Categories
Dungeons & Dragons Storytelling

Rinn, the arcane trickster

I remember little from when I was a boy, many many years ago. Never knew my parents and the only semblance of family I had was a group of children “employed” by Lemm – a swindler, an abuser, a thief. We all were first taught and then forced to steal for him, spy on his enemies and perform many other illicit activities. We had nowhere to go, no one to call for help. The city never gave a shit about urchins like me – I occasionally muse on how my life could’ve turned out if I landed in a shelter or an orphanage. Instead, I stole, I spied, and got pretty good at it.
I was also different from the rest of the children in Lemm’s employment. At first, I did not understand why. I was maybe a little smaller than the rest, quite a bit faster – both useful traits in the streets of Korvosa. I would hear locals calling me an “elf”, however I knew not what that meant. I tried asking Lemm, the only adult who would maybe listen and answer, but he scolded and beat me instead and demanded spoils of thievery – trinkets I “found” that day.
The word elf became much like a swear word for me, a racial slur. Only when I looked at my reflection in a puddle of water I saw why they called me an elf – my long pointy ears were a dead giveaway. The reflection gave me more insight in why I was shunned by other urchins (mostly humans), so I started hiding my ears. Life got easier, but certainly never easy. The older I grew, the greater and more dangerous tasks Lemm sent us on – and the price of failure was high. I know now he would have never killed me – I was one of his best pickpockets – but the number of scars I have to this day shows he never hesitated to lash out at me.
One time Lemm asked me to do a job – steal from a local man, old guy he claimed, with a great beard. I spent half the day walking around his supposed home, looking for points of entry and escape routes, number of guards (there weren’t any). When night came, I snuck in his house, easily and silently opening his second floor window. Unbeknownst to me at the time, the old man was wizard, with protective charms I’ve never encountered before. I was silent as ever, not a squeak came from the floor when I stepped inside and walked along the corridors. Yet, the old man was ready and waiting in his study.
Never before have I stolen from people with magical powers, so I did not know better. I charged in, hoping to simply grab the item Lemm ordered me to steal – and I recognised it the second I took a look in the room – the odd looking orb, but a few inches wide, was prominently displayed on his table. So I rushed in, avoiding the old man’s attempts to grab me, but the moment I touched the orb, something happened. A trap? I gave a concerned look to the wizard, who, at the time, appeared to move super fast. Or was it me moving extremely slow?
I barely understood what he was saying – but he certainly wasn’t happy about my attempt of theft and was promising jail time and extreme punishment. I started sweating, more scared than I ever was in my short life – at the time I was maybe 10 or 11 years old. I saw the old man turning his hands in odd motions and mumbling gibberish when great pain erupted within me. I squinted in pain, closed my eyes.
The pain was gone and the sounds changed – as if I was no longer in the old man’s study, but outside. I felt a pleasant midnight breeze and opened my eyes. I was indeed outside, not far from the wizard’s home. I heard him open his front doors and saw him frantically looking around for me. Our eyes locked. His look changed – no longer was he angry, but instead.. interested. Nonetheless, I turned and ran. Few urchins could outrun me in the streets and certainly not an old man.
Problem is, not only have I not gotten the orb out, but I also alerted the wizard. And that was the worst of all – I knew Lemm would be angry. I hesitated for hours before coming back. Too exhausted to consider other options, I crashed in one of the abandoned houses we used as shelters. Sleep took me fast. Yet I woke even faster due to sharp pain.
I opened my eyes to see Lemm, hovering over me.
“You little shit.” That’s all he said before stepping on my hands with his heavy boots. I felt my fingers buckle the wrong way and nearly fainted from agony. Lemm kept kicking me and thrashing my hands with a stick he found lying on the floor.
I woke hours later with every inch of me in pain. Worst of all, I checked my hands – fingers on the left hand were disfigured and I could not control them at all. Hurt, I spent the next few days lying in “bed” crying. When I finally woke, driven by hunger I went back to the streets. I know I looked pitiful, more than most urchins in town. Had I simply been dirty, I would’ve been ignored, for sure. But most passersby noticed I was hurt too, so they gave me food and drink. Since then, I try to return the generosity as much as possible – had it not been for them, I would’ve died in the gutter. I do sometimes watch over the people I remember helping – the baker especially – who handed a fresh bun into my trembling hand.
I survived for a few days this way, Lemm seemingly losing his interest in me, until I was tracked down by the old man. Once I saw him, I tried to run, but felt myself paralised. He caught up to me, looked me in the eyes and said.
“We have to talk.”
He led me not to jail or even his home, but the academy of magical arts. He was one of the teachers there, always on the lookout for magically gifted people, especially children, who were easier to train and develop. He brought me on to the council of enrollment, where they asked me to do simple magics. They discerned my heritage and explained that high elves (I was one, apparently) had innate magical powers. Simple tricks, for sure, but I could be taught, if I was willing.
I was in a desperate situation – hungry, injured with nowhere to go, so I agreed. There were positives in the academy – I did learn some magical skills and I could improve even more, should I wish. But that’s about it. Both the teachers (well, most of them but a select few) and students were arrogant, willing to hurt others in pursuit of greatness. Korvosa is indeed a city where all types of magic are allowed, even those deemed evil by most – like necromancy.
I was not evil – I saw so much good in my youth, but I was also a troublemaker. My favorite magical school was illusion, so I would play tricks on my teachers, I even learned to make my mage hand invisible, lending to even more trickery. I prided myself in silently pickpocketing necromancers, just to (invisibly) fight the black arts.
I also had this great teacher, an older elf. He was different from the rest, as not only was he magically skilled, but also proficient with a blade. He trained me, as a fellow elf, how to fight in melee well with his preferred weapon, a rapier. His fighting style was unlike anything I ever saw, a bladesinger he called himself. The way he fought was more like a dance or a performance, graceful, yet equally deadly. I know not where the elf disappeared though, as he simply vanished one day.
With him gone and me being forced to join necromancy classes I was torn apart. I could not in good conscience study there and become just like them – the greedy selfish magic abusers. Teachers and students alike noticed my negativity so after 5 years of training (which was nothing in the grand scheme of learning to become a wizard), I was thrown out. By then my hands were healed, although still scarred, so I got myself a pair of gloves. They would both cover by hands and be a reminder of the injustices in Korvosa. Armed now with skills and magic, I started hunting Lemm and his cronies. Elusive as he was, I managed to save some of the urchins slaving away at his factories or as pickpockets (I saw myself in their eyes) and gave them homes, food and shelter. To this day, I have not found Lemm, but driven by vengeance and righteousness, I will.

