The following is a collection of fictional journal entries from Thaddius of Karhu, a dwarf fighter from the Five Kings Mountains. Thaddius is a four-foot-tall, fifty-year-old dwarf with a background in mining. The journal entries will be updated as our story progresses.


As a youngling, Thaddius of Karhu had a habit of finding trouble. Not making it, mind you, but a slurry of good intentions, enthusiastic committal, and bad luck conspired to form bad outcomes. His strange name did not help him make friends. He has an early memory of standing up for a child that was being bullied for being “weird”. It grew into a physical altercation. After the dust had settled, the other youngling ran off. Some time later, it turned out the one he’d been fighting for was stealing from people, himself included, killing animals, and was, in fact, kind of weird. As a young adult he came to work in the mines. He thought it might help him be stronger, since he was physically weaker and in worse shape than many of his peers. Still, the nuances of the job seemed to pass by him. “This is iron sulfide, nitwit, not gold. Get your garbage out of our chute.” Eventually, the tedium and mistakes wore him down and he asked for reassignment to maintenance and resupply. It was there he learned about crafting quick fixes for minecarts, equipment, and so on; even some basic alchemical operations to clean up metal oxides. This career was cut short by an accident. One of the other miners got his beard stuck in the gears of some processing equipment and started calling for help. Thaddius was the first to heed the call and rushed in to help. Without hesitation, he cut the dwarf’s beard, freeing him from the equipment and saving him from decapitation. The first words from the dwarf’s mouth were, “YOU CUT MY BEARD!”
“You were going to die,” said Thaddius. “Imminently.” The commotion was already brewing. “YOU COULD HAVE PUSHED THE EMERGENCY STOP! YOU CUT MY BEARD YOU IDIOT!” Thaddius was not found guilty of assault or workplace malfeasance, and the company for which he worked put up safety advisories saying, “Dwarves should not entangle their beards in mining equipment,” to prevent future incidents. Nonetheless, the court of public opinion had a verdict. Every misstep was a stumble. Every mistake was a blunder. Order 201 rivets instead of 200? “Why are you wasting money?” Order 200 when you need 200? “Why not add a buffer?” One of his peers told him, perhaps in a way that was intended as nice, “Your heroics are not welcome here.” He thought about leaving his home, at least to be in a place where heroics were welcome. His mother called it ‘fleeing from the problem instead of trying to fix it,’ and so he found himself stuck between the rocks of the mine and the hard place of filial impropiety. He left, if only intending to be gone for a short while, in the hopes of doing good.

Thaddius’ Book of Angry Scribbles: First Entry

I found a Gnome.  She works at the circus.  Or worked, I guess?  

Let’s go back a bit.  The original path I’d set was to head east from Rolgrimmdur to Bellis and then take a boat to the mouth of the sea, but after an hour or two walking in the forest I came to the conclusion that the forest is terrible and I’d rather be on the edge of the mountains.  A forest is like the outside of a mountain, except everything is wet and it smells terrible.  

I backtracked and headed south on the dividing line between the forest and the river.  After a day or so of travel I came across a traveling circus.  I thought someone had dropped a carnival prize and picked her up, but she was just taking a nap.  She screamed.  I did not scream, no matter what she says.  I might have startled loudly, but that’s not a scream.

Anyway, after picking up the small one I explained that I was heading down to join the Pathfinder Society.  She seemed interested and then left her group?  And she followed me?

It certainly wasn’t my intention to have a traveling companion.  In fact, I think I’d rather not have one, but she’s still talking to me and has been talking basically nonstop since that point.  Do Gnomes need to breathe?

In hindsight, I don’t even know if she told her group she was leaving with me.  I hope they don’t think I abducted her.

Thaddius’ Book of Angry Scribbles: First REAL Entry We have work to do.

