D&D for Newbies (25 Mar 17)
"12 adventurers walk into a tavern for the first time. Little did they know, the tavern's cellars were full of giant rats, every single one eager to destroy them with bad rolls and worse luck..."
Alright, I know most of you guys are just here for the pictures, so I'll try to keep this short and sweet. Last Saturday, on 25 March 2017, we held a series of introductory one-shot games for everyone and anyone interested in trying out Dungeons and Dragons for the first time. Twelve brave souls turned up, and - armed with little more than their wits and pregenerated character sheets - plumbed the depths of three separate dungeons.
"Graverobbing? In my city?"
Nobody was quite sure why bodies were getting waylaid as they made their way out from the city of Esa to its nearby necropolis, but that was exactly what was happening. After two weeks of this nonsense, the priests of Esa and its Council of Public Affairs finally had enough and hired a bunch of "adventurers" to solve the problem.
The adventurers arrived as the Council had hoped, but rather than head straight for the necropolis to deal with the threat, they chose to do a little... shopping first instead: in particular, shopping for bread and cheese. This turned out to be "vital", for the party ended up trying to use said rations to persuade everyone and anyone, be they bandits, zombies or wild little birds.
When the party finally arrived at the necropolis, they quickly realised that their kindly hearse driver was a wannabe necromancer who was stealing all the bodies in order to animate a massive Flesh Golem. Stung by his sudden but inevitable betrayal, they slew the mage and, after some lucky rolls, managed to convince the Flesh Golem that they were its true masters. However, the creature was deemed too dangerous to keep around, and so after a final meal of - what else - bread and cheese, it was eventually laid to rest once and for all.
A nobleman's strange request takes the party across the sea, where they find themselves in a town that appears to be run only by children. At the children's prodding, they slowly make their way towards the sarcophagus of Boromir, the final resting place of an ancient hero and more besides. Following the tracks, they eventually stumble into a nearby bandit camp, where the adults of the town were being held captive by a foul warlock attempting a dark ritual.
At this point, I would have liked to say that the party bravely charged in to try and save the day, but, well, if there's one thing we can say for sure about D&D players, it's that no matter what their character sheets says their alignment is, they are never "brave". Nonetheless, after an epic showdown with the evil warlock, the players - thanks to a critical Firebolt spell followed by a Sacred Flame - successfully immolated the boss and freed the adults.
If you're hoping for a happy ending, turn back now, for this tale ends only in sorrow and misery. It started off innocently enough: "I've heard scurrying noises coming from my basement, will you help me check it out?" "Of course we will, innkeeper, for we are broke and cannot afford to even pay the ale that we have drunk so far." "Great! Here's the key, bon voyage!"
Ah, if they only knew what awaited them...
Exploring the cellars, they found a small passageway that lead into what appeared to be elven ruins that were, for some strange reason, guarded by goblins lead by heavily armed orcish guards. They dispatched the first patrol quickly enough, but one goblin managed to flee and raise the alarm. With the whole goblinoid camp after them, the party rushed face-first into a giant antechamber, where they found an ancient elf attempting to resurrect his long dead love.
The halfling rogue was the first to fall under the spell of the elven necromancer, and the player turned on his fellow adventurers with... well, if not relish, then at least some approximation of it. Dropping the sorcerer with a knife to the kidneys, he turned his attention to the cleric who... promptly tried to bumrush the elven necromancer, somehow forgetting that there was another mind-control brazier located right by the stairs. One failed Wisdom save later, the only party member left was the disgruntled ranger who, with his dying breath, cursed the cleric for not healing him. Thus ends this sad little tale: not with a bang, but with the whimper of an elf crying out, "why did you not heal me?!"
Oh, and then afterwards, we played boardgames. It was fun.