Session 3 Dungeons and Dragons Adventure Pt 2

dungeons and dragons fighter bandit
In every Dungeons and Dragons Adventure, there should always be a villain and if there’s a villain, there are henchmen. Meet “Ogre”. A Blackskull thug of great strength and brutality.

The Dungeons and Dragons Adventure was about to come to a head.

Even having seen how well the boys, (Leroy-the-Ranger, Sherlock-the-Wizard, Brad-the-Rogue, and Honor-the-Paladin) had defeated the Blackskulls in the forest or cleared the ancient, dwarven dungeon below his home, Devon the halfling feared they would not be able to defeat the men inside his home. Even with surprise and magic.

All it would take is for one of the evil doers to be alerted to their presence and Devon’s family would die. All it would take was one mistake and the party would be overwhelmed and killed.

Undaunted, Honor eased the trap door into Devon’s home. There was no one in the storage room, though the Blackskulls had drunk all the wine stored there and smashed the bottles. Carefully moving the glass out of the way, the boys entered the room one by one, the smell of stale wine and hops from the barrels of ale heavy in the air. In the distance, they heard singing, and detected the smell of cooking meat.

Quietly, they crept into the next room, a food storage room. Horrifically, the Blackskulls had killed Devon’s dogs, skinned them and strung them up for meat.

Devon’s fear from his family turned to anger. “I’ll kill every one of those bastards,” he vowed, red blotches appearing on his face.

Easing the door to the kitchen open, they saw the singing Blackskull stirring a pot of stew, unaware that the boys had come in through the trapdoor.

They closed the door and came up with a plan. Using Sherlock’-the-Wisard’s illusions, they would distract the Blackskull cook while the sharpshooting Leroy and the deadly archer, Brad, shot him dead.

But like all plans in all dungeons and dragons adventures, it fell apart the moment the door opened.

Sherlock cast his spell, but Leroy-the-Ranger’s shot went wild. As did Brad-the-Rogue’s.  Even with the element of surprise. Even with taking a moment to aim properly. They both missed.

The Blackskull cook turned.

Everything depended now on how quickly the boys could reach the Blackskull cook because if he shouted out a warning, everything would go ‘pear-shaped,’ as my dad used to say.

As fast as he could, Honor-the-Paladin thundered towards the Blackskull cook, while Leroy notched another arrow, Brad ran to stab him and Sherlock cast another spell.

Before the cook could say a word, could even really open his mouth, the boys zerged him and he fell down about as dead as anyone could be dead, stabbed, frozen from a spell, and full of arrows.

It was an impressive takedown that any SWAT guy would have been proud of.

Then they planned an ambush for the others, using an illusionary voice to lure the other guards into the kitchen, shouting, ‘food’s ready!’

It almost worked.

In fact, it would have worked, but as Derrek Quickblade came into the room, two boys hidden under the table, two more hidden in the storage room, he didn’t fall for the illusionary cook by the pot and noticed the blood on the floor.

He drew his sword. He turned to the huge man behind him

“You know why Scar put me in charge, Ogre?”

“You’re a smart one, you is, Derrek. As smart as one of those book readers.”

“Right. We’ve got visitors.”

And, like that, it was on.

The two Blackskulls raced into the room, Ogre raising his huge axe, ready to cleave one of the boys in two, Derrek whirling his blades around like a guy who was seriously comfortable with sharp objects.

Brad, the nearest, dove out from under the table and threw chairs at the giant of a man, Ogre, running as fast as he could away from that axe. Leroy, shifting under the table, aimed and fired at Derrek’s legs, but missed. Honor, seeing his friends in trouble, roared into the room, his sword drawn, his shield at the ready. Behind him, Sherlock began to weave a spell.

dungeons and dragons fighter bandit
Every dungeons and dragons adventure needs a big bad. Meet Derrick Quickblade

Ogre split the table in two as he missed Brad, and Derrek spun away from Leroy to battle Honor. Like two legendary warriors, the two began to fight, Derrek faster than any warrior Honor had ever faced.

Faster. And more deadly.

Within moments, Derrek’s sword danced past Honor’s shield and drove deeply into the Dragonborn paladin, nearly killing him. Staggering back, gritting his sharp dragonteeth, Honor struck back, but Derrek moved with blinding speed, dodging Honor’s blade.

The two battled with brutal intensity, Derrek more skilled, but Honor brave and unyielding.

As the two fought, the last Blackskull ran into the room, but LeRoy spun and put a crossbow bolt in his leg. Brad lept out from under the table, tripped the Blackskull and drove his daggers into the man’s back.

