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Themes: little people, defensive strategy, things that go BOOM Editor's note: this is a stupidly effective party, which makes Path of the Damned feel like Normal. The Pervrunen Dworvlans originated about a century ago. One Glanfathan Orlan named Cyrli was exiled from his tribe, and ended up in the trackless wastes of the White that Wends. There, he encountered a clan of Pargrunen, and convinced them of his theory that Boreal Dwarves and Orlan are in reality two branches of the same family, and reunification is the sacred duty of both peoples. Despite their best efforts, the Dworvlans have hitherto failed to produce viable offspring. I had the rare occasion to briefly travel with a band of Pervgrunen I encountered during my extended visit of Dyrwood. As their leader Qitupiiq recounted to me, his people had heard tell of a mystical, sacred place of the Pervgrunen, known as the White Forge. Believing that it had to be less bloody cold than the White that Wends, he, his faithful bear companion Puuqi, his cousin-spouse Paniiq with her wolf-friend Snuupi, and their short but furry cohabits Qimuli and Dereq, both holy warriors of uncertain description but conflicting ethoi, set out to search for it. The isolation and harsh climate of the White that Wends has clearly affected both the dwarf and the orlan component of the Pervgrunen Dworvlan people. The dwarves are clearly deficient in the higher intellectual capabilities, but little escapes their gimlet-eyed stare, and they are fantastically active, whereas the orlans are almost glacially slow, but resolute and intellectual. I had many interesting discussions with Qimuli and Dereq about their differing martial philosophies. The dwarves bring to the Pervgrunen their love of heavy metals and things that go 'boom,' while the orlans, ever quick with a knife to the knee, favor that basic survival tool to be found everywhere in the Antarctic waste: the icepick. As Dereq once mused to me, "few problems can't be solved with an icepick to the kidneys, except an icepick in the kidneys." Soon after their arrival in Dyrwood, the band of Pervgrunen was augmented by one Sagani, so desperate for company of her compatriots that she reluctantly agreed to travel with them, despite their reputation having reached her home, Naasitaq. "We do not speak of the Pervgrunen," she flatly told me when I wanted to interview her for details. My travels with the Pervgrunen were cut short when they occupied a ruined fortress in the middle of the Dyrwoodan wilds, and appointed me its chamberlain, minus my very expensive arquebus ("it goes boom!") and armour. "You're too tall," Dereq told me. Fortunately, they visited regularly and recounted tales of their exploits which I have noted down exactly as told to me in this memoir, most colourfully by one Hiravias, an Orlan of local extraction who immediately saw the truth and beauty of the notion of unity, love, and cohabitation between the short-statured people. --- PC: Qitupiiq, Male Boreal Dwarf Ranger, Laborer, Bear Companion (Puuqi). Stats: Mig 20, Con 12, Dex 17, Per 19, Int 5, Res 5. Skills: Mechanics, with a bit of Stealth and Athletics. Abilities: Wounding Shot, Swift Aim!, Stalkers Link, Driving Flight Talents: Marksman, Swift and Steady!, WF: Soldier, Gunner Gear: Arquebus, light armour. -- Hired companion 1: Paniiq, Female Boreal Dwarf Ranger, Hunter, Wolf Companion (Snuupi). Stats: as above. Skills: split between Stealth, Athletics, Lore, and Survival Abilities: as above. Talents: Faithful Companion, Swift and Steady!, WF: Soldier Gear: as above -- Hired companion 2: Qimuli, Female Hearth Orlan Darcozzi Paladin Stats: Mig 14, Con 14, Dex 3, Per 16, Int 16, Res 15 Skills: Lore, rest split between Stealth, Athletics, Survival Abilities: Lay on Hands, Liberating Exhortation, Zealous Endurance, Reviving Exhortation, Flames of Devotion Talents: Deep Faith, Sword and Shield Style, WF: Ruffian Gear: heavy armour, shield, stiletto / pistol or blunderbuss -- Hired companion 3: Dereq, Male Hearth Orlan Goldpact Paladin Stats: as above Skills: as above Abilities: Flames of Devotion, Zealous Focus, Zealous Charge, Hastening Exhortation Talents: Deep Faith, Enduring Flames, WF: Ruffian, Sword and Shield Style Gear: as above -- Sagani, built and equipped more or less like the rangers above Hiravias, Weapon and Shield Style, Cautious Attack, plus lots more defensive talents, equipped as the paladins -- So this is a ridiculously powerful party, and also remarkably versatile. I have enough stealth to creep up on enemies and finish off one or two squishies in a gunpowder alpha strike. Then I have lots of options: I can switch on Zealous Charge and make the battlefield mobile, retreating, regrouping, firing, moving, and so on, taking care to keep my rangers well behind the animal companions and the orlans. Or I can form up into a tight knot with the orlans and the animal companions shielding the rangers and drop the opposition with volleys one by one; the dwarves fire stupidly fast and accurately, and the orlans are really hard to kill and occasionally do manage to shiv someone in the knee (which is quite painful with Flames of Devotion). And if things get hairy, I can have Hiravias trigger Returning Storm, summon up a Blight, or do any of the druidy things druids do to control crowds. You'd think that I'd have a serious problem with casters targeting my rangers, but no -- if I push the beloved cute furry animals forward enough, they nuke them instead, which makes the rangers sad for a bit but then the animals get up again afterwards and all is well. Okay, so I'm not that far into the game yet with this party and I suppose something could get tricky later on, but I'll be damned if I can think what. They'd actually probably be even more effective with arbalests and their superior range, but these guys like things that go BOOM so they can keep 'em. Here they are, doing what they love best, raiding some backwoods thayn's crumbling castle.