Dungeons and Dragons 5th Ed
A Walk to the Village
Saturday 17th November D&D Round Up
DM: Old Man John
Players: Jason, Leslie, Mic and Pat
Characters (in order): Druid, Bard, Ranger, Barbarian
This is written all from the perspective of the GM so it will be, well who knows, eclectic to be sure.
You will find elsewhere in this blog a short story for the backdrop to this campaign. The day started with the lads arriving and fleshing out their characters. The usual banter perused. Mic earned himself some bonus points for seeking out James (the cat) when he discovered that one lived at the premises (that was me asking where James was, it was hot on Saturday, we had a decent Storm just after we called it quits for the day). Mic learnt that using all his good rolls for character creation might have not been the wisest of moves!
I started the group in the village. A random one I had grabbed from an old TSR N1 Against the Cult of Reptile God. I couldn’t find my old Judges Guild book of Villages (as usual) so I had to go on the fly. Actually it is fairly standard with me when I GM away from home, I find that I’m about to head off, remember I’ve forgotten something critical, and then can’t find the bloody thing. Then spend 30 minutes searching for it. Arrive late, usually picking up someone along the way late, flustered, etcetera etcetera. Then when I come home I find the damn thing sitting usually in plain sight right where I should have found it. Oh well.
Now what was I saying… yes the village. It was there for the benefit in case the players decided to actually do anything in the place. I confess I was worried if they did, but I was the master of working on the fly so I was prepared for anything. Bullshit is my middle name; I have several and swap them out as is needed – depending on the circumstances.
The nightmare of the starting group. No you do not meet in the local pub. The starting hook began with the druids fellow aspirant coming to the village seeking his desperate return. The locals had returned to hurl some more stones at the orc (yes it was an orc who had come to find the druid – did I mention the druid was an half-orc). The stage was set – what would happen?
Well the druid went to the aid of his downed druidic “classmate” only then noticing that he had more than bruises and abrasions from hurled rocks. The ranger decided that his introduction to the group would be by coming to the aid of the orc, his background made it that he did not take kindly to the indifferent treatment of others, regardless of race. The Bard watched the situation unfold… Our Barbarian, at the Golden Grain Inn had decided to enjoy a well earned period of intoxication (he gets drunk when given the chance), this was ruined by the commotion. He had attempted to leave the Inn, mug in hand but was called back to return it.
The mob, a mixture of young children and adults had grown surly at this treatment of the orc. They had seen orcs as the enemy from the many times they had been raided over the centuries. Someone in the crowd, most likely a small child hurled a rock, narrowly missing the ranger (wow, did I roll poorly – or did I?). This led to the Ranger drawing his sword from his scabbard, the result – a stampede by the locals away from the threat. Throwing rocks at a helpless Orc is one thing, taking on a stranger armed and maybe potentially dangerous is another.
We now had a stampede of locals retreating away from the Druid, Ranger and the wounded Chog (you know the Orc messenger). The heroic Bard decided he didn’t quite know what to do so did what most sheep did and followed the herd, safely at a distance mind you.
Our Barbarian, having sheepishly returned his mug (well the Inns mug in actuality) was surprised by the herd of locals (not sheep) rushing away for the commotion he had been going to investigate. Nevertheless he decided he was still going to see what was happening. The Bard, slipped in behind and performed a magnificent performance of Marty Feldman from Yellowbeard and slipped into the shadow of the Bard, almost unnoticed by all.
This is how the band of “heroes” came together, bonding over the suspiciously wounded body of Chog the orcish messenger from the Druids village. Trust between Druid and Ranger seemed to be without question, the Barbarian took a while in making, as to the Bard… I guess everyone is still trying to work him out.
A grove of elms across a stream provided some privacy in which to treat Chog and take stock of the situation. It was there that Chog’s wounds were found to be more serious than just the rocks. Chog admitted he had been ambushed by some pathetic goblins which he had dealt with. Killed some, driven the rest off. When he was told he had taken some blade wounds he shrugged, he had not noticed. What’s a knick here and there to an orc, they all heal in time or you drop dead. He’s not dead, so what’s the deal. Then he paled, and passed out.
However, before all this was to occur the group was able to ascertain the following. Their master had called home his favoured student Grak. The master henge in the village has been desecrated and something important has been removed. Grak must come back to the village of Tone’sum before the setting of the moon – four days from now. The trip is estimated as three days without significant interruption.
The group discuss matters. They explore their characters “backgrounds” and how they are going to pursue this goal. As a GM, thankfully there is no hiccup in my “plans” (hang on, did I really have a plan, I thought I was just winging it and hoping for the best – like I usually do!) Again the Druid and Ranger seem to have no difficulty agreeing, the Barbarian is on board finally and the Bard, well he escaping the village because of a misunderstanding with several wives, er no sorry I got that worng husbands, that and the matter of some missing valuables.
