D&D 101: The Party Harasses a Guy for No Reason

Dungeon Master Jordan Barber leads our heroes into a cavernous tunnel, rife with danger and, uh, mold.

In their previous adventure, the group had recently dispatched an errant ogre from terrorizing a nearby village. Though put at ease by the party’s ability to protect them, the villagers informed the group that this was not the first encounter with strange monsters in recent history.

In fact, the village has suffered a string of odd attacks for several weeks now, though they are reluctant to tell the party the specifics. Handley Toshane, ever the cozener, eventually gains the confidence of a village councilman who let spill that an abandoned (some villagers would say haunted) house nearby was the target of a recent excavation by an unlucky group of adventurers. Apparently, this group attempted to explore a strange tunnel underneath the house. They met their end underground, their corpses left to rot. Since then, the village has been hit by attacks from any number of monsters.

Perhaps the two events are related?


The Cast
Jordan as… the Dungeon Master
Nick as… Handley Toshane, a male Halfling Rogue
Kevin as… Twitter McFacebook, a transgendered Human Wizard
Clay as… Sasha Fierce, a female (lesbian) Elf Avenger
Aaron as… Bigby O’Toole, a male Half-Elf Cleric
Sean as… Chen Stubsters, a male Dwarf Fighter

And Introducing
Daniel as… Lorilla, a female Gnome Bard
Lucinda as… Emma Fierce, a female (lesbian) Dragon-born Paladin

(Perceptive readers will notice that Emma Fierce is now played by Lucinda rather than Clay. This was change was due to Clay’s concern that Emma simply wasn’t “his type” of woman. Instead, Clay now plays Sasha Fierce, Emma’s wilder, fiercer friend. They are of course unrelated, as the surname Fierce is terribly widespread these days.)

Kevin: If this were a videogame, I’d be skipping this.

Nick: You don’t carefully read every bit of dialogue?

DM: You’d just be skipping my face talking at you.

Okay, you’re walking to this abandoned house about a half-mile from the village, alone on a hill surrounded by forest. The council member said he’d keep a man posted to help you find your way.

Moving to the location indicated, the group spots the house. The windows are all broken. There’s a guy standing awkwardly off by the side of the front door. He looks at you and nods his head, as if to say, “You’re the people I’m waiting for.”

Kevin: How much?

The group chuckles.

Daniel: Negotiate!

Nick: Okay, well I’ll actually be serious about this. I’ll go up to him, and I’m like, “Hey, what’s up? You need some guys to go into a… deadly hole?”

More laughs.

Lucinda: Use protection.

Nick: I’m just trying to keep my options open.

The guy looks at your group, nods once more and points to the door.

Kevin: I’m gonna use my intuition on him.

Kevin rolls a 20-sided die.

Kevin: Intuition is a thing right?

Clay: Insight.

Your Insight skill allows you to divine a person’s intentions and motivations.

Kevin: Oh, I don’t have that, someone else do that.

Sean: As a drunken dwarf… I also do not have insight.

Clay: I’ll do it, but I don’t know why.

Aaron: Oh, I’m sorry, this guy that’s acting like a prostitute is telling us where to go, and we’re just gonna go where he tells us.

Nick: Exactly.

Aaron: At least someone steal something from him.

Nick: Okay, pickpocket.

As you’re walking by?

Nick: Yeah well you know, we’re all walking by in one crowd — a bustle, rather — and so I think I can…

Nick rolls a 20-sided die.

Nick: Twenty!

That’s pretty good, you must’ve been practicing recently. So this guy is wearing normal clothes and has a cloak that conceals his waist. Are there any particular places you’d like to target your pick-pocket?

Nick: You mean he doesn’t have a visible pouch?

Kevin: I love that we’re spending so much time harassing this one guy.

Yeah, you guys can’t walk by him twenty times and steal everything he has. He’ll notice.

Nick: Okay okay, I’ll aim around the belt. Reach around, or reach under the cloak and grab that. I’m a thief, you know. So if there’s a bulge there, I’m grabbing it.

Sean: I think we have a new gay character.

Nick: Yeah, I’ve never told you about my adventures in the exotic south.

