Hey everyone. It’s been a very long time since I’ve done an Actual Play report thread, but given that we’re doing a test drive of the newly released Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, I figured I might as well start again just to get back into form.
Finder’s Keepers is very different from my usual campaigns in the sense that I really didn’t come up with a pitch for this. It was one of those games where the players jumped in with both feet to make characters, and I’m left to come up with a plot from what comes out of this process.
Thankfully the 5e character creation, with it’s Background traits makes it very easy to build adventures around the hooks in every character. I took one look at the characters I got, and I already knew what to push.
Let’s have a quick look over our characters:
Princess Allyna Cormyth (played by Silver Countess) is an impulsive 16-year old half-elven sorceress born into a respectable royal family of elves. Her mother was the second wife of the patriarch, and was a former adventuress in her own right.
When a mysterious masked man beguiled his way into one of the royal family’s parties and magically coerced her father into wagering away a precious family heirloom, Aleena set off that very same night to track down the charlatan and retrieve the artifact. She didn’t bother telling anyone in person, of course, as that would just give the fiend an even bigger head start, so she figured that a note left on her bedside table would suffice.
Vinran Thorngage (played by Hikkikomori) is an optimistic, if imposing looking halfling druid. His swarthy and muscular form betrayed his former life as a sailor and now dedicates his life to the pursuit of travel in hopes of safeguarding the balance between civilization and nature. Along the way he’s also picked up a peculiar habit of taking souveniers of his journeys, often without asking permission from the original owner.
Akta (played by Hystrix) is a Tiefling bard with a chip on her shoulder. An aspiring performer with a deep and abiding love for drink, her work is often a scathing rebuke against the follies of those in power, making her quite the rabble-rouser in many cities. Aside from looking for fame in all the wrong places, she also wants to retrieve her lute, which had been stolen from her by a rival.
As you can tell, theft seems to be a common thread for the team, so I figure I can pull on more than a few strings to get them involved one way or another.
And so with that let’s get started, shall we?
Waking up in a haystack with the mother of all hangovers was not exactly the kind of thing that Allyna, runaway princess of House Cormyth expected from the supposedly glorious life of an adventurer, but sometimes life has a funny way of twisting things.
She sat up, groaning and cotton-mouthed as she regarded her equally grumpy party consisting of Vinran, the Halfling druid, and Akta, the Tiefling bard.
“Morning, I think.” Akta gave a hoarse whisper, wincing at the sound of her own voice.
Allyna would have replied had the barn door not opened with a merciless creaking sound that drove nails straight into their skulls.
It turns out that their arrival in the dead of night to find a safe place to rest had not been unnoticed after all as an old farmer and his wife stood there, pitchforks at the ready.
Princess Allyna managed to assuage their fears, telling them that the three were merely adventurers that were exhausted from their previous escapades and merely sought sanctuary within the farmstead as a desperate action. She offered a gold piece as compensation.
It was much to her surprise then that the farmer gave her back the gold. “If it’s all the same to you, miss adventurer, but I’d like to hire you and your friends with this here gold.”
Vinran grinned, “He paid us in gold, so I don’t see the problem.”
“I’ve got a brother, lives a wee bit further down the road. He cares for a herd of sheep, but recently his farm’s been attacked. You’ve seen this place, the magistrates don’t head through these roads. I’m hoping you can help him.”
It didn’t take long for the group to find the farm, and see what had happened to it. The farmer’s brother was very relieved to see them, and showed them the damage. His sheep were penned in at night but several days ago, someone attacked the farm at night and he was too terrified to investigate. The next morning, he found that a good number of his sheep were missing.
The party took some time to do some snooping around. Vinran attempted to check for tracks, but it was Allyna who managed to figure out that a group of small humanoids were responsible.
“Goblins?” Akta ventured, “But they don’t go this far south.”
“You’re right, they don’t” Vinran agreed, “But we can’t ignore the possibility. Their ilk don’t like sunlight. Farmer, where are the nearest caves that you know of?”
“Caves?” the farmer scratched his head, “I’ve heard of some caves in the woods not so far from here, about half a day’s travel.”
“We’ll start there.” Vinran ventured, “It’s a good enough place to look as any.”
