Remember the Past

Cymric at last!
Back in the city

Upon arriving at Cymric, the heroes split up to handle their individual business. Some of the highlights were Roth and Dilbert getting into a fight with a local tavern owner, then getting drunk with him afterwards… Oliver getting his cloaks to be made….

There and back again
Journey back to Cymric

After dealing with Granny and her sister, the heroes were a bit busted up. And lacking any clear direction of what to do with the stone, Keely remembered a wizard that she knows in Cymric that may help…

So the party decided to return to their city of origin.

Along the way, they came across the end of a battle in which a trio of Bugbears and an Ogre had attacked and destroyed a goblin enclave. The small goblin bodies were strewn about the entrance to the cave and the bugbear chieftain was arguing with the Ogre within.

The party deduced that the Bugbears had made a deal to split the spoils of the attack with the Ogre, yet after all of the goblins were dead, the Ogre wanted ALL the treasure. The party decided to ‘have fun’ with the creatures and created illusions of more gold to make the ogre angry.

It worked, but it wasn’t the explosion that Valenthe was looking for. So she quaffed a potion of Heroism and tossed an exploding jar of fire into the cave. The resulting detonation acted like a cannon and HURLED the Ogre, along with the 3 bugbears, out of the barrel of the cave directly into Alekos and the other melee fighters.

The flaming creatures were no match for the heroes and they died easily.

After healing up, the party continued through the forest and came to a clearing where they discovered 4 blink-dog puppies hidden in a hollow tree along with the unfortunate remains of their parents which had been killed nearby. It wasn’t long before 2 displacer beasts ( the natural and moral enemy of blink dogs ) appeared and attacked.

Oliver was able to Mage Hand one of the pups up out of the battle and saved it’s life, but the rest were killed. The party was in dire straights too as Alekos was almost killed if not for the quick healing of his companions.

Ever resourceful, Oliver skinned both beasts and one of the dogs to make cloaks out of at a future date.

Days passed as the group made their way back to Cymric until they were within a few hours travel of the city. They met a traveling merchant that Roth discovered was an assassin in disguise. They traded with the merchant for some items and learned that the city of Cymric was beset by an undead menace.

They traveled into the night eventually made it to a farm on the outskirts of town where they decided to sleep in the barn… Well, roth broke into the house but he didn’t take much….

Just as they were settling in, a horde of ghouls and 2 ghasts appeared. They party easily put them down, but not without blowing a hole through the back of the barn and smashing some sheep to bits…

Into the Woods... part 2
Granny's surprise

So after the revelation that Granny may be a source of information, the party traveled through the forest towards where the Ilya remembered meeting her once.

Ilya described her as an old woman, more ancient than any she had ever met. She smelled as of a bog, and her clothing was torn and shredded. Shayluna gave her a wide respect as one does to elders or those who may be dangerous. But Ilya couldn’t hear what they discussed and barely remembered the incident.

As they traveled through the forest, the serenity of the Druid glade gave way to a dark, oppressively haunted feeling. The forest itself changed from healthy and flourishing to decay and diseased woods.

The companions crested a slight hill, and at the base of the hill flowed a wide shallow creek. On the other bank, set back into a fallen tree and the side of a mounded hill stood a small house. The front was penned in by thorn bushes and outside on a leather stretching frame hung what appeared to be the skin of a goblin, recently killed.

The party approached and Alekos kicked in the door. He entered and immediately spotted an old woman hiding behind a curtain in the back.

The rest of the party entered the small hovel and Granny Withersnap emerged. They spoke for a few minutes and Granny offered them some of the ‘stew’ that was bubbling over the fire. Oliver took some but didn’t even get it near his mouth when he became violently sick. Alekos lifted him out of his own vomit until he was better. Then Dilbert bashed the old woman over the head with his staff and she barely reacted…

Then Roth decided a dagger to the throat would get the old lady in a talking mood, but she didn’t seem to notice…and the banter continued.