Master of Scrolls, Kreighton Shane or something, the Master of Spells, Serena Wester, and the Master of Swords, Parhamellus(?) asked us to find someone. There’s this Lechy Fungus person named “Rain in Cloudy Days.” Unusual title, but I shouldn’t be one to talk. They were seen in Cassomir a while back.
The bookish one, Marra the Cleric, went off to the library to research, while the Schmell Goblin, the Frog Druid, the Sparkle Gnome, and I went down to the docks to secure passage. I didn’t get a chance to speak with the Dwarf Captain Payne, sadly, but maybe our paths will cross again. Instead we spent a good chunk of our savings on a fancy ship named the Mimosa. It had railings and safety equipment, but that didn’t stop the small ones from making a concentrated effort to kill themselves.
After making an attempt to solicit attention to their self-destruction (the Sparkle one having her nose bonked in the process), they did eventually succeed in drawing a crowd of sorts – the ship’s crew and safety personnel. The Schmell one has an impressive scream. I’d like to blame the scream for souring the crew’s impression of us. I asked some of them if they had work to do to keep me busy, and they had me rotate the cannonballs. I’m pretty sure that’s not a thing, but I don’t know well enough to say the contrary. One of them gave me a few copper, perhaps out of pity or maybe it was just annoying in his pocket. After the death defying act, the Schmell creature lost her wig thing. I guess hair matters as much to goblins as beards do to Dwarves? Maybe? I figured maybe it would be nice to make a new one, though using my own hair would be silly and I don’t have enough beard to make that happen. My backpack, however, could stand to lose a little. The places where I cut the leather will be easy enough to… hide.
I’m hilarious. For better or worse, though, I found myself in a bit of a fugue state for three days. I hate it when I get into a fugue that long. Reminds me of… him. And it bothers me.
Then I might have botched the delivery a little and made it weird, but that’s my style. I heard that the Sparkly one got put in the brig for a while for something? I might have noticed the stark drop in syllables in the hallway if I’d managed to give anything else attention. The Schmell one also wanted to say something to the captain. Not sure what that was about. After we arrived in the Imperial Naval Shipyard we made a bee-line for the Three Legged Dog. The sign out front was a green frog with two legs and some drool making the third. Honestly, the situation made me feel a little funky, but I’m not connecting the dots on it yet. Againis, the innkeeper, said that Roland Downer was the only one to see Rain. We scouted around for information, and I succeeded at failing to make a friend. The expert I found was really adamant that hydras weren’t the biggest threat lurking in the swamp, and that most of the threats were superficial, aside from the insects. Not sure how much I believe it. If it’s anything like the trip through the forest, the biting insects will be the worst part. I spent the last of the ‘granted’ gold from the Pathfinder Society on the inn. Or I would have spent 0.8 gold, but the Frog one wanted to bring some mud from the lowlands and it seemed mean to housekeeping so I rounded up. Don’t tell my mum.

Thaddius’ Book of Angry Scribbles: Second Entry

The Sparkle one made us antidotes for the trip. I’m not one for non-alcoholic beverages, but bless my beard that was refreshing. I’ll make it a point to ask for another some time.

We left Cassomir on an elevated causeway. A sign said it would take us to Hope’s Hollow, but we were not so fortunate. Instead, we headed north to the swamp. A swamp is like a forest, but worse in basically every way. I was thinking about how unpleasant the swamp is when I realized that I should be doing my job of keeping track of direction. I didn’t get us lost — not very lost, at least. The Schmell one made it a point to climb and fall out of trees. After the escapades on the boat, I started to wonder if goblin society was largely tree-dwelling, but they managed to dispel that idea pretty quickly by ungracefully falling into the muck and getting themself bruised up.

Frog picked up on the tracks of our fungal friend and Sparkle, equally helpfully, noticed a patch of quicksand. We went in up to our necks while trying to swim around it, and the frog one, despite being maybe a little taller than me, insisted on swimming around it. When we returned to what could generously be called a path I made a point to be more diligent. Not long thereafter we came across a huge fallen tree. It was hard to believe such a thing was alive at one point. It filled my sight to either side and rose higher than the inn where we’d stayed the night before.

Shmell, unsurprisingly, began to climb immediately. So unbridled was their enthusiasm that they failed to notice these dog-human-ghoul creatures emerge from the top.

I’ve read more horrifying things that I’ve seen, and I always considered my mind’s eye to be fairly lucid in its display of these horrors, but I will confess that these creatures exceeded my expectations.

The Shmell one was most of the way up and made it a point to kick and punch at the festering things while the Sparkle one threw bags of tangling to bind them up. The Frog made a dazzling show of lightning to scorch them off the side of the rock.

I sat useless at the bottom waiting for them to get down. I need to get a crossbow or something.

Sparkle’s tanglefoot maneuver proved rather useful, ultimately, as one of them fell straight off the tree while freeing itself. As it stood I bludgeoned it on the side of the head with my hammer and was thrown for a loop when instead of bashing it away the head came clean off and disintegrated.

Shmell belted the life out of the remaining one as Frog used some kind of spell to freeze it solid. Or ‘almost’ completely solid. I say ‘almost’ because it was still thawed enough to break off at the arm and fall to the ground, covering me in pus. Gross.
When the coast was clear of danger, some lizard creature named Kazuuk reared its head. Not much of the fighting type, I’d guess? Perhaps that’s fitting, because it was a natural runner. They led us back to a collection of tents outside of some moss-covered ruins. It reminded me a bit of the circus where I bumped into Sparkle, but instead of fun and candy there was stench and swamp.

