Dragons of Stormwreck Isle 1

April 18, 2024 ◇ 10 min read

Dragons of Stormwreck Isle is an adventure included in the DnD starter set. I got this set some time ago in hopes that soon I'd be able to play it, but then life happened, and it ended up on the waiting list of the long-forgotten things to do. Luckily, there's a way to play this adventure solo, anytime and at your own pace, and I'll attempt it in this series.

At the beginning of each article, you'll find an adventure setup for the current chapter and all the preparations I made to play the scenario. To play the game, I'll be using Ironsworn, Ironsworn: Delve rules and Pocketforge app to manage the campaign.

Adventure set-up

Dragons of Stormwreck Isle comes with pregenerated characters filled with everything needed to start playing. To not let it go to waste, I'll pick two of them to play and use it as an opportunity to show how easily characters can be ported from one system into another. I'll go with Paladin and Wizard.

First, after reading the character's background, I rolled a random human character and filled the missing info by rolling on random tables.

Besker Duskwinter
Description: Insightful, Skilled, Stubborn
Race: Human
Role: Paladin
Backstory: You were banished from your former home
Goal: Rejuvenating pilgrimage
Motivations: Become a champion to those who are overlooked by the institutions that exist to protect them
Inciting incident: You feel drawn to contemplate your place in the world

Paladin has a bonus to Strength, Constitution, Wisdom and Charisma, and is skilled in Athletics, History, Insight and Persuasion.

I think that appropriate stats for him would be :

Edge: 1, Heart: 3, Iron: 2, Shadow: 1, Wits: 2

And for assets, I'll picked Empowered, Loyalist and Shield-bearer. A noble paladin focusing on protecting others. I was thinking about taking other assets, like Swordmaster, Banner-sworn or Devotant, but I felt that the three I picked resonated the best with this pregenerated character.

Next, I rolled my second pregen character, elven wizard, and once again filled in what I could from her backstory.

Nellandra Dalarandar
Description: Powerful, Dependent, Selfish
Race: Elf
Role: Wizard
Backstory: You excelled at your studies and forged friendships and rivalries with other apprentices
Goal: Discover lost knowledge
Motivations: Discovering the knowledge your friend never found
Inciting incident: Your friend died under mysterious circumstances

And the stats, also based on both her DnD stats and backstory:

Edge: 2, Heart: 2, Iron: 1, Shadow: 1, Wits: 3

For assets, I picked my favorite combination for spellcasters, Improviser, Slinger and Invoke. According to her backstory, she's an evocation wizard, which fits perfectly.

Next, I skimmed over Chapter 1 to check if there's anything I should prepare beforehand—any important encounters or instances—but it seems there's nothing that cannot be dealt with on the go.

Chapter 1: Dragon's Rest

Your journey was uneventful, but the island now visible off the bow promises rare wonders. Seaweed shimmers in countless brilliant colors below you, and rays of sunlight defy the overcast sky to illuminate the lush grass and dark basalt rock of the island. Avoiding the rocks jutting up from the ocean, your ship makes its way toward a calm harbor on the island's north side.
A large, open-air temple comes into view, perched on the edge of a cliff high above you. The ship drops anchor at the mouth of the harbor, and two sailors row you ashore. You have plenty of time to admire the towering statue at the center of the temple, depicting a wizened man surrounded by seven songbirds. A long path winds up the side of the cliff to the temple, dotted along the way with doorways cut into the rock.
The sailors set you ashore on a rickety dock, where a large rowboat is neatly tied. They point to the base of the path and wish you good luck before they row back to the ship. Your visit to Dragon's Rest begins!

The party arrived at the beach, and there's only one way forward. They started their march up.

As you're about to leave the beach and start your climb, you hear a ruckus of splashing and a wet, gurgling moan behind you. Three figures are shambling up from the water's edge, about thirty feet away. They're dressed as sailors, but their skin is gray and they look drowned. Sea water drools from their slack mouths as they lurch toward you.

Besker, as a paladin, is eager to fight the zombies and bring back peace to the deceased. Nellandra on the other hand, wants to avoid the fight and continue with her quest to solve the mysterious death of her friend.

Will they fight the zombies?
Ask the Oracle (50/50): 27, No.

