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My First D&D Campaign: Song of Best Intentions [Session 2]

This session went great!

If you’d like to see what came first, check it out here.

In this session, the players really adopted their characters and the interactions between them were both hilarious and moving to the story and their individual character arcs. This session I crafted a festival, games, and interactions with NPCs. I wanted the characters to really invest in both the town they were in and in each other. Hooking them into the setting helped push the story forward and everything went well.

There is a tl;dr version of events at the very bottom of the article if you’d like to skip.


The adventurers rested and woke up around noon to realize it was the Midsummer Celebration and festivities had transformed the main market square into a huge festival. The snow left by the dragon had melted, and the entire town was engaged in random games and dancing in the market square.

There was a tall maypole erected in the middle of the square with prepared foods like grilled corn, various roasted meats on sticks, and cinnamon coated fried bread in stained white napkins. Most of the girls were dressed in hues of whites, oranges, yellows, blues, and greens, and every woman had a garland of flowers on their heads. Two long lines of men and women were dancing in the square to lively string music.

Manfred just patiently read his books while the others enjoyed themselves.

There were three games being done that day, a game of What’s That Smell?, Greased Pig Catching, and a big Game Hunt. After light discussion, each player decided what they would end up participating in. Nia, Bran, and Dr. Wollf chose to sit in on the What’s That Smell? contest. Bran and the doctor were eliminated with several other NPCs, leaving Nia and an NPC named Jondal as the last contestants. Jondal was a tall dark-haired human young man with a long straight nose, amber colored eyes, and a wide smile who worked in the stables as a Paladin’s Squire (though his paladin was one of the adventurers that failed going up the mountain).

Nia correctly identified roasted dragon’s thigh, pickled basilisk tongue, and the dwarf judge’s a**, for which she was promptly kicked off the stage, breaking the table under the stage and earning applause from all the observers. She also won 25 gold. Jondal approached her and awkwardly tried to compliment her on knowing what a dwarf’s backside smells like, but scurried off.

Once Wollf dropped out of the game, Molli dragged him to the dance floor and flirted with him unabashedly, causing both the player and character of the dear doctor to panic as Molli’s large blue-skinned, half-orc brother loomed in the distance.

Larz, the half-orc, had won the greased pig catching contest five years in a row and Porkchop, the sow he’d caught, hated him. The rules were that no harm could come to the pig and that all weapons and armor must be removed from the torso. Larz, Bran, and Wollf all decided to participate in the greased pig catching contest, leading to a bunch of mud-covered greasy men by the end. Porkchop charged Larz as soon as she saw him and slammed him into the fence and both Wollf and Bran literally just slid over the top of the pig before Larz got her in a choke hold of squealing, kicking, angry pig.

Molli also just catcalled the doctor the entire time.

Last was the game hunt, which was an easy roll, of which Bran rolled a natural 20 and found the Great White Stag.

Molli found a boar and everyone had a great time. Both Molli and Nia participated in the lively music with Nia playing her pan pipes and Molli singing. Towards the end of the festival, Jondal approached Nia to ask for a dance, to which she just said “No,” and walked off, causing everyone in the group to call her cold blooded for the next several minutes.

After discussing the Blooming Glade with Mayor Pfrotter, she agreed to lend them horses from her own stable temporarily. The group decided to sleep and leave early in the morning. After a tearful conversation with Dame Edith, Larz and Molli finally receive her blessing.

The Quest

In the morning, the group found Jondal at the front gates with six horses and realized he would be accompanying them to and from the Blooming Glade. He gave the one white horse to Nia, and passed out the other horses to the other adventurers, causing a few of the other players to say “Well, this is awkward.”

On the road, the group ran into a starving man, who asked only for food. Molli and Larz both gave him theirs and he told them that he’d just come from Zadash and there was a group of mercenaries causing trouble there. He advised everyone to avoid that place and then asked about work in Nicodranus–if there was anyone who would hire him. Molli advised him to go to the docks, as they were always looking for dockhands.

