I’m going to try something new here, at the blog. I’m going to write an adventure story, based on the Dungeons & Dragons world. It will be fantasy fiction (to encourage creative thinking on my part), mixed with daring moves, devious puzzles (once I can think of some, like in the Mind Trap series), and out-of-character conversations (if you play D&D, you know what I’m talking about).
In case you don’t know, Dungeons & Dragons is a tabletop role playing game, played with dice, pencil and paper (usually, but you can go high-tech), battlefield maps (square grid paper, or full-scale miniatures). I’ve played a few sessions now, and with my history of reading fantasy novels (David Eddings, Terry Brooks), D&D is like a no-brainer. Which makes writing about it, a no-brainer too.
I have a different format in mind though. It’ll probably be faster to understand if you read, instead of me explaining to you. So, here we go…
Ryan: Hey guys, I have a new campaign idea I want to try out. But I need the 2 of you to play fixed characters to move the story…
James and Ian: No problem!
James: I was getting tired of thinking up new characters anyway.
Dan: So, what are the twins *pointing at James and Ian* playing?
Ryan: A pair of eladrin twins, 1 a sorcerer, the other an invoker.
Ian: Ain’t that a coincidence…
Ryan: So are you interested in playing?
Klenn: Sure. I’ve never played before though.
Ryan: That’s fine. The others and I will help you. How does a bard work for you?
Klenn: I’m ok with it. *pause* Uh, do I actually have to sing?
Ryan: *laughs* Not if you don’t want to.
Dan: Ok, I want to be a goliath warden.
Ryan: That’s new.
Dan: I’ve never played that before. We have a new story, so I might as well try something new. Will that fit into our campaign?
Ryan: It will fit perfectly.
Dan: Who’s the new guy again?
Ryan: Klenn. Please try not to scare him off. Ian picked up the rules quickly, but you kept giving him *air quote* “advice” *air quote*.
Ryan: I’ll be railroading the story once in a while. I know all of you are excited to start playing, so I’ll fast forward some of the storyline to get to the action. I’ll fill you in with the background story as and when I have an opportunity. Basically, worry about the “why” later, like “why is my character doing this?”.
I’ll start by telling you about the night that seemed normal but not quite. You, James or *refer to some notes* Heoriss, was about to fall asleep when you hear “Quick! Run!” in your mind. Long story short, Heoriss felt a very strong need to heed the warning. Because Heoriss saw a dark figure prowling around the village, matching the description of a large wolfish creature “emanating pure evil”. Or so the folks at the tavern were discussing, spilling ale as they gesticulated wildly. Iofae, Heoriss’ younger brother heard him packing, and wanted to go along.
Cutting things short, while the 2 were fleeing, the travelling bard who arrived a few days ago, followed them.
Dan: Wait, that’s a lot of railroading… and why would the bard follow them?
Klenn: I’m a bard. It’s in my nature to sing about great adventures. A pair of eladrins sneaking off in the middle of the night smells thickly of trouble and great tales.
Ryan: Thank you, Klenn.
Dan: So, what were you doing in the middle of the night?
Klenn: I’m somewhat of a troublesome fella, don’t you know?
Dan: *laughing, turns to Ryan* Where did you find this guy?
Ryan: *smiles* I’m glad you approve. Oh this works out just fine. And after a brief exchange, the bard
Ryan: the bard Phileas suggested looking for Mathea to seek help.
James: Who’s that?
Ryan: Mathea is a respected caretaker of the forest near the village. Toth, played by Dan, is Mathea’s student.
Dan: Oh, so I have a mentor. Hey, we’re finally connected!
Ryan: Yes. The 3 of them finally reached the cottage where Mathea and Toth lived. Mathea invited them in, heard the story, didn’t quite believe it.
Then he froze. The candle on the table snuffed out, and the room went dark. The forest was quiet. Moonlight shone through the open window. A growl came from the corner of the room *grrrr* and a midnight-black paw stepped into the pool of moonlight by the window. A rattle sounded from somewhere in the room… and please roll initiative.
James: *claps hands*
Ian: That, was awesome.
Ryan: Thank you. I needed to get all of you together. And quickly arriving at the fighting part *glancing at Dan*.
Dan: *surprise fading* I thought you wanted more role playing in our games?
Ryan: I do. Besides, we have Klenn here.
James: Why’s that?
Ryan: *looking at Klenn* Tell them what you studied in university.
Klenn: Uhm, I did theatrical studies.
Dan: Holy smokes!
Ryan: If we role played the story beginning, it might take a while before we meet Toth. So I had to handwave quite a bit. Alright, let’s start the action.
A bright flash of light erupted from the window. An orb of brilliance surrounded a wolf-like creature as Mathea struck it. The room was temporarily illuminated and Heoriss saw 2 lumbering skeletons surrounding Iofae. As the light faded, the creature slashed at Mathea, and the room was dark once more.
Dan: Wah, this is hard. Why’d you plunge everything into darkness?
James: Hey I have something that might help!
Ian: And push him here!
James: Why… oh!
Heoriss’ hands started to glow, and he pointed them at the nearest skeleton. A beam of light as bright as the sun shot out. The skeleton gave a silent cry as the light enveloped it, and was pinned against the table. Iofae backed away, his hands already weaving designs in the air, and sparks burst into flame around that skeleton. With a twitch of his fingers, a spark jumped onto the candle on the table, lighting up the room.
Ian: It worked!
James: High five.
Ryan: Good thinking.
Klenn: Is it my turn now? Uh, how about this?
Phileas charged towards the hapless skeleton, humming and brandishing his short sword, and plunged the sharp point into the skeleton’s mouth. He gave a twist, and the skeleton disintegrated and fell apart.
Dan: One more to go. This battle smells fishy… Something’s up.
Toth raised his greataxe and charged at the other skeleton. He raised the weapon high and brought it down. At the last moment, he twisted the handle and brought the flat of the axe on the skeleton’s head. A shower of bone exploded from the force of the blow, and the skeleton went down.
It grew cold. Chill air swirled furiously around Mathea. Shards of ice were forming in the air, then coalesced when Mathea punched the creature. Ignoring the ice constricting it, the creature lunged towards Toth.
“Out of here!” Mathea roared. The front door burst open, and strong cold air blew all of them out. The cottage went dark. A growl. Then a howl of pain. And outside, the party found themselves surrounded by more skeletons.
Dan: I knew it! Ryan, you’re wicked.
to be continued… here.