The Elder Elemental Eye sees all . . . and longs to drown it in chaos! Elementals run rampant and the world itself seem to be tearing apart at the seams. It’s going to take some very special adventurers, and maybe even some heroes, to save the day this time. A ranger who takes to the skies. A wizard from beneath the earth who shapes the world around him. A cleric who is one with the waves that he worships. A barbarian who wears the mantle of the spirits. It’s time to Meet the Party for 5th Edition D&D once again as they fight Elemental Evil!
For their most recent 5th Edition organized play campaign Wizards of the Coast released a Player’s Companion to accompany it, detailing new races and spells for players looking to embrace the elemental nature of the campaign. These races included the Goliath and Genasi, making their return from 4th Edition, and the bird-like Aarakocra* along with the Deep Gnomes known as Svirfneblin. There’s nothing to say that these kinds of characters can’t appear in other settings, pre-made or homemade, but for the purposes of this article the assumption is that some sort of elemental evilness is afoot.
Urreek, Aarakocra Level 3 Ranger
HP: 25 AC: 15
Str: 8 Con: 12 Dex: 17 Int: 10 Wis: 15 Cha: 13
Racial/Class/Background Features: Flight. Talons, Favored Enemy: Elementals, Natural Explorer: Mountain, Fighting Style: Archery, Spellcasting, Ranger Archetype: Hunter, Hunter’s Prey: Colossus Slayer, Primeval Awareness, Background: Outlander, Wanderer
Gear: Leather Armor, Shortsword x2, Explorer’s Pack, Longbow, Quiver with 20 Arrows, Staff, Hunting Trap, Trophy From An Animal You Killed, Traveler’s Clothes, Belt Pouch with 10 Gold Coins, An Indecipherable Treasure Map
Skill Proficiencies: Nature, Perception, Stealth, Athletics, Survival
Tool Proficiencies: One Type of Musical Instrument
Saving Throws: Strength, Dexterity
Urreek has the sharpest sense in the party and a peerless ability to survive in the wild, especially in terrain that he is already experienced in. But, of course, that is not what is most remarkable about the aarakocra ranger. What really makes him shine is his devastating ability with a bow and his ability to fly, making him into living air support for his fellow adventurers.
Belwar Seamfinder, Deep Gnome Level 3 Wizard
HP: 20 AC: 12
Str: 8 Con: 13 Dex: 15 Int: 17 Wis: 10 Cha: 12
Racial/Class/Background Features: Superior Darkvision, Gnome Cunning, Stone Camouflage, Spellcasting, Arcane Recovery, Arcane Tradition: School of Transmutation, Transmutation Savant, Minor Alchemy, Background: Sage, Researcher
Gear: Dagger, Arcane Focus, Scholar’s Pack, Spellbook, Bottle of Black Ink, Quill, Small Knife, Letter from a Dead Colleague Posing a Question You Have Not Yet Been Able to Answer, Common Clothes, Belt Pouch with 10 Gold Coins, A Knife That Belonged to a Dead Relative
Skill Proficiencies: Insight, Investigation, Arcane, History
Tool Proficiencies: None
Saving Throws: Intelligence, Wisdom
Belgar is the party’s best bet in the dark and the underground, not just sharp-eyed but hard to find. If the optional feat rules are being used then taking Svirfneblin Magic at 4th level will make him even harder to nail down. There are, as always, his spells to consider; as a Transmuter matter, magic, and even people are going to be putty for him to craft as he wills.