The party approached the mouth of the cave by night, each one sneaking up towards it, while keeping their senses sharp for any sign of goblins.
It was Vinran who saw the sentry posted by the cave entrance. The Halfling inched close enough to be able to cast Thorn Whip. He lashed out with it, catching the goblin sentry by surprise and yanking the creature out from cover. Akta rushed through the foliage to impale the creature on her rapier, ending it quickly without further noise.
After making certain that there were no other Goblins in the entrance, they made their way inside, opting to shun the use of torches for now in order to avoid giving away their position.
They made it to a large chamber where Vinran saw two goblins trying to open a makeshift pen where three wolves were starting to get riled up. Rather than take on all five at once Vinran hurled fire at one of the Goblins with a Produce Flame spell to try and stop him from opening the gate.
The Goblin was singed by the flames but was still alive. His companion let out a cry of alarm and let loose an arrow towards Vinran. The missile struck true, and Vinran staggered backwards.
Allyna shot her crossbow but missed, her bolt slamming into the pen.
The Goblin by the pen managed to wrest the bolt free, unleashing the three wolves inside, all of which started running up to Vinran to finish the job.
Akta dove into the fray, running up to stand next to Vinran and unleashed a mighty Thunder Wave spell that crushed every bone in the wolves bodies with the force of the spell, sending their lifeless bodies hurtling away.
“Next time, we start with that.” Vinran muttered darkly.
“You’re welcome.” Akta winked.
With the wolves dead, Allyna let loose a Fire Bolt spell to kill one of the goblins.
The surviving goblin fled down a separate corridor. Vinran got some healing from Akta a moment before the team gave pursuit, only to find that the hallway led to a dead end.
A quick search revealed a tiny tunnel that only a small humanoid on all fours could travel. Vinran checked it out, avoiding several traps inside to reappear on the other side of the supposed dead end. He saw that there were a clever series of ropes and pulley that held the “wall” in place.
He also saw that he wasn’t alone as two goblins lay in wait for him. He fought them off as much as he could, but they cut him down before he could do anything to the mechanism.
Hearing the battle from the other side, Allyna realized that it was a false wall. She spent her Chromatic Orb spell to blast away at the wall, her affinity with Chaos Magic triggering to fill the hallway with a mist.
The acid splash of the Chromatic orb ate away at the ropes hidden in the crevices of the device, breaking it just enough to open the wall a bit.
The Bard and the Sorceress stepped through with Akta impaling yet another Goblin on her rapier while Allyna electrocuted another into a dark stain with her Witch Bolt spell.
At this point the team knew that they were already running out of resources. Low on spells and on health, they decided to take a short rest first to try and recover before continuing on.
Vinran was the one who went ahead while the others rested. He came to the last chamber of the cave, seeing that there was another goblin, one dressed like a commanding officer, hurriedly preparing to leave while seemingly arguing with a Worg.
Vinran reported back to the team, and they decided to risk it. Even without their strongest spells, there was something to this group of goblins and the best chance of finding answers lay with capturing the goblin boss.
The battle was tense given that the team was out of their most powerful spells. Akta was felled by a Javelin thrown by the goblin boss, while Allyna and Vinran piled on their attacks in hopes of being able to take down the goblin before they could escape.
The Worg didn’t seem to be too enthusiastic about fighting three adventurers and decided that it would be better to fight again another day. He sized his wounded goblin companion and bounded off, leaving the team to tend to Akta.
The goblins had been responsible for the sheep, using that to feed themselves and their wolves. The team were also able to round up a bunch of documents written in goblinoid language for future research. Thankfully one missive they found was a note from a mysterious benefactor who had explicit instructions to another person to let these goblins on board a ship for some reason.
What was telling though was that the seal of the letter was the same symbol used by the masked man who stole Allyna’s family heirloom…
And that was there the game ended, with the team patching themselves up after a short dungeon crawl against goblins and wolves. It was a great way to test the system and see where we’d run into any difficulties with it.
I’m glad to say that running it was a breeze. Perhaps it was because it’s a low-level game, but the simplicity was refreshing.
In the next session, the team goes off to a port town to try and pursue the investigation. They know that the goblins were supposed to be smuggled on board a ship, but who the benefactor was and what he’s after is a mystery to them.