The wind swirled, lightning and thunder emanated from the cleric’s eyes as he muttered words of power. A surge of thunderous energy erupted from the armored human male with wild blonde hair and a mysterious eye-patch. His foes were smote, his allies and comrades were worse for wear but they had to press forward if they were to fulfill the contracted expedition. One of the mysterious caches must contain what their superiors needed to combat the recent rise of giantkind within the North.
This past weekend (September 17th), I went to Animate! Florida held at the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center. Itht had been several years since I went to anime or game convention but I felt since they had moved the venue closer to me instead of the original location back in Miami that it was time for me to return to the “circuit”. I had never been to the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center before, but thankfully the drive was relatively straightforward thanks to GPS technology.
I primarily went to Animate Florida with the intention of meeting Matthew Mercer, unfortunately he had cancelled on appearing at the venue. Once the initial disappointment wore off, I decided to explore the rest of the con which lead me the board game room. At the time there was not many people since the showroom floor had just opened. The center sported 3 floors of space, with the large showroom encompassing two lobbies, the 2nd and 3rd floor had ballrooms along with additional meeting rooms. The Board Game room was relatively empty when I arrived, I talked with several people and played a few rounds of Magic: the Gathering. Some more exploration eventually led me to the D&D/Pathfinder room.
The group of DMs were doing official Adventurer League and Pathfinder Society adventures, I had not done Adventurer League since Hoard of the Dragon Queen in my local LGS so it was a welcome change of pace besides DMing for Team BAJA. I could take a nice break.
There several new players playing their first time whether with 5th Edition or the game itself. I could not help but enjoy helping the players learn their characters and aid in helping them think abstractly with our dungeon crawl. We played the Storm King’s Thunder adventures for the most part. There were longer sessions in a few other tables, but at the time I did not think I was going to stay at the event for too long and opted for shorter sessions in that favor. Ultimately I ended up staying for the remainder of the day, almost eight hours!
Let’s start the story of Reggy the Cleric of Talos. His full name was Reygar “Reggy” Thanos, a former pirate from the Moonsea who eventually heard the calling of Talos. His talents attracted the attention of the Zhentarim who offered him sizable pay to do work for them. Reggy was a meticulous sailor when he was with his former crew, his work ethic carried over during his membership with the Zhents. Reggy had a tough exterior and often times let his divine connection emphasized his wrath and that he was not a man to be messed with. The Zhents sent him to aid a group of adventurers retrieve contents from caches reported by a treasure hunter. The caches largely located in various locales within the North, full of danger and wild creatures, Reggy believed his contributions would aid in the expeditious resolution of acquiring the treasures from the caches.
Arriving late, the cleric found a band of adventurers that his superiors forewarned would be at the cave. After some brief introductions, the group continued forward deeper into the cave, there they found a goblin sized hill giant who charged at the party. The party’s barbarian managed to grapple the managed sized giant while the elf wizard and rogue decidedly restrained the creature in rope. A few decisive shots and the giant was unconscious. A druid found a small bear and nursed it back to health while the rest of the group inspected the stone chest on the other end of the cavern. Unfortunately the contents were plundered and emptied by a clan of cloud giants sometime ago. The party took whatever spoils they could muster out of the cave and retreated back to civilization.
Reggy and a new group of adventurers were tasked with investigating rumors of a tall stone pyramid located in the outskirts of a mountain range not far from the North. The group arrive to a large salt flatbed with large crevices and gorges that went deep into the infinite darkness. The group became assaulted by a pack of large badgers, their sudden ambush left Reggy unconscious and one-by-one the group began to succumb to the vile badgers but thankfully a sudden shift in the flat bed dropped half of the badgers to a dark death. The sole human fighter waged an unceasing war as the divine essence of Talos revived Reggy which gave him ample time to resuscitate his allies from the clutches of death.
Spent, the party needed to finish their expedition with the least amount of hostilities. Upon arriving halfway to the summit, the party discover a band of earth genasi who were in need of some help. A quick medical treatment from Reggy resolved any issues and even garnered help from the elemental tribe. At the top of the summit, the corpse of a stone giant stuck halfway out of the entrance. The halfling rogue noticed that there was a magical trap embedded at the threshold. The giant’s attempts had reset the trap and allowed the party to pass through before facing another obstacle. A riddle on a door blocked the party’s way, earlier the genasi recounted that the giant spoke a phrase before attempting to enter the summit before ultimately perishing to his fate. The dwarf assessed that the stonework was made as a temple for the Cult of the Dragon, the riddle suggested a phrase of praise.
The words: “Hail the Dragon Queen” were uttered, the chamber doors opened only to reveal another cache emptied. This time by a clan of fire giants. The group did not return empty handed but the treasure promised continued to elude Reggy.
Another cache was located up in another mountain range, unfortunately a false door was trapped with a thunderous rune that almost spelled doom for half the group. Another band of adventurers had been recruited with the retrieval of the cache’s contents, Reggy had become irritated as of late due to their lackluster performance in the previous excursions. Hoping to finally find the hidden treasure, the group journeyed further into the tunnels beyond the stone doorway. Eventually the group find a large opening with two dead Frost giants resting at the base of a large diamond that glowed an eerie green light. The rogue approached the jewel for a closer inspection while the warlock and fighter looted the giant bodies for any loose coin.