Vorago, Water Genasi Level 3 Cleric
HP: 24 AC: 18
Str: 14 Con: 15 Dex: 8 Int: 10 Wis: 16 Cha: 12
Racial/Class/Background Features: Acid Resistance, Amphibious, Swim, Call to the Wave, Spellcasting, Divine Domain: Tempest, Bonus Proficiencies, Wrath of the Storm, Channel Divinity, Channel Divinity: Destructive Wrath, Background: Sailor, Ship’s Passage
Gear: Warhammer, Chain Mail, Light Hammer, Priest’s Pack, Shield, Holy Symbol, Belaying Pin, 50 ‘ of Silk Rope, Lucky Charm, Common Clothes, Belt Pouch with 10 Gold Coins, The Deed for a Parcel of Land in a Realm Unknown to You
Skill Proficiencies: Insight, Religion, Athletics, Perception
Tool Proficiencies: Navigator’s Tools, Vehicles (Water)
Saving Throws: Wisdom, Charisma
Vorago does not simply provide the party with healing, but brings the wrath of the storm forth to smite the group’s foes. His natural abilities as a water genasi and his past as a sailor give him interesting utility both in and out of combat. The gods of the tempest do not care to have clerics that are easy to topple; Vorago’s armor class is the highest in the party by a fair stretch.
Gae-el ‘Lonehunter’ Thuliaga, Goliath Level 3 Barbarian
HP: 32 AC: 13
Str: 17 Con: 15 Dex: 12 Int: 10 Wis: 13 Cha: 8
Racial/Class/Background Features: Stone’s Endurance, Powerful Build, Mountain Born, Rage, Unarmored Defense, Reckless Attack, Danger Sense, Primal Path: Path of the Totem Warrior, Spirit Seeker, Totem Spirit: Bear, Background: Hermit, Discovery
Gear: Greataxe, Handaxe x2, Explorer’s Pack, Javelin x4, Scroll Case of Notes from Studies/Prayers, Winter Blanket, Common Clothes, Herbalism Kit, 5 Gold Pieces, A Silver Teardrop Earring Made From a Real Earring
Skill Proficiencies: Athletics, Animal Handling, Intimidation, Medicine, Religion
Tool Proficiencies: Herbalism Kit
Saving Throws: Strength, Constitution
Gae-el is going to have the enemies of the party screaming, to the tune of “Oh gods my legs!” and “Oh gods she won’t die!” in equal amounts. The crushing melee power of her Rage goes hand in hand with her natural toughness as a Goliath and the resistance to every type of damage (with the exception of psychic damage) granted by her Bear Totem Spirit. The spiritual knowledge granted by her hermitage and her skills at healing are a pleasant and surprising bonus.
Urreek‘s player should be made aware that his wings are a double-edged sword. The ability to fly can be a potent one, but can also be very dangerous in other situations. At the very least an incapacitating blow could turn fatal if delivered while the ranger is in flight! Belwar‘s spell selection, as always, is left up to the player. With that in mind, the other members of the party all represent an element: Urreek flies through the air, Vorago is the water he worships, and Gae-el is like a living stone. If Belwar’s player wants to stick with that theme then he or she might want to consider a number of fire spells, possibly learned while fighting off the fire elementals near his home. It helps that several of the new fire spells in the Elemental Evil Player’s Companion, like Pyrotechnics, Flame Arrows, and Investiture of Flame are transmutation spells and thus easier for Belwar to learn.
Who They Are
Adventuring parties tend to be a strange collection of beings at the most normal of times. When times turn desperate, such as when Elemental Evil itself is threatening the world, even stranger beings than usual find themselves brought together for the era’s heroics.
Urreek was a scout and hunter for his tribe of aarakocra, getting food for his people and protecting their mountaintop home by raining down arrows from the skies. Little could threaten the nest while Urreek and his fellow rangers stood vigilant, but then the wind itself turned against them. While the tribe survives their prospects look grim, and the elders determined that this was not a threat that originated locally. With a hunger for elementals Urreek was sent out into the world to find the source and kill it.
Belwar Seamfinder was used to danger and used to dealing with it; the Underdark was never a safe place for the svirfneblin, and his magical abilities were often tasked with making it, if not safe, survivable. Survivabilty became much more difficult to guarantee when a freak chasm opened up near his home city and started spewing magma and fire elementals. In between bouts of fighting for his life Belwar was able to determine that this was not a natural occurrence. Someone was making it happen. With time running out for his people, Belwar set out to stop them for good.