Meanwhile, Keely, who was still outside, saw another old woman coming down the bank of the creek with some kind of cart. The old woman was taller than Granny, with jet black hair that seemed wet. Keely hid and then recognized that in the card were the butchered remains of a Dryad.

The taller woman entered Granny’s home and she introduced her as her sister, Black Morwen. Morwen seemed to be annoyed that anyone was in the home besides Granny.

It was when Ilya and Askia decided to bargain with her that she became interested and animated. Askia offered Granny a ‘look in her eye’ and they retreated to the back room along with Ilya while Morwen guarded the door and gave everyone the stink-eye.

Granny tried to get Ilya to give up any claim she had to the forest after Shayluna was dead, and Ilya declined. Askia was told that Granny would answer any questions they wanted until the next moon as long as she gave up her silver eye, to which Askia said no. So Granny took a polished glass orb that looked like an eye and jammed it in Askia’s Silver Eye to “Look” and transfered some of the silver metal into the orb. She announced that this was the end of their deal and they were free to leave NOW.

Askia and Ilya told the party to leave but Oliver and Roth remained… As everyone was leaving, they could see that Morwen’s nose was growing longer and her eyes were getting deeper in-set. Granny’s sparse hair fell away and her claw-like fingers were growing into actual claws.

Oliver had turned away to tell the rest of the companions he’d be along in a moment, and when he turned back, he was faced with two Hags in all their disgusting glory. Granny rolled a Nat-20 and maxed damage on her slashing claw attack, killing Oliver.

Alekos, who was holding the broken door open for the party to exit drew his swords and attacked.

Everyone rushed in and attacked, but there was a fumble and an entire shelf of potions shattered over Keely, who was simultaneously affected by a shrinking potion, a potion of invulnerability, and a potion of invisibility.

The party soon had the Hags (Green hag and Sea hag, not a full coven) down thanks to a few fire logs and some potion explosions. Notable highlights were when Dilbert used his rind of spider climb to run along the walls and ceiling and baseball-bat the Hags in their heads as well as when Roth ran to the horses to find a flint and steel only to fumble and break it. But he made it back in to help set the hags on fire.

The companions were able to heal Oliver before he expired as well as thoroughly search Granny’s house for everything of value.

They learned a bit more about the stones and how they can be destroyed… but that’s for another session.

Into the Woods... part 1
Druid Circle, the Summoning Stone, and Granny's surprise

The morning after the owlbear attack was calm and the party decided to take an extra day to recuperate from their back-to-back battles. Keely and Askia were able to snare a small wild pig for food and everyone had full bellies for the day.

At dawn the next morning, the companions broke camp and traveled on towards Ilya’s home. As they got closer, the forest took on a more idyllic and serene feeling. Birds were chirping and the trees were tall and majestic. Ilya told them that they were very close now.

The rangers scouted the area and found that the Druid Circle had been all but destroyed save for the stone shrine and the gargantuan oak tree that grew in the center of the glade. They found wicked glyphs and runes carved into the oak that Dilbert was able to identify as some crude form of Feindish. The spell was a corruption spell and a gate to the lower hells. The gate was closed from the inside, but the evil energy was slowing destroying the balance of the Druid Glade.

The rest of the party searched the shrine and surrounding area for clues as to what had happened, but in the weeks that had passed between the attack that Ilya described and now, there was little they found.

It was Oliver that discovered a lever below the shrine’s alter that triggered a secret passage. The passage was small so the more diminutive members of the party explored the spiral stair case leading downwards.

2 flights below, they entered a chamber that appeared to be some kind of study, complete with journals and books. The main book on the table turned out to be Shayluna’s own journal. It described her thoughts and concerns about Ilya, an mentioned various other entities in the forest, particularly Granny Withersnap and some one or something called “Mafallion”. Also, on the self sat a large wooden club engraved with vines and leaves. Askia and Keely took both items back up to the rest of the party for inspection.

