D&D bard

D&D Chronicles 2 – Broken Diamonds and Swords

This is the third post in the new D&D Mythos campaign, in which I’m playing an elven bard… which, I confess, is going to my head a bit.

The song below can be sung to the tune of the Irish folk tune Black Velvet Band. (I’m serious!)


The Broken Diamond Gang

by Sariel Donnodel

It was a morning like any old other
Our Watch band is ordered to leave
A rascal has stolen what he ought not
Our task to pursue and retrieve

Down river we go, then to Bradford
Where rascal has stolen a horse
Although his hostage has got herself free
Our mission’s to follow, of course

CHORUS
Twas the gang of the Broken Diamond
They rampaged and warred on the land
But then they made one last fatal mistake
And now they have made their last stand

The rascal he bears a tattoo
It marks him as part of the gang
They’re all good-for-nothing scoundrels, who
Will die by the sword, or else hang

The main gang’s already been routed
The duke’s men have wielded their blades
The rest are in hiding, we follow the trail
To a riverside farm in a glade

CHORUS

We sneak up and peer through the window
Having bypassed their snoozing guard
While we take position at windows and door
They’re happily playing at cards

Our arrow it flies without warning
And then the door’s bashed in as well
It’s five against five with element of surprise
They’re swearing and bleeding like hell

CHORUS

The whole thing is over quite quickly
With four of them dead on the floor
The fifth guy surrenders and we’re all fine
The rest of the gang is no more

Yes, the whole thing was over quite quickly
Defeated with less than a roar
The Broken Diamond gang is all gone
Of that you can certain be sure

CHORUS

The moral of this little story
Is don’t steal the stuff that’s not yours
Especially if it’s a magical cat
With four furry legs and some claws

Yes, the moral of this little story
Is don’t steal the stuff that’s not yours
It’ll come back to bite you as you deserve
Then you and your gang are no more

CHORUS

DnD_Medieval-lute


SARIEL

I’m humming my latest song about our recent adventures (that is, the ones we can mention in public) as we head to the Watch barracks in Rivermeet. I haven’t shared the song with the others yet… I’m still tweaking the lyrics.

It’s strange to be back in town. I feel as though I’ve changed, even if Rivermeet hasn’t. So much happened in one short week.

I feel invigorated by the successful pursuit of Elmerth Willowit and the retrieval of Espa and those arrows. At the same time, we’ve rid the world of the thieving Broken Diamond gang — or, to be fair, its remnants. (Duke Redblade’s men did, after all, get to them first.) But we are getting better at working as a team and the skirmish at the farmhouse went smoothly. I happily played my role, standing at the window with my bow.

And then there’s the gang’s loot we retrieved — only some of which we handed in to the Watch. Not to mention the gear and gold my northern brethren carried, none of which we turned in.

For the first time in forever my pouch is heavy with coin. But will anyone notice my new armour? The new cloaks worn by Aramil and Brosia? Our new weapons?

I must say I’m particularly enamoured of my new boots. They are the boots of striding and springing — and boy do they ever.

DnD_Boots

Suddenly, there’s a cry for help and we’re running. It’s just Aramil, Dixxon and me — Brosia and Alec have disappeared god knows where. The cries lead us into an alley and…

Starfuck. It’s a trap. There are seven of them, wielding swords and clubs.

Aramil blows his whistle, but straight away it’s not looking good. With a blade I am no match for these brutes. But I remember my brand new boots and I spring-tumble out of the circle to a distance from which I can use my bow.  Much better. I get a couple of arrows away, but two of the brutes follow me and it’s back to a sword.

I watch helplessly as both Aramil and Dixxon slump to the ground. I can do nothing as I fend off an opponent of my own. Aramil! I need to get to him. He’s my dearest friend in the world.

I hear another whistle and the Watch turns up. Thank the stars. Several of the ruffians are on the ground, but one gathers up the Aramil’s sword with a triumphant cry of “got it!”.

I allow the ruffians to flee, because I am running to Aramil’s side, laying shaking hands on his shallow-breathing chest, singing the healing canticle I’ve only just mastered.

This is the first time I’ve used it on anyone and I pray desperately it works. It takes so cursed long to sing, my voice trembling, but Aramil’s eyes flutter open. Then I do the same for Dixxon, praying I’m not too late.

The Watch unit on duty swirls around us, asking what happened. I say nothing specific about the sword that was taken, but now that Aramil is not in danger, and Dixxon’s also awake, my brain is starting to work again.

I realise it’s not Aramil’s sword they’ve claimed — because he lent his to me — but the one we appropriated from the scoundrel, Sir W, a week or so ago.

