D&D Chronicles: Of spiders and a squirrel

If I’ve learnt anything while learning how to play Dungeons and Dragons, it’s that games don’t seem to go the way you expect. Our group reconvened last weekend all ready to storm the temple and kill goblins, but . . . fate intervened.

We left our last session on the outskirts of the clearing of the temple in the treetops, surveying a bunch of drowsy goblins. But instead of attacking immediately, we decide to do some extended surveillance to try to get a better idea of numbers (and get all our healing spells back).

Surveillance and a spot of melting

Two of us creep forward to spy (the rogue and my ranger) and although I manage to get myself seen (I don’t think anyone rolls as many 1s as I do), this at least flushes out the enemy and reveals their numbers. I successfully evade capture and death by melting into the forest and climbing up a tree, while our rogue meanwhile counts heads.

We spend a good deal of time that night planning our assault for the next morning . . . only to find the entire clearing deserted on our arrival the next day. Hmph.

Nevermind. We have avoided battle and are all alive! And now we are at leisure to search the treetop temple, which reeks of both druid magic and a rotting corpse.

Hungry goblins

The imminent arrival of more goblins sees us hiding, but because they stop in the clearing for nothing more than a bite of lunch, we decide not to attack them. They have many beasts of burden carrying chests full of something that could be an ore, so we decide to track them instead.

By now the game master is shaking his head and declaring us to be the most cautious group of players he’s ever seen.

Is he referring to me taking a full ten minutes and multiple spot checks when establishing the clearing has been abandoned? After all, it was surely prudent to check inside every humpy to make sure there were no surprises. And if he thought I was climbing into that temple without any backup . . .

OK, so we didn’t attack the goblins when they were drowsing in the afternoon sun, and we didn’t attack the caravan that passed through just now. Is that all we’re supposed to do? Kill things?

Some canny tracking

No! Our group is a canny group. We track the goblin caravan, staying well back, for the rest of the afternoon and well into the night. And the next day we are rewarded by the sight of a secret rope bridge across a river ravine, leading to another mine that may well back onto the original copper mine we were first employed to liberate. Life has come full circle.

Again we employ caution, and do not charge across the bridge to attack the mine. Instead, we fall back with out booty of goblin ears to claim our coin and get more supplies.

Giant spiders want to eat us

But it seems a session of D&D is no session at all if there is not a battle, so our game master obliges by setting giant spiders reminiscent of Mirkwood upon us as we head through the forest for home.

This battle sees me climbing up a tree to try to rescue one of our NPCs that has been rolled into a bundle and suspended high up from a branch. Perhaps my determination to save this character was a mite foolhardy, as I very nearly perish in the attempt. I’m all bound up in sticky web, about to suffocate, wildly swinging my sword to try to cut the thread I’m swinging from, while our rogue stands below me and pulls on my legs.

I fall out of a tree

We both end up tumbling from the tree and somehow survive the ordeal — although Olem, the poor NPC in the tree, is abandoned, presumed dead, and one of our other NPCs has also taken a fatal bite from a spider and expires a day or so later.

We limp back to town and pay tribute (literally) to our fallen comrades, then report back to the lord of the town and gain our bounty. Lord Araton is most interested in the news we bring of the second mine, so I rather suspect that’s where we’ll be headed next . . .

So this will go down as the session of the spiders and the squirrel.

Oh, I haven’t mentioned the squirrel? Probably because we went to all this effort to catch and carry a squirrel to terrify the goblins’ beasts of burden into a stampede, but never actually deployed it. But, yes, there was a squirrel.


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