The room also had a heavily bolted oak door leading away from the staircase but they did not explore it. When they told the rest of the party about the door, Dilbert took interest…

But the group decided to explore the large cave situated behind the shrine. Ilya told them that she had only been a short distance inside because Shayluna had told her that there was nothing down there, but one could become lost…

So of course the party explored the cave. All except Dilbert. He went back to the Shrine, traveled through the spiral staircase and down into the study. Being a dwarf and completely at home in the underground darkness, he opened the oaken door and traveled down the corridor beyond.

Back in the cave, the party explored further and further, until the pathway became so narrow that they could only travel in single file. Just as Keely was deciding to return to the surface, they found a passage way that ended in an abrupt cliff. Thinking that there must be something down there, Oliver and Roth tied off a climbing rope and went down. About 60 feet below, they found the bottom where there was a small ledge to stand. Beyond the landing was a vast underground lake. The rest of the party debated about how to get everyone down and Sir Alekos almost dropped Muffy as he lowered him down.

It was about this time that Dilbert came to another door at the end of the long passageway he had been exploring. The door opened to a vast natural camber that stretched out beyond his vision. He followed the pathway down to the bank of an underground lake that appeared completely black to his darkvision. He set out to circumnavigate the lake, using his staff to probe for any drop-offs or pits. As he rounded the edge of the lake, he saw Oliver and Roth in the distance on a small shelf of dry rock. He told them of the door and the passageway but then continued around the lake to see how big it was.

As he came back around to where he started, he noticed that there was a raised stone ramp just a few inches below the surface of the lake that lead to the center of the chamber. He walked out to explore it, cautiously probing with his quarterstaff.

To the rest of the party that was now down at the bottom, it appeared that Dilbert was walking on water out in the middle of the lake. They quickly rounded the outside of the lake and met up with him in the center.

Once the torch Oliver was carrying was brought near, they could see that in the center of the lake was actually a large square slab of stone with runic symbols carved into them. Dilbert was able to identify the stones as some kind of containment but that it was weakened to the point of destruction.

Askia remembered reading about this in Shayluna’s journal and quickly flipped to read the page in full.

Shayluna described how she had created this chamber to contain a “summoning stone” and that every 1000 years, the spells would need to be reforged to keep its evil from the world. Shayluna talked about how soon it would be Ilya’s turn to become the guardian of the stone and that she and Mafallion were concerned that Ilya wouldn’t be ready in time… So Shayluna crafted a focus for her to use when the time came. A picture of the focus was identical to the wooden club that Keely had taken from the study room below the Shrine.

They handed the club to Ilya and the magic took over. The waters shot away from the platform as if a great wind blew down on them and the runes melted away, their energy drawing up into the club in Ilya’s hands. From the center of the stone square, a bright light shot upwards and from within it, a stone, roughly a foot tall and about 4 inches in diameter was revealed. The stone hovered in the air, it’s purple-black faceted surface etched with fiendish runes of power.

The party decided to get the heck out of the chamber as quickly as possible, and Sir Alekos plucked the stone from the air. Blinding purple energy ripped through him and the stone seemed to flare with maligned energy. The rest of the party was temporarily blinded but Sir Alekos had a vision of Hell.

In his mind’s eye, Alekos saw a giant figure sitting on a throne made of bones. The figure’s face was black and cracked, infernal light pouring out like the surface of lava. Massive ibex horns sprouting from within a large cloak hood atop his head. The figure stood up and Alekos saw that he wore no armor beneath his cloak, the figure’s muscular chest seemed to be made of segments of blasted metal plates fused into his skin.

The vision shifted and now Alekos looked out from behind and above the figure’s shoulder. Beyond him was a vast plain of charred and baked rock. Ash pooled in places where like water. And across the field of cracked stone stood an army of fiends. Hundreds of thousands of devils, all prepared for battle, formed rank upon rank of diabolic forces. At their head, in the center, was another figure, larger than all of the rest. What Alekos at first thought was a man, actually had short devil horns and black goat-slit eyes. He was handsome in a charismatic way, and his armor gleamed with reddish, hellfire light.

