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Published 3 years ago with 5 Comments

[Storytelling][D&D3.5] Exerpt from a Campaign I DMed

I really wanted to share the whole chapter, but I figured 18 text modules was a wall of text too massive for anyone to actually read :P Basically, this PbP was an experiment to see just how immersive and open of a world I could create in the format. This piece showcased the atmosphere and writing style the best, imo, without having to read the whole chapter. Though you *are* missing out on a fight between players, two NPCs nearly getting killed, and my players actively going the wrong way :D

  • The Wayward Child is calmer than it was the night before, several patrons sitting around with headaches. A stocky and well-built dwarf sits at the bar, holding onto a fresh tankard of frothy ale, while a large half-orc leans heavily against the far end of the bar. Bloodgaze will notice that this is the same half-orc and dwarf she saw from the night before. Two men stand behind the counter as bartenders, neither the same from last night.

    The general conduct of the tavern is calm comparatively. People seem to be favoring the tables over the bar and random chit chat about the tournament continues.

    Rayne observes the room silently, noting the odd glances that are now customary on her entering a room. Walking to the bar, she begins talking to the bartender closest to her.
    "I would like to rent a room for the night if you have one available. The road has wearied me and I would like to clean up before I partake of your services."
    Glancing about the bar and noting its occupants, her interest is piqued at the number of dazed and disoriented patrons. Apparently the alcohol served here is strong.
    "Before we negotiate that though, I would like to have a drink. What is on tap?"

    Awake....
    Bloodgaze snapped her eyes open. Some days were just like that. You knew you were awake before you awoke...and then you did. Wake up that is. Bloodgaze stretched beneath her covers and glanced at the curtains, the indirect light shining through them telling her it was midday already. Clambering hastily out of her bed she cast a brief glance at her still wet garments from yesterday and shrugged, they could be taken care of later. Slipping her lanky form into her deep red trousers and her silver-embroided black tunic, she also applied the compulsory red markings around her eyes. It had become such a part of her by now she felt naked without it.
    Striding down the stairs Bloodgaze entered the taproom and meandered over to the counter, stopping next to the tall woman with the bright red hair. "Hey, gimme' what's left from breakfast, or lunch, I don' really care", she told the man behind the bar. Waiting patiently and drumming her fingers against he wood, Bloodgazes lazy eyes fell on the red-head next to her. Though a good three inches taller, thanks to the warrior-woman's abysmal posture their eyes met equally.
    "Hey there, g'morn' to ya'", she intoned. "Hope you don't mind me saying so but...that's some pretty strange hair -and eyes- you got. What's the dea-....I mean, is there some story to it?" Flashing a bright disarming smile, Bloodgaze held out her hand. "Name's Bloodgaze, pleased to meetcha'."

    With a slight grin at the commentary, Rayne accepts the proffered hand, nodding her head.
    "I am Rayne. There is a story behind them, but not one I tell often. Suffice it to say that it is not one I suspect you have ever heard."
    Looking over the stranger, apparently know as Bloodgaze, she takes note of the red about her eyes.
    "If I may ask as well, how did you come by such an... interesting name?"
    Rayne looks back at the bar, wondering when her drink will arrive. Though not necessary, She thinks, it would be nice to have something with a bit of flavor after such a trip.

    As Rayne addresses one of the bartenders, he nods, "Aye, give me just a moment." He finishes polishing off one of the glasses and sets it on the counter behind him. Walking up to the edge of the bar, "Well, on tap we have a simple grog and a dark, amber ale." With a clunk, the dwarf at the end of the bar sets his mug down and slides it back, "Speakin' of dat ale, pour me anothah one, lad."

    "Will do, sir," the bartender replies as he looks over to Bloodgaze with a smirk. "We've got a little leftover from breakfast, but lunch'll be ready soon if you'd prefer to wait for that."

    "Hrmpf, prickteaser." Bloodgaze mutters jestingly. "So what you're tellin' me is that there is a fantastic story behind it, but you're not telling? What happened to "share your story"? That's what taprooms are made for ya' know." The tall woman grins and casts a quick glance at the bartender. "Yah, lunch'll be fine. I'll have one of hers as well", she says quickly before turning back to Rayne.
    "But fine I'm not gonna' press it", she continues and gestures to her eyes. "I got the name from the way I see red when I fight, and I sorta' adopted this eye make up to scare people. And before you ask, yeah it works", a smile splits her face. "Not from around here are ya'? It's that I'm boasting, but most people have at least heard of Bloodgazes Bloodletters, either as a blessin' or a curse. Pro'bly the latter."

