118-The News

I was going to find some other place on the website to put this, but Lena convinced me to put it here. She thought you guys might enjoy it. It is a fictionalization of the sample adventure provided to introduce starting players to D&D, played with the example characters. (Renamed, to avoid my being sued!) Have fun!

Vaeriel, Reggie, and Egbert sat in their favorite tavern, the Tin Squid-head Thing — so named for the tin placard that hung outside over the front door. Old Squint, the proprietor, had hung it there years ago when his nephew brought it back from an underground quest. Unfortunately the nephew had also returned with about a fifth of his original IQ and now wasn’t good for much more than sweeping. The trio of adventurers were together at one of Squint’s battered wooden tables. Vaeriel was nursing a glass of wine and trying to ignore Egbert and Reggie, who were arguing. They had been filling out an application form for an adventuring license and had gotten caught up on the group’s name.

“The group should obviously be called Mighty Egbert and his Holy Warriors.” the dwarf sniffed. “The important thing is the name identification. People want to know who they’re hiring.”

“BAH!” Reggie shouted. “We’ll be the Fight-Kills!” The burly Reggie stood up to his full six-foot-five and thumped his own chest. “You wanna fight us? We’ll KILL you! Let ‘em be afraid!”

At that very moment a woodcutter from the nearby woods came bursting through the door, looking as though all of hell was on his heels. Vaeriel, grateful for the interruption and ever alert for an opportunity, slid gracefully from her stool and approached the wild-eyed man. “Do you require assistance?”

“Goblins! Orrifern the unicorn! Kidnapped! … Horsenapped! …. Unicorn-napped!” At a loss for any more words, the poor man looked imploringly at the young wizard, his hands held helplessly in front of him.

“Right.” Vaeriel said. “Guys, let’s go.”

A half-hour later found the three through the woods and into the supposedly haunted hills on the other side. They were standing in front of a small wooden door in the face of the hill, and Reggie and Egbert were loudly fighting about how to open the lock and who should enter first. Vaeriel looked out along the tops of the trees in the forest below and wondered how far away she could be before the goblins heard them and attacked. “Can’t you two just be quiet and act like professionals?” she asked.

“I can as soon as he admits what a stupid idea it is for the dwarf cleric to go into the dungeon first! If I get taken down, who’s gonna heal you guys?” said Egbert, jerking his thumb over his shoulder at Reggie. The huge fighter shifted uncomfortably.

“But it isn’t fair, Vaeriel. I always have to go first! Why do I always have to go first?” Reggie complained.

Vaeriel slinked up to Reggie and eased her hands onto his chest. “Because Reg, you’re the biggest, and the strongest, and the fiercest … and the stupidest!” At this last, the wizard shoved Reggie hard in the chest, causing him to trip backwards over the kneeling Egbert, and fall into the flimsy wooden door, shattering it to flinders. Four completely surprised goblins stood blinking, swords at their sides, as Reggie hauled himself to his feet, cursing himself for falling for the same trick seven times in a row.

Behind him, the goblins began yelling at one another in their guttural language, obviously try to decide if the giant who fell through their door was an immediate threat. “You know, just once I’d like for us to meet some monster that spoke the same language we do.” Egbert griped. “It’d be nice to just settle our differences amicably, instead of with violence provoked by a lack of understanding of one another’s philosophies and languages.”

Just then the goblins uttered their very first understandable word. As one the green skinned humanoids raised their swords and shouted “DWARF!” They scrabbled like rats, swarming over and around Reggie knocking him back down in their haste to dismember Egbert. As they leapt upon the hapless cleric, shouting and striking with sword and tooth, Vaeriel let fly with a barrage of spells, and Reggie rushed over and began picking the goblins off with short, expert strokes of his blade.

In the end, an extremely battered and irritable-looking Egbert stood in the midst of a pile of twitching, bleeding, and quite colorful goblin parts. His armor and exposed skin were covered with dents and scratches.

“Wow Egbert,” Reggie began, “good thing you didn’t go first!” The warrior began laughing out loud. The dwarven cleric looked at him as if he were observing some type of painful skin fungus that had sprouted beneath his fingernails. Before Egbert could respond however, Vaeriel called them both from the mouth of the cave.

“C’mon guys, I found Orrifern.”

Orrifern the unicorn was lying unmoving in the corner of a small, squalid room cut into the hillside. Vaeriel’s torch showed a bloodstain on the side of the otherwise flawless flank, and a short, cruel looking, goblin shortbow lying on the ground next to the fallen beast. The wizard rushed to the unicorn’s side and put her hands upon it. “He’s still alive… just unconscious. Probably poisoned.”

“Heal it, Egbert! Hurry” exclaimed Reggie.

“Healing won’t help poison, you oaf.” Egbert replied testily, rubbing a raising welt on his forehead, “And I can’t see the arrow. If part of it is inside him healing might do more damage in the long run.”

“I am not an oaf you stunted ass!”

“You are an oaf and a giant idiot to boot! The only reason you can remember how to put your helmet on every day is because your mother labeled it so you’d know which side your head went in!”

“You nasty, mean-spirited horse-apple!”

“Buffoon!”

“Midget!”

“Troglodyte!”

“Little… mean thing!”

“Wake up!” Vaeriel shouted as she shook Orrifern’s flank. The unicorn raised his head and snorted. Everyone else fell silent and stared. With the smallest of whinnies Orrifern leapt to his feet. He touched the dumbstruck dwarf with the tip of his horn once upon the head. A golden glow spread over Egbert, settling into him and healing him completely.

The trio wordlessly moved apart as Orrifern strode proudly to the shattered door. With a whicker of appreciation, the magnificent animal jumped off into the darkness, it’s hoofbeats rapidly disappearing into the nighttime woodland sounds.

“Incredible…” breathed Reggie.

“So beautiful…” whispered Egbert.

“I hate pro-bono work.” Vaeriel said to no one in particular. She turned and exited the small cave, picking her way back down the path towards town, and her stool at the Tin Squid-head Thing.

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