The leader of the army shouted in a voice that would split the souls of mortals, and the army surged forwards at a charge. Rank upon rank of devils crested the rise towards the lone figure at the Bone Throne. Chain devils with their fluid movements, Barbed devils like massive spiked canines bounding and snarling, Pit Fiends and more, all rushed forward to attack.

But the figure at the throne seemed unconcerned. And with a wave of his hand, the nearest devils disintegrated into a puff of smoke. With a glance, those slightly behind the first rank melted into liquid and splashed upon the rocks. Yet the devil army didn’t stop… They surged closer and the black cloaded figure at the throne spoke a single word in a voice that could shatter worlds. Thousands of devils were blasted backwards, their torn bodies ripped apart as if a million blades had passed through them.

But the ranks of the diabolic army were still vast. They continued their assault and more were destroyed with each new wave.

And as the Giant figure at the throne became focused on the destruction, he began to smile, and soon he was giggling with sadistic pleasure at the carnage he was creating. So focused on his enjoyment, he did not notice the lone devil climbing up behind him, over the throne made of bones.

Sir Alekos’s vision shifted to see this assassin. He was made of black smoke and dust, but the wicked curved sword he held was as solid as anything. With a single leap, he buried the sword through the cloaked figure’s back, directly into his heart.

Suddenly the leader of the army was standing before the Cloaked Figure with his own sword held high. And with a sly smile, he cleaved the giant’s head from his body. Alekos saw the leader of the army sit down on the throne and begin to command the forces near him to pull the body of the cloaded figure apart. Ripping it into 5 pieces. Then the vision faded to black…

But Sir Aleko’s vision didn’t end there. He was jolted by the sudden wave of heat and light and could see a humanoid figure completely clad in brass armor standing over an anvil near a lake of lava. The brass armored fiend held a huge smith’s hammer and was forging the parts of the cloaded figure into stones. Each stone identical to the summoning stone that Alekos had grabbed in the underground lake chamber…

Then Aleko’s vision shifted again and he saw a human man sitting over a desk, books and papers covered every inch of the room where the man was writing some kind of book. He was middle aged but his eyes held a madness that was obvious. The symbols written into the book matched those Alekos had seen on the stones that the brass armored devil had hammered into them.

The man wrote and wrote until his fingers bled, and then continued using his own blood as ink. And the vision cut again…

Now Alekos was floating over a massive city – he’d never imagined a city so vast. And at the center of the metropolis there stood a ziggurat pyramid towering above the highest buildings. Dark energy swirled around its peak and in the middle of a summoning circle stood the mad scribe. This time he was older but held a younger man’s powerful build. His blue-black robes were whipped back and forth around him as the energy pulsed upwards.

Alekos could see that the 5 stones were now laid out in front of the man. Each was glowing with a different set of runes, but each held the promise of fiendish glory. Alekos’s viewpoint changed and he was now at the top of the pyramid. He could feel the wind tearing at him and hear the jubilant cries of the scribe-turned-summoner shouting in a fiendish language.

And just as the spell seemed to be complete, Alekos saw a beam of white hot radiance strike the summoner in the chest. From within the ziggurat, a party of adventurers climbed the steps and attacked the summoner. There was a warrior dressed in ancient armor, a nimble halfling tossing dagger after dagger, and an elvin mage firing lightning and arcane magics… and finally there was the cleric of Tyr standing firm with a massive warhammer in her hands. The cleric’s voice carried above the sounds of the wind and Alekos recognized the prayer.

Tyr’s justice carries an ultimate sacrifice for those most devout. Only those of purity and justice may pray for such a spell and Alekos knew this cleric had been granted such a spell.

The summoning stones were fully charged, having ripped the soul energy of the city’s inhabitants, and awaited the Summoner’s final incantation – but the Cleric of Tyr finished her prayer first. She ripped the energy from the stones and used it as judgement against the city, against the summoner, against the very stones themselves. Her judgement was glorious and the resulting explosion leveled the city.

