doing bad things to other bad people, but then he found out differently. You see these brutes weren’t just any muscle-bound thugs. They had just gotten sloppy drunk in the middle of the day over at Sillaphon’s and just before leaving had given several hints that they had witnessed something that they weren’t supposed to see. Sillaphon himself tried to worm the whole story out them, but he got nothing more than the cryptic, “We knows allsh about it!” and “We can bring ’em all down just like that and don’t you forget it!” Somebody wanted these two silenced forever. The questions that remain unanswered to this day are: Who would be powerful and brazen enough to murder in broad daylight? and What did they do that needed covered up so bad? Years later, Zith had given up the case as forever cold.
DISCOVERING HIS POTENTIAL
Zithembe was doing his best to sneak through the foliage, but he just couldn’t get used to this whole stealth idea. He was used to brash, straight-forward confrontation with the enemy. He felt his mouth was a weapon like anything else, and sneaking around felt like he had to sheath his weapon. Thinking of his rapier, he reached down instinctively to grasp the hilt only to wince at the pain in his arm. Starling had been able to mostly heal the burn, but it still smarted when he moved it quickly. Growling low in his throat, he continued to move through the foliage.
Starling had told him that the mission was simple. Scout ahead to find where the wounded began and report back so the combat medic team could arrive. If he found a group besieged and still battling the orcs, goblins, ogres, or other scum, he was not to engage. He was to report back immediately to bring reinforcements. Despite the sour taste that left in his mouth, Zith knew he needed to tread carefully now and follow orders exactly. He needed to show them he wasn’t just an over-eager cub who was too green to be of use in true combat.
As he ranged further from the main camp, he began to hear the sounds of battle. According to the reports, the whole frontline had swung east leaving a swath of destruction and casualties behind. He kept going west for a while more before he turned north towards where the battle had originally been engaged. If he could find the end of the line, he’d report back that exact location so the medics could work from both ends towards the center.
1 rolls of 20-sided dice: 11
Zith felt confident (fairly normal for him) that he was hidden from the enemy (not normal). There were groans coming from up ahead. That must be it. Does he hear anything else?
The answer to your question is: NO (d100 roll: 11)
—-> Is There a Random Event?: No random event
Just the groans of the dying. He worked his way forward carefully, keeping to the foliage. (Meta: There are 4 goblins ahead with the wounded. Zith is hidden, but doesn’t hear them. Does he see them first?)
The answer to your question is: NO BUT (d100 roll: 30)
—-> Is There a Random Event?: No random event
Stumbling out of a thick portion of the brush, Zith is shocked to see 4 goblins bent over the bodies strewn about a small clearing. At a quick glance they appear to be looting the bodies and killing any wounded they find. One even has a wet knife poised over one of its fallen orc comrades.
As surprised as Zith is to see the live goblins not with their units in the pitched battle further east, they seem equally surprised by him being there. “I must be better at this sneaking stuff than I thought,” says Zith out loud to the goblins. “And let me tell you something, my friends. I’m far better with this than I am at sneaking,” he says with a grin showing his teeth and drawing his rapier. Stepping out confidently towards the goblins, Zith continues, “As I see it, you have but two options. Option 1: Engage me in battle whereby you will be handily dispatched and your ill-gotten loot will be repatriated toward the rightful cause of the Glethemere Forest.” At this point, Zith had made it to a more advantageous position with more room to duck and roll without all the trees in the way. “Or option 2: Cower and run away. As ugly as you are, I’m sure your even uglier mothers would prefer option, so I will give you this one chance to honor thy mothers.”
The goblins continued to look around with apprehension, expecting allies to come to Zith’s aid soon, but none came. They slowly looked at each other and then took a more aggressive stance. The lead goblin says, “We’ll add your fangs and fur to our bounty, pussy cat. There’s also a pretty bonus in it for us to bring you back alive for interrogation, and without any friends, the odds seem stacked in our favor.”
Zith shrugged as if acknowledging his predicament, but still he smiled. “I was hoping you would choose the first option. My friends, this day you shall feast in the halls of the god of death, and Elhonna shall guide you there,” he says touching the burnt symbol of the unicorn on his breast and bowing slightly to his opponents. (Meta: Moving to the board to finish the fight.)
