With apologies for the length of this but this is my version of the intro scene from the FR adaptation of Keep on the Shadowfell provided in Dungeon. All played solo with combat played as the OP suggests and decisions made using a d6 and my perception of a PC's character. I novelise as I go so that there is a record of play and because I do enjoy going back to these sometimes and rereading. Incidentally, this group are now back in Arabel seeking ingredients for a raise dead ritual although I have already decided that said ingredients were stolen and taken to nearby Kobold Hall.
Arabel bustled as it always had despite the chill of mid winter and the thick ice that covered gutters and limned roof edges. Trade along the East Way and Calantar’s Way slowed with the cold but never dried up altogether. As the day waned, Lavren found himself as usual seeking out a tavern in which to make himself comfortable and find some warmth. Coming across a sign that marked an alehouse as the Gilded Lady, and noting that he had never come to the place before, he motioned to the man beside him and they stepped inside.
A low fire burned in the hearth of the comfortable common room but the tavern was empty of patrons except for a lone man and a group of apparent mercenaries on a table next to the one Lavren and his friend made their way to. Not long after the two had sat down with their drinks, a group of tough-looking men sauntered into the tavern to the center of the room. The man in the corner leaned back into the shadows of his booth but the seven new arrivals spotted him. Four moved to the front and back doors, while three crossed the room, cornering the patron. A raven haired woman amongst the mercenaries whispered something to her companions but even with his finely tuned elf senses, he could not make out what she said. It seemed that the mercenaries were content in their drinks and so Lavren pushed back his chair, curious to learn what went on in the tavern.
“What happens here?” he asked.
“Mind your own business,” grunted the leader of the group, a scarred man in chainmail. He turned back to the booth and leaned menacingly over the table of the loan man.
“You’re the one, ain’t you?” he asked. The other man recoiled in the booth, mumbling.
“I—I—d-don’t know what you’re talking about.” Lavren heard him manage to stutter
The scarred man seized the shirt of the tavern patron, fumbled with the man’s shirt collar, and yanked out a holy symbol. Lavren saw his friend rise and reach out a restraining hand.
“Leave it Mandratan,” snarled the elf.
“He’s the one,” said the scarred man with a sneer, ignoring the two newcomers. He reached for his sword and, pulling it out, lunged for the terrified man.
Mandratan shoved his chair back hard enough to knock it over and with a snarl of his own, turned to face the scarred man. The scarred man shoved the cowering man back into the booth and turned towards Lavren and his friend.
“Take care of that rabble,” he growled.
At the doors, the men that guarded there reached for weapons while at the booth all turned away from the man and faced the common room at large. One man took a dagger from his belt and strode across the room until he stood before the fire before hurling it at Lavren. The elf panicked then for a moment, realizing that he was truly in battle for the first time. He raised his arm and swatted the dagger aside but felt it nick his arm as it tore through his sleeve. A second man strode forward and hurled a dagger at Mandratan, striking the brown haired man in the shoulder. He cried out and also felt panic seize him as the rough looking men came forward. Luckily, the mercenaries were more interested in the happenings in the tavern than they seemed and at that moment they began to rise from their table. The first was a dwarf who pushed back his chair, drew forth a warhammer and strode to meet the men who had hurled daggers. Another, a woman with short dark hair rose from her seat, unshouldered a bow and loosed an arrow at the scarred man. It nicked his shoulder but she strode forward, drawing another arrow from the quiver on her back.
One of the men from the front door rushed at the mercenaries’ table, flailing wildly with his club. The raven haired woman ducked and then rose but the creature beside her was quicker. It was a black scaled lizard like humanoid which Lavren guessed to be a dragonborn though he had never seen one in the century and more that he had lived. The dragonborn rose, pulled a huge sword from its back and turned to face the dagger throwers and the scarred man. The raven haired woman rose, drew her blade from her back and plunged it into the chest of the club wielding man. He fell to the floor, dropping his club and collapsing in a rapidly growing pool of blood.