The very ground of beneath the city turned to liquid and the towers, houses, temple and all were sucked below the earth.

Alekos’s vision pulled back upwards into the heavens and he saw the rivers and oceans flood inwards to where the city had once been. But as the clouds surrounded his view point, he began to travel. Flying like a bird he crested out of the clouds and a hill top was revealed.

Upon the hill top stood an Elvin woman dressed in hides, similar to what Ilya wore. She held a wooden club exactly like the one that Ilya used to unlock the stone from the underground chamber. The woman’s long blonde hair waved in the breeze as she stared out over the destroyed city, tears falling from her eyes.

She looked down to the stone, one of the summoning stones, in her hand. It’s runes were dark and it’s surface dead. She nodded once and turned away, walking into the forest.

The vision faded from Alekos’s mind but he felt every muscle in his body being electrified. He cried out and the rest of the party helped him to the shore.

But the party wasn’t out of danger… A giant water elemental formed in the lake and floated forwards.

Ilya attempted to communicate with it and was rewarded when it told her that it “Must Guard”. She tried to reason with it, but the rest of the party attacked :)

Oliver fumbled and was enveloped inside the elemental, along with Dilbert. They were whipped out by a thornlash spell mostly unharmed.

The companions were able to defeat the elemental and retreat back up the passageway and into the druid’s study.

Once again back on the surface, they made camp where Alekos told the story of his vision and Dilbert revealed that he knew of such things as the stones and their runes.

Askia spent the better part of the night reading from Shayluna’s journal and discovered that Granny Whithersnap was a forest resident that Shayluna had made a pact with many hundreds of years ago… and who may have more information on the stone.

So the next morning they decided to travel to Granny’s and get as much information as possible…

Heroes... ASSEMBLE.. some more!!!
9 PCs and counting...

Two more friends decided to join our group (YAY!!!) and made up characters. So now I had to work Askia and Sir Alekos into the mix. Lucky, Askia’s player is uh-MAZE-ing at character development and did most of the work for me.

With a minor amount of ret-conning, Askia attached her history to that of Valanthe and Sir Alekos worked himself into Dilbert’s friendship and the folk hero’s backgrounds pretty seemlessly.

Also, Dilbert’s player found his character sheet and decided that the Great Randini would exit and his monk would join.

SO, Randini decided that fighting bullywugs was NOT something he felt inclined to do again and promptly went to sleep. He will be returning to Cymric in the next session. Thus, Dilbert the Red Beard and his drinking buddy Sir Alekos decided that leaving poor Keely and Oliver to their own just wouldn’t be right. They set off the next morning to catch up with the party.

Askia, the ranger, found the note that Valanthe left for her in their shared quarters (can you feel the glitch in the matrix?) and set off to catch up with her. Askia saw Dilbert and Alekos, but thought nothing of their burdensome, plodding pace. She arrived hours before they did…

But FINALLY the party was ALL together!!!!

There was a brief “Who goes there” moment as Dilbert and Alekos entered the camp, but soon everyone was eating dinner (and seconds) leaving Alekos and Roth to take the first watch. While chatting together, Alekos [knowingly? unknowingly???] gave Roth two of the three coded pass-phrases that Roth was to listen for on his trip to find a new Assassin master in the south.

They stared into each other’s eyes and many insight/bluff checks were failed.. And Roth was certain that this man, Sir Alekos, was about to attack him. Trying to be first, Roth executed a BEAUTIFUL standing front-flip directly over Sir Alekos (Natural 20) and prepared to stab him in the back with his wicked dagger.

Unfortunately, Sir Alekos was holding his action for just suck an event and performed a simple martial leg sweep as Roth landed – (again, Nat-20).

Roth was STUNNED to say the least, but this confirmed in his mind that Alekos was INDEED the Master Assassin that he was seeking. Just as Roth was about to reveal to Alekos his secret, Muffy issued a loud growl and Ilya came instantly awake.

Leofrick’s staff of warning issued the shrill cry only he can hear, and Leofrick shouted for everyone to be on alert.