The trip took six hours, following the pin of light in Nia’s eye as the guiding point. They approached steep craggy mountains, with Manfred in the lead. He failed an animal-handling check and nearly was dismounted, but Jondal ran from the back of the group and grabbed the reins of the black horse, pressing his own forehead to the horse’s and calmed it by shushing and petting it. Nia said, “Maybe I should have danced with him…”

Jondal led the group from carefully leading Manfred’s horse and the group found themselves in an eerily quiet and dark forest. The line from the craggy and rocky dirt stopped abruptly and turned into thick lush foliage. Nia took the lead, leading her horse beside Jondal as she followed the light in her eye.

The path was lit by sunlight and framed by daisies and buttercups on either side. Molli knew the correct flower to follow was daisies when the path split from Dame Edith teaching her meanings of flowers at the festival. They made it to a meadow beside a steep mountain wall with vines crosshatched over it. An investigation check revealed a secret path under the vines and they all filed through the tiny passageway, just big enough for one horse at a time.

About 100 yards in front, the trees, brambles, and vines seemed to make their own fencing with an open arch. As the group approached, three firbolgs with long curved staves ran forward and demanded the group leave. Nia claimed the Goddess led her there and two firbolgs could see the spark in her eye left by the goddess.

Through the entrance, the trees parted and bright sunlight poured through to a large meadow covered in flowers, gravestones, two small houses made of wood, and a large wooden home with a sharply arched roof and a silver bell with the emblem of Melora carved into it. The elder firbolg led them to the temple, lit an incense stick, and gave a long prayer asking for entry into the depths of the temple. Then she obviously kicked a tiny panel on the altar and the large statue of Melora twisted out of the way to reveal a staircase.

The Dungeon

The bottom of the stairs opened up into a small fifteen-foot square room that actively buzzed. Straight across the room was a large wooden door. In each corner, a massive, mud splattered beehive dripping with honey had grown over each side of the door. The team fought eight swarms of bees and surprisingly did very poorly. Larz also collected honey from the hive, which I thought was silly, but turned out it was brilliant.

The next room had a picture of a bear and man on the door, and the room had a large dark caveto one corner with all sorts of berry bushes and trees everywhere. The group headed toward the cave only to see a huge bear come running out at them and started roaring.

  • Larz: “Can I roll Animal Handling and use the honey to distract it?”
  • Me: “You can certainly try.”
  • Larz: “Natural 20.”
  • Me: Seriously? The bear is enraptured by the gooey yellow concoction and completely forgets you guys are there as he tries to lick the bottle clean.

Everyone ran to the door and opened it, then left the bear (now named Pooh) eating his pot of honey. I did not expect that to happen.

(Artist’s Interpretation of the Events)

The next room featured two long platforms separated by five pedestals over a dark pit. Each pedestal was a pressure plate and all five needed a weight on them to trigger the walkway that connected the platforms. Manfred had a grappling hook that helped the more acrobatic players get to pedestals, but that left the doctor and Manfred to make the farthest trek to a pedestal. Manfred fell several times into the pit and onto a swarm of poisonous snakes. He climbed out and fell in at least three times. It was mostly just bad luck rolls, but it was hilarious. Molli had to save him several times.

No one attempted to throw anything on the pressure plates or for Manfred to use his Mage Hand to push one down. I think that made it even longer. But finally, they hit all the pedestals and the walkway lifted up for them to escape.

Halfway There!

A long hallway that depicted Melora creating the wilderness and sea, and various other myths and legends, led down a short staircase toward double doors opening up to a room with a half inch of water covering the floor with a flooding pool in the corner. Manfred and Bran carefully walked towards the doors on the other side of the room and were enveloped in a swirling spiral of water that culminated into a Water Elemental. Bran wiggled out of the grapple, but Manfred was caught inside of it and given like two minutes before drowning.

They finally killed it without having Manfred drown and with a lot of help from Nia casting Dissonant Whispers and causing it to constantly run away. In this room, an investigation check revealed a false wall, two chests, and a small box. They received six scrolls, a silver dagger, a gilded statue of Melora, a leopard fur pouch filled with quartz pieces, several gems, and three potions.