While Honor continued his epic battle against Derrick, the other three heroes focused on the massive man called Ogre who seemed to take every cut from a dagger, every wound from an arrow as if he felt no pain.

Finally, Sherlock was able to get behind him and unleashed a firebolt that caught the man’s fur armor on fire. But even burning, screaming, he fought on like something out of a story told to frighten children,

But in the end, the fire consumed him and he fell to the floor.

With that, the others raced to help Honor, who could barely stand, fighting against Derrick with fury. However, so fast was the fight, the two warriors spinning, dodging, blocking, attacking, that LeRoy couldn’t get a clean crossbow shot and Sherlock’s magic failed to find the mark.

Honor took another terrible blow, Derrek’s sword slicing deep into his side, but he had watched how Derrek moved, learned the man’s martial dance and took the wound, deliberately, so he could get his own opening.

With all his strength, he slashed as Derrek’s leg. A deep, crippling strike.

Derrek staggered. Surprise twisted his face. One hand, instinctively, went to his leg.

And that was when Brad struck, coming in low. One dagger took Derrek in the thigh while the other drove deep into Derrick’s stomach.

Derrek fell to the ground, dying. Pain contorted his face. His hands held onto his stomach.

He looked at Honor and before he died, he said, “You think you have won? Death will not stop us.”Death… is… not… the end.”

The boys had won!

They had beaten the Blackskull thugs and saved the hobbits! They had completed the first chapter in what I had hoped would be an amazing dungeons and dragons adventure.

How little did they know what Derrick said would come back to haunt them?

 

D&D The Mines of Phandelver pt2

D&D main character

D&D Adventure  – The Bandits

D&D halfling NPC
In D&D, it’s always good to have a guide. In D&D, you can’t trust everyone.

The D&D adventure took on a darker tone.

The 4 boys, Honor-the-Paladin, Brad-the-Rogue, Leroy-the-Ranger, and Sherlock-the-Wizard were on their way to pick up their inheritance. Not far into the journey, though, they realized their guide, the Irish-accented, Devon Havenford was hiding something.

They pressed Devon mercilessly and he confessed that he was to lead them into an ambush. Evil men known as Blackskulls had taken his family hostage – His wife, Daisy (“as beautiful as the flower she was named after”), his children, (Buttons, Brandywine, Barlow, and tiny, wee Buttercup who hasn’t even eaten her first sausage!)

He was to drug them as they slept, then the Blackskulls would come for them.

At first, the boys debated allowing themselves to be captured but realized that presented too many problems and too many consequences they couldn’t predict.

So, they laid their own ambush. Brad-the-Rogue climbed into a tree and took out his bow. Leroy-the-Ranger cranked his crossbow to maximum pain and hid in a thicket. Honor-the-Paladin, pretended to sleep outside the tent. Sherlock-the-Wizard hid behind a rock, and being so small, it wasn’t a particularly big rock.

At a little past midnight, the moon obscured by clouds, the ground wet from a recent shower, Devon added green powder to the fire, signally the boys were subdued. After a few moments, 6 bandits came out of the forest, confident, their clubs or swords held low.

Then the boys struck or at least tried to strike.

Brad-the-Rogue, tried to find a better shot at the bandits, but slipped and fell out of his tree.  Sherlock-the-Wizard forgot which spell to cast.  Hey, it was the first time he’d fought anyone anywhere. It’s understandable.

And Leroy-the-Ranger somehow managed to miss his first shot. He was deeply ashamed.

But Honor-the-Paladin, battle-trained bellowed his defiance and spat lightning at the bandits, (cuz he’s Dragonborn and can do that!). His lightning scorched nearly all the bandits.

The smell of burnt flesh and leather filled the air. So did their screams.

As the bandits tried to sort out what was happening, I mean, this was supposed to be an easy job, just grab a bunch of yahoos and bring them back to the boss, Brad-the-Rogue recovered and shot his first man. He killed one bandit instantly, while Leroy-the-Ranger took very careful aim and shot the bandit leader in the throat with a crossbow bolt. Sherlock-the-Wizard, doing what gnomes do best, created an illusion of a bear beside the bandits.

(Ok, at first he wanted to create an illusion of a rock and throw it at them, then I said, “No, wait, think bigger,” and he said, “Ok, I’m making it a huge boulder.” I laughed. “No. I meant think of something that might scare or distract the bandits.” Hence, the bear).

Surrounded, pelted with arrows, a bear appeared behind them, and still smoking from being hit by a lightning bolt, the bandits reeled, as stunned as the Soviets losing to the Americans in hockey.

