DM Story: The Day the Barbarian Lost His Head

This story takes place some 15ish years ago. It is also a collection of stories from the same campaign adventure. Enjoy!

I was running City of the Spider Queen for my game group, the one that I’d been running for since back in the 2nd Edition days.

Do you all know those games where everything is going well and people are taking the game seriously and everyone’s having a good time? You know those same times where somebody says something funny and it turns into a total comedy hour? Yeah, that’s what happened here.

Story 1:

So the party is lacking in the ability to get things appraised, and the Cleric decides to use an ability she has to cast a select arcane spell to cast find familiar.

She gets: a celestial hedgehog that happens to have a fairly high appraisal skill. The problem is, under rules for familiars and speaking with animals, animals tend to appraise things from their point of view. That means that human appraisal values don’t really mean much to them. When asked to appraise a valuable piece of artwork, I decided that the hedgehog would appraise things based on its value in barrels of nuts.

I thought it was clever. My player thought it was hilarious.

Story 2:

We had a new player join us, can’t remember who he was other than a mutual friend of some of the other players. He decides that he wants to play, but he wants to play a barbarian because he thought Conan was cool. Okay, fine. When asked to engage, he did what he thought a barbarian was supposed to do, which was run right out in front of everyone. In a normal combat situation, that wouldn’t be a terrible idea. The problem was, he played his character like he was an idiot. Although he was not an idiot. Therefore, his character died. A lot. His character died so often, and was brought back by the party so often, that I decided that his god, Tempus, the Lord of Battle, gave him a “Frequent Die-ers Card” which granted every 10th death a free resurrection spell. This got a good laugh from the party, for obvious reasons.

His 10th death? The party saw a balor guarding the entrance to a cave that they needed to go into. For those that are unaware, these particular demons carry a very large great sword that has the ability to cut the head off of anyone that it crits on. The party began formulating a plan to take on the creature when the barbarian’s player tells me he just charges the balor. I look at him. I look at the party. I look back at him.

“Okay. He gets an opportunity attack against you. Also, since you are charging, you get a +2 to attack and a -2 to AC.” (Remember: 3rd Edition)

“That’s fine. I can waste him.”

The party proceeds to groan. I tell them I am rolling in the open for this one. The balor threatens a crit on a 19-20. The barbarian’s AC? 18. The balor’s bonus to hit stuff? +19. Therefore, according to 3rd Edition rules, If my first roll to hit him is a 19 or 20, as long as I don’t roll a 1 on a subsequent roll to confirm the critical, I automatically lob off his head. This is why the party is groaning.

I roll onto the table. It comes up: a NATURAL 20. People, I can’t make this up. I roll the second roll. 19. I describe as the barbarian screams a death cry, charging up to the balor. I also then describe the Baylor casually turning and flicking his sword at the barbarian whose head lops off and rolls back towards the party. Combat ensues.

Story 3:

The party has just finished defeating Hydra. One of the players, a wizard I believe, knows that parts of a Hydra are good for certain spell components. Therefore, the wizard starts digging into the Hydra for parts. One of the player’s character is very engrossed in the new magic items they had found. He fails his spot check to see the wizard preparing to prank him.

The real world, the player who is getting pranked has his nose in a book trying to look up the properties of a new magic item he acquired and wasn’t really paying attention.

After the wizard makes a crack about swimming in the hydra’s innards being like “warm spaghetti” (becoming a long-time running gag), he pops up over the side of the Hydra wearing its dead head on his own, rolling high to make a convincing hydra roar.

I ask the player who’s nose had been in a book to make another spot check. He looks up at me and rolls.

“Uhhh…what am I rolling for? I’m by the Hydra body, right?”

“You’ll see. Just roll.”

Heroes and gets a rather low roll. I describe how he sees movement out of the corner of his eye. He turns and looks and sees a hydra head coming over the edge of the body. I asked him what he does. He launches a dagger. A magical dagger. The wizard gets hit. Hilarity ensues, with the new phrase “Hey look guys, I’m a hydra!” entering our vernacular for years to come.

This was a great campaign, as I remember it, and I’m sad to say that I haven’t spoken to those guys in over a decade. And so it goes, I guess.

Well, I hope you enjoyed these DM stories! Until next time, dear readers!

Miniature Painting Spotlight: Finally!

So, dear readers, I finally got some painting done. Of course, some of that painting was done today, thus my late post.