Categories
Entrepreneurship & self-development Web Development

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Categories
Dungeons & Dragons

Drizalle of House T’sistyn

This is a background for a character in my D&D game, playing Out of the Abyss.

House T’sistyn were great traders of exotic materials, mostly harvested from otherworldly beings or monstrosities. They were especially known for their poisons – Rylryn T’sistyn was a great ranger, one whom would hunt the most dangerous venomous beasts, extract their poison and then sell it off. He trained his son and daughter – Tathrogh and Drizalle in the arts of the hunt and tracking in the Underdark, but died when Demogorgon crash landed in his hometown. Most of their stock was destroyed as well, so was their fortune.

House T’sistyn then lost most of its power and fame – both the offspring still in training, although skillful, were not able to provide as great poisons and materials to their clients. Tathrogh and Drizalle were then forced to embark on more dangerous and difficult hunts – Tathrogh joined the Dark Hunter group, scouring the Wormwrithings for purple worm eggs and poison, while Drizalle went on to hunt a variety of aberrations and monstrosities – as quite a few of these could be found in the Underdark post the arrival of the demon lords.

However, something befell Tathrogh and his Dark Hunters, as he never returned from one of his hunts. Months later, Drizalle came back to Menzoberranzan, could not find her older brother and decided to join another expedition – this time – to the Wormwrithings. The tunnels the purple worms dug out were no match for her tracking skills and she quickly found their nest.

That Dark Hunter group consisted of a mage Bemril Lueltar, her, as main tracker, and 8 more drow hunters. In the nest, they discovered a giant caretaker, one whom would protect the eggs while the purple worms were away. Drizalle prepared sleeping poison for him, waited for his return to his ramshackle home just beside the nest, when all of a sudden, fighting began. She silently snuck closer and saw a group of adventurers – killing of the giant and unfortunately, alerting the worms. A great fight ensued, with the adventurers somehow surviving the two purple worms, however, with great damage – as most of the eggs were destroyed in the crossfire.

She then snuck back and told Bemril what she saw. He, unwilling to lose his prize to outsiders, ordered them to stealthily approach and attack. The adventurers were not amused by the hunter’s demands to lay down the egg they still had and leave – and fighting ensued. However, drow hunters were tactical, preferring to whittle down their enemies, rather than engage them head on.

Drizalle stayed her bow. Why would there be outsiders here, in the Wormwrithings? Especially looking for purple worm eggs – an expensive material used for very difficult magic rituals? While the rest of the group tried harassing the adventurers, she harvested the purple worms – mostly for their delicate poison. The other drow collected the rest of the eggs and returned to their camp.

Soon enough, the adventurers started running – holding on to the egg they marched through the tunnels, slowly. They were hurt and tired, while the drow hunters were mostly fresh – so it was only a matter of time they were too weak to fight. However, a wizard in the party shielded them from their attack. Now, well rested, they were too risky to fight with, so the group decided to not confront them anymore.

Drizalle was again surprised when the adventurers, now rested and healthy, turned around and headed back to the nest. The mage and other hunters, seeing this, turned back and decided to travel back – they had gotten more than they expected already, having not planned to kill the worms, just ransack their nests and leave.