Zithembe Mineeri felt the strength of the unicorn flow through his body. He reveled in the sheer joy of battle by loosing a fierce roar at his opponents before charging straight at the nearest goblin like a panther on the hunt. Before it could even begin to muster a defense, Zith’s rapier had pierced its heart. Zith smiled at the other goblins saying, “You will drink well in the halls of death this day, my friends.”
“Shut him up!” yelled one goblin moving up to attack with a short sword as the other two unslung their shortbows and fired. Zith ducked the blade strike, rolled to the side to avoid the first arrow, but the next arrow sunk deep into the shoulder of his sword arm. (Unconfirmed crit, 4 damage) It was the goblin’s turn to smile. “Lick your wounds, pussy cat, but this will be over fast,” they laughed.
Zith struggled back to his feet still smiling and said, “I must tell you a secret my friends.” Grabbing the sword with his left hand and letting his right dangle uselessly, he continued, “I am not right-handed.” He quickly lunged but not in the direction the melee goblin thought he would. He went right under the goblin’s guard and drew up behind him with the rapier piercing a second heart.
A green glow briefly surged around his blade and the symbol on his breast. It was as if a shot of adrenaline had flooded through his system. He could clearly see the next move in his mind with laser sharp focus. Elhonna had blessed him and his blade. He knew he would not fail despite the wound. “Let us continue this dance!” cried Zith jubilantly.
The two remaining goblins swallowed hard, but stood their ground and fired. The first arrow Zith deflected with his blade but the second grazed his left leg. Zith didn’t even grimace. He loved the battle. He roared a second time, but this time another surge of insight and adrenaline came into his system. Taking the newfound energy for all it was worth, he charged the nearest archer trying to get to the goblin before it could draw a blade. “Enjoy the food, my friend,” commented Zith in the ear of the dying goblin that yet again pierced unerringly in the heart.
The remaining goblin fearfully fired a shot that went wide and started running. Zith swished his tail almost playfully and gave chase. The goblin drew his sword as the catfolk warlord caught up to it, but Zith batted the small blade away with his own rapier (disarming strike). “A bounty for interrogation, you said?” asked Zith with his blade at the cowering goblin’s throat. “Sounds like a good idea, my friend. I’m sure you’d love to come with me, wouldn’t you? It’s the best idea for you. In fact, it’s the only idea that keeps you alive. Come, my friend, you fought bravely almost to the end. Perhaps my friend Starling will allow me to toast with you after you’ve spoken with him. In the meantime, you won’t mind if I bind your hands would you?”
The goblin nodded nervously and held out its hands while Zith calmly wrapped them with rope and then tied his prisoner to a tree. [I]Now to check on the wounded,[\I] thought Zith. Were any of the wounded still alive?
The answer to your question is: NO (d100 roll: 13)
—-> Is There a Random Event?: No random event
It seemed he was too late. Starling would not be happy that he had engaged the enemy instead of reporting directly back. Perhaps some of these warriors could have been saved then, but alas, he had no choice. He didn’t know the goblins would be there. He didn’t sense them ahead of time. In fact, had he run back to the medic crew, the filthy goblins would have cut the throats of any survivors. That’s right. Surely Starling will understand. But would the Chieftan?
Regardless, Zith’s newfound faith had tangibly been reinforced. Never before had he moved with such speed, accuracy, and force. His strength had never been his peak ability, but every foe had been felled with a single strike. Surely the rearing unicorn had smiled upon him this day.
“Elhonna, I thank you for this gift of victory. Guide my hand always. Let me strike true,” he whispered touching the emblem at his breast and bowing over the bodies of the dead. Time to take back his prize. Maybe this goblin could give them some much needed intel. Zith felt confident he could persuade it to cooperate.
“Come, my friend. We leave,” he said pulling the rope free from the tree and leading the goblin back towards the camp. “I must first apologize though. You did not get to meet the god of death.” Zith smiled at the goblin, “But if you don’t tell us what we need to know when we get back to camp, I can still arrange for it.” The goblin swallowed hard and followed Zith meekly towards the forces of Glethemere Forest.