Vorago was born to the sea, and the sea spoke to him. For many years he never touched land, moving from ship to ship; a water genasi who had pull with a god of the storm was a valuable recruit for any crew looking for better fortunes on the open water. Lately, however, the sea was troubled. Forces of raw elemental power boiled up from the depths, threatening all who sailed upon the water. For a time Vorago fought to protect the ships he sailed on, but sailors are a suspicious lot; some began to whisper that the elemental cleric was drawing the attackers to him, and Vorago found himself marooned on land. The sea calls out to him still, and now he fights to heal it and return to his life on the waves.
Gae-el ‘Lonehunter’ Thuliaga is a Goliath with no tribe and no home. At a very young age the bottomless rage within her was detected by her people’s elders, as well as a calling to some greater purpose. The elders commanded her to go into the wilds on her own and commune with the spirits until they revealed that purpose to her. Gae-el spent years by herself, meditating on the stone of her mountainous environment and doing her best to learn from the spirits while honing her rage. She had just begun to wonder if the elders had just been trying to get rid of her when Father Bear came to her. Elemental chaos was encroaching on the world, gnawing at the roots of the mountains, and it was time for Gae-el to fulfill her purpose.
How They Interact
Urreek is not, on the whole, quite sure what to think of his new companions. Belwar is clearly his people’s equivalent of a sage, due a certain degree of respect, but his underground world is completely alien to the winged ranger. Vorago, at least, shares Urreek’s respect for the storm, if for somewhat different reasons. The pair are the best traveled of the group, and have taken to exchanging stories. Gae-el is likely suicidal; why else would the Goliath just wade into enemy blows like some kind of madwoman? Thank the winds she shares the ranger’s dislike of elementals, else she would probably be too dangerous to hang around.
Belwar finds Urreek a fascinating creature, as nothing like the aarakocra exists underground. It is one of the deep gnome’s greatest hopes that he will one day get permission from the ranger to visit the mountaintop next and look down upon the entire world. The wizard’s relationship with Vorago is complicated. On the one hand the cleric is clearly, like Belwar, fighting to save his home and way of life. On the other hand Belwar wonders if the genasi is a little too close to the elemental monsters the party are forced to fight. Gae-el is as solid as the stone that Belwar grew up surrounded by. Although they have little else in common the deep gnome finds it comforting to have another stone-born person among the group.
Vorago loves trading stories with Urreek, but is actually somewhat jealous of the ranger. To swim among the seas is great indeed, but how must it be to fly through the heart of the storm? Perhaps some blessing of his god may one day allow him to find out. Belwar is noticeably leery of Vorago at times; for his part the cleric is interested in the wizard’s tales of underground seas, but views Belwar as being somewhat mad to live underground in the first place. Gae-el is dangerous for many reasons, but it is her talent with healing that truly draws Vorago to her. All of the genasi’s healing is granted by his god, so to use the bounty of the earth (or the sea) to sooth wounds is something very interesting to him.
Gae-el hates to say it, particularly because she is aware of the pun, but she finds Urreek to be more than a little flighty. What good can all that flitting about do when the birdman can’t take a hit? She does respect how at peace he is in the natural world, however. The pair actually probably have the most in common. Belwar is given the deference due to an elder, the closest thing in Gae-el’s personal history that resembles the deep gnome. It is . . . strange to have to respect such a small creature, but the barbarian learned during her hermitage that even small things can be very dangerous. At first Gae-el mistook Vorago for a fellow primal warrior, believing him to be a human that had taken on aspects of a spirit. Truthfully, even now she remains unconvinced that his ‘god’ isn’t some sort of elder spirit she’s never heard of before, and so she respects his prayers as a matter of wise caution.
The world is made up of the elements, brought together and made to exist in harmony. To have those elements brought to chaos does not merely mean an era of darkness, but the end of all things. Can this band of elemental adventurers stop Elemental Evil in its tracks, even while it threatens their homes? Or will the Elder Eye see its foul plans brought to fruition? That’s for you (and your dice) to decide!
*Note: As reader R.M. points out, the Aarakocra are not yet legal for organized play.
Originally Posted 4/23/15 on the Mad Adventurers Society!