The doors opened to one more room made of sandstone. A large door was carved with depictions of Melora, and three carvings of a crocodile, ape, and black bear sat along the wall across from three golden arcane circles on the ground. Nia, Bran, and Larz each stood on the arcane circles, and a wall of thick vines shot up, splitting the group from one another. The animalistic carvings turn to reveal ancient druids with skin like bark and voices like their animalistic carvings who attack immediately.

Manfred noticed writing on the door that appeared after the wall appeared. He slowly deciphered what it said, and revealed the druids were the chosen of Melora from ancient times and would protect this temple from those who would do harm. After several rounds of combat, Nia actually took a moment to read the arcane circles and finds a rune meaning place or surrender.

Manfred screamed for them all to place their weapons on the arcane circles, even though he wasn’t in there and his character didn’t have this knowledge (stay in character people!). The three of them abandoned their weapons on the circles and asked for Melora’s protection. The druids nodded and climbed back into their tombs and the wall falls.

The central altar room held thousands of flowers and vine-covered walls. There was another arcane circle on the floor, only permitting the devoted to enter. Nia, the only follower of Melora, stepped up the stairs to the long altar with a polished tigerwood box on it. She slowly cracked the top open to reveal a beautiful garland of oleander, daisies, and primroses coiled with white ribbon in the box and nothing else. Nia gingerly picked it up, puzzled, and placed it on her head.

Images of Melora crafting the wilderness from nothing and the sea from her own tears flashed in her mind’s eye, all with the Allmother wearing this garland of flowers in her hair. It was Melora’s Garland, and it was Melora’s Key. The garland granted the wearer +1 to all wisdom saves and ability checks. Once placed upon Nia’s head, small tendrils reached out and affix itself to her hair and head, holding it in place.

A final check of this room revealed a chest behind some vines with a cloak, boots, coil of rope, and bag in it.

Heading Home

The group made their way back up through the temple unhindered, said farewell to the firbolgs, who bowed gently to Nia when she appeared with the garland, and started their path back towards Nicodranus. Jondal waited patiently with all the horses and had made friends with the firbolgs while they were in the temple. As they made their way through the craggy hills, the sun had started to go down. Streaks of purple hinted in the far horizon and just as the group started to discuss spending the night in the forest, Molli noticed a huge plume of dust coming from a rider on the road.

Clove, her childhood friend, was riding a chestnut mare as fast as it would go, tearing clumps of dirt and dust behind it, a look of extreme determination and fear on her face. And then the party noticed, from the direction of Nicodranus, dark plumes of thick black smoke lazily coiling up into the sky.

And that’s where it ended.


Our adventurers had a grand time in Nicodranus at the Midsummer festival playing games and dancing. The group was donated several horses from the mayor and made their way towards the Blooming Glade, running into a starving peasant who advised them to avoid the mercenary outpost situated outside of Zadash.

They carved their way through the wilderness and enter Melora’s temple, fighting swarms of insects, tricking bears, and falling into too many snake pits. After defeating a water elemental and a group of angry druids, our adventurers found Melora’s Key in the form of her gorgeous flower garland. Nia put it on her head and the group left with their found treasure.

Once out of the craggy cliffs and damp forest, Clove, Molli’s best friend, was seen tearing up the road towards them with a look of fear, and in the distance towards Nicodranus, dark plumes of thick black smoke lazily coiling up into the sky.

If you have any questions or ideas or suggestions, please let me know! The group enjoyed the session, and everyone groaned when I revealed the black smoke at the end. Molli said “Don’t you dare kill Edith.”  And Nia, whose entire family is in Zadash, really wants to go home for a visit now.

Feel free to guess what’s happening or give any ideas. Maybe there’s just a town barbeque? Who really knows?

Thanks for reading, we hope you enjoyed the article! If you’d like to see some related content, and support Exclusively Games in the process, click on our Amazon Affiliate links listed below to find related products. – EG Staff

Post Comment

  1. LowSanity on May 4, 2019 at 11:13 am said

    I haven’t played 5ed so i’m kind of surprise, firbolgs turned blue.
    To subvert players expectations during some next adventure i would intoruce them to some other adventurers group. They would have completely different party chemistry and hope that players will be interested in them and make some new friends. One or two adventures later i would make this new group find the key before players and reveal them as enemies. Let’s see what our players would do, try to kill them? convince them?