Drizalle, however, stayed behind.

Drizalle
Medium humanoid (drow elf), lawful neutral
Armor Class 19 (drow studded leather +2)
Hit Points 86
Speed 30 ft
STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
13 (+1) 20 (+5) 14 (+2) 12 (+1) 15 (+2) 10 (+0)
Saving throws Strength +5, Dexterity +9
Bonuses Initiative +5
Skills Perception +6 Stealth +9 Survival +6
Senses darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 16
Languages Common (limited), Undercommon, Elvish, Deep Speech, Abyssal
Challenge 13

Sharpshooter. Drizalle’s ranged weapon attacks ignore half cover and three-quarters cover. Before Drizalle makes an attack with a ranged weapon, she can choose to take a -5 penalty to the attack roll. If the attack hits, add +10 to the attack’s damage.
Alert.Drizalle can’t be surprised while she’s conscious. Other creatures don’t gain advantage on attack rolls against Drizalle as a result of being hidden from her.
Greater Favored Enemy. Drizalle gains a +4 bonus to damage rolls with weapon attacks against Monstrosities and Aberrations (+ advantage on saves against their spells and abilities). Additionally, you have advantage on Wisdom (Survival) checks to track your favored enemies, as well as on Intelligence checks to recall information about them.
Colossus Slayer. Once per turn 1d8 if below max health.
Spellcasting. Drizalle is a 11th-level spellcaster. His spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 14, +6 to hit with spell attacks). Drizalle has the following ranger spells prepared:
Cantrips: dancing lights
1st level (4 slots): hunter’s mark, longstrider, absorb elements
2nd level (3 slots): pass without trace, find traps, protection from energy
3rd level (3 slots): nondetection
Racial: faerie fire 1/day, darkness 1/day

Actions

Multiattack. Drizalle makes two longbow attacks.
Longbow +2. Ranged Weapon Attack: +13 to hit, range 150/600 ft, one target. Hit: 18 (1d6 + 7) piercing damage, DC 12 con save or poisoned for 1 hour (DC 14 and 1d8 with special arrows). 5+ fail unconscious. Drizalle can, as a bonus action, coat the arrow with the purple worm poison, dealing 42 (12d6) on a hit (DC 19 con save).
Volley. You can use your action to make a ranged attack against any number of creatures within 10 feet of a point you can see within your weapon’s range. You must have ammunition for each target, as normal, and you make a separate attack roll for each target.

Photo credits.

Categories
Storytelling

Sometimes I was a great warrior…

Sometimes I was a great warrior. I would walk into the battlefield and with a flurry of axe swings kill my mortal enemies. Or I would venture into dungeons to fight great evil hidden within – and enjoy the spoils after such endeavours. I was not a noob like the others – those who were farming for herbs or meats, never in danger or combat – hah – I would not trifle with such nonsense. I was warrior. My livelihood was fighting.
Until 10 PM when my damn parents would tell me to stop playing and go to bed. Usually, I played for longer, until I was finished with a quests or some task I wanted to do, and would occasionally notice the screen going black – with my father standing beside me, the end of the electricity plug in his hands.
– Time to bed, – he would say angrily. – You have school tomorrow.
I would not reply, just run away angrily straight to bed, unwilling to talk to anyone.
The school was a torture for me. I had but a few friends, whom we’d talk about the same game as I would play after school. The other’s were bullies to me, laughing and picking on me.
The game was an escape, and one I felt happy to escape to.
Sometimes I was a great ancient elf druid. I would walk into the battlefield and heal my allies, who suffered wounds in the hands of the enemy. Or I would venture into dungeons, mending the wounds and protecting my friends against the evil within. Then the screen would go black.
“Time for bed, – father would say, angrily. – You have school tomorrow.”
I would keep thinking about what I was going to achieve later in the day, when I’m back in the world I loved and one that loved me (unlike the one I was in). I had plans to do, monsters to conquer, battles to win.
Sometimes I was an archer. I would walk into the battlefield and send hailes of arrows on my enemies, dropping them one by one. Or I would venture into dungeons, where I would hunt the evil beings within and bring home their trophies. Then the screen would go black.
I looked around, to where I’d see my father, yet who I saw was an older man, clad in armor, with a golden exclamation mark above his head. Seemingly, just standing there, waiting. I turned to him:
“Hello, Dick1337, we need your help. The orc scouts are stealing our livestock and killing our villagers, please help us! We need you to find and dispose of 10 of them.”
Kill? I looked at myself – my sweatpants turned into tough looking leather pants, my t-shirt with a Batman sign – a leather jacket and red shirt underneath. I held two daggers, roughly made.
“Hah, I’m a rogue it seems.” I said out loud. Never was much into rogues, but why not. Maybe I would try them out, if I liked their playstyle. After this crazy dream, obviously.
I tried to bend down some, as if hiding, taking small light steps.
“This is pretty neat.” I thought to myself.
I walked for 50 or so meters towards the nearby treeline. There I saw an orc, clad in black robes, daggers out in his hands. I came closer, yet he didn’t seem to react.
“I’m so sneaky.” I thought to myself.
I walked even closer, and closer, until I could reach him. And smell him – the smell was horrendous, of sweat and unwashed clothing, rotten meat – all of them mixed up. Disgusting. Yet even at this range, he did not appear to see me.
I held the dagger in my right hand – thinking where to stab. Or better, slice. The neck? Stomach? Straight to the heart? That could work. I aimed and pushed the dagger as hard as I could. The tip hit the leather armor, yet it did not pierce through enough – I was in my body still (and sports were never my thing).
And that moment he moved. He blurbed something in his language, shouted angrily and stuck his daggers straight through my body. Blood gushed out. I always was afraid of the dentist, as the pain they inflicted was great. The pain I felt just now was incomparable. I lowered my head down and saw the daggers deep in my flesh. The orc then pulled one out, aimed again and pierced my stomach. I could smell the stench of rot, the pain overwhelming all other senses. I passed out.
When I had nightmares – I remembered – I would usually wake up on death. Yet this time, I felt nothingness for a second. Empty void, where nothing happened, nothing was. And then light. And then I stood again, surrounded by tombstones, huddled together in a small graveyard. I checked on my wounds – there were none. I felt fine. Made a few steps forward and saw, some meters ahead, the same quest giver. Standing there. Waiting for my return.

