November 19, 2016 by Jake
So I started running a campaign for a new group of role players a few weeks ago. We are playing Dungeons and Dragons 4th edition and many of them are playing for the first time. I don’t want to jinx the group falling apart or not continuing, because D&D groups are very difficult to keep together, it is a big time commitment, and doesn’t always work out. Let’s stay positive. Last week in the first session the group of five met up in the village of Farf where they learned the town’s militia had been slain or kidnapped by roving bands of kobolds, who were raiding nearby farms and preventing messages for help from escaping. The local thane hired the party to put a stop to them and find their warren and find justice for the deceased. After traveling on the northern road they were attacked by a group of the little buggers who attempted to split them up and tear them apart. The heroes managed to fight for their life and Alven the rogue chased off the leader of the attackers by hitting him in the back with two shurikens. The young priestess Nadi also managed to capture one of the kobolds as a hostage. Will the party pursue the leader to their lair or take the time to tend to their injuries? I intend to read them this blurb of fiction to help set the stage and remind them of their quest.
The claws of the elder dragged on the floor as he limped. The wounds he had suffered at the hands of the interlopers still plagued him as he forced his way past the entrance and the bustling of others. There was a time when no kobold in this warren dared stand idly in his way, but now things were different. He was not the alpha anymore. The shields at least still had a modicum of respect for him as one of those guarding the inner causeway stepped forward hastily to inspect his wounds and offer a shoulder. The shield still standing at his post smirked haughtily at the elder’s limping frame, but dare not hold against his gaze as he abashedly looked down after a brief moment when their eyes locked. That was what respect felt like, he could not forget that now. “Let me through to see Spraig,” he shouted. There was no time for propriety. The priest waved his assistant away and reached behind his back. He bit down hard and jerked out the throwing knife beneath his rib. Blood flowed out quickly, but with a whisper of the old master’s name the smooth skin closed around the slit. There was but a weft of power still in the name, but when the heir was born it would all return. He inspected the knife. The blade fit his hand well, the instrument was well kept and balanced, but still stank of gnome or some other foul creature. He would offer one to the horde and another to Spraig, the bastard.
There he sat, in the chair that he had demanded be brought next to the heir’s seat. His skin was growing paler each season, but his eyes were always wild. Darting from one attendant to the other and always back to the heir, his hands tightly gripping the pommel of his cruel, jagged axe. He grinned suddenly, but the priest could see the worry behind the expression. Why did mammals always have to worry about the face, did he not know his sweat reeked of fear and his posture betrayed his willingness to bolt out of the warren pissing like a shrew? Still he leaned forward, but brushed his gloved hand over the heir reassuringly, who glowed faintly up at him. “What is the meaning of this intrusion old lizard? You look like-“
The priest cut him off angrily, “Meddlers! Interlopers! Egg breakers!” he shouted, he composed himself for a moment and kneeled in the center of the chamber, it was a sign of respect he begrudgingly, and often, refused outright, but after running back to the warren he was finally feeling the fatigue from his escape and took the opportunity to catch his breath. The two shields looked in quickly from behind the wall at his screaming. Others crowded the hall behind.
“You don’t have to shout, you’ll scare the master! What are you wailing over now? … Where is your patrol?” Spraig asked. He pressed his feet into the floor tensely and leaned forward at him.
“We were attacked on the road by a group of filthy interlopers, five of them, they are headed this way. We must muster our forces and send out a hunt, they are weak and bleeding!”
“We must? Must what, follow your orders?” Spraig leaned back, “I think not, it seems you have pricked the interest of someone out for blood. We should pray to the heir’s name that your foolish and hasty return did not lead them back home. What proof have you that these … interlopers even came looking for us?” He grinned and slouched in his foul seat.
The priest reached behind his back and pulled another knife from behind his back and raised it for the guards at the back of the room to see. He tossed the wet bloody thing at the seat of Spraig. “There is your proof and they are most definitely out for blood, but I assure you we left them soft and tired, I would have fought to the last if I did not need … more help. They were formidable.” Spraig picked up the blade and winced disgustedly at the blood on his gloved fingers. He was backing further into his chair, more kobolds began listening at the end of the chamber, the audience was beginning to chatter at each other and was not unnoticed by Spraig, who missed little.
“You fool, this proves nothing. How do you know they are not lusting to finish their quarry off, since you have proven how weak and useless your kind are? SHIELDS!” He called to the back of the room and the two sprang to attention. They kneeled at either side of the priest but did not look up. They awaited the orders. “This old buzzard has possibly led dangerous predators to our doors. Double the guard outside the warren, but let none back through until we have readied our defense. The heir must not be put in danger. Go now, especially you!” he pointed at the priest and sneered. The elder rose and all too eagerly left for the horde. He clutched the first blade he had not tossed at Spraig and cleaned it slowly with his cloak. He placed it gently upon the master’s collection and uttered a brief prayer. He scowled back at the central room where Spraig had begun stomping around and was now barking more orders. He hoped that if the interlopers did make it through the front door, which they never would, that they killed the pale bastard before falling to the rest of the warren. Then things might return to normal. He would capture the skulking rogue last and slit his throat with his own knife before returning it to the horde. Then all would be right before the master returned.