From the back door came two more men, the first rushing at Mandratan, his club held high. He swung it and the man raised his arm taking a stinging blow there but the fury of battle was upon him by then and he ignored the pain. The other rushed at the dwarf but the stout warrior turned aside and the wild swing missed. The scarred man snarled his anger then and rushed to join the battle. He barreled past a table, upending a chair and slashed at the dragonborn, striking its shoulder plate and forcing it back two steps.
All this Lavren watched until suddenly, the second man from the door came at him from his left and swung out with his club. The elf ducked instinctively and retreated towards Mandratan, upending his chair between him and his enemy as he did so. He lashed out with his hand and loosed a crackling bolt of dark energy at the man. Alas, his aim was wild and the bolt blasted out a window behind the man with a loud smash and a show of broken. The barkeep cried out and then ducked down behind the bar while at Lavren’s back Mandratan lashed out with his stave. The club man he faced ducked under the wild swing and then came on again. Together, the two faught back to back while around them the rest of the battle raged.
Lavren saw the dwarf struck on the helm by a mace blow from one of the ruffians who had been menacing the man in the booth. The dwarf reeled away seemingly stunned and the other ruffian seized his chance, drawing his own mace and striking the dwarf on the arm as he staggered. With a roar, the dwarf lashed out at both in fury, striking one a ringing blow on the arm and driving both back. The short haired bow-woman moved to cover the door then, loosing arrows as she went. The thugs had only the back door through which to flee now and faught more ferociously. The dragonborn meanwhile pointed its sword at the scarred man.
“We fight to the death, bully man,” growled the dragonborn and then strode to meet the leader of the thugs.
He slashed out with his sword but the man ducked back and then raised his own blade, seemingly accepting the challenge. The raven haired woman moved past Lavren then to meet the club wielding foe who had attacked the elf earlier. She drove her blade into his belly and he fell beside his companion, soaking the floor with more blood. Mandratan ducked as his foe swiped at him again and the dwarf did likewise as the other who wielded a club swung at him. Lavren thought then that the battle would swiftly be won for the thugs faught poorly but then the dragonborn cried out and staggered back from the scarred man, clutching at his belly while still just holding his sword. He seemed sorely wounded and staggered again as he retreated. The scarred man came on and Lavren felt a furious anger rise within him. He lashed his hand out, wand held tightly in its grasp and loosed another blast of dark energy. It seared through the chest of one of the men and pitched him over a table. The elf felt an exhilaration he had never felt before as he used his fey powers to slay for the first time. He strode into the centre of the common room and surveyed the battle, seeking more enemies who could taste of his wrath.
Lavren watched as Mandratan retreated from the foe he faced just far enough to loose a silvery bolt of force at his enemy. Another foe fell then with a smoking black wound in his chest. Mandratan smiled stoically and then moved along the bar until he faced the flank of the remainder of the battle where the dwarf and the dragonborn faced the three ruffians that remained.
“I said to take care of them,” roared the scarred man then. “Not to dance with them!” The ruffians surged forward and drove back the dwarf and the dragonborn.
“Hold here!” called the dwarf to the dragonborn and the scaled creature seemed to recover for a moment, lashing out with its sword, cutting one of the ruffians. An arrow drove into the shoulder of the scarred man from the bow-woman near the door and he staggered, cursing. Lavren felt his confidence returning then and as he did, the dragonborn seemed to gain renewed strength, surging forward himself. The raven haired woman charged into the battle then, driving her sword into the leg of one of the ruffians and slowly, the three began to retreat towards the fireplace.
The scarred man lashed out with his blade but the dragonborn leaned back and avoided the swing. Lavren past another table and reached the row of booths, turning to wink at the archer who now stood behind him. Calling upon the mystic energy of the Feywild as he had rarely done before, he drew a brilliant white flame and sought to set it in the mind and body of the scarred man. Instead, the ragged curtains of the booth next to the man caught alight suddenly and burned with a bright white flame. Lavren cursed and from behind him, he heard the bow-woman do likewise. From the left of the battle, Mandratan called forth a rolling ball of fire that he hurled towards the nearest of the ruffians but alas all ducked or dodged and this too flew into the booth that had already been singed by Lavren. As it burst and set the drapes once more alight, all heard the barkeep squeal his frustration at the damage that was being done to his tavern.
