Well having rolled the bloody dice it would appear that I rolled a Natural 1 for frequency and content. It has been some weeks since my last post (or months maybe??) and no sign of the character descriptions as promised.
So instead I thought I might ease into it with a post on our first game, and use that as the horse and cart with which to haul these wonderful characters into the spot light. Now I hope my players can forgive me a bit here as my memory of that first game is a touch hazy and my notes from game were….. well non existing as it took a few games before I realised that I needed to take some notes after each game.
Having purchased and studied the rules, feeling quite intimidated about taking the seat as DM as my only experience thus far had been as a player in the AD&D rule set back in Iceland as a kid. I thought the best way to get into it was to pick up an existing 4E campaign, let the authors do the heavy lifting of writing the adventure and let me concentrate on understanding the rules of the game. Especially when considering that this would the first time the players would play D&D. Except for one, he had played the original D&D red box game before. So our first foray into the world of D&D was…….. Keep on the Shadowfell!!!
Little did I know I had given myself a mountain of work to do, get my head round the rules, understand the adventure, prepare the monster sheets, think through each stage/encounter, draw the maps and so on. After a week, yes a full week of 2-3 hrs each night of going over everything I thought I’m ready, my dear wife silently letting me get on with this madness. Man even after all that “preparation” I was not prepared for first contact!!!!
Our first session was part session 0, character prep and actual bit of play. I had promised myself I would not start the game in a tavern…. how to introduce the players???? Hmmm.
I nominated my wife’s character ‘Ormur’ as the leader and set her character the task of pulling together a band of misfit adventurers to take on the task. Ormur had been contacted by a priestess to travel to Winterhaven and investigate disappearances of the local populace. To round-up the troops Ormur posted a ‘help wanted’ add on the local noticeboard. The following characters responded:
- Tarthus; Eladrin Warlord (male)
- Lone; Eladrin Wizard (male)
- Galindan; Eladrin Ranger (male)
More characters have joined and left the party since and we will come across them in good time.
Having kicked the adventure off by not starting in a tavern I was pleased, things were going to plan:
- Story hook (check)
- Group formed (Check)
- Started somewhere that was not in a tavern (check)
- Group sets off on an adventure (check)
So who are these adventurers, 1 female dwarf and 3 male elves….. sounds like the start of a bad fantasy porn flick!!!!! Rest assured it is not, at this stage of the game the dwarf would likely wipe the floor with them all, and to this day may still manage that.
Ormur is a female dwarf fighter with a severe hygiene issue. Try to imagine a female dwarf from the discworld series crossed with the infamous character ‘Coughin Henry’ and you will be part of the way there. Ormur likes keep food (well rats) and other things a dwarf finds edible stuffed into her beard, and to pull them out at awkward moments to either intimidate or gross out NPC’s. An interesting side note is that the name ‘Ormur’ comes from Icelandic, meaning worm. Often when a child is being naughty a parent may cry ‘óþektar ormur!!´ meaning you naughty worm. As a fighter Ormur specialises in the use of a Warhammer to smash her foes to pieces. Her cleave action has at times done the worst for multiple enemies knocking heads into the air, or simply cleaving them in half….. with a hammer!!! I know what you are thinking, but its true, I’ve seen it happen, she used her hammer to split a foe in half….. more than once.
One of the key aspects of Ormur is plotting and planning by her fellow party bores her, and if they are not careful she will just ‘Leeroy Jenkins!’ what ever is ahead. And thus gets them into lots of trouble and difficult situations.
Tarthus is essentially a world walker or planes traveller of sorts. He was the 2nd lieutenant (although reluctantly) in an advance attack platoon, tasked with setting up a forward staging point behind enemy lines. The orders were to travel through a portal created by the wizards, it was simplified portal where the main controlling elements were at the safe end leaving simple, rudimentary controls at the enemy’s side.
However, during the attack something went wrong forcing Tarthus and his men to flee into the hills. After some days or weeks hiding they saw an opportunity to seize control of the portal gate, which fortunately had not been used since they first arrived.
In the fight to regain control of the gate Tarthus noticed it had been tampered with, and as his men were being slaughtered wrote him he had little option if he wanted to survive. He activated the portal and fled through.
Whether it was the intention of the saboteur to divert the gate or not, Tarthus found himself in a strange land, Netheril.
Because of do the impossible situation he found himself in his sense of duty to his men means he carries with him enormous guilt that he failed them. He fled and survived whilst they were cut to shreds before his very eyes. As such he hold himself as a protector of the group he now travels with.
