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Chapter 1: Two Tieflings and a Goliath walk into a boat... [PBF] D&D 5E


You find yourself in the port town of Jaflett on the southern tip of the Kairne province.

Like most port towns Jaflett is a chaotic place. The usual bustle of street vendors, fishermen, sailors, and travelling merchants is present. The smell of the sea and the day’s catch is inescapable, but a sweet smelling incense is being burned throughout town that strangely compliments the odours.

What’s unusual about Jaflett is that it plays host to more refined travellers than one usually finds in your average port. Humans, Dwarves, and Elves seem to dominate the traveller demographic and their wealth is on display. Fine clothing and jewelry makes it easy to separate the visitors from the modest citizens of Jaflett. Despite the good fortune afforded to so many, there seems to be an air of annoyance among most of the travellers.

At the docks a large portion of the ships are luxury vessels. However, almost all of them are fastened to the docks. Only a handful of fishing vessels cut through the rolling waters at sea.

A garish boat sticks out like a sore thumb. Bright colours adorn the hull and seem to clash so fiercely with one another that it assaults the eye.

The job description mentioned that you’d know the boat when you saw it.

Approaching the boat reveals crude paintings that encircle the vessel. Flowers, smiling faces, and animals are painted brightly as if decorated by a child. The crowing glory is the masthead which appears to be a large bronze sculpture of an open-mouthed gnome.

“Adventurers!,” chirps an excited voice from the ship.

What appears to be a smiling star appears over the starboard side of the ship. “You ARE here because of my ad?,” it asks.

After the initial shock wears off, it becomes clear that the star is really an eccentric gnome. His golden hair is spiked into three points, while his matching beard twines into the remaining two points.

“Of course you are,” the gnome continues without waiting for any response. “Climb aboard, the lot of you! We set sail immediately!”

At this point you realize you’re not alone! The sheer spectacle of this gnome and his ship combined with the comings and goings of people on the docks has distracted you. You find yourself standing with two other Adventurers!

@fodder256, @Sagantine, and @HrafnkelRedBeard stand awkwardly before their rainbow coloured destiny…


Towering above the rest of the crowd, a grey-skinned goliath stares at the spectacle, eating some manner of roasted meat on a bone. He is wearing only as much clothing as modesty requires, as is the custom of most of his race. A smooth stone disk hangs from a rough hewn hempen cord around his neck. A great club rests on his shoulder.

Having devoured his snack, he tosses the bone into the nearby water and sucks the juices and grease from off his fingers. He leans over to a tiefling standing next to him. “Are they always so colorful? The boats? And what is the little man on about?”


One of the Teiflings, wearing a worn washed out cloak, uncomfortable looking backpack, and leaning on an oversized walking staff replys “Colourful? No, not normally, but I rather feel like more of the should be!” This particular Teifling squints a little, and tries to block out as much of the sun as he can with a slightly undersized pointy hat.

Ignoring the Goliath second question he shouts back eagerly to the gnome, “oi! What’s the pay like?”


The gnomes head pops back up, like a child’s jack in the box. You get the impression that he’s jumping up and down on the deck of the ship.

“A kingdom’s ransom!” He giggles gleefully!


Turning back to the Goliath he says “Sounds like he’s on about well paying work, and I dunno about you but that’s much better than any of the work I’ve had recently.”

Whiro gathers his things, which seem to consist of the clothes he’s wearing and the backpack, and clambers aboard. “Hello there!” eh says shaking the gnomes hand enthusiastically, “I’m Whiro, bit of a hedge wizard for hire. I’m on board with your little venture if the pay’s as good as you say.” He grins at his own joke before his face falls as he pales slightly and grabs for the railings. “ohh… I forgot boats felt like this…”


Iris is facing the wrong direction when the gnome is speaking, but quickly turns around. She’s about 25, exudes elegance and charm, and recently lost a significant amount of finery thanks to her compulsive gambling. She has long thin horns that stick almost straight up into the air like a gazelle, and an obscuring veil covers her eyes.
“Mountain Man, are you here for work too? A king’s ransom would certainly do me well, this town has not been kind.” She frowns at her hands, which had many rings on them at one point. “I suppose we’ll find out what kind of king the gnome speaks of once we board. Hopefully the fat rich kind.”


The goliath gives this other tiefling a quizzical look trying to make sense of how she appears. He responds, “I have spent through my coin but I’ve never been on a boat before. Could be a challenge.”

