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.)
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 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.
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.