This was no random strike. They were after that particular sword, which was no doubt stolen before we ever saw it. I knew we should have handed it in. It was too recognisable, which was the main reason I refused to carry it myself. And now Aramil almost paid the ultimate price.

At least we do not have it now. I return Aramil’s long sword to him.

The Watch Commander addresses us the following morning. His tone is knowing as he mentions that a distinctive sword (a family heirloom, in fact) belonging to the Baron of Black Rock was won by a scoundrel who cheated at cards. A scoundrel whose description bears resemblance to Sir W.

Since the Watch Commander obviously suspects what we did, I am surprised at his leniency. But, instead of a reprimand, we have the whole day free before we are to resume our Watch duties tonight.

I’ve been in this land of the Vanya for only a few weeks and had so many experiences already that the songs are pouring out of me.

D&D Chronicles 2: Lucky we like cats

For those who missed my December D&D post… we’ve started a new campaign. Your primary narrator (for now) is Sariel Donnodel, elven bard. There is dodgy poetry. Enjoy!

All posts will be categorized D&D Mythos Campaign.


SARIEL

Broken Diamond trail
Barge forges clear blue river
The Watch in pursuit

My fingers pause on the lute strings as I run through the lyrics in my head. Urgh. Still not quite right. The river is not actually clear. Or blue. (Maybe there’s a reason it’s called the Greywater.) I stick out my tongue at the offending waters. The tune is good, though. I strum the chords softly, waiting for inspiration to come.

It’s a gentle tune, since most of my companions are sleeping. Last night, our second shift on the Watch, was long and largely uneventful. But at least we solved Moorhen’s little problem with his beloved rats, and a few other mysteries besides.

No sooner had we come off shift, though, than our Watch Commander sent us off on a week’s mission. It seems our lost-memory guy from the carriage accident, the guy from the Broken Diamond gang, has absconded with Wanda’s cat Espa and a valuable quiver full of arrows (magical?).

Espa_cat-1285634_1280

It’s all rather odd. Why would lost-memory Broken Diamond gang guy (whose name is apparently Elmerth Willowit) kidnap Espa? Unless it’s retribution for causing the carriage accident in the first place. Perhaps we shall find out, once we’ve caught up to him.

As the barge takes us steadily east along the river, I work on my songs, while the guiding arrow slowly swings north. Near sundown we disembark at a village.

Three strands of cat hair
Dob of wax to make them stick
Arrow guides us true

The following afternoon we reach the village of Bradford. It’s small, with a tavern, a smithy and a jumble of houses. Strangely, it seems deserted — not as though it’s been abandoned for months or years; more like there’s a really fun party somewhere and everyone’s dancing.

But I can’t hear any signs of a party. What I can hear are cats. Lots of cats, miaowing and mewling at each other. Since we’re looking for a cat, this could be a good sign.

The arrow leads us into the tavern — where there are… cats! At least a dozen, clambering over the tables, the chair, the great long bar. To our relief, Espa is here, although badly injured. Dixxon heals her immediately and Brosia gives her a cuddle. It seems a bit strange there are no people here.

What mischief is this?
Tavern full of mewling cats
Ale and clothes on floor

At first we wonder if our quarry is among the cats, but it’s rather hard to tell. In the stables, though, there are signs someone swapped horses (but, if it were our scoundrel, why leave Espa?).

There are also two fancy horses bearing the livery of one of the northern elven clans, whose lands are far beyond Malos. I’ve met some of our northern cousins on two occasions only. I wonder why they are here. Assuming they are here somewhere.

I don’t wonder for long. In the smithy are two suspiciously large, beautiful cats, more like lynxes than any vanya domestic breed. They are guarding the hearth, where there is an iron pot containing… something gold and gleaming. I have no more time to ponder as they attack Aramil and me, leaping and snarling, tails flicking.

lynx-3919575_1280

Cats bare fangs and strike
Arrows fly and steel blades skirmish
There is no good end

One of the strangers transforms into an unconscious male elf with a distinct look of the north; the other, a woman, is killed. The iron pot in the hearth contains a golden statuette of a ten-headed cat.

I recognise the idol immediately as Ravana, a divinity of the terrifying Rakshasa creatures. Anything to do with the Rakshasa cannot be good. Even once the idol is quenched, we make sure not to touch it. It has to be responsible for the feline infestation.

An infestation that continues. I wonder how to end the spell. I wonder how long the spell will last if we don’t end it. Hopefully these villagers are not doomed to live as cats indefinitely.