He takes a few steps closer to the boat and shouts. “What kind of a job do you have in mind?”


The gnome leaps over the side of the ship and scampers behind Iris. He takes her by the hand and half guides, half pulls her aboard the vessel.

As soon as she is aboard he repeats this jump and looks the Goliath up and down. Strategy decided in his mind, he begins the attempt of getting the Goliath onboard the boat. The gnome barely reaches past the knee and strains in vain trying to push this immovable person. His feet spin in place.

“It’s simple!” The gnome huffs, “I’ve been tasked… with finding Adventurers… to solve a teensy problem on… Horrae Island… the local monsters… have become… a wee bit… aggressive!”

The gnome pants and slides down to his belly on the dock. The reprieve only lasts a moment however and the gnome jumps back up and pushes his back against the Goliath’s legs this time.

“You see… Horrae is a resort island… a small kingdom actually… and rich folk… don’t like… to vacation… around smelly goblins… get rid of… the monsters… tourists come back… biiiiig money!”


The goliath looks down and the gnome, his annoyance quickly awashed by bemusement. “I’ll join up.” He says with a chuckle. “If its okay I’ve never sailed before. Do you have a name little man?”


The gnome looks delighted, “Neslin Felhop at your service.”

Neslin ceases his assault and walks aboard his ship.

It’s a smaller vessel. The inside of the ship isn’t aggressively colourful like the hull. Two long benches line the starboard and port sides of the ship, separated by a single mast in the center. On either side of the mass large braziers are positioned, but lack any wood for fuel. Many gears and contraptions line the walls and helm of ship is accompanied by many levers and pulleys. Some you can see trace towards the mast, but most are a mystery of complexity. Towards the bow of the ship a stairway leads below deck.

Neslin waves the Goliath aboard and ushers everyone to sit along the benches. Once aboard he calls out, “Murkub!”

A large half-orc appears from below the deck and begins the task of casting off. He brings the walkway aboard and loops the ropes fastening the ship to dock back onboard effortlessly. Within moments the boat has begun to move and is making its way out of the marina and into open waters. On the horizon a land mass looms.

“There it is!” Neslin claps excitedly, “The Island kingdom of Horrae! The wealthy come from far and wide to spend their gold there, until recently of course. But enough about that! Some introductions are in order! I am of course, Neslin, inventor extraordinaire! And that gentleman steering the ship is Murkub. He doesn’t speak much… or at all. Great worker and listener though! I can’t count the nights we’ve spent just talking and talking until the early hours of the morning.” Neslin pauses and takes a breath. For a gnome his lung capacity seems enormous.

“And what do we have here? Two Tieflings! I’ve never had two on my boat at once! Surely a sign of good fortune! And you… I’m not sure what you are! I mean, you’re big and hard to push. That much I know, but what exactly ARE you?”


“I’m ah, I’m Ulthal Littlefist Ogolakanu,” he stammers clearly a tad embarrassed, “I am a goliath from a tribe in the Malukageane Mountains.” He pauses for a moment and then adds, “Or was.”

He awkwardly looks around and chooses to sit down on the port-side bench. It is clearly not designed for a creature of his stature however and he knees are at his chin. Realizing how silly he looks, the goliath closes his eyes, grasps the stone around his neck and a large boulder appears before him, mostly obscuring him from view. Mostly.


Neslin claps his hands at the appearance of the boulder. “Impressive. Magic has always been a love of mine, although I’ve never managed it myself.”

Neslin clenches his eyes and waggles his fingers. After a few seconds of grunting he stops. “See? Nothing! More practice I think. I’ll get it one day!”

Neslin hands a small flask to Whiro, “You look green my wizardly friend. Take a drink of this. It’ll help you grow sea legs.”

“And that leaves Tiefling number two,” Neslin says looking at Iris. “What’s your deal? Can you do magic tricks too?”


The goliath peers from around the boulder. He chuckles to himself at the gnomes reaction. He is not used to his magic drawing a positive response. Feeling a little more confident, he allows the boulder to fade and is anxious to hear from the veiled tiefling.