///

I did not want to do that again. The pain was excruciating. I tried to wake up, slapping my face, closing and opening my eyes, yet nothing changed. I could still see the damn quest giver, and.. And I think I can still see the orc, still standing at his spot, unmoving, waiting for someone to attack.
I dared not move any closer.
I weighed my options. I could try to complete the quest, yet the chance of success was low. Or I could just run somewhere and hide – I could see a path leading out. I chose the latter.
Following the path was easy, as no orcs or monsters seemed to wander close to the road. Be as it may, the forest where this “adventure” took place was beautiful, with deer wandering about, boars peacefully digging the earth for roots. I would also hear wolves, howling in the distance.
After ten or so minutes of walking I reached a small town, with an inn, a blacksmith and more quests. A bunch of other people, warriors clad in heavy armor, archers and wizards stood there. Talking, trading. I thought that visiting the blacksmith might be a good idea – if I got some better equipment, maybe I could fight off the orcs somehow. I checked my pockets for money and found only a few copper.
I walked to one of the richer looking ones and asked if they could give me some gold. No response. I tried another one, and another one, yet in the end it seemed I was completely ignored. You’d think that people would be helpful to someone in trouble, yet it seems to not be the case.
I am a rogue though. A thief. I’ll try to steal something. That moment I realised I haven’t eaten for quite a while, and noticed a fruit vendor. I tried asking for something, but there was no reply. So I just edged towards the stall, checked whether anyone was watching and grabbed an apple.
Not sure whether attacking an orc or trying to steal was a worse idea. Moment later I could see a group armor clad guards running towards me and the first who came sliced me halfway down.
At least the void came faster this time and felt less pain.
Seconds after I stood in a graveyard, huddled to the side of the small village.

///

Nothing changed in the town. I could walk around freely, guards peacefully patrolling along the road. I checked for signs – directions to other villages. Thunderwind was to one side, Blueridge Mountains to the other. Thunderwind sounds kinda neat, let me follow that path.
It seemed to be as safe as before, yet I had this odd feeling that it was not safe. And I swear I heard some noises, like whispers coming from the bushes off the path. I kept running, increasing the pace, weary that something might happen.
Just before my eyes, a rogueish fellow appeared in the middle of the road. He held two daggers, seemingly dripping with some green liquid. He removed his mask – and revealed a rotten face with a tongue dangling down. He laughed. And disappeared again.
I started dashing, as fast as I could. I was not into sports, nor I ever liked running. I could hear giggles following me. I ran this way for close to ten minutes, not daring to turn back and have a look. Eventually, I started to see gates to a city – roughly a few hundred feet away. For a second I thought I could outrun that rogue. But when I got closer, I felt a stab in the back – sharp pain went through my body. I did not die outright. I stumbled for a few seconds and my blood started burning, spreading like wildfire across my whole body. I fell to the ground, started convulsing and died.
A second in the void and I’m back at the small village and its graveyard.
I tried reaching the town a few more times, but the same happened – just before the gates I would be stabbed and die.
I asked for help – yet again, as with the money, noone agreed to help. The guards ignored me, for the most part – they only offered me directions, nothing else.
So I just gave up and stood there. I would argue that I got used to the pain somehow. Sure, it’s painful and all, but it does not last that long. It’s a wonder what you can get used to..

