Dungeons & Dragons is all about epic stories and adventures that rival even The Odyssey. Well, us here at HeavyShelf wanted to challenge Homer at his own game of adventure. With I, Erick Schwartz, as your Dungeon Master guide, I wanted to tell a story with the amazing HeavyShelf team; Shane, Parker Sara and, of course, everybody’s favourite cloven-hoved mammal, Moose. We wanted to write up a quick summary as to what has happened up to this point, in my handcrafted land of Alzurkania.
It was a cloudless, breezy, summer afternoon. Everybody was unconscious in the middle of a green field, grass tickling their necks, scales, and other parts of their exposed skins. One by one, these strangers wake up, groggy from their seemingly timeless coma; an old human warlock who called himself Aolusin, a golden scaled dragonborn fighter, Grasdynn, a blue scaled dragonborn bard who went by Mak, and a beautiful brown-haired maiden in heavy armor, who called herself Irina.
Dazed and confused, this motley crew decided the only way to go forward is to get up and venture into the surrounding woods, hoping to get answers as to how they got here. After coming across a pair of quarreling dwarven merchants, the team hitched a ride to a nearby tavern. There, they rested their achy feet and fed their empty bellies. They also found out that everybody there also have a span of time where they feel they have lost or blacked out; it wasn’t just the party.
Soon after, a gnome barged into the tavern, hysteric. He was crying that his homestead and farm was burned down, his wife and daughter dead. With wary eyes cast towards them imposing dragonborns, accusations were thrown that only barbaric dragonborns would do something like this. To prove their innocence, the dragonborn, with the rest of the party, set forward to investigate this attack.
After fighting wolves in the surrounding forest, the gang came across the burned down homestead, and the bodies of the two gnomish women. As they were investigating the crime scene, they heard the talking of what was assumed bandits or criminals, returning to the scene of the crime.
The team effortlessly dispatched the scum and returned to the tavern to report what they witnessed and found. After discussing with the dwarven merchants about bandits in the area, the party found out that a notorious gang roamed the region; the Mudhounds. The dwarves told to team how to make contact with them in the nearby village of Farmville, an appropriately named town inhabited by a community of gnomish, halfling and dwarven farmers.
The party set forward to contact these rogues, and upon arrival at Farmville, they were able to establish communication to the bandits, under the guise of slave traders. Meeting at their HQ, the party was able to sneak in, fooling every bandit guard there to meet with the leader, Hanvil, a large, hulking individual who fancies painting, art, and breaking individuals across his knee.
Upon meeting the leader, Hanvil was able to tell that these merchants were outsiders, infiltrating his stronghold. With a smile, Hanvil pulled a lever, dropping the party into a combat pit below his hideout. Surrounded the hundreds of pairs of bandit eyes, the party had to fight Hanvil’s bears, one of which was named Cupcakes, Hanvil’s favourite bear whom he saved as a cub.
Hanvil begged the party to spare Cupcake’s life, in exchange of some information. Hanvil revealed that, yes, the bandits did burn down the gnomish farm, but never intended anyone to die; that was the handiwork of goblins who the gang often work with for big hits, such as a settlement or plantation. He said he would give more information about the attack and be more amicable if the party did some work for him, to which they agreed.
The party was, against their will, indoctrinated as Mudhounds themselves, and founds themselves as brothers and sister to the rest of the gang.
When investigating these attacks on Hanvil’s men by some mysterious beast, they found that multiple people in the town have been seeing a beast roam the night, killing livestock. After days of investigation, the team was able to narrow down possibility of beasts that could be responsible for the murders down to a werewolf.
After reporting these findings to Hanvil, he agreed with their deduction, as it matches descriptions given to him by his men. He, in turn, told the team that a gnome disguised approached the Mudhounds to offered to pay them handsomely to destroy the other gnome’s homestead. Hanvil agreed.
The party then came to the conclusion that someone in the village was responsible for the conflagration, and during their further investigation, they stumbled upon a cursed manor, known as the Manor of the Unnamed Elf. Foolishly, Aolusin approached the property and placed his hand on a fence post, where he was instantly possessed by an evil spirit, sending him into the manor to throw himself into the fireplace.
After snapping him out of his trance, the team took him to a local priest to figure out how to break the possession and curse. They learned that the only way to do so is to bring him back to the manor and defeat whatever entity resides there, as Aolusin’s being is now bound to the manor itself.
The party hurries to the manor as they witness Aolusin slowly becoming more and more blue, white-haired, and red eyed; he was turning into a Drow. Upon arriving at the manor, the furniture, armor statues, bookcases and very walls came alive, attacking the party from every direction. Wading through the destruction and striking down skeletons coming from the floorboards, the team arrives at the master bedroom, where an evil spirit of a Drow was waiting for them.
His name? Drakon
After an epic fight, the team was able to destroy Drakon and strike him from this world. After his defeat, the house calmed and was quite. Everybody felt good about their victory.