This isn’t going to be a long post, but it will have some cool things I’ve been working on.

First, another dear restoration project.

Finally done!

Next is a Wizard of Thay that I am working on for my Tuesday game (Shhhh… don’t tell them!)

Note that both of these miniatures are, in fact, metal and end up looking a tad different than the plastic or resin miniatures.

Speaking of, here’s the tiefling that I’ve been working on.

As you can see, I have the coat pretty much done. I wanted to the inside of his lapels a different color, gold or copper. Not sure yet.

Next week I will be featuring a couple of miniatures painted by a friend of mine. I don’t make any claims about being an expert painter, although I take pride in my work and think I do a fairly good job. After all, I have had a few people have me do commissions for them. But this guy? This guy makes my work look like garbage! Not going to lie, I’m kind of jealous and have asked him to teach me his ways. Once I have learned them, I will, in turn, teach you all that I have. Sharing is caring and all that.

Until next time, dear readers, keep painting and keep playing!

Feel free to link a picture of your miniature that you’ve been working on in the comments!

Tuesday Game: The Haunt 2 (part 1)

So today I am going over “The Haunt: 2.” It actually has a “Parental Discretion Advised” warning on the first page. As y’all know, I don’t do things too graphically, but, you know, trigger warning and all that. You’ve been warned.

Last time, on “The Haunt: the Series…”

“The hail’s too much! We have to find shelter!”

“Well, the manor is out, now that it’s crumbled to the ground…”

“Well, surviving the manor won’t matter if we’re crushed under hail stones!”

“Quick! Over there! A stairwell! Maybe we can actually get some shelter from this accursed storm!”

The tagline on this is just the best, right?

The party scrambled downstairs into a large room with a single double door, which appeared to be an old, abandoned, and dilapidated waiting room. After the ordeal in the mansion, the party decided to take a rest, taking them into what was presumably the morning, although one couldn’t tell by the dark and stormy skies above.

In the waiting room was a ruined desk of some sort, maybe a receptionist’s desk. Searching the strangely sturdy portion of the desk (having been broken into with a warhammer!), the spicy cleric found the oddest thing:

Upon picking it up, she was tossed into a vision of a young girl, a very familiar young girl, the one who was stabbed by the doll in the room prior to meeting Gertrude, holding hands and walking and talking with Gertrude! The cleric/warlock got a glimpse of Gertrude’s hag form for a moment, before the vision faded, gleaning some sort of information regarding the girl’s mother and some sort of “present.”

Concluding their rest, the party ventured through the double doors and further into this basement.

They came to a hallway with three possibilities: South, West, and East.

The party decided for the west door. Opening the door, the party was struck with a horrid stench, looking at four, seemingly fresh puddles of vomit. Upon closer inspection, the cleric was attacked by those puddles, as they were some strange form of ooze! The battle was short, but fierce, the party victorious. Finding nothing more, the party moved on to the east door.

There they found several tubs of rusty and algae-covered water as well as a curtain that separated them from another section of room. The spicy cleric tears down the curtain and dust billows around her as she coughs and chokes a little, but otherwise seems okay. What they found was a maternity birthing ward, with holes along the floor. There was a singular bed and bassinet at the end of the room that seemed to have fresh blood in them. Using his shadow step ability, the monk teleported over to see what was going on.

No sooner did he look in then a demonic, bloody, needle-toothed infant jumped from the crib, launching itself with a deadly wail, at the monk. The monk dodged this way and that, and when able to, struck with deadly precision the demonic creature, destroying it utterly.

The party, having checking around the corner, or looking that direction, saw the cleric/warlock wanting to look below. Having someone hold her legs, she was dipped in the hole in the floor only to see some 15 creatures, one seemingly dressed in a nurse’s uniform. The cleric was pulled back up, deciding to skip that room once they come to it, and realizing that there is a floor below theirs.

Understanding that there was only one room remaining, the party headed south.  Opening the door, they were at least six beds, three on either side, with a moaning figure into far back right.  Additionally, being noticed that, besides the double tour the ritual you came into this room, there was another room exiting off this area separated by a door.  Upon closer examination, the figure was an armless and legless ghoul.  The monk, being the morbid sort, flipped it onto its face and tied it onto his back.  They decided to call him Nugget.  The party decided to take a short rest when they heard a familiar girlish giggle…

It leapt from the ceiling, knife and it claws extended, standing the gnome wizard.  It stabbed and slashed at her, and disappeared without a trace after attacking once more, this time at cleric, as it had surprise round and first in initiative.  The party tentatively finished their short rest before heading to the door, and down the stairs they found.

