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Dungeons & Dragons: The Orphan Warriors(This is a loosely structured display of the
story comprised of the Dungeon Master's emails)
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PROLOGUE - ESCAPE FROM ORPHANAGE
You have all (at some point and in one way or another for some length of time) become friends at an orphanage in a small village named Ha'mas. This small community is composed of mostly humans, and they are a very superstitious lot. There are other creatures, some natural others unnatural, in this world, but the village tries to remain removed from all of that and keep a peaceable seclusion from the "outside world" and "outsiders" in general. The only break in this desire is the caravans that pass through once every other month or so with stories of the outside. Most of the residents try to ignore the stories and pretend that there is no other place in existence except for their small town, everyone except for the orphans. You all feast upon the words of the travelers with vivid imaginations, and during free time you all sneak out to the edge of the monastery grounds where you reside to enact the many tales that you've absorbed. Some of the tales that fall upon your eager ears tell of great monsters and even greater treasures to be had in the forests to the west of the village for the brave and experienced adventurers who dare to take up the challenge. One day an incident with a local group of boys occurs that tells you all that you can never be fully accepted as one of the them and as one of the villagers. So after that day, all decide to answer the call of the forest, and you make elaborate plans to escape the confines of the orphanage to the forest. The day arrives to carry out your plans, and after nightfall you flawlessly escape to the forest managing to grab food, some provisions, and equipment in your flight. After what seems like hours of running you all stop to catch your breath and decide that you are at a safe distance to make camp. Camp is made and little occurs throughout the night, (your not that far into the forest) and morning breaks drying the dew from you bedrolls and arousing your sense of adventure.THE FOREST OUTSIDE OF HA'MAS - THE BEGINNING OF AN ADVENTURE
As you all arise in the morning light, Andril, returning from his morning "potty break" comments to the others that he spotted some sort of wolf tracks in the dirt about 20 yards from your camp. They seem to be fairly fresh, "probably a stray that came to sniff the camp for traces of food" he says.
As you all are in agreement you quickly pack up your things and head out to find the tracks. Both Andril and Leokul easily pick up the trail of the wolf and set off at a trot ahead of the others who must run quickly in order to keep up with the agile pair of rangers.
After about an hour of run and stopping to reorient and then running again, the laggers are pulled abruptly to the ground by Andril and Leokul and Leoril makes to object but is cut off by the sound of laughter in the distance. The laughter is neither sweet nor soothing. It seems to be the shrill laughter of a creature that is enjoying the pain and suffering of others. Laughter followed by the crack of a whip and then more blood curling laughter.
Slowly the group advances on the sound and at last through the trees the four of you catch your first glimpse of an evil inhuman creature, a goblin. In fact, a group of 4 goblins, three of whom are watching in amusement as the fourth is having sport with a lone wolf. The fourth goblin is circling the animal that appears to have felt the lashing of the whip the goblin is yielding. (As a better image I would refer you to the smaller, scrawny goblins seen in the movie Lord of the Rings II as visuals for the creature you now face).
As you all quickly take in the view, the fighting goblin is holding a whip in his hand and has a short sword at his side (he appears to be the leader of this motley band of brigands). The other three on the side lines have short swords and shields at their sides and all are wearing leather armor under their grease and blood stained cloaks. No one has noticed you guys peering in from the edge of the clearing since all their attention is on the "sporting event." The three are making a large circle with their hands outstretched to prevent the wolf from fleeing. You are about 25 yards from the action.You all decide to attack the goblins and help Leokul free his friend from the goblin's abuse. As Andril breaks quickly and silently around the clearing to attack the furthest goblin from behind, Jarrod and Leoril get into position to rush their enemies from behind too. When the trap is set and all are in position (you all passed as check for dexterity and the goblins failed an intelligence check) Leokul strolls right into the clearing, short sword drawn and strikes at the goblin leader with such quick precision neither the others nor the leader can not react to the killing blow that remove the leaders head completely from its nasty little body.
With the distraction of their leaders head falling from its neck the other three are completely surprised by the attacking trio and have little time to react. (Here's how it breaks down) Simultaneously, Leoril, Jarrod, and Andril swoop from their hiding spots upon the surprised goblins. With giant-like strength Leoril arcs his one-handed bastard sword down upon his goblin cleaving him in left and right halves right down the middle! (lucky shot). Andril and Jarrod, however, have less luck and their blades hit the armor in a strong spot causing only bruising to the stunned (and now armed) goblins. Yet an unseen ally rises to the challenge and the wolf leaps on the turned backs of the goblins knocking them to the ground. Instinctively, Jarrod and Andril stab their large swords into the defenseless backs of the enemy, and as quickly as the fight started, it has stopped. Four dead goblins and four and a half victors standing over triumphant!!(nice work!)