Due this unfortunate experience with magic he has developed a keen interest in magic, artefacts, magical items, portals and so on that drives him to find out more to find a way home.
In some ways a bit like Sam from Quantum Leap, doing good as part of his efforts to understand the weave of magic. This may be his way earn the right to go home and face the consequences waiting him there. If pressed he declares a neutral alignment, but from my observations he is often closer to good and lawful at that. Little does he know but the goddess Mystra has taken note and keeps an eye on him from time to time.
Little is known about Galindan background, but that’s a bit less important with him. As the years have gone on his identity and personality comes more to the fore. Of all of the characters he brings the most flair to the game. Lots of acrobatics and near impossible feats of agility whilst hacking his enemies to pieces with his two swords. To some extent there are definite hints of the famed Drizzt Do’Urden but only slightly. Well the fact he’s a duel sword wielding elf ranger is about as close as it gets.
What really gets you the sort of Errol Flynn nature Galindan has. Often the first to draw his sword and wade into battle but with flair and flamboyance, unlike Ormur who just goes and hits it hard. Galindan is often quick to plot a round about way of dealing with the fight, using the environment, equipment or his ranger spells to gain the advantage.
Interestingly his flurry and flair of acrobatics generally pays off, normally to the gaping mouths of the other party members of ‘your going to do what?????’
How to describe Lone…… I think the following is all that is needed.
Imagine Richard E Grant as ‘Withnail’ from ‘Withnail and I’ but as a wizard in your D&D game.
Oh yes terrible yet awesome, a permanently pissed wizard they stumbles through the world in a semi conscious stupor that somehow pulls some of the deadliest spells annihilating multiple enemies at a time. But that is now, of course in the early days it was mostly ‘Magic Missile’ and ‘Melfs Acid Arrow’.
Now there are other characters that have appeared and left and we will get to them a bit later.
As for the first game.
Rolling the Dice
Having gathered her adventuring party together Ormur set off for Winterhaven on the road from Fallcrest to Winterhaven.
After some days on the road the party came to a clearing in a small woodland with some rocks either side of the road. Being a particularly nervous group; i.e. always suspecting the DM is trying to actively kill everyone at all times, they stopped and assessed the situation. Tarthus suspected an ambush, clearly his military training kicking in, and with that the group arranged themselves in such away as to be prepared for a fight.
Here my notes are not so clear, but to cut a long play-by-play story short they triggered the ambush and were set upon by a group of Kobolds. Unwittingly the Kobolds ran in to fight the characters they saw; i.e a Dwarf Fighter , Eladrin Warlord and an Eladrin Wizard, the Ranger had run off.
As the Kobolds faced these adventurers out of no-where comes a sword flailing Eladrin Ranger, he somersaults over two Kobolds decapitating one in the air and just about cleaves another in half (shoulder to opposite hip) in one move. The remaining Kobolds either had their heads mashed in by a hammer or were shot with magic missiles, the warlord shouting encouragement from the back*.
That afternoon they arrived at Winterhaven, only gaining entry after showing the town guard a severed Kobold head. Here they spent the night at the Inn and worked out that there was a bit of issue with Kobolds in the area. The Lord of Winterhaven offered them a reward for dealing with the issue.
The following day they set off from the town to hunt down a Kobold camp and dispense with these pesky bandits. Now it is important to note that although the mission was successful, they suffered a tragic loss. Galindan fell at the hands of a Kobold, a tragic error on my part for rolling my dice in the open……. (yes, I killed a character in the first game).
Thus since that day I have been very careful about when to roll in the open.
The group limped back to the town where there was a high level wizard (all of a sudden!!) who saw the need to help this group, maybe there was something they could do that would actually make the world a better place. Thus he resurrected Galindan from the dead, hurraahh order was restored and everyone happy(ish).
From memory (7 years ago) I believe it was the wizard that pointed them toward strange goings on at the old Keep outside of town. The place long abandoned, seemed to have some activity again and so the group were tasked with going to find out and deal with whatever was happening there. A substantial reward was offered, about 500GP I think.
And so the party set forth…… (to be continued)
*The warlord class in 4E is a new class that was introduced to this version, alas it did not make the cut when 5E was released… I wonder why? Anyway, one of the features is that they can add buffs and sort of heal characters by basically shouting at them. Imagine a bunch of britsh squadies storming a beach in WWII and the Sergeant bellowing at soldiers to get up and fight, these bullit holes or losses of limbs were mere flesh wounds, and it actually working!! Healing by shouting at people.