The party came to yet another long hallway, bending to the right. At the bottom of the stairs, though, they found what looked like a large brown carpet. The air felt chilly. Feeling the cold, the dragonborn sorcerer cast fire bolt at the patch, causing it to grow! The whole party began freezing, their skin cracking and damaged from what they realized was brown mold. Seeing the need, the dragonborn used her breath weapon of fire on the whole lot, killing the brown mold and damaging the party in the process.

Seeing the double doors on the left and right, as well as the left, but further along the hall, the party opened the left door, heading east. They saw a horrid sight: four of the creatures dressed as nurses. They didn’t seem to be reacting to the party, and so the party realized that it must not react to any sort of sound. Deciding to see what happened, the monk tossed “Nugget” into the room, at which point it was cut, bitten, and slashed apart by the creatures! A rat ran across the room and the same effect happened. Realizing that the creatures reacted to movement, the party used mage hand to retrieve what appeared to be another child’s drawing. The “nurses” ran after the paper, but the party closed the doors before anything else could come through.

The cleric took the paper, and was subjected to yet another vision…

The young, blonde girl is seen again, and again with Gertrude. This time, they came across the scene of a woman, dead and covered in blood, giving birth to a hideously deformed and demonic-looking child, stillborn. A man, whom they know as General Montarthas, sit nearby, sobbing. Gertrude calls the girl to leave, calling her Carol Anne…

Again the cleric came back from the vision, shaken at what she had seen, telling the party the name of the little girl.

Crossing the hall, the party entered into the last room, seeing a ruined chapel with an angelic deva laying injured on the floor, calling for help. The cleric attempted to cast a ranged healing spell and the deva began dragging itself across the floor towards the cleric who came out towards the deva. Just as the cleric got close, the deva revealed itself to be a large red blob…

Will the party survive the encounter? Will they make it out of this hellish former hospital? Join us next week to find out!

Until next time, dear readers!

Not A Mini-Painting Spotlight: The Haunt (part 2)

As you can tell from the title, this is NOT the mini-painting spotlight that I normally do. This is for two reasons: 1) I have had ZERO time to paint in recent days, and my ability to do so when I am symptomatic are hampered severely, and 2) I have a lot of catching up to do for my various game stories.

Therefore, today will be dedicated to finishing out The Haunt. Enjoy!

When last we left the party, they were preparing to enter into the room with the double doors. They carefully checked it for both traps and locks. Finding none, they entered into the room…

They entered into a large room that appeared to be a spellcasting chamber including three stone practice dummies. Seeing yet another set of double doors to the east, they continued onwards.

A fire had gutted this once beautiful library. Charred books and the remains of several skeletons lay around the ground. The only intact thing in the room seemed to be a leather cloak hanging on a melted metal coat rack on the far back of the room. Ignoring caution, the bloodhunter bounded across the room to examine the cloak. The cloak, not being a cloak but a cloaker, turned on him and attacked, fully enveloping him in its folds!

After a difficult fight, in which the tabaxi bloodhunter was injured as he was wrapped up by the cloaker, with the death of the cloaker and the bloodhunter surviving.

Deciding to go back and finish exploring the rest of the house, they continued to be harried by the evil doll, with the cackling gleeful laughter and horrid lullaby predicating its attack.

Along the way, the party noticed the portcullis covering the stairs was lifted, but the party decided to finish exploring the first level.

They made their way back to the tea room, where the party went to the dining room, seeing a ghostly visage of people eating around the table. The artificer decided to simultaneously and independently check out the fireplace, where the evil doll attacked yet again! Fending her off, who disappeared into the shadows yet again, the party continued onward.

This time, the ghostly visage began anew, and the party was accosted by the visage of, what they could only assume was the General himself. The visage and ghostly meal concluding, the party continued onward toward the double doors to the south.

As soon as they entered, they were witness to a ghostly scene from the past, in which Gertrude and the General made plans to run away together, despite the General’s marriage to his wife. As the scene dissipated, the party noticed that, within this grand ballroom, to the east was a set of mirrored doors. The party set themselves to open it.

They find themselves on the edge of an outdoor pool area, although the pool itself is a murky algae, with the occasional ripple disturbing its surface. On the far side of the pool, laying on the stonework, is a jewel-encrusted sword.