///

I needed something. Either to become stronger, or get better weapons. Or both. Instead of trying yet again to reach the city, I walked straight into the forest. I saw a bunch of boars, roaming around, nibbling at the roots. I saw real boars with my uncle once – protective of their youth, somewhat aggressive, yet afraid of humans as much as I was afraid of them. The boars here were different, they seemed to not mind me at all, much like the orc before.
I walked around it, thinking maybe I should try to kill him. Or her. Whatever.
I held my dagger out, aiming somewhere around the neck – and sliced open with a swift movement of the blade. I have never in my life seen so much blood. And the sound the boar made was even worse – the loud squealing, gurgling, getting quieter and quieter the more time passed. I froze, just standing there, while the beast slowly died. I was soaked in blood. I started crying. I dropped down on the ground.
“What have I done..” A couple of boar piglets appeared from the bushes some meters away, hobbled to the dead boar and nuzzled their noses to its body.
I remembered that old South Park episode, where the characters would farm the boars until their level was high enough to defeat their nemesis. No way I’m killing any more boars. I just can’t. One was more than enough for me.
I walked to the nearby river, sat on my knees and started rinsing my hands and face with the cold river water. Now shivering both from the bloody encounter and the water itself, I looked around. It was actually a very beautiful forest. Peaceful, with the wind blowing the leaves of ancient looking trees. I just sat there, thinking. When playing games I would rarely stop and enjoy the view – it used to be mostly about rushing to the harder challenges, to better loot, to higher prestige and whatnot. Not just enjoying the view amazing artists have crafted for the players.

///

To be continued.

Categories
Dungeons & Dragons

The Alchemist’s Ruse

The adventurers come to know of a newly opened tavern, one owned by a half-orc named Dronk. Since its opening a month ago, people started disappearing in the neighbourhood and some say it’s the half-orcs fault. It’s up to the adventurers to discover the truth…

The Alchemist’s Ruse is an adventure best suited for the Out of the Abyss campaign, when the adventurers first leave the Underdark (at roughly level 8). The story uses one of the demon lords, Orcus. Two of his followers, Cuet (artificier) and Rrakas (treachery paladin; both based on the Unearthed Arcana character options), want to bring death to the city the adventurers are resting in.

Cuet, being exceptionally smart, created an elaborate plan on how to mislead the adventurers, framing the wrong people, hiding any leads so as to prolong how much time he has to develop his disease. If the PCs are quick on their feet and creative, they might find the actual source and the real culprit fast; however, if Cuet succeeds in tricking them, doom will come to the city (and so will the demon lord Orcus).

Download your copy on dmsguild.com

Version 1.1:

– Reduced the damage of the zombies, and in turn – the difficulty of the final boss fight

– Added more spell options for Cuet and a new necromancy item Vial of Souls (based on the Magic Jar spell)

– Described the outcome when the PCs loose the final fight in the Laboratory and die (some or all of them)

– Fixed some typos

Categories
Dungeons & Dragons

Druid: Circle of Nourishment

The Druid circles currently released focus either on spellcasting (land), o shapeshifting (moon). The Circle of Nourishment is my experimental idea on how to make a healing archetype for a druid, not only with extra healing power (in the heal over time effect) but with a heavy roleplaying side – the druid in this circle walks and heals everything around him/her (willingly or not).

Download your copy on dmsguild.com

This is version 1.0, untested, so if you have any suggestions / balancing questions / ideas on how to improve this archetype, comment down below.

Image credits: Jessica Weiller

Categories
Entrepreneurship & self-development

Apie meno ir kūrybos vertę gyvenimams

Ėmiau reguliariai rašyti sau – pavadinkim journal’inimu – kasdien kokias nors man kylančias mintis / idėjas / klausimus bandau užsirašyti taip, kad ir pats po to, perskaitęs po dienos kitos, galėčiau geriau suprasti, kas kamuoja ar apie ką dar reiktų rimčiau pamąstyti. Dauguma tų minčių Facebook’o “šviesos” neišvys, bet vieną prisiminiau ir nusprendžiau paplėtoti pamatęs trumpą interviu su Cillian Murphy (žinomas kaip Thomas Shelby iš Peaky Blinders).

Aš nekart mečiau rimtus darbus (didžiam brolio nusivylimui) su mintim, kad kažkas su jais negerai; kad galbūt galėčiau daryti kažką tokio, už ką man pačiam mažiau “skaudėtų”. Tai atrasti man padėjo ne kas kito, o Dungeons & Dragons žaidimai. Tiek žaisti pačiam, kaip veikėjui, tiek vesti žaidimus man yra daugiausia visko apimantis entertainment – panašu į žaidimus, filmus, dainas ir knygas sutrintas į vieną košę, bet kartu ir su tokiais spirgais, kurių aš pats gyvenime neturėjau progos patirti – vaidyba, improvizacija, kartais (nusi)dainavimu ar mėgdžiojimu.