  • With a bit of laughter, at the comments from Bloodgaze, she turns to the bartender.
    "I would have an ale if I may, thank you."
    Turning back to Bloodgaze, she continues.
    "Sorry, I haven't heard of you. I have been a decent distance from here all things considered. It has been a long path to Suzail."
    Taking a pull from the proffered tankard as the barkeep returns, she turns back to Bloodgaze, leaning on the counter with one arm.
    "I honestly do not believe that you would believe my story if I told it to you. Perhaps another time."
    Cocking her head to the side a bit as though it had just occurred to her, she continues. "What brings you to Suzail if I may be so bold as to ask?"

    Bloodgaze shrugs. "Fair 'nuff. For me it's work I guess. Need to travel. I resigned as leader of the bloodletters just over a month ago. -They better not keep using my name, bastards-." she mutters under her breath. "Anyway, since I'm not part o' the team anymore I was thinkin' I'd see what was happening here in the south. Heard something about a tournament, and with such a large group gatherin' there's always a prospective employer". Pausing to snatch up an ale of her own and to throw a few silvers on the bar Bloodgaze continues. "Just came in last night though. Haven't been 'round much. Figured I need to find myself some worthy companions and strike up a new group. Without Thigvar to keep me patched up I'll be spendin' a fortune on healing otherwise".
    Taking a chug from the tankard she looks at the other patrons. "But it can wait a few days I guess. I'll need to see people fight in the tourney first. Don' want any rookies who drag me down or get themselves killed goin' in over their heads. I mean they should at least be able to handle an ogre right? I'd feel bad if they'd die under my command ya' know."

    After serving the drinks, the bartender they had been dealing with walks out from behind the bar and disappears in the back, leaving the other man to handle the drinks. A couple patrons from different table get up from their seats and walk up to the bar, ordering fresh ales. With a nod, the bartender grabs a pair of tankards and starts filling them up.

    "Ah, that would make sense. I am also here with intentions of joining in the competition. "
    Taking another pull on her tankard, she reflects on her purposes here, grinning a bit.
    "I doubt you will be going against me when you do go about joining the tourney. I don't think we are of the same combat style, you and I."
    Reaching under her cloak and taking out the money for teh tankard of ale, if one were to look one could see an image, probably a tattoo, in the shape of a stylized eye shift across her skin and run back up beneath the sleeve of her shirt.

    "Bah", Bloodgaze breaths contemptuously, "I've been up against mages before. Or possibly whatever else you do. Although I will tell you, bolts of lightning smart. Getting hit by one is nothin' I'd recommend." Pausing to give Rayne a long searching look, the warrior woman continues.
    "But ya' know. You don't strike me as a spell flinger either. Something about how you stand I guess. So what are you? A fencer maybe? Or do you have some Daeva blood in you that makes you special on some other way?", she prods. Her lazy eyes intensely fixated in Rayne's.

    "No,I'm not your normal spellcaster in the strictest of terms. And lightning was never my forte. Its too loud for my tastes and doesn't really do as much as you would think. It does sting a bit though, that i will agree"
    Rayne smiles at the prods for information from the red-eyed woman.
    "I am sure that you will find sufficient information concerning my abilities soon enough, though i still have my doubts we will be going against one another."
    Giving Bloodgaze a neutral look, Rayne continues, "I look forward to watching you in combat in the event i am not in combat at the time myself. If half of what you say is true, with what you say others will say, it should be interesting, to say the least."

    As the two women talk between themselves, a group of five men walk in heavy with sweat. A couple of them pull out rags to wipe their faces off as they begin talking amongst themselves. "We'll have to be quick. We're behind schedule on those structures and the Queen would probably hang us if we don't finish in time."

    As they sit down on the bar stools behind the two women, "Hey, bartender, five servings of lunch and waters for us." "Alright," he responds. "Brenard! Bring out six instead of just one!" the bartender shouts off towards the back room where the other guy disappeared too.

    In a few moments, Brenard comes out balancing six plates of food, four on one arm and two on the other. Setting one plate down in front of Bloodgaze, he walks further down the bar and carefully sets down all five plates in front of each of the men.

  • Bloodgaze chuckles at Rayne's finishing comment. "I'll enjoy being in combat. That much I know", she remarks with a wide grin, pausing briefly to grunt in thanks as her plate of food arrives. "I'll take your word for that we won't meet in the melee then. Although I've been wondering about those two. They seem more likely opponents for myself", she continues and gestures to the half orc and the dwarf further down the bar.
    "The dwarf's a paladin or some such, and I've yet to meet a half orc who did anythin' but bash stuff", she intones with another smile, picking up a morsel of cut meat from her platter and popping it in her mouth. "Except of course", she says while chewing, "... Orc shamans. But they like smashing things just like any other bugger, 'cept with magic".