Poor Chog is in a bad way. The group decides to search for herbs and such that may help stave of his inevitable death. For some reason everyone thinks I’m going to kill poor Chog off (well he does die, he just lasts longer than I anticipated). Due to exceptional die rolling and “professional” care Chog survives the first day. The night is when the trouble comes. I thought, let’s try something nice and simple – some cougars (panthers from the Monster Manual). The Ranger took the first watch. It was decided (by me) that the Ranger clearly was an Urban wannabe, and couldn’t tell the difference between the sound of an alley cat and that of a dangerous predator. That and his rolls were atrocious, honestly I thought I was the king of poor die rolls, Mic I think took the cake that day – though Jason was not far behind at times. Three cougars almost killed the party that first night out. The druids Thunderwave came to the rescue, though Chog was unfortunately in the area of affect. No one mentioned that in any afterward conversations when Chogs name came up when they reached Tone’sum. Chog survived that Thunderwave by the blessing of the Gods themselves you could say…
The end result was the Barbarian skinned himself some fine cougar pelts… must look into the time factor there. The night went by with only the crickets to keep them company. They believed that the Druids Thunderwave must have driven off any wayward critters with the sonic boom. Surely it would not have attracted any sentient creatures to come investigate – surely…
The second day took them out of the forested area and into the beginning of a flat grassland turning to streams and swamps. Foraging continued again. While the party ate from the land, the Druid wisely ate the purchased foodstuffs that would have gone off in short time. Moldy food in packs leads to rot and all sorts of problems and infestations. Very wise person this Druid. Again the party defied the odds and scrounged to medicinal herbs necessary to keep Chog alive. Chog is surprised. GM is even more surprised. Hence the nasty surprise for that nights encounter!
Second night. Well they didn’t get to night, they only got to setting up of camp in the last hours of light. Some lumps of reasonable stable and “dry” land had been found to set camp up on. The insect life was rife, midges and mosquitoes were so plentiful they could almost have blocked out the sun (now why didn’t I think of being this poetic at the time when I described the setting). The party made some successful rolls – all except the urban Ranger, who failed dismally. Yes they all spotted the Lizardmen paddling down the creeks.
I shall not bore you with a blow by blow description of the battle – but I will. No sod it, I won’t. Poor Mic, I think he needs a better die. The Bard sang off keys tunes that “enraged” (the opposite actually – but I’m stirring Leslie at the moment of writing this) certain party members to brilliance. He also contributed with Tasha’s Hideous Laughter, leaving one bobbing around on the surface of the creek tittering in whatever passes for reptilian laughter. The Druid responded with Entangle and his favoured Thunderwave. The Barbarian worked himself up into a rage and got his cleave activating quite nicely. When the opportunity presented itself, the Bard would courageously dash forward and slit the throat of a helpless opponent, ending their life. Of course when this did not happen…
In the end, the lizardmen all died. Chog survived. The Barbarian wondered how to skin the lizardmen for their skin… was it possible? Do they make good belts? Boots? Handbags?
The third day, the last day of travel, with just the night to survive through. Surely Chog would die…
No, Chog the immortal would live another day thanks to some remarkable die rolling! That night the group entered the hilly terrain leading to the area where the village was located. Traps were set (I should point out traps were set every night – very cautious group these lads) and a watch made. The Urban Range failed to spot the small band of Goblins advancing down the road, nobody else could miss it. (GM’s note: memory is a little hazy, I may be getting a little be off hand with the bad luck Mic had with things, he may or may not have missed the Goblins at this point in time, but for the point of a good narrative I’m going with he did.)
The fight was “epic”! Finally weak monster that the group could handle – bahahahahahahahaha!!!!! The Druids curses at party members for ruining his kill zones. The Barbarian learning about Goblin bosses switching places with underlings. Sneaking ambushing hiding gits is just not on, how the ambushed dare be ambushed – to a limited degree. How dare the Barbarian be wounded by the weapon that is killing Chog by a million paper cuts? Oh the ignominy of it all. In the end though Goblins are just goblins and they die. The cursed or magical weapon is eagerly purloined by the Bard. Maybe purloined is too hard a word, nobody else wanted it, so I guess it was a “last hamster in the shop” prize. His cackling and sounds of “my precious” may have been unsettling had it been remotely true.
The Barbarian though was succumbing to the wounds of the unnatural weapon. Grak the Druid knew it would be too dangerous to attempt a night trek through the hills to reach the village for help. It would be best to stablise the Barbarian as best they could, hope he’d live to see the morning and get the village Druid to help. The rota was drawn up, but the Barbarian despite his wound still takes his shift, pride refusing to let him show any weakness. He fell asleep. The Ranger also failed to let his internal clock wake him. Only the Druid sensed anything amiss, waking with only a few hours remaining till dawn. Seeing little benefit in waking the actual shift holder, he waiting out the remaining hours. In the dawning rays of sunrise, the cold stiff corpse of Chog greeted the dismayed (well I hope they were) party members.
