DnD Diaries chapter 2: The hits just keep on coming
The DnD Diaries is my journal as a Dungeons & Dragons (DnD) newbie testing my wits and skills in my first ever tabletop campaign.
If this is your first time reading DnD Diaries you can get up to speed with the character creation process in Chapter 0: Let’s get this (DnD) Party Started.
Previously our party of heroes had just won their first battle. Now with some villagers in tow they travel deeper into the besieged town of Greenest…
At Josh’s house, four grown men sat around a dining table with pens and papers in hand; myself, Josh, Dan and our DM. We were armed with simple stationary, but we felt like hardened warriors, for we had just survived our first battle in Dungeons & Dragons.
We congratulated each other on our meagre first win while I had my paladin heal Josh’s wounded monk. We paid attention as the DM furthered the mess that our characters found themselves in.
With the narrative tone of a natural storyteller, our DM told us of how Greenest was under attack by some kind dragon cult It was up to our characters, Fatoompsh the half-orc, Ashward the tiefling and Tak the halfling to help defend Greenest.
After some discussion between myself and my party members, both in and out of character, we agreed that we would help the villagers reach the keep and help the people of Greenest, however we could…
Stealthily the party creeps through the back alleys of the town. With children in tow they want to avoid any unnecessary conflict along the way. As the group sneaks through the alley they spy kobolds and cultists raiding the local stores. Before they can wonder what they are after the alleys open up to a wide road with the keep in plain view.
The keep, tall and fortified, with the barricaded front gate is surrounded by twelve or so kobolds. There are a few humans wearing elaborate purple robes. They appear to be cultists of some kind.
Tak breaks the pensive silence, “Okay, well, how about I just walk up and start hitting them?” Without even waiting for a response he begins to walk towards the keep, Fatoompsh takes a moment to look at the villagers and children and then grabs hold of Tak.
“Wait a moment, we can cause a distraction at the front gate and let the children here sneak past the battle…” He looks at his greatsword with the kobold still skewered onto it
“…but first, I have an idea that may make this battle easier for all of us.”
Dan looked across the table at me, “Okay, so what’s this idea of yours?”.
Remembering that DnD is a game about creativity and imagination, I picked up my D20 and confidently declared “I want to roll for intimidation.”
The guys looked at me for a moment, and then agreed to see where my idea would lead. The DM listened closely as I dictated my plan of attack.
Fatoompsh steps forward from the party and in a booming voice shouts out to the pack of kobolds before him.
“Okay you scaly little cretins! This is your best chance to leave unless you want to join your friend here on my sword!”
With a mighty heave, the half-orc swings his sword in a wide arc, the skewered kobold body flies off his greatsword and sails limply through the air, landing in a mangled heap in front of the startled kobolds…
I held my breath as I made my roll, watching the die tumble across the table as it finally comes to a rest on an 18.
Smiling, the DM checked his notes, sat up, and continued to narrate the unfolding events.
The kobolds stare at the body of their comrade, momentarily transfixed by the grisly sight, and then without a second thought turn tail to run away in all directions, leaving behind the startled human cultists to fight on their own.
The rest of the party join Fatoompsh as he flashes them a wry smile, and the battle to enter the keep begins.
Seeing an opportunity to show off, Ashward calmly walks around the battlefield, approaches a cultist from behind and prepares for a sneak attack, raising his hand to the center of the cultist’s back.
Before attacking, Ashward makes eye contact with the lady villager who is on her way to the keep entrance, he shoots her a charming wink and a smile, and then prepares to devastate the cultist with an eldritch blast.
Having rolled initiative and setting the scene for a stylish opening attack, Dan rubbed his hands together and rolled his D20. The die tumbled and rolled until it came to its resting position, with the number 2 mockingly displayed on the top.
Half angry and half amused at his die roll, Dan let out a frustrated sigh while a bemused DM continued the story.
Ashward focuses his energy as the incantation is cast, but the eldritch gods he worships are fickle and what is intended to be a devastating beam of dark energy emerges as a shower of gentle sparks, delivering to the cultist nothing more than a rude shove to the back.
The cultist stumbles forward and looks back at the thiefling with a look of confusion and annoyance, Ashward awkwardly smiles as he hastily yells across to the lady villager “I swear, this has never happened to me before!”
Meanwhile the tiny-monk Tak has had enough of waiting and springs into action, performing a series of flips and somersaults before dispatching a cultist with yet another groin strike/uppercut combination.