Per tuos metus reguliarių vestų žaidimų “besididžiuojančio tėčio ašarą nubraukti” priversdavo dalyvių asmeninės transformacijos. Kaip jie ima ir po truputį, palaipsniui atsiskleidžia (ima vaidinti, siūlyti idėjas, planus ir t.t.; ypač pamenu vieną vyruką, kuris pirmą kartą nedrįso prakalbti, o kitą, įsidrąsinęs, ėmė skaldyti tiek juokus, tiek dalintis geromis idėjomis). Be to, žaidžiant pasimiršta vargai ir sunkumai realiame gyvenime – visi tie stresą keliantys klausimai atitolsta, bent tai akimirkai.

Kaip ir geri filmai / knygos / dainos, D&D suteikia vilties, kad rytojus išties bus geresnis (pun vieno mano žaidimo dalyviams), ir kad mūsų rankose galimybė pakeisti savo gyvenimus į gera. Daugybė mano draugų užaugo ir kažko išmoko iš Harry Potter’io ar Hermionos; įkvėpti Yodos ar, neseniai, Rey; o galbūt tiesiog Frozen veikėjų (kaip mano dukterėčia).

Interviu atitinkamu laiku: https://goo.gl/JRlmpd

Categories
Dungeons & Dragons Storytelling

The Gith

It seemed the adventurers were strong – two powerful frontliners, the silver scaled paladin Shamack and the lumbering minotaur barbarian Karr, eagle-eyed Odrich, who peppered enemies with arrows or crossbows, the newly joined healer Melisa & the ever dodgy no-one-knows-his-source-of-power warlock Azure. Fyf was also hiding somewhere. No one saw him since.

Yet after leaving the troubles of Underdark they didn’t not expect to face the Gith armada (but saying armada is kinda a lie, only a scouting force). They had this coming for a long while. Shamack once joined his order’s expedition to the Astral Plane, in search of the Gith and their strongholds. The paladins being not the most sneaky of fighters, they were soon discovered and forced to retreat. By sheer luck or an accident, Shamack ended grabbing the weapon of one of the most powerful Gith warriors – a long, beautifully crafted silver greatsword.

Little did he know at the time, that touching, even more so – wielding that blade is considered a sacrilege. The retrieval of such a blade then drives the warriors to pursue the thieves at any cost. Yet if the blade remains unused, tracking its location remains difficult. It took the adventurers quite a few months until Karr decided to try out the blade, first on a dummy, then various enemies of Blindgestone.

His usage was crude and unskilled, the potential – far from achieved. Yet he mowed enemies down with ease. And when finally they left Underdark, the Gith scout, riding a wyvern, caught the glimpse of the blade wielding minotaur. It doesn’t take long for the ever-fighting Gith to launch and attack. The adventurers took solace in the hospitality of a couple of farmers and later in the night did not expect much after hearing strange sounds coming from their hosts house. Yet the sounds and the burning house was only a distraction for the incoming forces – a scout airship and a group of warriors, some again riding wyverns, surrounded the farm. They were quick, quicker than the adventurers expected. And they hurt. No matter how much Shamack and Karr tried supporting each other, blow after blow they were hurt. Bad. Karr, still holding on to the blade, was at death’s door not once, but a few times, yet Shamack’s healing powers kept him up, barely. They wyverns mauling his body, the blades cutting deeper and deeper, they fell. Azure, seeing the predicament dimension doored 500 feet up, while Melisa, at first safe because of her fire magic, just ran.

But it’s not so grimm as one would expect. At the first sight of the Gith airship, Shamack asked his deity, the platinum dragon Bahamut, for help. Little did he know the moment he was in trouble Bahamut was aware of the Gith and their allies, the hated red dragonflight. He just needed the exact location.. Here.. The airship was immediately surrounded by platinum dragon like spirits, and soon, a bigger more dragon like formed. The airship trashed, tried all the maneuvers it could, but if it had stayed any longer, it’s destruction was certain. As the warriors plane shift, so did the ship. In a moment it was gone. So the dragon turned his attention to the fight near the farm.

Melisa was running as fast as she could, without ever looking back. The Gith were messing around with her, yelling words she did not understand, laughing, yet stayed, it seemed, only a few feet away. For a second she glimpsed a strange silvery light race above the trees. Then silence fell. She slowed down, looked around, yet no one was following her anymore.

Shamack was, at the time, drifting between consciousness and death, yet he didn’t feel hopeless. And he didn’t know why, but felt.. safe, somehow. Something familiar, something he truly believed in was coming. He felt reassured. Even when the Gith were cutting his hands off – like a true thieves punishment. The pain was excruciating, yet he knew it was going to be alright.

While Karr didn’t even feel a thing.

