Saturday, February 9, 2013

"The Story So Far" - Part Two - "Unwanted Neighbors"

"The Story So Far" is an ongoing series recanting the details of a Dungeons & Dragons campaign that I've been running on and off since 2002.  After establishing the campaign setting in the ProloguePart I delved into character creation and the very first adventure that my players experienced together.  I've "fictionalized" the session reports in a likely-vain attempt to make them more "entertaining".   

And now, our story continues...  

After liberating the wayward unicorn from the goblin horde, the group returned to their home base at the Rambling Rogue tavern.  To their surprise, a new arrival was there waiting for them:

Pol the Fighter 
played by Claudia

Age: none of your damned business
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 150 lbs.
Eyes: Green
Hair: Red
Distinguishing features: none that she'd ever admit to you, ya scrub. 

This fierce fighter from Alamein is the daughter of two aspiring mages.  Pol was a disappointment to her parents because she was born without a spark of magic in her.  Her diminuitive stature as a child forced her to toughen up quickly and when adulthood granted her amazonian height, she quickly realized her calling.  She soon took up sword craft partly to hone her combat skills and partly to irk her parents.  To complete her rebellion she initiated a relationship with an older warrior who taught her a host of melee and ranged combat techniques.  She traveled extensively with him until his recent demise and to this day she refuses to talk about the mysterious circumstances surrounding the loss of her beloved mentor.  Pol is striking in both physical appearance and in battle.  Although confident in her own abilities she does harbor a nagging fear that she will someday fail in her duty to protect those she cares about.

Pol arrived a day late for the job.  During a nasty skirmish she broke her sword, forcing her to sneak along the rocky banks of the River Swift in order to avoid detection from a veritable gauntlet of orc scouts.  Impressed by her imposing physique and knowing that she would be a fine asset to the Fellowship, the heroes began to lobby Denneth to add her to the payroll.  The Mayor refused outright, explaining that council had already retained one more person than they originally intended.

Meanwhile, Barant began to make time with an attractive but incredibly bitchy barmaid named Veronique, who seemed impressed by the fighter's battle scars and tales of "heroism".  At some point during the revelry that evening they disappeared together, which set tongues a-wagging and made Lorelei stew in anger.

Solstice 19, 1492

The heroes spent the better part of Sunday exploring the town of Castebridge.  Pol, feeling rudderless, tagged along, taking the opportunity to replace her damaged weapon.  Later that same day, Roman knocked on Barant’s door, intent on setting up a group meeting.  A tussled-looking Veronique answered instead and, after telling the cleric to shove off in no uncertain terms, she quickly added: 

"He’s still recovering from the injuries you rabble are responsible for!  Do not trouble us!"

So it came to be that, mere days after it was forged, the Fellowship found itself fractured!

Solstice 20, 1492

Two days after the group's inaugural victory, Denneth marched into the Rambling Rogue with Durand, two town guards, and a dwarf in sooty clothes.  The Mayor let the diminutive visitor explain the dillema:

"My name is Rurik and I work in the mines up in the mountains to the north.  My crew was digging a new tunnel yesterday when we hit a hollow spot underground.  Two big hobgoblins crawled out of the hole and grabbed my friend Durgal, who was unlucky enough to be standing closer to the hole.  We haven’t seen or heard from him since."

Denneth, keen to keep the valuable dwarven mines in operation, quickly offered the group fifty gold Crowns apiece to clear it out.

Energized by their new assignment, the group went to rouse Barant.  When pressed, the fighter was forced to tell his allies that he was quitting the group because Veronique didn't want him needlessly risking his life anymore as an adventurer.  Her father Roland, a Captain in the Castebridge garrison, had already found him a nice, cushy job as a town guard.  Begrudgingly, the other members of the Fellowship were forced to respect his decision, even though Lorelei was clearly hurt by these turn of events.

Even after Barant's departure, Denneth refused to let Pol take his place, saying that the group was" finally down to the number of members we originally wanted to retain".  In fact, he flat-out told the amazonian warrior to "go back home to Alamein".  Unwilling to let their most promising new recruit walk away, the Fellowship decided to ignore the Mayor’s advice and ventured forth in their new incarnation.

During the wild ride that followed, the adventurers were forced to battle though waves of dire rats, negotiate though deadly traps and contend with the a major melee with a pack of savage hobgoblins.  Easily making amends for his previous gaffe, Rincewind single-handedly felled half of their opponents by creatively using a mirror to cast a clandestine 'Sleep' spell!

Once again, the day belonged to our heroes!  Under considerably fanfare, they returned to town to claim their reward.  With this second victory under their belt, the team felt fortified enough to play hardball with Denneth, refusing to do anything else for the council until Pol was officially added to their roster.  Eventually Denneth was forced to capitulate and the Fellowship was reforged anew!

Later that same evening, Rincewind was approached by Marlak, the erstaz leader of the local mage’s guild.  Clearly impressed by the group’s success thus far, he asked if Rincewind and his allies would undertake a special task for him.  He invited the Fellowship to visit Legacy Tower the following morning to discuss the particulars.

When pressed for details, Marlak would only say that it had something to do with Andred, one of the recently-expelled members of their guild.  Excited by the prospects of a new challenge (and the promise of another rich reward!), Rincewind was forced to cast a 'Sleep' spell on himself in order to get some shut eye!

Next time on 'The Story So Far': the group tries to gain access to one of town's forbidden crypts in a desperate bid to stop a necromancer from recovering a priceless artifact.  

Photo credits: Pol ,Veronique, hobgoblin

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