Many years ago, this part of the Realm of Man was ruled by a magic-user named Gygar, a man of great and mysterious powers. He ruled the lands from his mighty castle Mistamere, located at the foot of the mountains to the north.
Gygar died after a long a peaceful rule, but no successor was named. Over the years, the unclaimed castle fell into ruins.
Now centuries later, the outline of the broken towers can still be seen from the town, ever beckoning seekers of danger, fame and fortune.
You have gathered around a dinner table in the Gold Dragon Inn, in the center of town, to discuss your plans. The Inn is busy, filled with ruddy-faced townsfolk and other adventurers, who are eating, drinking, laughing, and having a splendid time.
You have all heard the tales of monsters lurking within the ruins and guarding rich treasures. None of you have been there, but after an evening of discussion, you decide to try your luck in the castle ruin, and plan to meet at dawn for the short journey.
One special note: the town rulers have offered a reward of 1,000 gp for the capture of Bargle, the renegade magic-user! The death of Aleena, a well-known cleric, was the 'last straw.' They want to stop this danger once and for all, so keep your eyes open!
It is morning, and you're off to the castle. It lies only 3 miles from town, just a healthy walk past a local farmer's fields. As you follow the dir road past the farm, you greet the workers tending the crops. It's a lovely summer's day, and all seems peaceful.
The land owner himself sits atop a wagon, watching his men, and chats with you before you continue onward. He mentions that he has had no problems with monsters, and if any lurk in the nearby ruins, they stay there 'like respectable monsters should.' Every night, however, he carefully locks up all his animals.
After bidding him a good day, you continue toward the ruin. As you approach, you see that the walls are jagged and full of small holes, and a few large stone blocks have tumbled to the earth, laying scattered around the ruins.
A gateway in the center of the front wall stands empty, and the massive outer doors now lay rotting nearby. This gateway seems to be the easiest entrance through the wall. A 10' wide gaping hole is in the wall off to your left, and could be another entrance.
You do not see any other entrances; the rest of the wall is crumbling, but few wide holes have opened. This outer area has no other interesting features. A sheer cliff, the face of a mountain, rises at the north edge of the ruins.
It is currently about two hours after dawn. The sun rises steadily and it is likely to be quite hot once mid-day arrives. The rotted remains of the doors to the outer wall lie nearby, with what appears to be a dug out hole underneath, possibly the lair of some animal.
OOC: Take a paragraph or two to describe your character's appearance, including their gear. Feel free to add personality quirks and mannerisms as well. Once that is done, decide as a group how you intend to approach the ruins. Out of Character notes like this one will always appear in red.
Quentin Small WotC Online Community Coordinator All around helpful simian
Sandallan is an average looking human, with stringy light brown hair peeking out from under his ill-fitting helmet. His dull brown eyes betray little intelligence. He appears physically fit, and stands tall in his plate mail armor, though he is prone to coughing and wheezing after too much physical exertion. His face bears the scars of pock marks from some childhood disease. However, he is a pleasant enough companion on the journey, laughing heartily at others' jokes (and ocassionally laughing at what he inaccurately thinks are jokes), though he rarely contributes much to a conversation on his own.
His entire suit of armor seems to be made from cobbled together hand-me-downs. The pauldrons don't match, the breastpiece looks like it is made for a man with broader shoulders, and the entire ensemble clangs and clatters as Sandallan ambles slowly down the path. He has a sword in his right hand and a large shield on his left arm, and they, like his armor, have seen better days. If the shield ever had a sigil emblazoned on it, it has long since faded away. Now, there is only scraps of peeling paint in red, yellow, and green. Sandallan's other gear is equally sparse and crude. He has a homemade sling on his belt, with a pouch of roughly polished stones. He has some homespun rope over his left shoulder, which seems sturdy enough. He has a sack tied around his belt, which jangles with the sound of wooden torches and iron rations loosely packed within.
Sandallan is largely silent when the party speaks with the landowner, preferring to let others do the talking. He usually attempts to stand tall and imposing, giving off an aura of strength and competence, but the ill condition of his equipment, and lopsided way his helmet always sits on his head often betray more of a comical appearance than a forebidding one.
Once they arrive at the ruins, Sandallan sniffs cauiously near the rotted remains of the outer doors and scratches his head looking at the imposing nature of the ruins. Then he looks at the other members of the party, hoping somebody will tell him what they are supposed to do next.
Baros runs a hand through his short black hair, ruffling it slightly in thought. Here he is, at the ruins that he had convinced himself were linked to Aria, and yet he finds himself uncertain of how to proceed. The journey has brought him here, and all along the way, his mind has entertained a variety of different outcomes. He dreamt of Aria fending off thieves who wished to steal her valuables, researching some long lost secret with a mysterious cabal, or fighting some hideous monster that had decided to call the ruins its new lair. His imagination has been playing tricks on him since he left Dawngate, and even when his eyes are open, he sees a plethora of different possibilities. It is enough to make Baros forget about maintaining his appearance, and without a thought, he glances down at himself, wondering how he presented himself to the others.