Nellandra convinced Besker it's better to leave the zombies for now and find out what's going on around here in the cloister up the hill. There's definitely magic at work, something must be animating these drowned sailors. Maybe they'll find help there or some other way to deal with the zombies.

Basker hesitated for a moment and glanced at the zombies slowly moving towards them. It was reasonable, no other ships are in sight and it should be moderately safe to leave them be for now.

They continued marching up, leaving the zombies behind. After a while, they noticed the zombies turned back and slowly walked towards the sea.

Your arrival quickly draws the attention of the entire population of the place-which consists mostly of kobolds. These small, reptilian folk eye you curiously while a couple of humans watch from a distance. All the cloister's residents are dressed in simple clothes, and no one carries a visible weapon. One of the kobolds pipes up with, "What's your name?"
At that, all the kobolds begin barraging you with questions-"Where are you from ?" "What's that?" "Why a re you here?" and more that are lost in the din.

Besker and Nellandra answered some questions and quickly shifted focus to other residents of the island, ignoring the little crowd of kobolds. One of the human residents approaches the characters.

The chattering kobolds fall silent as a new figure comes into view, descending gracefully from the upper part of the cloister. She's an elderly human woman with weathered brown skin, white hair in tight braids, and kindly hazel eyes, dressed in a simple white robe. She smiles as she draws near and extends her arms in greeting.
"Welcome to Dragon's Rest," she says. "May Bahamut's guidance lead you to whatever you seek."

The woman introduced herself as Elder Runara, leader of this cloister. The party can stay as long as they wish, either in one of the monastic cells or in the temple up the hill.

Besker and Nellandra told Runara about the zombie attack that happened just now and if she's aware that the island beach is plagued by the undead. She's aware and suspects one of the shipwrecks to the north. She then asks the party if they are willing to investigate this issue. Dealing with the zombies once and for all would improve the safety of the island residents and earn their gratitude.

They both agreed to investiage it, for Besker it's a noble goal, and for Nellandra, it's just as good a first step as any to uncovering the secrets of the island.

Secure an Advantage: Aid your Ally (Nellandra)
Challenge: 4, 2. Action: 6 (+heart), strong hit.

Swear an Iron Vow (Besker)
Vow: Stop the plague of zombies (dangerous).
Challenge: 8, 10. Action: 9 (+heart, ), weak hit. +1 momentum.

Before setting rank to the Stop the plague of zombies quest, I briefly looked at the third chapter to check how long it is. One instance and a few encounters. Not too long, and it looks easy enough to be of dangerous rank.

Possible milestones for Stop the plague of zombies quest:

  • Journey to the shipwreck
  • Investigate the shipwreck
  • Reveal the source of zombie problem
  • Deal with the curse
  • Deal with whatever else is at the wreck site

Runara suggested that the one most likely responsible for the problem is the shipwreck of Compass Rose, which crashed shortly before the zombies started roaming the coast.

After that, Runara invites them to visit the rest of the cloister and meet with other residents. They are free to use the kitchen, browse the library's collection, or spend some time on the temple grounds. Nellandra stopped her and asked about the arcane observatory mentioned in her letter. After a brief moment, Runara responded with a stern look on her face.

Many have sought the knowledge contained in that place. I can direct you there, but first you need to show me you are worthy.

For now, she didn't have any obligation to help them.

The party decided to unpack in the only vacant monastery cell and discuss their next step.

A long path leads from the rocky shore up the side of the cliff, with occasional stairs to ease the ascent. Here and there along the lower part of the path, well-tended garden plots hold flowers, herbs, and vegetables.
About thirty feet above the bay, the path widens into a long plaza. Halfway along the plaza, a stone statue of a dragon gazes serenely down the path. Six open doorways are cut into the cliff side.

Did they recognize type of the dragon depicted by the statue?
Ask the Oracle (Likely): 20, No.

I resolve DC checks like this in two ways. In this case, this roll is strictly narrative, and there are no direct benefits to succeeding or consequences for failing it, so using Ask the Oracle seems like a proper course of action. Otherwise, I would pick a move according to the situation.

Besker and Nellandra spotted the dragon statue but didn't pay it much attention.