It took a while before any of them returned to consciousness. The traumas they suffered were extreme. Shamack opened his eyes, in pain, with huge cuts on his body, still feeling each hit as it happened just know. How much time it has been since the fight? An hour? A day? A soothing voice distracted his thinking. “You’re finally awake”. He heard Melinda talk. “You’re healing nicely and I bet you’ll love to hear what happened. Look at your new hands!”. “What does she mean “new””, he thought. His vision was still blurry, but when he saw what she meant, a tiny tear raced through his cheek. He could still see where the scales on his hands ended, midway between the hand and elbow, but the rest.. Was pure platinum. Flexible, durable, warm. He slowly made a fist, then stretched his fingers again. “Thank you.” he said and drifted to sleep.

What Karr woke to was different. Due to his, hmm, animalistic nature, he had to be treated in a less crowded place. And for some reason, unbeknownst to the hospital staff, two cows stayed next to him the whole time. Mooing when he seemed to be in pain, silently watching when he slept peacefully.

The rest of the adventurers got off easier – with less scars and less treatment required. And while they would occasionally visit the sick two, Neverwinter, their goal for now, was reached. New adventures await and we’ll see what they bring.

Image credits: Nick Karvounis

Categories
Storytelling

The cell

It’s damn cold. Been here for.. I’m not even sure how long. Tried scratching the walls with something to mark the passing of days, but what’s the point. Eventually, it will work out. I smirk, a tiny bit, on the corner of my lips. The guard, who has been watching me this last shift, turns to me. “Why the hell are you smiling? Gone crazy or something? Should we get you a crazy man’s jacket, lock you up between pillowed walls?” I turn to him, the smile now even wider. “You do know you’re a dead man? Walking on borrowed time? It’s just a matter of time ’til I get my blade back.” “You shit, you’re never touching any blade again. You’ve been a thorn in our master’s arse for way too long, so just sit tight. The noose is what you’ll get, not that damn blade.” The guard then spit in my direction, missing by a mile (figuratively).

I was foolish to trust him. It did seem too good to be true – gaining access to the inner chamber of Malcer’s where I could end it once and for all, but I was too hasty. The countless messages I received beforehand from Tamer describing the castle turned out to be misleading and the guards were warned of my coming. To tell you the truth, I was not exactly surprised when I saw Malcer surrounded by guards, with a mocking smile on his face. I am fast, but not fast enough to cut him down and then survive. At least without preparation. Tamer seemed to also have informed the guards to cover my most likely escape routes. So I just laid my blade down and invited their punches and kicks with a smile, never letting my eyes of Malcer. “Lock him up fast, I hate the look on his face! Something’s is truly wrong with him, Tamer.” “I warned you master, he’s messed up, hoping he can do something to stop you”. He laughed, dryly, while I was being dragged further away, bleeding.

I keep rethinking whether I could’ve done anything better, was there an out for me, where I would not have to endure this waiting. Yes, waiting. The pain will pass, I heal fast and nothing they can do will actually break me. It’s just the waiting that annoys me right now. Shhh. Too much thinking, relax. And I drift into deep meditation.

My inner peace is broken when I hear the sound of doors being kicked open. One of the other guards runs in – and it takes only a fraction of a second – the head of the prison guard flies off. The eyes still seem to have the look of surprise. The attacker walked close to the cell door, picked up the keys off the dead guard, opened the cell and slowly extended the hilt of the blade. I’ve seen this look on the wielders face before. The eerie emptiness of the eyes, the lack of blood in the surface skin. I felt the cold emanating from his body, but the moment I touched the blade I felt the familiar warmth filling me. Reassuring warmth. First the hands, then the chest, then my whole body.

I sensed calm. And anger. “Are you ready to finish this?” I asked, silently. A brief spike of temperature touched the hand wielding the blade, and I knew she was ready.

The next day guards came in to check on me, but they only saw two dead guards, both with their heads sliced off clean. Raising the alarm they went up the stairs to check on Malcer. Once their bashed the door open, silence fell. Placed there, on the throne of his, were two heads, with eyes that seem to have seen the devil, yet with smiles, one mocking and one that of a betrayer.

Image credits: Riccardo Pelati

Categories
Dungeons & Dragons Storytelling

Daktaras

Mano veikėjo istorija Petro žaidimui.

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Rytas. 6:00. Ta kasdienė rutina jam pabodo, įkyrėjo iki gyvo kaulo (na, bent čia bėdos nėra, profesiniai ypatumai). “Po velniais..! – kaskart rikteli nuskambėjus žadintuvui. – Kodėl sumeistravau šį pragaro įnagį..” Persiverčia ant vieno šono, ant kito. Kažkur seniai skaitė, kad meditacija gali padėti sukontroliuoti belakstančias mintis, tad akimirką nurimsta, ima lėtai kvėpuoti, dar lėčiau skaičiuoti nuo vieno iki dešimt.. Vienas.. Du.. Trys.. .. .. Septyni.. Aštuoni..