His light gray vestments are a leftover from the college. They are comfortable and fit him well, though they do not hug his lean figure. Aria had told him he looked like a mage who didn't want others to know he was a mage; she had said it was a wise look. The simple garment might have seemed to be the kind of thing a priest would wear, but Baros is no priest. His knowledge of such matters is limited, and he hopes no one would mistake him for a holy man. His black boots, meant for travel, had become quite muddy and dusty from the trail, but he has no desire to clean them anytime soon. Aria had said menial chores like that could be handled with magic; it does not bother Baros much either way.
Across his back hangs his packpack, stuffed with food for the road, as well as flasks of oil for the lantern he had purchased from the neighborhood supply store back home. To think, that wart-faced old man would not even give him a discount despite the urgency of his mission. Bah! From his waist hangs his waterskin, but Baros is not thirsty, so he gives it no heed. On the other side of his belt is his dagger, a simple thing that does not offer much in the way of protection. Not for the first time, Baros wished he had developed a knack for swordplay or archery at some point in his life, but his studies had come first. Anyone could wield a knife, he told himself, so he had picked up the blade and taken it with him.
Running a hand over his chin, Baros notices stubble and winces. Aria had always preferred him clean-shaven, and he had shaved regularly for her. He wonders if he looks the same as the last time he looked in a mirror. He knows what he would fine. Deep blue eyes set in a pale white face, with lips that look as if they were quite used to deep smiles and fierce scowls alike. His hair is too short to interfere with his eyes, but it's messy, all the same. He has an average man's ears and an average man's nose, which has always suited him just fine. Big noses and wide ears tended to look bizarre, as did tiny noses and small ears. He had always been content looking ordinary, and he stands no more than six feet, with a thin build, maintained through exercise during his time as a scholar.
Around his neck hangs a keepsake from Aria - a silver chain, from which hangs a spiral emblem made of some blue-black metal. He had always asked Aria if it were enchanted, but she said that was for him to discover. So far, he couldn't so much as even sense magic about it, but he has remained hopeful that it was indeed a puzzle, and he would unlock its secret with time.
These thoughts carry with him all the way to the ruins. He blinks several times when they arrive at the rotted remains of the door, and he tilts his head, wondering what they might find inside. Immediately, he knows he has no desire to be the first to enter that place.
"I don't like X, they should remove it." "I like X, they should keep it." "They should replace X with Y." "Anybody that likes X is dumb. Y is better." "Why don't they include both X and Y." "Yeah, everybody can be happy then!" "But I don't like X, they should remove it." "X really needs to be replaced with Y." "But they can include both X and Y." "But I don't like X, they need to remove it." "Remove X, I don't like it."
Lady and gentlemen.... I present to you the Edition War without Contrition, the War of the Web, the Mighty Match-up!
We're using standard edition war rules. No posts of substance. Do not read the other person's posts with comprehension. Make frequent comparison to video games, MMOs, and CCGs. Use the words "fallacy" and "straw man", incorrectly and often. Passive aggressiveness gets you extra points and asking misleading and inflammatory questions is mandatory. If you're getting tired, just declare victory and leave the thread. Wait for the buzzer... and....
One, two, three, four, I declare Edition War Five, six, seven eight, I use the web to
D&D should not return to the days of blindfolding the DM and players. No tips on encounter power? No mention of expected party roles? No true meaning of level due to different level charts or tiered classes? Please, let's not sacrifice clear, helpful rules guidelines in favour of catering to the delicate sensibilities of the few who have problems with the ascetics of anything other than what they are familiar with.
Just a quick note on the MMORPG as an insult comparison...
MMORPGs, raking in money by the dumptruck full. Many options, tons of fans across many audiences, massive resources allocated to development.
TTRPGs, dying product. Squeaking out an existence that relys on low cost. Fans fit primarily into a few small demographics. R&D budgets small, often rushed to market and patched after deployment.
You're not really making much of an argument when you compare something to a MMORPG and assume people think that means bad. Lets face it, they make the money, have the audience and the budget. We here on this board are fans of TTRPGs but lets not try to pretend none of us play MMORPGs.
"Perhaps we should draw straws? I just happen to have five here....I'll draw last."
Gregor half jokes, but truthfully has no desire to enter at all. If it weren't for his determination to find out what happened to Aleena, his only true friend, he'd turn around and head home right now.
(Gregor reflexively grabs at the medallion around his neck and rubs it between his thumb and forefinger, hoping to find a bit of courage from his deity)
Gregor is a handsome young man in his mid-twenties. He's dressed in a white tunic trimmed in gold around the cuffs and collar. The chainmail armor that he wears over it looks to be custom fit to his tall lean build. It's very nice armor. No, it's more than nice, it's actually perfect armor that appears to have never seen a single battle.
