Well, here I go on a whirlwind of adventure into the realms of D&D Fifth Edition. I attended the RP Haven for the first time in 10 months on Wednesday last week to start playing in a new campaign. Along with the DM, there were three other permanent players and one player who may or may not come back after his holiday (I hope he does as he was also an occasional player at the table during my long stint as DM of the Doggerland campaign).
The first session of almost every RPG game I play in involves the task of rolling up a new character and fleshing it out. This time round was certainly no different and the diverse nature of the characters is fantastic; plenty of scope for inter-character banter and hopefully they will make for some funny, memorable moments (there certainly have been so far although I tend to write my summaries a bit more seriously than they actually played out).
(with thanks to Rod for his character summaries below)
Salderban (Human) - Paladin of Doom. Currently sunk
in a fugue when the end of the world failed to materialise as the party crashed
landed onto the slope of an enormous magmarock instead of plunging
directly into the active caldera
Zook (Gnome) - Ranger and explorer
Karik (?) - Taciturn, hooded and slightly odiferous man? of mystery
Skins (Kobold) - Eggbearer Barbarian, not currently bearing any eggs as far as we can tell
Torric (Human) - Singer, Dancer, Juggler, Entertainer. Bookings available. Hen nights a specialty
Although there was a palpable split of loyalties between the rag-tag band under the command of Captain Harlott and the well-heeled crewmen who seemed to show allegiance to the maester, things were calm between the two crew factions for several days after the passengers were picked up.
On the lower, passenger, deck of the sky caravel Caraway, the talkative, and fidgety Kobold, Skins chittered to those who would listen, in constant competition with Torric who was ever telling the small band of his colourful and self-satisfied life. Salderban usually kept himself separate on occasion and prayed to his god in order to save him from the oncoming doom of the world, but Karik was very reluctant to join in with the conversations going on and always sat alone on his bunk with his hood permanently obscuring his face and his gloves hiding his hands.
It was all going so well on the lower deck of the Caraway until the peace was shattered by an almighty explosion that emenated from the upper deck. The passengers were flung from their comfortable positions and looked around nervously. Shouts suddenly erupted from the crew above and the sound of steel clashed upon steel; a sure sign that combat had broken out. Several men from each faction stumbled down the stairs fighting for their lives.
Salderban, Torric and Skins took to the fight, supporting the brigand captain's crew over the better dressed soldier-like cohorts of the maester. Karik, true to form, began to extinguish the lanterns, which plunged the passenger deck into semi-darkness. This did not affect Zook the Gnome with his darkvision, and he made his way to the hold in order to see if he could find out what was down there.
The fight was not going well for the captain when Salderban arrived up top. Through the steam and smoke of a rapidly approaching magmarock (a floating volcano), he could just make out that he was backed up against the figure-head battling for his life against two adversaries, whilst the maester held sway on the deck. The maester shot off some Magic Missiles at the last remaining brigand crew member on the deck but was not prepared for the paladin, who cut him down with his great sword; his body toppled over the side rails of the floating sky ship.
Skins leapt onto the deck, over the shoulder of the paladin and began to lay about him with his axes. The mutineer's crew slowly backed away from the two fighters as the captain's crew slowly hauled themselves back onto the deck after being blown over the sides by the blast of magic that was the source of the big explosion.
Meanwhile, down below, Zook had broken into the hold and saw that there was maybe a score of slaves held within. It was at this point that Karik looked out of one of the port holes and saw something he hoped never to see. A full-grown red dragon and three younglings, one with the maester's body on its back, circled the sky boat and swooped in for the kill. He yelled to the others what he had seen and sprinted for the upper deck to warn all of the danger, but his yell was lost in the sound of carnage which was caused by the red dragon that ripped out the rear mast, which just narrowly missed him in his retreat from the safety of his dark hidey-hole.
When he reached the top of the stairs there was one of the measter's men positioned with his back to him but blocked his way. Karik let loose his crossbow bolt and stepped past the falling corpse. Skins nodded to his mysterious companion and sprinted for the front of the ship to aid the captain.
Torric, in the meantime, had spotted that one of the maester's crewmen had hacked away at the postern where the ship's wheel was attached. He struck down the crewman with a Magic Missile of his own and tried to bring the ship under control. The mess made by the crewman coupled with the residual damage caused by the dragon meant that the wheel could no longer turn the rudder. He called for aid, and saw that the nearest comrade was Karik; Salderban had dropped to his knees in a revelry of self-doubt and the obvious prospect of the end of the world.
Whilst Karik tied off a rope for Torric to use to descend over the side to investigate the damage done to the rudder, a couple of the captain's crewmen had managed to scramble aboard again and load up one of the ballistae that dotted the deck. They let fly and their bolt flew true, which seriously hurt the adult dragon and caused it to fly off in pain and anger.
Skins let fly with one of his throwing axes, which brought down the last of the captain's adversaries and returned the ship to his control. This gave time for Torric to free the rudder, which enabled Karik to turn the wheel, and thus the ship away from an imminent collision with the magmarock.
However, this was not enough and the ship ploughed into the side of the floating volcano just as Zook and the slaves made their way onto deck. Everyone was knocked off their feet until the ship slowly ground to a halt on the floating volcano. Torric, still attached to his rope that was dangled over the side did not fare well and he too ground to a halt face-first in the coarse pumice and lava stone.
As the remaining ship's crew and passengers regained their feet they saw that the wreck was only one of their current worries. The dragons could be seen circling the vent of the volcano and over the deck a few hundred yards in the distance they could see a bronze-skinned, flame-headed dwarf fighting a horde of frog-like beings.
The adventurers, after they had berated the captain for being a slave carrier, leapt over board to aid their companion. After a quick show of willingness, they decided to approach the fight that was going on before what they could now see was a cave mouth. The Abyssal symbol the frog-beings hung around their necks was a sure sign of whose side they should fight on.