The Tanius Campaign Journal - Chapter 1: The Die is Cast
DM Note: Types of DM Notes in This Campaign Journal
Hello reader! As you are reading you might notice the occasional colored bubbles appearing in the text. The purpose of these bubbles is to break out of the narrative flow to discuss meta-game elements of the D&D 5e campaign being run. Short descriptions of each bubble are listed below:
DM Note Bubbles: Whenever I want to highlight some "behind the screen" details of the events taking place, a blue DM Note bubble will be used.
Encounter Bubbles: Whenever the party is threatened by(or threatens) enemies, mechanical details of the fight will be listed in a red encounter bubble.
Treasure Bubbles: Whenever magical or otherwise exceptional treasure is found, the meta-game details will be placed in a yellow treasure bubble.
Lore Bubbles: Whenever important lore unique to the world is mentioned, detailed information of the lore object will be placed in a brown lore bubble.
I suppose it makes sense that I saw them during the Tanius Festival. Sure, in the grand scheme of things adventurers are relatively commonplace, but typically they're just looking for a fast track to riches or a story to woo suitors at the tavern. This group was different. This group actually seems to be going places, which is convenient because that is exactly what I need to do.
Lore: The Tanius Festival
Once every 5 years a month long festival known as The Tanius festival is held. Nobles and commoners from all across the continent of Tanius gather in the capitol city of Endgar. The purpose of the festival is to bring everyone together to rebuild the bonds of unity between the various kingdoms of Tanius. However, sometimes the opposite happens when old grudges from Tanius' troubled history start to rear their ugly heads.
I have to say it wasn’t particularly difficult piecing together the events of the riot. I met this group for the first time at a tavern called The Blackmule in the Southern Market of the capitol city Endgar. At this point the riots had already ended, and the party was raucously enjoying all of the food and ale the patrons of the tavern would throw at them in exchange for recounting their efforts.
I figured the surest way to get an accurate account of the battles that took place in The Entertainment District would be to talk to the most sober member of the group, so I initially approached the cleric. Little did I know, this Dwarven holy man was actually a worshipper of Dionysus. He was unquestionably the most intoxicated man in the tavern.
PC Introduction: Kroul The Drunken Cleric
Race: Hill Dwarf
Homeland: The Amber Plains - Denneton
Attributes: Str 15, Dex 13, Con 17, Int 14, Wis 17, Chr 15
Proficiencies: Athletics, Acrobatics, Perception, Intimidation, Brewer's Supplies
Equipment: Hide Armor, Shield, War Hammer
Personality: Kroul is a very friendly dwarf who gets along with just about everyone he meets. His friendliness can largely be attributed to the fact that he is almost always heavily intoxicated. Although his main concern in combat to to ensure the health and safety of his allies, his innately high wisdom makes him a deadly spellcaster.
After a quick lecture on the majesty of Dionysus and an ale courtesy of yours truly, Kroul proved plenty willing to share the story of the riots. Dutifully fulfilling my role, I started writing.
A Thug Walks Into A Bar
Campaign Log Day 1 - Part 1
14th day of Kythorn - Evening
Year of The Rebuked Storm - 1574 Dale Reckoning
Endgar Entertainment District - The Hasty Loft
Somewhat surprisingly, the party didn’t know each other at all prior to the riots, but it seems fate bound them together. They were all travelers, not unlike myself, enjoying the sights and sounds that the entertainment district had to offer. The party and a number of other patrons were enjoying friendly banter and flowing ale when, suddenly, the door swung open loudly. A large and unpleasant Human entered the tavern brandishing a mace alongside a smaller Human wielding a scimitar. The larger of the two ordered everyone to line up along the far wall and empty their pockets. One poor sod, misreading the situation, tried to walk out of the tavern. Before he could make it two paces past the thug he was smashed to a pulp against the floor by the brute's mace.
The way Kroul described it, it was one of those rare moments where you simply knew you were in sync with the group around you. Kiddo the Dragonborn, who was alongside Kroul at the bar, shouted across the tavern at the barbaric-looking Orc sitting in the corner.