As the commotion settles, the large wolf prances up to Leokul, tail wagging, and apparently unconscious of the two gaping tears in the back of its flesh.
So now that Leokul has explained a little about his wolf companion, you all search through the nasty cloaks and armor of these beasts. (The armor is pretty crappy and smells foul. It is a bit large on these creatures but they are only about four feet tall demi-humans, so their armor would be very uncomfortable and not provide the proper protection, and they reek of goblin blood and rotten flesh. One of you even finds some have eaten and decaying chicken legs in the cloak. Also, their short swords are rusted and dull. The only decent piece of equipment seems to be the whip which Leokul picks up and coils on his arm. However, the foul fiends are not worthless, on their belts hang small money bags, and each of you find a small amount of "funds" for your hard labor.
So the group grabs what little money they can find on the dead goblins, and the rest of the weapons and armor and bodies, being deemed unsuitable (except for the whip that Leokul takes), is left for the scavengers.
Upon command, T'elka sets off at a trot in front of the group into the woods in a westerly direction. Hopefully, to find Leokul's uncle.
After several hours of following, the sun goes from morning to midday to early afternoon. Finally, under a small overhang of rock, Leokul finds his uncle. Dead. It appears that he had been dragged to this rock "cave" by some sort of animal, possibly by T'elka out of a respect for his master's uncle. T'elka walks over to the dead body slowly and sniffs around. Leokul morns his loss and everyone eats a small lunch in order to ration the minimal food stuffs.
Finally, in the mid to late afternoon Leokul suggests the group try and find his uncle's cabin. "There should be plenty of food and shelter there, maybe even a few nice weapons or something. At the least, a good bed!" With that he commands T'elka to lead them "home."
As you all are moving along at a good pace, suddenly T'elka stops and perks his ears. You all come to a halt and then scramble for some sort of cover as you hear heavy foot steps coming from down the same game trail you have been following, just around the bend and out of sight.
As you all find different spots to hide from view you see three figures come into view. Two of the figures stand about 6 1/2 ft tall, nicely armed, one with a long sword on his belt and the other with a glaive (type of polearm) over his shoulder. These two tall ugly creatures can only fit the description of hobgoblins, and they seem to be in a heated debate with the puny goblin that runs backwards in front of them, almost tripping on its own feet to stay just out of reach of the hobgoblins weapons, with its own rusted short sword stowed the goblin's belt. The hobgoblins weapons are in perfect condition as well as the leather armor the hobgoblins don, causing the cringing goblin to look even more grotesque and dirty in his filthy cloak and rotten leather armor. Oddly, a goat follows the threesome as they wind down the trail in your direction.
You all listen to the argument, which unfortunately is in goblin, but can tell they are angry at something, probably not at the goblin himself, although he seems to be taking the brunt of the verbal assault.
As the three and the goat near, the one with the glaive suddenly stops and begins sniffing the air apparently trying to catch the scent of something. The other two stop their quarreling and begin sniffing too. The goat stops and looks up at the threesome and paws at the ground.
Andril quietly picks up a good size stone, and lobs it to the other side of the trail. It thuds on the ground creating just the distraction desired. The hobgoblins, goblin, and goat all turn to look in the direction of the noise. Jarrod, eager to prove himself to you all and to his god, races first from the foliage and lashes out with his two handed bastard sword at the hobgoblin holding the glaive. Unfortunately, the hobgoblin wipes around in time to deflect the killing blow away causing no harm. As Jarrod takes begins the fight, Leoril and Andril simultaneously emerge from the forest and both go straight for the hobgoblin with the long sword. Andril and Leoril slash with their weapons but the skilled and agile enemy parries the attacks. Then both Leokul and T'elka emerge from their hiding place to enter the fray. T'elka runs straight for the goat with his head down and ears forward attempting to control and anticipate the beast's movements. Leokul, with short sword in one hand and whip in the other, strikes with both weapons at the startled goblin who is fumbling for his sword. As he approaches he cracks his whip on the goblin's arm and sending deafening pop from the weapon (you did 2 hp damage on the goblin.) Another two steps closes the gap between the goblin and Leokul's short sword which barely misses the head of the quick ducking goblin.
