Against the Dragon Queen: Episode 0: Meet the Party
I’ve decided to post our entire D&D 5.0 campaign for your reading pleasure. It’s a group of guys that are as diverse as they are great.
Allow me to introduce the characters in the party.
Antony is a Halfling of unknown origin, Antony is equally deft with dual shortswords or a bow. His reasons for being with the group are currently unknown.
Bendin was born to a clan of dwarves far from their homeland, who had integrated themselves into the merchant houses of Waterdeep. His father worked as the right-hand man (dwarf) to a shipping company, and he expected his sons and daughters to work their way up the company ladder as well.
That worked fine for most of the brood. But the youngest, Bendrin, clearly lacked the wits — and especially the inclination — to organize such endeavors. Bendrin inherited his family’s desire for planning — and always has a plan in mind. But his single-minded focus, and raw emotion, rarely let him follow through on those plans….
At a young age, after a blowout argument with his parents (after the young dwarf absentmindedly smashed his father’s best abacus), he struck out on his own, living off the land for two decades and contacting his brothers and sisters only when they were on the road — as Bendrin’s loyalty to them lived on, and he spent months at a stretch shadowing their caravans, protecting them from hidden dangers.
While on these travels, Bendrin became disenchanted with the world around him, finding eventual peace only from an itinerant priest introduced him to his holy trinity, who find meaning through simplicity: Yemeles, patron of drunkards, Hoddypeak, patron of simpletons, and Pollycockle, goddess of small children.
The peace Bendrin found finally led him back to his family, and he spent a few months reconciling with his father. Then, the old dwarf passed away — and on his deathbed, he confessed that he had become involved with the Cult of the Dragon. They paid him to smuggle goods across the Sword Coast. Wracked by guilt, he urged Bendrin to undo the evil he had wrought, beginning in the town of Greenest.
Gggrrrff was raised by wolves, little is known about Gggrrrff other than he is a Druid possessing great feral power and is estranged to the trappings of civilization. He finds himself overhearing Finn hiring everyone to go to Greenest and decides to join the following day, for reasons unknown.
Born under the name Ardak Gundar Thundershield, “Gopher” he was brought to Greenest as an infant by a merchant caravan who found him and his mortally wounded mother. She had barely escaped an Orc raid on their village and with her dying breath begged the merchants to take her son to a church of Thor. The merchants were godly types and made good on their request.
Ardak has spent his entire life serving under the church of Thor, in Greenest. His devotion to Thor and his church superiors is unshakable and unwavering. He was given the name “Gopher” by his fellow acolytes, because he was willing to do anything his superiors asked of him. This unwavering faith eventually earned him respect in the community of Greenest and as his lifespan is now in it’s 130+ years he’s met and preached to generations of it’s human inhabitants. He is kind and gregarious by nature, but quick to “correct” those he feels have disrespected Thor.
Gopher stands 4'7" tall and holds 180lbs. well. With reddish brown hair, a beard, which he wears in a double braid, and brown eyes he cheerfully greets all who come to the church. On his left forarm is a tattoo of the Holy symbol of Thor, and on his right shoulder, written in Dwarven, is a tattoo of the Thor scripture, “…and his justice was swift as the thunder crashed down upon his foes…”
Gopher’s faith in unwavering as he believes it was Thor’s divine intervention that allowed him to live. As such he feels that Thor will guide his actions. As such, his faith in Thor makes him vulnerable to the church hierarchy. He trusts them completely.
Gopher idolizes the Dwarven hero Durkon Thundershield, a valiant warrior/cleric of Thor. Gopher would die to recover a relic from Durkon Thundershield as it he represented both Thor and Gopher’s family clan.
In battle, Gopher is fearless. The teachings of Thor and his belief that all things are Thor’s will make him a formidable melee force. He has been knocked down, but the tempest fury always seems to punish those who punish him. This has bolstered his confidence to face any challenge fearlessly with shield and hammer in hand.
When the raiders came to Greenest, Gopher was the first to see them from his perch, cleaning the church bell. It was his ringing of the bell which alerted the people to the threat and gave them more time to get to the keep. After ringing the bell, he ran in search of help and came upon his friend Leaf, which was a good thing because moments later a Blue dragon descended and charred where he would have been with lighting.
The rest of the night, Gopher and Leaf hit and ran on the raiders, taking refuge along the river’s edge before striking out again. This is where they encounter the rest of the group.
Leaf has his beginnings in the very town of Greenest. 19 years ago, when Mayor of Greenest was very young. He was seduced by an elderly Elven maiden who lived in Greenest and had never had children. Soon after the Elf maiden had a baby boy, but being illegitimate, the maiden kept the connection to the Mayor secret to all save her son. Saying instead that it was an indiscretion with a traveling merchant. The pregnancy had taken its toll on her body and by the time the boy was 12, she had passed away. After his mother’s death, the boy continued to care for and live in their small family cottage on the other side of the river. Initially, he survived on handouts form the townsfolk that took pity on him, but he quickly learned what he could from watching others and made a trade of mending all things broken, through the use of magic.
His pleasant demeanor kept him out of trouble and soon he was doing all sorts of odd jobs around the town for food and a bit of coin. With some of his free time he would study at the temple or with the wizards that passed through town, or in his library at home.
His curiosity and desire to understand the world opened doors for him throughout the town. This is also how the innkeeper gave him his name, since he was always blowing in and out of town with the wind.
The Mayor knows that Leaf is his son(and perhaps is torn with guilt about it), but will never tell a soul for fear of jeopardizing his position. Leaf knows too but would never put his father in a bad position.