  2. Frostrazor on May 7, 2019 at 7:03 pm said

    I’m loving these ones so far

  3. Trausti Osvaldsson on May 7, 2019 at 8:07 pm said

    I just got into playing DnD on my campus at school and it has been super fun. I want to try DMing for bunch of my friends that have never played. I actually do have quite a few of the manuals because I went off the deepend and started buying things lol. Any resources or campaigns you would suggest for a new player trying to Dm?

    • Personally, I would suggest Curse of Strahd. The book is put together really well and it has been out long enough that you can find a lot of useful resources and suggestions online from folks that have run the campaign. It is also very focused since the players won’t just be able to leave, but it still has a sandbox feel to it since players can go wherever they want… which can lead to some amusing deaths.

  4. Saphira_Reigns on May 7, 2019 at 8:32 pm said

    Great story here, Very descriptive and sounds like loads of fun. My 1st story was quite different with our adventurers leaving a small bar and hostel to hit the road. As sun began to set we noticed a small fire off to the other side of the road from where we has stopped. We snuck over for a look and discovered a group of drunkenly bandits. One member of our group had decided to go in for a closer look and stumbled over a kettle making all sorts of racket. Of course the bandits noticed and in their drunken state started running around to try and gather their weapons. With several lucky rolls, some magic and the quick interception by our group we caught them all and tied them up. A couple of men in the group were slightly wounded, but well enough to travel on. We rested up and while doing so my character noticed a pathway into a cave. We decided to take a look and quietly entered the cave. As we rounded a corner we noticed a goblin sentry up ahead. Another member was able to take him out using a sleeping dart. We headed forward and then heard another goblin call out to the sentry to check on things. One member of our party spoke goblin and decided to try and reply, hoping not be noticed. Unlucky roll and the goblin recognized that while hearing goblin, the voice was not that of the sentry. He yelled to the other goblins that there were intruders and they all came out rushing towards us to attack. One group member managed to triggered an avalanche of rocks stopping them dead in their tracks. There were too many for us to fight so we headed back out of the cave, camped until morning and set out towards the town we were headed to……

  5. Goldfishmind on May 7, 2019 at 10:03 pm said

    Looking forward to the next session. A fun read in the meantime for sure!

  6. matthew.is.lucas on May 7, 2019 at 10:03 pm said

    I always love hearing about a successful session! I’ve been trying to get back into D&D, and I know my friends have been wanting me to write some new campaign material. Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. Reading this has really sparked my interest in to trying DnD.

  8. Solemnsteel on May 7, 2019 at 10:26 pm said

    I will never forget my first foray into Dungeons and Dragons. My brother who was six years my senior finally relented and allowed me the privilege to join their group for a trial run. I rolled up a Ranger and was introduced to the game through one of the greatest modules of all time! Keep on the Borderlands….well that was 1984 and I haven’t stopped playing since.

  9. mykediemart on May 7, 2019 at 10:32 pm said

    Sounds like a fun game. This is what people need to experience to keep playing.

  10. As a DM it’s always a blast seeing new people introduced to the hobby and see its popularity rise in recent years! I can’t wait to hear more about the campaign!

  11. NexxusLive on May 8, 2019 at 12:31 am said

    Reading others stories is refreshing for my sessions.

  12. MattiBlvd on May 8, 2019 at 3:20 am said

    Makes me want to find a DnD Starter kit here so I can play with my friends

  13. kevin.ickes on May 8, 2019 at 4:26 am said

    D&D is always something I’ve been interested in, but never had people to play with. I recently started watching Relics and Rarities and it’s been great so far. Hopefully, I might be able to dip my toes in the game for myself. If not, it’s still great seeing campaigns like this out there to see.