Now remember those ‘second helpings’ some PCs had at dinner – well Oliver had second seconds and was so full he kept snoring.

Because the danger wasn’t completely present, Askia, Keely, and a few others took the time to don their armor and ready their weapons while Sir Alekos bravely strode towards the sound of something growling in the dark forest.

Keely remembered her partner, still sound asleep, and woke him in time for Oliver to lend his bow to the team.

Valanthe (or someone, can’t remember) cast a few lights into the trees near the disturbance and this allowed those without the ability to see in the dark to make out the creature. It was larger than the biggest grizzly bear than they had ever seen but its shoulders and head were covered in feathers. Massive yellow eyes glared at Sir Alekos and a beak the size of a barrel cried “KHAAAAooooorrrrrr” as the Owlbear launched its attack.

The party coordinated their attacks well but the damage dice didn’t seem to get the memo. And while most attacks landed, damage was minor. Leofrick, Alekos, and Dilbert fought up close and Alekos took a few nasty hits. The rest of the companions used bows to good effect at range.

Soon the massive beast was defeated JUST as its mate rushed in to attack. This time, the party rolled VERY well and the DM (me) missed EVERY attack for 5 rounds (grumble grumble)…

But that owlbear was defeated as well.

The session ended a bit early because players needed to do some real-world stuff but a good 5-6 hours of banter and play was achieved.

Now that the companions are together, and they are almost to the Druid Circle where Oliver and Ilya fought the imp, the next installment should be exciting and challenging!

Stay tuned!!! and stop looking at Askia’s silver eye!!! that’s rude!

Heroes... ASSEMBLE!
The not completely forced meeting of characters that would otherwise have no interest in one another.

Because my son and wife had already played a few sessions, and their adventure was already underway, I wanted to have a backstory for why the other players would be joining. The old ‘You just happen to meet on the road and you instantly like each other and decide to go off and adventure together’ wouldn’t cut it for me.

I decided to give [force] some shared background with the characters and ended up doing 2 prequel sessions and a bit of leading-by-the-nose to get everyone involved in the same adventure.

For character history, please jump over to the Characters page.. no need to repeat it here.

But chronologically, the game starts when Dilbert the Red is hired by Baron Greggor to translate a mysterious obelisk recently discovered in Grimsoak marsh. The Baron would to pay Dilbert 100gp (50 now, 50 upon return and successful translation). He provisioned the Captain of his Guard, Sir Alben Kincade, and his constable, Jerret Davies, along with 6 of the city guard to travel there and back. Dilbert, always happy to be paid in both beer and gold, was happy to take the commission.

As the Barons men were provisioning, word reached Oliver and Keely about the planned expedition. Always ready to stop the Baron’s plans from harming the locals, they decided to follow the guards and assess if there was any threat to the peaceful residents of Cymric.

Meanwhile, a few weeks before the Baron learned of this strange obelisk in the marsh, Roth of Blackburn, received a coded message from his master, the head of the assassin’s guild of Baldur’s Gate. He was to make his way south to Murann, and meet a contact that would know him. He was to apprentice to this person and pass any test put before him.

Roth hired on as a caravan guard the next day. While most trade is done via ship on the Sword Coast, some merchants still ply their trade over land along the sleep towns and hamlets between the two large port cities, and having no experience as a sailor nor able to buy his passage, Roth’s secret was safe.

After many days of travel, his group was attacked. Roth had been napping in the back of a heavily ladened cart. To his surprise, as the shouts of battle woke him, he only had time to hold on as best he could because the two-horse team spooked and ran. Roth had no ability to slow or control the beasts and they ran until exhaustion into the marsh ground surrounding Grimsoak Marsh. Roth, completely lost, surrounded by reeds as tall as him, and no idea how to drive the team back to solid ground, sat in the cart as evening turned to night.

