Our little band of adventurers is really starting to hit its stride now. After Saturday’s D&D session, we are lurking at the edge of a clearing in the forest, above which is suspended a temple in the treetops, completely overrun by goblins, hobgoblins and the like. We are poised for the battle of our short lives as we seek to liberate the temple…
But I must tell the tale of how we arrived there.
We made it back to town after our last adventure (when we nearly starved to death), having liberated our fallen comrade’s body from the prairie chimps (and searched it, of course, finding two lockets and a mysterious key). In town we met up with the newly rolled character (Saffir) and set about trying to integrate her into our party — not as easy as it might sound, for this new character is very suspicious. Anyhow, now we are four again.
Rumours of a goblin-infested temple
After some bumbling about, we get a lead from the Duke’s aid about a ruined temple, deep in the forest, reportedly overrun by goblins. It’s all rumour, but if we can convince the duke the goblins are a threat to his precious bridge under construction (with which he’s obsessed) we might be able to get some gold for the task of liberating it.
One of our other adventuring options is to venture back to the giant staircase in pursuit of the fabled ‘eye’ — and although there’s a cleric lurking about who expresses strong interest in information about this region, we’re not sure we’re up to going back there. Perhaps once our characters have gained several levels (i.e. experience/skills).
Enter a dodgy merchant
In the meantime, we also meet a decidedly dodgy merchant slash arms dealer from House Darius. There’s more to him than meets the eye, so we ransack his room (nothing) and attempt to get into his chest (our new friend Saffir nearly gets a needle in the eye twice while negotiating the lock, so we abort). But we do establish there’s something magic in there…
We get directions to the temple (er, the second time… I wasn’t going to mention the abortive trip we made first with no map…) and my character Rhi’s Rangering skills kick in big time with a natural 20 on a tracking roll, meaning I discern much information about some goblin tracks we find — the most useful being about their eight ‘mountain sloth’ pack animals carrying very heavy loads.
An ambush awaits us as we approach the temple the first time. We prevail without too much damage, but cautiously decide to retreat back to town for reinforcements. There are, we decide, too many goblins for merely four of us to handle. Besides, this was supposed to be a reconnaissance mission anyway.
Of pairs of goblin ears
On the way back to town, we come across a distressed duke, bemoaning the state of his partially collapsed bridge, and we start to wonder whether the goblins are stealing stone — which would explain the heavily weighed down sloths. The following day we visit him with goblin evidence (some fine goblin ears and several swords) and persuade him to pay us to liberate the temple. With extra silver for every pair of goblin ears.
So off we go to find new recruits for our band of adventurers! We decide upon four, three of which we are paying three copper pieces per day plus food; the other (Betha) is worth more and has all her own weapons and armour. For the other three, we have some swords and an axe we got from the last lot of dead goblins, so we give them those. And then the subject of armour comes up.
mollycoddle protect our NPCs
After some robust debate (and chortling from the game master) we purchase two shields and three sets of armour for our novice recruits. Apparently we have the cash. The logic is sound — the longer they live against the goblins, the more useful they’ll be. We can always sell the armour later. (In fact, this is armour we already sold and are buying back — no wonder Fat Swethin thinks we’re awesome!)
Whatever. Now we are a band of eight, and we each get to roll for one of the NPCs (non-playing characters), which is fun.
A parchment with strange markings
We battle a whip vine (I swear, if I’m killed by a plant, I’m gonna scream) and one of our NPCs (Betha) proves her worth straight away. Then some goblins come along and we battle them too (seven sets of ears!). One of them has a parchment with strange markings on it… a parchment our dodgy merchant friend soon comes along in search of, but we successfully hide from him and remain undetected.
After a night of healing — with eight of us now, the healing spells don’t go so far, and of course the NPCs get injured and then healed as well — we head towards the temple and once again my Rangering skills prevail and we manage to approach undetected from an unexpected angle. This is our first sight of the goblin-infested temple in the treetops, and we regard it with awe, excitement and not a little trepidation!
That’s where we left it, poised on the brink of glory. And goblin ears. And possibly death. Bring on the next session!
I learnt a few key lessons this session, not least of which was how NPCs can be used. But I also spent an evening last week reading the D&D manual for version 3.5 (which is what we’re playing), which opened my eyes about some of the special skills and feats I have. As a Ranger, I have a ‘favoured enemy’, granting me +2 extra modifiers on many of my dice rolls, including attack rolls, against my favoured enemy — which I fortuitously (for now) set as goblins! This proved very handy indeed, so I was glad I knew more about how to use it most effectively. Slowly but surely, I am getting the hang of this game, although I still have to concentrate a lot and take copious notes.
I think Saturday’s session was the most satisfying yet. We covered a lot of different activities, made new friends, stuffed up at times and survived to tell the tale. And I think I only threatened my D20 with the microwave twice.
So here’s the question: Would you have bought your NPCs armour?