Wife and I recently moved to Baltimore and have been fortunate enough to find a group of D&D players interested in setting up a new game. She’s playing an elf warlock inspired by Lydia from Beetlejuice, and I’m trying out a tortle, while staying a barbarian because that’s what I know. The DM’s world is Greek mythology themed and looks very promising. I don’t think we’re that unconventional of a party class-wise–warlock, barbarian, sorcerer, cleric/fighter, and bard. But racially, we’re quite varied–elf, tortle, triton, minotaur, and medusa. First two sessions have been pretty combat heavy (due mostly to my character’s rashness), but I think there’s a lot of room for some cool roleplay. I’m looking forward to seeing how we mesh as players. It’s been fairly fun so far (just two session) in that maddening yet satisfying way D&D can be.
This campaign diary will be primarily from my character’s point of view, and I may try to polish it up narratively as we progress. For now, it’s more of a ‘best I can remember from notes’ kind of thing but hopefully will grow into a proper story.
At the base of an amphitheater outside the Bard’s College, a mass of people assembled to hear the regular announcements coming from the institution. One of them is a call for adventurers–good pay (half now, half when the job is done), certainly dangerous–to find out the cause of the disruption in the gem mining trade to the northeast. As the crowd thins out, those willing to take on the job remain.
Zora is a pale skinned elf warlock standing clad in black with an elaborate parasol to shade her from the midday sun.
With locks appearing almost alive if seen out of the corner of your eye, the dark-skinned elf bard Maio carries on her various rattles and strange looking items.
Standing tall and wide is the gregarious minotaur Margarigon whose shimmering armor and giant rucksack make him appear imposing and oddly welcoming.
Dhohlos, a triton sorcerer, stands patient absorbing all that’s going on around him firmly holding his staff.
Finally, there is Tortuga, a tortle barbarian, with only a longsword at his hip and a shield on his back.
After brief introductions, a few go to inspect the college’s market where students peddle their wares (potions, trinkets, etc.). A spry gnome offers a magical quiche to Tortuga that will probably turn him green as well as a mud mask allowing the user to copy their face and give it to someone else. While intrigued, the prices for both items seem far too steep to the tortle’s mind.
Taking to the road, the hours pass uneventful. The first night on the road, Margarion produces from his stuffed rucksack a cloth which as he unfolds and unfolds it becomes a pavilion with some especially lovely torchlight and fine food. Tortuga watches the whole process seemingly impassive but is actually amazed and transfixed by what the minotaur is able to do. During the watches, a fire is noticed in the distance but left uninvestigated. In the morning, it’s discovered the fire was due to an attack by bandits on a wagon. A woman remains, beaten and confused. Cautiously speaking with her, the party learns she is the wife of a soldier in the city. The bandits beat and robbed her leaving her with just the broken, burnt wagon. The party offers to help remain the wagon or perhaps find the horse, but the woman seems rather hesitant and concussed.
Hoping to help in some small way, Tortuga uses his ability to Speak with Animals to draw some ravens near by and send a note to the woman’s husband to come get her. The party departs, on the lookout for bandits in the woods.
The next night during the watch, Tortuga catches movement in the darkness and goes to investigate leaving Dhohlos on watch and aware of suspicions. Tortuga discovers a camp and fails to maintain his stealth alerting its sentries. While not engaging and choosing to return to his party’s camp, a rain of arrows descends upon the tortle from the sentries. Tortuga withdraws into his shell letting the arrows fall over him in the hopes the sentries will get bored or cease.
Hearing the distrubance, Dhohlos wakes the party alerting them to what’s going on and runs to meet Tortuga. The others quickly follow behind. As the sentries shoot at Tortuga, he is almost entirely unharmed. Dhohlos sees what’s happening, rises into the air nearly ten feet, and conjures Fog Cloud between Tortuga and the sentries before coming back down to the ground. The others soon arrive in support and as they do, Tortuga emerges, turns, and charges through the fog towards the sentries, much to the exasperation of his companions.
However, having seen magic done, the sentries retreat. Pursuing them into the woods, the party pause to discuss what should be done–go after them or leave them be. It’s decided to press on after them to, at the very least, make sure they won’t be a threat going forward. Entering the camp, the party sees it has been hastily abandoned. Several members of the camp are in the surrounding trees with their bows notched. A goliath calls out to the party demanding they put down their weapons, surrender their valuables, and leave.
Tortuga says ‘No,’ and battle commences.
Tortuga is set upon by two bandits and immediately knocks out one of them as Maio produces some kind of magic making several foes bleed from their orifices and writhe in psychic pain. Armor-clad Margarion charges in engaging the goliath leader and several other bandits who rally to their leader. The minotaur gets some blows in with his dual scimitars but seems to mostly be acting defensively keeping the bandits occupied.
Dhohlos and Zora come to Margarion’s aid sending magical strike after magical strike at the enemies surrounding him. Meanwhile, Tortuga methodically cuts down bandit after bandit on the other side of the camp with Maio supporting him. Zora lands the killing blow on the goliath leader, and the bandits moral takes a hard hit. As Tortuga slices through one of the last bandits before him, he turns to another giving it the option to flee and it does. The others in the trees leap down and run. However, nearly all of these archers land terribly–two hit the ground hard twisting their ankles while another falls out face first breaking its neck and dying. As the bandits flee, Margarion pulls two handaxes out tossing them simultaneously as they find the backs of their targets taking them down with ease.
The bandits routed, the party search the camp discovering a wooden lockbox with 1500 gp inside it. After binding and waiting for the knocked out bandit to awaken, they discover these bandits were the ones who attacked the woman; the gold is hers. Pressing the prisoner, they figure out the bandits don’t have anything to do with the issues at the mine. The decision of what to do with the prisoner arises. Tortuga has no interest in carrying her along with them nor taking her in to the city to face justice; he’s more than willing to leave her tied up and alone to live with her decisions. Yet, the party instead decides to just set her free not seeing this remaining bandit as a threat.
On to the Mine
Leaving their camp the next morning, the party continue on eventually arriving at the mining camp the following day. Abandoned with signs of some sort of hurried action having overtaken the place–meals left unfinished, confused tracks to-and-fro–the group investigate what appears to be the miner’s lodge.
Tortuga discovers a canary in a cage and speaks with it to find out what happened gleaning there was a skirmish, something within the mine caused the miners to rush into it, and they haven’t been seen since. After feeding and giving the bird something to drink, Tortuga asks if it wants to stay in the cage. It says it does not, so the tortle sets it free.
Looking around the lodge house, they discover a crude map of the mine with shorthand symbols marking where shafts have caved in, are dead ends, or are active. They also find what amounts to a pouch of ruby dust on the floor. The group wracks their brains attempting to think of what could have left such a thing. Maio and Dhohlos suspect there may be some sort of Elemental involvement. Going into the mine proper, the party are faced with a choice of five different shafts to explore. They determine two on the far right one marked ‘active’ and the other with no clear indicator are the most likely contenders for where the miners went.
The party proceeds down the shaft…