Little did Roth know that he was actually being followed all the way from Baldur’s Gate. Roth had peaked the interest of Valanthe who hoped to write a story about the dashing rogue. You see, one day while playing her banjo and harmonica in a tavern, she happened to see Roth fiddling with a small whistle made of a type of gold colored wood. She had seen similar whistles while learning her bardic skills from the wood elves of her homeland. They were usually given to master bards as a token of high praise or in recognition of a daring feat. Seeking a new master or to at least learn from one who carried the Shoowatha Tai (pronounced show-AH-tha TAI) would be a great honor for her. But one never approaches someone that carries such a token as it is seen as rude, so she traveled with him trying to gain his notice until their caravan was attacked by a horde of Bugbears, Orcs, and an Ettin. She tried to fight but was knocked unconscious. When she awoke, the merchants were dead, the wagons looted, and she was lucky to have fallen into a shallow thicket of snagthorn bushes that hid her during the battle.

With Roth nowhere to be found, she made her way to the next town and took up a job playing in the Mother’s Milk tavern.

… Back in the marsh, Oliver and Keely had made their way deep into the reeds following the Baron’s men, who were making camp for the night, when they heard the sounds of horses ahead. Since it was strange to hear horses this deep in the marsh, they investigated and found Roth, still sitting atop his wagon, with the exhausted horses standing in ankle deep, fetid water. Startled by the appearance of a young man in the marsh, Roth was not quick to trust Oliver, but with Keely’s subtle prompting (at the end of an knocked arrow) he became inclined.

Meanwhile, Dilbert the Red and the Baron’s men made camp along one of the few dry raised areas. As the men went about their provisions for the night, Dilbert sensed something was wrong.

He heard a strange splash and yell. Soon it was apparent that his guardians were under attack.

Oliver, Keely, and Roth heard shouts from the Baron’s men and recognized the sounds of battle. They set off to find out what was happening.

But Roth had other ideas and decided to sneak off into the reeds. He came to a opening in the wall of green and discovered a clan of lizardmen readying to attack. The lizardmen set off towards the camp of guards, leaving just one to defend their path. In a feat of acrobatic excellence, Roth flipped over the lizardman and killed him cleanly. Knowing more were near, he bolted back to his wagon.

Or at least he THOUGHT it was towards his wagon.

Oliver and Keely burst out of the reeds just as Dilbert was knocking a frantic guard out. Putting aside their differences, Keely and Oliver decided to help the guardsmen and fight off the Lizardmen attack.

Soon the battle was in full and most of the Baron’s men had fallen. The Capt survived as well as all of the adventurers, but not without taking many morally threatening blows.

The newly formed group bargained with the Captain for more gold to continue to the Obelisk the next day. Upon reaching the standing stone, Dilbert the Red was able to make a rubbing and copy of the runes covering the ancient rock. And having no further need to be in the marsh, they returned to Cymric.

Roth explained that he was a traveling noble who was lost during an attack. And he had plenty of gold from the wagon to back up his story. The Baron accepted him at face value and over the next month or so, found that he liked having Roth as part of his court.

Keely and Oliver snuck away from the group before entering the town, not believing the Captain would keep his word to forgive their previous crimes.

And Dilbert the Red spent the next few weeks translating the runes from his rubbings. He recognized the dire prophesy and decided to change key parts of the translation that he gave to the Baron. None-the-wiser, the Baron paid him in full and Dilbert has been drunk ever since.

A few months later, Oliver was in the Mother’s Milk when a strikingly tall merchant entered and made his way directly to Mother. He spoke with her as if they were old friends but Oliver had never laid eyes upon this man before. The merchant’s muscles were easily seen through his traveling clothes and he carried an ornate sword at his hip.

While Oliver was inspecting the man, he noticed two people drawing daggers and stalking towards the bar where Mother and the stranger stood. Always one to defend people, Oliver attacked the men and was stabbed grievously for the effort.

But it was just the time the merchant needed to draw his sword and speak a magic ‘command’ word, causing his sword to be sheathed in golden flames. The tall man quickly dispatched the rogues in short order, and handed Oliver a healing potion.