(Gregor, sips from his wineskin.....again.)
"Can we survive this?" he asks in a half-murmer directed at no one in particular.
(He unconsciously reaches down to his side to make sure his weapon is still there, a mace encrusted with several colorful gems of moderate value and thin veins of gold and silver outlining religious symbols.)
Gregor has never really experienced battle, nor has he gone on any sort of adventurous crusade like many of his peers. He can handle himself against a typical street-tough to be sure, his training makes that a foregone conclusion. But against whatever lies ahead in this decrepit castle, well that's a little beyond what he's ever been prepared for.
"Well, Aleena, the wind can only blow you one direction at a time." (He grins, remembering this saying that she was so fond of. He takes another sip of wine. He turns to the group with his infectious smile.)
"I vow to stay in this very spot until you all return. I'd never even think of leaving you."
When Baros asks his question, Sandallan jumps up and raises his hand. Well, more like his whole arm, straining to the sky, with the gauntletted hand waving furiously as if the wrist were entirely dislocated.
"Me! Me! I want to go first! Me! Please!"
He immediately straightens his helmet and plate mail and puffs out his chest to show he is fit and prepared to go first. He looks hopefully at the others.
"But... um... are we going into the ruins or into the hole on the side over there?"
Sandallan points alternately up at the keep and then over to the dug out hole under the discarded doors lying a bit away from the keep.
Kowin moves closer to the gaping hole next to the entrance and, making sure to keep his distance, attempts to look inside.
Kowin strokes his beard while contemplating the options. He has a stoic look in his brown eyes. His hair and beard are a redish-brown and his nose is large and prominent. He is tall for a Dwarf and appears well equipped for battle.
His plate armor shows some signs of use with a few scratches here and there, but other than that it appears it great condition. In fact upon closer inspection, it becomes obvious that his armor is not the typical plate armor one might buy from a local smith. It appears to be the work of an expert craftsman and must have been custom made for Kowin since it fits him so well. Likewise his shield and helmet appear to be of equal quality.
His waraxe hangs from his belt by it strap and has ornate designs on the blade and is certainly worth a hefty sum. Kowin wears a backpack with a polearm secured to one side and a bundle of spears on the other, each placed for easy access. On his belt he has a sling and pouch full of bullets next to his coin pouch, which appears full. It is clear that Kowin is not lacking in coin.
Realizing that no one else was going to make a decision and that he was probably the most experienced tactician of the group, Kowin decides to speak up.
"The Hole!!!" he says gruffly and with an air of certainty.
"We should investigate that opening first. If something unfriendly is in there, then I would prefer that it didn't sneak up behind us once we enter the ruins."
His confidence is reassuring and encourages the more timid members of the group. He turns to the enthusiastic Sandallan and invites him to go forth.
"After you my friend! I will be right behind you."
Following up from behind is the young, lanky Talmore. His frail frame seems to struggle under the weight of his gear, though he has held up well through the journey so far, even if he did trail behind the rest of the group. As he spends much of his time pan handling, he has acquired the complexion of a farmer, although not the physique to accompany it. His brown hair, sun-bleached and his skin tanned, he is a fairly average looking young man, had it not been for the early developing crowes feet due to his time in the sun, he could possibly have pulled off looking like a teenager.
"I agree, we should investigate. The gateway doesn't offer much shelter - but may be trapped as it is the most obvious way in. The hole in the wall may provide better shelter, but the last thing we want to do is wander into a swarm of bats"
Talmore begins to look around, pulling his sword from his scabbard he begins to check the wood of the rotten doors strewn across the ground, checking to see if they are dry enough to burn.
"If this wood is dry enough we may be able to set it ablaze and throw it into the opening - if something is in there, it's likely to come out from the smoke. Even if it doesn't come out, it's likely that we'll be able to get a better look inside".
Crouhing down, to take a closer look, he pauses to look for anything out of the ordinary in the gateway - trip wires, stones that may give way, or other oddities.
"I could also try climbing over the wall, it's broken down enough that I should be able to get quite a few good footholds, it would be easier to see what may be on the other side - assuming it doesn't hear us talking already. What do you all think?"
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As Sandallan and Talmore are looking around the rotted, fallen door...
You see a large worm-like monster stick its head out of a hole under the door. It has eight long tentacles in a circle around its mouth. It doesn't come out all the way out - just far enough to attack!
Sandallan and Talmore need to roll initiative. The others will be able to join the battle in round two. One of you, either Wrecan or Scottevil912, needs to roll 1d6. This will be the entire party's initiative in the battle. I will be rolling 1d6 for the monster.
A note on combat posting - A will try to post at least once a day or as often as you do, until the combat is over.