The battle became more fierce then as the three thugs faught with more and more desperation. The short haired woman put aside her bow and pushed past Lavren with a wink of her own. She drove her blade into the thigh of the scarred man and he staggered, sinking to one knee. The dragonborn took a step forward and smashed the hilt of his sword into the man’s face, shattering his nose in a spray of blood. Beside them, the dwarf and the raven haired woman drove one of the ruffians back against the back of a couch that stood before the fire. Panic seemed to grip the thugs then. The scarred man turned to flee but both the short haired woman and the dragonborn brought their blades down upon him and cut him down. Lavren moved over to where Mandratan stood and loosed another blast of dark energy that struck the nearest of the ruffians, hurling him onto the back of the couch. Mandratan extended his hand and launched another silvery bolt of force at the stricken man. It seared through his chest, rolling him over the back of the couch onto its down-filled cushions. He did not rise.
The last of the ruffians darted around the couch and the seats before the fire and rushed to the back door. Pulling the portal open he made to dart out but the dwarf was upon him a heartbeat later. The short haired woman followed as did the others. Lavren raised a hand towards the man and loosed more dark energy that struck the door frame. The man made to duck through the door but Mandratan raised his own hand and struck the man in the back with a silvery bolt. He staggered and ducked through the door at the last as the short haired woman and the dwarf swiped at empty air.
The man huddled in the booth was dressed in plain clothes, indistinguishable from a craftsman or farmer were it not for the holy symbol that he now clutched in white-knuckled hands. The man’s brown hair was in utter disarray, and even after the battle, his thin, wiry frame quivered from the traumatic experience. He looked up at his rescuers with wide, blue eyes as they approached.
“Th-th-thank you so much for saving me,” he said. “Chauntea bless you; bless all of you! I thought for sure I was d-d-dead. My name is Gevarn, and I’m an acolyte of Chauntea.”
There was a brief commotion at the door then as the watch arrived to investigate the battle. The barkeep, despite much hand wringing at the damage, blood and bodies explained well what had occurred and the good deed that had been done and soon, the watchmen went on their way. Slowly, the barkeep began to tidy up, dragging the bodies to the door and bringing rags to mop up the pools of blood.
“Who were those men?” asked the raven haired woman who called herself Dulvarna and came from Eveningstar west of Arabel.
“Hired street thugs,” answered Gevarn, “ruffians sent by the forces of evil to stop me on my mission.”
“Your mission,” asked Lavren, his curiosity piqued once more. “Why were those men after you?”
“I come from a town called Winterhaven up in the Thunder Peaks,” Gevarn replied. “The cleric I serve, Sister Linora, has learned that a cult of Shar has asserted itself in our town. She sent me to go find help, but I’m afraid I’m not well-educated in the ways of the world, and those men must have tracked me down to stop me from finding aid.”
“We could help you find the aid you seek,” said Mandratan. “Where were you bound?”
“In truth I know not,” said Gevarn. “But having seen the way you battled my attackers here, perhaps you are the aid I am seeking.”
“Perhaps we are,” said Lavren. “And though I have travelled the Realms for a century or more I confess that I have never been to Winterhaven.”
The others nodded their approval of this without one pointing out that they had arrived as three groups and would leave as one.
Sep 26, 2008
Sadly, I have no groups nearby where I live, and my schedule is too busy to start one up. Thanks for writing this up, Shiftkitty, I've tried to play Solo before but somehow the game always collapsed.
I'll be sure to use this guide while I'm waiting for more posts on my PbP game -Thank you for taking the time to post this guide!
*Pulls up Microsoft Word and starts to copy-paste*