The monk, using his shadowstep ability, teleported to the far side and picked up the sword. What rose from the depths of the algae-covered pool will haunt the nightmares of the party for years to come: a beholder zombie.

Of course, a fight ensued, with one character nearly hit with the creature’s disintegration eye beam! All that, however, was for naught, for the beholder zombie, as the dragonborn sorceress cast a fireball at it, the zombie dodging right into the line of fire (beholder zombie rolled a Nat 1 on it’s Dex save and my table rules state this causes double damage; a way for non-crit type spells to be able to crit)! The beholder zombie was obliterated to ashes at the immense ball of flame that struck it.

Upon examination, the sword ended up being enchanted!

Going back to the stairs, the first level being explored, the party decided to forgo the basement and head upstairs. Seeing a hallway, they followed the hallways to the right, and ended up in a waiting room of sorts, with the killer evil doll smiling demonically at the end.

Initiative began and the doll carved its way into the party but the party was nearly too much for the evil toy, which disappeared at the last, into the shadows once more. Cursing their luck at being unable to defeat the doll for good, the party continued through the next door.

Here, they met a curious sight! A skeleton writing at a desk over a ghostly ledger. The skeleton bade them welcome, telling them that they were expected. Suddenly, the door flew open, sucking in all but two of the party!

There they were met with a ghastly sight: Gertrude, her masked beauty unveiled to show her wicked demeanor as a night hag! The poor general, plastered to the ceiling a green gem stuck in his chest, and some sort of tentacles throughout, seemingly sucking the life out of him.

The battle was quick and brutal, the party successful in defeating Gertrude. At the end, the general fell to the floor, whispering thanks as he disappeared into dust, the evil green gem left behind. It was then the house began to shake.

The party, deciding that discretion was the better part of valor, broke the large bay window and jumped or teleported out of the house to the ground below, watching as the large manor house collapsed upon itself, the party standing in awe.

This is the ending the party received:

You manage to escape the falling manor, which has been the epitome of true evil. The night hag, Gertrude, has been defeated and the undead have been laid to rest. You know not who the hag’s victim was, however, but they did leave you the emerald in their departure. Now, standing before you, are the piles of rubble and decayed remains of the manor; finally resting in peace. The night begins to grow old as the first hints of dawn start to creep over the horizon. It is then, among the woods that surround the manor; you all notice a pair of glowing crystal blue eyes.

A horrifying girlish giggle carries over the, now, still night air, and the eyes fade into blackness.”

Suddenly, the previous storm began to produce hail the size of one’s fist, and the party found the rubble of a building, with stairs going down as the only refuge from the storm…

Stay tuned for “The Haunt: 2” this coming Tuesday!

Sunday Game: Rime of the Frost Maiden; Finding Sephek

The ranger, realizing that the creature in the water was a plesiosaurus, quaffed one of his potions of animal friendship and began speaking with it. It responded with a polite “Hello!”

After a short discussion, the party found that this talking plesiosaur was ensorcelled to become sentient by a druid who’s instructions were to terrorize the people of Bremen or else become a dumb creature once again. After some cajoling and convincing, the party managed to convince him that the effect of the spell was permanent and that he did not have to prey on the people of Bremen.

Finding that he did not have a name, the party decided to name him Bob, which he decided was a great name, not having had one before.

Bob towed them back towards Bremen and was asked to wait so they could introduce him to a new friend. Getting Tali, the half-elf whom the journal was for, the party introduced them, much to Tali’s pleasure.

Heading back to the inn, the party found that Sephek asked about them and checked out with the rest of the merchants he travelled with. The ranger attempted to track him, but lost the tracks on the edge of town.

Deciding to rest, the party stayed overnight, and left the next day, heading to Targos and hoping to find evidence of Sephek’s whereabouts.

Arriving in Targos, the party quickly located Torga and her retinue. They found that she and her crew were leaving in the morning.

To kill time, the party decided to partake in a local festival called Liar’s Night. The contest was one of a pumpkin carving contest, of which the monk won with a traditional jack-o’-lantern design. The ensuing chaos over the loss of a ring garnered everyone with a ring that, when worn, imbues the weather with a translucent mask in the design of their pumpkins.

The festivities concluded, the party decided to check out Torga and found that she was a most unsavory character, who engaged in extortion, blackmail, protect rackets, and even murder for hire. The party decided that she, too, should meet her end, and therefore would eliminate all of her retinue.