    Rayne looks down at the two that Bloodgaze has motioned to.
    "True on both accounts I suppose."
    Rayne looks closer at the dwarf, though her view is substandard due to his location.
    "He really doesn't look like a paladin to me. Perhaps a cleric, but not a paladin."
    Rayne takes another drink from her tankard, noticing that it is getting low and frowning into the mug. Not a bad ale, but not as dark as I prefer. Oh well, beggars can't be choosers.
    "Your outlook on orcs and half's is pretty true, though on occasion you fine one that goes against the grain. I once met a Half-Orc paladin somewhere in Baldur's Gate. Strange fellow, but nice enough. Managed to take me 4 hands out of 5 when we played cards one evening."

    Treating herself to another morsel, Bloodgaze answers with one more grunt, her eyes scanning the room slowly but without intent or purpose. "I'm just gonna' finish this and move about town for a bit. Ya' fancy joining me? Or do you want to get some rest if your fresh from the road.", she asks, shooting Rayne a questioning look. "I just need to pick up my sword and I'll be ready to go once I'm done here."

    "I think I'll take you up on that offer Bloodgaze. I would like to see a bit of the city, and now is as good a time as any." Rayne smirks a bit before continuing, "That is, if you can stand the presence of such a strange traveling companion."
    Rayne turns once again to the 'keeper. "If you could, save me a room for when I return. I shall be needing one to rest in tonight, and will pay for it ahead of time."
    Finishing off her ale in another swig, she adds one more thing.
    "And another ale before I go would not go amiss."
    She places the money for the ale on the counter and waits.

    Fifteen minutes later Bloodgaze, wearing the same clothes but with her broadsword sitting comfortably across her back, holds open the door for the fiery headed Rayne, and smiling steps out into the sunny street beyond. "I hope you don't mind me draggin' you out like this." she says, tucking her golden talisman into the slight cleavage of her tunic. "Like I told ma'self yesteray. Talking to no one but blackie -my horse- was about as interesting as a screenplay written by an ooze. So I really appreciate you hangin' out with me today."
    Closing the door behind her, Bloodgaze steps into the street, waving away a dust cloud thrown up by a passing wagon. The streets are busy, it's past noon and the city has woken up. The blazing sun bakes the street, chasing away any thoughts of thick clothing from the minds of the city-dwellers. Bloodgaze surveys her surroundings and takes a deep breath the nidday air refreshing her.
    "So, where ya' wanna' go first? Work or play for today?"

    Having gone to her room before setting out, Rayne exited the tavern in a fresh set of cloths, much like the last set, all things considered. Her chain mail shirt tinkles in the light wind flowing through the town, and her spiked chain whispers on its cord at her side. She hikes her pack up on her shoulder, seeing as she was loathe to leave it laying it about at the inn.
    "Pleasure would be preferable. It has been a long trek to here."
    Rayne stops for a moment, deciding that this weather was much to hot for a cloak, kneeling and removing it, stuffing it in the main pouch of her pack, though it looks as though it will not fit. Rising again, much more comfortably, she goes on.
    "Any suggestions?"

    T'was indeed a hot day even for spring. In the direction of the castle and its courts, the distant sound of hammering and shouts can be barely made out amongst the bustling sounds of the streets. The streets around the taverns are calmer than when Bloodgaze first arrived at Suzail, but most of the people would logically be out and about as they themselves were about to be.

  • "Well, I wouldn't mind seein' the sights I guess. I don't come this far south often and the houses are pretty", Bloodgaze muses, half to herself. "But I have no idea what there is to see. Or what's goin' on in town beyond the tournament."
    Turning and laying a friendly yet firm hand on a passersbys shoulder she smiles widely, much like a wildcat would smile at its prey. "Hey there good sir. Do you know any place in town where one can go for fun? Or maybe to see the sights?", she asks in a lighthearted tone, completely ignoring the half panicked look she is receiving.

    The man certainly startles at Bloodgaze's imposing grasp, turning his head and looking up at her strangely. As she speaks, he seems to relax a little, glancing between them both. "More foreigner's for the tournament, I suppose. I shouldn't be so surprised but I tend to be out of touch with things," he says as he brushes off his regal blue tunic.

    "It'd depend on what you ladies are looking for. The Osculatory's two streets down Promenade and on the first street to your right. Always men...or women...ready to please there," he says as he gestures towards the massive, wide street curving towards the west to the right of you. "The Society of Stalwart Adventuerers is on the corner between the third and forth street down if that's more to your like, though guests only get to see a small fraction of it from what I have heard. And there's always the docks to see, even if you have to keep from getting run over with a cart."

    The man taps his chin absently as he tries to think of more, muttering to himself comments about certain places before he's even mentioned them, "No need in mentioning that waste...not worth a copper..."

