Returning to this thread...
Back in September of this year, I celebrated one year of DMing for the folks who had never played D&D before (and celebrating the friendship I've made with them). I made a Youtube video that captures the year worth of photos I took with them.
And Jessica, from that group; her brother is playing D&D with a group of people who have never played D&D... and their DM, who has never played D&D, just had a kid (well, his wife did).... So she spoke to her brother about me, and how good I was about teaching people how to play D&D. The DM is running the module that comes with the Essential Rules box called Dragon of Icespire Peak
. They asked me to DM for them; but I didn't want to continue the module (since their DM was new; I wanted him to be able to continue the module and continue to learn to DM). So I made up this entire side quest idea, because they were in a mining town that basically works out of the town. I also ordered the Essential Rules, just to get the module, and make sure I don't ruin any surprises (for example, the joy of finding out what a Mimic is; which is in the module). Reading the module, the party eventually goes after a White Dragon (young one), so I tied that into my side quest...
We did the first adventure two weekends ago... Adventure recap...
Thyis / Tiefling / Rogue
Bram Kessler / Human / Monk
Falarnum / Half Orc / Bard
Galiena Eranaeth / Half Elf / Warlock
Squeven / Halfling / Cleric (Not Present)
Brick / Human / Fighter
The morning sun had sun had just begun to rise over the horizon; golden colors spilling across the plains as Galiena came out of the southern end of Neverwinter Forest. Her breath came fast as she looked behind her, still feeling the chilling touch that grasped her soul as she had approached Havenfall Manor.
Her patron, a Celestial Unicorn that guarded many of the woods in the Forgotten Realms, had warned her that something had been driving away the wildlife around the manor and that she should look into it. She approached the Manor, buried deep in the woods, but the same force that drove the animals away, seemed to push her away. She knew she would need help. She continued south to Phandalin, a small mining community. There wasn’t much hope of finding someone who could help her there, but perhaps she could book passage on one of the trading wagons that came through there.
She arrived at the Stonehill Inn looking for a room, when she spotted several patrons who looked distinctly out of place. One of them, in light armor, appeared to be a human; and judging by the light clothes and the symbols worn, a Monk. Another, a half-orc, with a lute in his hand, strumming loudly, was clearly a bard. Besides him, a tall human, muscular, but adorned in armor; so not a barbarian, and not a Paladin, due to the lack of holy symbols, so probably a fighter. This could be exactly what she had needed. She approached them and asked them for help. The Half Orc, spotting this unusual looking Half-Elf with a small Pseudo-dragon fluttering next to her, attempted to impress her with his juggling skills, only to drop the balls. The fighter, who introduced himself as Brick, climbed on a table, and for reasons unknown attempted a back flip, crashing into the table behind him, sending drinks flying. Furious patrons were calmed by another member, the Monk, who had introduced himself as Bram Kessler.
After the failure to impress the half-elf Warlock, the party agreed that showmanship was not their thing, and agreed to listen to the Warlock. She explained that she had been told by her patron to seek out what was happening at the Manor and set things right.
Falarnum, the Half-Orc Bard, detailed what he had heard about the manor; that a human Paladin by the name of Taris Havenfall had met and fell in love with an Elven maiden named Seleena Clearsky, and though her father protested their bonding, Taris agreed to build his manor in the woods so that she could be close to her family without them needing to leave the woods that they called home. At some point, an ancient white dragon named Ashenfrost destroyed the manor, and murdered those within. The manor was raided by creatures shortly after its destruction, but in recent years, no one goes near the manor.
The party agrees to help Galiena. Bram runs upstairs and finds that their companion, Squeven, the Halfling Cleric who had gone upstairs to meditate and pray to their god had fallen asleep. Bram quickly scribbled a note that they were headed north, into the Neverwinter Forest towards a place called Havenfall Manor, should he awake and seek to join them.
Downstairs, a figure seemed to step out of the shadows, and pull his cowl back, revealing his startling, demonic-like features of a Tiefling, and introduced himself as Thyis. “I couldn’t help but overhear you were headed for Havenfall Manor. It so happens, I am in need of some money, and could provide… unique services, which you might find helpful… say, should something like… a chest be locked.” The party agreed to have Thyis along for the adventure.
Heading north, the party managed to reach the southern tip of Neverwinter Forest before night and exhaustion took over. Setting up camp, they sat around a crackling fire as Falarnum and Bram took first watch. A few short hours later, Falarnum heard what appeared to be a deer in distress, and with Bram behind him went into the woods to investigate. Bram waited at the edge, keeping an eye as Falarnum found the deep and begun cutting it down. Bram shouted a warning, spotting three bugbears springing up behind him.
A fight broke out, which resulted in Bram shouting for the others, who arrived; and after several rounds of combat, managed to take down the Bugbears, but not before Falarnum had been knocked out and bleeding out. The Warlock had managed to use her own magic, calling upon her connection to the Feywild, to heal the Half Orc Bard and the human fighter, Brick. Returning back to camp, they rested for the night, tending to their wounds and cursing the bugbear’s well laid out ambush.
The following morning, the party pushes on into the woods, and after a few short hours, finds a beaten down path, now mostly reclaimed by the woods that leads them to Havenfall Manor. Looking around, they spot large dog prints in the front yard. Brick and Bram go forward towards the door, and just as they get there, Falarnum uses the mage hand to swing the door open, which creaks loudly as it opens, like a yawning giant.
Galiena sends her Pseudodragon to patrol and it quickly returns after spotting a shimmering image on the western side of the house. The party goes to investigate and suddenly Galiena is overcome with overwhelming sadness. Brick begins to speak with her and realizes she is somehow connected to the spirit they see tending to the garden. The spirit asks of them to seek out the bodies of the dead and lay them to rest so that the land can once again reclaim the manor, and their spirits set to rest. The party agrees to help the spirit, realizing she must be Seleena Clearky, the wife of Taris Havenfall. As they make their way around the western side of the house, they find basement doors that lead beneath the house but find a carrion crawler sleeping in the tunnel. Seeing a pair of unnatural large dogs approaching, they quickly decide to use magic to lure them into the basement to attack the sleeping carrion crawler. The trick works and they slam the basement doors shut; when the fight is done they open it again, and see one hell hound has survived the fight. The first round of attacks is… less than impressive, with each attack missing. The hell hound breathes a cone of fire, and all but Brick manage to get out of the way of the scorching fire. It is Falarnum who strikes the killing blow on the severely wounded hell hound. Venturing in, they cut open the carrion crawler and discover the badly decomposed body of Seleena. They bury her in the garden with Bram speaking words he remembered from his time back in the Monastery, now lost to him.
During this time, they feel as though they’re being watched, and a body is seen watching them from the upper level, before walking away.
They knew that much more awaited them inside the manor…
And here's a video I made...