  14. Type text here…I’m glad and happy to see that I could even find RPG articles here on Exclusively Games. I’m a brazilian guy, and even though we have our own RPG systems and campaign worlds, like “Tormenta”, the majority of tables that I play or run as GM are D&D in the Forgotten Realms world, nowadays mostly the 5e. It really makes my day when I read that there are people having fun just like me while playing the same thing I play all around the world. Thanks guys! May the rolls be with you!

  15. GuitarGuy515 on May 8, 2019 at 7:09 am said

    I still remember my first D&D campaign. Had played a few other tabletop RPGs before, like pathfinder and some other vampire, detective, supernatural noir type one. I rolled horribly talking critical fail levels here and died in the first bit of the campaign. our DM was gracious enough to allow me to carry on and haunt the rest of the group throughout the remainder. which was fun, and also let me function as a spotter for LOS.

    But getting to just practice as a half-elf wizard and annoy the rest of the party was fun. was mostly limited to talking to the warlock in the group. and the paladin in our group kept threatening to banish me and refused to use or even learn resurrection magic.

    Come on, could have at least dragged my corpse and done some cross classed necromancy.

  16. holtjonathan on May 8, 2019 at 4:18 pm said

    I love playing D&D. I’m looking forward to seeing where your adventure will take you next 🙂

  17. borttaylor on May 8, 2019 at 4:38 pm said

    I really want to get into DnD, but I have a hard time finding the right people. I’ve noticed most people either take it too seriously and drain the fun out of it, or they treat it as a big joke and the campaign gets nowhere.

  18. Justinian on May 8, 2019 at 4:55 pm said

    I recently started playing DnD I really love it I am playing my second campaign now 🙂

  19. epicTreeStick on May 8, 2019 at 8:52 pm said

    I too am running a campaign in the Tal’Dorei campaign setting. I am glad to hear that your players are engaging with the events you have planned. There are times in my campaign when players decide to skip entire encounters and leave rooms unexplored. I am amazed in the lack of curiousity. I will try to give better clues to players like you do so that they engage in my setting a bit more… and stop surfing the web and painting miniatures :((((.

  20. Master Keaf on May 9, 2019 at 12:17 am said

    I love playing 5e. Those of you who haven’t played should.

  21. TLDR: In my last session we started off by camping and killing another one of our party members

    The session prior two of our party members had eaten lycanthrope meat in the session prior after killing a couple of them and realized they had been cursed. an NPC at their main camp could cast a spell that cured one of them but needed to wait a day to cast it again so they set out on a short trip to pass time. while in the woods they camped and by midnight they realized one of the party members who had not had the curse removed had gone missing and only his boots remain.

    DM: “Roll initiative”

    I who had miss the last session when he got cursed and only knew about it beacse we start off with a session recap shouted on my turn, “Don’t kill him, It may be Rez”. We get the lycanthrope low and on the ground making death saving throws when one of my party members states “I sink my mace into its head”…

    DM: “Well Rez, start rolling a new character …”

  22. Once again, thanks for sharing. I’m really enjoying reading about this campaign. My guess is the mercenaries (raiders? Mercenaries suggests they’re in the pay of someone) got bored of attacking Zadash and moved on to Nicodranus. Could you share some more stats of the PCs? e.g., levels, alignments, backgrounds, classes, races. Also, would-you-be-willing/is-it-possible to have people listen in on Discord? i.e., they can hear you & your players, but they cannot speak? You mentioned live streaming in your first article in the series, but allowing people to join your Discord server in a listen-only mode, if such a thing exists, may be an easy way of allowing others to participate.

  23. I have just found my way here. I haven’t yet had a chance to start this series of discussions but I’m looking forward to it. As someone who started off with the 1983 Mentzer Red Box and who graduated to Advanced Dungeons & Dragons that Christmas, I’m looking forward to seeing the trials and tribulations of a new player.

  24. bmadbroskie on May 22, 2019 at 1:23 am said

    Played D&D in late 70s, early 80s and really helped develop creative thinking and problem solving. I tried to GM but was terrible. Kudos for running a campaign and thanks for writing about it. This is bringing back some great memories.

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