Once the rogue approached the jewel, its light grew and four orbs of green light emerged to attack the party. With each blow, bits of the orbs’ energy would return to the diamond. With Reggy’s quick thinking he suggested that the elf fighter throw her dart at the crystal. With deadly accuracy, she landed her blow perfectly at the jewel’s weakest point. It crumbled into pieces, the orbs remained but they seemed unstable for the moment. The party took the opportunity to take down the energy beings, taking the broken diamond fragments to trade for coin later. A note was found on the corpses of the giants that foretold of another robbery. Once again, Reggy was thwarted by fate.
Another cache took the party the countryside until they reached near a green-mossed mountainside. There had been bits of volcanic activity in the region and therefore Reggy’s superiors sent him and his companions outward to investigate the claims. The party found a stone outpost inside a large cave surrounded by kobolds, the elf fighter and the halfling rogue spotted several kobolds perched on the outside of a barricade, upon further inspection there were additional kobolds inside the outpost. The outpost had several small slits most likely for arrows or sling shots, Reggy wanted to reduce the chance of reinforcements, asking the best marksmen of the group to take out the goblins. Unfortunately one of the kobolds inside survived and signaled the rest to advance forward.
A decisive strike finished the last one but was too late, the rest of the kobolds by the barricade rushed to assault the two party members, while another group of kobolds rushed from an unseen tunnel. The rogue and fighter took several rough attacks, Reggy had grown weary of the whole expedition and most of his experiences as of late. He charged forward and channeled the fury of Talos, god of storms through his spell. Thunderous energy burst outward, using his divine wrath to maximize its lethality. The squad of kobolds that swarmed the rogue and fighter were instantly flung and splattered across the cave walls. The sound of thunder roar down the large tunnel, the approaching group had grown fearful of the danger that loomed. The last group of kobolds were slain within a matter of moments, one was kept alive but provided no useful information.
Once past the barricade and through the tunnels, smoke began to bellow forward, making it difficult to see in front of them. The party eventually made it to a large room, where they could see the light of an odd rune and a river of lava. At the ravine, there were two small creatures that seemed to be covered in molten lava, once they spotted the group they attacked instantly. The party quickly learned that dealing fatal blows to the creatures would result in an explosive death throe, the party needed to keep their distance otherwise they would be gravely injured. Once the magrim were defeated, the smoke cleared out to reveal half a dozen forges filled with molten fire. At the other end of the cavern there sat a large metal piece of melted silver. The rune blasted fire at the large chunk of silver every so often, the group decided that it would be best to free the giant piece of silver and transfer it out of the cavern.
Unfortunately more molten creatures emerged out of the lava river, the party did their best to fend off the creatures while dealing with the giant piece of silver. The warlock realized that the rune was a symbol of Imix, the Evil Elemental Price of Fire and that the rune was tied to the creatures’ appearances. To destroy the rune, the warlock fathomed that it would require damaging the physical part of the rune, channeling magic into it, and then using their mental might to sever the connection but that life energy could also be used as a trade offer.
After several failed attempts, Reggy realized that it would be best to have one of the warriors damage the rune while he channeled his own life energy into the rune. The heat from his body drained from him, leaving him wrecked with pain. The warlock used his mental might along with Reggy’s to seal the rune completely. Once the connection was severed, the creatures stopped spawning and the lava faded away. With that immediate danger passed, the party took their time retrieving the giant chunk of silver out of the caverns to be resold again. There was nothing that suggested a cache in the room, another dead end. Reggy had grown bitter towards the end but knew that eventually he would find what his superiors wanted, even if he did not know what it looked like. That was his faith, that Talos would guide him to the fated obstacle to be leveled and destroyed. Nothing would stop him.
That is how the story ended, to be continued.
I had loads of fun playing as Reggy the Cleric, there are some great player moments between the various groups I played with during my time at the con. Playing at an organized event was pleasant and the pleasure of teaching so many new players how to play the 5th edition ruleset was invigorating and reminded me why I loved to be the Dungeon Master. Telling stories and showing people a bigger world locked in their mind. There was so many highlights, awesome moments with critical hits (namely our Elf Fighter named Verdas), several critical fails that were just timeless. We almost suffered a TPK, which is refreshing when you remember that playing at 1st level, almost anything can kill your character.
Would I do something like this again? Heck yes. Organized play has always been a tool for people who either did not have enough time on their hands or were interested in the game to take the opportunity to do just that: play the game. It’s a great way to introduce new players or even curious ones, we had a guy who had never played before and was ultimately curious what we were doing in that meeting room. We offered for him to join in, he fell in love the first time playing and continued for at least 3 sessions with us. Actually the last 2 sessions were largely with the same group, 3 new players along with 1 who had some experience with older editions of D&D. I was the only one with any experience, I did my best to help out the DM at the table with questions and what they had to do. Watching the players smile and have fun, that is really all this game is about. Tell stories and have fun doing it. It’s a humbling experience and I cannot wait to get back to my own campaign with my friends. As a DM, it’s always nice once and awhile to just sit back and go along for the ride of an adventure, and that weekend I did just that. A good recharge of the creative juices, and new ideas on how to torment my players.
If you, yourself, cannot find time or cannot get a group together, I would highly encourage going to an organized event. Maybe you’ll find people and maybe you’ll even decide to do it as a regular thing and perhaps even find a group of players out those events to play in a more committed game. Who knows?
Give a shot if you have never done it, some of these adventures are designed to be quick and easy for on-the-go players/adventurers. It’s worth an experience, especially since many of these adventures play into the D&D canon and plus you get to experience the storytelling from the Wizards of the Coast team, taking part in an overarching story within the Forgotten Realms.
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