Unsure what to do, they did what bandits do, and attacked the only two they could see, Honor-the-Paladin and the quaking Devon-the-Guide.

Devon fled as fast as he could, leaving Honor to stand alone. But Honor was heavily armored and well-trained. With shield and sword and his heavy armor, he blocked every blow, allowing the others to continue to shoot the bandits down.

D&D bandits.
The ambushers got ambushed. D&D bandits were no match for the party

Another fell with a crossbow bolt through his neck. One fell to Brad-the-Rogue’s arrows, one more fell as Sherlock-the-Wizard called magical missiles down upon him, and Honor hewed one in half.

Fearing for his life, the last one tried to leave, but Devon, with a shaking hand, threw his dagger and caught the man in the leg. Stumbling, the bandit couldn’t take two steps before a bolt from Leroy-the-Ranger and an arrow from Brad-the-Rogue sank into his back with sickening thuds.

The boys had won.

Without taking a single wound.

Good lord.

But instead of celebrating Devon, still shaking, stared at the bodies. “We have to get to my family before the Blackskulls realize what’s happened.”

*****

For anyone interested in guides, check out these sites.

Rogue guide

Paladin guide

Ranger

Wizard

D&D The Mines of Phandelver Begins

DD dice
DD dice
Roll a twenty-sided die.
Nothing is more iconic of D&D than that dice.

Sadly, it took a while to get that first D&D adventure going, especially since the boys were new players, and, you know, 12-years-old.

To their credit, the boys didn’t treat all the information thrown at them like a math test, they listened, fidgeted, and looked excited to start.

After introducing them to my D&D world, we reviewed each character’s backstory so that they would know they had a place in the world. They’d created 4 characters. 

Brad the Rogue – He’d done some thiefie stuff, but had felt guilty about it. Super guilty. Like his-mom-would-find-out guilty. He wasn’t so sure he was cut out to be a thief.

Sherlock, a young gnomish wizard – He’d been expelled from the Arcane Academy (Magic School) because they no longer accepted non-humans.

Honor, a Dragonborn paladin –  He’d been sent on a quest by his people to find a lost artifact.  Ok, yes, it’s a sword, but it’s a very cool dragonie sword.

And lastly, Leroy the Ranger- He’d grown up in a forest, alone except for the animals, until the day he made friends with a gnomish wizard who had recently been expelled from the Arcane Academy. Leroy wanted to find the people who’d killed his family (like any good Disney Movie.)

D&D main character
Finster Farstrider, the kindly, old man who’d left his worldly possessions to the boys. A classic D&D start

All knew a kindly old man, named Farstrider.

He had taught the Leroy-the-Ranger languages, social etiquette and made him bathe. 

He was a teacher at the Arcane Academy and told Sherlock-the-Gnomish-Wizard that expulsion was not a bad thing, that the world beyond the walls of academia held more wonder and knowledge than he could possibly imagine.

He’d even written to Honor-the-Paladin, saying he had knowledge of the lost artifact.

And Brad-the-Rogue? Well, he’d taken the boy in off the streets, given him food and books, and taught him languages with an odd young man from the forest. Only to have Brad-the-Rogue steal his magical cloak. And, yes, that was what Brad felt super guilty about.

The boys have inherited a chest and a manor in D&D

The four were brought together not by Farstrider’s good deeds, but rather by his death.

Seems, he’d put them all in a will, and bequeathed to them, a deed to a ruined castle and a chest with all his worldly possessions.

All they had to do was get to his home in a small town.

Easy, right?

Well, no.

Great adventures are born of ‘no.’

The first twist was that they were not the only beneficiaries! One of them didn’s show up, a woman named Elerra-the-Demonbound. But with a name like that, well, maybe it was better if she didn’t show up. What kind of terrible monster would she be?

However, their guide, a nervous halfling named Devon Havenford seemed very determined to get moving and moving fast. “Not a lot of love for us in Haven, boyos, best we get out of the city as fast as we can.” So they left without Elerra-the-Demonbound, hoping she’d catch up.

So, with sun high in autumn’s harsh blue sky, they began to march northward, the traffic light, the rank smell of the city fading behind them. As farmland turned into lightly wooded hillside, the trees burning with fall colors, they passed a large troop of the All-father’s Red Legion. The soldiers marched in perfect lock-step, their red cloaks billowing in the light wind, their weapons and armor shining.  As they marched past the group, one called them “abominations!” another shouting “Your time will come, monsters!”