Nellandra is interested in the temple Runara mentioned, sites like that are usually places of power, and she would like to visit it.

The highest point of the cloister is crowned by an open-air temple that overhangs the cliff, supported by arched stone struts anchored to the cliff face. The north wall of the temple is carved directly into the rock, while the rest is open to the sea air. Heavy pillars mark the three open sides, supporting the wooden roof. In the center of the temple stands a stone statue of a kind-looking old man with canaries perched on his hands, shoulders, and head. A feeling of serenity suffuses the place.

Is there anyone else at temple grounds at the moment?
Ask the Oracle (50/50): 2, No.

They arrived at the temple. Besker, being the Paladin of Bahamut instantly recognized his patron's statue and proceeded to offer a short prayer. Nellandra sat down, closed her eyes and tried to attune to the place in search of its power.

According to the temple's description, it is indeed a place infused with protective magic. Nellandra wanted to use her Invoke ritual and infuse herself with magical energy for the upcoming challenges. Thanks to the magic contained in the temple, I'll give her a +1 advantage on this roll.

Challenge: 1, 8. Action: 9 (+wits, +1 place of power), strong hit.
Her magic essence is currently at 6.

After a moment, they are ready to go back and rest for the day.

Are the zombies back?
Ask the Oracle (50/50): 83, Yes.

Two residents of Dragon's Rest are running for their lives up the lower path, their fishing equipment discarded behind them. Blood and dirt stain their robes. Three figures shamble after them-bloated corpses dressed as sailors, moaning and gurgling.

On the way to their temporary shelter, Besker and Nellandra were greeted by a dramatic course of events. Zombies, disturbed by their arrival, eventually found their way to the Dragon's Rest. One of the kobolds, Blepp, and Tarak the human gardener were attacked and are now in danger. Besker looked at Nellandra and told her that if they dealt with them before, this wouldn't happen. That was a mistake that could've been easily avoided.

Challenge track (Dangerous): Fight off the zombies.
Progress: 0/10

Enter the Fray (Besker)
Challenge: 9, 6. Action: 7 (+heart), weak hit. Prepare to act: Take initiative.

Enter the Fray (Nellandra)
Challenge: 9, 6. Action: 7 (+heart), weak hit. Bolster your position: Take +2 momentum.

Secure an Advantage: Aid Your Ally (Besker)
Challenge: 9, 8. Action: 7 (+heart), miss.
Pay the Price: It forces you to act against your best intentions.

Besker and Nellandra charged forward to help Blepp and Tarak before it's too late. Besker tried to take a position and shield Nellandra allowing her to focus on casting her spell, but noticed Tarak being assaulted by one of the zombies, he immediately moved away from Nellandra to save Tarak, leaving her vulnerable.

Face Danger (Besker)
Challenge: 6, 3. Action: 10 (+heart, +1 shield-bearer), strong hit.

Face Danger (Nellandra)
Challenge: 1, 4. Action: 9 (+wits), strong hit.

Besker charged at the zombie, bashing it away with the shield. Nellandra had to repel an attack with her Shield spell, rendering the zombie attack unsuccessful.

Secure an Advantage: Aid Your Ally (Besker)
Challenge: 10, 3. Action: 6 (+heart), weak hit. +1 momentum, +1 momentum for Nellandra.

Besker moved back to Nellandra side and slammed the zombie that tried to get to her, giving her just enough time to attack.

Strike (Nellandra)
Challenge: 2, 5. Action: 8 (+edge), strong hit. +3 harm.
Challenge track: Fight off the zombies.
Progress: 6/10

Nellandra spread her arms, chanted the spell and a wave of thunderous force blasted the zombies away, the air crackling with energy and sparks of electricity traveling on the undead bodies.

End the Fight
Fight off the zombies resolved. Challenge: 2, 2. Action: 6, strong hit. Match event: Charge Idea.

Following her spell, the party rushed to finish the disoriented zombies with quick and precise strikes. Once exterminated, Besker made sure to gather all the corpses and pay the deceased sailors the respect they deserved, despite being turned into monsters by some unknown curse. Other residents tended to Blepp's and Tarak's wounds and thanked them for their help in stopping the zombies from causing more trouble.

It's finally time to rest.