Lucinda: Aaron will disapprove now

(Aaron plays a stern, religious type.) He furrows his brows.

When you move past him, you spot a small velvet bag and you grab it. He mumbles an apology as you brush by him, not noticing your finessed pilfer.

Kevin: So you’re that thief character in every RPG that isn’t ever strong enough to fight anyone, but just steals shit while everyone else dies.

So you enter the house, it kinda smells like mold—

Kevin: —Is it your room?

Lucinda: Is there anything of interest in the house?

There’s some trash that the last party left, but it appears to just be debris.

Kevin: Maybe we shouldn’t be looking for boring things.

Clay: I found a burger!

Nick: It looks only a day or two old, according to my Nature check.

And then there’s the rug in the middle of the room. It is depressed in the center.

Aaron: Does it tie the room together?

Yes, it looks quite nice.

Clay: I lift it.

The smell of mold and stagnant water fills your nose as you lift the water-logged rug. Smashed floorboards are underneath, with a big hole in the center that goes down into darkness.

Kevin: I have a light! I’ll pick up a pebble, cast Light on it, and drop it down.

You drop the pebble, and it falls down about 40 feet.

Clay: Holy…

Nick: And there’s no ladder or anything?


Lucinda: We have 50 feet of hemp and rope.

Nick: This is gonna be like Ocean’s 11.

Lucinda: Is it?

Kevin: We should just throw that guy down here.

Use him as cushioning.

Nick: Okay, I’ll tie my rope to whatever is around… maybe a pillar or something.

Sean: I’ll go first!

Roll an Athletics check.

Sean rolls a 20-sided die. He is determining whether his character is skilled enough to scale the rope without falling.

Sean: 8 plus 9, so 17.

You scale half the rope, now do it again.

Sean rolls again, better this time. He makes it to the bottom.

Nick: I have very poor Athletics, how much does it hurt to fall 40 feet?

The DM chuckles, and doesn’t say anything.

Sean: Can I lay down and provide cushioning? Oh, I have a bedroll that I can lay down.

The dwarf (who isn’t the smartest) unrolls his bedroll to provide cushioning in case someone falls forty feet. Proud of his contribution, he awaits the next person to slide down the rope.

Everyone manages to scale without incident, except for the new recruit Daniel, whose character Lorilla loses his grip halfway down and falls. He tries to tumble to break his fall, but that doesn’t quite work out. He takes 6 damage, which isn’t too bad. After healing their wounded teammate, the group surveys their surroundings. They find themselves in an underground tunnel that’s slightly damp and proceed forward.

Kevin: Whenever we’re walking, the theme music to Thomas the Tank should be playing.

Sean: The dwarf calls the wizard gay.

Kevin: Yeah, you’re kind of a homophobic dwarf aren’t you?

Sean: He has issues to work out.

The underground tunnel continues sloping downwards. The ceiling is concealed, hidden above you in the darkness.

Kevin: I tell Daniel to give me a crossbow bolt.

He does.

Kevin: I cast my Light spell on it, and then tell Daniel to fire that bolt at the ceiling. I want to see how high up it is.


Daniel: Do I need to roll for this? A crank check or something?

Kevin: Does a crossbow have a crank?

More complicated ones do, but not yours.

Kevin: They must be like training wheels.

Nick: Yeah — you’d get no respect from the other adventurers.

Kevin: I’m just imagining the jack-in-the-box sound as you crank the lever.

Lucinda: Anyway…

Daniel fires the crossbow bolt into the darkness. Seconds later, the bolt clangs against the rock above them. A pair of otherworldly screams sound out in the darkness, and two bat-like creatures high above the party burst into an inferno of flame. The creatures dive towards the party, their wings a fiery blaze.

The party prepares to meet the devilish bats. They take little notice of the dark stalker who slinks behind them, tracking their every move, waiting for an opportune moment to catch the group off guard.

Jordan Barber is proud that the internet allows him to criticize, admonish, and irritate people from his own living room. And though this immense power only comes to the few, he promises to wield his hammer of judgment with a standoffish, thoughtful outlook.