Vils Mageblood - Swords & Sorcery ~ 190 points
Firefist - Fists & Fire ~ 130 points
Dave - Fast of Blade & Slow of Mind
Vils, Firefist, and Dave set off for the Western capital, wary of their hunt and excited to finally come face-to-face with the elusive sage. The Western villages were poor, with hungry and tired-looking peasants tending the fields. After a couple of hours, they were hailed by a shouting villager, "Come! Bandits ravage our village, they're killing my friends!" The party agreed to help and followed the man to the edge of some worn-down buildings. "I don't hear any commotion," commented Vils, to which the man shouted, "This way!" gesturing to an alleyway. The party were suspicious and immediately put the man at sword-point. He admitted the village was close to starving and he and a group of others had been planning to mug the party. At the man's honesty Vils released him, go, and if any of your friends wish to join us, they may. After a while a skinny man wielding a gardening scythe approached them cautiously. "My name's Ron, I wish to take up your offer." Firefist dumped some of his supplies on Ron and they set off again.
They soon reached the capital. A magnificent-looking city with huge spires and majestic sculptures was built up in the mountains, a tall marble staircase leading to a gilded gate. While the huge white towers were impressive, they were overshadowed by the looming peaks above. Two finely-equipped guards held spears by the gate. They questioned their party of their business to which they replied that they were traders. "Your weapons then," stated a guard.
"What?" asked Vils.
"Civilians are not permitted weapons within the city walls."
The party reluctantly handed over their weaponry, and were let in.
The buildings were fabulous, but the people looked as they did in the outer villages, poor and hungry. Noticeably, all the stores had standardised signs without names, and the streets were largely empty. Vils asked a guard of the palace's location, and strolled over to take a look. It was as grand as expected, with a dozen guards covering the entrance alone. They walked back to the markets and slipped into an inn. Dave was disappointed to find alcohol was also prohibited in the capital, and settled for a cup of water and some bread. After they'd sat down, a boisterous man burst in, "Friends! How long has it been?" and sat himself down at their table. They did not know this man. Once he'd sat down his demeanour changed. He explained he was part of a rebel group here in the city, and the party's arrival had triggered a drop in the city-wide wards. This was presumably as the sage (the King's, as the Western lord declared himself, chief adviser, was scrying them. This allowed the rebels to put up their own spells, their conversation appearing mundane to the outside, which the stranger demonstrated by yelling abuse at a large man across the room, who didn't appear to hear him. The stranger told them some of the rebel's agents had tracked the Adviser's movements to an area of the ridge (the central mountain range), and he could direct the party to the area.
They left, retrieved their weapons, and headed for the area the stranger had directed them to. Night had fallen when they spotted the campfires in the distance. Vils snuck forwards and saw four large, dark-skinned men bearing patches of scales (the desert-cursed serpentine) around a campfire and some makeshift wooden scaffolding forming a ramp up to a large cave entrance, where one serpentine sat near two smaller hooded people. Vils reconvened with the rest of the party and they decided to have Vils light a fire to draw the serpentine out then the others will sneak in. So Vils crept a distance away down the mountains' edge while the Firefist, Dave, and Rob made their way behind a large rock near the camp. Three of the four serpentine in the camp went to investigate, wielding large, curved swords, while the other one kept guard of the camp. Vils got back to the party before the group of serpentine reached the fire and, being on a lucky streak with his stealth today, went to sneak up on the last remaining guard. He succeeded, getting up right behind him for a sneak attack! Then he critically missed, dropped his weapon, and the serpentine noticed him. Vils picked up his sword before being kicked over by the large man. Firefist charged in at this point, with Dave and Rob following, and felled him.
They then charged up the ramp, Dave throwing his sword at the serpentine running down from the top, but missing. Vils slew him in a few blows. The hooded figure had his hand on the top of the ramp, muttering quickly to himself. The spell he was casting was causing areas of the ramp to splinter and crack, so the party raced up to slay him, after a few closely-missed ranged shots, Firefist kicked him in the face and Dave finished him off. The group of serpentine that had left to investigate had noticed the commotion at this point, and were very nearly at the base of the ramp. Vils prepared an explosive fireball and waited for them to approach a bit closer. Firefist was trying to talk to the remaining hooded man, who was sat muttering to himself in front of the cave. Dave tried to enter it but walked into a magical barrier blocking the way. The serpentine reached the ramp. Firefist hit the hooded man, and his spell was broken. Vils threw his fireball at the serpentine, they dodged it but it hit the floor next to them, sending them rolling down and burning a huge hole in the middle of the ramp. "You have doomed us all!" cried out the hooded man hysterically, attempting to flee. Firefist kept him on the platform, "What are you doing here?" A rush of air came from the cave. The man shouted, "The gryphon!" A hulking blur of claws and feathers flew threw him then, tearing him to pieces, and the gryphon, a 10 foot angry female, threw him from the platform.
Vils, for some reason, ran to the gryphon to take a few fruitless swings while the others fled down the ramp. Rob cleared the hole that Vils' fireball had made, Dave was just short but grabbed on, and Firefist slipped and fell down hard onto some of the scaffolding, taking damage from the fall. Vils had come to his senses and jumped the hole as Dave pulled himself up. Rob dropped to the floor as the gryphon's talons clawed inches from his head, and Firefist nimbly climbed along the scaffolding to pull himself up. The gryphon continued down and delivered a nasty blow to one of the serpentine, tearing his arm from its socket. The party assembled itself as the gryphon carried another one of the serpentine into the air, and Firefist dropped the remaining man. After she'd dropped the screaming man to his death, the gryphon dived towards the party, prompting them all to quickly make their way into the scaffolding under the ramp. The gryphon landed hard, and went to claw at Firefist under the ramp. Critical miss! The gryphon got caught in some of the scaffolding and fell to the ground, attempting to free itself. "Now!" Vils lead the heroic flight away from the scary monster as it clambered back up. It came for them again, grabbing hold of Rob and lifting him into the air. Then, in one of the luckiest set of rolls I have ever witnessed, Firefist leaped his full jump height into the air, and delivered a flaming uppercut to one of the legs the gryphon was grappling Rob with. The blow broke Firefist's hand, but majorly wounded the gryphon, saving the life of poor Rob.
The wounded gryphon flew away and prepared for another dive. It came straight for Vils, beak opened to tear his head off. Vils sidestepped out of its path (a dodge made by 1!), and cut into its wing with his sword. She crashed into the ground and gave a couple of fruitless rear kicks, before being cut to pieces by the party. The heavily injured, but victorious, party took some feathers from the dead gryphon, and went up to her cave. There they found an unhatched gryphon egg! These were rare and invaluable to any army. They made their plan to sell it to the Northern Lord, and set off north for the capital.
The gryphon fight went very well for the players. This wasn't meant to be an easy fight, but through some clever use of the environment and some lucky rolls they felled it without any casualties. The hole in the ramp caused by that fireball was a wonderful happy accident, that really added to the encounter.