Adam continues his descent into roleplaying games in a new D&D campaign
Following on from the first session where we rolled for stats and had an all out brawl against each other to get a handle on our new characters, we had the real start of the Hoard of the Dragon Queen campaign. Present for the evening was Ravoprax the dragonborn druid, Daria Do’Urden the half-drow monk, Nausicaä the half-genasi (genie) bard, and my character Red, the human barbarian. All of our characters had been troubled by dreams that compelled them to head to the town of Greenest. We all approached the Green Fields area, south east of Baldur’s Gate, at the same time. As we reached the top of the hill, we saw the town burning, with an adult Blue Dragon hovering above and attacking.
We entered the town from the south, and were met by a fleeing family protected by a woman with a shield. Running after them were 8 kobolds; reptilian humanoids that worship dragons. Outnumbered and without any real planning, we ran straight in. The group made short work of two kobolds, but the largest took to the sky just out of reach. After Ravoprax, clearly terrifying the villagers with his appearance, took out another two with a lightning breath, the flying beast knocked him out by dropping a rock on his head.
Dropping a rock.
On his head.
Their numbers and our low level was proving more perilous than we had expected. Using the ‘Rage’ ability (as in life, my favourite response to any situation), Red took out two more, Nausicaä “sassily” shot one and Daria broke another’s neck by punching it so hard.
In the whole of our previous campaign, our first KO didn’t come until the final fight. This time we had one in our first, and more to come during the evening. The DM wasn’t playing around any more. We grabbed and questioned the last kobold. They were commanded by the half-dragon Langdedrosa, who had ordered them to gather treasure. The cultists were planning on raising Tiamat, the Dragon Queen. Apparently they were doing this non-violently, but as that was clearly total bullshit we killed the remaining kobold. The thankful villagers asked who we were, in case they needed to call on us again. The DM had been bothering us for a potential name for our adventuring company for a while…
“We’re the Feministas!” (cue theme music, which we decided was the start of Whiplash, and Charlie’s Angels style posing)
With more cultists on the way, we all ran to the keep to talk to the Governor. He told us the cultists were raiding the tax wagon, and begged us to go through the sewers to save people trapped in the temple. Then we could secure a path of evacuation for everyone to the nearby forest.
Normal rats. Not even ones that are either geniuses or insane.As soon as we entered the sewers, Daria was swarmed by rats and knocked out as they gnawed at her. Normal rats. This party was not the hardy adventuring bunch we were used to being. We pushed them back with torches, healed her and threw rations to them. Sneaking out the other side, we spied a cultist in the bushes. Ravoprax entangled him, and Nausicaä put another to sleep. Nearby, kobolds were about to burn the temple, so Red eviscerated one and Nausicaä performed a Kirby style sword flip from Smash Bros. to kill the other.
The people in the temple refused to leave, not trusting the dragonborn Ravoprax as cultists and a dragon were currently attacking their town, so Red told them to run for the hills. Meanwhile the sleeping cultist drowned, as we left him face down in the river. We revived him, as he looked more important than the concious one, passing this act off as some form of lazy water-boarding. We dumped the first cultist into the sewer as rat bait, then headed back to the keep to question our captive.
At this point Amber Braunanvil, the mountain dwarf ranger, joined us for the rest of the evening, sitting down and simply stating that the room “smells like nerds”. Accurate. We questioned the cultist and learned of a camp to the south east, ‘Skyreach’, and that they have nearly gathered enough gold to raise Tiamat, after raiding several towns. We chucked him to the rats too, and looked out at the square.
There was around 50 kobolds, far too many for us to fight, along with 12 cultists and the half-dragon leader. They surrounded a gallows with an old man and several children lined up to it. On the ramparts of the keep we were given siege crossbows to fire at the circling dragon. Instead, we tried to save the civilians. Amber fired a bow and rolled a natural 20, cutting all of the ropes of the nooses, but cultists grab the prisoners and put knives to their throats. While we dithered and decided what to do, the dragon killed two guards. More time wasting, and he suddenly struck and dealt huge damage to the whole party, knocking out those with lower HP (all forgetting, again, that we are still level 1) before flying off.
Langdedrosa then issued a challenge, saying that if one of us fights him one on one, with no interference from either side, then he’ll let the hostages go. If we don’t meet his challenge, he’ll kill them and walk away with the gold anyway. As the character with the most health, and possibly most set for melee combat, Red decided to go. She walked out into the square to face the imposing half-dragon.
I was fairly worried at this point, as the DM had made it clear that things would be more unforgiving. I was expecting a Viper Vs. Mountain sort of deal, ending with my character being wiped out and flat out killed at level 1. The fight went as well as it could have done, with Red rushing in with rage straight away. Nausicaä taunted him from the ramparts (fairly tamely), somehow causing minimal damage. However, the half-dragon, clearly much more powerful than the barbarian, smashed her with a double attack, bringing her to her knees. With a sword at her throat, he gloated that he was a man of his word, sparing her life as she stared down at the dirt.
As he and his cultists left, their treasure claimed, Red swore blood vengeance against the half-dragon who defeated her so easily. The hostages were free and the town was safe, but the group could do nothing to stop the dragon cult from furthering their plans.
The five of us all levelled up, but this session taught us that our first campaign really was a beginner’s adventure. Characters were KO’d by falling rocks and swarms of rats. Things were about to get much more dangerous, and if we weren’t more careful we’ll be in serious trouble.
Next instalment here!