The merchant’s name was Cameron, and he was traveling to Baldur’s Gate. He offered Oliver some gold to join him on the way and teach him about how to handle a sword.

Oliver jumped at the chance, forgetting to even tell Keely or his other contacts where he was going. They left that morning on the road north.

Several days into the journey, Oliver, Cameron, and his other traveling companions, Burglecut the dwarf, Shaz the Elvin wizard, and Geld, Sir Cameron’s squire, found a half elvin girl, covered in blood, wandering along the path. With her was an enormous pink wolf that had flowers woven into his fur.

The girl, who was actually a young woman, was Ilya and her companion, Muffy. Ilya explained that her Druid Circle was attacked and she has been wandering for days.

Sir Cameron seemed familiar with Ilya’s druid home, and proclaimed that he and his companions would investigate.

A day’s travel later, they came to the forest path that led to Ilya’s home. Sir Cameron told Oliver, Ilya, and Geld to remain with the wagons while the more seasoned of the party traveled the 1/2 day to the druid circle.

The others had been gone almost a day when a band of goblins attacked. Ilya, Muffy, and Oliver defended the group well.

That night, they saw lights as if a massive forest fire coming from where Ilya believed her druid circle to be. They decided to set off at first light to find out what happened to Sir Cameron and his friends. Geld remained with the wagons.

Ilya, Oliver, and Muffy made it to the druid circle as dusk fell and were attacked by an Imp. After dispatching it, they discovered devilish runes and sigils marked all over the druid home. There was also evidence of a Gate spell and they believed that Sir Cameron and his friends must have teleported to another plane to fight whatever attacked them the previous night.

Knowing they could not face this threat alone, Oliver and Ilya decided to return to Cymric and gather help.

Back in Cymric, Keely and Leofrick were both wondering the same thing – where had Oliver gotten off to? He had been gone a fortnight and that wasn’t like him. Independently, they decided to go to Mother’s Milk and look for any news of him.

The tavern was busy due to the new bard, Valenthe, playing her unusual instruments that were unfamiliar to the Mother’s Milk locals. Everyone wanted to listen and enjoy the music. Additionally, word that Oliver was back in town, and with a druid and her wolf, had set the tavern clamoring with excited conversation.

Oliver returned and explained that Ilya’s home was attacked, and that there were strange runes much like those found on the Obelisk were written everywhere. Everyone decided to help Oliver and Ilya see if any clues could be discovered back at the druid circle. They set off the next morning and rode hard for many days.

Upon entering the forest near the druid home, they were set upon by Bullywugs. The adventurers were able to fend them off but Ilya was almost killed during the battle.

And now the scene is set as two more characters join the group… and the adventure begins anew!!!

What's D&D?
Preludes with friends

So as most stories start, this one began with a Hobbit. Wait… no… that’s not true. I’m short and fat and have furry feet, but I’m not a hobbit.

I came to Wisconsin last year for the promise of an exciting new job. While the job didn’t turn out to be half as exciting as was promised, I was rewarded with a fantastic set of new friends. These friends took a chance and joined me for a session of D&D 5th Edition.

It had been 4 years since I ran any form of roleplaying game and I was nervous. I recently inducted my 11yr old into the realm of dragons and elves and all things D&D-geeky by letting him watch a YouTube channel called Geek and Sundry. They have a group called “Critical Role” where a troupe of voice actors play D&D, bringing it to life with their mastery of accents, imagery, and humor. My son was hooked and BEGGED me to play. I gave in and his mother and I ran him through a small adventure where he was able to defend the weak, slay some goblins, and find a magic item.

I told my friends about his joy at playing and invited them to join us. D&D is one game where having a group makes things more fun even though it makes it 100 times more complicated for me, the Dungeon Master. But I was overjoyed that they decided to play.

Over the next few sessions, we made characters, ran a few prelude adventures so that they could learn the rules, and generally had a great time.

And now as we begin to move forward into an actual campaign, I decided I should document it. So please enjoy the tales of adventure and fun to come…



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