    "Oh, foolish me!" He suddenly blurts out. "You are foreigners...the grand Purple Palace will be a grand sight for you. It is just north of the Promenade; have to be dumber than a minotaur to miss it."

    As he speaks, you notice a small band of Purple Dragons march down the street your on from the wide road seemingly referred to as the Promenade. Four footsoldiers, one of which is female, all dressed in their traditional full plate with purple feathered helms and rich purple cloak bearing Cormyr's emblem of a purple dragon on a shield. The fifth person with them is a moon elf dressed in a flowing purple and gold long-jacket with a white shirt and brown trousers. Rayne recognizes a slight bulge on his left side under the jacket as likely being a spellbook of sorts.

    "Thank you, you have been most helpful."
    Rayne turns to Bloodgaze, shrugging her shoulders.
    "I am fine with whatever, though the pleasure house is not top on my list of sights to see at this moment."
    Rayne says this with a bit of a smirk, continuing with it as she speaks more.
    "Perhaps some wholesome cart dodging?"

    Bloodgaze grins widens, a fair imitation of the Cheshire cat. "Well as much as it might be fun to visit that house. I don't know if I'm in the mood in the middle of the day. Ya' gotta' have some nice moonshine, both in the sky and in the belly."
    Turning to Rayne she continues. "So yeah, I'll tag along for a stroll along the docks. I've seen the palace before, but it's really nice, so I wouldn't mind a round trip to it later though."

    "That would be fine by me." Rayne says adjusting her pack to a more comfortable position.
    Double checking that all her gear was in its appropriate place, she turns once again to Bloodgaze.
    "You may lead the way. I have not got the foggiest idea where we are headed really."

    "That makes sense, I suppose," the man mutters to himself. "Middle of the day would put a damper on that...I guess..."

    Snapping from his thoughts and looking back to the two women, he gestures back towards the Promenade, "The best way to the docks is the same way to the Osculatory. Simply go straight down the road instead of taking the last right. Direct road to the docks and through a better part of the city." Turning around to look himself, "Ah yes, there's a map posted on the corner that should explain exactly what I am talking about."

    Before the man has had a chance to finish he as already received a hearty clap on the shoulder and a "Thanks man" from Bloodgaze who, thumbs tucked into her leather belt, meanders into the street and down the road.

    Giving the man a nod, Rayne follows Bloodgaze through the hot and relatively busy streets of the city, her thumbs hooked lightly through the straps of her pack. While they walk, she observes the populace of the city, making small remarks about this or that, mostly disinterested, though while walking she gave those attention who gave her strange looks due to her appearance, primarily through the medium of a glare or a cold look.

 

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  • Wenjarich
    +2

    Very nice, look forward to the next one. I'm assuming you are playing a two person game? Also I'm intrigued, what class is Rayne?

    • racerxonclar
      +3

      No, it was a 4-man party that ended up being a 3-man group right from the start because one person made a single post and never posted again. The use of past tense is because, yes, this is an old game that's long been dead :P I have the worst luck with players that stay reliable

      Rayne was an Elan Shaper (psionics). I will probably never allow psionics every again because of that character lol. Just far too many thing you have to change to accommodate them. Bloodgaze was a human fighter/frenzied berserker. The third player got officially introduced to the party later in the chapter, and she was a human monk. Original planned party was a shaper psicon, fighter/beserker, monk, and paladin...humorously all female.

      • Wenjarich
        +1

        I guess you meant to say "4-woman party" then ;P

        Why you not a fan of psionics?

        • racerxonclar
          +3

          To put it simply, all of their mechanics function very differently than everything else in D&D... at least with 3.0 and 3.5. Even doing the conversions that the book mentions, such as giving creatures a certain psionic resistance based upon their spell resistance. This kind of helps, but spell resistance isn't something that's very common unless facing a certain range of creatures...so psionic characters wind up very easily dealing with a lot of opponents. This is compounded by the fact that a great number of psionic abilities work off of Will saves, when traditional magic has a wide range of saves associated to them.

          Basically, all their mechanics feel very tacked on top of normal way of doing things rather than actually feeling apart of the mechanics. I didn't enjoy having to mentally redo half the stuff I could usually eyeball just because he was around. Plus for a Faerun specific note, there aren't many psionic races or places for them to be... so 80-90% of your campaigns will features a psion dealing with traditional stuff rather than each other where the mechanics are a bit more natural. A curse of playing something that's supposed to be very rare in the world, yet has endless special rules.

          Now, I'm aware that Pathfinder made their own interpretation of the psionic rules that's supposedly much less awkward, but I have no personal experience with it.

          • Wenjarich
            +1

            Fair enough :)

            Btw, you should consider joining the once-off that this tribe is hosting to get to know each other better. It'll be fun. :)

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