Setting up an ambush at the fork in the road, a blizzard fell upon the area. The dogsled teams of Torga came into view, led by Sephek himself! The party let loose with a heavy barrage of attacks.

The battle was hard fought, with the balance of advantage teetering one way then the next. After the fall of Torga, Sephek too was soon killed. The remaining four guards followed soon after.

After looting the bodies and disposing of the same, the party took the sleds and dogs, and headed towards Brynn Shander, selling them and splitting the loot.

Deciding not to stay long, the party set their sights onto Caer Dineval, the town on the way to Caer Konig, where they had a search for a missing husband.

Will they find him? What will happen along the way?

Join us next Monday, dear readers, to find out!

Tuesday Adventurers: Catch Up

The party realized that they still owed a favor to the Red Wizards, and were obligated to eliminate a mutual enemy: a fortress cabal of Red Wizard Exiles, survivors of the Red Wizard civil war.

The party found the crumbling fortress easy enough and decided to attack at night.

It was a hard-fought battle, fighting four separate wizards and multiple guards and nights, as well as a small horde of ghouls. One character fell no less than 5 times in battle!

The party fought against an apprentice and an illusionist with the guards at the start. Later, the ghouls joined the fight with a necromancer and an evoker. Before his escape, the necromancer told the evoker that he would hold the invaders off and to warn Khumed that their cabal had been compromised and attacked.

The party had no clue who Khumed was.

After the fight and after looking for more clues as to whom their enemy wad, a shooting star streaked across the sky right over their heads, and landing on the edge of the nearby river. Investigating the crater, the party found a most curious sight: a sort of manhole cover, open, and a man poking his head out. Water beginning to flood the crater, the curious man was helped exit the crater.

After using a helm of comprehend languages to bypass their language barrier, the man explained that he was from, not a different plane of existence, but a different world altogether. In point of fact, the man was an artificer from the continent of Khorvair on the world of Eberron.

The party, still confused at his origins, welcomed the new member of their band, who simply wished to document this, to him, strange, backwards, new world.

Heading back to Waterdeep, the party presented the heads of the renegade Red Wizards to the Red Wizard enclave in Waterdeep, thereby gaining the ability to travel to the elemental plane of fire where Connor was set to be.

The party found out that the tuning fork, which was a material component for the spell, was required to be attuned to a creature who was either a native or itself attuned to the plane of fire. The red wizard suggested hunting down a known red dragon in the hills near the Wyrm Forest, some 500-600 miles away.

The party prepared for their journey and headed south, Southeast. It was an uneventful trip, passing through Daggerford, and giving a wide berth to Dragonspire Castle.

After some extensive tracking, the party found the lair of the Red Dragon known as Ember.

What the party hoped for
What they actually found…

The party fawned over the rather large red dragon, an adult. The dragon fell for the party’s flattery and agreed to attune the tuning fork in exchange for a future favor at his calling. Three members of the party submitted themselves to a geas spell where they bound themselves to the dragon’s later whim.

The party travelled back towards Waterdeep, with members very wary of their new commitment, and what it means for them.

What lay in store for our intrepid band of heroes? Will they ever find Connor and retrieve the Nether Scrolls at the Old Owl Well?

Join us next week to see the continuation of our story!

Just a note, as we are in “Spook-tober” next week’s adventure (and likely throughout October) will be horror-based. Join us for our horror spooktactular extravaganza!

DM How To: Creating Adventure Hooks

So you know how to DM. And you know how to build an adventure. And you know how to build an encounter.

The next question, then, is this: how do you get those @#&$+%! players to jump into your awesome adventure filled with equally awesome encounters?

You give ’em a hook, a PLOT HOOK!!

So let’s go fishing.

There are basically only a few kinds of plot hooks: agnostic/general, background-based, story-based, and Deus Ex Machina.

AGNOSTIC/GENERAL

These plot hooks are the ones you may be most familiar with. These are the plot hooks that involve helping a random stranger, for riches and glory, etc… These ones only work if your players are the kind to do things for riches and glory, or out of the kindness of their hearts with no true promise of reward. Examples of this one would be a mysterious stranger approaching the party about an ancient legend of a dungeon guarding an ancient treasure, or the party coming across a strange house in the middle of nowhere. The possibilities here are endless, but many of them have been overdone and not too many players are willing to bite on these poorly baited plot hooks.