Dunkst dunkst dunkst į duris. “Daktare, kelkitės! – pasigirsta pažįstamas balsas, seselės Àngelės. – Atgabeno dar vieną, panašu, iš Dūmuvos bastūnų grupės. Jis negali sustoti kosėti. Taip pat tam svetimšaliui pernakt pablogėjo..”

… Devyni ane.

Pramerkia akis ir kaip įprasta tenka skubomis rengtis. Kiek jis pamena visad prabusdavo vienas – nė viena mergina taip ir nesugebėjo priprasti prie jo gyvenimo ritmo. Tik kaip per rūką prisimena savo tėvus. Kai klausdavo savo globotojo, ramybės jam klajojant po amžinuosius Rūkus, Dūmuvos garsiausio chirurgo Hipokrato, tas atsakydavo, kad jo tėvai žuvo konflikto su Miglavija metu, o jį, tuomet kelių metų, saugiai paslėpė spintoje.

Kol kas atrodo, kad jis pagyvens ilgėliau (senokai bebuvo kilę rimtų karinių konfliktų), nors net baisu pagalvoti, duok Rūke, kaip rytai atrodys pasiekus senyvą amžių. Dabar, kol smarvės netrūksta, juk tik į ketvirtą dešimtį įlipo, rankos nedreba nei marškinius segantis, nei skalpeliu mosikuojant. Prabėgomis žvilgteli į veidrodį. Sulysęs. Kažką reikia daryti. Kartais pasvajoja, kad galėtų mesti šį streso kupiną darbą, gaminti skanų maistą, valgyti ir valgyti, bet nė velnio. Veikiau jį pavers vergu ir per prievartą įstums pro operacinės duris nei leis kur nors prapulti.

O stresas sveikatai atsiliepia. Palaikyti kokią nors fizinę jėgą (STR 0) ar ištvermę (CON 1) be galo sunku – nuolatinis miego trūkumas, mažai laisvo laiko. Net operacinėje sukinėtis kartais būna sunku (DEX 1). Turbūt visų blogiausia, kad plaukai ėmė žilti – jam baisu, kad net gerų sąmojų (CHA 2 ir INT 3 + 1) greit nebeužteks karts nuo karto užsukant išgėryklon. Na, bent jo mėlynos akys visdar gana kerinčios.. Apsidairo (PER 2). “Kur po velniais jį numečiau.. A. Štai kur tu, mielasis.” Griebia revolveriui už rankenos, įsikiša į dėtuvę ir išbėga link klinikos.

“Kas pasirodė pagaliau! – pasisveikino, tiesdamas kavos puodelį, asistentas Anestezas. – Àngelė pristatė situaciją?” Tą akimirką abiejų žvilgsniai pakrypo link jos, dezinfekuojančios įrangą. “Įdomu, kas būtų jei ji galėtų normaliai išsimiegoti. Sakoma lyg grožio miegas toks yra. – pamąstė jis galvoje. – Nors ką ten, nereikia. Ji net daugybė dienų kaip mes neišsimiegojus tokia pat nuostabiai graži.” Akimirką atsargiai jai nusišypso, ji taip pat atsargiai šypteli atgal. Anestezis nusikosėja. “Prie reikalo, gerbiamieji!”. Patalpoje guli du vyrukai, vienas su Dūmuvos simbolika, kitas apsirengęs neįprastais drabužiais. Kaip miestely atsirado pastarasis niekas tiksliai nežino, o ir paklausti kol kas nepavyko – anas jau kelintą dieną karščiuoja ir panašu, kad situacija tik blogėja.

“Bastūno šeimos nariai paliko dūmų ir mėnuliukės, padėjau pas Jus ant stalo.” Taip, jis mato “pakišą”. Per savo daugiametę karjerą dūmų nemaža pavyko prisirinkti (tikrai ne kaip uždarbį iš miesto..), belieka rasti kur juos panaudoti. Patyrusiu, ne pagal amžių, žvilgsniu apžiūri abu ligonius. Bastūnas atrodo prastai, bet gyvybei didelės grėsmės nėra. To negalėtų pasakyti apie kitatautį. “Paruoškit operacinę svetimšaliui, nebegalime laukti. Situacija su vaistais nepasitaisė, reiks operuoti.” Anestezas atsisuka. “Bet bet jis kitatautis, negi švaistysim laiką jam?!” Jis žino, kad už principus ankščiau ar vėliau (greičiausiai ankščiau) atsirūgs, bet visa gyvybė yra vienodai vertinga. “Gana kalbų, ar viskas paruošta?” Darkart apžvelgė ar viskas, ko prireiks operacijai po ranka, lėtai įkvėpė ir atvėrė svetimšalio žaizdą skalpeliu.

Įgūdžiai: gydytojas +2, pistoletai +2, krapštalas +2, įtikinėtojas +2, psichologas +2

Talentai: Chirurgas (1), Alchemikas (1)

HP: 15 + 2 = 17

Gynyba (DEF): 10 + 1 = 11

1 patirties taškas užsilikęs.

Image credits: michael