My First D&D Campaign: Song of Best Intentions [Session 4]
Once again tl;dr is at the bottom of the page, and I sincerely hope you all enjoy. Thank you so much for your comments, stories, and bits of encouragement. I appreciate it!
Our campaign continued its fourth installment with a pregame roleplay session over text in our discord server. Everyone participated and their characters got to know each other. They chatted over breakfast and enjoyed each other’s company. Our session started directly after this lighthearted chatting when the players heard snarling and a high-pitched scream come from outside the establishment they were in. Bran, Nia, Larz, and Manfred took up a pair of rooms at the small inn while Molli and Buer took up shifts watching over the villagers that were on the mend at the temple.
The groups ran out to see an assortment of snarling, scabbed-up dogs with green glowing eyes. It was obvious these dogs were undead, and three of them had cornered a child against a home who pleaded for “Goldie” to be a good girl and not hurt him. The adventurers noticed that several of these dogs were the dogs from the sick families, including two prized bear-hunting dogs that nearly stood as tall as they did. In all, there were 12 normal-sized dogs and two large dogs.
As the temple doors opened and several children walked outside, they saw their beloved pet dogs. Two ran towards their once loyal pets, ignorant that they were now undead dogs who would hurt them.
The group started picking off the dogs, Bran being a sturdy target for them to munch at. Nia, who had retired to her room to rest after breakfast, came out of The White Inn last, and the moment she stepped outside, all of the dogs on the road snapped their heads to stare at her.
Nia, laughing nervously: “Guys, I think they want my garland…”
All of the dogs who had encircled Bran by the front door that Nia just walked out of turned and attacked her on their turns. Luckily, Bran’s fighting style of Protection allowed the Bear Dog to have disadvantage, but the other three dogs that took chunks out of her quickly dropped her to only five HP. She cast Dissonant Whispers on the Bear Dog that had eaten half her life, retreated into the Inn, barred the door, then made the decision to only take shots from the open window for the rest of the encounter.
This Bear Dog took off in the opposite direction, the same direction as one of the fleeing children. Larz went to save the child.
Manfred, our Hexblade, charged into the fray and took out four of the dogs before he was knocked unconscious. Molli was able to stop three dogs from dragging away a child and shoved the children towards the temple. Molli and Buer took to fighting six dogs by the temple, and on the last dog, Buer told Molli to go help Larz with one of the Bear Dogs on the far side of the road.
This is where the hilarity happened. Each of my undead dogs had:
Undead Fortitude. If damage reduces the zombie to 0 hit points, it must make a Constitution saving throw with a DC of 5+the damage taken, unless the damage is radiant or from a critical hit. On a success, the zombie drops to 1 hit point instead.
And unfortunately, the doctor could only cause 5-ish damage per round because he is a doctor. So, he spent several rounds killing this dog, only to have it reshamble itself because of the miniscule damage it received. This dog reshambled itself 11 times. The doctor was losing his mind because on one hand it was evil and should die, but on the other hand, he would absolutely love to examine this undying creature in a lab.
Once all of the dogs were down, a couple people noticed a bird circling in the sky, and they went to regroup on the road. As soon as Nia came out of the Inn, the hawk swooped down and slashed at her for five damage, causing her to fall unconscious. There was laughter and several of the party members attempted to hit the bird to no avail. It attempted to snatch at the garland upon Nia’s head once and then disappeared. NPC Jondal and Bran healed the two fallen heroes and they all burned the bodies of the dogs while a thunderstorm rolled closer.
The group decided to check out the unburned ogre corpses to find Felg passed out with his brother’s burned pyre a hundred feet away from him. Lyra was tending the fire and looked up to squint at the rolling dark clouds coming closer. Then she told the adventurers that they better get going or they’d get caught in the storm.
They fastened a strange tarp contraption to keep the fire burning over the dog corpses, even in the rain, and the general store owner gave each adventurer a waterproof poncho for their journey.
When questioned as to his whereabouts, Jondal said he went ahead to the next town to make sure there wasn’t a spreading sickness there as well, as it would have hit before the current town and may have been much worse. He said he simply rode through town, talked to the tavernkeep and a few merchants, then came back. He apologized for not telling anyone, but the hour her left was still too dark for anyone to be up.
The group took a short rest and then headed out when the rain let up a little. Nia and Jondal talked lightly along the road. Jondal was still trying to get on Nia’s good side and routinely would slip a flower into her saddle bag or gave her a smile in hope of getting one back. Nia rode alongside him in the rain and laughed lightly at his jokes about the names of the two towns (Folson and Tolson) which were named after twins, the Polson brothers. Nia wasn’t exactly sure she believed him, but the lighthearted conversation was lovely.