Iris finds her way to a bench, and takes a seat. Strapped to the right side of her pack is an ornate, long-necked lute, which she twirls into her lap.
She begins to pluck a vibrant, twisting melody in a minor key, which she evidently takes great pleasure in doing.
“I am Iris Dusksong, first and foremost a musician,” she twirls the lute back onto the hooks on her pack, but the phrase continues - a minor illusion subtly cast while she was playing now loops the sound - and she unhooks a viol from the left, tightens the bow, and plays a soul-tormenting descant in perfect harmony with the plucking. “But I guess you could call me a jack of all trades.” She says as the music ends (just before it gets to the really exciting part, which is by design) and she re-holsters her viol with a bow of the head and shoulders to indicate that the performance is done.
Her tail flicks her rapier to the fore. “I can handle myself in a fight well enough, but my abilities shine brightest when I’m supporting others.”


Neslin is just starting to dance a jig when the music abruptly ends and he looks disappointed. “Hmph. Just when you were about to get to the good part too.”

The island is beginning to take shape as the boat continues to sail closer from the east. Everyone, but Iris can clearly make out a distinctive dark cloud line that seems to be a rain storm. From the perspective on the boat it looks like the storm front abruptly stops and is swirling on one portion of the island.

The other part of the island that’s visible is bright and sunny.


Whiro thanks Neslin for the bottle, and takes a small sip. “I’m sure I’ll come right in a moment.” He waits looking out over the side of the ship watching the town until it’s out of view.

Whiro smiles at Ulthals discomfort and when he can tell the Goliath is looking in his direction he uses predigistation to make his cheeks look comically rosey. He intends to make the Goliath smile with the added benefit of hiding his own discomfort.

When Iris starts playing her lute he pays close attention, trying to remember if he’s heard the song before. He applauds when the song ends and says “Well, with your support and this mountain man, I’m sure some goblins won’t be too much trouble for us!”

And as the island comes into view “I think I can guess which side of the island the goblins are inhabiting.” Whiro tries to remember if he’s heard anything about Horrae from his travels.


Whiro rolling for remembering
d20: 1
+3 for history or +1 for intelligence.


Whiro feels the warmth spread into his stomach as he takes a swig from Neslin’s flask and his nausea dissipates.

Whiro doesn’t recall anything from memory about Horrae. Something about goblins springs to mind, but he immediately realizes it was him who just brought them up. The sea sickness combined with Neslin’s drink might be clouding his memory.

Neslin has become unusually quiet. “I should fess up, I suppose.” He begins in a quiet voice, “You’re not the first group of adventurers I’ve brought to Horrae. I’ve brought many here to solve the islands problem, but none have been successful yet…”

Neslin looks solemn for a second, but immediately begins beaming again, “But they haven’t been able to make rocks, or play magic music, or make their faces really really red! I’m sure you guys will be fine!”


Ulthal could not be happier at the moment, he thought the little man was singling him out for being different, but watching Iris and Whiro, has uplifted his mood. He has never been around other magic users before and he was starting to feel comfortable to for the first time in his life.

The goliath considers Neslin’s admission regarding the threats that they may face on the island. “What beast is the problem? Ogres? Orcs? Kobolds?”


“Oh, possibly!” Neslin nods enthusiastically, “But it’s not the type of horrid things that plague the island. It’s that they won’t stay dead. it’s probably best if you understand some of Horrae’s past.”

Neslin sits on the ship deck and begins his tale.

“Legend has it that in times long past the ancient king of Horrae island was a dear friend to the Fey folk. And this king was obsessed with the concept of time as it relates to the passing of seasons. He adored the seasons and mourned their passing. So the Fey gifted the king by dividing his kingdom into 4 pieces. Each piece of the island experienced one of the 4 seasons. Simultaneously and independent of each other.”

Neslin points to Horrae as it draws closer a town now visible near the raining storm front, but still sunbathed.

“Those rain clouds are currently on the section of the island experiencing spring! The town of Modeck there is in the midst of summer! You can walk from one to the other and the weather is completely different! It’s what makes Horrae such a popular travel destination. Don’t like the heat? Take a carriage and look upon the splendor of Autumn, or go build a snowman!

A little over a month ago something changed. Or ceased to change is perhaps more accurate. You see, the seasons are seperate, but they still pass from one to another, chasing themselves around the island. Now they’re stuck.

Spring should now be into early summer, but it still rains. Summer should have cooled into fall, but the ground continues to be scorched by heat.

Worst of all the monsters of the island have discovered that death no longer holds permenance for them. Previously timid goblins are now emboldened and terrorize the kingdoms people. It’s a right mess, alright.”

Neslin shakes off the gloom and smiles. “Of course, you lot will set it right. You’ve probably got a spell for this, I bet!”