Leaf doesn’t think of himself as a bard. He sees himself as a citizen of Greenest who has made the best of his childhood hardship. He has a natural talent for magic which he attributes to his mother who taught him of music, magic, and the thrumming threads of the universe that bind all things together.
He came across Gopher on his way to warn the keep, when the Dragon attacked. Striking out of the river’s edge, they did their best to reduce the raider’s numbers. Using a shortbow, Mending arrows to keep his stock up, and using Minor Illusion to hide himself and Gopher inside a fake barrel or bush when they were too outnumbered.
He and Gopher help the other members of the group get out of a tough ambush, which is how they all meet.
Shade is a Drow Elf of unknown origins and motivations. The group knows almost nothing about him. He hails from the House of T’yth, is 120 years old and 4'9" tall. He is a light 76lbs. with black skin, white hair and pale eyes. He has white tattoos of accolades, warrior group, and the House of T’yth. On closer inspection one can also notice slight burn and battle scars over his body.
Shade began his career when he was selected from his family (House of T’yth) to be a member of the elite magical raiding force. This group is charged with abducting spell-casters and acquiring magical items from the surface to aid in the development of Drow magic below.
Shade began life as most Drow, Lawful Evil, but “the ritual” planted or awoke something inside him. Now, his thoughts are chaotic and confusing. Wandering alone and without the structure of Drow society he has become directionless. This voice (conscience or consciousness) has been filling his head with doubts of his past assumptions. Shade tends to sway between neutral, good and evil as this internal struggle wages in his mind. The voice has a strong will and influence therefore “evil acts” make resting difficult. This internal struggle also makes it impossible for him succumb to sleep spells and disrupts certain mental charms.
Despite these difficulties, on the surface he has taken to a life of crime as this culture most suits his sensibilities. His formal training was that of a scout so he is very adept at stealth and getting into and out of difficult places. Criminals seem to be the only surface group that accept him and he is very popular among them. This new group however shows promise and if they are truly going to take on this dragon hoard… this should be an interesting fight.
In combat, he is very cruel and strikes his opponents where they appear weakest or are distracted.
Shade tends to distrust new people and clerics. (Friends are made in battle and scrutinized afterwards.) He is very self-reliant and always has a plan ready when things go south. He will only enter temples of surface dwellers to raid them (never for help).
Shade is committed to the people he cares about, not to ideals. He aspires to be the greatest, most powerful infiltrator that ever lived and seeks power, in the form of magic. All the while, he is haunted by a voice that challenges his bloodthirsty behavior and cravings for power.
“This gruesome trinket was in my hand when I awoke and it gives me horrible nightmares.”
In his wanderings, Shade decided to sign up with the Dragon Cultists to raid towns. Varo encounters him in the raider camp when the party infiltrates it. Having worked together in their criminal past, Varo is able to convince Shade to join the group and help free a captive monk and return to Greenest with information on the camp.
Shade seems guarded around Leaf, avoiding conversation about the raid that destroyed Greenest but listening whenever he brings it up.
Varo Dunnglaessé Ban-Wellanock
Standing 5'10" and at a lithe 147 pounds, this 136 year old Drow Elf Male with black skin, white hair with bands of black, and blue-lavender eyes remains a mystery to his traveling companions.
Varo was never especially strong, nor wise, but ever with a clever, charismatic glint in his eye. He was the runt of his siblings, and despised, not least because his mother, Jaelwa Dunnglaesé, grew to hate his father, Faenir Wellanock. Faenir was a Sorcerer, which in the militaristic lesser House of Miliskeera was not precisely a revered occupation. He’d kept his magical leanings from his family, and once Jaelwa found out, and found out further that he carried the blood of black dragons in his veins, she promptly disposed of him in the manner of deadly spiders, and took Varo’s birthright, a blue gemstone, and sent it above world in the hands of dark Dwarves.
Varo never forgave his House for this, feeling that they were envious of him for possessing the blood of a being mightier than the eight-legged creatures one could crush underfoot. Neither did he forgive his father, for keeping secrets from him and not being strong enough to avoid his own death.
Varo left. He rose from the Underdark and immersed himself in the populous cities of the surface. As nighttime activity was his most likely milieu, he found many of his peers to be evil, and worked with several Thieves and Assassins guilds. The evil of their deeds was child’s play to a denizen of the Underdark, yet some villains performed horrendous acts beyond what his archetypically monstrous mothers and sisters would engage in. So he emerged as something of a rebellious oddity: a dark elf who refuses to be what his race dictates, yet does not feel an urge to become the opposite. He is neither as good as his fair-skinned kin, nor as evil as the worst dregs of society. He has no compunction about killing, but his personal code prefers that money or revenge be at its root. He has no compunction about doing good, either, except with the expectation of recompense or favor. He rarely shows emotion, and never raises his voice. He does not hate Elves as much as his race normally does, mostly out of curiosity to find out more about why his mothers hate something so much. However, the sense of superiority felt by the Drow has not left him. He is not as treacherous and distrustful as Drow typically are, because he feels competent enough to escape from it.
He feels a strange sense of purpose with his current companions. He still feels a painful loss as his first real friend, the only being who had been nice to him for no particular reason, was killed next to him. It made him angry. He works now with the group, exploring this new experience (yet also hoping that treasure will come of it). His goal is to become wealthy and powerful, enough to find what was stolen from him and exact revenge on his family for its narrow-mindedness.
In the raider camp, Varo rubbed elbows with the mercenaries. His own criminal past allowing him feel at ease in these surroundings. It is here that he found Shade, another Drow with a criminal past that he has worked with before. He was able to convince Shade to defect and join the group.
…hope you enjoyed this, stay tuned for episode 001, where the adventure begins!