Despite what the boys felt, despite what Honor-the-Dragonborn-Paladin wanted to do, they chose to ignore the insults and continued on. Maybe one day, as seasoned heroes, they could take on 50 skilled soldiers, but now was not the time.

They had made the right choice. The only choice.

At camp, with the fire crackling and Devon cooking his weight in sausages, they noticed he wouldn’t meet their eyes and, after supper, chewed on his fingernails like he meant to gnaw them to the bone.

They tried to find out why, but he told them, “Not a fan of the woods, you see. Tis too many bad things in the woods, you see. Too many.”

But Brad-the-Rogue, a smart reader of people, knew that to be a lie.

The next night, with Leroy-the-Ranger roaming the woods looking for herbs to make Sherlock-the-Wizard’s potions, Brad-the-Rogue and Honor-the-Paladin pressed the halfling relentlessly.

Being a good person, not able to keep the terrible secret inside, the Halfling cracked under the questioning. “Listen, I didn’t have no choice, you understand, no choice at all. They have me wife and children. I had to do what they told me to do.”

“What was that?” Honor-the-Paladin demanded.

(D&D Adventure to be continued…..)

*******

Our D&D characters

Honor – Dragonborn Paladin. Very scary looking. 

Brad Armpit – half-elf rogue. Nice guy, but watch your purse.

Leroy – Human ranger, crazy good with his crossbow, but about lacking social skills.

Sherlock – Gnome wizard, small but full of energy and a bright desire to learn.

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1st Day of D&D

The D&D 5e Adventure Begins!

I hide behind this D&D screen.
Their quest – the chest.

The D&D day had finally arrived.

I picked up the four boys after school and brought them to our place. The-Youngest and I had transformed the rec room into the new D&D room. We had chips for them. We had pop and candy. We had chairs that weren’t going to collapse and The-Youngest had taped off areas on the table so everyone knew how far they could spread their stuff out.

We were about as ready as possible.

When the boys arrived, I had to let them settle down. 12-year-olds have energy I can only remember, that kind that makes it impossible to sit still, to not talk quickly and loudly, or focus on any one thing. It was awesome to see, actually. That energy meant they were excited

After a short while, they calmed down a bit.

D&D, being a complex game with many, many rules, created my first challenge. We’d gotten together before this first session to roll up characters, (a ranger, wizard, a paladin, and a rogue), so we didn’t have to do that, but there was still stuff they needed to know if they were to play.

To speed things along, I filled out their character sheets and reviewed changes. (For the nerdy folks, that means weapons and damage, armor and armor class, skill bonuses and equipment).

Their miniatures were given out and they were wow’d. I’m not a super good miniature painter, but having a little rogue, ranger, paladin and gnome made the game come alive.

From there, like any good film, we started with the big picture. Let us begin with the world. So let us start there.

The realms are at peace, a peace that has lasted eighty years. The Six kingdoms are united under the All-father, the king of kings, an undying ruler who governs with benevolent grace, bringing prosperity and harmony to all the peace-loving people of the land.

Or at least that’s what has been taught in the schools, in the cathedrals of the Holy Light, and in the great halls and homes of men.

But ask the Dwarves, at what price did this peace come, their kingdoms smashed, their once-proud nation reduced to clan-enclaves in mountains or crafting halls in the hills and towns?

Ask the elves when men came to cut down the trees for lumber, when they slaughtered the fey and treants out of fear, and then when the Elves fought back, burned the elven treehomes.

Ask the Halflings why they are wanderers or relegated to the poor quarters, thought of only as dirty thieves and bringers of bad luck. Ask them if they know peace.

Indeed, if you are not of mankind, you might have an entirely different opinion of this peace and prosperity. 

After conquering the last kingdom, the All-father destroyed the old orders, tore down ancient fortresses, built churches of the Holy Light in every village, and set up puppet rulers to govern his lands. While most of the conquered kingdoms fell into line, the last Kingdom never fully bowed to the All-father’s will, and nearly a year, ago, as repression became harsher and harsher, many of the old races united to rebel.

Against the All-father, against his Red Legions and Wizards of Flame, against the martial might of the Order of the Holy Light, they didn’t have a chance. They were slaughtered.

After the rebellion, the Purity Laws came into effect. No non-human could hold a position in government, could not attend any of the Arcane Academies, and could not hold title to land. Travel was restricted and there are rumors that the All-father may soon offer a bounty on non-humans.

It is into this world that our players find themselves.

Thus began the adventure for the boys.

  • Sherlock – a gnomish wizard.
  • Leroy the Ranger.
  • Brad Armpit the rogue.
  • Honor the Dragonborn paladin.