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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A Will

Last Will and testament document.
Last Will and testament document.

As an adult, there are simply things you HAVE to do. Feed yourself (and hopefully others.) Wear pants while shopping at Walmart. Make a will.

Of those, making a will is the most important and most likely not to be done.

Hey, I get it. It’s not easy to think about what will happen when you’re gone. Discussing death is not a fun conversation to have around the dinner table. Figuring out who will get your collection of mint condition STNG Picards is particularly hard.

But it needs to be done. The truly horrible thing is that you are going to die. We all are. Some a lot earlier than expected. So it’s vital your loved ones know what to do. Here’s a quick link to a blog about wills.

I began thinking about this, again, while talking to a friend of mine. He didn’t want anyone to go to any trouble after he died. Just sprinkle his ashes somewhere. Have a drink in his name. Move on.

I had the exact opposite thought.

A funeral pyre would be nice.We just don’t do pyres anymore and I’d like to bring that back. Or maybe a nice cremation on a Viking longboat.

Then, when I’m ashes, I want my friend to take them to the top of Everest and build a monument for me. Made of marble. 20’ high. In the shape of a giant hobbit’s foot so that a hundred thousand years from now someone will find it and go, what the fuck is that?

I want lots of people at my funeral even if you have to pay people to be there. I hear the homeless are pretty cheap. I don’t care about how anyone dresses.

I want a choir to sing songs of lamentation. I want crying. Lots of it. Big tears. Quiet sobbing is ok, too.

No wailing though.

Amazing Grace played by a piper. How sweet the sound.
Amazing Grace played by a piper. How sweet the sound.

I want a piper. Playing Amazing Grace. In the mist. Or back-lit by the setting sun.

And someone to dress in a kilt. With no underwear. And ,no it can’t just be the piper.

I want someone to make a speech about how they’re going to miss me. I want people to tell stories about me and them. About our shared experiences. They don’t even have to be true. They just have to be good stories.

I want free booze for everyone. This may help with the sobbing and attracting the homeless. I want people free to feel whatever they want to feel. But only if it’s sadness.

But more than all of that, I want to make sure everyone takes care of the person I’ll be leaving behind. She’ll need lots of hugs. A few shoulders to cry on. Maybe some wine and someone to talk to. A lot. I want people she loves to be there for her. To hold her hand at my funeral. To find something funny to say about me that will make her laugh. To make sure she’s not alone. To remind her that she was loved more than anything else in the world and will find that again some day.

As for my possessions, ah, that’s where the will comes in.

Without a will, the court will decide who gets what. Likely it’ll go to my wife, but without a legally binding will, that could take a while and be a HUGE hassle and who needs that kind of hassle when you’re grieving or working on how to find a long boat to light on fire.

In our complex world, I need my estate to pass along to those left behind as quickly and easily as possible. No fights with the courts. No claims from all the illegitimate children I’ve sired. No confusion as to what goes to who.

Please, if you do only one thing this week, make sure it’s getting a will done.

Is there a sadder movie than Up?
Is there a sadder movie than Up?

As for the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world, she has some requests for her funeral, too. She wants clowns. Sad clowns, mostly. A few angry ones. Old retired, disgruntled clowns. They need to all arrive in one car. Some need to have matted hair. All should have drinks in their hands. And there should be lots of balloons. Lots and lots of balloons.

In other words, she wants people to laugh and cry.

Not a bad request.

In the end, I think we all just want to know we’ll not be forgotten. That we mattered to someone somewhere. That we’ll be missed.