I’m starting a fifth edition campaign for two players. The option of a DMPC is being left open, but I prefer not to run DMPCs – if the party feels the need, there will be plenty of companions available for the players to recruit.
Due to the party being much, much smaller than calibrated for in the published material, there will be significant changes made, in order to balance everything out. Mostly, it will be a reduction in monster numbers, though single powerful creatures may get replaced.
The Players and their Characters
Names have been changed to protect the shy and innocent.
I will be linking characters some other time.
Svetlana is playing Nasir, a male human Cleric of Chauntea.
Anastasiya is playing Draco, a male human Barbarian.
Backgrounds: Draco used to be a member of the Mintarn mercenaries, but left due to chafing about the corruption and bullying he saw among the mercenaries stationed in Waterdeep. He’s now heard of a gang called the “Redbrands” harassing people in the frontier village of Phandalin. Through his mercenary contacts, he heard of a miner looking for escorts to the village, and convinced his old friend Nasir to accompany him.
Nasir is a member of Chauntea’s wide-ranging clergy. An elder member of the church has received a vision of a descrated shrine to the goddess, and scholars indicate it is within the ruined walls of Cragmaw Castle, somewhere in the Neverwinter Wood. With equipment and blessing from the church, Nasir was more than happy to help Draco as well.
The characters have been hired by Gundren Rockseeker, a dwarven miner, so escort a wagonload of supplies to Phandelver – for what, the dwarf isn’t saying.
After a few days of uneventful travel, the wagon turned east onto the Triboar Trail. Around midday, the pair saw dead horses ahead in the road. Instinctively, they suspected an ambush, and were soon proven correct as two goblins stepped out from behind trees. Draco’s sword and Nasir’s crossbow made short work of the filthy creatures. Discovering a footpath on the north side of the trail, the intrepid pair hid the wagon, tied up the oxen, and followed the trail to a small cavern tucked into the side of a hill, with a cold stream flowing out of the cave mouth. Approaching cautiously, they spotted two goblin sentries cooking something over a small fire. Draco attempted to sneak up on the sentries, but alerted them. Nasir was watching, and before they could even draw their weapons, planted a crossbow bolt in one goblin’s eye, following with a second bolt into the other goblin’s chest as the filthy creature swung its sword at Draco.
In a cavern off to the side of main tunnel, the pair of spelunkers found some wolves chained up to a stalagmite, apparently used as guard dogs by the goblins. Some food and gentle behavior bribed the wolves sufficiently to let the two pass without a problem. In the back of this cavern was a steep natural chimney. Draco climbed some ten yards to the top, where it opened into a large cavern. From his hidden position at the lip of the fissure, he could see a bugbear and a goblin sitting around a fire. Eagerly, he climbed out and advanced towards them, drawing his greatsword. Nasir, at the bottom, saw his friend climb out, and followed, clambering as fast as he could up the steep, rocky surface.
The fight with the bugbear was brief, but brutal. Klarg, as he called himself, got in a strong hit on Draco with his massive morningstar, almost dropping the human to his knee. Draco’s rage took over at this point, and soon thereafter, the bugbear lay dead at his feet. This display of strength and superiority prompted the goblin to surrender in gibbering fear. Upon questioning, the goblin revealed, in its pidgin Common, the presence of a captive in the caverns, but that the dwarven prisoner, along with his map, had been taken to Cragmaw Castle to King Grol, by the orders of someone or something named “The Black Spider.” The goblin was also able to impart the rough location of Castle Cragmaw. However, the goblin was so frightened, it soiled itself and Draco’s boots, and the furious soldier slammed the goblin into a stalagmite, knocking it unconscious. The sojourners quickly bound their wounds, then ventured forth to find three more goblins, unaware of their leader’s demise thanks to the cacophony of the waterfall feeding the stream. Though the goblins were slain, they inflicted grievous wounds on the pair of explorers, who withdrew once again to the bugbear’s cavern, where they rested for some time, reflecting on their adventures and the enemies they’ve been facing.
To be continued….