Except for Aolusin, as he heard a familiar voice in his head. The voice of Drakon. It turns out the Drakon unknowingly entwined himself with Aolusin’s soul during his possession. Now, Drakon’s mind shares the same space with Aolusin and will sometimes speak through Aolusin’s own mouth if he musters up enough willpower. Drakon and Aolusin, for all intents and purposes, have become one mind, continually quarreling with each other.
After their fight with the manor, the team is greeted by a chipper bard, Elan, also known as The Albatross, who turns out to be the world’s greatest troubadour. Obviously hung up on some woman he refers to as The Songbird, Elan tags along with the reluctant group so he can get more material for his arts.
After more investigating, the team was able to find and track down the werewolf. However, the werewolf got away when the team stumbled across the body of a Mudhound; a full-blooded orc who went by the moniker “Ogre”. However, unlike all of the other werewolf victims, Ogre survived. They rushed him back to the Mudhound den and summoned the medically practiced individuals to help Irina save Ogre from dying.
After saving his life and coming to, Ogre told the party a heartbreaking story of being an outcast, setting forth for adventure and goodness, just to be met with discrimination and fear. After lashing out at a statue of Lliira, goddess of all good, kindness and joy, he was visited by her in a vision, to find a new family. Shortly after, he found the Mudhounds, the gang of misfits and outcasts, who took him in as a brother.
After his tale, the world shook, morphed, and transformed into a nightmarish hellscape; everybody witnessed each other’s personal terrors and the embodiment of evils and horror crawl from every nook and cranny in this plane of existence; it was a waking nightmare. Every living being was paralyzed with fear at what they were witnessing before their eyes, in broad daylight. After what felt like an eternity, the nightmare ceased, and everybody was back in reality.
Could this be linked to the mass loss of memory and time within the region and village? Could this be related to a powerful magic? To the beast, even?
Shook up, the team set forward with their goal in mind; to figure out just what in the hell is going on, and, of course, to capture a murderer.
One night, Aolusin went outside to speak with Drakon. During his quiet reflection, he was jumped by a werewolf from within the shadows! The beast’s claws dug into the gut of Aolusin and lifted him off of his feet, up close to his bloody maw. Snapping his jaws, the werewolf went to finish off his victim, only be to pestered by Mak, who wisely went outside with Aolusin to keep guard. Instead of remaining cornered by the dragonborn, the werewolf hurled Aolusin at Mak, knocking them both to the ground, and took off through the village and to the tavern the rest of the party was staying.
Busting inside, the werewolf grabbed two children and used them as shields against the party. After biting them, transferring his lycanthropy, the werewolf escaped the town and went hurdling towards a neighboring farm. The farm of the gnome who initially threw accusations at the dragonborn in the first place.
Cornering the dying and injured werewolf, the party closed in on it, while Irina went back to help the bit children. The werewolf returned to his normal humanoid form.
The form of a gnomish child. The son of the accusing gnome.
The gnome came out begging for his son’s life and admitted to burning down his neighbor’s farm, because he needed money and income to cure his son’s curse. The party spared their lives, but said they were to be arrested and brought to trial in front of the village.
Unfortunately, the two gnomes escaped through an illusionary trapdoor inside the farm house; pursuing them down, they found a long underground tunnel. Before venturing forth, the party retrieved Irina from the village, so they could pursue the two gnomes.
Naturally, they were too late, and found only an empty tunnel and empty chamber with a note left for them; they teleported out of there. It turns out that the gnomish father is actually a very powerful wizard, trying to pay a college of wizards to research his son’s curse. The note also warned the party that they angered a very, very powerful father, now an enemy wizard.
After returning to the village to inform them that the beast is now gone and will no longer endanger the lives of the Farmville denizens, they find Hanvil and the rest of the gang dispersed amongst the people of the village; they agreed to integrate themselves amongst the people of the village, to start rebuilding the burned down homestead, and to provide protection to the people in exchange of having a home town.
The party planned their route north, to go to a port city, in hopes to catch a boat to swing round the peninsula of Alzurkania as a shortcut to the college of wizards, to find the cure for the two bitten children in Farmville and to intercept and defeat the gnomish wizard and werewolf that got away. However, as luck would have it, the party was intercepted by a squad of elves patrolling the forest, claiming they were trespassing on their lands.
The elves took the party back to their elven city to be put to trial for trespassing and breaking some sort of treaty. After a night in jail, elven citizens of this city recognized the party and pointed out that they were the ones responsible for kidnapping children and for the death of the daughter of the city’s executioner. Baffled and confused, the party sent for a witness to defend them in trial, as they risked being hanged for these accusations.
After their trial, Elan took off through the village, stabbing a couple of citizens in his wake. Immediately, the gates were closed and the party pursued the troubadour whom they have grown to trust greatly. However, after reaching exactly where Elan should have been…
He was nowhere to be found, in the crowd of elves.
A murderer is hiding amongst them.