Welcome back. Unless this is your first time here, in which case, Well met! It is time for the next installment of the Five Kingdoms campaign, a D&D 5e campaign I am DM’ing for my two sons. You can catch the beginning of the current adventure by reading the post “Adventure is Worthwhile in Itself”. For an introduction to the characters my boys drew up you can read “Dramatis Personae”. Some information on the homebrew campaign world is available in “Welcome to the Five Kingdoms”.
In this installment we will join Falconsight, a half-elf ranger, and his companion Tenzen, a human monk, as they set off on their first assigned quest from the Adventurers Guild in Haven Cross.
Having spent a restful night at the Drunken Horse Inn, our heroes awakened to the smells of a hearty breakfast and the sounds of a town coming awake around them. Eager to be on their way they packed their gear and troop down to the common room where they wisely stop just long enough to enjoy the promised repast. (It turns out that the owner of the Drunken Horse, a female orc named Ulumpha, is a Food Shaman. Her meals are not only the best in town, they have been known to give adventurers that extra edge. All the Guild Members know to fill their bellies at the Drunken Horse before starting an assignment.) Thus fortified, they left for the North road leading out of town feeling particularly alert. (I gave them Advantage on Perception checks.)
They walked the North road through the morning without incident. Near Highsun they heard something crashing through the brush to their right. Suddenly that same something, a small wiry ixit1 carrying what looked like a large smooth stone nearly as big as he was, burst through the underbrush near them and quickly ran toward them screaming, “Help me! Help me! It’s going to kill me!”
Immediately behind him a bigger something burst through the brush. It was an axe beak, and a rather large one at that. And she was angry! The ixit quickly ran behind Falconsight and the adventurers had little choice but to defend themselves as the enormous bird ferociously attacked. Both of the heroes took some serious damage but were able to fell the crazed bird with a few well placed blows and arrows.2
Once the dust settled Falconsight and Tenzen confronted the still quivering ixit and his hard won egg. When they got him calmed down he thanked them profusely, “Oh! Thank you, thank you. I cannot express enough how grateful I am. You have done me a great service indeed!” He introduced himself as Nimble Fullspoon (yeah, I know), an ‘experimental gastromist’. “Yes, yes! This egg will bring a pretty penny. Yes indeed! Axe beak omelettes are the Best, the absolute best! Come come, let me repay you by fixing you an omelette of your own. No, no, no, no. Not with this egg. Oh my no. Much too valuable. However, I have just the thing here in my pack. Yes, yes indeed!”
He commenced to rummaging around in a leather pack and produced a cooking set, some other exotic looking, though normal sized, eggs, and various tins and pouches. In short order he had set up a quick field kitchen and was preparing lunch. The amusing little fellow jabbered away while he did so and indicated that yes, he knew the alchemist they were to meet. “Get some of my best ingredients from him. I do indeed! Yes, yes.” The omelettes he gave them were marvelous and amazingly satisfying. (I sense a foodie theme here.)
After eating and cleaning up the cook site the two companions bade their benefactor farewell and pondered what to do with the great bird’s carcass. They decided to at least pull it off the road so as not to block the way. It was much too heavy for them to carry any great distance, but they did manage to get it back into the brush a few dozen yards from the road. Falconsight knew that the wood would make use of the remains, either as a scavenger’s meal, or several, or as nutrients for the soil. He did take some care to harvest some feathers as they would possibly make good fletching.
A few more hours walking North brought them to the road sign they were told to expect. One arrow pointed South and had “Haven Cross-12mi” etched on it. The other pointed North and read “Jolly Momo’s Inn-6mi”. Opposite the sign they could see a dirt trail leading to the East. The alchemist’s home lay down that trail some 20 miles according to the map they had been given. The sun was well past zenith by this time. They had lost time fending off the axe beak and enjoying Nimble’s cooking. They decided to make for the inn and get an early start for the alchemist’s house in the morning.
With no further incident they reached Jolly Momo’s Inn as the shadows were getting longer and the sun was just above the trees. (Here’s a sample of the amazing maps that came with this module.)
Jolly Momo’s Inn, ground level, night, with grid
Jolly Momo himself greeted the travelers and offered them room, food, and baths. The baths were hot, the rooms comfortable, if small, and the food was filling. After their most recent culinary experiences, however, it was a little disappointing. Momo loves a good story; so, he plied the travelers for theirs. Upon hearing of Tenzen’s quest the big man shed a tear. Then he rapped his knuckle on the bar. “You know what? I think I did see a girl such as you described. Yeah, she’d be about the right age, too. I was visiting my daughter down in Tegn, the University City, and we caught one of the little shows the Bards’ Academy is always putting on. There was a gal played a harp like Bewresha3 herself. She had the dark hair and green eyes like your gal.” Tenzen thanked the man and the two adventurers bedded down for the night.
And so we come to an end of a rather eventful day. The heroes faced a fearsome beast and survived, and Tenzen has his first lead as to the whereabouts of his lost love. Maybe I gave them this hook too early. I don’t know. What do you think, gentle reader? Should I have held out a little longer? Maybe waited until they had gotten to Phandalin? In any case, what’s done is done. Next time we will see what they befalls them in the forest of the alchemist.
- The module actually called for a gnome here. I think gnomes are kind of silly. The ixit are the gnome stand-ins in my campaign. They are actually cousins to the goblins, though more civilized and less brutal. ↩
- That was their first real combat encounter and turned out to be a difficult one. Axe beaks are a CR 1/4 creature, meaning that they should be a medium challenge for a single 1st Level character. However, they do an average of 6 to 7 points of damage each round which to 1st level characters with Hit Points barely in the double digits can be devastating. Fun Fact: if your DM house rules the Ranger’s Beastmaster sub-class to allow Large beasts, you can have an axe beak companion. ↩
- Bewresha, the Nurturer, the Keeper of the Balance, She who plays Her harp beneath the Great Tree and thus shapes the Weave of Time. I may present the pantheons of the Five Kingdoms in a future post. Or, if you are inpatient, you can read about them on the Kingdoms of Telgard website. ↩