Chog was not buried where he was found, he was carried to the village a few hours away. The Barbarian required some assistance as well, he also was not in the best of health. As they approached the village a delegation of the village children came charging out, crying out praise and happiness at seeing the return of Grak. Clearly Grak is very well thought of in the village. Grak checked his belongings, his pockets, pouches – for some reasons he did not trust his fellows. He did find some dead mice, frogs, rocks etcetera.
They were brought before the village Druid Choldis, a venerable human of perhaps 60 to 70 years of age. Grak appears to share some passing similarity with him, when the moon is in the right phase, or when the shadows cast the right shade of grey, or when the stars or right (I think you get the gist of it). The Bard, ever the diplomat demands a hot bath, to which he is given a hearty and welcoming laugh and pointed to the local stream. “Some of the local ladies may bath with you, will that make it hot enough for you?”
The fate of Chog is discussed and the Barbarians wound is examined. Choldis is dismayed at Chogs demise, more unsettled at the Barbarians wound and upon being given the weapon which inflicted the foul wound, more unsettled (just as well they didn’t have a castle built in a swamp). The Bard was nonplussed about losing his new weapon and swiped a trinket on his way out of the hut in a piqué of insult (I wonder what it is he’s swiped, and what he’s actually got?) He’s still looking for a hot bath, or failing that some hot women to make that cold stream feel like it might not be so bad being cold. Choldis found the ingredients he needed to heal the Barbarian and uttered the incantation that would heal and cleanse the wound. All is good.
Choldis takes time to regale the others of how proud he is of Grak, he chosen succor. So brilliant at plotting the stars - but unable to walk the icy path to the privy with falling. Able to recite all 300 stanza of Yund’s Saga, yet break Choldis’ favourite drinking bowl at high summer festival. To master the cantrips in two seasons, and still fall of his stool when scratching his arse. Brilliant but prone to mishaps, Choldis expects a Pyhric victory from Grak, he just hopes someone can resurrect him afterwards.
Now on to what is going to be the next adventure!
Choldis shows the group where the village henge stands, or in this case leans. The base has been dug out and Choldis has explained that the sacred stone has been stolen by Isby. Isby was until recently one of his pupils and Graks “classmates”. A secretive fellow (human), he would spend much of his time in the hills surrounding the village. There is one place that has been proscribed as forbidden by the Druidic Order to enter. The “Hiding of Oitgyn”. This place was once many centuries ago the residence of a ruler of sorts who lorded it over the local goblinoid races. At some point in time some calamity overcame this person and the place fell into ruin. It became a home for unsavory creatures, it was cleaned out some fifty years ago by Choldis master. He was told that it was an evil place and that none of the village should ever go there. It would appear that Isby has, as Choldis sent trackers to ascertain where the the sacred stone had been taken. When word returned (the trackers had been attacked and scattered) that the Hiding had been inhabited and that this is where the sacred stone had most likely been taken. Choldis had sent for Grak. He now implores his favourite and destined pupil to retrieve the sacred stone.
He also tells Grak that the twelve villages make up a binding circle. If all twelve sacred stones are removed and destroyed or lost then he does not know (well he does, and so do I but I’m not telling at this stage) what will happen!
This is where the group now find themselves, exciting isn’t it!
Barbarian – Talisman in the shape of a swan, made from stone, very similar to those stones found in the streams and riverbeds of where his farm once stood. The Talisman holds great sentimental value to you. The village Druid Choldis tells you that there is much to be revealed about this artifact. (Might just be the fact the GM hasn’t a clue what he wants to do with it yet!)
Bard – Ring with the motif of a bat with wings spread etched into a silver ring. This ring was given to you on your day of maturity. You have never been able to remove the ring, no matter how many times you have wished to pawn it for the wealth it holds.
Ranger – Bow of exquisite craftsmanship. It has come into your possession and is greatly prized, while not magical it confers a +1 bonus to hit.
Druid – Crow of annoying raucousness. This annoying crow has been with Grak since he has been a child, and as we all know, birds don’t live that long. So based on how old Grak is, this Crow is clearly not all it appears to be. It always sits atop Graks staffs, seems to have just the right “learnt” insult for the right occasion and that look of intelligence in its eye – yes it really is!
3 x cougar pelts (yes I need to look up skinning – so do you Pat).
Lizardmen “pelts”, really Pat, we need to have a think on this one. Next will be human skin!
10 silver pieces
1 x trinket (swiped by Leslie from Choldis’s hut…. Oh I wonder what it is, I’ll leave you in suspense till next we meet!)
Thanks for reading everyone.
Till next time.
The Honourable John