Once they arrived in Folson, the group went to a large warehouse with a single seller right in the middle of it. The seller was a human male with a black ponytail and mustache.
He had an assortment of items: a beautiful white musical jewelry box that Nia bought, a small wood carving knife that lost its edge against flesh bought by Bran, a red scarf that could filter impurities in the air bought by Molli, and a small slate stone that, when pressed into the palm, could show you the image of your children (if one had any) also bought by Nia. There was a frying pan that conjured one meal every day that no one bought, and then Larz bought a fishing pass and supplies to fish in the lake behind the town.
Larz went fishing and pulled up a wet leather cloak, and then five angry Koa-toa. He fought them, stormed back to town, and muttered about wanting fish for dinner.
He met the other members of his party back at the Tavern, except for an absent Manfred, where Barsk, the half orc bartender, bargained with the group to help him get back a family heirloom. His family heirloom was a longsword with a ruby in the hilt that he lost in a poker game against the lord of their town, Lord Calthrope. He promised to give them some incredibly valuable information if they agreed to it.
Larz: “Does it have anything to do with fishing in the lake?”
Barsk: “What? No. Everyone knows you don’t go fish in the lake.”
He also informed them that Lord Calthrope had an estate on the other side of that lake with strict access to who came in or out. He had two handmaidens that traveled to and from the house by boat. It had been discovered that the boat would not budge if a male was in it, but would allow females to cross on it, but only a max of two. That left Molli and Nia to attempt to get the sword, but they needed to figure out a way to get him out of his home. He was also described as being shrewd, volatile, and unnervingly fair, adhering to his own strict laws and rules.
Once the party agreed to it, he brought five shiny black cards out and gave one to each of them. After a moment of confusion, he said “Why don’t you guys go look in the Market Warehouse again?”
This started a stampede of the players tearing down the road to the warehouse, with Molli easily getting there first. The door opened up to not only reveal the market stall from before, but the previous empty warehouse wasnow bustling with activity with several stalls along the far wall.
The characters (minus Manfred who was still absent) all found awesome items for their adventure.
Bran purchased a portable peephole that could see the other side of any object it’s pressed against. Larz bought a magic candle that projected a 12-foot radius of silence, but the candle would only burn for 10 minutes. A fairy bell that would summon a random fey creature, depending on the tune and length of its ringing. And a hurdy-gurdy that projected illusions when played, bought by Nia. They passed on a torture marble that caused indescribable pain when it touched the skin yet left no mark and caused no damage, and a pair of tap shoes that could tap dance on any surface, including water.
When they made it back to the Inn, Manfred was found pacing and looking worried. He said he’d been communicating with his Head Housekeeper and discovered that his estate was under attack and that he needed to send word to his Count to see if he would aid in taking care of his property (which had been attacked before in the past). As it stands, Manfred was weeks away from his land and had no way of arriving quickly.
When asked about his count, he revealed that his name was Count Calthrope. Now, Manfred (and his player and every other player other than Nia) completely missed the name drop. And Manfred asked for a description of his personality, and I repeat “He is known as being shrewd, volatile, and unnervingly fair, adhering to his own strict laws and rules.”
Nia in the background: “Are you serious? Are you kidding me right now? *mutes self*”
Manfred: “I don’t get it.”
Manfred then connected the dots and hatched a plan to bet his land in a gamble to convince Count Calthrope to come into town.
The group fought a huge pack of undead dogs that resulted in both Manfred and Nia going down. They burned the dogs’ bodies and checked on burnt ogre bodies before heading to the next town in a thunderstorm.
They found many amazing objects to use on their travels in the White Market, a large, nearly empty warehouse with one stall. When they entered the tavern, the barkeep asked them to retrieve a family heirloom sword he lost in a poker game to Lord Calthrope. He gave a few details about this man and offered them a great piece of knowledge for their help. Their knowledge came in the form of a tiny black card and a suggestion to go visit the warehouse again.
They group raced to find an intricate illusion hiding several stalls and bustling crowds behind the single stall from before, and they had found a busy Black Market. They purchased even more amazing things (technically stolen things) from this place before they headed back to the Inn.
They found Manfred in a state, and he told them his land was under attack and he needed to call his count to hopefully help his people, Count Calthrope. Everyone in the group but Nia drew a blank and hilarity ensued. They eventually hatched a plan to lure Calthrope out with the promise of a chance to win Manfred’s lands for his own (while Nia and Molli broke into his house).
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