The Chronicles of Kregsmal and Krunch: Volume I
As noted previously, my weekly DND campaign with Annalax and Gertrude has been put on ice. I expect it to return eventually, but for now it is very much on hiatus.
The remainder of the group have decided to run an entirely new campaign in the meantime. This campaign follows the Witchfire Trilogy from the Iron Kingdoms setting… with DND Fifth Edition mechanics. So new character time.
Now, after over sixty sessions playing squishy characters (a Rogue and a Bard), I felt it time for something more beefy. Something that could take a hit. So I went for a Barbarian. Not just any Barbarian either. Kregsmal uses unarmoured defence… but does not fight shirtless. He really loves to fight in shirts, actually, and the silkier and fancier, the better. Kregsmal is basically a dandy himbo – extremely kind and charming in social situations, but with all the intelligence (or lack thereof) one associates with DND Barbarians.
Oh, and he thinks his giant maul-hammer, Krunch, is sentient, and talks to it on a regular basis. Kregsmal goes so far as to insist on Krunch’s personhood. And to buy it drinks.
Kregsmal Thorntip: Level 2 Human Barbarian
- STR: 18
- DEX: 10
- CON: 16
- INT: 8
- WIS: 10
- CHA: 16
Kregsmal had the opportunity for a feat at Level 1. He grabbed Magical Initiate, for Mending, Prestidigitation, and Thunderwave. Mending and Prestidigitation are for cleaning and repairing his precious shirts, while Thunderwave allows some (non-raging) crowd control. As you might notice, I am not trying to optimise here, just going with what I consider fun. Oh, and because the Iron Kingdoms setting takes a dim view of magic, this has been rationalised in-universe as mechanical cleaning implements, and a mechanical thunder-glove.
We started off with everyone at Level 1. And because a fair few people couldn’t make it this session, it was just three of us – Kregsmal, Grinder Stonehide (a Fell Caller. Basically a sort of Warrior Bard), and Ace (a Fighter. Who fights by throwing metal playing cards at opponents). There was just one problem. Between Kregsmal’s 8 INT, Grinder’s 5 INT, and Ace’s 1(!) CHA… this was just asking for something messy to happen. And sure enough, it did.
All three characters had been approached by a mysterious figure seeking assistance. In the case of the other characters, this mysterious figure used rather brutal leverage, but Kregsmal was bought off with the gift of those mechanical cleaning items. The figure told us individually to meet at a certain tavern in a certain city, and wait there for a contact. Well and good.
Kregsmal and Grinder got into a hearty conversation at the bar (note that Kregsmal is pretty dim, but Grinder’s Intelligence is so low that if it were any lower, he’d need to be watered daily). Ace was less talkative – having 1 in Charisma means he doesn’t talk directly to other people. He was reduced to talking to Krunch instead, with Kregsmal passing the words on.
Then the contact turned up. Unremarkable looking, he told us we needed to pass a test first. Which terrified Kregsmal (a test? He can’t even write!). Except that the test apparently involved clearing out a location for a gentleman’s base of operations. Excellent. Kregsmal and Ace were ready to head off to find the place, and our Barbarian decided to grab Grinder away from the bar.
And by grab, I mean literally grab. Grapple-check.
*Kregsmal rolls Natural 1.*
Grinder – thinking he was under attack – literally flung Kregsmal over the bar. At which point the tavern erupted into a general Bar Brawl.
Kregsmal stood up in astonishment. He’s a bloody Barbarian. Getting thrown over a bar is not something that normally happens to him. He then noticed that everyone in the tavern was fighting everyone else.
Now, Kregsmal is a sweet-tempered fellow, in most situations. A free-for-all-fisticuffs over alcohol is not one of those. He’s still a Barbarian, and Krunch likes to talk back occasionally. Besides, someone took a swing at Mr Grinder.
A metallic card flew into the attacker’s throat. Bloodthirsty fisticuffs. The best kind of fisticuffs.
Kregsmal didn’t even bother with Krunch. He picked up the now-dead attacker, and speared the corpse into two other tavern-goers. Rawwwrrr.
By the time the brawl was interrupted by the town guard, Kregsmal and Ace had killed several people. Krunch was covered in blood, brains, and skull fragments. Grinder bizarrely had not killed anyone, though he did upturn a table (the monster!).
Kregsmal and Ace (and, somewhat unfairly Grinder) were lugged off to prison. Not to worry… they were broken out of prison by a mysterious female wizard… who promptly disappeared.
Then it was off to sort out that test thing. Grinder obligingly broke down a door, and Kregsmal tried to make a new friend out of a passer-by. Neither covered themselves in Intelligence glory, which is only to be expected.
It turned out that the test was actually down a well. The three doofuses climbed down via rope… only to run into some face-hugging flying critters of darkness. Kregsmal dropped Krunch, and grappled the critters. This time there was no failure… and Grinder and Ace made short work of them. Through into the next room, where some redecoration was needed… Grinder got gobbled up by an Ooze in the process, and that was much more touch and go. But we eventually cleared that room out too.
(Kregsmal was rewarded with a leather cow-bell. Which apparently enables him to talk to cows).
And now we come to Actual Campaign Plot. Kregsmal, Grinder, and Ace spent the session as caravan guards, together with the rest of the PCs – our mysterious female wizard friend (named Jean), and a pair of taciturn Winter Elf sisters, one a Paladin, the other a Cleric. The Paladin rides an Elk, affectionately named ‘Elky.’
(Kregsmal is a bit wary of those Winter Elves. He’s heard rumours from childhood that Winter Elves eat children. The Paladin coldly played along).
The caravan made its way through a fog-ridden swamp… only to be ambushed by horse-eating goblins. The fog affected visibility, so it was really a matter of fighting at short-range. Kregsmal did get one with a javelin attack, though he missed another with Krunch (poor wee hammer!). Not that the surviving goblin lasted long. It made a desperate leap to grapple the Elk-riding Paladin, missed… and cracked its head open on a rock. Which can’t have helped Krunch’s temper either.
The combat ended with:
(i) No loss of horses, for which our employer was very grateful.
(ii) Elky one-shotting a goblin with a firmly-placed hoof.
(iii) Kregsmal holding the last goblin aloft by the hair, to be swung at like an ugly green pinata. Huzzah. Grinder beheaded the little bastard, and Kregsmal took the opportunity to drop-kick the skull off into the swamp. Something about Kregsmal’s good-naturedness vanishes when violence is on the agenda.
A bit further on, we found a strange-smelling pond, and a further ambush from two-dozen Rodents of Unusual Size. This time, our Barbarian got a chance to wheel out Thunderwave… which while doing substantial damage to the Giant Rats, did a fair amount of inadvertent damage to Ace. Krunch took out its frustration on the Rats in the manner one normally associates with the Queen of Hearts playing croquet.
The last Rat, however, was a canny little bastard. It nabbed the Paladin’s Claymore, and actually started wielding it. Only for the Paladin to roll well with Animal Handling, and adopt the Rat as a pet. Ratty, to go with Elky.
No-one ever called our Paladin imaginative.