BACKGROUND BASED

These plot hugs require quite a bit more work on both your and the player’s parts. The player, out of necessity, should have a background on how and why they became adventurers and what they were doing beforehand. I’m not just talking about that character trait on their character sheet that gives them a proficiency and languages and maybe some gold. I’m talking at least a paragraph of backstory on why that character is the way they are. Using this, you can craft plot hooks that reel in a single player, who can turn to his party and ask for help. Some examples of this are the family farm is going to be overrun by orcs, or the players uncle is leaving the player a keep on his deathbed, or bandits have captured a character’s mentor. With a decent background, there are lots of possibilities here.

DEUS EX MACHINA

This sort of plot hook should be avoided, unless absolutely necessary. These kind of plot hooks involve someone or something of great power pushing the characters into action. An example of this would be a commandment to a divine caster from their deity, or a powerful NPC threatening the characters with total destruction unless they undertake the quest. These sort of plot hooks make players feel as if their characters are being railroaded.

STORY-BASED

These are easily some of the best plot hooks you can find. These are the sort of plot hooks you find in continuing campaigns. The plot hook from Adventure to Adventure revolves around something left undone or some new information that the characters get from a previous adventure. In this way, the characters are prodded on by their own willingness to be part of the story. Examples of this can be found in so many places and in so many pre-published adventures that they are too numerous to list. Practically, one technique that I use is keeping a sort of “quest log” for the party. I list out all unresolved story points that the players haven’t addressed, that I can later exploit for writing an adventure. A recent example, if you’re reading this blog, is the fact that the party is looking for a magic item salesman / wizard named Connor. Why are they looking for Connor? Because Connor has something the party needs that they previously sold to him by mistake. Therefore, the party is willing to undergo a number of tasks in order to get the information and ability to travel to Connor’s location. The party spent the better part of a month and a half simply trying to find where Connor was and gaining the ability to travel to his location. This doesn’t even include the adventures had along the way while they were traveling. an example of this would be the trip from Waterdeep to Memnon, the trip from Memnon to Calimport, the events that occurred there, and their trip back to Waterdeep. These were all story-based adventure hooks. With the party have willingly escorted the princess to Calimport from Memnon? Maybe, maybe not. but the fact that the party needed to get to Calimport anyways made their willingness to accept the plot hook all the easier. Many agnostic / general plot hooks can be made into story plot hooks.

So there you have it. Now you know how to get your players invested into your adventures.

Next week we’re going to talk about campaign building. If there are any other topics you would like me to cover, comment below.

Until tomorrow dear readers.

Tuesday Game: Curing the Beholder’s Mind and Mage Smackdown in the Desert

So I didn’t write during a week when we actually played. As a result, this blog post is going to be rather… long. Yes, it is technically an old recap, but nothing that happened tonight would make sense without it. So I will just catch you up.

For those interested, this takes place as a Part 2 to “Object of Desire” completing that adventure and moving on to Calimport. I am going to be less detailed than usual, so as to be able to catch you all up with where we are now…

So the party managed to help the beholder recover his mind with the potion recipe that they had discovered in the journal of the scribe. Come to find out the beholder was really a sultan who had been transformed by an evil wizard on account of him eloping with the wizard’s daughter. The evil wizard kidnapped his daughter and turned her into a crystal statue while having transformed the sultan into said beholder.

To beholder, having regime is mine, decided to ask the party to help him save his true love. The party agreed to do so. The party infiltrated the evil Wizard’s lair, rescued from enslaved commoners, rescued and enslaved efreeti, rescued a polymorphed apprentice (a talking monkey), stole his personal dining room furniture and decorations, defeated the evil wizard with the help of destroying the wizard’s power base, and with the help of the beholder/sultan helped save his beloved.

The party got back having freed both and restoring the sultan’s form, the party rescued princess Yasmin, and continued on their way to Calimport.

It was there that they discovered that Mhendi was living under the pseudonym of his Calimport crime syndicate name, who was found to have a shop in the slums. On the way, the paladin decided to become a saint by healing the sick and injured of the slums, being dubbed Saint Severn.

At some point during that entire business, the party had an attempted pickpocket whom they decided to take pity on and adopt. This would come to haunt them later.

Mhendi told them that he wanted, as a favor to help them find Connor, to eliminate a business rival of his. The name of the business rival: Artemis Entreri the master assassin. Mhendi’s primary goal was to ensure that Artemis would not be interfering in his business dealings so the party decided to try to pay off Artemis into leaving town for awhile. While trying to decide how to find Artemis, Artemis found them first. His issue with the party? They were softening his son whom he was wanting to live and grow up hard on the streets so that he could groom him into being his protege.

