Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Dungeons and Dragons: Hoard of the Dragon Queen, Episode 1 - Our story begins.

The Scene setting was done here. And there are spoilers if you want to play this adventure with your own group. Ye be warned!

Berrian was approached by the Harpers (a somewhat clandestine group seeking to keep Faerun safe) to deliver a coded message to a monk in the village of Greenest. The message is coded only for the recipient, Leosin Erlanthar. Berrian engages the assistance of a dragonborn paladin of the deity Denier, and a half-elf ranger. The three journey to Greenest, becoming acquainted along the way.

On the outskirts of the village, the party of travelers sees smoke rising from where the town is located. As they approach and observe, they see the village being raided by parties of human and kobolds. Citizens are fleeing or trying to avoid the raiding parties. Toril, the ranger, is able to stop a villager and ask what is happening. The escaping villager is hysterical with fear and barely able to speak coherently. The villager points to the source of fear and the reason for esacape. A blue dragon is swooping down and attacking the village.

The three adventurers decide to sneak into town to see what assistance they can provide. As they enter the populated area on the edge of the village, they encounter a family being chased by a mob of kobolds. The three heroes jump in to aid this family, the father injured and protecting his children, the mother taking up a spear and defending their escape. But when the kobolds are dispatched, the mother turns on D'Akath. Here was a dragon-faced individual in a town being attacked by kobolds (small reptilian creatures) and being struck by the lightning breath of a blue dragon.

D'Akath is able to smooth-talk her down from running him through with a spear. But she is still reluctant to trust them. They begin to move toward the keep, the only safe place in the village. Along the way, they rescue another party of children. Now with their entourage growing, they ready themselves for the last race across open ground to the waiting gate of the keep.

They take a respite in one of the shops across the green from the keep. Berrian and D'Akath take an opportunity to interrogate one of the kobolds that they captured. But the interrogation is cut short as Linan Swift, the mother protector of her family and the children, rushes to make the short run across the green. As they all move across the open field, a contingent of kobolds run out from the buildings down the street. The adventurers move to provide the defensive front while the family escapes.

They kobolds are quickly eliminated and party is able to get inside the keep just as the gates are closed and secured. But again, instead of the heroes welcome, because of the dragonborn among them, they are met with hostility and distrust. They are led under guard to the governor of Greenest.

The governor is concerned about the safety of his people more than the business of the party in the town. When the party commits themselves to assisting the town, the governor presents them to the master of the keep. He leads the party to a tunnel that passes under the walls of the keep, into a small stream. He provides them a key that will allow them to unlock the gate at the end. If they keep themselves hidden, it will provide a convenient place of entry and exit to the keep.

The three heroes want to return to speak to the governor before heading into the village. The governor has taken their kobold captive for his own interrogation. D'Akath, who has formed an attachment to the kobold, asks only that it be unharmed. The governor allows that the creature will not be harmed. And satisfied, the party exits the keep through the tunnel. Along the path, they are attacked by rats, but they are easily eliminated.

At the end of the tunnel, they find the gate and are able to open it quietly. But no sooner do they exit the tunnel than they find a patrol moving through the stream bed leading to their egress. The three take a savage beating at the hands of the patrol before the heroes are able to get the upper hand. Bloodied and needing to regroup, the party hides in one of the abandoned homes opposite the village along the stream.

Next time.....Champion of Greenest

Dungeons and Dragons: Hoard of the Dragon Queen. The prequel.

This is of no interest to most people that follow me. This will only be of interest to persons who find the stories of Dungeons & Dragons, RPGs, or grown men playing pretend fantasy characters, interesting. Some day I will return to subject matter that no one find interesting.

{For anyone not interested in this but still reading, allow me to put this into context. I like Dungeons and Dragons and other role-playing games (RPGs). I played in college and had a blast. I was part of a weekly group. We played mostly GURPS. And that in itself was amazingly fun. We played a different world or scenario almost every time we played.

That experience led me to playing the same type of games on computer. But the computer never replaced the experience of gathering with a group of people and talking/imagining through a narrative.

I know that many conservative/fundamentalist Christians have a super- and hyper-negative opinion of Dungeons and Dragons. Nothing I say will ever change their minds. But there is nothing demonic or satanist or mind controlling about playing the game. There is nothing cultist about it.....Well, I should rephrase that. It does get cultist. But don't tell me it is any different than some of the kool-aid drinkers I see on the sidelines at football or basketball games.

I have always wanted to get back to playing D&D or any other rpg. I have amassed a collection of resources to play. The opportunity has not been present until recently. Through a couple of fits and starts, I found a group of folks to play. And we have jumped into the game with both feet. If anyone would like to learn about D&D or even start a game, let me know. I could use another outlet. End of history}

We are playing 5th Edition rules. That is the newest set of rules for Dungeons and Dragons. The really great thing is that the basic rules (everything you need to start playing as a beginner) is available for free at the link I posted above.

We chose to use a published adventure to get our feet wet. We skipped the basic, introductory adventure that is available in the Starter Kit. Instead, we chose Hoard of the Dragon Queen as our adventure. It involves a little bit of previous knowledge. But nothing that is so complicated you can't get into the story.

We began with 4 people. And of the 4, I was the odd man out. The others knew each other. I was the stranger. The unknown element. And I was the DM, dungeon master.

{For those still following who have no clue about D&D or the role of DMs, allow me to interpret. D&D is Dungeons and Dragons. DM is the dungeon master. The dungeon master brings the story to life so the player characters can interact, make decisions, and play their roles.}

I had never DM'd before. It was a new, and intimidating task. And has been a blast. I don't play the game in such a way to defeat the characters. I don't want to destroy the group or kill them off. If they aren't having fun, the game will lose its appeal. If they don't want to play, because it isn't any fun, then I lose.

Our three other characters are the principle actors in the story. Allow me to introduce them:

Berrian is a spymaster. He has learned to be unobtrusive. He learned to find his ways into locked rooms and discover secrets early in life. He became a knowledge broker and important in the city of Waterdeep. As an elf, he has been involved in the spy business for a long time. He was itching to get out of town and find adventure.

D'Akath is a paladin, a righteous warrior. He is also a dragonborn, meaning there was dragon blood in his family line. He was born into a noble family. He began to defend the weak early, by standing up to the bullies his brother faced. Having faced the death of his brother and blaming his father, D'Akath has gone into the world to protect those who could not protect themselves.

Toril Swordspell is a half-elf ranger. He is at home in nature. Orphaned by Orcs, Toril has moved out into the world to discover more about how his parents died and to take his revenge on the Orcs who cross his path.

You will hear about other characters that have joined along the way in this adventure. For now, I will let you wait to hear about them in the context of the story as it unfolds.

Our story begins.....