DnD Diaries Part 1 – The grass isn’t always Greenest on the other side
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.
Chapter 1: The grass isn’t always Greenest on the other side
On a dirt road outside of the peaceful town of Greenest, a trade cart slowly approaches into view, however this cart is carrying a little more than its usual cargo.
Aboard the cart are three passengers, Fatoompsh the half-orc paladin, Ashward the tiefling warlock, and Tak the halfling monk. Skilled warriors from different walks of life who have found themselves thrown together by chance, or perhaps it is fate?
As their destination draws near the cart comes to a sudden stop, the three warriors look to the horizon and see a plume of smoke rising in the distance, Greenest is under attack!
Leaving the cart and its driver behind, the heroes rush into town to help. as they approach a piercing roar is heard and in the distance a dragon is seen strafing the town with blasts of electric breath.
Reaching the town, the heroes see a group of people surrounded by a pack of small reptilian creatures, Kobolds. In their midsts is a desperate woman armed with a spear, and just out of reach is a man with two small children in tow. It seems unlikely that these people will survive this battle on their own, so the heroes decide to step forward and join the battle…
“Okay cool, fight time. So what do we do now?”
The four of us sat around the table; myself with my half-orc Fatoompsh, Dan with his tiefling Ashward, Josh with his halfling tiny-monk Tak, and Daniel our DM and helpful DnD guide (note: since our group has two Dan’s, Daniel will be referred to simply as ‘our DM’.)
This was my first ever Dungeons & Dragons battle and I was eager for battle, however being a DnD newbie I was a little hazy on the rules of engagement.
“First of all, you lot need to roll for initiative”, we turned to our DM as he sat at the head of the table, sagely offering advice from behind his cardboard screen.
We listened like attentive students as our DM patiently guided us through the battle process; each of us rolling an initiative die for our characters, and then the DM rolling a die for every monster he controlled in the battle, with highest rolls getting to act first.
For our first roll Josh found himself with the highest number, followed by myself and then Dan, with the DM rolling lesser numbers for the Kobolds. Rubbing his hands together, Josh stepped up to make his punchy tiny-monk debut.
“Okay, so what I want to do is I’m going to rush up to the first kobold, do a flippy thing like this,”
He flailed his arms and made a variety of kung-fu action movie noises. I was quite surprised as my planned attacks were a lot simpler, I took this as a reminder that DnD is a lot more fun when you get creative with it.
“I want to land in front of the kobold and punch him right in the junk, and then when he falls forward I’ll use my halfling second action to uppercut him right in the face while simultaneously kicking another kobold in the head.”
Taking a moment to process that laundry list of actions, the DM nodded and directed Josh to roll his D20 dice. Josh first roll was a 16 followed by a 15 for his second roll, in return the DM rolled his dice to judge the kobold’s chance to defend and briefly looked over his notes.
While we prepared to each roll our dice and declare our actions, the DM narrated the unfolding events of our very first DnD battle…
The first kobold stumbles backward, reeling from the swift kick it had just caught with it’s face, while the other kobold slumps to the ground with both his face and groin utterly pulverised.
As Tak’s tiny frame standing triumphantly over the kobold, the other members of the party do not know whether to be impressed or terrified at the tiny-monk’s battle prowess.
Returning his attention to the battle at hand, the towering half-orc Fatoompsh makes his move, charging towards the kobold nearest to the children he takes a mighty swing with his great sword and cuts the creature down with a single blow.
As the battle unfolds, the aloof Ashward is more than happy to let his party members do all the dirty work. However upon noticing an opportunity to impress the lady villager caught in the fray the Tiefling immediately saunters onto the battlefield.Waving his hands in an arcane fashion, the warlock unleashes an eldritch blast of energy and disintegrates an unsuspecting kobold into dust.
With actions complete, the DM prepared for his turn to attack, he rolled the die from behind his cardboard wall of mystery, and looked up at Josh.
“So Josh, the first kobold is going to slash at you with it’s short sword for… 15 damage. What’s your AC right now?”
AC stands for “Armour Class”, a base number each character has determining the strength of their armour. If your character is struck with an attack that is below your AC value then your armour deflects the attack, however if the attack is higher than your character’s AC…
Josh checked his character sheet, “Uhhhh my AC is… 10 points”.
Nodding his head the DM rolled a second die.
“Well then Tak will take a direct hit for… six health points.”
Josh erased his health total and scribbled on his new low health total, while the DM made his rolls for the other Kobolds in the battle.
Tak is caught off guard by the kobold’s attack, but remains on his tiny little feet. Seeing an opening one of the kobolds charges at Fatoompsh and with a loud screech it leaps into air with it’s sword raised.
The DM turned his gaze to me, “So what’s your AC, James?”
I checked my notes and confidently replied “Sixteen points”.
The DM chuckled while looking at his dice, “Haha yeah with this roll the Kobold definitely isn’t getting through that.”. He continues to narrate…
The kobold’s momentum and courage are cut short in an instant as it’s sword bounces off Fatoompsh’s chain mail with a dull “whump”. The remaining kobold not engaged in battle takes a swipe at Ashward but misses, and the heroes prepare their counterattack.
Tak takes a moment to wipe the blood from his lip and, while glaring at the kobold who struck him, licks the blood from his hand in a Bruce Lee fashion. The halfling then leaps into the air with a stylish but totally unnecessary triple somersault and brings his short staff right down on top of the kobold’s head, splitting its skull as it drops to the ground in an instant.
Fatoompsh looks down and the kobold in front of him, who’s earlier bravado has now shrunk down to a timid whimper. With a smile the orc raises his great sword and skewers the creature right through, leaving it to hang on his blade like a grisly shish-kabob.
Seeing that the battle is lost, the last remaining kobold panics and begins to make a run for it. Chuckling darkly, Ashward decides to end this battle with some style and waves his hand toward the fleeing kobold. Mutters an ancient incantation under his breath, the arcane words of Tasha’s Hideous Laughter reach their way to the kobold’s ears.
The kobold starts to giggle as it’s run slows to a stop, the giggling turns into uncontrollable laughter as it collapses to the ground in a mad fit. Ashward approaches the poor creature and dispatches it quickly.
The villagers look in shock at the kobold bodies that now lay around them, they had been saved!
Our DM looked up at us with a satisfied smile, “Congratulations, you have just won your first battle.” The DM wasn’t the only satisfied one, we had just survived our first battle, and apart from Josh’s character taking a blow we all felt that we handled ourselves pretty well.
While our characters were low-level and our teamwork was shoddy at best, we had shown that we could hold our own in a fight. We looked forward to more battles together, where over time our characters would gain more abilities, and we as players would learn to work better as a team.
But that day would not be for quite a while, for there were many battles ahead of us, and while we had now saved ourselves a group of villagers, we potentially had a town to save as well.
Our party had survived our first battle and we find ourselves already stuck with an escort mission, however the village of Greenest wasn’t safe yet.
Will our luck hold up as we make our way to the keep? Find out how fickle the dice can be in Chapter 2: The hits just Keep on coming