Image is the property of its owner, all rights reserved.

This devastated the spicy cleric, Whitlock, Who cried ugly tears trying to tell Kasim that they could not take him with after all because someone told them that they couldn’t. Kasim became very calm and reassured Whitlock that it was okay and that he would find that person and destroy them for what they did to destroy the life that he could have had.

The players, of course, realize the gravity of what just happened: Artemis’ sun will not grow up to be his protege, but instead grow to hate him and want to kill him. This may come back to haunt them one day.

Artemis agreed to being paid to leave town for a while, which was fortunate as he had a contract to complete in Waterdeep. Having concluded their business, they went back to Mhendi, where they were able to get the information they sought. Connor was on the plane of fire, likely in the City of Brass.

Deciding not to take the oceanic route back to Waterdeep, the party hired a mage to cast teleport on one of them while the rest stayed within the Bag of Lodging (think like a Leomund’s Tiny Hut crossed with a bag of holding).

Unfortunately, there was a mishap and the party ended up in Baldur’s Gate.

Deciding that travelling back to Waterdeep by boat is the best coarse of action, they sailed back.

Getting to Waterdeep, the party realized that they had another job to do, which was to eliminate the Red Wizard Exile fortress and find out what they would about it.

That’s about all I have in me for now.

Friday, since I am playing catch-up, I will finish the story of the assault on the Red Wizard Exile fortress, what they find out, and what they did last night!

Rime of the Frost Maiden (part 1)

Hello! I know, again, my posting schedule has previously been erratic. I posting schedule will be more consistent at this point, now that the new season has begun and things have settled down. I plan on posting some more pictures of other minis I did, as well as continuing my series on how to DM and how to paint minis. If there are any other subjects you want me to explore, please let me know in the comments below. With no further ado, here’s the story so far…

Our story begins with a party of four adventurers heading through the Spine of the World, all for varying reasons, and all with a secret…

Before anyone could do anything, a horrific avalanche was triggered and was falling towards them at a frightening speed. The party had nowhere to go. Looking up, they saw Snow White muskrat gesturing towards small fissure that they had previously missed due to the covering of ice and snow.

Following the small rodent, party found themselves sliding into a cave where a talking walrus, called Mother Tusk asked them for help in finding some snow otter scouts. She tells the party that, in exchange for their lives which she had just caused to be saved, she asked that the party check up on the otter, Spritzer, and his company of otters.

Our party is brave heroes consisted of: a half drow bard / warlock, a tabaxi rogue, a half-elf ranger, and a dragonborn sorceress. The Ranger, proficient in these sort of jobs, tracked down evidence of the otters passing. Unfortunately, there were also wolf prints following said otters.

Running ahead, the party came across a group of 12 otters being chased by a group of five wolves, one of which was as large as a horse. It was a dire wolf. Seeing the wolves jump down into large holes in the ground after the otters, the party jumped in after sliding down ice slides until they were dumped ceremoniously into a cavern filled with a foot of water and the five wolves snapping and chasing the poor otters.

The party engaged in a hard-fought fight, with several of their member coming close to dying, only to be saved by the sorceress who had access to healing magic.

The party, cold and wet, used oil from their packs to light the wolf carcasses on fire that they made warm up and dry out off their clothing before heading back.

Their way back was difficult due to a blizzard that hit but they prevailed and getting back to Mother Tusk. As a reward for saving her “children,” she had one of the chipmunks she cares for leave the party towards the road that would lead to the town of Brynn Shader. She also gave them some treasure, to include two scrolls of cure wounds.

Heading into town and towards the end, with nightfall, at an early 2:00 p.m. due to the perpetual winter of the area, the party was approached by an old female dwarf who requested assistance in tracking down and killing a serial killer. The party was also approached by a group of dwarves who requested assistance with tracking down a sled that they had to abandon due to a yeti attack. Lastly, the party heard rumors of some sort of lake monster plaguing the town of Bremen. Accepting both quests the party purchased mounts, winter axebeaks, and headed out to find the aforementioned sled.

The Ranger, still as capable of a tracker as any, found the tracks of small humanoids having taken the sled. Not soon after, the party found the sled being pulled by a number of goblins wearing snowshoes heading towards a large wagon that appeared to be pulled by two angry looking polar bears.