PC Introduction: Kiddo The Ronin
Race: Red Dragonborn
Fighting Style: Great Weapon Fighting
Background: Infantry Soldier
Homeland: Continent East of Tanius
Attributes: Str 18, Dex 12, Con 13, Int 11, Wis 11, Chr 16
Proficiencies: Athletics, Acrobatics, Arcana, Nature, Pereception, Deception, Intimidation
Equipment: Leather Armor, Katana(custom longsword), Shortbow
Personality: Kiddo was raised by Ronin warriors on a continent East of Tanius. He generally has a very altruistic nature, however dark secrets from his past torment him every night.
He made a very simple wager: he bet that he could kill these murderers faster than anybody else in the tavern. Such a bold statement drew the attention of the thug, who started lumbering towards Kiddo with malice in his eyes. The Orc, named Rkard, nodded at Kiddo, and threw a net over the thug the moment his back was turned, kicking off a splendid battle.
PC Introduction: Rkard The Reckless
Primal Path: Totem of The Bear
Attributes: Str 18, Dex 15, Con 16, Int 13, Wis 13, Chr 13
Proficiencies: Athletics, Acrobatics, Pereception, Intimidation
Equipment: Maul, Net
Personality: Rkard time spent as a slave in The Forest of Broken Spears has made it difficult for him to trust people, particularly halflings. However, despite spending much of his life fighting, he has a fairly friendly nature, especially when alcohol is involved.
Party: Bellamy(Sor 1), Kiddo(Ftr 1), Kroul(Clr 1), Rkard(Bbn 1), Ungoldor(Rog 1)
Difficulty Rating: Medium
Expected Outcome: Some HP Loss
Actual Outcome: No HP Loss
Tactical Considerations:The thug and bandit are towards the middle of the tavern, which means that the party has them effectively surrounded. Although the thug and bandit aren't likely to be surprised, their facing could open up an opportunity for unseen attackers.
How It Went Down: Rkard kicks off the campaign by throwing his net over the thug, and he and Kiddo started laying the beat down. Meanwhile Kroul, Bellamy and Ungoldor take out the bandit, and eventually they all focus down the Thug.
To be fair, calling it a battle is a bit of embellishment. A roguish-looking Elf named Ungoldor leaped out of the corner and started attacking the smaller bandit.
PC Introduction: Ungoldor The Assassin
Race: Wood Elf
Attributes: Str 12, Dex 17, Con 14, Int 14, Wis 16, Chr 12
Proficiencies: Stealth, Arcana, Perception, Deception, Persuasion, Theives Tools
Equipment: Shortsword, Dagger, Shortbow, Leather Armor
Personality: Ungoldor is generally reclusive in nature, but once you have earned his trust he is an ally for life. He believes that people helping people is how society gets by, and makes it a point to always repay the debts he owes.
While this was happening a wild-eyed, fire-slinging sorcerer named Bellamy also joined the fray.
PC Introduction: Bellamy The Wild
Sorcerous Origin: Wild Magic
Attributes: Str 11, Dex 18, Con 14, Int 15, Wis 13, Chr 19
Proficiencies: Sleight of Hand, Deception, Performance, Persuasion
Equipment: Quarter Staff, Darts, Spell Focus
Personality: In an tough situation Bellamy will almost without fail attempt some type of diplomatic approach. While he is not averse to combat, he simply has too much success winning fights with words to not make it his go-to approach. His true origin is a mystery to even him, however he knowns that the path to uncovering his past is hidden behind his wild magic. As a result he has also fully embraced the unpredictable nature of his magic, and is constantly looking for opportunities to unleash it.
Within a minute, both the Thug and his compatriot had been swiftly dispatched, and the party had sustained not so much as a scratch. Kiddo landed the final blow, and Rkard, being a rare half-orc of honor, paid him his gold.
DM Note: You Are Not Prepared
I joked with the party before we began, saying "I wonder how long it will take before you guys throw something at me that I have to look up". On literally the first action of the campaign they had me looking through the asterisks in the weapons chapter of the PHB trying to find the strength DC(10) required to escape a net.
The patrons of the tavern were elated, but before their joy could lead to toasts in the party's honor, the bartender hushed everyone. This barkeep, like many others, had an informed hunch something of this nature might happen. He didn’t know the specifics, but he suspected that the entire entertainment district might be getting shaken down as well, and implored the party to help people get south of the river. The party, emboldened by a good scuffle and some strong ale, heeded the barkeep's request. With fire in their spirit and weapons in their hands, they marched…to the bar across the street.