While Fatoompsh strikes down another cultist, Ashward dodges the annoyed cultist’s counterattack and attempts to repair his bruised ego with another eldritch blast. No more messing around, no more showing off, this is for the kill.
Hoping for the best, Dan rolled the die a second time, all his luck riding on the hope that the die can’t roll that low twice in a row.
The die spun across the table and came to a stop, landing on the number “1”.
“AUUUUUUUGH!”, Dan put his head in his hands as the DM delightedly continued the story.
Ashward makes a series of gestures and calls upon the eldritch gods to destroy his enemy, a green light emanates from his hands and he directs it directly towards the cultist.
Upon leaving Ashward’s hands, the green blast begins to sputter and crackle, before fizzling out into a series of harmless sparks that shower over the cultist.
“Oh this just isn’t my day, is it?” Ashward remarks as he slumps into a state of resignated defeat.
Eager to help out an ally and also destroy another opponent’s reproductive organs, Tak rushes up to the cultist in front of Ashward and strikes him across the head with his short staff.
The cultist is stunned for a moment, but regains his composure and strikes back at the halfling monk.
The DM rolled a die for the cultist’s attack and questioned Josh, “Your current AC is 10, correct?”
Bracing himself, Josh confirmed his low AC, the DM smiled and rolled for attack damage.
“The cultist slashes at Tak for 12 damage, and you fall to the ground at his feet.”
Our first party member had fallen, but while Tak was down it was not over for the tiny-monk just yet, a downed hero has three opportunities to make a death saving throw, attempting to 10 or higher to stay alive.
Josh’s death saving throw would have to wait until his turn, so with one cultist left, our tiny-monk on the ground and Dan pondering whether or not his dice are cursed, the battle continued.
Wide-eyed, Fatoompsh sees Tak fall to the ground in a heap, and while they had not known each other long, as a paladin he felt a responsibility to protect his fellow party members.
“Hey! That’s my… associate!” the half-orc roars.
The cultist gives Fatoompsh a puzzled look, but then braces himself at the half-orc charges towards him with his greatsword raised.
I looked at the clock and noticed it was starting to get late, this would be our last battle of the night so I hoped to wrap things up quickly. Mustering whatever good fortune I had, rolled my D20 and hoped for the best.
I held my breath as the die came to a stop.
“Boom! Critical hit, baby!”, the dice were kind to me that day.
The cultist was about to find himself in a world of hurt, not only because I rolled a D20, but because as a half-orc I have a race ability to roll an extra die on a critical hit, extra dice means extra damage. Tak would be avenged!
I rolled my (now many) dice to determine my attack damage, our DM looked at my numbers and decided he didn’t even to need to do the math. He just sat back, smiled and said.
“Welp he’s definitely gonna die, so you can do this however you like. Go nuts.”
I rubbed my hands together in anticipation, it was showtime.
With a furious roar Fatoompsh swings his greatsword at the cultist as it effortlessly glides through his neck, the sheer force of the attack sending the head high up into the air.
The party watches it all play out in slow motion as the newly-severed head rises up and then descends down.
Maintaining his momentum the half-orc spins around and strikes the head with the broad side of his blade, the cultists head careening directly into the side of the keep with a wet thump before falling to the ground.
A single spurt of blood sprays from the freshly opened neck, and after a moment the body slumps to the ground. The last cultist has been defeated, the battle has been won!
Fatoompsh picks up his fallen halfling comrade, and Ashward picks up the pieces of his shattered pride as they all head into the keep, ready to rest up, heal their wounds, and most importantly get some answers as to what exactly is going on.
The keep entrance opens as the heroes approach and are welcomed into the haven. The keep was safe, and the day had been won, but who was responsible for the attack on Greenest? And why?
These questions would be answered in time, but upon arriving in the keep our heroes found they had more pressing matters to attend to…
Our DM looked at his watch and sits back from the table, “Nice work everybody! I think we can call that a day.”
We packed up our gear and thanked our DM for guiding us through the process, we had just completed our first day of Dungeons and Dragon’s campaigning and it was everything I had hoped it would be.
It was interesting, it was fun, it was social, and it encouraged us to be as creative with our decisions. so We headed off home to share stories about our DnD exploits and looking forward to our next meetup. We had levels to raise, new abilities to unlock, and a town to save, but that would all have to wait until next time.
So far our party has had some wins and taken some hits, and now the villagers find themselves at the center the town of besieged town of Greenest.
They need a plan, and they need backup. Luckily there may be somebody that can help… find out who joins the fray in Chapter 3: To recruit a Thief