What will happen to the party? Will they succeed in recovering the sled from the goblins? Will the party locate the serial killer?

Only time will tell. Join us next week to see what happens!

More Prequel from Tuesday

The party headed off to Waterdeep in search of a scholar to translate the mysterious Netherese inscription.

Arriving in town, the party headed to the Yawning Portal to get a place to stay and a place to have as a home base. They got a large adventurers room to save on coin.

Heading into the North Ward, they found the shop door ajar and nobody home. The place appeared ransacked, although the coin box had been untouched, which was very odd. Looking around the street outside, the party decided to head to the general goods shop directly across the street to find out what was going on.

There, they got a lot of silence and not much cooperation, when suddenly everyone inside went silent, glass-eyed, and then attacked those of the party inside.

On the outside, one of their number spotted an elf with a rod topped with what looked like a small crown, who, upon being spotted, ran away. They joined in with the party and cast sleep on the lot, knocking some out, which brought them to their senses. Upon waking, nobody remembered what happened.

Remembering the rod and wanting to know what it was, they searched for a magic item shop to see what they could find, and discovered Connor’s Magical Goods. Connor was very reluctant to speak, asking over 500 gp to speak so that he could get out of town. The party decided, while questioning Connor, to trade their newly acquired rod of resurrection for a variety of lesser items for each of the party members. Connor left them the deed to the shop, packed his things and disappeared in a flash.

Just as the party were discussing how shady it was that nobody wanted to speak, and those that finally did mentioned a bald man with tattoos and armor with other bald men, a man in dark armor and a dark cloak walked into the shop demanding the scroll that he had paid for up front. Percell, the cleric/druid, handed him a rolled up blank piece of parchment telling him “Don’t open it up until you need it.” The man nodded and left.

The party then headed off back towards the Yawning Portal. Along the way, they were accosted by a man in a dark cloak who claimed to have somebody who could tell them more about what they were facing if they would but follow him down in alleyway. Doing so, they were ambushed by a number of thugs and cut throats. It was a hard fought battle, but the party came out on top. After searching pockets for loose change, on the leader they found a note that said that the party had been asking too many questions and that they were to be eliminated. It was signed Mhendi. Asking around town, they find out that this person is an elf who has begun a new criminal syndicate, supposedly rivaling the Xanathar Guild. Doing some searching and investigating, they found where Mendy keeps his office. Upon arriving, they are told that they were expected and are asked to step into his office. Walking in, they noticed that a fair portion of the objects in the office and the building, while looking expensive, are fakes and knockoffs. Seated behind a nice desk is an elf with a hottie look on his face, who is flanked by two large goliath warriors. Mhendi explains to them that he, himself, was under orders and that it was “just business.” He then put the ball in the player character’s court by asking them if they would rather fight or to calmly discuss their mutual problem. The players chose to talk.

The players found out that Mhendi was strong armed into doing what he had been doing by several members of the Red Wizards of Thay. He says that these are not official members of that organization, and are part of an offshoot. Claims to have been threatened by them into subservience, which he had no choice but to accept. he was unfortunately unable to tell them how to contact them or where to find them but pointed them towards a halfling posing as a child urgent that hangs out elsewhere in the Dock Ward, pleasing people of their gold. He says her name is Tilna.

The druid/cleric of the group asked about the rod, which Mhendi says that he still has and will not give up. The druid/cleric told him that he would one day have a reckoning.

Heading elsewhere in the Dock Ward, they found where Tilna hung out. Approaching her, the party attempted to keep her from running, at which point she threw sand in the druid / clerics eyes, while attempting to flee (“pocket sand!”).

Using his ever useful entangle spell, as well as a hold person spell, the party subdued her. With her, they found out the same information that they had before: tall, bald, and tattooed men threatened her into complying. She knew exactly where they hung out and could even tell them where the drop point was for information that she came across. She wanted 50 gold to be able to disappear. The party, tired of having to bribe people, refused. The party then left, but not before unwittingly being pickpocketed by Tilna. Tilda managed to get a hold of only one object: the druid / cleric’s bag of holding, which held almost all of his worldly possessions, to include the inscription that they had originally come to Waterdeep to translate.

After they realized that they had been pickpocketed, the party went to go find her. After many castings of locate person, they discovered that she was somewhere in the sewers.

Well, that’s all I have time for today. Tune in next time to discover more on this prequel on how the party got where they are.