Our intrepid heroes meet in Red Larch, a stop on the Long Road within the Dessarin Valley. Their quest begins with them solving local problems. The party’s bard, Papyrus, tells their story. (-GM)
13th of Tarsakh*, 1491 Dale Reckoning
There I was, walking down the lonely cobblestone road, no one in sight but my own shadow. Where I was going, I didn’t know. But I did know I needed to get away. Away from the isolated cold town that I had lived in for all my life. Away from the few people I had ever seen, the few people who even knew I existed. Because my life has too much potential. Too much potential to be famous only to the three people who even knew my name.
I need to be bigger. I need the whole world to know my name. I need people to come from miles away to see my performances. I need thousands of people cheering my name. That is my goal.
It was dark outside. Nothing to see except the northern star to guide my way. I squinted my eyes. I saw something — a light. And then, an outline of a big building. I listened closely and heard music playing, beer jugs clinking, and people dancing. Was it a bar?
“I think I’m home.” I started to run in.
I climbed onto the stage, ready to show my talent to the audience at the bar. I pulled out my flute and what did I see — another person had climbed on stage too. He stared at me. I knew what he wanted: a good, old fashioned musical showdown. Oh, I was going to give him what he wanted alright.
As he stepped onto the stage, the audience chanted his name. While he was setting up, I looked into the vast audience and saw a dude throwing a dagger into the air. He was probably drunk, not to mention he had scales and looked like a dragon.
My competitor played a tune on his bagpipes. I responded by playing a flute solo I had been practicing. He then played another tune. I decided to tell a joke. The audience cracked up. He then told the story of his past. The audience gasped. What was I to do? I was running out of time. I had to up the ante.
I played the most miraculous thing I could possibly imagine. The audience could barely breathe. I saw the bar owner gesturing me off stage. I told one more joke and then left.
“I heard you guys are adventurers,” said the bar owner, Taylessa. She was talking to me; my competitor, whose name was Isaac; the dragon guy Deskari; and a criminal-looking guy named Immeral Liadon.
“Sure,” I said. “One I tackled a bear — with my bear hands. My bear hands were part of a Halloween costume I had a few years before.”
“And what is in it for us,” said Deskari.
“A s*** ton of XP and you will probably level up a few times.”
“Deal!” I said.
The bar owner then left. “Let’s have a meeting later to discuss the plan,” said the criminal Immeral, and the meeting was arranged.
“We need to get some horses and an animal to carry our equipment,” said Deskari at the meeting. We headed down to the stables. Apparently, the only thing in our budget was a lame mule who had three legs. Well, it may not be great, but it is better than nothing. All we have to do now is get some horses and then we will be ready to leave for our adventure.
And I had a plan.
We split up, and I went to go get a horse while Isaac went to get another. I got into a costume. I walked up to the town constable, Harburk, in my fancy costume. He whistled. I offered him to go to lunch. He said yes. We had a very pleasant meal. He was so satisfied that we ended up renting a room at the Swinging Sword. A few hours passed and I ended up with a horse.
Isaac came back with an agreement that if we could take care of some bandits we could borrow a horse. That day we left. It was a long walk to the mountains. To keep the party happy, I played my flute and sang camp songs. All of a sudden, an arrow shot out of a tree and hit Immeral right in the arm. Four bandits appeared. I drew my bow and shot. It hit one in the chest. It roared.
I ran and ducked behind a rock. I can’t remember much. It all seemed like a blur. Every so often I would peek up and shoot an arrow, and sometimes Deskari would get knocked unconscious and I would heal him. Then the battle ended. We explored this cave I had found.
There was a bear in a cage. We tried to give it some food. It broke out of its cage. I panicked. I felt adrenaline rush into me. I charged away.
“Well, there have been some problems around town. Fog in day and a mysterious rock in the hills. I want you to stop it.”
I looked back. WHAT THE FIDDLESTICKS?! Fire erupted from the weird guy’s mouth. The bear was wounded. An arrow hit and he fell unconscious. My heart beat fast as we hiked back to town. It was dark. I could barely see. I heard a grunt. I realized it was only my stomach. I heard a much louder grunt. It was two orcs!
I tried to shoot my bow but I was shaking in fear. I missed. I missed again. I missed a third time. Everyone else charged with their swords. Deskari breathed fire at the orcs, then jumped back into the lake.
A second passed. No head popped up. A minute — still nothing. Five minutes. Please come up. You can’t die! Nothing.
I ran over to the lake, while the two orcs collapsed in pain. A pool of blood. It had risen to the top of the lake. I got up and we headed back to town.
Isaac, gnome druid 1
Immeral Liadon, high elven rogue 1
Papyrus, half-elven bard 1
Deskari, dragonborn rogue 1
(*Tarsakh is the month of April in the Forgotten Realms. –GM)