 

Towards sundown, Rufus Redblade’s men show up, including Kelmet, a priest of Radagast. Rufus Redblade is the local duke and has a bounty on the heads of the Broken Diamond gang members. We’re more than happy to hand over the idol and the northern elf to Redblade’s men — especially after Kelmet heals the elf, who reveals he and his companion stole the idol, bringing the servants of the Rakshasa church onto his tail.

We don’t need to get involved in that.

Our mission is clear — keep Espa safe and pursue the scoundrel who stole her. Maybe we can gather some Broken Diamond bounty while we’re at it?

Night descends darkly
On the morrow we’ll go forth
The brigands await

 

D&D Chronicles 2: First night on the Watch

Those who followed my D&D Chronicles posts over the past several years may be interested/amused/appalled to hear the campaign is more-or-less over… and we didn’t win.

Yep. After more than six years and 79 blog posts, we kind of stuffed it up at the end.

We haven’t exactly lost, either (although it’s still on the cards), but the final confrontation has been delayed for a few months. There will eventually be a final post to wrap up what I’ll henceforth refer to as The Varrien Campaign.

You’ll hear from the mighty Zillah at least one more time at some point in the new year.

In the meantime, we have just started a new and unrelated campaign. We’ve got a new Dungeon Master, new world and new characters. Bring it on.

I am so excited to be playing a character who is not a taciturn and troubled ranger with the weight of the world on her shoulders. Zillah was awesome, but I’m definitely ready for a change.

So now I’m gonna play an elven bard!

Sariel#1b


Rivermeet, 1 Jan

SARIEL

Finally, it’s here. Finally. Our first night on the Watch in Rivermeet.

I’ve heard so much about this town, especially how my grandparents helped drive out the urku and wrest control for the Vanya, some 200 years ago. My mother’s mother met her end here, long lost but not forgotten. (May her spirit walk with Sehanine in the afterlife.)

My brother and sister — and several of my cousins — each served a year on the Watch here too, before returning home to Azan Gedat. They each spoke of Rivermeet with affection before the massacre. (May their spirits walk with Sehanine in the afterlife.)

And now it is my turn, and Aramil’s, to fulfil the terms of the Treaty on behalf of the Sularine. And we will do so gloriously!

New companions

Our first challenge will be to win the trust of our Watch companions, who are a diverse and interesting trio.

There’s Brosia, a Parnian from Rivermeet who steadfastly denies their Sularine blood, even though Aramil and I can see it, feel it. They’re very young, even for a half-elf. And they clearly despise Aramil and me.

Dixxon is a strapping young Parnian, but of Volhyn descent. I know little of the Volhyn and look forward to learning much from him. He is a cleric of Lana-Gi, Parnian Goddess of Love, and seems to follow her teachings to the letter.

Alec is of the Fedulian people; his father is a trader in the western riverlands. He is also very young, and is accompanied by an intelligent-looking dog named Kalb. He doesn’t speak much.

That makes five of us in our Watch unit, counting Aramil and me. He and I travelled down from Malos with a caravan of traders, arriving in Rivermeet a handful of days ago, just before the Vanya celebrated their new year — which begins today.

Supposedly there will be much revelry on the streets tonight, which should make our first Watch shift interesting. I can’t wait!


First night on the Watch

by Sariel Donnodel

Five strangers (two not so strange)
Thrust together, bade keep the calm
“To the wharves!” he says, thither we go
Three Vanya and two Sularine

The market stench is cloying, thick
Fishmonger roars, steel in hand
Flurry of weapons, shouts, before
Monger lies floored, cursed and mad

A bustling start! But night’s not done
A carriage marauds out of hand
With Sularine flair the horse is tamed
Tumbling out, a lady and a man

The lady is escorted home
(Least said about that, the better)
Sir Bluster, though, beats hasty retreat
We’ll meet him again, a little later

Meanwhile, we investigate and find
An injured cat, a shaken driver
And tales of masked man, gravely wounded
At Hospitaller house for succour

The cat proves familiar companion
But wounded man, having woken
Has no memory (so he says)
On his person, a tavern token

At the Mudlark inn, we find
Sir Bluster shimmying out a window
Thus we intercept the cad
But his crony melts into shadow

Other events this night include
Telling stories, listening to dreams
Meeting locals, human, fey
Wondering if all is as it seems

Finally a pledge to father of rats
Whose children vanish, lured away
By sweet music in the night
A task for us another day

Thus ends our first night on the Watch
A strange and quite eventful time!
A step away from strangers now
Three Vanya and two Sularine

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