The first thing that happens is that the goat begins talking in a strange mystical language, almost mage like, concentrating its gaze on Leokul. This as the battle begins. First, both Jarrod and his foe, the hobgoblin with the glaive, simultaneously swing at one another. Weapons clash, the sound of iron ringing out in the forest. With weapons locked, Jarrod kicks out at the hobgoblin causing him to stumble back a few steps and their weapons disengage. Then, at the same time, but slightly after Jarrod tangles with the hobgoblin, Andril and the hobgoblin with the long sword clash swords. "Let's make this quick and easy," yells Andril as he swings at the beast. Unfortunately for Andril, his swing goes wide and leaves an unprotected side which the skilled hobgoblin quickly finds with his long sword and Andril cries out in agony as the sword cuts his flesh. The next thing to happen is the goblin and T'elka move simultaneously, the goblin attacking Leokul and T'elka pouncing at the incanting goat. The goblin strikes at Leokul with such stunning speed and accuracy that Leokul is caught by surprise and his cries of pain echo in the forest. The critical hit cause 4 damage. Also, as T'elka is about to jump on the goat, he slips on a stone and falls to the ground causing a high pitched yelp to escape from the poor animal. While Andril and the hobgoblin with the long sword are engaged, Leoril sneaks in a skillful blow finding a weak spot in the hobgoblin armor stabbing all the way to the heart of the beast, and it collapses on the ground with its sword still clenched in its fist (11 damage). After being struck viciously by the goblin, Leokul answers back with a successful hit with his sword on the back of the goblin expelling a yelp from the goblin as black blood spills from its wound and clots on the ground. The goat stops as the fighting ends, and as the goat stops chanting, a strange tingling sensation comes over Leokul as if a spell is trying to control his mind. However, Leokul somehow manages to resist the strange impulse to believe everything that the goat says and shrugs off the odd thought. As the round finishes up you all notice that the goat has also changed form. It is no longer a nice little goat. It has morphed into its true form, that of an imp. It stands about two feet tall with a humanoid appearance and dark red skin. Two leathery, bat-like wings sprout from its back and a scorpion tail complete with stinger curls between its legs. Two gleaming white horn stubs sprout from its head and it bares its pearly white fangs under a prominent hooked nose. Its pointed ears lay back on its head as the demonic creature beats its wings and begins to rise in the air hovering a few feet from the ground.
The first to get initiative is Leokul who shouts out to T'elka, "Get away from the imp!!!" He then swings a wicked blow at the goblin that blocks with his sword. Andril is next, and turns to run back into the forest. At the same time that he is running to the forest cover, the imp lunges forward at T'elka striking with its scorpion tail. The stinger hits T'elka in the side as he lunges to avoid the sting, and even before a howl can escape, he crashes limp to the ground, unmoving! "Give me the strength to vanquish my foe!" yells Jarrod as he fiercely attacks the hobgoblin. The power of the attack splits the glaive in two, and it smashes down on the stunned hobgoblin mortally wounding, but not quite killing, the creature (5HP). The next to attack is the goblin, who pushes aside the blocked stroke of Leokul, and answers with a quick thrust, causing another deadly wound to Leoku (4HP). Leoril finally reaches the flanks of the injured hobgoblin with the glaive, (it took a bit because Leoril stooped to retrieve the long sword of his vanquished foe) and swings the killing blow to the back of the beast.
So, in general, everyone decides to flee in the direction that Andril fled. First to react is Leokul, who runs full throttle away from the goblin in the direction of his fallen comrade. This startles the imp, who immediately disappears from sight. Leokul scoops up T'elka and runs into the woods with the wolf in the direction that Andril was headed when he left, limping and badly injured. However, Andril is nowhere to be seen. The goblin starts to chase Leokul but realizing its own pain, and close call with death, turns and runs in the direction that the goblin had come from around the bend and out of sight.
This occurs as Leoril and Jarrod both turn and head for the woods following the flight of Leokul. Albeit, not befor Jarrod stoops down and cuts the money bag from the belt of the fallen hobgoblin. So you run into the forest a ways, until you are about 200 yards to the south of the road from where the battle took place. Remember Leokul, Leoril, and Jarrod are together. Andril has "disappeared" and there is no sign of being followed.