Their leader Thakik was the first to make our introduction. The Kazuuk creature talks as fast as they move and introductions were half-way done by the time I realized what was going on. I was disinclined to trust them, but more pressing matters needed to be addressed before then — notably, the screams coming from the roof of the town center.

I say screams, but I guess ‘commotion’ is a better word. Potato/potato. At the center of the tents stood our soon-to-be-rescued friend, and at the horizon were two enormous Shadow Drakes. They seemed to flutter in and out of being, like when you’re looking at stars in the high mountains at night and they fade behind clouds that you can’t see.

Then one of them spat. Sparkle leapt across me, grabbing my shoulder and giving us both a spin around the edge of the building while I lifted my steel shield to cover the splash of freezing air.

I’ve always found the depths and fire of the mountain forge mines to be far more agreeable than the icy heights. I thought the winds from the mountaintop air were the coldest thing that could exist in this world. Once again, I was wrong.

The splash, even subdued by my shield, left me feeling nothing at first, followed by a painful numb burn akin to the kind you feel when you get a degreasing tincture on your hands and take too long to wash them. The edges of the islands of numbness where there was still sensation, however, told me how truly cold this was.

If you’re thinking Schmell decided to climb the building, you’re right. The Frog one, too. Rain decided that we needed background music, which seemed silly at first but actually seemed rather helpful when we got into it.

I had to pause and wonder what to do.

The drakes were far too far to be bonkable with my hammer. I froze, at least a little. From the freezing breath. I really need to get a crossbow.

Schmell flung some sort of oil bottle at the beast. This seemed ineffectual at the time and I was about to make some sort of quip when she set it on fire and double-kicked it in the head. It was dead before it hit the ground. That was spectacular.

The Sparkle one chugged some kind of concoction, became noticeably larger, and grew claws. She leapt up to the rooftop. That left me, sitting on the ground and sucking my thumb.

This seemed like a good time for heroics, if I could get to the roof at least. I gritted my teeth and leapt, nearly past the other side. I guess it wasn’t quite as high as I thought.

Frog healed us, and we all braced for the second drake to swing by.

When it encroached, I wrapped my hands around the warhammer and swung with a fury that would have made my ancestors proud. The drake, swooping in, was brought to a complete stop. As it fell to the ground below I wanted to think of something witty, but instead all I managed was, “I think its spine shot out its asshole!”

(TK Note: The drakes may have been somewhat smaller than I remember.)

The Rain one, the Kazuuk one, and the Thakik one all seemed to start talking at the same time after that. I was coming off the rush of the fight and didn’t catch too much of their conversation, plus I suddenly became aware of how high off the ground I was. These fears were not well founded because it was a small matter to climb down after all.

I had just finished catching my breath when a small green creature splattered on the stones before me. I thought someone had thrown a rotten apple until the moment it grew into a very unconscious and very bloody Frog. I don’t know what that lot could say to drive someone to leap to their doom, but I’m not surprised they could say it. Sparkle was able to forage in Frog’s bag for a healing kit and stabilize them, but it was a rocky couple of nights of healing. I should see how they’re doing.

The village invited us to dinner, but I was still rather unsettled and wary of them. Living in a place like this detached from society can’t be good for the mind.

Rain had discovered some ruins, a fulfillment of their task and capstone on their Pathfinder story arch. Pun intended. They asked us to join in the exploration, which is not so hard to do, but we still wanted to send word that we’d done our job, too. Or I did, at least. Nobody seemed to have an idea about how we could get word back to the city and I had no idea how I’d be able to find this place again if I were to leave.

I proposed what I thought was an innocuous and agreeable plan — leave a note to be delivered to the city bound if we should fail to return. Easy! Why is this such an objectionable idea?

So I scrounged a flat stone from the marsh and wrote a message in Dwarven. It seemed like a good choice of language because nobody here was likely to read/write it, so they couldn’t be accused of fabricating a message, and it provided a little protection against eavesdropping.

Schmell also was able to procure some parchment from somewhere and started writing a message in Gnoll, or something? I wasn’t paying too much attention. They asked why I was writing in Dwarven and when I explained they looked like I’d grown a second head. “Who would do that?” and it was too complicated to articulate my distrust of the group so I just picked their preferred nemesis. Drow, or something?

That Thakik one didn’t seem overjoyed at the idea of delivering mail, and I didn’t want to press the issue. I’m not diplomatic enough on a good day and they still rub me the wrong way. Kazuuk was more willing to help, especially when I explained they didn’t have to do anything unless we failed to come back.

Finally, after losing the whole morning to a silly task, I decided to regroup with the others. When I got within shouting distance a few motes made their way to my face and stung like embers from a forge. I stopped, noticing the haze that enshrouded where we’d collectively stayed. I don’t know what they did, but I hope nobody’s hurt.