It's been a good three weeks since I last talked about starting our pen and paper D&D campaign and I figured it's about time for a status report. Our first two sessions were played over a couple Sundays with an experienced DM by the name of Eric and his wife Sigrid who was new to the game. She's resisted playing the pen and paper games Eric has enjoyed for so long but since Hoochie is a long time friend of hers she was willing to give it a shot. Also playing is the one many of you know as Gaald from the forums. He's a local friend of mine and has the stubborn personality perfect for the barbarian he decided to play. There were a few times Hoochie's monk had to try and physically restrain Gaald's character to prevent him from doing or saying stupid things. I'm getting ahead of myself though, let us set the stage for our first few sessions in the perplexing world of Dungeons and Dragons.Here is the cast of characters for our little campaign:
So it begins! We are assigned badges as the 304th division of the city watch and sent on our first mission. It seems there was an ambush on the main road of town and we had to check it out. Before I go on I should mention that this city isn't exactly the typical sort of urban sprawl one might expect. It is more of a forest that allows extensive buildings while still maintaining forest status. No one knows exactly who built it or how this system works but it's been around for a few thousand years so who are we to question it?
Slip Bhiru: Played by myself, Slip is a Half-Elf Rogue who grew up poor during a famine and moved into the forest city with his father after his Elven mother left and his sister was given to monks at a young age. Since his father could not feed both children he choose to give one up rather than see them both starve.
Alia Bhiru: An uptight Half-Elf Monk played expertly by Hoochie, Alia is Slip's estranged sister. She has been ordered to see the world and spend six months at her brother's side despite her protests. Seeing as how Slip is a smart ass thief and she is all about the rule of law and not smiling they make an interesting pair.
Katrin: Sigrid's human Druid is a local who grew up in the city and managed to get assigned to the city watch as the Druid representative. She loves the woods and despises anything and anyone who would dare sully them.
Arodin: This would be Gaald's Half-Elf Barbarian from the north. Growing up in a village constantly under the threat from the mysterious "scourge" Gaald discovered his rage early in life and trained to be a Barbarian to tame it. Traveling to discover the strange sites of the south, Gaald ended up in the city. After a month of doing odd jobs, bouncing at bars and sleeping on benches Gaald was drafted by the city watch and made to join the rest of our gang.
We set off down the road after taking some statements from the gate guards. As we approached the site of the ambush we could clearly see that a scuffle had taken place. Katrin promptly found the tracks of the ambushers and we prepared to set off to follow them.
"Roll a listen check." Eric said to me.
"16." Something's up.
"You hear a twig snap on your side of the road in the bushes."
Now the interesting thing about this game is you constantly have to be thinking about what your character would do. You can't assume anything so if you tell your team there is something in the bushes you're probably yelling it across the road. As everyone turned to move towards me a war cry sounded from where they were standing and we were rushed. A cheap diversion, the oldest trick is the book. We were surprised by their ambush and caught flat-footed. That means the attackers (Kobolds) got a free round of attacks on us before we even get to react and roll initiative. Eric is already having fun with the rookies it seems.
After a brief battle full of missing arrows and Gaald splitting Kobolds in two with his giant axe (Eric loves describing that stuff in detail) we finished them off and even managed to keep one alive. I tied the little basted up with a rope check roll of nine and proceeded to question him in Draconic since I could speak the language.
"Why is it you and your recently departed friends are wearing military garb? Very un-Kobold of you"
He says nothing in reply except that they will kill us all. I have a feeling that Eric isn't quite ready to give us any real plot information but I press on. He's still doesn't say anything useful so Gaald rolled an intimidate check and made it wet his little pants.
"Do Kobolds have toes Eric?"
"Yeah, three of them"
"Great, I'm going to cut one off" I say.
As I pull out my knife it managed to beat my rope check and proceeded to free itself and run away. Thankfully Gaald's Barbarian runs faster and managed to split him in two. No more questions.
Rather than head back to town we decided to continue following the tracks and see where they led. They eventually brought us to a Kobold camp with about a dozen of the buggers and a few larger surprises waiting for us. The battle took a good hour to do and while Gaald managed to get himself shot full of arrows and brought to something like -18 health we managed to win the day without him. At this point Eric stretched the rules a bit for us since we're still wet behind the ears. He said that we can hit –20 health before dying but only until level three. After that it's back to the standard -10 allowance. Lucky for Gaald! once we got him back on his feet we decided to check out the tents.
They're worth noting because the entire area was very military in layout which is completely wrong for Kobolds. Obviously something bigger is calling the shots. While checking on the tents Gaald's Barbarian decides he wants to see what's inside one of the locked chests so he raises his axe to smash it open. Hoochie's Monk Alia sees this and fearing a trap she tries a grapple roll to prevent him from doing it. He shakes her off and does it anyways, springing a poison needle trap which fails to work thanks to the axe working its magic. I try to disable the other chest's trap and get a needle in the finger for my trouble so who am I to judge?
This brings us to THE SACK. Hoochie's Monk picked up a bound leather sack from the table and demanded my knife so she could cut it open. I refused to let her touch my weapon and demanded the sack instead. She shoved it into her pack and walked away leaving my Rogue fuming and slightly obsessed. He loves secrets and he has to know what's in the sack, he just has to. I then began Operation Annoy the Monk Until She Gives Me the Sack So I Can Peek Inside. I talked about it all day and as dusk settled our Druid found us a nice place to sleep with a small creek nearby. As Alia the Monk (with her bag strapped to her back) bent over to fill her water skin I made my move. I'm a Rogue after all, I'll steal the damn thing!
"I'm going to try and pick pocket THE SACK from her backpack," I said smugly, knowing I'd get all sorts of bonuses since she was occupied. "I rolled a"… one. sh*t."
Rolling a one is bad, it's stabbing yourself in the foot bad usually. This case was no exception, I might as well have screamed and banged pots together while I was making the attempt. After some squabbling we decided to compromise. She would hold THE SACK and I would cut it open to see what goodies it contained. In my haste to see what was in there I forgot to check for traps. I'm sure Dungeon Masters live for this sort of moment.
"As you cut open the bag a fiery explosion rips through the air and does eight points of damage to both of you. Looking around you can see paper floating in the air and what's left of the sack."
Important documents? Clues? Who knows! All my Rogue got for his trouble was a face full of humble pie and a pissed off sibling. The damage we took before going to bed really made things tense when the Kobold Ninjas attacked that night, we took them out but it was close.
The following day we headed back to town and reported to our captain, a cigar chewing Dwarf with a chip on his shoulder. once we were finished I got the hell out of the watch hall since I'm a Thief, Arodin made for the mess hall to eat and our Druid friend left to the grove. What will happen from here? How will the Thief Guild feel about my turn as Johnny Law? Who knows! That's really up to Eric and our own ill-fated decisions.
More happened in just two sessions than I could possibly fit into one article but I hope this has given you an idea of how games like this work. one of the best parts for me is that when I look back on an adventure I can picture it in my mind as if I'd just finished reading a good book. Sometimes it's good to give your imagination a chance to extend itself rather than rely on game developers to hand everything over to you on a silver platter.
Thanks for indulging me and maybe if you guys really piss me off I'll regale you with more tales from our sessions!